Marie Wood, Deputy Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you all as we commence the 2020 school year here at OLMC.  The beginning of 2020 has certainly has been a challenging start for all Australians, with the ongoing nature of the bushfires affecting many communities and the emerging concerns surrounding the Coronavirus. OLMC has a deep and strong sense of community and this is what helps us to thrive.


At the College, we have been proactive in our response to the Coronavirus, acting on all advice and directions from the Health authorities and communicating these to all members of the OLMC community. Our priority is always to secure the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff and parents and caregivers. Please be assured that any updates to advice and directions will be broadly communicated.


Additionally, the College will be looking at ways that we can continue to support not only any of our OLMC families affected by the bushfires, drought and floods but also those in regional Australia who may need some assistance, be it financial, or resources or moral support or a combination of these. We are encouraging the students and staff to consider initiatives that reflect in particular our values of service, compassion and dignity.


In fact, Dignity is our focus Mercy value for 2020. As I reminded everyone at our first College Assembly last week:


Dignity is the treatment of each person with respect and the recognition of their inherent value and worth.


It is always incumbent upon us to reflect on what matters to us as a Mercy community and it is timely to do so at the beginning of each year. It sets the tone and clarifies expectations for everyone and provides a direction for values to be put into visible actions. I asked everyone to consider how they might act with dignity towards themselves and others and posed two actions on which they could focus initially: 


  • Be aware of your value as a human being made in the image of God


  • Be positive, hopeful and kind

I will be exploring these ideas about dignity in future conversations with students and staff and will value their input as we strengthen our dignified actions. It may be a good conversation starter for your families too as we work in partnership with you to support your daughter’s personal growth in all areas- intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical and social wellbeing.

Over 200 Year 7 students have made a positive start to their learning at the College through the bespoke OLMC Transition Program. I want to acknowledge the efforts of all staff involved in the initiation and delivery of the program and thank them for their innovation and professionalism. The program was devised at the College and implemented in 2019 for the first time, with the intention of supporting the transition of our Year 7 students to High School and helping them to adjust to all the new expectations that come with change. Its success last year has meant a continuation of the program this year. As a community, we are reflective and we always look to review and refine our practices. Consequently, the 2020 Year 7 cohort have a program specifically designed for them which incorporates elements of the 2019 program and includes features that support the requirements of the 2020 Year 7 students. We wish them well as they complete the program. I look forward to meeting our new parents and carers at the Year 7 House Welcome Evening on 17 February.  

2020 promises to be a fulfilling year at the College. Later in the year, we commence our next Masterplan, with the first stage being a refurbishment of the Brigid Shelly Building.  On the 19 February, there will be a Masterplan Information Evening for all parents and carers at which I will be communicating further details of the phases and stages of the plan. Mayoh Architects will be present as well to answer particular questions regarding the Plan itself. Please look out later this week for an email detailing the venue and timing of this Evening.

On Friday this week, the College celebrates the Opening School Mass in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre. The theme of Embracing New Beginnings with Dignity will be our focus. You are all most welcome to join us on Friday for this Liturgy. Mass starts at 9.00am and will be celebrated by College Chaplain, Father Walter Fogarty. For seating purposes please RSVP by 6 February to Mrs Sallyann Guthrie, Executive Assistant to the Principal -

My hope is that this year is a productive and rewarding one for everyone.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)




Jennifer Mater, Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting)

The new academic year has begun and with it, the opportunity for every student to renew her commitment to her studies and begin a fresh new learning journey in each course she is studying. I hope that the new books, pencil case, diary and lunch box are coupled with a renewed determination to be the most successful learner she can be. This should be accompanied by updated specific, realistic, and achievable learning goals, effective and appropriate independent learning strategies and a sound study routine.

One group that is making a very positive fresh start is our Year 7 cohort. They begin their secondary school journey with the Transition Program that is focused on exploring the concept of new beginnings. This program is being led by staff from different faculties and aims for each student to feel connected and belong, to know her teachers and peers, and to develop skills to enable her to be engaged in her learning.

Having already engaged in many learning conversations with individual students this year, I want to take this opportunity to stress the importance of such conversations for learning growth. We know, and educational research confirms, that the teacher-student relationship has a strong impact on learning outcomes. Therefore, I encourage each student to engage in regular conversations with her teachers as a means of strengthening that relationship and providing the optimum conditions for learning growth. Clear, respectful communication is key, and a proactive student makes her learning needs known to her teachers so that the teacher is given the opportunity to structure learning experiences to best meet those needs. In addition, students should note that while it is most fortunate if they happen to like their teacher, this is not an essential ingredient for a sound, effective, beneficial working relationship.

OLMC students are privileged to have access to many useful resources to aid their learning. One of the most significant learning tools is the notebook computer and Year 7 and Year 10 students were excited to receive their new notebooks this week. I encourage all students to remember that these devices are valuable and should always be treated with appropriate care. Part of that care includes making sure that the device is regularly restarted while at the College so that important updates can be applied.

So, as we all embark on our new beginnings in 2020, I hope we have a happy, fulfilling and successful year of learning, inspired as we go by the words of a woman who worked in a field dear to the hearts of many of our students: 

'I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.' Estée Lauder

Mrs Jennifer Mater
Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting)


All students and parents are invited to read the regular updates regarding VET and Careers that will appear in Parragraph this year and to contact me regarding any related matters. I will share current information, plus provide the latest updates about University, TAFE, College and Extra news.


JobJump is a comprehensive website that allows students and their parents to access the latest news and information on careers. Students can nominate areas they are interested in and receive regular updates, and even try out the interactive and fun Careers Quiz that helps to find potential career pathways that match their subjects, skills, interests and personality. Find out more at

All students and parents can register. Click on the ‘I’m new’ button at the top right of the JobJump homepage. Enter Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta as the school and 'diving' as the password.

[The information provided through JobJump is a guide only and JobJump takes no responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of this information. The user should use any information at their own discretion.]

Mrs Louise Weihen
Leader of Learning, VET/Careers



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Public Speaking

A new year and new challenges for our public speakers. With the talent our girls continue to display, there is little doubt that 2020 will be another year of successes. The level of involvement in public speaking at OLMC is probably unmatched by any other school anywhere, with well over 100 students in competitions each year.

Applications for public speaking are now open for 2020. Application forms are available at the Student Centre and entries close on Friday, 7 February. All students are welcome and no experience is needed. Every girl gets individual support in her event and detailed information about each event is also available on CANVAS/Information Gateway/Public Speaking.

As always, the public speaking room is B101 and I am there each lunch hour for students. Parents are also welcome to contact me at I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable help of our Debating and Public Speaking Leaders, Daphne Fong and Lily Tambrchi.

Public speaking develops skills and confidence which benefit students throughout their lives. And as our public speaking girls can attest, it’s also a lot of fun!

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator



With the start of a new year, so begin the preparations for another year of debating at OLMC. Our first competition is with the Catholic Schools Debating Association (CSDA), open to all students from Year 7 - 12 with no prior debating experience necessary to participate. The competition runs from May to June, with further elimination and finals rounds in July, should our teams progress this far.

In addition to this, OLMC debaters will have the opportunity to participate in other competitions throughout the year and they will be notified about these opportunities as they arise.

Debating is a social activity that builds student capabilities in reading, sophisticated argument, critical thinking and confidence in speaking. It is a set of transformational skills that are skills for life and increasingly relevant in the modern world.

If students would like to participate in debating in 2020, please check the email sent from Ms Riley last week to access the Expression of Interest.


In other news, our CSDA Champion Year 10 debaters: Yasmine Alwakal, Veronica Chacty, Kyah Day and Riley Rodewald will be competing in the CSDA State Final on Friday, 28 February at Patrician Brothers’ College Blacktown. This is the final that was postponed from November 2019 due to the devastating bushfires in western NSW. The OLMC Community wishes our team the very best of luck.

Ms Melissa Riley
Debating Coordinator


Saturday Netball

Saturday Netball registrations are now available for all students that wish to play for OLMC at Eastwood Ryde.

All registrations must be completed online as well as filling out the paper registration form (these have been emailed to all students and there a few spares are in the student centre).

Students can choose their teams! Team lists are attached to the registration form

All families can also apply the $100 Active Kids Rebate during the online registration before you pay.

All players will need to purchase the New OLMC Netball Uniform! The New OLMC Tracksuit will also need to be worn on cold days!

Before you can register online you will need to login to your netball account. All existing players already have an account. If you don’t know how to log in, please contact me ASAP!

If you are new to netball, you will need to set up an account on the MyNetball webpage before you can register. All students can log in or create an account here.

During the online registration process, you will need to pay upfront. You will also need to update all your details and upload a photo on your profile as well.

Please click here to download the registration form. 

Teams will not be finalised until all registrations are finalised. Registrations (online & paper) & Team Lists must be completed and handed into the student centre sports box by Friday, 7 February.

AMCC Gymnasium

The AMCC Gymnasium will be open from week 3 for students in Years 9–12 to use before school (7:45am-8:30am). If your daughter would like to use the gym (free of charge), please sign up using the following link -

We will also require the Gym registration form to be filled out.

Both forms have been emailed to all students in Years 9–12 and will need to be completed before they can attend.

NSWCCC Sport Registrations 2020

The NSWCCC website has undergone a revamp. If you have previously registered on this site, you should have received an email from NSWCCC explaining the changes.

NSWCCC Sport trials are now open for all sports -

Please email me to express your interest and I can pass on more information.


Congratulations to Summer Giddings who competed at the Australian All Schools Athletics Championships in Perth in December last year. She finished with 2 bronze medals in the U18 Para 800m and Long Jump. She also competed at the ACT Athletics Championships in January finishing 2nd in the Para Open Long Jump and 1st in the 18 years 400m. Well done Summer!

Summer also received the NSWCCC Blues Award on Monday, 3 February in Wollongong. Congratulations Summer on an excellent result.

Futsal - Overview of the Australian Youth Futsal Tournament 2019 - by Annabelle Ruskin

The Australian Youth Futsal Team travelled to Spain to play against the top tier Women’s teams.

This was my first international competition and boarding the flight, I was filled with a mix of anticipation, competitive spirit and the question of how to learn a new language in three minutes and perfect it in three weeks.  I thought about my French lessons that seemed to not flow in my favour. So here I go.

We landed smack into a wintery Madrid, with a two-hour train trip to Seville, a much more temperate climate, to meet our first coach, Haiver. Training was a series of intense drills and strategies. It was more than just passing and moving the ball, it was learning a new level of personal commitment and team spirit. I found the Spanish so very passionate about their sport; it is not a game of leisure, but a lifestyle and a necessity to live by. They describe football as a second God - the sporting arena, heaven. 

A little time in the afternoons was reserved for city sightseeing. We were packed into minibuses with our Australian Tour Manager and Supporters. The city was a lot like other European old-world villages - narrow streets, and cobbled laneways with small cafes brimming with people. The highlight was meeting and talking with the players of 'Real Betis' the professional Women’s Spanish Team. Communication - a little English a little Spanish, but what transpired was a common love of sport and the idea that women have their own real and defined place, and that sport for women is powerful, strong and committed. It is possible to have a successful career in Football, with large crowds that engaged with your talents.

We played 5 intense matches in Seville. They were a completely new level of pace and skill and our team dug deep to adapt as there was a new level of physicality to the matches. After a number of shoves and shin bruising, time to stand tall. 'Maybe that gym membership would have been an advantage after all.' Yet we prevailed, winning 4 out of the 5 games!

These encounters taught me a considerable amount about remaining personally strong. They reinforced the need for a positive mindset, whilst staying humble. Being humble provides the space to learn and develop. 

Back to cold, wet and a little dreary Madrid. I remembered trading an Australian summer for cold weather. A little more sightseeing, a tour of the Bernabeu  Stadium, the home ground of Real Madrid. I must confess, I slid across the away team’s player bench - Messi must have sat in this spot sometime. Maybe my only contact with my playing hero!

A new Spanish coach, David, more Spanish lessons including more complex drills. He focused on holding structure. Moving and rotating was crucial. There was no exception and no mistakes, I compared this mindset to home, we are far more relaxed. I think the key to success in any arena is intensity and commitment.

Five new matches. Our team, used to the Spanish way of thinking and performing now. We could bring the team strength to the court. Our outcome -  four out five matches won, just one goalkeeper - too good for our boots.

I will always be able to draw upon the advantage of pressure, to better understand what it means to commit, the skill of harnessing the emotion and converting that feeling into a goal achieved.

The last day on tour was spent with a trip to 'Movie World Madrid'. This was on my birthday - a joint celebration of tour success and an opportunity to reflect on personal growth. I am one of those people who see theme park rides as an emotional challenge, a rollercoaster if you like. However, I am taller, stronger and a little more defined. I went on a rather large rollercoaster, upside-down loops and all ….and I made it…… success on tour!

Annabelle Ruskin

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sport Coordinator



Online Uniform Shop

OLMC will be launching a new fully functional Online Uniform shop by the end of February to replace the current Bpoint facility we have on the College website. The website has been developed over the last three months and is intended to improve the parent experience in procuring College uniforms or accessories in a friendly e-commerce interface.

All purchases can be picked up from the Student Centre. We look forward to hearing from you on your experience with the new website.



Open Day

Jazmin Cleary

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Mercedes House Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

To organise activities and events inside and outside of the House. Some of these activities include Chapel, House Assemblies and fun activities to raise House spirit.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2019/2020?

My main goal for Mercedes this year is to raise House spirit and participation, as well as continuing to build on the relationship, both within and between grades. I would also like to focus on connecting with our sister House, Callaghan, through sister activities. 


Study Skills Tips

Click here for tips on how to prepare for the year ahead.

From the Counsellors

Beating the back to school blues

How did seven weeks of holidays go by so fast? The reality of going back to school or work can be difficult after such a long break and affects people of all ages in different ways. There are a few things that you can do to help your transition back to school.

  1. Get back into a routine. The late nights and sleep in’s need to be swapped for earlier nights and setting the alarm clock in order to give yourself time to wake, get ready, eat breakfast and get to school on time. If you had a routine that worked for you last year, stick with that. If you found yourself rushing in the mornings, forgetting to have your laptop charged, or not having enough time for breakfast, then it is a good time to reflect and develop a new routine. Simple things like making your lunch the night before, putting your school bag next to your laptop charging station, making yourself a smoothie the night before so you can eat as you travel to school make it easier. Changes to your routine will feel like a lot of work and effort initially, but you will be rewarded longer term as these turn into habits.
  2. Get organised. Being organised can help to settle any nerves associated with coming back to school. Make sure you have all of the resources that you need, that your uniform still fits, and print a few copies of your timetable/schedule and place these in key places for you and your family to refer to.
  3. Manage your expectations. Instead of setting the expectations for the school year as 'getting straight A’s', learn how to set more realistic and measurable goals and expectations. In the long run, this will put less pressure on you. An example might be 'Getting a B in maths rather than a C'. It’s not enough to just make that your goal and call it a day. How do you plan on achieving this? You may need to invest more time in revising e.g 'I will revise maths for 20 minutes each day' or you may need to ask for help 'I will ask a friend to explain it to me and if they can’t then I will ask my teacher'. Breaking your goals down into small achievable steps will help you attain your larger goal.
  4. Self-care. During the holidays you were likely to have had more time to invest in taking care of yourself and doing the things that you love. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that the self-care has to stop too. Make time to do the things that you like regularly by adding these things into your routine or schedule, creating a healthy habit and bringing much-needed balance into your busy life as a student.

Remember that if you are feeling overwhelmed and you need some extra support, talk to someone about how you are feeling. The school counsellors are here to help support you.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior School Counsellor