Marie Wood, Deputy Principal

Dear OLMC Families

Welcome back to Term 3! Second semester of any school year has its own rhythm and familiarity and yet we have all learned to expect the unexpected in a year filled with some significant challenges and many significant successes! We have learned to pivot and to persevere and we can all be really proud of our achievements, anchored in our faith, our Mercy charism and our deep sense of a hope-filled community. These ever-changing circumstances can test our resolve and our relationships and I cannot help but be immensely optimistic when surrounded by our wonderful students, OLMC families and College staff who daily make wellbeing and learning their priority. I am glad to be amongst such positive energy. 

We will continue in Phase 3 of Continuous Learning for the time being as this is the best approach to minimise any disruption to learning. Safe hygiene practices remain in place, visitors to the site remain restricted as do whole school events and excursions. I know that we have all become Zoom experts and I thank you for your support and patience as we continue our sensible approach to keeping us all safe and well. You are aware that I always (and regularly) communicate with you when updates and notifications are provided by NSW Health and government authorities. I ask that you adhere to all guidelines, information and instructions that are communicated so that we all take responsibility for our collective health and wellbeing. If you are unsure of something please contact NSW Health and alert the College to your concerns. We will continue to do our best!

By now you will have received the email from the College Board Chair, Ms Kerrie Walshaw, informing our community of Mr Stephen Walsh’s decision to resign as College Principal. If you have not seen the communication, I include Ms Walshaw’s thoughts here:

'I am particularly proud of the strengthening of our Catholic identity, the transformation of our learning framework and increased professional development opportunities for staff. Under Mr Walsh’s leadership enrolments at the College have significantly grown and his oversight of the construction of the Ailsa Mackinnon Centre and the purchase and redevelopment of Roseneath have added to the College’s facilities and resources. We have certainly made considerable progress thanks to the leadership of Mr Walsh and the Executive team.'

On behalf of the College community I wish to extend my best wishes to Mr Walsh as he explores the next phase of his career and acknowledge the contribution that he has made to me in my leadership role and to us as a Mercy community.

In the second semester of a school year it is always an opportunity to reflect on learning so far and the learning goals that were set at the start of the year. What has worked well and what has shifted? What more can be done? What needs to be added to or done differently? The recent Student-led Conferences for all Year groups have been an opportunity for discussion around such reflections. It is not unusual for individuals to reset goals or even reset direction. The important aspect is to recognise when it is right to do such resetting and to recognise opportunities. Your daughter will be rethinking her goals and setting new directions no doubt and having discussions with you about her learning and aspirations.

Not unlike the students, staff also reflect on their goals in the second semester. It is not unusual to consider their career progression or the timeliness of taking their well-deserved Long Service Leave. Professional growth is always encouraged, supported and valued here and it can be a bittersweet moment when a staff member makes a decision to move beyond OLMC. It is right for them and we can be proud as a community that we have contributed to their development so that they wish to continue their contributions to education beyond us. We can be a little sad that they are leaving but know that it is their decision and it must be right for them. They are truly 'expanding beyond what they know they can be'. In fact, this often happens at this time of year in every school – people move, people take long service leave, people take parental leave. Staff are people and it makes for a dynamic learning community!

The non-term time was a very busy time at the College. I wish to thank the many staff – both teaching and support staff - who attended the College to facilitate the two Year 12 Study weeks. Year 12 – I also wish to congratulate you! Your engagement with the support provided is commendable and demonstrates your control over your learning despite the challenges. You are preparing for your Higher School Certificate and you remain proactive and undaunted. Well done! You each are a fine example of resilience for all students following you and you show how to respond to challenge with courage and grit!

The 32 Student leaders for 2020 /2021 certainly look up to Year 12. I was fortunate to attend their Leadership camp on Friday and Saturday of last week and I am truly impressed by their enthusiasm and Mercy spirit. I spoke to the student leaders about the importance of authenticity and integrity and they spoke to me about the importance of inclusion and unity. We are blessed to have such strong values embedded amongst us. I look forward to their leadership - I know I will be learning from them!

The Light Rail construction has placed significant constraints around traffic movement in the Parramatta CBD. Thank you to those parents who have been able to park several streets from the College rather driving into Ross Street. I am aware that traffic congestion is increasing around us and am investigating an alternative site for drop-off and collection of your daughters each day. I will have more to communicate about this later in the week.

The Catherine McAuley OLMC Parramatta Alumnae Award is presented each year to an outstanding ex-student. Introduced in 2009, the Award is a way of acknowledging and celebrating the great achievements of the OLMC Alumnae community. An ex-student may nominate another ex-student for the Catherine McAuley OLMC Parramatta Alumnae Award, by submitting a written nomination to the Principal.

Click here to read more about the Catherine McAuley Alumnae Award, past recipients and how you can nominate an ex-student.

Click here to access the Catherine McAuley Award nomination form

Future events:

  • 19 August - College Open Morning Virtual Tour. Bookings can be made through the website. Please tell your friends should they wish to join one.
  • 21 September - Launch of the OLMC 2020 HSC Virtual Showcase. Look out for more information in the next newsletters. It is exciting that we have learned so many new ways of doing things!

Thank you all for your invaluable support as I continue in the role of Principal (Acting). We are doing well because we have faith and we have faced challenges together. We will continue to face challenges together I am certain however, each time we grow in confidence and courage. What more could we ask of ourselves!

Stay safe and well.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)



Learning in Art, Design and Technology

Art, Design and Technology (ADT) students thrive on the creative challenge of making and designing products and artworks. Students are encouraged to research ideas, experiment, explore techniques, and learn new skills, constantly refining and evaluating during the process. In a challenging year, ADT students have shown their resilience and flexibility to adapt and create. The process is just as important as the final product and we have seen some refined work even during the period when students were learning remotely, as well as examples of finished work since our return to face to face learning.  

In Term 1, Bronte Smalley’s artwork entitled My Tone for the 2019 HSC in Visual Arts, was exhibited in the Art Express Gallery at the Armoury at Homebush. The opening night seems a luxury now with hundreds of students, teachers, parents and friends attending. Her work explored a year in her life, displaying photographs with matching spectrum colour borders, playing on the famous art/design colour charts called Pantone. This is the second successive year that a student from the College has had a work accepted for Art Express and the third in which students have had their work nominated for possible inclusion. This is testament to the high quality of their work of which the College is very proud. 


Programs of Study in Art Design and Technology

Stage 4

Technology Mandatory is divided into specialised modules where students rotate through various disciplines. At this stage, most students have completed at least one rotation.

Year 7 students studied either a unit on agriculture and food or engineering. The food unit focussed on the movement of produce from the farm to table and included some practical cooking in the kitchen units. The engineering unit focussed on the creation of a marionette puppet along with a particularly interesting design challenge in which the students examined the importance of structure in engineering. They analysed some of the world’s tallest buildings and some of the shapes that make up a building’s structure. In the challenge, they had to use five marshmallows, 20 sticks of spaghetti and 50cm of tape to construct the tallest spaghetti tower they could. The tower had to be strong and stable enough to support itself for a minimum of 10 seconds.

Year 8 students have been focussing on design issues for a sustainable world. They created either an eco-bag or a timber project (bee/insect hotel). In conjunction with this, they completed an assignment on the use of recycled ocean plastics. The eco-bag, that could be used while shopping, was designed to reduce our use of plastic to help the environment. 


Year 7 Visual Arts students focussed on the micro-world of insects creating beautiful images of their selected insect. Students also studied the portrait work of Frida Kahlo and Del Kathryn Barton, both of whom use detailed and decorative techniques.


Year 8 focussed on the study of food and the important genre of ‘still life’ in Visual Arts. This included the study of the famous artist, Paul Cezanne, and the American artist, Wayne Theibold, whose Pop art creations of cakes present the still life in a completely new way.

Stage 5

Stage 5 Design and Technology extends on the experiences of Stage 4. Year 9 students were involved in designing and creating a scale model for a shop front, while the Year 10 students designed and created formal headwear.

In Food Technology, Year 9 Students have begun exploring the core unit of Food Preparation and Processing, in addition to learning about Food in Australia, while Year 10 focused on Food Product Development.

In Textiles Technology, Year 10 students constructed a costume that was inspired by a film. The garments created included a Hermione Granger costume and a Slytherin House coat from the Harry Potter series, dance costumes inspired by the Nutcracker and dresses from Cinderella.

Information and Software students in Year 9 analysed different digital media products and their uses across a variety of contexts. Year 10 students developed an understanding of the internet and website development.

In Visual Arts, Year 9 students completed a painting unit based on exploring techniques from Modernism and a study of landscape painting. Year 10 developed a conceptual project, where students examined a ritual/tradition and completed a work focussed on the idea of appropriating an art image or style from the past. This work was based on the study of Post Modern artist, Yasumasa Morimura.


Photographic and Digital media students in Year 9 focussed on the landscape and learning the skills of picture building, use of the SLR camera, photographic darkroom work and exploring digital editing in Photoshop. Year 10 students worked on portraiture and particularly the contemporary idea of the ‘selfie’ or self-portrait.


Stage 6

In Stage 6, Year 11 Information Processes and Technology students studied information skills and systems and tools for information processes while the Year 12 students completed the units on Information Systems and Databases and Communication Systems and two optional topics – TPS (Transaction Processing System) and MS (Multimedia Systems).

Students in Year 11 Design, Technology and Visual Arts explored the skills needed for both theory and practical work in the senior years.

Year 12 students are focussed on their Major Design Project in Design and Technology and the Body of Work in Visual Arts with associated theory. Our students have demonstrated flexibility, resilience and agility in their response to the unique challenges posed by remote learning and are now close to finishing their major projects.

As part of an exhibition of creative arts at the College, the HSC virtual Showcase will be launched on 21 September. This will replace the annual HSC Showcase that is not possible in 2020 given the social distancing requirements.

Remote and Continuous Learning

During Phase 1 of Continuous Learning, students were presented with some unique challenges within Art, Design and Technology. However, this time also revealed many positive learning experiences. For subjects relying on practical in-class experiences, teachers were able to focus on theory during this time. Students studying TAS subjects were able to explore the design process of researching, sketching and annotating ideas for their final designs.

In Visual Arts, the focus was on developing and evolving skills in writing about artists and artworks, particularly in the senior years. Students in Stage 4, with their art kits at home, were able to work on their Art Diary skills.

Of note were the Year 10 Photography students who presented some unique self-portraits that were able to illustrate their experiences of isolation at home and identify some of the issues in a contemplative and sometimes playful way (such as the toilet paper shortages).

Mr Stephen Dufty
Leader of Learning Art, Design and Technology





HSC Preparation and Revision Courses
Australian Catholic Universityis running a series of FREE online Year 12 revision webinars in August and September. Students can access these for extra revision before the exams. Choose from Biology, Business Studies, English, IPT, Legal Studies, Mathematics, PDHPE and Studies of Religion. 
Register here.

The University of Sydney is offering HSC preparation courses for students in Years 10 to 12 with the Centre for Continuing Education. All course content is tailored to the new syllabus and in an accessible format of one or two days.  They have highly qualified tutors – each member of the newly expanded team is an experienced HSC marker. Choose from Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, English, Legal Studies, Mathematics, Physics, plus study and essay writing options in a range of areas. Explore the full range of courses here.

Show more


There are a number of meetings in the coming weeks to organise sport in Terms 3 and 4. PDSSSC and CGSSSA are keen to hold some sporting events but most sports will need to be pushed back to allow time to organise and prepare the events and to confirm what guidelines will be in place. Wednesday Touch Football as well as Saturday Basketball and Volleyball are planning to run as normal.

On Canvas in the MyOLMC Information Gateway you will find the MyOLMC Sport page. I have placed a list of all the sports in which OLMC is involved. I will continue to update the list when I receive confirmation of a sport being cancelled, postponed or continuing.

The good news is that some Sport has commenced!

Saturday Netball

ERNA’s Netball season commenced on 18 July. You can view all results on the ERNA website by clicking here.

It was wonderful to see our girls finally back on the courts. Thank you to all the parents and players who have been following the return to sport guidelines. The first two rounds have run smoothly and we look forward to the remainder of the season.

Cross Country

NSW Athletics held some cross country competitions recently with the Short Course Championships being held at Dapto on 19 July. Congratulations to Lucie Francis who finished 6th in the U/15 year's division and to Summer Giddings who finished 2nd in the Open Para division. Well done girls!

I hope you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy as sport slowly returns.

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator


Public Speaking

Australian Debating and Public Speaking Titles

As reported in the previous newsletter, eight outstanding speakers have been selected to participate in the Australian Debating and Public Speaking Titles. In 2020, the girls in the Junior team (their competition is called Speakfest) are Sophie Assaad, Avni Mathur and Tia Monga of Year 8 as well as Karshini Dahal of Year 9. The Senior AIDPSC team comprises Maeve Nolan and Stephanie Ogle (Year 10) and Sabrina Catania and Riley Rodewald (Year 11).  



Although there are two months to go before the competition, the training of these two teams began in the July holidays with an all-day workshop taking the girls through each event. The contribution of four other students must be mentioned. Freya Scothern and Ambeikaa Mishra (Year 9), Anne Nguyen (Year 11) and Daphne Fong (Year 12) gave up their day voluntarily to help in so many ways: giving advice, adjudicating practice debates and providing feedback and encouragement. These four girls were all part of last year’s teams and their contribution to the workshop was immeasurable. A sincere thank you to all of them and indeed to all the girls who worked so hard on the day.


World Titles

Each year, the top speakers in the Senior Australian Titles are selected to represent our country in the World Titles. Last year’s titles saw Yasmine Alwakal (now Year 11 and our new Head Girl) being selected in the Australian team after her outstanding performances but after the original venue (Shanghai) and the next option (Brisbane) were ruled out because of the pandemic, it seemed that Yasmine was to miss an opportunity she so richly deserved. Then, a trial competition run on similar lines proved to be successful so the titles are now going ahead through Zoom from the 14-24 August. Yasmine has already begun her preparation and we wish her the very best in the competition.

Student Speak

Last term, Student Speak was launched and although there are at least five or six students who have written their speeches, their videos need to be submitted for this site. We look forward to building a bank of excellent speeches over time. One girl has not only submitted her speech but has at least four more she is producing. Annoushka Maikap of Year 7 is to be commended not only for her enthusiasm but also for the quality of her presentation. You can see Annoushka’s speech on 'Hobbies' on Student Speak. Go to CANVAS/Courses/2020 Student Speak/Student Speak Videos.

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator






We have a number of items that are out of stock due to issues with sourcing from overseas.

Blazers – New fabric has been milled in China and sent to India for manufacture. Unfortunately, the factory remains in lockdown. We have been given a date of late September for delivery. If your daughter does not have a blazer, she can wear her school jumper with the sports jacket.

If you have not collected your temporary blazer, please go to the uniform shop for pick up as soon as possible.

Tights – The shop is now fully stocked with tights, so please come into the uniform shop if required. Orders can be made online via the Online Uniform Shop on the College website (see link below).

Scarves – The school scarves are made in Lima Peru, which contributes a sustainable income to a group of women in one of the poorest districts, San Martin de Porres. Unfortunately, we are unable to source the scarves at this time. The girls will be permitted to wear a plain navy scarf in the interim.

Old Uniform – If your daughter is currently wearing the old uniform there are still some items in stock if needed. Please contact the uniform shop.

The Uniform Shop is open every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8.00am to 9.30am (school days only). In busier periods such as changes in seasons, the shop opens on additional days. To ensure social distancing takes place, there will be a limit of two families in the store at any one time.

Purchases can also be made via our online uniform shop.

All orders placed will be delivered to the Student Centre for collection by the students.


Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

Each year, all schools in Australia participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD process requires schools to identify information already available in the school about supports provided to students with disability. For further information about this process, please click here


Fee Reminder

School fees for Instalment 3 were due last Friday, 24 July 2020 unless you are on an existing direct debit arrangement with the College. Please ensure all overdue fees are paid by BPay, cheque, money order or by credit cards via the Parent Community Portal (Visa or Mastercard) as soon as possible.

Any queries regarding fees or payments can be directed to the Finance Office on 8838 1214 weekdays during 8.00am–4.00pm or by email to


Mrs Anne-Maree Ironside
Finance Manager



Mercy Futures - Mercy Global Presence

Yasmine Alwakal

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Head Girl - Executive Portfolio

What are the key responsibilities of your role?

As a member of the Executive Portfolio, my role is to liaise between the Leadership Team, teachers and student body to ensure the College is equipped for a productive and successful year. My primary concerns are the interests, hopes and welfare of OLMC, as I work to maintain that our community is one filled with inclusion, growth and acceptance. Together with the Executive Team, I am also responsible for supervising and supporting the Portfolio/House Leaders, working to assist in the planning and organisation of our fortnightly meetings. I seek to be a reliable and responsible student, who is always there to assist others in need.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio?

It is with great excitement that I am enabled to continue the legacy of so many OLMC leaders before me. For years to come, 2020 will be recognised for so much upheaval and loss experienced on a truly global scale. Amidst all the uncertainty of the year ahead, I will do my best to ensure 2020/2021 is remembered for all the right reasons. Alongside the rest of the student body, I can say with confidence that I will work tirelessly in creating a memorable year. My vision is to ensure OLMC is an inclusive and welcoming place that fosters the needs and priorities of our students. At times, school can seem like too much of a challenge and I hope to use my personal experiences to change this. I look forward to closely working with the Executive Portfolio in growing our entire Leadership Team, to serve our school to the best of its ability.

What is something about yourself that others might be surprised to know about you?

I have a very quick memory. At times, this can seem like a pretty useless skill as I am only great at remembering speeches or songs, but if I read aloud words or lyrics couple of times I almost always have all the words memorised. Because of this skill, if I ever need to learn something I have to say it aloud!

What would be your superpower? Why?

If I could choose one superpower, I would love to have psychokinesis. I feel being psychic would be such an interesting power, where you could use your mind to control objects, alter your own body and gain a deeper insight into human behaviour. Unlike many superpowers where you gain only one ability, this multifaceted power would provide endless opportunities. From telekinesis to levitation, mind reading or mind control I could harness my powers to better my own life and those of others.

From the Counsellors

As parents we want our daughters to feel confident that they can achieve whatever it is that they set their minds to. However, adolescence is a time of great change, comparison to others and exponential brain development that can lead our daughters to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and lower their self-esteem. Confidence is related to self-esteem, which is feeling good about yourself and believing that you are a worthwhile person. Self-esteem and confidence are things that we can help develop in our daughters. Here are some tips on how to help:

  • Talk about the difficulties they are facing. Give your daughter the time and the space to come to you with whatever is bothering her. Listen and hear what she has to stay. Avoid judging or rushing in to provide advice.
  • Encourage your child to focus on their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Spend time spotting your child’s strengths and acknowledging when they use them.
  • Praise effort, not just results.
  • Encourage a growth mindset. Encourage them to be proud of themselves and to keep trying. Everyone makes mistakes, it helps us learn. It is ok to fail but keep trying.
  • Remind your child that their worth is not based on their achievements or appearance.
  • Model confidence. If you are guilty of making self-critical comments about your ability or your body - stop. You are teaching your daughter to do the same thing. Role model facing new situations with confidence and self-belief. Discuss things you’ve done that might have been challenging, showing your child that you’ve also been through times when you’ve needed confidence.
  • Help her develop positive self-talk. Point out that many of the negative thoughts she may have are not based on truth. Thoughts like 'I’m so stupid, I will fail maths' can be reframed to 'I can pass math class if I work hard'.
  • Try and balance freedom with guidance. Not allowing your child to have some freedom only reinforces to them that you do not trust their ability to make good decisions independently.
  • Allow her to cultivate her own style and interests. Of course, you should still have boundaries, but allowing her to wear an outfit that you yourself would not have chosen, or listen to music that you do not like, gives her the opportunity to find her own style and increase her identity.
  • Encourage participation in team sports or team activities. Numerous studies have shown that girls that engage in team activities have higher self-esteem than those who do not (;

If you have concerns that your daughter's confidence and or self-esteem are impacting on her functioning, please seek help via a college counsellor (9638 3300) or external counselling.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor

May you meet mercy each day:
In the light of your own heart,
At the hands of your loved ones,
In the eyes of the stranger and the needy.
And if by chance you do not at first meet it,
Then search your heart for it,
Listen patiently for word of it,
And it will tap you on the shoulder,
A quiet surprise,
A small gesture,
The tender look,
Given and received
In the encounters of your day.
Poems & Prayers of Mercy by Mary Wickham rsm

We used this prayer at the recent Student Leadership Camp. It talks about the way that we can live out mercy to those we meet and reflects gentleness and compassion. I think there is also permission to slow down and spend time in reflection because sometimes we move so quickly through the days that we do not stop to take notice of the small gestures or the tender looks. Maybe the challenge to each of us in the week ahead is to find the way that we meet mercy in the everyday encounters of our days.

Winter Appeal

As the cold weather continues, please remember the Vinnies and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Appeals that we ran at the end of the last Term. I would like to invite all families to make one more contribution to assist us in these much-needed appeals. Donations of the following items can be placed outside the Staff Common Room and will be gratefully received:

  • New blankets
  • Good quality winter clothes (specifically jumpers and coats)
  • Non perishable food items (including pasta sauce, pasta, rice, canned fish, lentils, beans etc.)
  • Toiletries

Thank you to all the families who give so generously. I hope to be able to deliver another carload of supplies to both Vinnies and JRS in the coming weeks.

Year 8 Reflection Day

The Year 8 Reflection Day will be held at school on Monday, 3 August. Girls are reminded to wear their sports uniform and bring their own recess and lunch. On this day, the girls will participate in a range of activities put together by Ms Ellen Lonergan, the Retreat and Liturgy Coordinator, looking at the theme ‘Words Matter’. We will then celebrate Mass together with Fr Walter.

Father/Daughter Mass

The annual Father/Daughter Mass will look a little different this year. We will still be able to celebrate as a community in a modified way and we would like to ask for girls to email through a photo of themselves with their fathers or other significant male figures in their lives as this will form the basis for a reflection piece. Images can be emailed to

Wishing you all a very happy week.

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission

Charlotte Duff

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Mercy Action

What are the key responsibilities of your role?


Working with the fellow Mission Leaders and Mercy Action Representatives to discuss and plan different activities and initiatives that educate the OLMC community about issues within the wider community and how we can help.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio?

Helping the College community to join together to raise and spread awareness regarding social justice issues within the wider community.


Name one person whom you would like to share a meal with and why?

I would love to share a meal with my Nan again as she was my role model and a very special person in my life.

What are your interests outside of school?

My interests outside of school include playing soccer and cooking.