Marie Wood, Principal (Acting)

Dear OLMC Families

I actually started to write this week’s newsletter while I was waiting at the College for Debating last Friday night, 7 August. What a difference one day made to what it sounds like! By Saturday 8 August, I was working with the NSW Ministry of Health and the College Leadership Team to manage the notification of a COVID-19 case and planning for remote learning and deep-cleaning the site.

I think I would have written these words anyway and I share them with you now:

'… You work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do. That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.' Michelle Obama

Wise words for us all to reflect on at a time when all around us we can see individuals getting caught up in the unknown and uncertainties of the pandemic. Individuals can become fearful and, without even realising it, start to think only of their own needs and their own safety. Communities, where people feel connected and valued, think of collective needs and collective safety. This is what makes OLMC such a strong community - we are people who treat each other with dignity and respect no matter what. It is what we value and we accept nothing less for ourselves and for each other.

I have been speaking with our Year 12 students over the past couple of weeks and have been so impressed with their common sense and their innate sense of dignity. Part of the tradition of OLMC is that the Principal hosts a morning tea with a small group of Year 12 students from each one of the eight Houses. It is an occasion to thank Year 12 students for their contribution to our community and to converse with them about what they value about their education at OLMC. They often talk about Mercy Day and Retreats and when these ideas do emerge it’s wonderful to know that they are moments always connected to our Mercy values and that, for Year 12, they will be life-long memories.

At this time I am only partway through these morning teas with Year 12 and won’t finish them until later in the term (which is probably a good thing because there is always lots of cake!) but I am so looking forward to each and every one of them because it is an opportunity to tell each girl how much she is valued and valuable.

'Your word is your bond … do what you say you are going to do.'

This is a good reminder about trust and authenticity and can be applied to the character of our relationships and to our work ethic. Remembering to value learning and to demonstrate this by your actions, shapes an individual’s character and leads to personal growth. It can be as simple as remembering to complete classwork or homework and thus keep one’s commitment to continuous learning. Just some ideas on which your daughter could reflect. (I think we have lived this during this week.)

I would like to encourage you all to consider joining one of the P & F meetings this year if you have time. Now that all meetings are being held via zoom it may be easier for you to attend from home rather than travelling to the College. The P & F is a parent group focused on building community, supporting the College and connecting OLMC families. If you have time to join the P & F then save the date of the next meeting and look out for more details in the next newsletter: Tuesday, 1 September starting at 7.00pm.

I wish our Year 12 Dance students all the best for their Higher School Certificate practical examination which takes place this week. (This has to be rescheduled and the students have been notified.)

That was last Friday’s thoughts!

Today, I would add my deeply felt sense of gratitude for the many messages of support from our OLMC community. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes! I would also like to thank the College Board and the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta for their unwavering support and prayers at this time. It has been invaluable.

I feel we have transitioned smoothly to remote learning thanks to our professional teaching and support staff.  I thank them sincerely as they manage their own lives and their own families at this challenging time. We are all doing our best.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. I will communicate again later this week and sooner if the situation changes in any way.

Stay well and safe.

Kind regards

Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)


Gabrielle Scanlon, Director of Mission

O God, source of all goodness,  
who have shown us in Saint Mary  
a woman of faith living by the power of the Cross,  
teach us, we pray, by her example  
to live the gospel in changing times  
and to respect and defend the human dignity  
of all in our land.  
Through our Lord. Amen. 

The Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop 

Mary MacKillop is Australia’s first saint and we celebrated her feast day on 8 August. This is the tenth year since her canonisation. Mary MacKillop worked tirelessly with the poor across Victoria and South Australia and co-founded the Sisters of St Joseph with Fr Julian Tenison Woods. She is remembered as being a woman of faith who stood up to the authorities and became a voice for the voiceless. The prayer above, Mary’s prayer, reminds us to always respect and defend the dignity of all people. 

The first school I taught in was a Josephite school and I cannot help but see the wonderful comparisons between Mary MacKillop and Catherine McAuley - two strong women who did not let challenge and struggle hold them back! 

The Feast of the Assumption of Mary

On 1 November 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: 'the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.' This papal declaration was already a common belief in the Catholic Church and is remembered and celebrated to this day.

This year the day falls on Saturday, 15 August. It might be appropriate for you as a family to remember this day and take a moment in quiet prayer and thanks for Mary, Jesus’ mother, but also for mother’s who are all doing their best to be role models for their families and loved ones at this time.

Homeless Awareness Week

Next week we will be running ’Homeless Awareness Week’. Now more than ever we are aware of the financial hardship that many people face. Poverty is one of the contributing factors to homelessness in our society. We will spend some time during Pastoral Care looking at the issues of homelessness and the impact that it has on people who experience it for themselves.

 

Wishing you all a happy and healthy week ahead

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission

 

 


Kyah Day

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Assistant Head Girl

What are the key responsibilities of your role?

As Assistant Head Girl, I provide support to our Head Girl and assist in guiding the Student Leadership team to create a positive environment at OLMC by demonstrating the Mercy Values. Specific responsibilities of my role include assisting in the coordination of events, presenting at assemblies, planning the agenda for Student Leadership meetings and meeting with the Staff Leadership team. 

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio?

Since Year 7, I have admired the College Leaders and been grateful for their passion for creating a positive environment where students feel heard and valued. I strive to continue their legacy, leading with an optimistic attitude to enhance school spirit, solidarity, sense of purpose and moral connection in the spirit of the Mercy Values.

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

I would like to share a meal with Marie Curie. I admire her persistent efforts to make countless scientific achievements in the face of adversity and bigotry, fighting against barriers surrounding gender roles. Despite this, she was the first person ever to receive a Nobel Prize in two scientific categories, the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and the first woman in Europe to earn a doctorate in scientific research. Furthermore, hearing about what drove her want for ongoing success would inspire people to increase work ethic, be courageous and be resilient. 

 

Anne Nguyen

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Debating and Public Speaking (DAPS) Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your role?

To encourage students to participate in debating and public speaking and nurture their skills in a friendly and uplifting environment as well as organising events that cater to DAPS at OLMC.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio?

Debating and Public Speaking is a valuable co-curricular that is at the heart of OLMC. Students consistently thrive in debating and public speaking and I would like to continue this legacy by encouraging girls to participate and get involved. In this way, our girls will be able to challenge their limits and develop their confidence.

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

I've been apart of a youth group (Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth TNTT) since I was in Kindergarten and because of this, I was able to retain my cultural language and learn more about the scriptures from a young age. At TNTT, we distinguish classes/roles by the colour of our scarves and this year I'm currently training to become a leader and obtain my red scarf.


Religious Education at OLMC

Students have been challenged with a shifting way of learning across all areas of study in the current COVID-19 world. In Religious Education, we have been continuing our study of religion and faith in a variety of new and interesting ways. As learners, we are adapting and changing to the environment – but how have religious traditions been coping with the change of adherence that comes with quarantine?

For Christians, worship has gone online, weddings and funerals have limited numbers and significant celebrations in the Church such as Confirmation and Eucharist have either been limited in number or postponed. Some people may have been feeling like they are not getting the same physical experience of their practice where in other cases there has developed beautiful examples of community and belonging. For example, one student shared in class that she was able to celebrate Mass online with her Grandmother in a nursing home when she had never been able to before.

Pope Francis wrote in a message for World Mission Sunday 2020 released by the Holy See on 31 May that while isolation, social distancing and economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prove to be a challenge, Christians are called by God to take part in the church’s mission in the world:

“The impossibility of gathering as a church to celebrate the Eucharist has led us to share the experience of the many Christian communities that cannot celebrate Mass every Sunday… in all of this, God’s question: ‘Whom shall I send?’ is addressed once more to us and awaits a generous and convincing response: ‘Here am I, send me,’”

Teachers in the Religious Education Faculty have made opportunities in class to contextualize the situation, with girls asking questions about the changing face of the Catholic Church as they are experiencing it. There has also been a spotlight on the positive impact religion can have under stressful and sometimes frightening circumstances and students have had the opportunity to both participate in and write prayers that are appropriate for the time.

For example, Year 10 students have been investigating the role of Mary in Christianity and the following prayer was shared for a class reflection, written by Pope Francis, to create some connection between student learning and the context of the crisis:

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick. 
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

It is not only the Christian tradition that students have investigated. In Year 12, the girls have been studying the Islamic practice of Hajj. Now, with no international travel and social distancing, this expression of faith looks very different and the girls are able to incorporate this example into their contemporary study of how religions are living and dynamic in the world. Have a look at Socially distanced Hajj! For the Jewish community, the Synagogue has gone virtual and students have been able to view services they would not normally be able to access.

The topic of changing patterns of religious practice has been discussed in almost every Religion classroom and the students have been sharing their own experiences as well as investigating them to even begin to process what this means for them personally.

For Year 7, this focus was specific in their investigation of Religion in the World – how are religious traditions responding to the global COVID-19 crisis?

This is an excerpt from last week’s learning activity:

Any serious attempt to consider the future of our society cannot ignore the role of religion. Throughout history, religion has been an important force shaping beliefs about the purpose of life, our place in the world, and how society should be structured. Many Australians continue to hold religious beliefs, and our religious landscape has become increasingly diverse, including those who do not have a religion.

Religion has awakened in people capacities to love, to forgive, to create, to dare greatly, and to sacrifice for the common good. Religions and their followers have played a vital role in movements for social welfare and social justice in Australia.

Students had to research three ways religious traditions have responded to and supported its adherents during this time of crisis. The girls have shown great curiosity developed their investigative skills in the research and presentation of their findings. Below are just some student work samples:

 

We are in an amazing Mercy community at OLMC and to be able to use contemporary situations in allowing the girls to expand their learning and faith beyond what they know it can be, is one of the countless benefits of teaching Religious Education at the College.

Mrs Lisa Kemmis
Leader of Learning – Religious Education

 

 

VET/Careers

Combi Ovens in Action

Over the Christmas holidays, the commercial kitchen received a small upgrade with the installation of brand new gas cooktops and a dual combi oven. These are valuable additions to JG05, providing the Year 11 and 12 Hospitality students with the opportunity to work on equipment widely used in industry and develop their skills further. Recently, the Year 12 class undertook a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Practical Challenge where they had to demonstrate the correct methods of controlling food hazards at critical control points during the preparation of Aussie Meat Pies and complete a HACCP analysis process chart for the prepared pies. The students programmed the combi ovens to ensure that pies were cooked to the correct internal temperature, and also browned to perfect industry standard. Delicious and safe!

 

 

 

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From the Counsellors

For many girls' lunchtimes provide a chance to have a break from their learning and connect with their peers in the playground. However, some students find lunchtimes a challenge for several reasons - they may be socially anxious, they may be amid a friendship dispute, or they may be facing some personal challenges. In this instance, we want these students to feel like there is a place they can go at lunchtimes where it is quieter and calmer. The counselling team have worked to create a ‘Breathing Space’ which essentially will be a room that is used at lunchtimes by these students to have some time away from the playground. The space is device-free. There will be board games, colouring and some quiet music available. The space will be supervised by a member of the counselling team or the pastoral care department. We have also invited some Year 11 students to become wellbeing mentors. They will frequent this space and take on the role of a 'big sister'. They will facilitate conversations with the girls using the space, play a board game or colour-in with them and role model social skills.

Any girl can access the space, and it will be open every lunchtime from 1-1.30pm. If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the counselling staff via the College phone number: 9683 3300.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior Counsellor

 

Study Skills Tips

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Sport

There continues to be numerous meetings to try and organise sport in Terms 3 and 4. PDSSSC and CGSSSA are keen to still 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 OLMC is involved in. I will continue to update the list when I receive confirmation of a sport being cancelled, postponed or continuing.

Saturday Netball

ERNA’s Netball season is in full swing and running very smoothly. Spectators are reminded that we are only allowed 4 non-players on the sidelines.

You can view all results on the ERNA website here – http://erna.nsw.netball.com.au/common/pages/public/rv/draw.aspx?

Wednesday Touch Football

Parramatta Junior Touch Football is planning to start on 2 September. OLMC Registration forms were due back last week. Teams will be finalised and registered in the coming weeks before online registrations will need to be finalised. All players will need to wear the OLMC singlet and PE/Sport shorts. These can be purchased from the Uniform Shop.

NSW Sport Awards

Congratulations to Summer Giddings who has been chosen as a finalist in the 2020 NSW Sports Awards for her efforts as a Young Official in the sport of Athletics. Well done and good luck Summer!

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

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator