Stephen Walsh, Principal

Dear families,

Last week, I attended the Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association (AMSSA) Conference with a number of colleagues from the College. The conference was attended by representatives of over 40 Mercy schools across Australia, NZ and PNG and the theme of the conference was “Speaking the Silence.”

Keynote speakers included Sr Angela Reed RSM an Australian Sister of Mercy leading Mercy International’s Global Action at the United Nations in New York, Mely Lenario Philippino, Human Trafficking survivor and now advocate for women victims and survivors, Marietta Latonia, Professor of Social Work based in the Philippines. Mary McAleese former President of the Republic of Ireland 1997-2011 (herself a former Mercy Girl from Belfast) and Phil Glendenning,  Human Rights advocate, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the refugee Council of Australia.

You could imagine the depth of insight in the presentations from these wonderful people - both challenging and in some ways provocative to us as Australian and as church people. To hear the plights of the victims of human trafficking from Mele brought me and the total audience both to tears and invoked a standing ovation. For this strong woman to detail her life as a trafficked worker from the age of 15 to now having completed her Social Work degree and committing her life to advocating for other women was very inspirational.

To hear women speak about how they feel disenfranchised by our Church and excluded from the Church hierarchy and decision-making process was also moving. Let’s hope something comes from the upcoming Plenary Sessions in the Australian Church.

Hearing about the range of issues facing marginalised people ranging from the effects of climate change on the small island communities of the South Pacific and Australia’s current policies for Manus Island and Nauru to the issues affecting refugees and minority groups in our society - combined with my recent visit to the Indigenous communities in far North Queensland - I came away from the Conference somewhat upset and challenged by the many needs of all these groups and this caused me to reflect on how, as a Christian in a Mercy community, I can be true to the Gospel values of dignity and respect to all people.

I often ask myself, as a leader of a Catholic Mercy school, what it means to be a person of Mercy? How can I make a difference to the lives of others? How can I support our students to be the best version of themselves whilst accepting of the challenges they will face as young woman who have a responsibility to make a difference to the many different minority groups in our community?

I would like to share with you a few quotes on Mercy for you to reflect upon:

“Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone’s troubles. It is not something you do – it is something in you; accessed, revealed or cultivated through use, like muscle.” - Anne Lamont

“Mercy is first an action, or more precisely a reaction to someone else’s’ suffering, now interiorised within oneself - a reaction to a suffering that has come to penetrate one’s own entrails and heart.” Jon Sorbrino

“While we keep our heads down, our mouths closed, our public reputation unblotted, thanks to the silence, we keep in the face of great public issues of the day, the pillars of society erode in front of us.” Joan Chittister

“Privilege can be thought of as an unearned advantage in your life. It means you will not be treated differently or have issues with accessing your rights or opportunities due to discrimination on the basis of skin colour, race, gender, sexual orientation or other identities that are fundamental to who you are.”

“First of all, we well know that in our world there are not just wounded individuals but crucified peoples, and that we should enflesh mercy accordingly.”

And lastly,

“To react with mercy, then, means to do everything we possibly can to bring down them from the Cross. This means working for justice… and employing, on behalf of justice, all our intellectual, religious, scientific and technological energies.” - Jon Sorbrino

Together as a Mercy family, we can make a difference! 

Last week I was elected as the President of the Australasian Mercy Secondary Schools Association (AMSSA) for the next two years, representing 65 Mercy schools across Australia, NZ and PNG. I am very humbled by this position and will use my capacity in this role and as Principal of OLMC Parramatta to make a difference.

A reminder about a number of events happening in the coming weeks - I encourage you to come along to as many of these as you can (see posters at the end of the newsletter):

Mercy Futures - September 3: Hear from Sister Maryanne Kolkia who has been a Sister of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea for 22 years. She will speak about Mercy and Kindness in her role as Founding Director of Mercy Works PNG. 

OLMC Exhibition and Showcase: Friday 23 August, 4.30pm in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community Centre.

OLMC Dance Showcase: Friday 23 August, 6.30pm in the Edith Angel Hall.

August Concert Series:Musical Evening on 20 August 6.30pm in the Edith Angel Hall and the HSC Music Showcase on 26 August 6.30pm in the Christina Creede Music Centre.  

God bless,

Mr Stephen M Walsh
Principal


Marie Wood, Principal (Acting)

Dear Parents and Carers,

Last evening, the College held the 2020 Year 9 Course Preference Evening. It was an evening that commences the process of Year 8 selecting their electives for their Stage 5 studies and it always proves to be an exciting time for the students as they explore the courses being offered at the College.

Reflecting on the advice I offered to Year 8 students and their families, I thought I would share some of it with you here, with the hope that it supports any dialogue around courses and choices at any Stage of learning:

Year 8 students: Identifying your preferences is a discerning process and I encourage you to think carefully about what interests you and to talk things over with your parents and your teachers. Think about courses that will develop your skills and attitudes and which will be useful to you in life.

One of the many benefits of our Vertical House Pastoral System is that you are provided in your Homeroom with many opportunities to talk to students in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 who have studied some, or all, of the courses that you may be considering. They can share some of their experiences with you. Listen to them and think about what it means for you. Discuss this with your parents.

Additionally, I asked Year 8 to consider the following three points:

  • Please don’t choose a course because your friend is choosing it.
  • Please don’t overlook a course because you think it might be too hard.
  • Please do make a commitment to your learning, whatever courses you choose.

Earlier in the Term I was privileged to accept a cheque, on behalf of Parramatta Women’s Community Shelter, from the Year 9 Commerce classes (69 students in total) who had raised over $2500 from their Market Day in Term 2. I would like to express my appreciation for the students’ generosity and that of their teachers, and particularly Mrs. Carpenter, Leader of Learning, HSIE, all of whom supported this initiative and made real the power of the individual to make a difference.

Below you will see some photos of a further experience of great generosity. Again representing Parramatta Women’s Community Shelter, I was fortunate to accept a grant from St Michael’s Fund at a morning tea held in the Catherine MCAuley rooms on August 7. All recipients of the grants are working in Western Sydney to support others, particularly women and children, whose lives are touched by challenge, violence and marginalisation. This assistance from St Michael’s Fund and from the Sisters of Mercy reflects the significant work for over 130 years of the Sisters of Mercy, Parramatta in caring and supporting those in need. Importantly, it continues the intention and actions of Venerable Catherine McAuley when she commenced her Mercy work in Dublin all those years ago.

May we all continue to act as Mercy companions. 

Warm regards,

Marie Wood
Deputy Principal

 

 


15-19 AugustHSC Trial Examinations
20 AugustMusical Evening (EAH, 6.30pm)
23 AugustOLMC Exhibition & Showcase (AMCC, 4.30-7.30pm)
 Dance Showcase (EAH, 6.30-8.00pm)
26 AugustHSC Music Showcase (EAH, 6.30pm)
30 AugustFather Daughter Mass (Mother Mary Clare Dunphy Chapel, 7.30am)

The Feast of the Assumption

On Thursday August 15, we celebrate the feast of the Assumption. This is a celebration of the rising into heaven of Mary at the end of her earthly life.

For Catholics, this is considered a Holy Day of Obligation and Masses will be celebrated in your local parishes. CLICK HERE to find out Mass times for parishes in the Parramatta Diocese.

We will be marking this day at the College with a decade of the Rosary which will be held in the Chapel during the first half of lunch. All girls are very welcome to join us for this communal prayer service.

 

Year 8 Reflection Day

On 7 August, Year 8 traveled to Mulgoa to attend their Reflection Day. The theme of the day was "The Catholic Church spreads the Good News." We were fortunate to have seven Catholic Church Agencies represented to run workshops for the girls: Mercy Works, Caritas Australia, Catholic Mission, Jesuit Social Services, Jesuit Refugee Services, Vinnies and House of Welcome. All agencies are people-focused and work at restoring the dignity of people affected by homelessness and poverty, as well as support for refugees, asylum seekers and indigenous Australians by providing them all with support, education, financial assistance and advocacy.

Some of the Year 8 girls then presented class work on the topics of climate change, refugees and asylum seekers. This work was part of a project with The Edmund Rice Centre who work with people of the Pacific Islands who are being hardest hit by climate change. Their presentations were fantastic and we are hoping to showcase them again to the school community soon.

Please see below some photos of the day which highlight the speakers and also the sense of community that was shared on the day. The girls were all very well behaved and entered into the day with enthusiasm and maturity.

Mercy Day 2019

The theme for Mercy Day this year is Who will speak if you don’t?

We will be presenting the girls with different ideas and scenarios around groups of people for whom we must become advocates. These are people who might not be able to speak up or speak out because of their personal situations. This will be done through lunch time activities and guest speakers from now until our Mercy Day Mass which will be celebrated by Bishop Vincent on Friday 20 September.

 

Father Daughter Mass

A reminder that the Father Daughter Mass is coming up on Friday 30 August. Click here to RSVP. 

 

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Acting Director of Mission


VET/Careers

VET Work Placement

During the Term break and last week, many of the Year 11 VET students undertook a week of work placement, the ‘learning by doing’ component of their course. The girls entered into the experience with a willingness to learn and work in a real industry setting. During their placement the students were visited by Mrs Brooks, Mrs Roumanus or me, and we were pleased to see them participating professionally and positively to build on their skills.

Several of the girls reflect on their week for us here. From the Business Services class, Gabriella Dagher talks about her experience at Argyle Street Medical Centre: ‘Being surrounded by experienced workers was a bit intimidating at first. However, I was warmly greeted and treated like one of their own. My supervisor and all the other workers taught me tips for working in the business industry and openly shared the ups and downs you can face. I feel much better prepared for the future as a result of my work placement.’

Lara Wehbe spent a week at Ray Wehbe Real Estate: ‘My work placement was amazing! I learnt about real experiences within the workplace at a busy real estate office.’ Similarly, Evelyn Lillie had a positive experience at Good Start Early Learning Centre: ‘Working in an administrative environment was an amazing experience and I've grown in confidence as a result.’

The Hospitality students were also busy at a range of venues, including El-Phoenician, Rydges, Leura Garage, Courtney’s Brasserie, Bondi Pizza, Lachlan’s at Old Government House and AJs Café. A few of their comments… ‘I learnt something new each day, the staff were incredibly nice and it was an amazing environment to be in for my first taste of what it is like to work as a chef.’ Alexandra Zito, Leura Garage.

‘The staff were very friendly, always clear with instructions and they challenged me to learn and improve my skills.’ Thalia Lake, Bondi Pizza

The rest of the VET students will complete their first work placement in the next Term break and I am sure they will also find it to be a valuable learning experience.

 

Mrs Louise Weihen
Leader of Learning, VET/Careers

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LOTE

Shonan Shira Yuri High School

Last week, we said farewell to our visitors from Shonan Shira Yuri High School.

On 7 August, hosting OLMC families and the Shonan Japanese students gathered at the College for a farewell evening. The visitors showcased their traditional dance, demonstrated some Japanese games and sang their school song Mihaha Maria to the hosting families and OLMC students. We are very grateful to the families who welcomed the visitors into their homes and hope they had an enriching experience.

  

OLMC welcomes a French Exchange student

Alycia Masmoudi is currently in Year 11 on a short, 4 week Exchange Program. Alycia is from Lyon in France and is here to gain an experience of school and the Australian way of life. Alycia has been visiting some of the French classes and made presentations to the students. The students have also had the opportunity to ask questions and put some of their language skills into practice. Alycia will return to France on 24 August in preparation to begin her school year in September. We wish her all the best in her future studies. We also thank Ivana Jakus and family for hosting Alycia.

  

Mrs Sheila Ibarra
Leader of Learning, LOTE

 

 

 


From the Counsellors

Procrastination

A common concern shared by students and their parents is how to stop procrastinating. Commonly students think that they just need to be in the right frame of mind to complete work or that they need to wait until they feel motivated. Secondly we can tend to under-estimate how long a task will take to complete, meaning we have a false belief that we have plenty of time to work on it.

The brain is a complex structure and one of the most complex parts to understand is the Amygdala. The Amygdala is the part of our brain that processes emotions such as fear and sadness. It is also the “alarm system” of our brain, activating our “fight or flight” response, in reaction to actual and perceived threats. If the brain perceives a task, such as an assessment as a threat, possibly due to feelings such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or past negative experiences, it will avoid completing the task as a way of avoiding the negative feelings associated with the task. This is despite us knowing that by delaying or avoiding the task, we will be creating more stress for ourselves in the long run.

Procrastination becomes a vicious cycle, as when we put off a task to avoid those negative feelings, we feel a sense of relief, even if it is just momentary, thus you have been rewarded for procrastinating. Behavioural psychology has long known that when we are rewarded for a behaviour, we tend to do it again, thus creating a habit.

Chronic procrastination can have negative effects on our mental and physical health, including chronic stress, general psychological distress, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and chronic illness.

So what can we do?

1.   Practise mindfulness. As uncomfortable as those negative feelings can be, try and sit with them and bring attention and awareness to the sensations that arise in your body and mind. Acknowledge that they are uncomfortable feelings, but also that feelings pass, and nothing stays that way for ever.

2.   Don’t wait until you feel motivated to complete a task. Just get started on something, no matter how small and you’ll find that your mindset may just shift enough to continue beyond that small task.

3.   Acknowledge what you usually turn to when you avoid a task. Big distractions electronic devices and social media. If you know this is you, you may like to turn your phone off, give it to someone else whilst completing a task, or place it in another room.

4.    Make it easier on yourself to complete the task by being organised. This may mean having a set place to do work which is free from clutter, has all of the resources you require, and is free from distractions. You may want to ensure you have a drink and a snack so that you don’t feel the urge to repeatedly leave to get things you need.

If procrastination is a habit you would like help breaking, come and see your school counsellor or go to: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Procrastination for some self-help worksheets and guides.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor

Study Samurai

Click here to read about The Importance of Quality Sleep for Students


Public Speaking

Open Morning Tour

Last week saw the third OLMC Open Morning Tour for 2019, with prospective students and their parents given a guided tour of the College. As always, two outstanding Year 7 speakers were an integral part of the welcome to our visitors. It was the turn of Tia Monga and Summer Rayne Roughley to perform this role, one which they always do with great skill. Tia  and Summer not only delivered an excellent speech, but they also welcomed everyone as they arrived as well as accompanying the groups as they toured the College and asked questions. The girls continue to impress with their confident and sophisticated delivery of their speeches.

History Day

OLMC public speakers do more than participate in competitions. The Parramatta and District Historical Society hold a Public Speaking Day each year where several local high schools present an aspect of their school’s history. This year, four excellent public speakers from Year 9 spoke on the various myths that have become part of our College’s history. Ananya Arunkumar, Sakshi Chouta, Alista Gautam and Amelia Kraszewski are to be commended for planning, preparing and presenting their contribution independently and professionally. A significant element of their delivery focused on the story behind the red stairs and how the myth was actually created by some Year 12 students some years ago.

Mr Brian Powyer, until recently the President of the Society, commented at length on the challenge of all historians to separate myth from reality, a fact that was highlighted in our girls’ speeches. Well done to Ananya, Sakshi, Alista and Amelia for their efforts.

   

Legacy Competition

Last Friday, Francesca Martinez (Year 7) and Amithi Vaithilingam (Year 9) competed in the Legacy public speaking event at Crestwood High School. Both Francesca and Amithi prepared very well and spoke impressively. Francesca spoke on the topic of music and how it can benefit you in so many ways while Amithi spoke about the pain of students living with mental issues. All speakers were then confronted by the challenging topic “It’s just not cricket”. Students were given five minutes’ notice and had to speak on the topic for two minutes. Once again, our girls performed very well. Although not progressing to the State semi-finals, Francesca and Amithi gave OLMC good reason to be proud of them.

 

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Co-ordinator

 

 

Sport

CGSSSA AFL

After a rained out day, the CGSSSA AFL Gala Day was finally held on Tuesday 6 August at Macquarie University. OLMC was represented by Elyssa Wakim, Kyah Rahme, Mia Kerr, Lara Colpan, Lucie Francis, Alannah Moujalli, Niamh Nolan, Laila Dimech, Alice Hong, Chelsea Barakat, Abbey McDonnell, Amelia Polley, Stephanie Ogle, Alana Shehadie, Claudia Attard and Victoria Petkos. The girls played well and enjoyed the day, finishing 5th in their pool. They showed some great team work and skills and continued to improve as the day went on. Well done girls!

A big thank you to Ms Farrugia and Mrs Cunningham for all their help with the team.

 

Water Polo

Well done to Dinithi Pingamage who participated in the 51st Annual Hawaiian Water Polo Tournament from 30 July – 4 August. Dinithi and her Drummoyne U14 team competed against teams from the US, New Zealand and Hawaiian Islands and claimed the Bronze Trophy at the Tournament.

 

 

Saturday Netball

A big thank you to everyone who was able to assist with our Netball Duty on 3 August at ERNA.

Saturday saw our final round played for 2019.

You can continue to view the draw and all results here - http://erna.nsw.netball.com.au/common/pages/public/rv/draw.aspx?

Here are the final placings:

OLMC 1 – 4th

OLMC 2 – 7th

OLMC 3 – 2nd

OLMC 4 – 7th

OLMC 5 – 1st

OLMC 6 – 6th

OLMC 7 – 5th

OLMC 8 – 5th

OLMC 9 – 4th

OLMC 10 – 3rd

 

Semi-finals for the top four teams in each division will take place on this Saturday 17 August. OLMC 5 and 6 will need to play a Round 15 game on August 17 too.

Please be aware the game times are slightly different:

OLMC 1 plays at 12:50pm

OLMC 3 plays at 2:30pm

OLMC 5 and 6 play at 11:10am

OLMC 9 and 10 play at 11:10am

 

Good luck girls!

    

 

Wednesday Touch Football

Online registration emails will be sent to students' email addresses soon. You won’t need to register online with Parramatta Touch before then. The Parramatta Touch registration emails will include the students' Team Codes.

 

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sport Co-ordinator

 

 

 


Father Daughter Mass 2010


OLMC Exhibition & Showcase

August Concert Series

Dance Showcase

Father Daughter Mass


PRC Guest Speaker

Mercy Futures - 3 September