Marie Wood, Principal (Acting)

Dear Families,

It’s hard to believe that this time last year the country was experiencing devastating bushfires and then floods and a drought that was wreaking havoc across regional Australia! We watched as the nation came together to support one another in these challenges and, in doing, so highlighted what is good and strong in our community- a deep sense of shared purpose and a commitment to the service of others and their wellbeing. We thought, initially, that these experiences would test us and then we would move on. We understood vaguely that they had shaped us as a nation in some way and but no-one knew that this would become more apparent as the year progressed.

Instead of returning to normal at the start of the school year in 2020 we returned to a developing global pandemic that has tested us beyond our imaginations. COVID 19 has challenged us as did the environmental distresses of 2019/2020 and it has also brought out the best in us as they did. We are stronger and more resilient now as individuals and as a community because we have focussed on our own and each other’s safety and wellbeing.

Remembrance Day and Anniversary of Catherine McAuley

On 11 November last year, as well as acknowledging Remembrance Day, we were unveiling and blessing the beautiful Catherine McAuley Sculpture, “Come, sit awhile” by sculptor Gael O’Leary. The joint commissioning of the sculpture honoured 130 years of Mercy education in Western Sydney. This year marks 131 years of Mercy education! We started the day “sitting” with Catherine and participating in a meaningful prayer service. This was followed by a Morning Tea where staff came together to honour the memory of Catherine McAuley on the anniversary of her death 11.11.1841. We were joined by Sr Mary-Louise Petro, Congregational Leader and members of the Congregation of the Parramatta Sisters of Mercy as we jointly celebrated the legacy of this remarkable Mercy woman. Because of Catherine McAuley we are all here - proud members of a strong and thriving Mercy community.

Wednesday 11 November also marked Remembrance Day when we commemorate the service of all men and women who have bravely and courageously provided service to their country. In the lead up to the commemoration, students prepared red poppies and on the morning also viewed a video during homeroom to acknowledge the day.

“Lest we Forget.”

Farewell to Year 12

I would like to congratulate our Year 12 students who have now completed their education at the College and moved with dignity “Beyond the Gates.” The Graduation Assembly, held on 13 November, was a wonderful experience of celebrating the achievements of all of the graduates. Each student crossed the stage to be acknowledged and each did so with graciousness and a smile on her face! It was a day of mixed emotions as the formal connection to learning at OLMC was met with relief and applauded, combined with the sense of excitement that finishing school activates. I spoke to the Year 12 students of my admiration for their resilience and persistence during a year when synchronous and asynchronous learning became part of our vocabulary and toilet paper became the new precious commodity! I know these strengths will sustain them in their futures in ways they cannot yet imagine!  The world will be better because of their contributions.

Completing the important events for Year 12 was their Formal held at the Waterview Restaurant on Monday evening, 16 November. Joy filled the evening and it was certainly a fitting way to conclude their year together.

Congratulations again to all of our Year 12 Graduates on successfully completing your Higher School Certificate year!

Mercy Music and Performance Academy Parramatta

This year the College has undertaken a review of music and performing arts at OLMC. The decision has been taken to move the College in a new direction which will involve the closure of the Mercy Music and Performance Academy Parramatta on December 4, 2020.

The College’s strong tradition of music excellence will continue as all music curricular and co-curricular offerings and lessons will remain. Mercy Girls will have every opportunity to develop their musical talents to their potential as we continue to focus on expanding our students “beyond what they know they can be.”

Due to the closure of the Music Academy, Mr Paul Witney will be moving on from his role as at the College. The College would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Paul's contribution to OLMC Parramatta over the past 15 years and wish him well for the future.

The College is committed to building upon our strong musical legacy; we will continue to honour our rich musical history into the future, taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the new strategic vision and the new College Masterplan.

Extension of College Campus 

This week we have had some excellent news about the campus which is connected to the Masterplan. The College has successfully negotiated a lease on nearby premises at 12 Victoria Road, Parramatta – namely two floors – that will allow us to extend our campus early in 2021. This will be particularly advantageous for us as we commence the new Masterplan. This additional nearby space means that, instead of utilising demountable classrooms onsite during the building program, we will be able to access two floors of learning spaces for our students. Please look out for further updates on this new location in 2021 communications. 

Parramatta Light Rail Update

For updates on the Parramatta Light Rail project, please read click here to read the latest community notification.

A Mercy Tree Reminder

Mercy Tree Christmas Gift Certificates will soon be available, look out for email with link coming soon.

Stay safe and well everyone.


Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)


What a year 2020 has been! It has turned out to be a year where the PDHPE Department has had to display the skills of flexibility and agility to adapt to the changing environment of learning.

It was fortuitous that the first module of learning in PDHPE for Year 7 was Adjusting to Change and Challenges. From their learning, students were able to devise and implement strategies that would assist them in dealing with their changing learning environment.

As part of their program of study in the Preliminary PDHPE course, Year 11 students recently completed the Royal Life Saving Society Senior First Aid Award which will arm them with essential practical life skills in dealing with numerous scenarios they may encounter.

During our learning time in all our Years 7 to 10 courses (including Child Studies, PASS and PDHPE) there was explicit instruction of the use of the PEEL framework for writing paragraphs. The application of this framework enables students to organise their ideas in a logical manner and provide evidence to demonstrate their level of understanding. This process has assisted students by providing them with a clear structure in presenting their arguments, ideas and reasons in a manner that demonstrates their analytical and critical thinking skills.

It has been wonderful to get outside again this Term and to and participate in physical activity. It has been exciting to watch as Years 7 and 8 students refine their skills in athletic events, Year 9 display strong progression in their skill and tactical development in Ultimate Frisbee and Year 10 students work on kicking, handballing and learning to bounce the ball in AFL.

Even though 2020 did not turn out to be the year we were expecting, it did provide us with a change to the ‘norm’ and it has helped solidify our resilience and ability to adapt and change when necessary.

Mrs Jennifer McIntosh
Leader of Learning - PDHPE


So much to read about this week – be sure to click on!

Year 12, 2020 have now graduated, so this week’s information is for students and their families across all Year Groups.

Read about webinars, exhibitions, resources and much more, to keep you interested and entertained well into the Summer holidays and beyond.

Show more

Learning Technologies and Innovation

More than Silver Linings – a Year to Celebrate Resilience

We wish to congratulate all our staff, students and families for their ongoing resilience and enthusiasm towards our shared life at OLMC, despite all the many challenges within our world, our communities and ourselves. Despite having eight working days to prepare for the first Sydney lockdown, the entire school shifted to working and learning remotely. This requires immense effort, creativity, leadership and trust from all staff and students to ensure that we made the best of a very difficult situation.

Earlier this year we sought student and parent feedback during our first experience of learning from home, with over 94% of students consistently reporting that they felt engaged with learning and with the virtual school experience. Similarly, our families reported very positive feedback throughout the experience, expressing over 90% positive feedback on positive mindset and their daughter’s engagement with learning. We appreciate the many messages of support to our staff and the College generally through these surveys, emails and phone calls during our experience of being apart but “together.”

We shared our model of Continuous Learning across social media and on our College website, resulting in over 13,000 views of our resources and several email and phone conversations with other schools from Australia and overseas. These schools appreciated our leadership and openness during a time of uncertainty.

All staff made a concerted effort to develop new and innovative ways to check on student wellbeing, to engage them in both live and asynchronous learning, and to ensure that their technology supported their role as active learners.

This year we have hosted over 9360 Zoom meetings and there were over 2 million page views in Canvas. Hundreds of instructional videos and explainer resources using Microsoft Stream and other tools were also used. This both reflects our rapidly growing capacities and opens the door to even more opportunities in future.

We are extremely fortunate to have the systems and platforms in place to ensure we could remain operational every single day, but most importantly, we have the people and the spirit required to help our students thrive.

Many experts are talking about seeing silver linings in the clouds of 2020 but in the OLMC community, we have much more to celebrate.


The Great Microsoft Migration of 2020

As part of our continuing efforts to provide your daughter with the best experience of learning at OLMC, we have decided to focus on our use of Microsoft rather than Google. The Microsoft environment is backed up through your daughter’s OneDrive account on our school infrastructure, and under our licensing, is more secure and more stable in connection. Fewer platforms makes for a better experience overall.

This means that we will be turning off access to Google Drive, and associated apps such as Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, in December after students have completed the 2020 academic year. Students have been alerted to begin using a tool called Google TakeOut to easily download all their Google Drive files into their Microsoft OneDrive.

If students require support to move files across from OLMC Google Drives to OneDrives they can gain support from the IT Office during the usual times.

Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Forms and OneNote all provide appropriate alternatives to your daughter’s experience in the Google suite and have significantly improved in the last two years. As an example, you can now share Word documents with others in the OLMC community as easily as your Google docs thanks to these improvements.

For those using Google Classroom in some courses, this will now be replaced by Canvas and/or OneNote. Canvas itself is getting a significant design upgrade, which will improve the accessibility and engagement with our digital resources.

It must be noted that only school-related files are to be saved in school-provided storage. Files and folders that are unnecessary to learning or wider school life should not be transferred in this process and must be backed up on alternate personal devices.

Thank you for your support of this strategic direction. As stated earlier, all students are welcome to visit the IT Office to gain assistance on how to transfer files.

Mr Matthew Esterman
Director of Learning Technologies and Innovation

Public Speaking


It may be the end of the year, but much is still happening in the world of public speaking at the College. Considering what a year everyone has had, it is a real credit to our girls that they still manage to embrace so many opportunities to display their public speaking skills.


The recent AHIGS Festival of Speech saw seven of our girls competing in five events, the first time we have entered more than one event. Although our girls did not win any of the events, we need to congratulate Sharanya Kugan and Tia Monga of Year 8, Anushka Palayanur of Year 9 and Rose Parajuli of Year 11 for their excellent preparation and presentation in their respective events. Also for the first time, OLMC entered a team in the Current Affairs section. Year 11 (now Year 12) students Sabrina Catania, Anne Nguyen and Riley Rodewald trained hard for the event, attending a Zoom training session with Mr Patrick Marman of Canberra Girls Grammar as well as having a practice session of their own. Their performance in the actual event was excellent and OLMC once again proved we can match it with the best. Well done to all girls.

UN Voice

This demanding competition requires entrants to provide a solution to a major social problem and to answer questions regarding their solution. Our entrants were Emma Elias, Gabrielle Fleming and Jhetrelle Mostoles of Year 7, Karen Pannu, Neha Sharma and Ivana Stefanovski of Year 8, Alanah Issa, Jemima McKenna, Jheyanne Mostoles and Cassandra Sastrillo of Year 9,while our Year 10 entrants were Ananya Arunkumar and Iris McKenna. All competed in the Junior section while Riley Rodewald (now Year 12) participated in the Senior division.

It is with great pride that we can announce our best result ever in this challenging event. Gabrielle Fleming, Ivana Stefanovski and Jemima McKenna have progressed to the State semi-finals to be held via Zoom next week, while Riley Rodewald will be competing in the State final at Government House on Monday 7 December. As a Junior, Riley had previously represented NSW in the National final in Hobart so her experience certainly helped her in this year’s competition. Good luck to all these girls.


In the last few weeks, the College has created a number of promotional videos as an alternative to the usual Year 6 Orientation Day. As part of this innovation, our public speaking girls were asked to contribute about their experiences. Yasmine Alwakal, Sabrina Catania, Anne Nguyen, Tia Monga, Deeya Vashi, Mia Fogolin, Jennifer Wang, Annoushka Maikap, Laurice Behan, Summer Rayne Roughley, Maddison Starkey, Ambeikaa Mishra and Freya Scothern showed once again how enthusiastic they are when it comes to public speaking. A big thank you to all of them for their dedication.


A reminder to everyone that Student Speak continues to be a great source of inspirational speeches by our girls. There are many short (mostly 3-4 minute) speeches on topics from raising awareness of the environment, adopting a positive attitude, the fun of hobbies, and so on. As usual, Annoushka Maikap of Year 7 continues to deliver some outstanding efforts. Her speeches are all beautifully delivered and carry positive messages. All students are reminded that anyone can contribute to Student Speak. Visit the page in Canvas (Courses/Student Speak) and follow instructions.


The annual Speaker of the Year competition for Years 7, 8 and 9 is on again next week. All students in those year levels have been emailed with details. The competition involves writing and delivering a two-minute speech on the theme of “Christmas in the future looks like…”, a topic selected by new DAPS leaders Sabrina Catania and Anne Nguyen. These girls will also be judging the competition over three or four days next week. All students are welcome to enter even if you have not done public speaking before. Just collect an entry form from the Student Centre and start writing!

The prize for the winners in each year level is to have your name inscribed on the annual shield which can be viewed in the College's Catherine McAuley Library.


We are still awaiting the outcome of the National final of Speaking4thePlanet Competition, where Jennifer Wang of Year 7 is one of only two representatives from New South Wales. If Jennifer is successful, World Titles follow, so we are hoping for the best.

Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator



CGSSSA Volleyball

Finally, we had a Sports Gala Day! The CGSSSA Volleyball Championships were held on Monday November 16 at Netball Central in very warm conditions. OLMC was represented by Mia Fennel, Moana Tuala, Sara Taherkhani, Alissia Marrone, Isabel Chung, Talia Gionta, Alessandra Redoblado, Sofia Polson and Gemma Saap. The girls should all be commended on their efforts during the day after defeating OLSH and only narrowly losing a number of their other games. It was great to see the girls make the quarter finals and play so well. Well done girls and an excellent day and a big thank you to Mrs Bushell for all her help with team. 

NSW All Schools Athletics

NSW All Schools Athletics entries are now open. All students must be registered with Little Athletics NSW or Athletics NSW to compete. The Championships are on December 3 - 6 at SOPAC. More Information and entries can be found here:

Saturday Volleyball and Basketball

The Saturday Volleyball and Basketball season continues. All teams will be playing in Weeks 6 and 7 and this will involve Finals for some teams. An updated draw will be emailed to all the girls this week for the final two rounds. Here are the results for Weeks 4 and 5:



Week 4

Week 5


Defeated MLC, 2 nil

Defeated Monte, 2 - 1


Defeated by MSB, 2 nil

Defeated by PLC, 2 - 1


Defeated PLC, 2 - 1

Defeated Danebank, 3 nil


Defeated PLC, 2 - 1

Defeated by St Vincent's, 2 - 1


Defeated by St Vincent's, 3 nil

Defeated by PLC, 2 - 1


Defeated by Loreto, 2 - 1

Defeated by Rosebank, 3 nil


Defeated St Vincent's, 3 nil

Defeated Loreto, 3 nil


Defeated Danebank, 3 nil

Defeated PLC, 2 - 1


Defeated by Santa Sabina, 1 nil

Defeated St Vincent's, 3 nil




Week 4

Week 5


Defeated by Monte,

Defeated MLC, 20 - 15


Defeated Rosebank, 24 - 21

Defeated by Monte, 26 - 25


Defeated by Monte, 23 - 20

Defeated by MLC, 34 - 8


Don’t forget OLMC Sport is now on Twitter, so join in the conversation @OLMCsport

Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator

Objects of the P&F Association

All parents would have received an email last week from Ms Kerrie Walshaw (Chair, OLMC Board). The College Board is seeking consultation from members of the OLMC community to assist in the review of the current P&F Constitution. Please take some time to complete the SURVEY.

Survey closes 12.00pm Thursday, 19 November.

World Teachers' Day

The P&F provided cupcakes for the Staff morning tea on World Teachers' Day. The Staff would like to thank the parent community for this thoughtful gesture.


Mercy Tree 2020/2021 Annual Appeal

Mercy Scholarships


Uniform Shop

Opening Hours and Purchases: The Uniform Shop is open Monday to Thursday, from 8.00am – 9.30pm, and 3.00pm – 4.30pm on Monday and Wednesday (school days only). 

Online purchases can still be made via the Online Uniform Shop ( and all orders will be delivered to the Student Centre for collection by students.

Blazers: Replacement blazers are still on track to arrive in late November. When the blazers arrive, we will advise the process for obtaining replacements as we will require students to return their old blazers at the same time as receiving the new blazer.

Face Masks: Face masks in the College colours are available to purchase for $12.00 on the Online Uniform Shop. This is a non-compulsory item.

Year 10, 2021 Uniform Fittings: Please book your appointment as soon as possible via the website if a fitting is required. To do this, click on the Uniforms Tab and then click the tab ‘Make a Uniform Shop Appointment.’ If a fitting is not required, then the Senior Summer Uniform Package can be purchased via the Online Uniform Shop and will be delivered to the Student Centre for pick up. 

Senior College Summer Uniform Package: A recommended Senior College Summer Uniform Package will soon feature on the Online Uniform Shop.

If you have any concerns regarding uniform items, please contact the Uniform Shop on 8838 1275 or

Catherine McAuley Anniversary

This week we celebrated the life of Sisters of Mercy foundress Catherine McAuley, whose anniversary was remembered on November 11. Catherine died 179 years ago and left behind a lasting legacy:

Gracious God, rain down your love on us.

Fill us with the compassion shown to us by Catherine’s life and death.

Guide us to merciful ways and enable us, with Catherine, to sing your praises.

We ask you to pour out your mercy on those in need:

For those most vulnerable to oppression or neglect.

For those who seek a kind word, a gentle compassionate look.

For those who are poor, sick, or uneducated.

For safe shelter for refugees.

For those who are in need of safe shelter, warm clothing or nourishing food.

For those seeking justice for themselves or others.

For a future full of hope.

On November 11 we remembered Catherine's life with an intimate gathering of staff and students around the Catherine McAuley Sculpture where we reflected on her life and the legacy she has left behind. We then joined with the Sisters of Mercy and OLMC Staff for a shared Morning Tea in the Convent Gardens which was a lovely way to celebrate such a significant day for our Mercy story.


Schools Reconciliation Challenge

Last week an awards ceremony for the Reconciliation Art Competition was held via Zoom. Congratulating the finalists as part of the ceremony were The Hon. Don Harwin, NSW State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts and the Hon. Sarah Mitchell, NSW State Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning.

Mercy Girls were chosen as finalists out of over 600 entries and now their art work will be projected at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, and at Museums Discovery Centre, Castle Hill. Congratulations to Emily Orszulak and Olivia Nesci, and thank you to Mrs Annette Chippendale and Ms Julia Plummer for supporting the girls in this venture.

Season of Advent

Next Sunday, 29 November, is the beginning of Advent. The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” It is hard to believe that this signifies to us that we are a mere four Sunday’s off from the celebration of Christmas!

Advent is time to pause, to stop and reflect on the importance of the coming of Christ Jesus, our Savior. It is a timely reminder for us to take stock of the year that was, to look forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus and to be thankful that we have managed to survive 2020 - the year that created history for many reasons.

Advent wreaths have become somewhat of a religious tradition. A new candle, each representing something different, is lit on each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Traditionally they represent hope, faith, joy, and peace. As we embark on our 2020 season of Advent, my prayer for you all is that you and your family remain hope filled, faithful people who are joyous and work towards peace always.

From the College Counsellor

Sibling conflict is typical in both children and adolescents. Teenage siblings tend to argue about equality and fairness, personal space, possessions and friends. Hearing your teenagers fight can be stressful and exasperating for parents but it useful to remember that their arguing has a purpose. When siblings argue they are potentially learning some important life skills, like how to:

  • solve problems and resolve conflicts
  • treat others with empathy
  • accept that other have different opinions
  • compromise and negotiate.

Some tips for managing sibling conflict:

  • Avoid stepping in to solve the problem for them. You can assist them by encouraging them to listen to each other’s perspective and then guide them towards a compromise.
  • Model problem-solving by assisting them in figuring out what they’re arguing about, asking them what they each want, and helping them to come up with solutions together.
  • Focus on each child’s strengths and avoid comparing siblings to one another.
  • Regular quality time with each of your children doing activities that they enjoy can help to strengthen relationships.
  • Allow teens their own personal space that they don’t have to share with anyone else. Even when siblings share a room, they can still have a space that it just for themselves.
  • Encourage family time or activities like cooking or watching movies together.
  • Establish clear family rules. For example, physical aggression is never OK.
  • Avoid getting into debates about what’s fair and equal. Explain to your children differences in what they can do is based on their developmental level and on the responsibilities that they have.
  • Conflict that won’t stop or that’s having a negative or distressing effect on others is damaging and may require some professional help. See your GP as a first point and they may refer you to a psychologist specialising in adolescent issues.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior Counsellor




Athletics Carnival in 1997

Sabrina Catania

Debating and Public Speaking Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio? To encourage and motivate students to participate in public speaking and debating initiatives throughout the year, fostering a school environment where students are confident and excited to speak in front of crowds rather than dreading it.        

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2020/21? In 2020/21, I would like to see as many girls as possible find their voice and gain newfound confidence when sharing their opinions in situations they deem ‘uncomfortable.’ I am also hoping to engage students in a wide range of public speaking and debating events, as a way of facilitating the development of life skills including speaking with confidence, working as a team player and being able to incorporate evidence to strengthen an argument.                      

Name one person whom you would like to share a meal with and why? I would like to share a meal with Catherine Middleton as she could provide insight into what it is like to be considered royal and whether the childhood dream of marrying a prince is exactly as we imagine it is when we are six!   

What would be your superpower? Why?  If I could have one superpower, it would be the ability to Teleport! I cannot imagine anything better than being able to travel across the world in the blink of an eye. Pizza night could actually have authentic pizza supplied from Italy rather than Dominos and my commute to and from school would no longer be a commute!                                                                                        

Haylee Shelton

Sports Leader    

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio? As a Sports Leader, my key responsibility is to create a more active and collaborative community at OLMC. This is important as it will enable a stronger bond within the Mercy Girls while also educating students about the importance of physical activity and wellbeing. I am also responsible for helping Mr Guthrie with Athletics and Swimming Carnivals, to ensure they run smoothly.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2020/21? My vision as Sports Leader is to get Mercy Girls to be more active and to create an environment where everyone feels excited to be up on their feet. I would love to also get more girls involved in lunch time activities and create the idea that sport is seen as a social activity for the girls.          

What is something about yourself that others might be surprised to know about you? That I am a Type 1 Diabetic.            

What would be a good theme song for your life? My theme song for my life would be How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox Twenty. This is because the song reminds me of the obstacles I have faced in life. This song also reminds me to take time to reflect on everything that has happened in my life and to be grateful for what I have.

Name one person whom you would like to share a meal with and why? I would like to share a meal with Kim Green who was a Netball player for the Giants and Australian Diamonds. I admire Kim’s strong sense of leadership, her motivation and determination. I would like to share this meal with her so we can discuss how she overcame her major injury.  

What would be your superpower? Why? My superpower would be telekinesis. I would love to be able to move things with my mind and be able to get a snack from the fridge without moving from the lounge.

What are your interests outside of school? My interests outside of school are Netball, Touch Football and being social with my friends and family.