Dear Parents and Carers
What a contrast these last two weeks have been compared to the start of the term! From bushfires to coronavirus, water restrictions in the heat, our country has certainly been faced with many challenges! How refreshing then to see the rain falling and appreciate its benefits. It is unfortunate that the rain has been extreme in some areas but it does show that we are a land of contrasts and how we resolutely manage this reveals much about our strong and resilient character. At the College, we had minor water damage to some parts of the campus but I would like to acknowledge the Property Services Team and support staff for their rapid response in ensuring that we emerged relatively unscathed - unlike some parts of the country that have experienced flooding. Our staff are remarkable in their efforts to facilitate the smooth running of the College on a daily basis and maintaining a safe environment.
I am pleased to write to you about the success of the 2020 Year 7 Transition Program, implemented in 2019 by Ms Gemma VandePeer, Deputy Principal (Acting) and continued under her leadership with the support of Mrs Jennifer Mater, Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting) this year. The program focussed on welcoming 201 Year 7 students into the OLMC community and looked at the theme of 'New beginnings'. Each day staff from different faculties expertly facilitated learning activities enabling each student to feel connected and belong, to know her teachers and peers, and to develop skills to enable her to be engaged in her learning. The program ran for Weeks 1 and 2 of Term 1 and at the conclusion of the Program, Year 7 participated in Activities Day at Blacktown Leisure Centre Stanhope. In Week 3, Year 7 students commenced attending their timetabled classes and from all accounts felt more confident about being in high school and more familiar with their surroundings. In speaking to the students, the general comment has been that they were glad that everyone was 'starting from the same point' and experiencing the same initial uncertainties. We wish all new students well as they commence their high school learning.
Connected to the Transition Program was the Year 7 House Welcome Evening held at the College on Monday this week. Thank you to the families of Year 7 students who joined us on this evening and to the many staff who attended as well. These community events are so important to the building of positive relationships, and to the ability to put faces to names. This is how everyone begins to establish the important partnerships that exist between the College and families to support student growth and wellbeing. We are grateful for the trust placed in us by families and the shared Mercy values that form the basis of these partnerships.
On Tuesday, 11 February, members of the HSC Class of 2019 returned to the College for the High Achievers Assembly. The assembled staff, students and parents heard inspirational words from three students who represented the thoughts and learning dispositions of the Class of 2019 - Carla Ayoub, Aarushi Nambissan and Alanah Doherty. Each of them generously shared what they had learned about learning, particularly their own, and what worked for them in their studies. In reflecting on their words, it was clear that it was important for them to be independent in their thinking, disciplined in their approach and reflective and proactive in their practices. These dispositions matter to us at the College as we know they are life-long qualities that will truly support them as they contribute to the wider world beyond OLMC. Thank you to Carla, Aarushi and Alanah for articulating this so clearly for us all.
My message to the Assembly on this day was to always remember that:
'A mark is not a measure of who you are but of where you are at a particular point in time'
Congratulations to the HSC Class of 2019 for always trying to do their best and for their significant personal achievements.
As communicated to families at the end of 2019, the College has reviewed the Personal Electronic Devices Policy (located on the College website).
I have waited until now to provide you with some feedback on its implementation as it has been a significant change for students. I am pleased to say that, after some early reminders and gentle consequences, it seems to be working well for students. They are not on phones at recess and lunch but rather connecting with others, building relationships and being present in the real world. This matters to us as I know it does to you. I have no doubt that gentle reminders will continue but the hope is that these reminders will become less as the students engage in positive social connections with the people around them.
Your support of the policy as parents is important to us too so can I remind you of the following:
- Contact between students while they are at school and their parents/carers should occur through the Student Centre – 02 8838 1213
- During the school day, mobile phones and other devices are to be on silent or turned off, securely locked in the student’s locker and must not be accessed during the school day
I want to applaud and congratulate the following students for their significant personal achievements:
Congratulations to Daphne Fong (Year 12, Stanley) who was announced As the Young Citizen of the Year, as part of the Parramatta Council Australia Day Awards.
Congratulations to Annabelle Ruskin (Year 11, Stanley) who was a finalist in the Sports Achievement Award.
These Awards recognise outstanding achievement and excellence in the local community. Daphne has been chosen as one of the NSW UNICEF Young Ambassadors for 2019/20. In this role, Daphne consults with children across the state and meets with politicians and decision-makers to create change and build relationships.
Congratulations to Summer Giddings (Year 12, Doyle) who, at the recent NSW Blues Awards held in Wollongong received the NSWCCC Blue and Bar Award for excellence in sporting achievement for Cross Country and Athletics in 2019.
We are very proud of these students as they so significantly represent themselves, their families and our community.
If you have time when you are next at the College please take a moment to look at the entrance walkway to the Janet Woods Building which has been transformed. Representing the theme of Journeys, Indigenous artist, Zac Bennett-Brook completed the outstanding mural on 6 February and artfully incorporated the eight College House colours into the work. Again this is what matters to us at the College - visual representations of who we are and what we value: our Mercy charism and values with a particular focus on the dignity of all in 2020.
- 27 Feb – Twilight Swimming Carnival
- 28 Feb – Day in Lieu for Swimming Carnival
- 29 Feb – 2021 Scholarship Exam
- 6 March – International Women’s Day
- 8 March – Open Day
I am looking forward to meeting families at the Masterplan Information Evening tonight and I hope that your family is able to join us for Open Day on 8 March.
Mrs Marie Wood