Marie Wood, Deputy Principal

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.

Upcoming events 

  • 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.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)


Jennifer Mater, Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting)

As we enter our fourth week of the 2020 school year, it is evident from the sights and sounds, both inside and outside the classroom, that everyone has settled in and the business of learning has begun. This is particularly the case for the majority of our newest and youngest community members who belong to the Year 7 cohort.

Year 7 began their journey with an eight-day Transition Program. This was focused on developing skills that would enable each girl to feel connected and belong to this new community, to begin to know her teachers and peers and to be ready and able to engage in learning. As part of their exploration of the driving concept of the program, the students engaged in a range of activities to support the completion of an assessment task. This involved creating a brief multimodal presentation to explore the idea that people embrace new beginnings.

As expected, this first assessment task generated some uncertainty and confusion, which in turn led to lots of questions, and then eventually to a much more sound understanding of the nature of assessment tasks. The students learned how to read and analyse a task, how to discern what the task required them to do, how the marking criteria related to the task, and how to ensure that they could address all parts of the task. They also experienced the challenges of learning how to use their recently acquired notebook computers while experimenting with new software in order to create and produce their presentations. Having viewed a number of the presentations, I was thrilled to see what wonderfully creative, competent, confident and articulate students we have in Year 7. I can’t wait to see what else they can do!

The presentations will be viewed by a group of teachers in the next week or so, and although Year 7 will not receive an actual mark, feedback will be provided to each student. After this, the students will be encouraged to share their presentations with their Homeroom Mentors during learning conversations.

Turning now to our senior students, our Year 12 cohort has returned refreshed and rejuvenated ready to tackle their final three terms of school. Our expectations are high and each student is asked to focus on personal growth. They, therefore, need to take the necessary steps to ensure that they grow, improve and embrace the opportunities provided by the College to support them in this journey.  

We are in the process of collecting data that will allow us to measure this growth and track performance. This includes previous Naplan and Allwell results, as well as results for specific course assessments and our observations and knowledge of individual students’ work habits and study dispositions where appropriate. Our intention is to know our students deeply - how they learn, when they need to push themselves, when we need to modify teaching and learning practices and when we need to intervene and seek support from parents and carers. Later in the term, Year 12 will engage in academic sprint/interval training after school, to meet their particular needs at this time. During Term 3, they will engage in examination readiness 'sprints' when they will complete full or partial past HSC papers. The students’ practice attempts will be marked and returned with detailed feedback to continue to inform ongoing improvement.

Along with other strategies which we regularly engage with at the College, there are many opportunities to enable each student to maximise her growth and perform beyond her expected ability. This will require some self-direction and the ability to be a proactive independent learner. Accordingly, Year 12 students should engage in frequent conversations and 'check-ins' with their teachers to ascertain when and how this growth is happening. Our goal is always to strengthen teacher/student relationships so both parties are actively involved in the overall goal – improved student outcomes.

Mrs Jennifer Mater
Director of Teaching and Learning (Acting)





JobJump is a comprehensive website that allows students and their parents to access the latest news and information on careers. Students can nominate areas they are interested in and receive regular updates, and even try out the interactive and fun Careers Quiz that helps to find potential career pathways that match their subjects, skills, interests and personality.  Find out more at

All students and parents can register. Click on the ‘I’m new’ button at the top right of the JobJump homepage. Enter Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta as the school and diving as the password.

(The information provided through JobJump is a guide only, and JobJump takes no responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of this information. The user should use any information at their own discretion.)

Work experience opportunities

This week there are a few opportunities for students to consider. If you are interested in any of these programs, please contact Mrs Weihen.

Taronga Zoo Work Experience Sydney

Applications for 2020 are now open and will close Friday, 28 February 2020

Taronga Zoo Sydney offers schoolwork experience opportunities for students in Years 10–12 who are interested in pursuing a career in zookeeping, animal care, tourism or zoo horticulture. Speak to Mrs Weihen who will liaise with Taronga on your behalf.

UTS Science Work Experience 2020 Now Open

Autumn: 18-24 May
Spring: 12-18 October

Imagine doing real hands-on work in forensics, environmental, biological, medical activities at UTS in:

  • joining tertiary students in their experimental work
  • performing experimental work under the supervision of technical staff
  • working with scientific equipment

Speak to Mrs Weihen to learn more.

AIE - Video Game and Animation Work Experience

The AIE Work Experience Program is a great way for secondary school students in Years 10-12 to learn about the interactive entertainment and digital industries.  The Work Experience Program runs from 9.00am-3.00pm over the course of a week and encompasses a range of activities including 3D animation, programming, QA testing and much more. Due to the popularity of the Work Experience Program, we ask that interested students fill out the form below and tell us why they would like to do work experience at AIE. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Mrs Louise Weihen
Leader of Learning, VET/Careers


Show more

Public Speaking

Another record year!

In 2020, OLMC students have once more embraced a co-curricular activity that provides them with the skills and confidence to speak up and be heard.  A record 136 students have registered for public speaking competitions this year, a remarkable number by any standards. As always, there are many new applicants, with emerging champions sure to be among them, but no matter what the outcome of competition may be, each girl is certain to do her best and represent the College with pride and dignity. The first competition, CSDA public speaking, begins on Friday, 6 March and already, several of our 12 entrants have begun preparation.

World Titles

Last year, we announced that Yasmine Alwakal (now Year 11) had qualified for the Australian team to compete in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition, originally to be held in Shanghai at Easter this year. Not surprisingly, this venue was cancelled after fears emerged with the coronavirus and it seemed a wonderful opportunity for Yasmine was lost. It is with a sense of both relief and gratitude that Brisbane has offered to hold the event at the end of Term 2. Negotiations are continuing but it seems as if the event will go ahead and outstanding speakers from all over the world will be able to participate in a competition that demands the very best in oratorial skills.

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator


AMCC Gymnasium

The AMCC Gymnasium will be open from Week 3 for students in Years 9–12 to use before school (7.45am-8.30am). If your daughter would like to use the gym (free of charge), please sign up using the following link -


We will also require the Gym registration form to be filled out.

Both forms have been emailed to all students in Years 9–12 and need to be completed before they can attend.

NSWCCC Sport Registrations 2020


For all students that have used the NSWCCC website in the past, there is now a new website in operation. If you have registered on the NSWCCC website previously, you should have received an email from NSWCCC explaining the changes.


NSWCCC Sport trials are now open for all sports -

Please email me to express your interest and I can pass on more information.

OLMC Swimming Carnival 2020


The annual College Swimming Carnival will be held at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on Thursday, 27 February.  


Students are reminded of the following:

  • The OLMC Swimming Carnival is held after school!
  • The Carnival will start at 4.30pm and conclude at 8.30pm.
  • Thursday, 27 February is a normal school day (Day 4) with slightly shorter lessons.
  • Students WILL NOT need to bring their notebooks to school on this day.
  • Students in Years 7-10 may come to school in full PE uniform. Students in Years 11 & 12 are to wear school uniform during the day. All students may get changed at school at the end of Period 5.
  • Students are encouraged to bring only a small bag to school this day to help minimize congestion in the grandstands at the Carnival.
  • Please note that girls in Years 11 and 12 with a study lesson in Period 5 or 6 on Day 4 will be required to remain at school on this day (rather than leave early).
  • Ages are as at 31 December.  JUNIOR – 12, 13 & 14, INTERMEDIATE 15 & 16, SENIOR 17+
  • Appropriately dress in clothes of your house colour.
  • All students are welcome to enter any 50m events on the day. If students wish to be considered for selection in the PDSSSC Swimming Carnival or would like an official time recorded they will need to have already filled out the entry form that has been emailed to all students.   
  • Parents/carers are welcome to attend the carnival. Please be advised that no photography or videography is permitted at the carnival and that judges and timekeepers are not to be distracted while on duty.   
  • The Carnival will conclude at 8.30pm when students will be dismissed from the venue ready for parents.
  • There will be NO School on Friday, 28 February.


The Swimming Carnival provides an excellent means of enjoying the wonderful spirit of the College. Students are encouraged to participate in an enthusiastic manner and parents are invited to attend.


Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sport Coordinator

P&F AGM - Tuesday 10 March

All parents are welcome to attend the P&F Annual General Meeting at 7.00pm on Tuesday, 10 March in the College Staff Common Room (located next to the Chapel). New faces and fresh ideas are welcome.

Open Day

Year 7 Cyber Safety Information

OLMC hosted a Cyber Safety Information Session delivered by Susan McLean on Thursday, 30 January for Year 7 students and their parents/carers. Susan McLean is Australia's foremost expert in the area of Cyber Safety and was a member of the Victorian Police for 27 years. Widely known as the 'cyber cop' she was the first Victorian Police Officer appointed to a position involving cyber safety and young people. 

Susan’s presentation was engaging and provided Year 7 girls and their parents/carers with many practical steps so they can work in partnership to ensure their daughter is a good digital citizen. The value of Dignity is the focus of the College this year and Susan’s message to the girls, ‘Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody’ both online and offline is in line with living this value.

Girls need to consider the following before using the internet:

  • Respect myself, others, my body 
  • Be responsible
  • Consider my reputation

 Susan’s top tips for parents/carers were:

GetGet Devices out of bedrooms
HaveHave a family online contract
KnowKnow your child's passwords/passcodes
TalkTalk early - talk often
FilteringUse Filtering
LearnLearn to say NO!
Learn AboutLearn about the sites and apps they use
UseUse all security settings
AddOnly add people that your child knows IRL
KnowKnow where your child is online




At the Cyber Safety evening, I learnt that nothing online is anonymous, even if it says it is. I also learnt about the different dangers of social media.’
Makenzie Williams – Year 7

On Thursday, I received a serious talk from Susan McLean about Cyber Bullying.  I believe this was a very important talk, mostly because she was talking about the dangers of social media and Cyber Bullying. This talk can help every Mercy Girl in the future, including me. Personally, I have gained lots of knowledge from this insightful speech.’
Daniella Sarkis – Year 7

The Cyber Safety talk was a really informative night that taught me a lot about what I can do to keep myself safe online. It was confronting to hear about hear the stories of people who were victims of Cyber Bullying but it was something we’d have to hear about eventually.’
Isabella Niduaza – Year 7

Susan concluded her presentation by delivering a strong message about the popular app ‘Tik Tok’. She warned parents/carers that the app is 'not safe' for children due to grooming, bullying and privacy fears. Even with a private account, profile information including profile photo, username, and bio, will be visible to all users. ‘Paedophiles like to watch kids sing and dance so they can take the videos and share them’, she explained.

Finally, Susan informed parents/carers that TikTok does not have the same safety sessions as some of the more well-known apps and routinely do not remove accounts that have been flagged as potentially a predator. 

At OLMC we do not tolerate bullying and we expect our girls to stand up and not stand by should they witness bullying.

A copy of the College Anti-Bullying Policy is on page 37 of the Student Diary and it is also available on the College Website.


2020 is set to be a big year for the Mission Team and the entire College community. I would like to welcome Ms Ellen Lonergan who has joined the staff as the Retreat and Liturgy Coordinator. Ms Lonergan comes with a wealth of experience and is a valued addition to the team.

In our year of Dignity, we have many exciting activities and initiatives planned for the Mercy Action and EcoOLMC groups and are always looking for students who wish to join these dynamic and vibrant groups.

In our first few weeks back, we have been planning many special events for the liturgical life of the College.

Opening School Mass

The College community gathered together in the Ailsa Mackinnon Community College on 7 February to celebrate our Opening Mass, where we welcomed new staff and students to the College. Led by our College Chaplain Fr Walter Fogarty, the theme of the Mass, Embracing new beginnings with Dignity, was a wonderful way to launch our 2020 Mercy value, Dignity. We were encouraged to look at the relationships we have with ourselves, others and God and to ensure that these are respectful and always uphold the dignity of people with whom we form relationships.

Thank you to those involved in ensuring this Liturgy was a wonderful celebration. It was terrific to have representatives of the Sisters of Mercy, College Board, P&F and parents present to welcome in the new school year.



Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is a very significant day in the Catholic calendar. It is the day that marks 46 days before Easter Sunday and is a period of fasting and prayer. We will be celebrating this day with an Ash Wednesday liturgy at 9.00am on Wednesday, 26 February. The day that precedes Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day, as it is more commonly known, was the last day to use up supplies of flour, fat and milk before the fasting of Lent that commenced the following day. We will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday on 25 February. Pancakes will be available before school for a gold coin donation with all proceeds going towards the Caritas Project Compassion Appeal.

Once again, we will be collecting money for the Caritas Lenten Appeal. Girls are encouraged to donate money that will be used by this social justice arm of the Catholic Church to assist vulnerable people in Australia and overseas. For more information on the works of Caritas, view their website at


Indigenous Art Work

The College engaged the services of Indigenous artist Zachary Bennett-Brook to paint a large mural on the wall of the Janet Woods entrance foyer. The artwork uses the eight house colours to depict the joining of all houses to form one larger community. The mural is a beautiful representation of Indigenous art and links us to the rich history of the local Burramattagal people who have been connected to the land for over 60,000 years.


Mercy Engaged

Our Community Engagement program for 2020 has been launched and this year all students in Years 7-12 are encouraged to participate in activities that will allow for greater interaction with people and organisations in our local community. All information is available to the girls through the Mission Canvas page.

Cambodia Immersion

The 30 girls who participated in the Cambodia service-learning trip in December have been compiling a video with quotes that will be launched at a College Assembly. This experience was life-changing for many of the girls as you will be able to read from some of these extracts below. All girls were impressive ambassadors for the College and worked hard to ensure that they left their Mercy mark on the people of Cambodia. As with all experiences, the girls gained as much from the Cambodian people as they did from having the girls visit and assist in building two houses and a school recycling plant.

'Cambodia was a rewarding, humbling and emotional experience for me.' Amelia Assaad

'Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.' Yasmine Alwakal

'Our eyes, heart and minds have been open to a brand new culture and perspective of life.' Josie Connelly



Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission

From the Counsellors

Internet and social media usage and safety and being kind online

Young people today are growing up in an era where internet usage is part of their everyday lives. A 2017 study by The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne ( found that young people aged 13 to 18 spend on average, 43.6 hours a week on screen-based activity at home (6.2 hours a day). Two hours used to be the golden rule for the amount of screen time young people should be allowed per day. That’s now being revised because it just isn’t realistic in the modern world where technology is used for education and social networking, as well as for entertainment. It is more important to set limits on recreational screen time and to focus on the quality of what your children are doing on their devices. A good starting point would be to ask:

  • Where is my child looking for information?
  • How do they know it’s good quality information?
  • What kind of games and apps is my child using?
  • Are they using their screen time for distraction or procrastination?

At the start of 2018, Australia was distressed by the news that 14-year-old Dolly Everett had died by suicide as a result of relentless bullying and cyberbullying. Her parents and sister have worked to establish an organisation called Dolly’s Dream to support young people impacted by bullying and to help prevent any further loss of young lives as a result of bullying. There are a number of videos and articles for parents to use to assist them in having conversations with their children about how they use the internet. Families can also sign up for Digipledge at Dolly’s dream website. The cost to sign up is $10 per family. Using real-life scenarios, DigiPledge teaches adolescents how to make the right choices online and explore the consequences of making poor choices. For more information:

Safer Internet Day was held on the 11 February 2020, and it saw millions of people around the world unite in their commitment to making the internet a safer place for people to navigate, in particular our youth. Internet safety is an ongoing conversation that we need to have with our children and students. It is certainly a topic that is addressed as part of the pastoral care program at OLMC and it is a topic that the counselling staff are often speaking with the girls about. If you would like to find out some more information about how to start that conversation with your daughter the following link is a great starting point

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior School Counsellor

Amelie-Aiko Loof

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Liturgy Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

Organising prayer for Assemblies and liturgy services on Friday mornings.

What is your vision as Leader of this Portfolio in 2019/2020?

I hope to strengthen the spiritual life of the College by creating an environment where everyone feels safe and open to talk about their faith. I am working closely with the Mission Team to help bring justice and honour to the world through the value of God's name.


Parent Representative Council

Student Travel

Opal Cards

The start of the school year is also a perfect opportunity to remind students of the importance of carrying a valid Opal card and using it correctly and we need your help to achieve this.


We have found that the common reasons students don’t tap on are:

  • They do not hold an Opal card and have never applied for it (largely because they are ineligible/live too close to the school)
  • They have lost or forgotten their Opal card but have not replaced it
  • They might have a valid card, but don’t see any reason to tap on and off
  • The driver does not enforce it/ask them to TAP ON
  • Or due to insufficient funds on their Child/Youth Opal card.

Every time a student TAPS ON and OFF, they are counted on our service – when they don’t, they are invisible. Without accurate patronage data, Transport for NSW has the option to withdraw low patronised services.


Courteous Travel


  • On a crowded bus please offer your seat to an adult, especially an elderly person or a pregnant woman – it’s good manners!
  • Be quiet and respectful – the bus driver needs to concentrate on the road
  • At bus stops and train stations, stand back and allow adults to board the bus and train first
  • Make room for people getting on or off
  • Follow any directions given by the bus driver i.e. if standing, move to the back of the bus to let other customers on
  • Do not block the doors or aisles with bags
  • Carry your backpack by its handle and when standing put your backpack on the floor between your legs to avoid causing any inconvenience to other passengers
  • Do not take-up more than one seat when others are standing
  • Do not put your feet on the seats
  • Use headphones with mobile devices and keep the volume down
  • Speak quietly when on the phone
  • Put your rubbish in the bin
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.