Marie Wood, Deputy Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

This certainly is an ever-changing world at present with the challenges of COVID-19 and one which we are learning to navigate together as best we can. Here at the College, our focus is on maintaining a calm and productive approach to all that we do as we care for each other’s wellbeing. All around us some people in the community are responding with fear and individualism and we can see that this is not a dignified way to relate to each other. It is causing unnecessary shortages in the supermarkets and unnecessary friction between people. When we only think of ourselves no-one thinks of us. Yet if we look closely we can see goodness exhibited by many people too and it is important to focus on this goodness at OLMC. As a Mercy community we care about each other, we respect each other and we place ourselves at the service of others.

As a Mercy community we are preparing as best we can to respond to the challenges of a COVID-19 world as I have communicated with you this week on Monday, 16 March. On Friday, 20 March this week we will enact the OLMC Student Online Study Day when students in Years 7-12 will stay at home and study remotely. As advised, it is a Staff Development Day and we will be testing our online learning delivery should the College receive instructions from health and educational authorities to close the school. We remain open for learning and all students should be in attendance unless unwell. Absences without a medical exemption will be recorded as unexplained.

As a result of COVID-19, we have had to cancel many internal school events for the remainder of Term One. 

Tuesday, 24 March Alumnae Award Assembly
Tuesday, 24 March Year 7, 2022 Enrolment Information Evening
Wednesday, 25 MarchRostrum Voice of Youth
Monday, 30 MarchScuba Diving Information Evening
Tuesday, 31 MarchDesign the Future Workshop
Wednesday, 1 AprilYear 12 Leadership Afternoon Tea 
Thursday, 2 AprilRiver City Voices
Friday, 3 AprilCAPA Senior Students Theatre Excursion 'No Pay No Way'
Monday, 6 AprilHSC Success Evening

International Women’s Day, 8 March, coincided with our 2020 College Open Day this year. The theme for 2020 is “An equal world is an enabled world.” International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. IWD is about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action. Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.

International Women’s Day suggests that:

“We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender-equal world. We can all choose to be #EachforEqual.”

At a local level, we can all remain sensible and level-headed during these challenging times.

We were very fortunate to welcome prospective families to OLMC on Open Day. When I spoke to these families I welcomed them to the 2020 OLMC Open Day – a day when we open our doors, our hearts and our minds to showcase our best selves as a Mercy community.  I wish to acknowledge and thank all of our students and staff who volunteered their service so willingly to welcome our visitors who were able to see live examples of our values in action - through the curriculum and co-curricular activities, through Mission initiatives and tours of the College spaces. Thank you also to the generous P&F who provided the tasty BBQ on the day. It truly was a wonderful day and not one bit dampened by the intermittent rain!

From student and staff reports it is clear that the recent Year 7 Camp was a great success. The varied activities involved team building, leadership, initiative and responsibility, all of which are invaluable life skills for any individual. Please watch out for future stories about the Camp. If your daughter is in Year 7, I am sure that she returned full of excitement with plenty to talk about with these positive experiences. Such experiences help to shape who your daughter is becoming, adding to her independence and resilience.

As Principal, I will continue to communicate with you regularly regarding updates and advice and instructions concerning the Coronavirus. The College is vigilant in managing safe hygiene practices and social distancing. Our priority remains everyone’s safety, health and wellbeing- social and emotional. This means that we will never respond from fear but from facts and with the collective welfare at the forefront. I will be acting on all advice and instructions provided by Health and educational authorities.

Please also, take care of yourselves.

Warm regards,

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)




A Growth Mindset in Mathematics

At the beginning of a school year, it is timely to refresh our memories about what a ‘Growth Mindset’ is and particularly about how a growth mindset can benefit us when we come to thinking about Mathematics.


Carol Dweck, an American psychologist and professor of Psychology at Stanford University, coined the term, identifying that everyone holds ideas about their own capacity to learn and their own potential. Some people believe that their intelligence is fixed, referred to as a ‘fixed mindset’ while others believe that they can learn anything and that their capacity to learn is always growing. These people are described as having a ‘growth mindset’. Dweck indicates that about 40% of student possess a fixed mindset, 40% possess a growth mindset, while the other 20% will fluctuate between the two.


Professor Jo Boaler of Stanford University, has built upon the work of Carol Dweck focussing in particular on the importance of developing growth mindsets in Mathematics. In Mathematics, people with a fixed mindset will believe that either you can do Mathematics or you can’t and, if you can’t, then there is very little you can do to improve that situation. When the content becomes challenging or they don’t understand what is being covered or how to solve a problem, students with a fixed mindset will give up and stop trying to understand or to find a solution. Those with a growth mindset, however, will acknowledge that they are finding the concepts challenging, but will persist until they understand, believing that with extra effort and time, they can improve and be successful. Indeed, it is only through persistence and acceptance of the challenge that learning occurs. Everyone struggles with new and challenging content from time to time, but with a dedicated approach, Mathematics can be learnt.


At OLMC, the Mathematics Faculty aims to promote the positive norms endorsed by Jo Boaler, in order to inspire, educate and empower students to become highly engaged and persistent learners of Mathematics.  Accordingly, students are encouraged to approach their studies in Mathematics with a growth mindset and to change the way they view the making of mistakes. Instead of perceiving them as a failure, students should perceive mistakes as being valuable learning experiences. The teachers will encourage students to establish why they made a mistake and to determine what they can learn from it. Mistakes, therefore, indicate areas of misunderstanding and can identify content that needs to be revisited and revised. Students should use mistakes as an opportunity to seek clarification to improve their understanding. Consequently, questions are of great importance in the process of learning, and students should ensure that they ask them often.


Parents can have a significant impact on the development of a growth mindset in their children, particularly in relation to Mathematics. As a parent, you are encouraged to ensure that your conversations about Mathematics are always positive, regardless of your own experience, feelings or beliefs. You should focus on persistence in the face of challenge, resilience in the lack of immediate success, and on identifying different strategies that can be used to enhance understanding and improve learning.   


Parents can access some valuable advice from Professor Boaler about what parents can do to transform maths for their children (of all ages) on  


Further information can also be found on




University experiences

Be sure to check below for a range of university events, including information evenings, experience days, online seminars and other activities. These are designed for students of different ages and year groups, and their parents. Be sure to check in regularly regarding the status of these events based on COVID-19 updates.

In addition to these events, there is lots of information this fortnight on university applications, early entry programs and scholarships.


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Public Speaking

Impact of COVID-19

The development of COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of many public speaking programs. At the moment, CSDA, Rostrum Voice of Youth, the Parramatta Eisteddfod and the Legacy competition have been cancelled. Sadly, this may mean that close to 100 girls will lose an opportunity to develop public speaking skills but the health and welfare of our students is paramount. 

CSDA Success

Before the cancellation of this competition, many students were involved in the early rounds of CSDA. Well done to Alexandra Attard and Aarushi Duggal (Year 7), Mia Fogolin and Isabella Samaha (Year 8), Ambeikaa Mishra and Vidushi Trivedi (Year 9), Maeve Nolan and Sophia Santos (Year 10), Yasmine Alwakal, Jala Bakri and Sofia del Rio (Year 11) and Ashley Leslie (Year 12). All the girls were well prepared and OLMC should be proud of their efforts. Alexandra, Isabella and Ambeikaa truly impressed and progressed to the semi-finals at which point, the competition was cancelled. 

College Open Day

At the College Open Day on Sunday, 8 March, two of our outstanding Year 7 speakers, London Ardeleanu and Sierra Lake made a major contribution to the day by speaking (twice) at the welcome to our visitors. London and Sienna spoke exceptionally well and had a major impact on those who heard them speak. Well done to both girls who had to first write their speeches before delivering them. London and Sierra have maintained the exceptional standard we have come to expect from our students.


Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator




COVID-19 Update 

It is with great regret that I inform you that based on advice from health experts, NSW Department of Education, and in light of the World Health Organisation's declaration of a worldwide pandemic, all Sport has been suspended for the rest of Term 1. This includes OLMC Carnivals, Cheerleading, CGSSSA Gala days, PDSSSC Championships and Selection Trials, IGSSA Saturday Soccer, Saturday Netball (ERNA), NSWCCC Championships and Selection Trials, State Sports Championships, NSW All Schools and School Sport Australia events.

Many venues have closed and many sports have been cancelled, while others are postponed in the hope that they may be rescheduled to a later date.

Saturday Netball games and training, at this stage, have been postponed until May when a modified season could start.

The OLMC Cross Country Carnival will not be run in Week 1, Term 2.

Term 2s Saturday Soccer games and training has been halted at this stage.

Term 2 sports could face the same consequences as Term 1. A final decision regarding Term 2 sports won’t be made until mid-April by all the relevant governing bodies.

We are currently in unprecedented times. As soon as more information is available, it will be passed on.

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator




News from the P&F Meeting

  • Thank you to all helpers who assisted with the Open Day P&F BBQ.
  • $500 was donated to Rural Aid.
  • The P&F purchased playground equipment and sunscreen pumps for students.


A reminder that the Uniform Shop Hours are now Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8.00am until 9.30am

Winter Uniform Shop Appointments are now available. Please go to the College Website to make an appointment.

We are currently running short of the new Senior blazers. Until we can fill all orders, senior students can continue to wear the new Junior blazers. The Uniform Shop currently have stock of the Junior blazers. 

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)

Each year, all schools in Australia participate in the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD). The NCCD process requires schools to identify information already available in the school about supports provided to students with disability. For further information about this process, please click here

To access a Fact Sheet for Parents, Guardians and Carers about the NCCD, please click here.

OLMC Anti-Bullying Policy

People all around Australia are familiar with the name Dolly Everett.

Dolly’s name was heard across the nation after she sadly took her own life last year following relentless bullying. At a College Assembly held in 2019, I shared an image that was drawn by Dolly, with the students. I challenged the girls to commit to speaking even if their voice shakes when they become aware of bullying.

Dolly’s 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. Dolly’s Dream has funded a first of its kind anti-bullying video with the hopes of getting teens to understand just how much their words can affect someone. This video was written and directed by 15-year-old filmmaker Charlotte MacLaverty. Award-winning singer, Billie Eilish, also lent a hand to help create the powerful video, gifting one of her songs as the soundtrack.

On 10 March at the College Assembly, I reminded the girls of the College Anti-Bullying Policy and showed them Charlotte’s powerful anti-bullying video. Please follow the link below to view the video and an interview conducted by The Project on Channel 10. Mrs Sandra Portela, Senior College Counsellor shared this same link in the previous newsletter.

Charlotte’s video draws attention to the fact that cyberbullying can happen at any time and in any place, while highlighting the devastating toll that it can take on a person. Whether spoken face to face or online, words can be positive and help build others up or they can be crushing and devastating to the receiver. I challenged the girls in the Year of Dignity to choose their words carefully.

The College is an inclusive community and strives to celebrate the diversity among us. In the Year of Dignity, it is time to revisit the message of this poster that is displayed in every classroom.

We are a Mercy community and bullying should have no place at the College if we truly live out the Gospel values. Mercy fuels compassion; it is kindness in action. The College has a zero-tolerance for bullying.

What is bullying?

  • It is more than just a fight or disliking someone.
  • Bullying is when someone or a group of people who have more power than you, repeatedly use words or actions to hurt you.

I reminded the girls that the Anti-Bullying Policy and Social Media Policy are both in the 2020 College Diary and by signing page 3 of the diary, they have committed to understanding and abiding by these policies. Bullying can be physical, verbal, social, psychological and cyber-related and bullying, in all its forms, does not maintain a person’s dignity. OLMC is all about respectful relationships, student to student, and student and teacher.


What to do if you’re being bullied?

  • It’s really important to talk to an adult you trust. This could be a parent/carer, another relative, a counsellor or a teacher.
  • The goal is always to make the bullying stop. The school can and does intervene and the expectation is the bullying stops. I explained that we need each student to be courageous and to 'speak even if your voice shakes'. To call out what you know is undignified, unkind, unmerciful behaviour towards a fellow Mercy girl.

The College has issued each girl with a wristband highlighting the need for us to stand together and ensure that everyone’s dignity is treasured. In any bullying situation, there are three parties, the bully, the person being bullied and bystanders. At OLMC we do not stand by, we stand up.

Please remember…

  • Bullying is never okay.
  • It is hurtful and can impact someone for a long time.
  • If you are being bullied, you’re not alone.
  • There are people you can talk to and things you can do to stop the bullying.

Mrs Anne-Maree Donnelly
Director of Pastoral Care









From the Counsellors

Balance for Optimal Wellbeing

There are many facets to wellbeing including emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, social and societal wellbeing. If we are experiencing issues in any one of these wellbeing domains, it can have an effect on other areas of our wellbeing too. For example, if we are finding it difficult to cope with our workload, we may experience emotional distress (sadness, anxiety, low moods), mental distress (be overwhelmed, procrastinate or be unsure where or how to start a task), physical symptoms (increased headaches, tiredness but an inability to sleep), and social distress (withdraw from our peers or supports).

Stress is a normal part of life, however, it is the way that we process and respond to this stress that will determine whether our wellbeing is impacted. There is growing research evidence to suggest that stress can impact on our physical and emotional/mental wellbeing (please see article links below). As parents, teachers and psychologists we need to help our young people learn how to manage stress so that their wellbeing is not negatively impacted and their potential is maximised.

To best manage stress we need to try and strive for balance in our lives. Balance is best achieved through eating a healthy diet, participating in physical activity, getting adequate rest and sleep, connecting with others, and participating in activities that you enjoy. Students who attend counselling for stress management concerns are encouraged and taught various relaxation techniques to assist in reducing stress. These include deep breathing, mindfulness, grounding techniques and guided relaxation.

Some students who attend counselling speak about feeling ongoing stress relating to their academic ability or the expectations placed on them, either real or perceived, by parents or others to achieve. Whilst it is important for students to complete their homework and assessment tasks, it is equally important that the focus is not solely on academic achievement. If students are spending significantly more than the recommended amount of time per evening on academics (see page 42 of the College Diary), this is likely to mean that they are not able to have time to spend ensuring some balance, leaving them prone to wellbeing concerns and developing unhealthy coping strategies.

If you feel like your daughter may need some help with learning to manage stress, please contact one of the College Counsellors to discuss further.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior College Counsellor

Exercise and stress:


Stress impact on immunity:

Stress and adolescent wellbeing:

Impact of stress on high school students:



Gabrielle Scanlon, Director of Identity


We continue on our Lenten journey: a time of preparation and readiness for Easter.

This week’s focus is on an indigenous Gamilaroi man originally from western NSW. Barry is a father of four and he embodies resilience and strength. Growing up in a tough environment, he had to look inside himself to make the right choices for him and his family. Barry, and others like him, were able to take part in a cultural healing program called Red Dust Healing. This program encourages participants to examine their own personal hurt and allows them to heal from within, addressing family and personal relationships and what may have been life-long patterns of violence, abuse and neglect.

Just as the Samaritan woman went on to share her revelation with others, Barry also shares the richness of his experience. His community is striving forward, facing the challenges of intergenerational trauma, past oppression and colonisation together.

How can we manifest the radical love of Christ in order to break down barriers of injustice?

Cambodia Information

The 2019 Cambodia Group presented their final video to the College at Assembly last week. The girls delivered a very good summary of the trip:

In early December, 30 girls from Year 10 and 11 accompanied by four teachers travelled to Cambodia for a 12-day service-learning trip. For the first three days of our trip, we spent our time in the Capital City, Phnom Penh and travelled up to Siem Reap, where we spent three days building houses. 

The capital city of Phnom Penh is one full of history and culture.  Whilst here we visited the Royal Palace and were amazed by some of the beautiful buildings.  But it is also a city of contrast. We also spent some time visiting locations where the civil war saw an enormous loss of life and changed the face of Cambodia forever. These were places of pain and trauma but the feeling whilst there was of hope. Butterflies amazed us flying around areas which were once mass graveyards. 

Another part of the cultural experience whilst in Cambodia was interacting with the local Cambodian people.  We did this by participating in different service-learning projects. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting a local Primary school for a whole day. BFOK school is just outside Siem Reap. B.F.O.K is an acronym that stands for Better Future For Our Kids. Despite the school’s limited access to resources, it was filled with smiley, yet cheeky children. We spent the day reading books to the children, conducting English lessons in the classrooms, teaching them numbers, singing educational songs and most importantly playing soccer in the scorching heat!

The final three days of our trip in Siem Reap were spent building houses. It was hard work in the heat, lifting the heavy wooden frames, nailing in floorboards and screwing on the colourbond walls. We were truly amazed with the local Cambodian builders who used basic tools and skills to ensure that the frame was straight, lined up and safe. When taking breaks, we also spent some unforgettable time interacting with a large number of children from the community, who on the second day greeted us with leaf and flower crowns.

We have all heard before that small actions have the ability to make a big difference in the life of another person; but what we achieved and gave to these families and the whole community was far from small. It was life changing for all involved!

Silk is one of the largest exports Cambodia is known for, hence whilst we were in Cambodia we visited a silk farm and witnessed the process of how this material is made. Whilst there we purchased a silk cloth in each of the 8 House colours which will be used at House meetings and other House related events.

Charlotte Carter (Year 12) and Elizabeth Lawlache (Year 11)

Year 10 Reflection Day

On 5 March, Year 10 went to St Joseph’s Retreat Centre for our Reflection Day. After arriving, we gathered together to discuss what the day was going to offer us and what we would be focusing on. 

After Recess, we split into three groups to focus on activities surrounding the Mercy Engaged Program, the Fast Fashion industry and its impact on the environment and society, and Mercy in action in today's world.

Drawing on our experiences we bound and decorated our Reflection Day booklets based on the opening Reflection activity. We had to draw three main personal characteristics/traits that benefit the world.

The Possibility Projecttwo speakers named Kath and Kim, ex-students of OLMC, spoke about the impacts of fast fashion on society and climate change. It was eye-opening and made us aware of the horrors behind fast fashion today. Many well-known brands, such as H&M and Zara, employ women and children who are underpaid and experience terrible working conditions.

A Resourced World - In this activity we formed groups and created communities with resources including cardboard, pipe cleaners, cups, paper, etc.

After all the sessions were over, we gathered once again in the hall to reflect on what we had learnt and how this information could contribute to our community.

Throughout the day, we looked at the impacts that humans and industries have on the environment and society, and how we, as Mercy Girls can change society for the better through our Mercy Values. Year 10 would like to thank all the teachers who organised and attended this Reflection Day. It was definitely a day to remember.

Samantha Emeish (Year 10)



Renuga Inpakumar

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Mercedes House Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

The key responsibilities in being a House Leader is providing the best for my House, ensuring everyone is included in the House activities and helping the other Houses during events.

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

My vision for House Captain is leading the students in Mercedes to build up their confidence and strength in all aspects of College life. I hope to ensure that the activities we participate in as a House, enable us to work together in a team. At the end of 2019/2020, I would like to see that Mercy Girls within Mercedes have grown as individuals and forged strong relationships.