Dear Parents and Carers

We have entered Week 3 and Phase 2A of the Managed Return to School Plan here at the College and by now, if your daughter is in Years 7, 8, 9, 11 or 12 she will have attended school for at least one day of this week. Year 10 will be onsite tomorrow, Thursday. What a difference a phase makes! Of course, we have been open since Week 1 of this term and some students have been onsite, however, I have to tell you that the sound of nearly 600 students on campus on Monday morning was welcome and exciting and referenced a return to some form of “normal” – at least for us here at school! 


We have missed having the students physically present – this is the reason we are here, students and staff – we are social beings and thrive on positive relationships and interactions. The students clearly feel this too, as they greeted each other and their teachers as they would after a long break like the Christmas holidays. The focus for this week is reconnection and the sharing of stories, alongside the learning and teaching and wellbeing focus so innately a part of the fabric of OLMC. 

There will be a period of adjustment for your daughter/s as she returns to the physical space of school and the structure that comes with it. This is normal. Even the ringing of the bells to signal the beginning and end of the day brings order that may have been missed. We are all looking forward to regaining some amount of normality in the school day. Some students (and families!) will have found their rhythm in the online learning model, but we are looking forward to helping students recalibrate to learning inside and outside the classroom. 

I have to say I am so impressed with the way the students and staff have managed and adjusted so quickly to remote learning and zoom lessons and we will maintain our Continuous Learning Program and a modified schedule during Phase 2A. While the government and health officials continue to monitor the pandemic and the related social implications we know that consistency of learning delivery at this time will allow us the flexibility needed should any restrictions be reintroduced.

On campus, we are maintaining our safe practices for everyone’s protection. You may have missed my email last week so I thought a reminder would be useful to you:


  • We are encouraging social distancingü  Parents are asked to remain outside the gates when dropping off/collecting their daughters
  • Visitors to the site are restricted
  • Sanitiser stations have been placed in corridors around the campuses
  • A a safe-distancing line has been created for the Canteen
  • Cleaning regimens during the day have been increased to two per day
  • We continue to educate the College community about how we can protect ourselves from COVID-19.

While it was disappointing to not have our Mother/Daughter Day Mass onsite this year I would like to acknowledge all mothers, grandmothers and those who undertake this role for our students, and hope that you had a rich and fulfilling Mother’s Day together. Thank you to Father Walter, to Mrs Scanlon, Director of Mission and to Mrs Ellen Lonergan, Retreats and Liturgy Coordinator, for collating and delivering a wonderful “virtual” liturgy for us. Many people contributed to this liturgy, in terms of music, prayers and readings and I thank them too. Ms Dominique Granturco assembled the recordings of us all – thank you! I am truly grateful that we found this way to spiritually connect. Challenge exceptionally well met!


I cannot yet provide an exact date for the introduction of Phase 2B but I will communicate this with you once we are certain ourselves that everything is in place for the safe increase of student attendance. Again I will be guided by the advice of health authorities and that of government at State and Federal levels. What I can say is that learning has changed. You will have noticed that your daughter is more flexible and autonomous in her learning. Perhaps more capable than she thought. We have all learned much about ourselves during our response to this pandemic. We have expanded beyond what we know we can be. The good things, the strengths we have gained or amplified, must be retained. This is our growth and we are obligated to use it wisely now. I will say more about this as I continue to communicate with you and we will be asking you for your feedback too - what can you tell us about the things that have been done well by the College? By your daughter? What must we, should we, could we do? What should we stop, start or do more? What will learning look like in the future?


Before COVID-19 reshaped 2020 for us and while we operated in what we considered “normal” times, our Year 7 students transitioned to High School with everything ahead of them. Our Year 12 students began their last three terms at the College expecting that they knew what this would involve as they prepared for their Higher School Certificate. Years 8, 9, 10 and 11 also thought they knew what to reasonably expect. So did we! It is important to remember not only our Year 12 girls who will be sitting their HSC at the end of the year, but also our Year 7 girls who had less than a term at the College before the pandemic socially distanced us. In less than a term, everything changed dramatically for everyone but we have proved ourselves! We have proved our strength as a Mercy community and we have proved our agility and resilience. We have proved to be exactly what Catherine McAuley envisaged for us - to be strong and capable, confident and courageous. I know she would be proud of who we have become.


Warm regards


Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)



Learning in Science

2020 has certainly presented some challenges, but learning in Science is continuing, and our students and teachers are demonstrating resilience and creativity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moving to an on-line mode of delivery has been a steep learning curve for both teachers and students. Eight weeks ago, most Science teachers had never heard of Zoom, let alone imagined they would be delivering lessons directly to their students’ homes via this platform. We are now in our fifth week of zooming lessons, and we have learned a lot in this time, both through observing the level of engagement the lessons generate, and also from each other, by debriefing about the lessons that went well, as well as the glitches and setbacks. We have also improved our skills at making videos and designing on-line quizzes and other interactive learning experiences for our students. Indeed, many of the resources we have created for the purpose of teaching in the pandemic will undoubtedly be useful to our students beyond 2020.

For Science teachers the trickiest part of online learning has been the teaching of investigation skills. Practical work makes up a large component of the Science courses, and the best way for our students to develop their skills is by carrying out investigations. This can be challenging away from the Science laboratories. To address this, we have reorganized the order in which topics will be taught in 2020. During Term 2 our junior students are studying topics that include less practical work. The Chemistry topics have been pushed back to later in the year for our Year 8 and 10 students. Our Year 10 students will be doing their Student Research Project in Term 3 rather than Term 2. Year 7 students are currently studying a topic about body systems. Learning how to use the microscope has been moved to Term 3 for them. For Year 9 students the topic on light and electricity, which has a large practical component, will be studied later in the year as well.

Where possible we have incorporated some practical work that can be carried out at home. Year 7 students made a model of a body system. Sofia Maruncic can be seen in photo 1 with her model of the digestive system. Year 7 students also carried out a home experiment involving birthday candles and glasses, where they investigated how quickly a burning candle uses up the oxygen in different size glasses. Maelys Pace is working on this investigation in photo 2. Year 8 students are currently investigating the effect of light on seed germination and plant growth by growing plants in a cupboard and under normal conditions. Senior Chemistry students made acid-base indicators from garden flowers and other household items. They also created models to represent strong and weak acids from items as diverse as Lego, cardboard, and lollies.

We are certainly very glad to welcome back our students this week, and while we are looking forward to an increase in the number of face to face lessons, the skills that both teachers and students have learned during the pandemic will make us more adaptable and resilient in an ever-changing world.

Mrs Pascale Warnant
Leader of Learning Science

Keeping active during Continuous Learning

The importance of achieving and maintaining good health is so important to living our lives to the fullest and reaching our goals. This is the case now more than ever before. Making positive decisions around physical activity is key and can help us develop an effective daily routine.

The PDHPE Department have uploaded a range of videos and other information that are located on the Continuous Learning tile on the Canvas Learning platform. These workouts can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time. They are 20 minutes in length and include a warm-up, a hit out, and some light stretching. You are encouraged to do at least 10 additional minutes of physical activity each day so that you meet the Australian Government guidelines.

There are a range of additional benefits of being physically active for students that go beyond fitness. These include:

  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increased ability to concentrate, think and learn
  • Enhanced mood and reduced levels of stress
  • An opportunity to have some fun and try something new

PDHPE Department


Universities Update

The University Admission Centre (UAC) is working with other tertiary admissions centres, universities, and education authorities to ensure a pathway to university for current Year 12 students and to ensure that no student is disadvantaged in relation to university entry. The ATAR will be calculated in all states and territories as in previous years. Any changes to the examination and assessment process in response to COVID-19 can be accommodated within the ATAR framework.

As in previous years, other pathways that exist alongside the ATAR will be used by universities. For example:

  • The use of other criteria such as interviews, tests and portfolios for specific courses
  • Special entry schemes for specific groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • The consideration of Year 11 results as part of some early offer schemes.

In addition, universities have autonomy in their admissions processes, and many are adapting their schemes in response to COVID-19.

Please click on to read further about the possibilities for students. This week there is a lot of information about university entry programs, information evenings and scholarship opportunities. Many of the events and offerings require students (and parents) to register, so please be sure to sign up for those you are interested in and put the dates in your diary.

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Public Speaking


As we all know, the current pandemic has resulted in many restrictions to activities that were an integral part of our College community. One of these was the cancellation of public speaking competitions such as CSDA finals, Rostrum Voice of Youth and the Parramatta Eisteddfod among others. This has resulted in over 100 girls being denied the opportunity to develop skills so vital in a “normal” world.

To help overcome these unfortunate circumstances, OLMC has initiated a program that offers our students a shared forum to communicate their ideas with others. Known as Student Speak, it is a program where students write a speech, then, after an editing process, record it on video that is available for others to view on the College’s CANVAS website.

All 130 students originally listed for competitions have been emailed details but this does not prevent any other interested student from participating. The program can be found on the CANVAS Dashboard under “Courses” and all students now have access to that site. The intention is to keep this program for as long as social restrictions remain in force. Even after that, it is hoped we will have a permanent bank of resources showing others what successful public speaking looks like.

It is important to point out that students can get support at every stage of the process.

Thanks must go to DAPS Leaders Daphne Fong and Lily Tambrchi who have contributed an introductory video to the program and to Laurice Behan of Year 8 who designed the title page, as well as Mr Matthew Esterman and the IT staff who were so helpful in setting up the site.

Student Speak: A Voice for Every Student is now open to all students at the College.

Speaking 4 the Planet

All public speakers have been emailed with details of a competition run by the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre.  Known as Speaking 4 the Planet, it encompasses a wide range of opportunities for students in two sections: Years 7-8 and Years 9-11.  Entrants can choose from prepared speaking, presenting a video, or creating a meme, a writing challenge of no more than 30 words, submitting artwork or performing a drama. If any student is interested, please contact me and I will send you details. You don’t have to be a public speaker. Entries must be submitted by Friday, 26 June.

An associated competition is Writing for the Environment, requiring an essay of 800-1000 words, open to any student 18 years or under. Prize money is $500 and entries close Friday, 3 July. Contact me for further information.

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator




Due to COVID-19, numerous sporting events have been cancelled for the remainder of 2020. It is unlikely that Term 2 sport will be held. Final decisions about Term 2 and 3 sports will be made in the coming weeks by the relevant sporting organisations. School Sport Australia has cancelled all sports for 2020 which will have a flow-on effect to NSWCCC and PDSSSC carnivals and selections. PDSSSC and CGSSSA will try to hold one-off Gala days for some sports later in the year.

The OLMC Sport page is located on Canvas in the MyOLMC Information Gateway. On this page, there is a list of all the sports OLMC is involved in. This list will be updated when confirmation is received of a sport being cancelled, postponed or continuing. There is also a link to a list of online resources for specific sports training drills you can do at home. These can be done depending on your equipment and space available in preparation for a number of sports returning soon.

At this stage, Saturday Netball is looking like it may go ahead in Term 3 with a 7 round competition. This will be confirmed in the near future.

If you are interested in running and are missing the school cross country carnivals, please feel free to join the Australian Cross Country Challenge. For further details, visit their website

Whether you are an athlete or not, during isolation it’s ok to feel unmotivated. Here are a few ideas to help athletes stay focused & positive:

  • try and stick to routines and rituals
  • have a sense of purpose and connect with others
  • modify your training to be able to replicate skills
  • create and sustain energy and pressure (eg. adding an extra skill or cognitive task into a drill-like dribbling a soccer ball and catching a tennis ball at the same time)
  • set goals

Hoping you and your families stay safe and healthy and looking forward to seeing you back at school soon.

Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator



The Uniform Shop will be open during the school term every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 8.00am – 9.30am. To ensure the Uniform Shop is safe there will be a limit of one family in the store at any one time.

Purchases can also be made via our online uniform shop, by e-mail or by phone.

School Fees

School fees for Instalment 2 were due on Friday, 1 May 2020 unless you are on an existing direct debit arrangement with the College. Please ensure overdue fees are paid by BPay, cheque, money order or credit card via the Parent Community Portal (Visa or Mastercard) as soon as possible.

The College realises the disruption and financial impact COVID-19 has had on family financial situations. Please refer to the College website for COVID-19 Fee Help or alternatively, let the Finance Office know and understand your circumstances via email or telephone call.


Any queries regarding fees or payments can be directed to the Finance Office on 8838 1214 (8.00am–4.00pm) or by email


Mrs Anne-Maree Ironside
Finance Manager




The Canteen is open daily before school from 8.00am and during recess and lunch.

The Canteen menu can be found on the College website

OLMC Community Business Directory

One of the ways that we can support each other at this time is to access goods and services in our OLMC community. We understand that many businesses may have been impacted heavily by the pandemic. Therefore, we have established an OLMC Community Business Directory that provides an opportunity for members of the OLMC community to promote their small business and assist in connecting all our members in supporting those businesses now and in the future as they return to normal trading.

If you are interested in adding your small business to the Directory, please click here to complete an Application form. If you have any questions, please contact the College Development Officer, Mrs Susan Giacomelli

Upcoming Webinars

Please find links below of upcoming webinars via Zoom that the NDIS is co-hosting with Children and Young People with Disability Australia:

  • Keeping children and young people with disability strong – NDIS Participants aged under 7 years – Tuesday, 5 May 2020 10.00am-11.00am. To register click here 
  • Keeping children and young people with disability strong – NDIS Participants aged between 7 and 18 years – Thursday, 7 May 2020 11.30am -12.30pm. To register click here
  • Keeping children and young people with disability strong – NDIS Participants aged 18-25 and beyond – Tuesday, 12 May 2020 3.00pm-4.00pm. To register click here

From the Counsellors


Life as we know it has changed over the past two months. We are all spending more time at home and consequently spending more time with our immediate family. For some of our girls, this has been a wonderful consequence, they thrive in their home environment and have liked the reduced pace and pressure to keep up socially. Some girls are at the normal developmental stage where they have a strong need to individuate from their family, and as such, have found the increased time together stifling. For some, it has strengthened family connectedness and relationships and yet for others, it has put further strain on tenuous relationships. It is likely during this time you have experienced both. Interactions with your daughter that have left you feeling deeply connected and on other occasions where you are left feeling bewildered, hurt or infuriated.

It’s important to note that during stressful or challenging times our children tend to react by escalating pre-existing behaviours, emotions and responses. If your daughter has a tendency to withdraw or isolate, you may have seen this happen more frequently. Likewise, if your daughter tends to externalise through arguments and protests, you may have seen an increase in this behaviour. These reactions are normal responses, although they can certainly create a barrier to you feeling connected.

Dr Justin Coulson is an Australian Psychologist, published author, father to six daughters and a well-known parenting expert. He suggests the following tips for enhancing connection with our daughters:

  1. LOVE is spelled TIME. If you want to feel connected to your daughter you have to invest time in that relationship. Walk the dog together, play a board game, get baking, make hot chocolates and sit out in the Autumn sun together.
  2. The opposite of connection is judgement. Our children want to feel heard and accepted, so try and avoid judging what they have done or said.
  3. Your daughter needs your compassion. They need us to stand with them in their suffering and say “I am here”.
  4. The stricter the parent, the sneakier the child. Force creates resistance. Great relationships build autonomy.
  5. When things get heated, we often say things we don’t mean. High emotions = low intelligence. Wait until things cool down before you have that important conversation.
  6. Despite the eye rolls, screaming, swearing that they hate you and cold shoulder, your daughter loves you, and needs you. Remember this and you are more likely to bring compassion with you in your interactions.

A quote has recently been shared in the media, possibly originating from a letter from the Principal at Wakehurst Public School. It encapsulates the importance of connecting with our children “At the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills.  And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during their weeks away from school. So, keep that in mind, every single day.” A quiet reflection before bed could be, “How have I connected with my daughter today?”.

Sources of information used:

Dr Justin Coulson: and The Daily Telegraph article “No they don’t really hate you” (18 January 2020).

For further information, Dr Justin Coulson has recently published a book titled Miss-Connection: Why Your Teenage Daughter ‘Hates’ You, Expects The World And Needs To Talk.

Mrs Sandra Portela
Senior School Counsellor

Lily Tambrchi

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Debating & Public Speaking Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

Handling and coordinating all debating and public speaking events (with the help of Ms Riley and Mr Ostrowski)

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

To encourage as many girls as possible to be involved in public speaking and debating initiatives! I would like every girl to be able to find their voice and use it! We are hoping that the initiatives we start will provide a new, broader and more exciting perspective on public speaking that will help girls come out of their shells.


A woman of character, where is she to be found?
She is more precious than a jewel.
She reaches out her hand to the helpless and gives to the poor.
She is strong and dignified and looks with confidence to the future.
She speaks wisely and her words are kind.
May she enjoy the fruits of her labour,
and may all praise her for her works.

The extract from Proverbs above was read at our Mother/Daughter Liturgy and talks about the qualities that many may associate with a Mother or nurturer, regardless of gender. Reaching out to help others, looking forward with confidence to the future and speaking wisely are all qualities that I am sure many of us would love to possess, and sometimes it is through difficult times that we are encouraged to look more closely at who we are and who we want to be.

“The tender Mercy of God has given us one another”. As the students begin returning to OLMC, this quote from Catherine McAuley rings true. Together, as a community, we can come together and celebrate the many things that make us a truly unique and special Mercy community - a community centred around the love of Jesus and the guidance of Mary.

Mother/Daughter Liturgy

The College community shared in our virtual Mother/Daughter Liturgy. It was a moving tribute to all of our mothers and other significant role models in our lives. Thank you to all of the people involved in bringing this Liturgy to life. We are an adaptable community who openly embraced this new way of celebrating together. If you did not get the opportunity to view this Liturgy, you can do so by following the link: Mother's Day Liturgy

May - the Month of Mary

May is traditionally a month when we remember Mary, and whilst the Chapel doors remain closed, we are still remembering Mary, the mother of Jesus, for the important role she plays in our Catholic faith. We have set up a sacred space outside the Chapel where we have a lovely wooden statue of Mary as well as some paper and pens. We invite the girls to come and place their prayer intentions into the box provided. These will then be presented to Fr Walter at the end of the month and offered up as special intentions at our next College Friday morning Mass. Thank you to Ms Ellen Lonergan for assisting in setting up this prayerful space.

Families Week

Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. This is the theme for Families Week 2020 and this year we are celebrating families and community with the return to school - and what a better way to do it than by creating a “Wall of Us”. All girls have been sent or provided an image of a person. They have been encouraged to colour these in and display them on the glass wall of the Christina Creede Music Centre. Visit the National Families Week website for great resources.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy week ahead

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission