Marie Wood, Deputy Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

How quickly we have moved to onsite learning this week! It was a pleasure to see our students return on Monday and have the playgrounds filled with laughter and the classrooms filled with the sound of consolidation of the learning that has occurred over the last few weeks. Sometimes learning growth is visible and sometimes learning growth is more subtle and not easily measured.

Over the last few weeks, I have often referenced in my communications to you, our capacity to be agile and flexible. We have certainly had our resolve tested by the challenges brought on by the pandemic. As educators we have reviewed and refined the Continuous Learning Program; as parents, you would also have your resolve tested as you juggled your family and work commitments. The students have generally increased their levels of autonomy and their ability to be disciplined and focussed. I also have a renewed respect for retaining one’s sense of humour and optimism in the face of the constantly changing daily issues that COVID-19 has surfaced. I believe that how you deal with the issues is the measure of who you are – both for yourself and in the eyes of those around you.

If there is a positive, it must be that the true strengths of the OLMC community are now obvious to all. We have rallied as a community: our parents, our students, our staff, the College Board and our inspiring Parramatta Sisters of Mercy. I thank the Sisters sincerely as I know that we were and are always in their thoughts and prayers as a Mercy community, as they are in ours.

What has your daughter learnt about herself at this time? What have you observed that is different about her way of acting and thinking? In considering the time we have all spent at home, these might be good ideas to explore with your daughter as she transitions to onsite learning. What will she keep doing? More of something? Will she start working in a different way?  

As Principal, I know I have benefitted from taking the time to show deep appreciation for those around me. From the friendly smile and acknowledgement that comes my way and that encourages me to be present in the moment. I have been grateful for the messages of support and gratitude that have come from parents and students alike; for the emails sent to me and for the parent who called out her thanks from the car window as she dropped off her daughter on Monday morning. I am so proud to be leading OLMC at this time as it has shown me such generosity of spirit amongst our community. Thank you all!

Year 12 students have been foremost in our minds here at the College and the recent Year 12 Student-led Conferences, conducted via Zoom, have been a great success. Year 12 are currently in their Assessment Block this week and next week and even this has taken on new meaning and purpose. I think we are all relieved to be back face-to-face and the resilience of Year 12 has been outstanding. We offer them our full support but we must also realise that they have stepped up and taken on an increased level of responsibility. This is both encouraging and right as they complete their education at the College and prepare for the wider world.  I am confident that the forthcoming Study Weeks (two) in the July holidays, generously supported by their teachers will add to their confidence and courage as they approach their Trials in August.

The Mercy Tree symbolises all that is good about our Mercy community. At present, it is shedding its leaves but it stands strong and unwavering as a call to charity and service. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important not to forget the charitable causes that we as a community support. The Mercy Tree is an initiative of the College and underpins an important partnership with the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta. Standing tall in the Brigid Shelly Courtyard, the Chinese Elm tree was blessed and planted on College grounds in 2012. Reflecting the growth of the College’s commitment to Mercy Values and its desire to address the needs of the wider community, the Mercy Tree continues to raise funds to support charitable causes nominated by OLMC students and determined by the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta. For the second year, donations to the Mercy Tree will go to support the Parramatta Women’s Shelter. As we emerge from coronavirus lockdown, donations are needed to support western Sydney’s most vulnerable women and children. During disasters and particularly at times like this, when people are being forced to stay inside, the rate of domestic and family violence climbs. In this difficult time, we would appreciate your donations to this worthwhile cause. To donate to the Mercy Tree, click here.


We are in Phase 3 of our Continuous Learning Program. It has been carefully considered, is focused and highly practical. Should we be called to revert to remote learning we can do so with minimal disruption. As always, I will communicate any instructions and updates from health and government authorities as they are made known to me.

Take care and stay safe.

Warm regards

Mrs Marie Wood
Principal (Acting)







The HSIE Faculty Update - Our Focus on Engagement

With the move to the Continuous Learning Program, the HSIE Faculty has been focusing on lifting engagement in student learning by providing various formats for students to share their thinking and skills development this semester.

For Year 10 Commerce, this has been the creation of their own Google site that journals their learning throughout the Employment Issues topic and asks them to reflect on the skills and knowledge needed for their dream career.

For Year 10 Geography, this has seen them take on the persona of a rural Chinese citizen moving to an urban area. The students wrote a letter to their family back home about their experience of being a 'floating' migrant in a Chinese city, outlining both the opportunities and challenges they are faced with. 


For Year 9 Aboriginal Studies, they have been examining identity and how to undertake ethical research. They have put their knowledge into practice by creating their own television broadcast on an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who has contributed to Indigenous cultural recognition.

For Year 9 Work Education, they have been learning about the importance of Work Health and Safety, it has taken the form of creating WHS Worker Response Plans. These plans communicate what one must do when faced with an emergency.

For Year 8 Geography, this has taken the form of our students undertaking a water audit. This entailed keeping records of how their family has been using water during the lockdown. I hear our students have taken to this task and have been stalking the family bathrooms with stopwatches, noting every minute individuals within their family have showered, washed their hands, or brushed their teeth.

For Year 7 Geography, their work on Sustainable Development Goals has seen the creation of informative posters. Through this creative medium, our students were asked to promote one sustainable goal and generate their own ideas on how each person can help support the achievement of this goal. On reading their suggestions you can see the Mercy values shine through.

To increase engagement, not only have the teachers utilised the student submissions, but they have been leading Zoom sessions. These sessions have been designed to connect with the week's learning and be interactive. For our Year 10 Geography cohort, this saw them experience first hand the challenges of the old migration dictation test. The teachers, in wanting to provide a rich and authentic learning experience, delivered the test in French. Their experience in having to write in a foreign language led to a rich discussion on the challenges all non-European migrants to Australia faced from 1901 to 1958.

Finally, with our students back in the physical classroom this week, the HSIE teachers are focused on consolidating their learning and providing an opportunity for students to connect with their peers. Our Year 7 Geography students, took the form of playing Grid Reference Battleship. Having learnt how to grid reference in previous weeks, this class activity provided the students with an opportunity to reinforce, refine and apply their new skill in the ultimate competition.

Ms Gillian Carpenter
Leader of Learning HSIE




Taronga Zoo Student photo Competition
Different Themes and deadline dates.
There is always wildlife around us, even at home. With the many healing properties nature has to offer, we are challenging students to a photo competition to capture the natural beauty around their homes. The Wild Snaps Photo Competition has now reopened! Students can now continue to enter the competition with fortnightly changing themes, proudly supported by QBE Insurance. Show us your best wildlife or nature photo! School students from Kindergarten to Year 12 are invited to enter the Wild Snaps photo competition to encourage students to be wild explorers.

The Fashion Advisory – Fusion 2020 Design and Illustration Challenge
Open to students in Years 11 and 12, this Challenge is designed to look and feel like fashion industry-standard practices to give students a closer fusion with the fashion industry. Fusion creates Trends, Colour and print Directions palettes that inspire designers across all categories. This style of ‘Trend Theme’ format makes this design competition unique! The creative focus and design disciplines will challenge students and give them access to amazing portfolio development opportunities through this design challenge. Register and get started:

ACMF National Song Writing Competition
Closes 3 August
$10,000 in prizes! Every year, every student from every school across Australia is invited to put pen to paper and enter their original song for a chance to win prize-money that can be allocated towards musical equipment and tuition. 75% of Australian public schools do not have dedicated music teachers. In 2002, singer-songwriter, Don Spencer, OAM, founded the ACMF to address the needs of children who were not getting the benefits of music education.

The Simpson Prize
Closes 6 November
The Simpson Prize is a national competition for Year 9 and 10 students. The competition encourages participants to explore the significance of the ANZAC experience and what it has meant for Australia. Eight winners are chosen from each State and Territory with the opportunity to visit overseas battlefields and participate in ANZAC Day commemorations. For more information go to The Prize page.
Question:How do lesser-known stories from the Western Front expand our understanding of the Australian experience of the First World War?

Bright Awards
Closes 16 November
The Bright Awards is a celebration of students in Years 10, 11 and 12 across Australia who are bringing their creative craft to life. Designed to highlight emerging young creative talent and brought to you by Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University Australia, this is a chance to have your work recognised by industry professionals working in the field. If you’re just starting out, had a couple of years of practice or really proud of your major work, this competition is for you. The Bright Awards are designed to highlight emerging talent across Australia with winners for 2020 receiving a $1,000 prize and $3,000 for their schools. 

Please read on for news about university Open Days, real and virtual, and other information to help with your planning for next year.

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Sport and physical activity restrictions are starting to be eased by the government, however, it will take time before these can be fully resumed. 

On Canvas in the MyOLMC Information Gateway you will find the MyOLMC Sport page where there is a list of all OLMC sports. This list will be updated upon confirmation of a sport being cancelled, postponed or going ahead.

There is also a link to a list of online resources for specific sports training drills you can do at home. You may like to undertake some of this training in preparation for sports returning.

Saturday Netball should restart on 18 July consisting of a 10 round competition. Once this is confirmed an email will be sent.

I  hope you and your families continue to stay safe and healthy.


Mr Stuart Guthrie
Sports Coordinator



Public Speaking

As school life gradually returns to normal, public speaking opportunities have also sprung to life, admittedly at a virtual level. Nevertheless, much is in the pipeline for our girls.

World Titles

As previously announced, the World Debating and Public Speaking Competition was cancelled for 2020. While this denied Yasmine Alwakal of Year 11 a wonderful opportunity to display her outstanding speaking skills, there are plans to run a virtual competition catering for the same four categories required in the real event. This is wonderful news for Yasmine and all those who qualified for the World Titles.

Speaking 4 The Planet

A competition run by the Sutherland Environment Centre explores the impact of our choices not just on the environment but on so many aspects of our lives. Once again, Yasmine Alwakal, who seems to have endless energy for being involved, will be submitting her recorded speech, while in the Junior section, highly talented Jennifer Wang of Year 7 will compete. Both girls are sure to impress the judges and we wish them luck in their submissions.


After being postponed (and almost cancelled), the CSDA Zone Finals will be proceeding through the magic of Zoom. Speakers will connect with adjudicators and each other on Friday, 12 June and Grand Finals held the following week. This is good news for three of our girls who have qualified for the Zone Finals: Alexandra Attard (Year 7), Isabella Samaha (Year 8) and Ambeikaa Mishra (Year 9). It won’t take long for these girls to dust the cobwebs from their speeches and recapture the excellent standard that has taken them to this level.

Plain English Speaking Competition

This competition now requires a recorded speech on video for students between 15-18 years on the 1 January this year. Eligible public speakers have been emailed with information and hopefully, there will soon be two OLMC girls preparing speeches for this competition.

Student Speak
The in-school portal to this program has already seen many students indicating interest in contributing to this program. Jennifer Wang of Year 7 has provided an excellent speech on 'A Story that Matters' (now viewable on CANVAS) and several others are not far from submitting their videos. All students, not just public speakers, can participate in this program that should grow into an impressive library of excellent speeches. Full details can be accessed on CANVAS/Courses/Student Speak. Any interested student can contact Mr Ostrowski at any time, or in B101 any lunch hour. Support for preparing and presenting speeches is available.

Mr Christopher Ostrowski
Public Speaking Coordinator




We have a number of items that are out of stock due to issues with sourcing from overseas.

Blazers – New fabric has been milled in China and sent to India for manufacture. Unfortunately, the factory remains in lockdown. We have been given a date of mid-August for delivery. This has been additionally delayed due to the inability to air freight due to the reduction in flights. If your daughter does not have a blazer they can wear their school jumper with the sports jacket.


Tights – Our supplier, Hanes, is having difficulty filling orders placed earlier this year. We are currently waiting on an update of our current order. In the interim you may be able to source tights at Myer, David Jones or other online stores.

Product Description: Kayser Ink Navy Opaque tight 70 Denier Appearance

Scarves – The school scarves are made in Lima Peru, which contributes a sustainable income to a group of women in one of the poorest districts, San Martin de Porres. Unfortunately, we are unable to source the scarves at this time. The girls will be permitted to wear a plain navy scarf in the interim.

Winter Uniform – If you do not have your full winter uniform please contact the Uniform Shop and make an appointment to have your fitting.

Old Uniform – If your daughter is currently wearing the old uniform there are still some items in stock if needed. Please contact the uniform shop.

The Uniform Shop is open every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 8.00am to 9.30am (school days only). In busier periods such as changes in seasons, the shop opens on additional days. To ensure social distancing takes place, 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

All orders placed will be delivered to the Student Centre for collection by the Students.




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

Canteen specials will be posted on CANVAS at the beginning of each week and the electronic notice boards will now show the daily specials.

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

Mercy Futures Talk

Managing the transition back to full-time schooling

Click here for tips to help students manage the transition back to full-time schooling

Meet your School Counsellors:

The College is committed to the welfare and wellbeing of all students and employ’s qualified registered psychologists to assist in assessing and addressing any wellbeing concerns. Students can access school counselling via one of the following ways:

  • Self-referral - students can email a College Counsellor directly or attend Student Services and arrange an appointment time.
  • Teacher/House Leader referral - if your teacher or House Leader has concerns about your wellbeing, they may encourage you to utilise the counselling services.
  • Parent referral - your parents can refer you to the counselling services by phoning the College Counsellors on 8838 1273.
  • New students - As part of your induction at OLMC, your House Leader will help to arrange a time for you to meet the counsellors.

The College currently has three counsellors:

Sandra Portela 

I am an endorsed Forensic Psychologist, meaning that my Master's study focused on psychology and the law. I have been practising for 13 years. I commenced employment at the College in 2019, as the Senior Counsellor. Prior to this, I worked for various organisations including a child protection counselling service providing counselling to children, adolescents, parents, foster carers and kinship carers, the Family Law Court to help provide advice to the Court about suitable care arrangements when parents have separated and also in a public primary school and State high school as a School Counsellor.

My passion is working with young people and supporting their wellbeing by helping to foster their strengths and enhance their resilience. My therapeutic preference is to use a strengths-based approach, utilising Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, in conjunction with teaching skills such as mindfulness and relaxation. I work at the College from Monday - Friday. 


Alia Palethorpe

I am a registered psychologist and have been working with families and children for 12 years. My first position was at Macquarie University where I researched family roles, relationships and other dynamics within the modern Australian family. I then moved on to working in a women’s refuge, providing therapy and support to mothers suffering from mental illness and their dependent children.  After this, I took a position at Anglicare within adoption and foster care services before moving to the Department of Communities and Justice (then called Family & Community Services) to work with vulnerable children and their families. Prior to commencing at the College, I worked within a non-government agency providing counselling and advocacy to survivors of abuse and their supporters. 

In 2016, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to be a Counsellor at OLMC. The idea of cultivating healthy and ongoing professional relationships with young people, their parents and staff, through psychoeducation and therapy was what I was looking forward to building.  I would describe my therapy style as holistic - a blend of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solutions Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Attachment-based Therapy. I aim to provide a safe space where we look at the ‘problem’ as external to the person and focus on goals, solutions and empowerment. I work at the College on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Emily Montuori

I am a registered psychologist and I believe it is a privilege to work with young people seeking support for emotional distress or crisis. Throughout my professional career, I have always held a strong passion for advocating for adolescents and I am grateful for the opportunity to assist them to access their internal strengths and work collaboratively with their support networks.

I completed my tertiary training in psychology at the University of Sydney, 10 years ago, and have worked for 20 years with children, adolescents and adults in a broad range of areas including various roles in child protection for the New South Wales government. During that time, I spent several years at an adolescent unit based in Kings Cross supporting some of our most vulnerable teenagers and families. This enabled me to develop my experience and exposure to complex therapeutic issues and further fueled my desire to continue supporting adolescents.

I am passionate about mindfulness, creative therapies and understanding the brain from a neuroscientific level. My work is underpinned and led by a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and more. I am at the College on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Charlize Galayini

What is your Leadership Portfolio?

Callan House Leader

What are the key responsibilities of your Portfolio?

To work with the Callan House, to push them to be the best versions of themselves, lead them in House activities that bring them closer as a House.

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

As Callan House Leader, I aim to bring the Callan students closer together as a community and create a sense of belonging. I want to develop activities that will push Callan students out of their comfort zone and become the best version of themselves. I endeavour to create an environment full of fun and happiness. 



Gabrielle Scanlon, Director of Identity

Loving God,

Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them,

You created us in your image and made us stewards of all your creation, of our common home.

You blessed us with the sun, water and bountiful land so that all might be nourished.

Open our minds and touch our hearts, so that we may attend to your gift of creation.

Help us to be conscious that our common home belongs not only to us, but to all future generations, and that it is our responsibility to preserve it…

Make us courageous to embrace the changes that are needed in search of the common good, now more than ever may we feel that we are all interconnected, in our efforts to lift up the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.

We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen

Laudato Si Week

We celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Pope’s Encyclical that addresses care for the earth - our common home. It is timely to stop and reflect on the earth and the way that we treat it during the global pandemic. As we begin to emerge from our period of isolation, spend some quiet time reflecting on the earth- the crops and flowers, the waterways and the animals. The prayer above is an extract from the Common Prayer for the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si. The full prayer can be found here.

Vegetable gardens    

As we spent more time at home, the EcOLMC girls were meeting via Zoom and shared some of their lovely stories about creating vegetable gardens in their backyard. This is an easy way to transform your yard into a useful and tasty garden!

Friday morning prayer

Despite not being able to gather in the Chapel for our regular Friday morning mass, we continue to gather as a College community through a shared prayer experience. The daily Gospel is read with a short reflection each Friday morning. This allows our Catholic community to stop and participate in a shared prayer experience.

As we enter into the final week of May, please remember to place prayer reflections and intentions onto the blue paper located at the Mary sacred space set up on the Chapel steps. This will remain in place for another week.

The month of June will be dedicated to the environment. We will share some moving videos and articles in the coming newsletters.

Wishing you all a happy week.

Mrs Gabby Scanlon
Director of Mission