Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 19 Term: 4 Week 9 - 8 December 2017

Principal's Blog

Vale Alan McManus

As per the letter sent to the community earlier this week, Mr Alan McManus passed away last Saturday surrounded by his family. It is thus with much sadness that the Magdalene Catholic High School farewells a giant in the Magdalene community, our Foundation Principal.

Indeed, the School owes a great debt to Mr McManus for all of his tireless work in making the Magdalene community what it was and what it is today.

Many in the community will have a “Mr McManus tale”, and many of these will involve his incredible care and concern for young people. Possibly they might mention his exacting standards or maybe even his incredible laugh that would brighten many people’s days (a laugh described by his son David during Alan’s Eulogy as sounding like an “asthmatic goose”).

I had the absolute pleasure of working closely with Mr McManus in recent years, first in his role at Magdalene, then in his time at the Catholic Education Office as a colleague and then on the other side with him working with various leaders in Catholic Schools. He was someone who I deeply respected and who I enjoyed having educational conversations with. Quite often I would ask for his advice and, more often than not, the answer came down to – “what would be the best outcome for the students?”

We have much to be grateful, as the many gifts Mr McManus shared were a true testament to the very nature of being human. Although our hearts are heavy, we keep in mind his wife Cathy, his three children and his multiple grandchildren, knowing that the very essence of his work surrounds us here at the School every day. Mr McManus saw Magdalene as a virtual extension of his own family and it was a place – as Foundation Principal – in which he found incredible joy and satisfaction.

Often Mr McManus would talk about the high expectations which we needed to afford young people in the Macarthur and the need for unwavering standards. I, as so many in the community, will miss Mr McManus being around (or at the very least being accessible) as he has always been a constant at Magdalene.

Alan, we miss you deeply and may the Lord allow perpetual light to shine upon you.

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Staffing 2018

It is always at this time of year that we say goodbye to staff as they move on to new ventures.

I would like to congratulate the following on their new appointments and/or destinations for 2018:

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I take the time to congratulate all these staff members for their time and energy, some having held senior roles at the School (e.g. Ms Franciscus – Learning Support Coordinator, Mr Hewitt PDHPE Coordinator, Mr Sinclair-Kydd – Year 12 Coordinator, Mr Johnson – Year 10 Coordinator), others having been excellent classroom teachers (Miss Joyce, Ms Dinh, Miss Loka, Miss Brown) and/or wonderful contributors (e.g. Ms Miller – Homework Club & Duke of Edinburgh, Ms Flick – multiple CAPA events, drama productions and the like). We wish them all the very best and hope that they will always have a place for Magdalene in their hearts.


I am delighted to announce our very strong Pastoral Care team for 2018:

Pastoral Care Coordinator: Mrs Forner

Year 7 Coordinator: Mr Manns

Year 8 Coordinator: Mr Bubb

Year 9 Coordinator: Mrs Durrant

Year 10 Coordinator: Mr Dowdell

Year 11 Coordinator: Mr Arzapitian

Year 12 Coordinator: Mrs Foti

Stage 4 Assistant: Mrs D. Phillips

Stage 5 Assistant: Mrs Tolhurst (Mrs Tolhurst will be joining our English Faculty in 2018 and comes to us having had experience as a Year Coordinator)

Stage 6 Assistant: Mrs Colella (Mrs Colella will also be joining our English faculty in 2018. She has previously been a member of the PDHE Faculty and a Stage Assistant.

Wellbeing Coordinator: Mrs Colella


In light of Mr McManus’ funeral, the uplifting Psalm 23 is most appropriate:

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

God Bless

Mr Matthew McMahon


Parent Survey

Each year we like to give our parents/carers the opportunity to provide honest feedback about the school in that calendar year. Please click on the following link, answer the questions and provide details as appropriate.

We greatly value parent/carer input and consistently aim to enhance the learning experiences of your children.

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20th Year Celebration Dinner

As 2017 draws to a close, as a school we celebrate another significant year of academic, sporting and cultural successes. We also acknowledge a year of spiritual formation and connection through the joys and sorrows that we experience as a community.

When we resume our school year in 2018, it heralds a significant milestone for our community, 20 years of quality Catholic education.

Magdalene intend to celebrate this important year in our journey through a series of events that will both honour our history and display our optimism for the future.

The premier event in our calendar of celebrations will be our Gala Dinner to take place on the 18th May, 2018 at The Cube Function Centre at the Campbelltown Catholic Club.

This exciting event will provide an opportunity for past and present members of our school community to honour 20 years of service to the students, staff and families who have formed the fabric of Magdalene Catholic High School.

Over the Christmas and New Year break, we are requesting your assistance to begin to build the excitement of the coming celebrations. Not only do we ask you to 'save the date' of the Gala Dinner, we are hoping to make contact with as many Magdalene alumni as possible, to hear your stories, gather memorabilia and really connect as a community as we move into this significant year.

To register your interest, make contact to share your history or help us find some of our founding staff and students please email Michelle Cornett at

We will begin to form social media contact pages in 2018 and will keep you informed of the wonderful events that we have planned to Celebrate 20 Years of Magdalene.

Looking forward to your support,

Michelle Cornett

The 20 Years Committee

School Calendar

Keep up to date with what's going on!

Australian Catholic Youth Festival

Magdalene Impressions

On the evening of Tuesday 28th November Magdalene Catholic High School celebrated the artistic talent and hard work of Visual Arts and Photography students at the Annual Magdalene Impressions Exhibition. This event provided an opportunity to showcase the high standard and broad range of artistic work at Magdalene. On display were works from Year 7 to Year 12 students including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and digital media.

Our special guest speaker, former Magdalene student Keziah Duguid, opened the exhibition and presented students with their awards and prizes. Keziah currently studies Visual Arts at Wollongong University and works part-time at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Keziah, who has participated in exhibitions in Newcastle and Hobart, spoke about her experience both as a Visual Arts student at Magdalene and about her own experience as a practicing artist.

We were much appreciative of Mr John Lo Casio, Head of School Improvement, Wollongong Catholic Education Office and former principal of Magdalene Catholic High School, who also attended the event.

The following students from each Visual Arts and Photography class were presented with prizes and certificates for ‘Excellence in Art’ and ‘Effort and Diligence’.

Award for Excellence

7.A Mirna Helay

7.B Elana Richardson

7.C Frank Stillitano

7.D Charlotte Francis Reynolds

7.E Tamzyn Harris

7.F Kaneisha Cox

7.G Ellise Saffhill

7.H Sara Papandrea

9VA Ameilya Petkovski

10VA Peter Cornett

11VA Maddison Saysanavongpheth

12VA Madeline Boaro

9PHO Bianca Stillitano

10PHO Lucy Taylor

11PHO Bianca Zepina

Award for Effort and Diligence

7.A Jasmine Phillips-Green

7.B Makaylee Sands

7.C Audrey Andjic

7.D Lincoln Miners

7.E Benjamin Ballantyne

7.F Maison Davis/Hayley Harrison

7.G Jeina Efendic

7.H Emily Said

9VA Shannon Phillips-Green

10VA Evelyn Jeffs

11VA Bianca Tenaglia

12VA Leilani Bussone

9PHO Sophie Blackmore

10PHO Aleesha Austin

11PHO Jarrod Brooks

For the second year in a row, Magdalene Impressions has been fortunate to receive donations for three additional prizes. The Parents and Friends Association donated prize money which has been awarded in the form of gift vouchers to our most successful Visual Arts and Photography students. These students were voted by the School’s Executive and Auxiliary staff. Madeline Boaro of Year 12, most successful Visual Arts student, received a $150 gift voucher from Eckersley’s Art Supplies and Lucy Taylor, most successful photography student, was awarded a $150 gift voucher from Harry Hartog Book Store. The Teacher’s Choice Award, voted on by Magdalene teaching staff, was presented to Brittany Atkins. A further prize, The People’s Choice Award, voted on by attendees at Magdalene Impressions, will be presented to a deserving student at our next whole school assembly.

The Visual Arts Department would like to thank our very talented musicians Audrey Andjic, Nick Ciappara, Luke Sawyer-Hamilton, Judd Cosio, Jerry Beauchamp for providing live music on the night adding to the upbeat ambience of the evening. Also, members of Magdalene’s Student Representative Council, Lauren Avero, Renae Bligh, Brooke Peters, Samuel Kiss, Max Versteeg, Nathan Secheny, Maddy Saysanavongpheth, Katelyn Beller, Kyna Kelly and Frank Stillitano as well as Hospitality students Emma Greenhalgh, Katarina Matijasevic, Dominique Messina, Paige Nicholson and Brooke Peters who ensured the smooth running for the evening by meeting and greeting guests and catering. Finally, we would like to thank parents for recognising their child’s enthusiasm for the Visual Arts by attending the Magdalene Impressions Exhibition and supporting their child’s burgeoning talent by allowing creativity to flourish in their homes.


Maria Meagher, Nicole Tree, Cathy Delaney

Year 10 Visual Arts Excursion- 2017

On Monday 13th November Year 10 Visual Arts students travelled to the city to visit the Art Gallery of NSW and the Contemporary Art Museum to view both permanent and visiting collections in support of their current unit of study ‘Interiors’. Their visit to the galleries provided students with valuable engagement with a broad range of contemporary and traditional artworks.

In the morning, at the Art Gallery of NSW, students explored the work of installation based artist Mikala Dwer. Dwer constructs environments made from a variety of materials such as plastics, clay, wood, metal, fabric and found objects. She deliberately selects disparate objects and materials and places them within the conventional ‘white’ architectural space of the gallery. Students were invited to feel immersed in her installations and experience them on a sensory and personal level.

Students also considered the ‘interior’ works of Australian artists Grace Cossington-Smith and Roy de Mastre as well as Postmodern digital works in the Asian Gallery Space. In doing so they questioned the curatorial decision making of the gallery directors determining their choices of lighting, décor and positioning of artworks in unique and interesting combinations.

After lunch we then headed down to Circular Quay to the Museum of Contemporary Art to participate in a tour of visiting artist Pipilotti Rist. Rist incorporates video and sculpture into her large-scale audio-visual installations to plunge audiences into her dazzling environments which investigate the relationship between nature, the body and technology. Students were able to sit and experience the space and explore its emotive and sensory impact. During the tour student’s attention was directed to aspects of artist’s practice focusing on the artist’s decision making in using lighting, projection, objects and space. After the small group tour of the exhibition, students participated in a workshop to create their own built interior installation space providing them with first-hand experience of collaborative construction of an installation artwork.

In all, it was a fantastic day providing students with broad experiences with a range of contemporary and traditional artworks that deal with interior spaces. Such opportunities feed into student’s innate knowledge of artists, their work and the world around them.

- Visual Arts Department

University of Wollongong Illawarra Coal Science Fair

Christina David (8H) attended the University of Wollongong Illawarra Coal Science Fair. She was the only participant from Magdalene Catholic High School.

"By participating in the 2017 University Of Wollongong Science Fair, I have developed the necessary skills in assessing and communicating various scientific concepts. To conduct an original experiment and display the results in a visual sense, expands on skills in writing scientific reports and increasing creativity.

The experience engaged my attention through the vast array of scientific display boards, each providing unique investigations and results. Simply observing each participant’s project inspired me towards how science can be applied to every action and reaction which occurs in life.

Even though I have not yet achieved high results to win the top prizes, it is an excellent opportunity to express your knowledge and interest in both science and mathematics. I would recommend others to participate in this event as schools consisting of high results and greater than seven projects may have the chance to achieve the School Leadership Award.

In terms of creating the experiment, I considered an interesting issue (antibiotic resistance) and expanded on possible solutions to the complication. Therefore in the following years, I will participate in the Science Fair as I develop new ideas using previous experiences."

Victor Chang School Science Awards

A fortnight ago it was a great honour to see three of our students (Siobhan Suters, Luke Summers and Brandon Shaw – Year 12 2018) each receive a “Victor Chang School Science Award” at the Camden Council Chambers.

Siobhan, Brandon and Luke do the School proud with their passion and outstanding achievements in the field of science. Nominated by the Science Faculty, all three were acknowledged for: “their tenacity and commitment in the classroom, despite a nationwide decline of participation in school science.” Indeed, across Australia enrolments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are currently at the lowest level in over two decades. Therefore, it is great to see each student with such talent and a desire to pursue an aspect of science in their future careers.

The awards themselves (now in their 13th year) were named after the late cardiac surgeon and pioneer of modern heart transplantation, Victor Chang. They were established to celebrate young, gifted students and foster growth in scientific studies and Magdalene students on the day certainly showed why they were worthy recipients. Congratulations.

I would also like to thank Ms Elaine Hornas for her excellent work in supporting this initiative.

Year 11 Legal Studies Excursion

On Monday the 20th of November Year 11 Legal Studies went on an excursion to the NSW Supreme Court and the NSW State Library.

Upon our arrival at the Queens Square Court Complex, our class needed to pass through security scanners to be able to enter any courtroom. Luckily for us, we were all given entry without any problems.

We were then met by one of the Court Registrars who took us directly to the Banco Courtroom. The Banco Court is located on Level 13 of the building. As well as being used for sittings of the court, the courtroom is also used for all ceremonial occasions including the swearing in of new judges and the regular Admissions Ceremonies for new lawyers in New South Wales. The information session that included details such as where people sit, the role of those in the courtroom and courtroom etiquette.

Our group was then split in half to go and listen and view different court cases. The first group visited a murder trial in the St James Road Supreme Court. This was interesting as the jury was asked to leave several times whilst questions of law were being argued by the prosecution and defence. The other group visited the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal where the court was being asked to review a decision to send two young men to gaol.

At around 11-30am both groups met up and made our way the NSW State Library. The librarian assigned to our group showed us how to access the expansive collections of resources kept at the library from the comfort of our homes. This will be invaluable to us as we begin our HSC courses. The resources include publications, journal and newspaper articles, and books. We were then given a tour of the library including the underground bunkers that are used for storage of thousands of books and files.

It was an enjoyable day and very helpful as we progress into Yr 12.

Connor McFarlane (Year 11)

Australian All Star Cheerleading National Championships - Year 9

Congratulations to Erin Cato, Hannah Roberts, Jade Peroumal and Hanna Lawson.

They have all been in Melbourne competing in the Australian All Star Cheerleading National Championships held at the Melbourne Conference Centre. This competition attracts over 13,000 competitors. Erin, Hannah, Jade and Hanna compete for a local club, Steps 2 Stardom (S2S) in Smeaton Grange.

This S2S team walked away with a National Championship title. An amazing achievement.

Erin, Hannah and Jade are members of two teams. Level 4 and Level 5 teams. (Internationally, the highest level of competition is Level 6)

Both teams walked away with National Championship Titles, they also both walked away with Grand Championship titles (never achieved by their club before). The Level 4 team won a bid to compete in Orlando in 2018 and the Level 5 team won a coveted World Championship bid to compete in Florida in 2018 in the World Championships; a thing that has eluded their club until now. They were one of three teams to win a sponsored entry from the National Association.

Both teams "Hit Zero" which means they performed a flawless routine. This is very unusual as the smallest errors are picked up from a panel of approx. 18 judges watching and videoing for anything that goes amiss.

On Monday both teams were invited to compete in the Australasian Pinnacle competition. This is a selective competition only available to teams who have received nominations during the year.

Once again, both teams stepped up and delivered amazing performances and resulted in the illustrious titles of Pinnacle champions.

So just to recap :

S2S INFERNO (Level 4)
⭐ Won the bid to the Summit 2018 in Orlando
⭐ L4 2017 Grand Champions
⭐ L4 Snr AG 2017 National Champions (AG = All Girl)
⭐ L4 Snr AG 2017 Australasian Pinnacle Champions
⭐ Hit zero x2 (meaning a perfect routine with no deductions)

⭐ Worlds 2018 Bid in Florida
⭐ L5 2017 Grand Champions
⭐ L5 2017 National Champions
⭐ L5 2017 Australasian Pinnacle Champions

⭐ Hit zero

With Cheerleading now introduced as an Olympic Sport, who knows ..... these girls are now in the spotlight of selectors.

Youth Engagement Strategy - YES Program South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE

During this week a number of students have attended a number of Vocational workshops at TAFE where they have had their first experience of learning in an adult environment.

The workshops included such things as Business Administration/Business, Automotive, Bricklaying, Electrical, Carpentry, Hair & Beauty and many more.

During this time they are receiving important information about the value of many subjects at school and the prospects of employment in many occupations.

Mrs Dobbie, Careers and Mathematics staff

Year 7 Religious Education

This term, Year 7 have been studying the unit ‘Stewards of Creation’ during Religious Education class. In this unit, we have been exploring different aspects of creation such as dominion and domination, different creation stories from a variety of nationalities and religions, impacts humans have on creation and support systems of the Earth and how we care and maintain them (the atmosphere, animal life, oceans, etc). Linking to the Creation unit, each Year 7 student received a small pot plant that we had the responsibility to look after and provide it with its everyday needs, including water and sunlight. We had four different options of plants (which included pink Impatiens flowers and tomato plants) that we selected to take home and observe its journey of growth.

Bethany Hooper 7D

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End of Year Mass


The Magdalene Parents and Friends Association would like to extend an invitation to our current and incoming families to be part of a new initiative aimed at strengthening community partnerships and supporting local business.

The Magdalene Community Business Directory will provide an opportunity to advertise your business, free of charge, to families and staff at Magdalene through a digital directory linked to our Parents and Friends portal on the school website.

We would love to hear from interested Magdalene families who would like to promote their products and services to the local community and encourage our wider Magdalene community to consider supporting these businesses where possible.

Inclusion in the Business Directory is voluntary, completely free of charge and open to all families with students attending the school. To list your business with us, please make initial contact with Michelle Cornett through our Parents and Friends email address

We look forward to your support of this initiative and will work hard to get the Directory up and running for the start of the 2018 school year.

Best wishes for a happy, safe and holy Christmas and New Year break from the Magdalene P&F.

School Zones

A reminder to all our parents ahead of the Christmas holiday break at the end of Term 4 that school zones remain in place for the safety of our children and families.

School zones operate on all gazetted school days, which are all days the school is open, even pupil free days.


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Canteen Duty

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We have a large number of school uniform pieces in LOST PROPERTY. Parents can you please ask your child/children to check the lost property for any lost clothing, drink bottles or glasses. The lost property is located in the front office.

Thank you for your assistance.

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