Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 4 Week 9 - 14 December 2018

Principal's Blog

Dear Parents/Carers,

It’s official, we will become Magdalene Catholic College from January 1, 2019!

The New South Wales Educational Standards Authority (NESA) has approved our application and amended our registration. A copy of this registration document (see image below) will be located in the Front Office.

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It has been a long road, but following the overwhelming community desire indicated earlier in the year, our request to change was agreed to by Bishop Mascord and Peter Turner, Director Of Schools Catholic Education. This request then went to State Parliament for conferring and then to NESA.

The change brings in a new era for Magdalene and simultaneously allows us to refresh some of our key documents and capture exactly what it is that we are and what we stand for. Our reworded Vision statement is:

We strive to be a College known for our quality Catholic learning and teaching. This includes our concern for student wellbeing, academic care of all students, and our emphasis on helping students live out the Gospel message so that they can make meaningful contributions to their world.

Equally, our mission stresses our goal and purpose i.e. to provide quality Catholic Education. It states:

Magdalene Catholic College provides a co-educational environment which has students at the centre. Our community is a place where lifelong holistic growth is valued by fostering high expectations, quality relationships and academic success for all. We develop courageous hearts and creative minds and we are committed to all of these aspects because, like our patron, Saint Mary Magdalene, we have "seen the Lord".

Our sharpened Core Values (moving from 7 to 4) captures our essence and, being reduced, should be something each student can readily know. These core values are:

1.Discipleship and Service

2. Love of Learning

3. Quality Relationships

4. Personal Best

and are embedded in our curriculum and in the key messages behind our Pastoral Care and Academic Care Program. Just as much as they are qualities which we emphasise at Magdalene, they are also qualities which we hope will hold true through our students’ lives.

The attached document emphasises these key features

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While our uniform will change in the future it is important to note that there will be a three year period that students will have to purchase new items. So there is no need to worry. Our existing uniform is the uniform for the immediate future.

In early 2019 we will ask for Expressions of Interest from our parents/carers to be a part of a Uniform Committee to discuss changes.


One further change that was not expected was the need to change the name of Wilson House.

I have spoken to students from the House and informed them that given the various complex issues still being dealt with in Newcastle and Adelaide, in regards to Bishop Wilson, the House will now be known as Patrician House.

It should also be noted that the names behind all our Houses will be reviewed in 2019. The fact is, the stories behind our current House names, are not as strong as they should be. As such, it had always been intended to review our House names- and so 2019 will give us this opportunity.

Why Patrician House?

The Patrician Brothers had a great deal to do with the School in its early days and many of you will know that the actual lands on which the School was built were owned by the Brothers. By formally connecting the Patricians to our history, we are enriching our story and helping to build an appreciation and understanding of how we came to be.

Who are The Patricians?

The Patrician Brothers, who still run a number of schools in Sydney as well as in the Pacific and Asia, maintain their connection with our school and often visit us at Presentation Day, and the like, to hand out Special Awards.

Our oval is named after a Patrician Brother, we also still use the former residences of the brothers - the Brothers House and the Admin Block.

The Patrician Brothers order itself was established by Bishop Delaney in Ireland in the late 1800s and then played an important role in Catholic Education in the 1900s.

Their devotion to Saint Patrick is in keeping with our College’s values, and the prayer, “The Breastplate of St Patrick” has appeared (and will continue to) in the College Diary.


These will be a feature in our first newsletter for our 2019 but I am delighted to indicate that our Year 12 2018 students did very well in the HSC.

The number of Bands which the School received places us second in the Diocese and is our 5th Best result since the inception of the School.

One of our students has been named as an All-Round Achiever (Maddison Saysanavongpheth) and three other students (Julia Musico, Siobhan Suters and Elisabeth Kelly) narrowly missed out on this achievement (10 units at Band 6 or E4 level).

In all 19 different students received Band 6s – 40 in all.

Well done Year 12 of 2018!


As is always the case we do have staff leaving us at the end of 2018.

I wish the following staff all the very best:

Miss Jennifer Nguyen (At Magdalene in 2018)

Mrs Fiorella Tosti (At Magdalene since March 2017)

Miss Tammy Boulatsakos (At Magdalene for 2 years)

Miss Chantelle Angileri (At Magdalene for 3 years)

Mr Stavros Arzapitian (At Magdalene for 9 years)

Mr Michael Bullock (at Magdalene in 2018)

Ms Danielle Stein (at Magdalene in 2018)

Earlier in the year, Ms Tracie Passlow also handed in her resignation after 9 years at the School.

Finally, I recognise Ms Sheila Antal and Mrs Geraldine Spencer who are taking one year’s leave in 2019.

We wish all of these staff all the very best in their immediate and long-term futures.


I thank everyone for their support in 2018. It has been a very good year and I look forward to a wonderful 2019.

I encourage every family to attend religious services over our current Advent period and I wish everyone a very safe, happy and holy holiday period.


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Mr Matthew McMahon


Office Hours

Please be aware the office will close at 3pm on Thursday 20 December and will reopen 8am 24 January 2019.

Spotlight - Balloon Launch

The balloon launched successfully, great data and photos were gathered and the probe returned safely with all data intact to Earth.

You can read all about it via this article on the CEO website -

The students were a real credit to themselves, their families, their school and their Diocese handling themselves professionally and in good spirits over the duration of the trip. They worked with the Media, locals in the small village of Binya and the CEO staff with excitement, energy and the warmth that Magdalene is renowned for.

The probe will be put on display in the school in due course and the students will publish their data analysis and results after tomorrow morning's data analysis and experiments session with CEO (Students will be out of class P1 & P2 via their blog -

If you see the students of the Big Equation Team please congratulate them on an amazing effort:

Larissa Hooper (Team Leader)

Michael Fuller

Joshua Nies

Isabella Pejkovic

Hayden Richards.

Thank you to Mrs Brislane for her work and support in the lead up including the Spotlight Conference.Thank you also to Mr McMahon, Ms Foldes, Mr Whicker, Mr Bayliss, Mr Gorrie and Mr Avalos for their ongoing support!

Obviously, the students and I are very grateful for CEO for running the competition and bringing the concept to reality!

Mr Peter Collins

Magdalene Impressions

On the evening of Tuesday 4th December 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 quality and diverse range of artistic work at Magdalene. On display were works from Year 7 to Year 12 students including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and photography. Particularly impressive this year was the range and strength of the Year 12 Higher School Certificate Bodies of Work. Students should be very proud of their artistic achievements.

Special guest, Brendan Broadbent, Arts and Cultural Liaison Officer at Campbelltown Art Centre, spoke insightfully about his personal pathway and artistic career, his work as an artist, his role at CAC and his cultural heritage as a Tharawal man. We were also joined by special guest Mr John Lo Casio past principal of Magdalene Catholic High School and a strong supporter of the Visual Arts. Mr McMahon presented students from each Visual Arts and Photography class with prizes for students demonstrating ‘Excellence’ in their work throughout the year and certificates for ‘Conscientious Effort’. In addition, major prizes, donated by the Parents and Friends Association, were awarded to senior students Mckenzie Duguid for Visual Arts and Jack Beeby for Photography.

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The Visual Arts Department would like to thank the School Executive for their continued support of the Visual Arts Faculty and Mr Michael Mae for his support as Creative and Practical Arts Coordinator. We are also grateful to Mr Brandon O’Donnell for providing the musical accompaniment, Mrs Jacinta Abernethy and Mrs Vivian Rixon and their talented Hospitality students who catered food for the evening, members of Magdalene’s Student Representative Council who ensured the smooth running during the evening by meeting and greeting guests, Mrs Cuomo and Mrs Gai Hoban for selling tickets as well as Mrs Denise Phillips and Mrs Nancy Russo and supporting Year 10 students for organising tea and coffee in support of St Patricks Catholic School, Brewarrina . 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.

VISUAL ARTS DEPARTMENT - Mrs Marie Eggleton, Mrs Nicole Tree, Mrs Maria Meagher and Ms Cathy Delaney.

Society and Culture / Business Services Cross KLA Activity

On Thursday, December 13, 2018, the Year 11 Society & Culture, and the Year 11 Business Services (VET) classes combined to practise and make use of informative feedback. Throughout the year, the Business Services students have been refining their questioning so as to develop a range of close-ended, open-ended and clarifying questioning techniques to enhance understanding of issues and offering insight that may have not been previously considered. The Society & Culture students have been undertaking their Personal Interest Project (PIP) task which are in their initial stages of development. This provided the perfect opportunity for the two classes to combine and to work together to achieve their goals. The Society & Culture students pitched their PIP ideas, and the Business Services students asked them questions and provided them with feedback in order to further refine their focus and research. This was a very collegial and effective activity.

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The Halogen Leadership Conference

The Halogen Leadership Conference was an enriching experience, which provided young leaders in the area with the opportunity to be empowered by various successful individuals. Shortly after arriving in the newly constructed International Convention Centre in Sydney, the student leadership team had the opportunity to listen to the first speaker of the day, Sean Purcell; coordinator of the Cotton On Foundation. Sean discussed the origin of the Cotton On Foundation, including the motive behind its existence, being to empower youth globally through quality education. He suggested, “a quality education gives every child the potential to change the world...that’s why we exist”. From its beginnings in 2007, the Cotton On Foundation has generated some 80 million dollars in funds which have been used to develop better educational environments for children in various regions globally. However, Sean left us with one important lesson: that ourselves are the only weight stopping our dreams coming to fruition, and that every person has the potential to make a huge impact in the world.

Next, we had the opportunity to listen to two successful Australian sporting personnel: Holly Ferling and Cate Campbell. Both individuals disclosed various obstacles they had encountered throughout their sporting careers and suggested that these drawbacks are not failures, and should rather be seen as an opportunity for growth as an individual. In particular, one commonality between these two speakers was the need to overcome the formidable fear of failure. It was suggested that “the only place where success is possible, is where failure is also possible”. This taught us leaders, to not only aspire for our dreams but to take action towards pursuing them through hard work.

Finally, we had the opportunity to hear from Dr Jordan Nguyen: biomedical engineer, who has dedicated his life towards improving the lives of individuals who are living with physical disabilities, through technology. One of the many achievements of which Jordan spoke of was developing a wheelchair controlled by brainwaves in the mind, which enabled paralysed individuals to gain a sense of freedom and control, which they had thought they’d lost. Jordan demonstrated significant resilience and commitment, as despite being told he did not have the intellectual capacity to pursue his dreams, he believed in himself undoubtedly.

These exceptional speakers showed us to true nature of resilience and commitment to all that they do, they inspired us to strive to reach our goals and to never allowing anything to stop us from pursuing our dreams.

Emily Predl and Emily Saysanavongpheth

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Science News

Students have been busy in Science as we prepare for the end of the year. Currently:

Year 7 are finishing the topic “From Little Things, Big Things Grow!”

Year 8 are finishing the topic “Off the Planet”

Year 9 are finishing the topic “Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?”

Year 10 are finishing the topic “Cosmology”

Year 11/12 students are now well underway into the HSC Course.

At the moment:

  • Physics students have just completed and handed in their Depth Study

  • Chemistry students are currently working through their own Depth Studies.

  • Biology are creating multimedia presentations as part of their Depth Study.

  • Investigating Science students are looking at testing manufacturers' claims in their Depth Study.

Below are some work samples of Year 8 students using plasticine to make a model of our solar system!

Ms Rachel Gavin

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The Great Magdalene Bake Off

On Friday the 30th of November, Year 9 Food Technology B participated in the Great Magdalene Bake Off. Students had 80 minutes to decorate any cake of their choice. After studying the topic of celebration, they were pushed to go beyond their knowledge and produce a cake for a special occasion. From Christmas to Mother's Day cakes, the competition got heated. This task pushed students to the limit and challenged them to cope under pressure. With a range of different styles of decorating, the students explored their hidden talents and expanded their creativity.

Every cake was different and did not disappoint. As the seconds led up to the start of the competition every student was on the edge of their seat waiting to get to their benches to start decorating! The timer started and every student was in their zone.

After many batches of buttercream and tasty sweets all over the room, the students were finally finished creating their unique cakes. Everyone did a great job and made it very hard for the judges!

Congratulations to the following students who placed in the competition:

1st - Chanell Reynolds with a Mother’s Day Cake

Highly Commended - Brittney McIntyre - Evans with a Tiny Teddy Beach Cake

Highly Commended - Tayla Dale with a Spooky Halloween Cake

Highly Commended - Madison Lopez with a Christmas Cake

Highly Commended - Jaimee Kitchener with a Golden Beach Themed Cake

We would like to thank Mrs Violi and Mrs Boulatsakos for hosting the event and giving us the opportunity to participate in the Great Magdalene Bake Off. Finally, a special thanks to Mrs Foldes, Mrs Forner, Mr Arzapitian and Miss Di-Filippo for judging our cakes!

By Libby Clapson and Maddi Lopez - Class of 9 Food Tech B

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P and F News

It was a small but enthusiastic group of parents and friends that joined us for our second working bee of the year on Sunday 9 December. It was an early start for Joe Trimarchi who arrived at 5.30am to lay out over 100 trees for planting. By 8am, work was well underway and we looked to be on target for an early finish as the team quickly built a new forest. However, as the morning heated up and we moved from the softer loamy soils of the sports field to the rock-hard clay at the eastern end, our thoughts quickly turned to morning tea and the welcome break it would deliver. A short time later, loaded up with scones, brownies, cheesecake, and coffee, we returned to finish the job with an enthusiastic flourish.

Thank you to the following people who gave up their Sunday morning:

Monica Rixon, Viv Rixon, Henry Zhang, Michelle Flocco, Danny Avalos, Matt McMahon, Aaron Godwin, Jazmyn Estay, Michelle Cornett, Charlotte Cornett, Vicki Estay, Carlos Estay, Michelle Wright, Chloe Wright, Rachel Godwin, Maddison Wright, Chris Wright, Sam Saysanavongpeth, and Kelly Saysanavongpeth.

Our working bees have been a great success this year, with over 300 trees being planted and numerous odd jobs completed. If you would like more information on how you can assist with school events and other projects, please contact us at

We wish you a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Mr David Cornett

(On behalf of the P&F)

Sport News

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Do You Have Some Sport News You Wish To Share?

If you are aware of some fantastic sports news or achievements that we need to know about - please let us know. Initial emails can go to Thank you

Administration of Medication at School

Please be aware that the "Administration of Medication School Policy" has been reviewed by the Catholic Education Office. Below are a number of points which have been reviewed. The full policy is available under this article.

  • Parent/Carers are asked to complete a Request to Administer Medication Form for all medication (prescription or Other-The-Counter)

  • Prescription medication is to be provided to the school in the original container with the pharmacy label attached to the container

  • Over-The-Counter medication (eg Panadol) should only be administered if it is provided by the parent/carer in the original container with a completed Request to Administer Medication Form which has been signed by a doctor and includes a practice stamp

  • Action Plans (Asthma and Anaphylaxis) should be updated on an annual basis, or following a medical episode, or requested by the school

Request to Administer Medication Forms are available from the school office.

Student Opal Cards for 2019

School student applications for 2019 open from Monday, 15 October 2018.

Students progressing to Year 3 and Year 7 do not need to re-apply if they:

· are continuing at the same school; and

· are residing at the same address; and

· have not been sent an expiry notification from Transport for NSW.

Where a student meets the new distance eligibility, the system will automatically update their entitlement. If they do not meet the new eligibility, they will receive an expiry notification.

Students who have an entitlement approved under a medical condition which is due to expire will receive a notification advising them to re-apply.

Term Bus Pass holders will receive a notification to re-apply.

If students need to update their information or re-apply, they should go online to

Applications need to be submitted before 31 December 2018 to ensure student entitlements are updated and their current entitlement/card is not cancelled. If their application is submitted after 31 December 2018, the system will automatically cancel a card and a new one will need to be issued.

Students in the Opal network applying for a SSTS or Term Bus Pass entitlement for the first time will receive their card at their nominated postal address. Cards will be mailed out during December 2018 and January 2019.


School fee accounts can be paid up to and including Friday 7 December 2018. The Finance office will be closed as from the close of business Friday 14 December. Should you have any queries regarding school fee accounts please contact a member of the School's finance team at


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Canteen Roster

Check the roster here!

School Calendar

Keep up to date with what's going on!