Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 3 Week 7 - 7 September 2018

Principal's Blog


Last Friday I attended the first day of the “Creating a Safe Church from Within” event at The Cube, Campbelltown. Co-hosted by the Wollongong and Parramatta Dioceses, the guest speaker Father Hans Zollner, one of the leading experts in: “the field of safeguarding minors and on areas concerning sexual abuse in the Church and beyond”, was quite brilliant but also very confronting as he spoke about the impact of sexual abuse on survivors and Church members.

Father Zollner spoke about what the Church needs to do and how it needs to change to: “survive, flourish and be the safest place for the most vulnerable.”

A theologian and psychologist, Father Zollner has been a member of Pope Francis’ Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since 2014 and is head of the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. As such, he spoke from a position of expertise and was very blunt in his assessment of this “scourge of abuse” and how all members of the Church need to be safeguarded in the future. He was also very vocal about a new theology being required to address this issue in a meaningful way. In this week’s Prayer (below) I have included the Prayer used during this event; a powerful reflection to invoke support for all involved in this issue.

This subject matter will continue to be addressed as the Church responds to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and considers its immediate and long-term future.

In the coming years, It is timely that the Australian Catholic Church will be holding Plenary 2020, a Plenary Council to allow ALL Australians to: “engage in an open and inclusive process of listening, dialogue and discernment about the future of the Catholic Church in Australia.” The last Plenary Council in Australia was held way back in 1937 and so it is a very significant gathering which can achieve much. Not surprisingly, there will be opportunities for all members of the community to provide their input into this and: “speak boldly and with passion”.

More details about this Plenary Council 2020 are available at:


In light of recent events and court rulings, from 2019, the name of this House will need to change.

More details and consultation will follow about how and what this might look like, but it is only appropriate that our young people are not connected to a person, who, while they did play a critical role at a Diocesan Level in the early days of the School, might now be associated with, and known for, other matters.

I am happy to speak with anyone in the community if they would like further details about this necessary change.

Mr Matthew McMahon




Loving God

We pray for our brothers and sisters who have been abused

within our Church. We recognise and acknowledge the unending

strength of victims and survivors; their boldness has been an

immense gift, and we pray they find justice and peace.

We pray for our community; that we accept and nurture

each other during this time.

Empower us to be a positive and supportive force within society.

Help us to witness the love of God for all.

Help us to acknowledge and make amends for past wrongs. Give us the strength to be true advocates for the wronged and vulnerable.

May the grace of God guide us during this time.

We offer this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Curriculum News

Year 11 Examination Block

Year 11 Students and Parents/Carers have received an information letter and timetable for their upcoming exams. These will run from Thursday 13th September through to Tuesday 25th September. This will be the first senior examination block and so there are some additional items to draw your attention to:

  • Students are only required to attend school when they have an examination.
  • Students may not leave school between exams if they have two on one day.
  • Students are required to sign in to the library if they are remaining at school outside of their scheduled exams.

These additional items are to support Year 11 in providing time for them to prepare for their exams, in line with allowances available for the HSC. There is an expectation that they will not be using this time for additional work or social events.

If students are absent for an exam, they are to contact the school prior to the exam start time via phone or email to Mr Arzapitian and/or Mrs Haines.


Year 7 are continuing to work on the topic "Our Great Land Down Under". As their most recent assessment tasks start to be returned, the students are encouraged to reflect on the task, identifying areas that they did well in as well as things that they could do differently next time.

Year 8 are working on the topic “Tomorrow’s World Today”. They also have an assessment task coming up in week 8.

Year 9 have just handed in their Student Research Projects (SRPs), which they have been working on at home since last term.

Year 10 are working through either their Chemistry or Biology topics. They also have their RoSA exam coming up in week 7.

The Year 11 courses are working hard to complete their course before the yearly exams commencing in week 8.

Year 12 students have completed their trial exams, which are being returned to them, and are busily preparing for their HSC.

Below are some photos recently taken of a year 11 Biology class studying the area around the school dam, using a variety of sampling techniques and tests, as well as year 7 and their models of the Earth.

Stage 4 Mathematics Enrichment Day

“The real satisfaction from mathematics is in learning from others and sharing with others" (William Thurston, American mathematician).

That’s what some of our Year 7 and 8 students experienced at the Stage 4 Mathematics Enrichment Day at the close of Term 2.

The day commenced with a presentation by a university academic, promoting the importance of engaging in maths and other STEM-related courses.

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Following this, the students divided into two groups - a mix from several schools in the Diocese in each - to participate in two activities:

OPEN-ENDED PROBLEM SOLVING: This activity involved students collaborating with each other to solve open-ended mathematical problems.

STEM CHALLENGE: This session involved students working together in small groups to complete a series of tasks that required computational thinking to solve. The brief was to make a catapult that could launch a marshmallow the farthest distance. Students had to solve problems to earn money, to then budget, and use strategic and design thinking.


Exams can be stressful, and, at Magdalene, we aim to provide opportunities for students to sit examinations with confidence. During the inter-semester break, the Mathematics faculty hosted a Practice Trial Examination for General Mathematics and Mathematics students for all Year 12 Mathematics Students.

Students who attended commented on the benefits of such an experience and felt it gave them insight and a taste of HSC style examinations.

We wish all students the best in their preparations leading up to their HSC.


We would like to congratulate the following students for scoring the highest marks in Mathematics for the first Semester. These students were acknowledged at the Assembly recently.

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Year 7 Inquisitive Day

Dealing with abstract and complex problems is an opportunity that every student should undertake. Fortunately, the Year 7 students at Magdalene were able to participate in the Inquisitive Minds program, which included many challenging tasks.

Students of all mathematical abilities were extended and challenged, applying critical thinking and collaborated with their peers.


New Apple Shop and repair Centre - EduComIT

A new authorised Apple reseller and repairer has just opened up in Smeaton Grange. This is the company that the school uses to purchase new Apple products and source quotes on damaged student repairs. If you require any help with purchases, please call Jay McCann at EduComIT – see attached term 3 sales brochure.

They have also set up an online portal for the Wollongong Diocesan schools. The site ( is password ‘BYOD2018’ (case sensitive).

To request a quote phone them on 02 4605 0499 or email if you require assistance with your service request booking.

Contact Jay McCann

Mob: 0408 162 926Top of Form

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ABN: 64 626 943 379
Unit 14, 151 Hartley Road, SMEATON GRANGE, NSW, 2567

Mr Danny Avalos

Learning Technologies Coordinator

Student MacBook Damage

As part of the school's B.Y.O.D MacBook agreement, all students must carry their notebooks in a durable protective case. This ensures that the MacBook is kept safe and that families can avoid any unnecessary cost.

Over the past few weeks, there has been an increase in the number of students seeking help from our IT office for damage caused to their B.Y.O.D Macbook. The majority of damage has occured as a result of students not using a protective carry case or using a case that is not suitable to protect the MacBook if it is dropped.

The increase in students taking water bottles to class has also seen an increase in the damage as a result of liquid spills. A water spill on the keyboard will cause significant damage to the electrical components on the machine and usually results in the device been written off with parents forced to purchase a new MacBook. Water damage and/ or a broken screen are not covered by the Manufacturer's Warranty and can be avoided if students take care of how they carry and use their MacBook at school and home.

Mr Danny Avalos

Learning Technologies Coordinator

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MISA Sport 4 September

All MISA sport was cancelled, except basketball, due to rain.

10-12 Boys Basketball - The boys lost 82 - 13 to John Therry unfortunately.

It was a tough loss, but the Magdalene boys gave it their all. Outmatched by length and verticality. I couldn't be more proud of the team's effort in the toughest game of the season.

COACH: Mr Iacono

Congratulations to Adam Farkaš 10S

Adam Farkaš 10S has been selected in the All Australian Schoolboys Football/ Soccer team. Adam was selected from the NSW team after last week's tournament in Victoria where the NSW team won the competition against the ACT, SA, QLD, VIC and WA. In January the team will depart to England, Scotland and Ireland representing their Country.

Adam is the 1st boy ever from Magdalene Catholic High School to achieve this and his humbleness, hard work and wittiness are respected by coaches and his teammates equally.

Dio Hockey

On the 29th August, the boys' hockey team competed at the Diocesan carnival, concluding the day as Diocesan champions. Throughout the day the boys were potent in attack and put in a stellar effort in defence. The team was undefeated with no goals scored against them. The grand final game was a tense 1-0 victory. The team should be proud of their efforts and a huge thank you must go to Jarrod Brooks, Riley Maginn-Dawson and Tom Bonanno who have played their last hockey games representing Magdalene.
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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


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