Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 1 Week 7 - 15 March 2018

Principal's Blog


Great news! Although Magdalene has not had a Working Bee for many years we will be having one next week.

I therefore warmly invite all parents/carers and students to be involved on Sunday 25th March from approximately 8.30am to 1.00pm {NB: we will stop work around 12.30 to enjoy a BBQ}.

On the day there will be various focus areas:

  1. Tree Planting. We will have over 200 trees to be planted on the day.
  2. Clearing the dam at the back of the School. This is an area which our Environmental Committee has highlighted as an area which we wish to beautify to allow increased opportunities for outdoor education.
  3. Weeding
  4. Disposal of items/cleaning of a few areas.
  5. Other (a few other jobs will be determined on the day)

Please bring your gardening gloves and report near the office to sign on in the morning.

Open Afternoon / Evening

Open Afternoon / Evening took place last Wednesday 7 March and what a terrific exhibition of all things Magdalene.

Thank you to everyone involved including our fabulous P & F members, our superb student volunteers and our wonderful staff.

The weather held off to allow us to have a full display of many different aspects of school life. This included, but was not limited to, Science experiments, a bush kitchen by our Duke of Edinburgh staff and students, talented artworks, activities for future students, magnificent hospitality in our new commercial kitchen, practical displays and activities across TAS, VET & PDHPE subjects, CAPA performances - of many types (Dance, Drama, Music), subject work displays across all KLAs (videos / PowerPoints / photo displays / posters etc…), a Social Justice display, one-on-one conversations with our Learning Support staff and the list goes on and on.

In all, we had close to 400 packs given out (and this doesn't include interested Year 5s or below - only Year 6 families were given a pack) and, while it's hard to put a number to it, when we add all family members together - I'd have to think in excess of 1000 people were on our site across the night.

Potential parents could not speak highly enough of our school, the spirit on display, the warmth of our staff, our beautiful grounds and facilities (very common comments). I would like to especially thank our SSOs/SSSOs who were exceptional on the night and in the preparation for the evening.

Magdalene Catholic College?

As indicated in the last newsletter a survey has now gone live in regards to the key question about whether Magdalene should become a College or not.

For those interested in completing this survey could I please ask that you read the related FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document.

I have included it here in this newsletter as it is clear some people are responding with a no because they are worried about certain things that are simply not going to happen.

For example, as indicated below, a change to a College, would not change our status as a Diocesan School and, as such, this move would NOT increase our school fees.

I would also have people consider the growth of Colleges in our region. In recent years there have been Oran Park Anglican College, St Francis Catholic College, St Benedict’s Catholic College, Mount Annan Christian College, Macarthur Adventist College all emerge in our region and schools like Mount Carmel changed their name to become a College a few years ago. This is on top of already established colleges in St Patricks, Broughton and St Gregory’s.

I certainly do not wish to emulate or copy other institutions for the sake of it, but matter of factly – we do have much quality and many aspects to be proud of. The idea of a College does have the idea of quality associated with it and therefore this is an opportune time to recognise who we are and what we stand for.

For some, a name change may just be regarded as incidental or even cosmetic and this could be the case if there wasn’t an actual strategy attached to the lifting of our academic results. Indeed, a name change is an opportunity to build the academic culture of the school – something which has become a short to mid-term goal of our Leadership team and Staff. While there have been outstanding individual academic results in recent years there is much scope for improvement and a change to College can bring with it a key opportunity to re-establish our approaches to a number of aspects of our education. Thus it is from a good to great mantra that this proposition is put forward.

Here is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Document in full:


What does the word “college” mean?

While there are differing definitions, the term ‘college’, like ‘school’, refers to: “ an educational institution or establishment”. Why the possible change? While there may be similarities in terms of definitions and meanings between ‘school’ and ‘college’, often, it is the little things which can make a great difference. The notion of, or use of the word ‘college’, is often associated with the idea of quality and that is what Magdalene offers.

Now in our 20th Year, Magdalene is ready to “step up” and view ourselves with fresh eyes. Schools which do alter their name, often notice a visible lift in the way students regard themselves and the way they view their place of education. As Magdalene continues to develop its ‘Academic Care’, becoming a “College” would have multiple benefits for our students.

Increased use of the term ‘college’

Years ago CEO Wollongong was opposed to the notion of its schools being called ‘colleges’ but this viewpoint has now changed. All new secondary CEO schools developed have ‘college’ in their title, and, of the eight Diocesan secondary and one K-12 institution, four of them are ‘Colleges’. As we move into our 20th Year it is a great opportunity to strengthen our own self-perception.

Would a move to becoming a “College” change the governance of Magdalene?

No. Magdalene would remain a Diocesan school in the Wollongong Diocese.

Would a move to a “College” change or increase school fees?

No. Our name would have no impact on this.

Would a change to a “College” see Magdalene’s logo alter?

The only change would be in the actual name under the crest i.e. “Magdalene Catholic High School” would become “Magdalene Catholic College”.

If this change occurred, when would this happen?

If this proposal was successful, the timeframe to become a College would be at the start of 2019.

Would a change to a “College” result in a different uniform?

If there was a change, the name of the School under the crest would change on various items which contain the full crest, however, any future change to the style of the uniform would not be related. Any changes to these crests would be staggered over 2 to 3 years and students would not be required to purchase new uniform items in that time period.

Irrespective of a possible move to a “College”, it is important to note that the School and sports uniforms are currently under review for this year.

The survey can be found here:

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Mr Matthew McMahon


Assistant Principal's Blog

Keeping the school driveway clear

There have been a number of cars parking in the school roundabout and driveway of an afternoon waiting for the end of the school day to collect students. This has caused a particular hazard to vehicles requiring access to our disabled parking area near the canteen. As a result of this, the student transportation vehicle has needed to use the right-hand side of the driveway and go against the flow of direction in the roundabout in order to access the disabled parking area. On occasion, it has also been impossible for this vehicle to gain access at all with cars completely blocking the roundabout and side driveway. This is also a hazard should emergency vehicles need to enter the school at this time.

A broken white line will be painted in the roundabout over the next week to indicate the area that must be left accessible, except during school drop off in the morning and after 2.35pm of an afternoon. The student transportation vehicle requires access to the disabled parking area of an afternoon between 2.15pm and 2.30pm.

Please consider delaying your pick up time of an afternoon where possible to allow for easier access to the school and less waiting time.

Thank you

Ms Jenny Foldes

Assistant Principal

Let's Move for a Better world!

  • This Challenge runs globally from 12-31st March
  • It’s FREE to participate
  • Anyone can participate (minimum age criteria applies) during the 21 day period (including non-Aquafit members)
  • Participants need to register by setting up an account and then joining the Challenge
  • Aquafit will open our doors to non-members, to register for the challenge, and help accumulate towards our total “Moves”
  • The top-level prize is $10,000 Technogym equipment for a total of 2.5 Million moves.
  • If Aquafit is successful in reaching this total – Magdalene will be the beneficiary of the equipment.
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Magdalene Catholic High School 20 Year Gala Dinner

The excitement is building as our Gala Dinner approaches on the 18th May 2018 at The Cube, Campbelltown Catholic Club.

We have confirmed some fabulous musical talent for the night to accompany our 3-course fine dining menu, accompanied by a quality selection of wines.

The night will include many fantastic giveaways, including a luxurious Two Night Farmstay in the beautiful Southern Highlands, for up to four people.

Come and join us to celebrate and recall wonderful memories from your time at Magdalene Catholic High School, and find out where we are headed for the future as we enter our 20th Year. We invite our entire community, past and present to join us for an elegant evening of dining and entertainment, providing the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones.

We look forward to your company on the 18th May. Please direct all enquiries to Michelle Cornett at

To book your tickets

Follow us on facebook

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Parents and Friends News


About the P&F

The P&F provides an opportunity for collaboration between parents, teachers, and the school. Parents can stay informed about current educational research and developments, represent parents on matters of education, and raise funds and provide resources to assist the school.

Over the past few years, the P&F has been supporting the school through the purchase of the school bus, the installation of air-conditioning, the planting of trees, the provision of shade sails, and the installation of the school sign. We also provided financial support for talented students who excelled at sport, leadership, and the arts, and sponsored fundraising events and exhibitions.

The association meets 4 times per year on the 3rd Tuesday of each term, commencing at 7pm in the Learning Resource Centre. Everyone is welcome. For more information, please contact us at

Tree Planting and Outdoor Classroom

Please join us for our Tree Planting Day on Sunday 25 March from 8.30am to 1pm. We’ll be planting over 200 new trees and building an outdoor classroom.

This is a great initiative to provide shade, beautify the school, reduce temperatures, improve the efficiency of air conditioning, and offset our greenhouse gas emissions.

Please RSVP to if you are able to assist.

Magdalene, Celebrating 20 Years Gala Dinner

This year we enter our 20th year of providing quality Catholic education to the Camden Parish and it’s surrounds.

To celebrate this significant time we invite you to join us at our Celebrating 20 Years Gala Dinner, The Cube, Campbelltown Catholic Club on Friday 18th May 2018 at 6.30pm for an evening of fine food, quality entertainment, prizes and a memorable night with our wonderful Magdalene community.

Tickets: $125 @

Enquiries: Michelle Cornett

BBQ Masters Wanted

The P&F loves a good BBQ and is always on hand to feed the masses for Open Day, Magdalene Feast Day, and other special events,

We have a small well-drilled team of BBQ masters but can always use the extra assistance. They’re great fun and an excellent opportunity to meet other parents. If you are keen to help out at BBQs, please contact us at

Business Directory

The P&F is establishing a directory to provide an opportunity for business owners to promote their products and services in the school community. Please contact the P&F at for further information on how to register your business.

All the best

Mr David Cornett

On behalf of the P&F

Curriculum News

The Balance Between Challenge and Frustration

Imagine a very thin line stretching across your child's learning. On one side of the line is the land of "too easy" where students have to exert very little effort and hardly grow. On the other side of the line is "too tough", where no matter how hard students work they are unlikely to find much success.

When students are learning along this line they are engaged in a learning experience that is challenging without becoming frustrating. Challenging is important for students as it forces them to grow. When something is not challenging, it's easy - and an "easy" learning environment is hardly one that encourages appropriate development - it may rather lead to boredom. As importantly is not working in an environment of frustration. Students hear many messages from teachers and parents about how they manage their learning in the zone of challenge.

One of the keys to helping students succeed in a challenging academic environment is making sure that they are properly supported.

Here are a few tips for supporting students achieve in a challenging environment:

1. Let them know their supports and get more adults involved

We have support systems built into our school that can help provide more individualised attention to students such as Homework Club and Senior Cafe. Teachers are the first responders for student achievement but they aren't the only support for them. Recruit additional support from family members, counsellors, and other teachers who may also interact with your child

2. Believe in students and let them know

Students' likelihood of success often begins with their support systems personal belief in their ability to do so. Naturally, we can believe in students all we want to. But take it one step further and let your students know you believe in them.

3. Failure is an option and failure is not an option

We learn by failing, learning from failure and trying again. Will students know that trying and failing is better than giving up? At the same time, "big failure" is not allowed. Failure as in students not passing the class, students giving up, or students not working up to their potential is prohibited.

(adapted from an article by Jordan Catapano)

Year 7 Best Start Assessment - Trial school

We have been advised by Catholic Schools NSW that we will participate in Year 7 Best Start Assessment Trial in 2018 before the test commences in all schools in 2019. This test will be conducted from April 3 - 13 on numeracy and reading and more information will be sent out to students and parent/carers of Year 7 in the coming days.

Confirmation of NAPLAN Dates for Year 7 and 9

While we have been advised that there are some schools who will commence implementation for NAPLAN Online, Magdalene students will continue to complete NAPLAN as paper tests in 2018. These will take place from May 15 - 17 for all Year 7 and Year 9 students.

Year 10 Minimum Literacy and Numeracy Testing

The students in Year 10 who have not successfully achieved their Minimum Literacy and Numeracy standards through their Year 9 NAPLAN results will be registered for testing during Term 2 and tests will be conducted from 21st May to 22nd June. A detailed schedule for students will be published early in Term 2 with the option for parents to withdraw students from this testing. More information on Minimum Standards and Testing is available through NSW Education Standards Authority

Mrs Peiti Haines

Curriculum Coordinator

Year 11 Drama Performance

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Year 7 Personal Excellence

Year 7 students have been exploring our grade theme of ‘Let Your Light Shine’. This brief, yet powerful passage is found in the Gospel of Matthew and inspires students to achieve their own personal excellence. Personal excellence can be something different for each student. Excellence can be demonstrated by:

· Being a respectful student

· Helping a friend

· Trying their best in class

· Demonstrating leadership

· Developing their skills on the sporting field

· Participating in extra-curricular activities

· Assisting those in need

· Achieving pleasing results

This week’s Year 7 meeting acknowledged a wide range of students’ efforts as they achieved a Year Coordinator’s Award. I encourage all students to continue applying themselves consistently and to be a positive support person for their peers. Congratulations to the following students:

Riley Lawrence

Charlie Roberts

Natasha Kapczuk-May

Lilian Kremmer

Rhys Cassidy

Monique Courtois

Marisa Gordon

Karina Zapata

Cynthia David

Jordan Cooper

Keira Jarvis

Alanah Khalifeh

Daniel Cilia

Antonio Fedele

Brodie Swan-O'Toole

Samantha Buttigieg

Holly Lollback

Maddison Wright

Claire Sexton

Mr Timothy Manns

Year 7 Coordinator

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Mathematics News

As a part of the 2018 Magdalene Catholic High School Open Day, the Mathematics staff

opened up a classroom to parents and potential students. Within the classroom, we

displayed many resources, textbooks and games. In addition, there was a guessing competition open to any visitors, including parents, potential students and current student guides.

As such we would like to congratulate Blake Teuma, a Year 8 tour guide won the jar, being the closest by a considerable margin. The Mathematics staff had a fantastic time showing off the faculty and enjoyed talking with the many potential students and their families.

Mr Iacono

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Blake Teuma (Yr 8)

Some students in Year 7 recently took the opportunity to design a game that could be exhibited at the recent Magdalene High School open night. Their games focused on how best to learn the addition and subtraction of negative numbers. Watch this video to see the students explain their clever game designs!

Upcoming events:

· Year 7: Week 10 Examination Task 1 (Integers and Data)

· Year 8: Week 9 Examination Task 1 (Percentages, Circles and Cylinders)

· Year 9: Week 10 Examination Task 1 (Earning Money, Area, Surface Area and Volume)

· Year 10: Week 9 Examination Task 1 (Indices, Algebra)

· Year 11/12: Week 9/10 Examination Task 1 (Please refer notification for details)

All students will receive a notification for these examinations.

2018 School Fees

The 2018 School fee statements will be sent home via email next week. As per the Wollongong Diocesan School Fee Management policy, school fees are generally due 30 days after invoicing, however, a variety of methods of payment and frequency are offered to provide families with the flexibility to meet their commitments. We refer you to the School’s website for full details

If families wish to enter into a payment plan, a Diocesan School Fee Agreement form is available on the school website and must be completed and returned to the school within 30 days of the School Fee statement being issued. We wish to extend our apologies for the delay in issuing your School Fee statement. Any queries regarding your account, please call the School’s Finance Team on 46313300 or email

Yours sincerely

Magdalene's Finance Team

Science News

Open day or evening in the Laboratories never fails to be a favourite activity for the event. There were a number of students who assisted in running the day: Flora Mo, Chadia Chavez, Brooke Smith, Jack Beeby, Mitchell Hood, Jordan Cooper, Cynthia David, Tara Small, Declan Bone-Wright and Nick Ciappara. The enthusiasm and school spirit these students displayed on the day were outstanding.

Thursday of last week Brandon Shaw (a Year 12 student) talked to the other senior science about the fantastic opportunity he was involved in during the summer holiday known as the National Youth Science Forum. His recount of the experience has been included below.

What is happening now in Science?

  • Yr 7 are working through their SRP (Student Research Project) and are learning how to draw tables and graphs in the process
  • Yr 8 are also working on processing and analyzing the data they collected from the experiments
  • Yr 9 are learning about volcanoes and earthquakes
  • Yr 10 are working on an assessment where they need to design an investigation to show a change in speed
  • Yr 11 Biology and Chemistry students are investigating a particular area of interest and perform an investigation to substantiate their findings

What is coming in the next 2 week?

  • Week 8 Year 7 and Year 8 projects are completed
  • Week 9 Yr 10 will complete the individual component of their assessment
  • Year 11 will continue to work on their first assessment

2018 National Youth Science Forum (NYSF)

The NYSF was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. People hear science camp and begin picturing a bunch of ‘nerds’ sitting around a campfire singing the periodic table, but the NYSF could not be any more different. I was placed in the computer science group along with 13 other keen young individuals – we visited the National Computational Infrastructure on ANU campus and toured ‘Raijin’, Australia’s fastest supercomputer. We went to computer labs where we got to program small humanoid robots, and many other extraordinary places that most people never get to see – aside from computer science, we also got to choose other elective visits. This included a visit to the physics labs where we messed around with liquid nitrogen and blew up (safely) balloons filled with explosive hydrogen gas. There were so many other experiences we had too, including lectures from Professor’s and a Nobel Prize recipient, and just time to relax and enjoy the company of 200 other likeminded teens interested in STEM. The experience I had will never be able to be explained fully in words, and the best advice I can give to anyone who is interested is to just give the program a go.

Brandon Shaw, 2018 NYSF Participant

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Brandon Shaw and other participants in the National Youth Science Forum.

Sport News

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Girls DIO Touch Football

The Under 15’s girls touch footy team had a rainy but enjoyable day on Monday the 5th of March. After being postponed from the original date, fingers were crossed for a clear, dry day. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

The rain came down but luckily the day was not cancelled and we were still able to have an amazing day. Throughout the day we had three wins, three losses and three draws. Despite the weather, we managed to have a pretty successful day and we all enjoyed it immensely. It was great to see the team improve from the start to the end as the team learned to work together more and more.

A huge thank you to Mr Chapman for coaching and training us and also to Emily and Macy for scoring and even stepping up to play.

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Top (Left to Right): Emily Cooke, Amalia Plummer, Grace Shields, Tayla Lawrence, Ella Jordan, Madison Hamilton, Alyssa Brown, Scarlett Crimmins, Jessica Kourembes

Bottom (Left to Right): Katy Myers, Laila Searle, Jaimee Kitchener, Isabella Lawrence and Macy Athanassiou.

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Year 10 and 11 Meningococcal Vaccinations 23 May

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Community News

Camden Council Youth Week Celebrations

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Coles Sport for Schools

Please help us collect as many dockets as possible. All dockets/goods received will be donated to St Patricks Brewarrina!
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School Calendar

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