Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 4 Week 7 - 30 November 2018

Principal's Blog

Each year as we enter the first week of December and the final weeks of the School Year, I find myself reflecting on how quickly the year has passed. It is easy to get caught up in the rush and busyness of getting things finished and overlook the opportunity to pause and look back in appreciation of the many and varied experiences throughout the year. To consider new friendships and acquaintances. To remember celebrations and good times. I certainly look back on 2018 as a wonderful school year of celebration and achievements in our Magdalene community.

Importantly, at this time of year, we also acknowledge the start of the Christian season of Advent. For the Catholic Church, Advent actually marks the beginning of a ‘new liturgical year’ and is a point of looking forward, particularly in anticipation and preparation of celebrating the coming of Jesus the Christ child in a manger in Bethlehem. Advent, from the Latin word adventus, meaning ‘arrival’ or ‘appearance’, is celebrated over four weeks leading into Christmas where we prepare our hearts for this very coming. Many visual reminders will appear in our Parishes and homes through Advent Wreaths and Candles and Jesse Trees. I pray that this is a time of renewal and focus for all.

Last week we welcomed our Year 7, 2019 cohort and families. The Information Evening was the first opportunity to have the students and parents together as they listened with excitement to the experiences and opportunities that lay ahead of them as they join the Magdalene Community. It was also the first time that the students met their Year Coordinator Mrs Rosanne Taccone who addressed the group sharing her own hopes for Year 7, 2019. The Orientation Day was a huge success, largely due to the generosity of our Magdalene staff offering their time and assistance. I am very appreciative of the many parents, carers and visitors who joined us for morning tea on the Orientation Day. This was a great opportunity to welcome them to Magdalene. I am grateful for the support of our Parents and Friends Association and the current Magdalene parents who were able to join us in welcoming our new families.

This morning a very excited group of students departed Magdalene headed to the NSW Riverina region where they will launch a high-altitude balloon into near space on Saturday. There are details about this as you read further on through our newsletter, however, I would like to wish the students every success and congratulate them on the way that they have represented Magdalene. We all look forward to reading about their results when they return. Thank you also to Mr Peter Collins and Mrs Gemma Brislane for their guidance and support of the students in preparing them for the launch this weekend.

Mr McMahon will return next week after taking some leave and we welcome him back. I will commence my leave from the middle of next week for the remainder of this year. I take this opportunity to thank all of the students for their hard work throughout the year and for the many gifts and talents that they share with and across the School Community. I wish all members of our community a very joyous and holy Christmas and restful holiday period and I look forward to seeing everyone back in 2019.

Best wishes,

Ms Jenny Foldes

Acting Principal


As we move in to the season of Advent, I offer all families the following prayer:

Almighty God,

we begin this Advent Season as people of hope, ready to do your will.

Let your blessing come upon us and may our hearts turn to you in the days ahead.

Grant us the peace and joy we long for,

as we await the coming of your Son with patient hearts.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Please note the following end of year events. Further details will be communicated to students and parents/carers in the following week:

Friday 14 December - Magdalene End of Year School Mass at 9.30am (Year 12 Welcome back Morning Tea from 10.30am)

Monday 17 December - Presentation Day at St Gregory’s College Hall 9.30am – 11.30am. End of Year reports will be distributed at the conclusion of the Presentation Ceremony.

Tuesday 18 December - Activity Day at Magdalene and last day of school for students.

Wednesday 19 December - 7 – 11 Parent Teacher Interviews 8.15am – 12.15pm

Thursday 20 December - Staff Development Day

Friday 21 December - School Office Closed. Last day for Magdalene staff.

Spotlight on Technology

Space, STEM and the great unknown are the key ideas behind Magdalene’s next great STEM project. Rewind back to 2016, the Big Equation (made up of Larissa Hooper, Isabella Pejkovic, Michael Fuller, Hayden Richards and Josh Nies from Year 10) won the Mission to Space competition for the Diocese of Wollongong’s Spotlight on Technology competition. Since then, our team and a dedicated team from the Diocese have been working together to design, build and program a space probe which will be attached to a high-altitude balloon.

On Saturday 1st December, our team along with Mr Collins, Mrs Brislane and the team from the DOW will be going to out to Rankin Springs, NSW to launch our high altitude balloon, to kick off the inaugural DOW in Space program. We will be staying Griffith over two nights and will travel to Rankin Springs, which is about half an hour away from Griffith. With all of our chosen sensors, we will be able to track the location of the probe, see how high it is, how fast it is travelling, see how much radiation our probe is exposed to and what the air pressure is like in near space. Our team is also being part of further research that may see a future of WiFi in near space since we are creating an access point on our balloon. In order to do this, each individual team member played a part in making a 15cm³ box to hold our electronics, camera, sensors and non-electrical experiments. Our non-electrical experiments include seeing how seeds are affected by radiation and making our very own space chocolate

Over the past few months, we have had the opportunity to present at many conferences, such as the Diocese of Wollongong’s Spotlight on Technology conference and staff meetings at Magdalene. We have loved the encouragement and support from everyone we have spoken to and we would like to thank Mr Collins and Mrs Brislane for all their countless hours of hard work and support, and the amazing team from the Diocese of Wollongong who has been helping us throughout the project. We look forward to the exciting launch and we cannot wait to share what we have learnt with the rest of the Magdalene community! To infinity and beyond!

Magdalene Catholic High School

Binya Space Balloon Launch.MP3 by Magdalene Catholic High School
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Learning and Teaching News

What Can You Achieve in 75 minutes?

In our previous newsletter, the notion of Deep Learning was explored. Our staff have been completing collaborative learning around Deep Learning and considering how we can challenge and extend learning in each KLA.

During this week, Year 9 students answered the question “What could you achieve in 75 minutes?” in Academic Care. Moving to a four-period day structure in 2019 allows both teachers and students to chance to think about how learning can be extended. To support student learning through a 75minute period, Year 9 students discussed how to extend their focus.

Sleep, hydration, exercise and diet were noted as key factors influencing the ability of students to focus for extended periods of time. Adequate sleep (between seven to nine hours each night), drinking 2 litres of water each day, having healthy snacks (fruit, popcorn, yoghurt) and ensuring students are active were highlighted as ways to improve and extend focus.

Students are encouraged to be aware of the importance of self-care and aim to look after themselves so they can maximise their learning time.

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Literacy for Learning

During Terms 2 and 3, nineteen Magdalene staff members completed the Literacy for Learning Course. This course explores literacy across all Key Learning Areas and offers detailed instruction for teaching reading, writing and vocabulary. Literacy for Learning is a Lexis Education course and involved a substantial commitment from staff involved. Staff completing Literacy for Learning have taken this course into their classrooms to enhance their instruction, as well as presenting on their work at staff meetings.

Congratulations to; Mrs Moraghan, Mrs Said, Miss Cupillari, Ms Delaney, Miss Nguyen, Mrs Jones, Mrs Keith, Miss Di-Filippo, Ms Foldes, Mrs Hort, Mrs McAllister, Ms Flocco, Mrs Treloar, Mr Iacono, Mrs Meagher, Mrs Tolhurst, Miss Said, Mrs Dowdell and Mrs Mamone.

Miss Phillips, Mrs Shortridge, Mrs Abernethy & Mr Miszczyszyn

Literacy for Learning Course Tutors

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Science News

What happened?

Year 7 used microscopes and looked at the characteristics of living things.

Year 8 investigated the phases of the moon and the cause of tides.

Year 9 discussed and debated the causes of global warming using evidence.

Year 10 researched cosmology including the life cycle of stars. They also completed an assessment task. This task taught students to summarise and reference correctly. It was designed to prepare the students for the research requirements of the senior science subjects.

During the past week a number of talent Year 10 students went to a STEM discovery day at the UTS. They coded devices, worked with lasers and built machines to solve problems.

What to look forward to:

Yr 7 will develop classification skills particularly in terms of living things

Yr 8 will be working in groups to develop knowledge about the solar system

Yr 9 will develop an understanding of the interactions between living things and the impact of humans have on various ecosystems

Yr 10 will investigate the composition of stars and what is currently happening in space

On the 4th December, a small group of talented Yr 9 students will engage in Stem activities at UTS.

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Year 11 Society and Culture Excursion

On Tuesday the 20th of November the year 12 Society and Culture Class met again with our friends at the Meals on Wheels at Camden. We were treated to a hearty morning tea that included “ Johnny Cakes”. We learnt that this recipe was made up for drovers to put in their saddlebags. They would keep up to two weeks. We took sustenance baked on a recipe that was at least 3 generations in the making. The conversation was lively and friendships were renewed.

Our conversations centred on continuities and change and how that came about in their lives. Probably one of the biggest changes was the role one played in relationships and how this has changed with opportunities available to women from being a homemaker to having the opportunities of education and university. One of the interesting continuities was that some have never, and choose not to, use technology like mobile phones. This was foreign to our millennial students.

Again we thank our friends at Meals on Wheels Camden for such a social and informative cuppa and a chat.

Mrs Nancy Russo

HSIE Teacher

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Carrington "Back To School" Day.

Magdalene hosted a ‘Back To School’ day with the residents from Carrington where they were shown robotics from the mBOT Challenge, met the XLR8 F1 Racing Team and The Big Equation Team with the guidance from Mr Avalos.

Mrs Viv Rixon, Mrs Maureen Weatherburn and Mr Andrew Cornett hosted morning tea then off to solve the ‘Jack The Ripper’ Mystery with Year 9 History Elective class and Mrs Carolyn Said.

The visit concluded with the judging of the Year 9 cake decorating, Teacher Mrs Tara Rowe and Heather, a resident who has over 30 years cake decorating experience chose the winner. Heather also produced her report card from 1937.

The residents come with many backgrounds and this year we had a retired Principal. Changes have occurred within schools since he was a principal and the IPads being used on the day had in wondering.

Thank you for all involved for making this such a successful day and especially the Year 10 students who gave up their time to make them feel welcomed.

Mrs Shareen Borg

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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

Sport News

2018 Sports Assembly

On 11 December, at 10.25am, the annual Sports Assembly will be held at Magdalene. At this assembly, we recognise winning MISA and Diocesan event teams along with our Age Champions from our carnivals and high-achieving athletes in Catholic School Sport.

Parents are invited to attend this event if they wish to.

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Congratulations Chris Fergie!

Last week Chris Fergie (7B) travelled to Singapore to compete in the Eagles Thanksgiving Baseball Tournament as a member of the Baseball NSW U/14 team.

They played against teams representing Thailand, Japan, USA schools, Indonesia and the Philippines.

During the pool games, they won all 3 games, scoring 29 runs and only having 1 run scored against them.

In the quarter-final they beat Japan 12 - 1 then in the semi-final they beat Thailand 18-3. In the final, they came up against the Philippines and ran out winners 12-4 to win the gold medal.

A fantastic achievement to go through the tournament undefeated against quality opposition from around the world.
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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.

Magdalene Impressions

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