Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 1 Week 1 - 2 February 2018

Principal's Blog

I would like to welcome back families and students to the School and I take this opportunity to welcome new families and students to Magdalene.

2018 is set to be a fantastic year for students and the community alike. Indeed, 2018 is our 20th year as a school and a number of events have been planned to celebrate and to bring past and present community members together. Initially, please place Friday the 18th May in your diaries as in the evening we will be having a 20th Year Celebration Dinner at the Cube.

2018 is also the year in which our building program for 14 new classrooms will commence and this is on the back of our newly refurbished Hospitality Centre (which should be ready to open as early as next week!). A number of other building programs are also in the offing including new Basketball Courts, new Seminar Rooms in our Learning Resource Centre and expanding spaces for our staff.

We heard at the end of 2017 that one of our Year 12 students, Bailey Wray topped the state in English Standard and I would like to commend our Year 12 2017 cohort on their various results and the way in which they held themselves across 2017. With our 2017 High Achievers’ ceremony occurring next week, I will write about our High Achievers and their many achievements in our next newsletter.

This year the School has a number of new staff. I would, therefore, like to welcome the following:

  • Mrs Leesa Brischetto (Mathematics Job Share);
  • Mr Alan Chapman (PDHPE);
  • Mr Luke Doepel (Science Assistant Coordinator);
  • Mr Vincent Iacono (Mathematics);
  • Miss Jennifer Nguyen (English - Term 1);
  • Mr Jason Miszczyszyn (English);
  • Mrs Jenny Peters – SSO (Learning Support);
  • Mrs Renee Pickles (Mathematics Coordinator);
  • Miss Helen Said (HSIE/RE);
  • Mrs Lisa Stevens (CAPA);
  • Mrs Rosanne Taccone (PDHPE/RE/LOTE);
  • Ms Meaghan Tolhurst (English);
  • Mrs Peta Willard (PDHPE Coordinator);

They have commenced the year well and there is great vibrancy in the staffroom.

Each year our students are very well supported by our Pastoral Care Coordinator (Mrs Ivana Forner) and our various Year Coordinators and Homeroom teachers. Our Year Coordinators and Stage Assistants for 2018 are:

  • 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: Ms Tolhurst
  • Stage 6 Assistant: Mrs Colella

Good communication with the School is critical and therefore we encourage parents/carers to ensure that they contact the relevant Homeroom teacher and/or Year Coordinator if they have any queries, concerns or need support for their child.

Across 2018 the School will also be looking to expand what we do in terms of student wellbeing. As such, we have appointed a Wellbeing Coordinator: Ms Colella to explore the further introduction of programs to support students in the area of resilience, positivity and wellbeing. More details about this will be included in future newsletters.

I commend our students for starting the year off so well and I look forward to meeting you at upcoming events including:

  • Year 11 Assessment Information Evening, Tuesday 13 February 5-7pm
  • Year 7 Parent Welcome Evening, Wednesday 21 February
  • Open Evening (future students), Wednesday 7 March
  • Year 12 Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews, Monday 19 March

Here’s to a wonderful year ahead.


God of wisdom and might,
we praise You for the wonder of our being,
for mind, body and spirit.
Be with our children as they begin
a new school year.
Bless them and their teachers and staff.

Give the strength and grace as their bodies grow;
wisdom and knowledge to their minds
as they search for understanding;
and peace and zeal to their hearts.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Episcopal Ordination of Most Reverend Brian Gregory Mascord

A very significant event is occurring on 22 February at 7 pm at the WIN Entertainment Centre to ordain our newest Bishop. The event is free and everyone is warmly invited to attend. Please see the attached FAQ to provide further information.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Ordination of Bishop-Elect Brian Mascord and Official Farewell Dinner for Bishop Peter Ingham

Opportunities are available for you or your business to support the staging of these significant events. Please contact Debbie Gates, Director, Development and Community Engagement, Diocese of Wollongong on 4222 2446 or visit our website at if you would like to find out how to, or to, accept this invitation.

From the Assistant Principal

Welcome to the 2018 School Year!

The beginning of a new school year is one of my favourite times as together as a school community we welcome our new students, families and staff to Magdalene. It is also exciting to welcome back the familiar faces from last year, refreshed and rested and ready for the year ahead. It doesn’t take too long for everyone to settle into the routine of being back at school and I am looking forward to a great 2018 at Magdalene.

As we commence this year together, I take the opportunity to outline the procedures for student pick up and drop off to ensure that the safety of everyone is paramount.


Students should be dropped off and picked up inside the school grounds. Please follow the signs in the turning circle in front of the Administration building when dropping off and picking up students. Playground supervision commences at 7.45am in the top quad. The school car park is for staff only and the adjacent car park is strictly for Year 12 students only. There are a number of visitor parking spaces available alongside the turning circle. Of an afternoon, it is best to delay your pick-up time if at all possible due to the heavy flow of car and bus traffic in the area. A reminder that all traffic on school grounds is limited to 10km/hour.

Please do not park in the school bus bay or in the designated bus waiting areas on Smeaton Grange Road. There are allocated sections of parking on Smeaton Grange Road and be mindful that the Police frequently patrol this area. It is essential that all students who cross Narellan Road do so via the traffic lights and do not attempt to cross at any other point. The volume and speed of traffic and changed road conditions does not make this a safe or responsible option.


I have contacted Busabout Buses and Picton Buslines regarding expectations with student Bus Passes and Opal Cards. Busabout Buses have confirmed that students have up to one month from the start of the school year to have their Opal Card and these must be used every time they catch the bus as soon as they have received it. The company suggested that students have a screenshot of their application request (if they carry a phone) while they wait for their Opal Card to arrive, however, this will not be enforced. Magdalene staff will continue to monitor this activity of an afternoon and can assist any students who may be anxious or concerned about not having an Opal Card. Picton Buslines have also confirmed that students may travel without a pass until these have been distributed.

Information about Bus Timetables and Opal Cards can be accessed via the school website

I look forward to the many opportunities throughout the year to meet with our Magdalene families. Please do not hesitate to contact me via email or the school office if there is anything I can be of assistance with.

Ms Jenny Foldes

Assistant Principal.

Opening Mass

Next Thursday, 8th February, we will celebrate our Opening Mass here at Magdalene and parents are very welcome to attend our celebration. The Mass will begin at 9.30am.

Ash Wednesday, on the 14th February, marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics - a time of preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus at Holy Week and Easter. There will be no meat products sold in the canteen on Ash Wednesday or on Fridays during Lent. This is a great opportunity to consider our relationship with God and with others and to think about those in this world that are less fortunate than ourselves, especially those that suffer in terms of poverty, lack of food and clean drinking water.

Curriculum News

Year 11 Assessment Information Evening

Wednesday 7 February

6.45pm – 8.00pm

An Assessment Information Evening will be held for all Year 11 students and parents/carers on Wednesday 7 February. The purpose of the evening is to present information about policies and procedures concerning Assessment and Learning for the Preliminary HSC year. The presentation will commence at 7pm and information will be distributed to students on arrival from 6.45pm in the CAPA building.

There will also be an opportunity to hear from our Principal Mr Matthew McMahon and the Year 11 Coordinator Mr Stavros Arzapitian, who will also take the opportunity to introduce the Year 11 Pastoral Team.

This year is an exciting one for both students and their parents. Students will be developing specific skills that are important for senior studies. They will need to be very organised in all areas of assessment, homework, revision/practice, study and practical works. They will also need to balance their work and social commitments with the demands of this year.

Students are expected to attend this Assessment Information Evening in full school uniform and be accompanied by a parent/caregiver. We look forward to seeing you on the night. Please contact Mrs Peiti Haines, Curriculum Coordinator, via the school office if you have any questions regarding this evening.

Mrs Peiti Haines

Curriculum Coordinator

Uniform Expectations and Procedures.

The beginning of the school year is always very exciting, students return to school somewhat older and ready to face the new challenges that await them. They return on the first day in their new uniforms and sometimes new hairstyles.

The presentation of students at Magdalene is a high priority, as the way students present themselves is reflective of the pride they have in their school. We aim to set a standard that we can all be proud of and which brings credit to students, parents and the school.

All students are expected to wear the full correct uniform at all times and maintain their uniform to the highest standard. The majority of our students take pride in wearing their uniform well. At times some students can become complacent with their uniform and bring the standard of dress down. In response to this complacency, there will be consequences, such as lunch detentions and students can also be sent home for major breaches of the uniform policy.

The most common concerns about student uniform are:


  • Shirts - they need to be tucked into their trousers at all times.
  • Hairstyles – their hair needs to be neat and tidy, generally above the collar and eyes and behind the ears
  • Belts need to be worn


  • Skirt or Dress length - it needs to be on the knee.
  • No Make-up, nail polish or false fingernails to be worn.
  • No Jewellery except – one set of small plain earrings, silver or gold, to be worn in the lower earlobes, a neck chain with a religious symbol to be worn under the uniform and a watch. There are to be no other visible piercings.
  • Hair – needs to be one natural colour and should not invite comment. Shoulder length hair needs to be fully tied back off the face and eyes.

Next Tuesday is the first sports day of the year and I would like to remind both students and their families to be mindful of the sports uniform guidelines, in particular, the sports shoes. The sports shoes need to be athletic supportive shoes predominately white grey or blue with neutral coloured laces. The sports uniform must also be worn only on Tuesday and for double PDHPE lessons, effectively students should wear their sports uniform 3 times over a fortnight.

Once again we would like to congratulate the students who show pride in the school by wearing their uniform well.

Ivana Forner

Pastoral Care Coordinator

Careers News

Learning Labs

Learning Labs is an academic enrichment program held at the University of Wollongong campus. Students come from all over the Illawarra and surrounding regions to attend workshops that cater to their particular interests. During the January 2018 school holidays, 297 students from Year 7 to 10 attended the Learning Labs program at The University of Wollongong.

Some of our own students attended the program:

Chadia Chavez - Let’s Get Physical

Kyna Kelly & Jake De Meio - Arduino from the Start

Kyna Kelly - Momentum Mathematics

Josh Creecy & Hayden Abernethy – History, Weird, Wild Conspiracies

Christina David - 3D Printing and CAD Modelling

Emily Kreltszheim & Beau Severin - The Body In Motion: Biomechanics

Jemma Abernethy - Painting, Collage and Sculpture

Feedback from workshop presenters was extremely positive. The students were independent, motivated and eager to learn. They were great fun to have on campus! All students received a certificate of participation from the University.

The next Learning Labs program will be released early Term 1 for the April 2018 school holidays.

Mrs Carol Dobbie

In1Uni - University Experience!

For three weeks in the school holidays, Lauren B and I attended the University of Wollongong where we were accepted into their Summer Masterclass course ‘An introduction to University Sciences.’ Our knowledge and skills were definitely put the test where this fourteen-week university course was condensed into our three weeks.

We studied and completed four exams and three assignments in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Medicine- Anatomy and Physiology, Biomechanics of Exercise Science and Medicinal chemistry. To enhance our studies, we undertook a field trip to Port Kembla to study the stratigraphical layering of the environment, completed a practical to extract DNA from a strawberry, analysed cadavers in the anatomy laboratory and created Aspirin within the chemistry labs, just to name a few!

Although the course consisted of very long days and required consistent hard work, the course was definitely an exceptional educational experience. The course has inspired me to now follow a career in the fields of bacterial or neurological research. After successfully completing the course, we both now wait anxiously for our results mid-February!

By Alyssa Bestulic Yr 12

Big picture

Congratulations Brooke!

On the 13th of December 2017, Brooke Smith (Year 9 2017) had the privilege and honour of competing in a National Grand Final in Bjelke-Petersen School of Physical Culture (BJP Physie). This event is known as the “Night of Nights” in the sport and is held in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.

Brooke said it was always a dream to be able to dance on the Opera House stage and last year (2017) she became eligible to qualify. An even bigger honour was that Brooke was the first performer on stage that night.

To qualify for this event, Brooke worked for hours and had to achieve a place in the top 30 in Australia after competing at Nationals in November 2017.

Prior to the event, there was a full day rehearsal on the 12th of December which gave her the opportunity to meet other competitors and spend time with girls she had met from previous competitions.

“It was an incredible experience to be able to perform on the Sydney Opera House stage and I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to take part in such a prestigious event in this sport.”

Our congratulations go to Brooke, and her family, on her amazing achievement whilst still maintaining Outstanding Learning Achievements at school.

Mrs Carol Dobbie

Congratulations Rachel!

Rachel Bagot of year 10 represented NSW at the recent National Futsal Championships in Canberra. She showed her talent by simply being selected as representing NSW is only available to the best of the best as out of all available players in NSW only 8 field players and two goalies are chosen. Rachel continued to show her skills and ability playing out of position and scoring two goals. The NSW Thunder 15 girls had a successful tournament making it through to the semi-finals.

A huge congratulations to Rachel on this outstanding achievement and continuing to be an exceptional ambassador for NSW and Magdalene Catholic High School.

Big picture
Big picture

2018 Vaccinations

Big picture

Mission News

Our Term 1 Mission focus will be on supporting the work of Caritas Australia (A Catholic Agency for International Aid and Development, Caritas is Latin for love + compassion). Project Compassion is an Australia wide Fundraising and Awareness-raising initiative which is supporting six different projects in five third world countries and one project in Australia. We will be focusing on Caritas’ Australian based project this year with the Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation who in partnership work to empower their local community by celebrating First Australians Culture and providing opportunities for meaningful work, career development and ultimately self-sufficient communities.

Students will be learning more about this project and Caritas work through the Pastoral Care Program and through a range of activities during Lent. Our community will have the chance to support Project Compassion through fundraising activities including our Pancake Sale and Staff v Student Pancake Cook-Off on Shrove Tuesday (13th February) and through our Pastoral Class collections during Lent.

Big picture

NSWCCC Website Application Process

Note: These applications are for students already playing at an elite or representative level

The NSW CCC individual sport nomination process will again be an online application. Students are required to “log on” to apply for a position to trial at a NSW CCC sport.

If registered last year, your account will still exist.

Please note that your child will stay in the system and will go up an age group each year. The only time a parent will need to re-enter a child is when they roll over from primary to secondary.

You can use the same account to register for sports this year. You may have to edit/update student details if you are experiencing any difficulties.

Simply log on and complete an online application.

If new to the system please use the following instructions to apply for an individual sport trial. These sports include - golf, tennis, AFL, girls cricket, baseball, sailing, triathlon, basketball, diving, netball, hockey (except for U/16 girls), canoeing, softball, volleyball, rowing, water polo.

How to register for NSWCCC Individual trial

  1. Access the following website:
  2. Click on NSWCCC
  3. Click on The sport you wish to register for e.g tennis, golf, triathlon
  4. Click Register
  5. You will need to create a login, so click on I need help logging in
  6. Scroll down to I don’t have a login
  7. Click on Register by clicking here
  8. As the parent, you fill in the first page to register your child
  9. You will now need to check your email for the password and the login
  10. Go back to webpage and Login
  11. You will now be asked to add the details of your child
  12. Once finished, you will go to my account
  13. Here you can change your password and add other children, as well as change school details if your child changes through their secondary years
  14. Save your details
  15. Go to the Sports link e.g tennis, golf, triathlon (back on the homepage)
  16. Click on Register
  17. Click on the registration form

Once you register, you will need to make payment. Please follow the steps for the B-pay section. You can pay this online or at a post office. If payment is not made before the date, then your child’s nomination will not be accepted.

However – the nomination will need to be approved by your Sport Coordinator/School Principal. If your nomination is not accepted, you will be reimbursed your fees. Both the Sports Coordinator and Principal will be notified of your nomination and one of these people will either accept or turn down the nomination.

Closing dates may vary from time to time and application for any sport throughout the year should be made at the earliest possible time to avoid disappointment.

Big picture

Parents and Friends

The first PandF meeting will be held 13 February 7.15pm in the Library. All welcome.
Big picture

Community News

Antioch Reunion

ANTIOCH REUNION: Calling all candidates, oldies, clergy, billet families, musicians, kitchen angels and friends of Antioch. A reunion is set for Saturday 3rd March 2018 including a meet and greet afternoon tea, celebratory mass and dinner. To register your interest and receive an invitation please email

General enquiries to Dianne Hukins 0412840772 or Ann Packham 0423869803. Musicians wishing to be involved in celebrations please contact Elise (Nicholls) Burns 0407781359.

School Calendar

Keep up to date with what's going on!