St Mary's School Donnybrook

2023 Term 3 Week 8

We want our students to graduate as confident, capable and compassionate members of society who lead with their head, their heart and their hands

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Dates to Remember


Thursday 7 September @ 5.30pm: Confirmation Meeting for Parents and Catholic Students in Year 6

Friday 8 September: Slam Basketball Carnival @ Eaton Rec Centre for Year 6 and some Year 5 students

Wednesday 13 September: Faction Athletics Carnival (jumps and throws)

Thursday 14 September: ySafe (an information session about keeping our kids safe online) please see note from the Principal

Friday 15 September Faction Athletics Carnival (running and team events)

Friday 22 September: Last day of Term 3


Monday 9 October: First day of Term 4


Sunday 22 October Year 6: Confirmation


Interschool Athletics Carnival: Friday 27 October


Friday 24 November


School Photo Day: Wednesday 25 October

Swimming Lessons: Week 5 and 6 Term 4

Year 6 Camp: Tuesday 7th - Friday 10th November

A note from the Principal

Dear Parents & Caregivers

Note: This memo may bring about undesired emotions or challenging memories for you. It is important to practice self-care and seek help when required. Additionally, this memo is offered as an honest reflection of my story and not of a professional opinion.

I am trekking to Mount Everest in October (to – not up), and as I discussed this with a group of dads at the Father’s Day breakfast they jokingly said, “well you’d better make your final newsletter a good one.” Whilst I have given the training and preparation for this trek what it deserves and do not perceive a real risk to my health, I did think that perhaps this forum would be the appropriate place to share my story and how this expedition has come to be.

At the end of last year, I found myself questioning my mental health for the first time in my life. There were many reasons for this which I will not go into. Fortunately, however, I was able to access the support I needed, lean on the people around me (including our amazing staff) and navigate my way out of the negative mind-set that I had developed. For me, changing the way I ate, adjusting my exercise routines to better reflect my age, managing my injuries and setting goals was crucial to working my way out of the slump. I also had to make some mental changes which included showing greater appreciation for what I have, and developing a better understanding of my circle of influence (what I have the ability to change in my world) and to not get bogged down in situations or people that I cannot change.

Whilst I was in this position, an old friend of mine also found himself in a similar position. Unfortunately, he was not so lucky, and his family and our friendship group were left to process the devastation left behind. As a group of friends coming together over this experience, we had realised that in our career driven efforts we had failed to be the support network each of us required. As such, we made the decision to reconnect and ensure that even whilst we are living our own lives and on separate pathways, we would continue to catch up and be there for each other when needed.

On the 26th of January, whilst catching up over Australia Day celebrations, the decision was made to set a challenge and work towards achieving it as a group. This conversation eventually led to the booking of a trek to Mount Everest Base Camp or EBC as it is otherwise known.

EBC sits at 5370km above sea level, and the best vantage point to view the highest peak in the world is from a place called Kalapathar which rests at 5640m above sea level. The trek there takes 10 days and requires adventurers to acclimatise to both freezing temperatures and high altitudes along the way.

I have always been up for an adventure. Whether it's surfing, martial arts or travelling our remote state, the thrill of doing something that challenges my level of comfort drives me. The desire to work towards achieving a goal, large or small, also drives me. This year I have managed to tick off many goals, I am in better physical condition than this time last year and as such I have improved my mental space.

Mental health is important to me, and this is why I am so enthusiastic about teaching our students RULER. Many parents in our generation were taught not to think about emotions, to be rational and to just get on with it when our mood is low. Therefore, some people find it difficult to understand their emotions, how to regulate them and how to behave in ways that are socially acceptable. Most of what we see in our kids actually comes back to us. If you are anxious, you can almost guarantee your children will be anxious. If you handle conflict aggressively, you can almost guarantee your children will handle conflict aggressively. My hope is that through RULER we can educate our students in learning other ways to understand, value and manage their emotions, and in addition hopefully support our parents (as our children's greatest influencers) in developing their emotional regulation skills too. There are no indicators that life is getting easier, so providing students with the skills required to manage their mental space is going to be crucial for them in the future.

If I have learnt anything over this last year it is that I am solely responsible for my mental health. No one else is responsible for me, not my employer, not my spouse, not those around me. I have to be accountable to myself and own my emotions and actions.

Personally, I think this is where many people go wrong. We often look for others to blame when really we should be owning what is happening in our lives. Others can support us and do things that help make life a little easier but until we are willing to look at your own behaviours, beliefs and experiences and make the necessary changes then nothing else will work. If we continue to act the way we always have, then we will continue to get what we have always got.

For me, EBC is a challenge, it is a goal to work towards, it’s about reconnecting with lost friends and it’s about living with a sense of adventure.

This being said, I will be on leave for the first two weeks of Term 4. In my absence, please see Mrs Jo Wright as Acting Principal or Mr Luke Skehan. Please keep me in your prayers, and I look forward to seeing you all again following my adventure.

BEBRIS Challenge

This week, students from Years 4, 5 and 6 sat the BEBRIS challenge. The BEBRIS challenge tests students’ computational thinking and problem-solving skills in a fun and engaging way. Representatives for the challenge were selected based on their standardised data, class assessments and their problem-solving abilities. The exciting addition to our school provides those students excelling in maths with the opportunity to test their skills against other students across the state. We look forward to receiving the results in the coming months.

Book Week

Thank you to everyone who supported the school during Book week and purchased a book from the Book Fair. We sold approximately $2141 worth of books, which equates to $596 worth of purchases for our library. Thank you to Ms Vander Wielen for her efforts in organising the fair.

Interim Reports and Parent Teacher Interviews

Interim reports went out last Friday and parent teacher interviews were held yesterday. If for some reason you missed your opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher, please contact them to make an appointment.

Sussing out our Solar System

On Tuesday, our students participated in an educational incursion, “Sussing out our Solar System.” This incursion was not only fun but informative. Thank you to our P&F who proudly supported the incursion.

Slam Basketball Carnival

This Friday, 8th September, our Year 5 and 6 students will be participating in the Slam Basketball Carnival. Information has been sent to the parents of those involved. We wish our teams the best of luck and know they will do a good job in representing our school.

Marketing Campaign

Next Tuesday, 12th September, a videographer from Sixteen by Nine will be here capturing footage of our school to create a series of short videos that we can use for marketing purposes. The videos will capture the good things we have happening at St Mary’s and help us to share our story.

Athletics Carnival

Information regarding the Athletics has been sent to parents already. The long distance running, jumps and throws day will now be held on Wednesday 13th September with the sprints and team games being held on Friday 15th September. We look forward to an exciting few days.

P&F Pingo Night

On Saturday 5th August, our P&F hosted a Pingo night at the Donnybrook Football Club. The night was a huge success that supported the school in raising $2700 to fund ySafe next week. Thank you to Alison Dowey, her family and the P&F who planned and coordinated the night, and a big thank you to the many generous sponsors we had for the night.

ySafe - (an information session about keeping our kids safe online)

Next week, ySafe will be visiting our school on Thursday 14th September. On the day, they will be working with Year 4/5 and 6 students to support them in better understanding the online space and how they can keep themselves safe, as well as working with staff to ensure they are well informed in best practice and able to keep students safe at school. ySafe will also be hosting a parent workshop designed to support parents and community members in better understanding the dangers associated with being online and how we can all work together to keep our kids safe. This event is proudly supported by our P&F. For more information on the workshop or to reserve your spot (spaces are limited) please visit:

Parents and Friends

Our next P&F Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 31st October at 9am in the staffroom. It would be great to have many parents there supporting our executive team.

Term 4

We have many exciting opportunities for our students happening in Term 4, including Year 6 Confirmation, swimming lessons, Year 6 camp, Interschool Athletics and end of year celebrations. Make sure to download the Term 4 calendar off the school website when it becomes available next term.

2024 Staffing and Budgeting

This year, Catholic Education requires us to submit a budget earlier than in the past. To support us in this process and discussions regarding staffing, can you please advise us in the office if you will be leaving Donnybrook or St Mary’s in 2024.

Mini Marvels

Our 3-year-old Mini Marvels parent involve playgroup is back up and running for Term 3. This group provides an opportunity for future kindy students to engage with their peers and become comfortable with our learning environment and staff. It also provides an opportunity for parents to make friends and form supportive networks. Mini Marvels is held in the Kindy room each Thursday morning from 9-10:30am with Miss Moore. For more information, please contact the office.

Kindy 2024 Enrolments and

Enrolments for our Kindergarten class in 2024 are filling up fast. If you are interested, or know of anyone who is, then please ask them to contact us on 97324700 to book a school tour and/or confirm their enrolment.


We are currently open for enrolments across all year levels for the remainder of this year and 2024. If you know of anyone who may be interested, please ask them to contact the office and I will give them a personal tour.

Andrew Gammon


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Enrolments are now open for VacSwim swimming lessons during the summer school holidays. VacSwim offers fun lessons at beach or pool locations. They are a great school holiday activity and they teach valuable safety skills to help keep your child safe in the water.

Enrol at

Colouring in Competition - paper copies available in the office or download the pdf below

School Holiday Activities in City of Bunbury

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