Magdalene Catholic High School

Newsletter Vol 20 Term: 2 Week 7 - 15 June 2018

Principal's Blog

Magdalene Shines

What a fantastic evening the School had last night. Indeed, we are truly blessed by the range of talents and skills that our students have and the generosity of our staff to make the night so special.

Expect to hear much more about Magdalene Shines in our next newsletter - complete with numerous photos of the night. In the meanwhile, I congratulate our Year 12s on the way they organised their Final Act and the numerous students who performed – in whichever manner – they did themselves, their families and the School proud.

Professional Learning Day – Learning Intentions & Success Criteria

On the 1 June, our teaching staff had a Professional Learning Day focused on providing more deliberate lessons through the use of Learning Intentions and Success Criteria.

I encourage you to ask your daughters and sons about what has been happening in their lessons recently as they should be quite familiar now with what these two things are.

Quite simply, a Learning Intention describes what teachers want their students to know, understand and/or be able to do as a result of learning and teaching activities (typically across a unit or a series of lessons). By providing clear intentions the teaching focus becomes more transparent and it takes the focus away from the activity and towards what the students are actually learning.

I know that over the years as a parent, sitting around the dinner table, quite often my questions to my children have focused on “what did they do today at school”. To refocus the question around learning, I should have been asking “what did you learn today?”. It is a very normal thing to get focused on activities and the busy stuff involved in classes; a renewed focus on learning, however, is proven to have a very positive result in terms of increased learning outcomes for students.

Success Criteria are linked to Learning Intentions but are provided for the student to see what success looks like. By using them they help both the teacher and the student to make judgements about the extent of, or the quality of, the student learning. Overall, as the research shows, by providing students with this information on a regular basis in each classroom, students are likely to show more focus, be more motivated, be clearer about the areas on which they can and should focus and take more responsibility for their own learning.

The day was a good one and it was great to have input from our nearest Catholic Feeder School, St Clare’s Narellan Vale, to hear from Ms Fran Berenger about how St Clare’s have been using Learning Intentions and Success Criteria in recent years. I particularly would like to thank Mrs Peiti Haines and Ms Stephanie Phillips for their organisation and coordination of the day.

So what do your children think about these and do they notice any difference to what and how they are learning?

New Seminar Rooms in the Patrician Library / Learning Resource Centre

As you can see in the photos, there has been a tremendous difference made in this area with the addition of four new seminar spaces.

These new rooms are made available for senior study, small tutorial groups or for meeting areas and it’s great to see students utilising them already.

I would like to thank the Library staff for being so accommodating, and patient, over recent weeks as well as Mr Avalos for his coordination of the project.

New Careers Office

To increase accessibility, our Careers Advisor Mrs Dobbie has a new Office space in the Library. This central location should help to increase the awareness of the importance of careers information and provide opportunities for students to be aware of what is out there beyond school.

The previous Careers Office (attached to the Brother’s House) will soon be converted to become the School’s new Second Hand Uniform Store. It should also be noted that, at present, our current Second Hand Uniform is set for demolition in the upcoming holidays.

Environmental Prayer

On 5th June Magdalene celebrated "World Environment Day".

With our new recycling scheme, our successful tree planting in our Term 1 Working Bee (with more Working Bees to follow) and various other environmental initiatives in play, we continue to advocate for and encourage our students to improve our environment through positive ecological actions. As such, the following prayer captures a number of these ideas and gives both thanks and hope as we pray to the Lord for an increasingly just world.

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Mr Matthew McMahon


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'13 Reasons Why’ – A Netflix Series

You may recall last year we alerted you to a new Netflix series called '13 Reasons Why' which focused on a 17 year old girl, Hannah Baker, at Liberty High School who completed suicide seemingly out of the blue. While the series tackled the issue of bullying, it also contained very graphic scenes of rape and suicide.

Despite holding an MA 15+ classification, due to the mass advertising in the media, many students in our school communities, both primary and secondary, viewed the series, often without the support of a trusted adult to process and make sense of their reactions to the controversial issues and graphic scenes the series presented.

As such, it is important to bring to your attention that Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why was released Friday 18th May. Similar issues of sexual assault, bullying, substance use and suicidal ideation are again, key themes.

Some of the following talking points might be helpful:

  • It’s important to realise that you don’t have to watch the show, even if your friends are. Anyone who is concerned that they might be distressed by the content should give serious thought to choosing not to watch, or consider safe ways to watch.

  • Just because all of the episodes will be released at once doesn’t mean you have to watch them all at once. Watching one episode at a time, with a day or even a week between episodes, may make it easier to manage your feelings.

  • It’s much better to watch the show with other people. Watch the show with a parent or a friend. Being able to discuss each episode afterwards can make it easier to manage your feelings and be critical of what you have seen. Watching it alone in your room can make it really hard to process what you’re watching, and can lead to feelings of depression.

  • If you or someone you care about is experiencing a mental health problem or having thoughts of suicide, there is help available. Talk to a family member or an adult at school, call Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or talk to a health professional. Headspace have also developed some materials around the same subject.

Mrs Blair Colella

Wellbeing Coordinator


We would like to thank everybody involved in project compassion where we raised over $2000 to support the work of Caritas Australia. Recently we announced our winner for the Caritas Project Compassion Colouring in Competition. Congratulations to Teagan Pritchard of Year 7 who took out the major prize of two Luna Park tickets. Well Done Teagan! A picture of the winning entry is below

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Term 2 will see our Social Justice focus shift towards the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal and our annual Winter Sleep Out. Planning is well underway with Courtney Deighton from St Vincent de Paul recently visiting our Social Justice team to address them and to assist with preparations for our Winter Appeal events. See the invitation below for the Winter Sleep Out, open to students in Years 9 to 12. Stay tuned for more details, including permission notes over the coming weeks. We will also be conducting our Winter Appeal - commencing in Week 9 where we will be collecting donations of canned and non-perishable foods and winter clothing for the less fortunate in our community.

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A large number of students attended and enjoyed our first Live and Senior Verve Twilight Retreat for the year. Held on Friday the 4th of May (the first week of Term 2), the overarching theme was; Choose Joy. The night was a fun opportunity to strengthen bonds with year mates and create new bonds while deepening their spirituality, faith and understanding of the world. On the night students experienced live music, games, input related to the theme, small group activities, team building activities, faith formation and spiritual development. Our guest speakers on the night included former students Chloe Palmer Simpson and Samantha Scholte, both of whom delivered inspiring speeches that highlighted resilience, courage and faith in choosing joy even when faced with great adversity. We are very grateful for the time and effort both of these ladies put into the night and the positive and meaningful impact they had on the students. Thank you to all the staff who helped bring this night together.

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Youth Ministry

Our Youth Ministry Leaders (YMLs) from Year 11 have commenced our program of LIVE lunchtime ‘drop in’ Events with sessions on Experiencing Joy and Living Life to the Full. Both were well attended with students enjoying engaging discussions, thought provoking sessions and games lead by senior students. These sessions are planned and lead by our YMLs, held in the CAPA space and open to ALL students from Years 7 through to Year 12.

Our Next Session will be on Friday 22nd June and will have a Social Justice (Winter Appeal Focus)

Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble - SCIENCE

As Term Two quickly draws to a close, students have continued to be engaged and enjoy their Science classes.

Year 7 have been looking at energy. In a recent activity, students explored the use of elastic energy to power a paddle-pop stick boat they had made. The activity ended in a “race off” to see who had the best design.

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After numerous heats, two teams raced their boats one team triumphed.

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Year 8 are finishing up their investigation of the Human Body Systems. The students were amazed when they looked at a sheep’s “pluck” (the heart, lungs and liver still joined together) especially when the lungs were inflated.

The focus of Year 9 students is to finish their exploration of the properties of light and construction of electrical circuits. Students have had fun reflecting and refracting light as well as learning about the basic components of electrical circuits.

The "potions classes" in Year 10 continue to happily mix chemicals together to see if they can come up with more strange results. Below are some of our Year 10 students investigating the effects of acids on carbonates.

NSW School Titration Competition

Chemistry students in Year 11 & 12 have completed their training sessions for the competition. The students have done well and now look forward to facing off against each other and the teams from the other schools. In the words of one Year 11 student “Bring it on!!!”.

Special thanks go to our Science Laboratory Assistant, Mrs Robyn Doepel, who has spent many hours since the start of term preparing for this competition.

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Year 7 Art Incursion

Year 7 recently took part in an Aboriginal art day where we participated in various activities that enlightened us about the Indigenous culture. Students were given the chance to participate in Aboriginal weaving and painting as well as listen to Dreamtime stories from Auntie Sharynne. My favourite part of the day was the weaving as it taught me new art skills that I have never seen before and I had a lot of fun with my friends while doing it. I found it very interesting when were told about the different tools and art techniques used and at the same time the explanation of the concept of reconciliation and of the National Reconciliation Week. This is a time taken every year to remember the Indigenous culture and the theme this year is “Don’t Keep History A Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow”. This experience was amazing and I am so grateful that our teachers and Wollongong CEO staff Karen Taylor, Kim Hobbs and Colleen Mitchell as well as Aunty Sharynne Freeman, an Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer, could give such a fantastic opportunity for year 7.

Charlie Roberts Year 7

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Sport News

Congratulations Tyrone!

Last week Tyrone Fergie (9B) competed against 15 other teams from around Australia at the National Baseball Championships in Adelaide from 27 May – 01 Jun.

As part of the Macarthur Baseball team, they progressed through the preliminary games, qualifying for the elimination finals. In their quarter-final against Brisbane, they won a hard fought game 7-6 with Tyrone hitting 3 from 4 at bats.

In their semi-final against Victoria Twins, Tyrone was the starting pitcher and threw the whole game for just 3 hits and 2 runs in 7 innings in a great 6-2 victory.

Then in the grand final, they came up against the defending champions Hills NSW and despite getting an early 3-2 lead in the 3rd innings they eventually lost a hard fought game and came away with the Silver medal.

This is the first time ever that a team from Macarthur has won a medal at National Baseball Championships.

The attached link is for Tyrone’s post-game interview after the semi-final (he is the 2nd interview – 1 Min 10 Sec into the tape)

The complete game replay can be found at:

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Congratulations Adam

Adam Farkas (10S) made it into NSWCCC U16s Football team. Of all NSW Catholic high schools, Adam made it into the final 16 players.
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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

Catholic Care

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Community News

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