Term 2, Week 5 - Issue 9

From the Principal

Dear St Mary’s College Community,

The theme of National Reconciliation Week is ‘Be A Voice For Generations.’ Our Year 5 and 6 teaching team led the staff in prayer this week and we were invited to write a commitment for Reconciliation on a footprint. 

My commitment this year is to understand my YES vote in a National Referendum for a Voice to Parliament. Furthermore, I want to understand why others might have a different view.

Reconciliation requires us to understand from many perspectives. That is hard. I feel worried for the future of Reconciliation if the referendum ends with a no vote. And so, I have made this commitment to understand, and to speak openly about this pivotal time in Australia’s history. 

The final sentence in the Uluru Statement from the Heart is compelling: 

‘In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. 

The full statement can be viewed here.

The decision we make as an Australian community will be a voice for generations. We need to understand what our voice will be. The following clip was shared with students as one part of Reconciliation Week activities, it is worth viewing: click here.

As always, our student leaders have led us beautifully through this week. Our community is fortunate to be led by such a wise and enthusiastic team of young people who use their voices to contribute to a more just world. 

Enjoy the weeks ahead.

Warm regards, 

Clare Nocka


'Oliver' the Musical!

St Mary’s College is excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for our College musical, ‘Oliver!’

Tickets are currently accessible exclusively to our community through our newsletter and will be released publicly via social media on Thursday 8 June. This gives our families a chance to secure a ticket for their preferred night(s):

  • Thursday, August 3: Opening Night: 7:30 pm
  • Friday, August 4: Second Show: 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, August 5: Matinee: 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, August 5: Closing Night: 7:30 pm

To book your tickets and for more information, please click the link below.


Health & Physical Education Highlights

In Semester 1, Physical Education has provided students with an opportunity to experience and develop their ability to play ‘winter’ based sports such as Netball, Australian Rules Football, Lacrosse, and Soccer. This allows students to have the confidence and skills required to participate in community sport. We have also supported these with a range of activities such as gymnastics, games-making units, and fitness training.

Our Year 12 PE class has completed a diagnostic task that compares exercise physiology in 3v3 and 5v5 Basketball formats and is currently studying the biomechanical efficiency of scoring a goal in their chosen sport. We look forward to reading about their findings.

Outdoor Education continues to be a popular subject at St Mary’s College, with students experiencing indoor-climbing, bushwalking, tent camping, and kayaking. Outdoor Education teaches students about Minimal Impact strategies, risk assessment and the planning for and management of outdoor activities. Students are self-reliant and work collaboratively to plan, prepare for and lead on trips to Deep Creek National Park, Katarapko Creek, Mt Remarkable National Park, and Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park.

In Health, we have been discussing various topics such as healthy relationships, help-seeking behaviours and understanding emotional responses to improve and maintain wellbeing. Students analyse the external influences that impact body image and develop strategies and initiatives to improve health and confidence. We also focus on nutritional trends and factors that influence the quality and duration of sleep. A variety of health-related topics are now covered in WRAP.

I look forward to watching our students continue to develop skills, and gain knowledge and confidence in Health and Physical Education.

Laura Gilbert, Health & PE Learning Area Leader

National Reconciliation Week

Every year, National Reconciliation Week is held from 27 May to 3 June, commemorating two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey. It is a time for us to engage in learning about culture, history, stories, reflection, and heal through strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples.

Our Reconciliation Focus Group, involving student leaders from Year 5 to Year 12, used the 2023 NRW theme ‘Be a Voice for Generations’ to facilitate a range of activities to spark conversation. We were welcomed into the week by friend of the community Dave Booth who joined us in a whole school liturgy and reminded us of the importance of connection and our active role in reconciliation. The group designed a range of stickers for all students with a purpose of prompting ongoing dialogue and questioning. Students reflected upon their commitment by participating in a whole school banner, responding to key questions around the school yard and engaging in various curriculum activities. In addition to this, the Junior School Year 5/6 choir featured in the NRW choir singing “ From Little Things Big Things Grow”.

College Captain SRC, Zenja Z, and Deputy College Captain SRC Chanelle W, summarised the week:

“It has been empowering to see and work with David and younger students to develop a week of education and knowledge, of which we as young people are passionate about.”

“I personally loved the chalk writing on the pavements, it was a great way to get the students to think about and create their commitments to the future voices of South Australia”.

Our school community is committed to continuing our Reconciliation journey, working together to deepen and restore relationships.

Parent and Friends Education Series

This week at playgroup I was talking with one of our parents about cultures where children are raised in community. I also have a colleague who describes her own family as a ‘tribe’. In these contexts, the youngest family members are raised with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And parents are not alone to navigate the sometimes-complex task of raising children. 

A strong partnership between home and school is also a supportive and protective factor in the development of our young. The Parents and Friends Education Series is designed as a space for parent education, connection, and conversation around some of the challenges we face as parents and caregivers. Each session is designed for an adult audience, and our students will be accessing content through WRAP. 

The Parent and Friends Education Series aligns with our College's commitment to student Wellbeing, Relationships, Agency, and Personal Responsibility (WRAP) Program. This program, designed to foster holistic student development, emphasises the importance of nurturing their overall wellbeing, including digital wellbeing.

Information has been sent to all families. Here are the booking links: 

Michelle Mitchell - Tweens Parenting*
Thursday 29 June 2023

Susan McLean - Cyber Safety
Wednesday 5 July 2023

Madhavi Nawana - Friendship Difficulties and Bullying
Wednesday 20 September 2023

Encounter Youth - Vaping, Drugs, and Alcohol Information Night
Wednesday 1 November 2023

We look forward to seeing many of you at these sessions. Family and friends are welcome. 

Click here to access our 'Parent and Friends Education Series' webpage for more information, including profiles of our guest speakers.

*Please note, the Michelle Mitchell session is open to St Mary’ s College Parents/Caregivers only. All other sessions are open to the broader community.


Clare Nocka


Farewell Richard Watson

I joined St Mary’s College in April 2005 and prior to that I was in the Royal Australian Navy for 26 years as a Seaman Officer.   

Upon being appointed the role of Business Manager, transitioning out of the Navy was more challenging than I envisaged, but I was excited having moved around with my family for such a long time. I will admit I faced a steep learning curve to appreciate and understand how the education industry operated, but the more I learnt the more I appreciated that working in schools was an honourable occupation. Tell me something that is more important than the education and development of young people to prepare them to play their role in society.

When I arrived at the College, it was fair to say there were areas that were due their time for some modernisation. I am proud of achieving project such as coordinating the construction of the Centre for Performing Arts, building the Susan Sullivan Library, and transitioning from blackboards to whiteboards to interactive whiteboards to smart television screens in the classrooms, and much more!

The College continues to evolve and develop whilst maintaining its focus on its core operations: the education of young students. I feel St Mary’s becomes a better school each year, and I am proud that I have contributed to the establishment, development and ongoing maintenance of the framework that enables St Mary’s to continue to flourish. 

I will miss the people at St Mary’ s who inspire life into a school that gives the College its character. Everyone contributes, everyone has a speciality, everyone has a strength, and everyone comes to work each day to make a difference. I did look forward to coming to work each day, working with my close team, and providing the support to the greater team. There is something special about St Mary’s: it’s intangible, and it is real.

In my retirement, I am looking forward to travelling more, both in Australia and overseas. With my eldest daughter Georgina living in Canberra, my son Hugh in Perth, and Claudia currently overseas, I am looking forward to seeing my children more. I also would like to read more: not finance reports, just classic books.

I wish St Mary’s all the success for the future: the College remains relevant in the everchanging world. Everyone who has ever worked in St Mary’s has contributed to where St Mary’s sits today.

I wish St Mary’s College fair weather and smooth seas. If it is not like that, you do not want to be out there.

Richard Watson
St Mary’s College Business Manager
13 April 2005 to 26 May 2023.