Term 2, Week 9 - Issue 10

From the Principal

Dear St Mary’s College Community,

As we move towards the end of the semester and mid-year break, the cold has well and truly set in, bringing with it colds, cases of flu, and the continuing presence of covid. 

The first half of the year has been full. Returning to the whole range of learning in and outside the classroom is wonderful. At the same time, I wonder if, as a community, we have missed some of the quieter times that covid demanded.   

In a recent conversation with other leaders, we reflected on not yet fully understanding the impact of covid on people’s sense of connection to community. In some ways, during the early stages of the pandemic, the human community was drawn together to support each other in the wake of a global experience not seen in our lifetimes. Since then, I wonder if we have retreated from connection because while it has many benefits, it can also demand our time and energy. 

The next term begins with a celebratory bang and a good opportunity to connect with the St Mary’s College community. Make sure you have your tickets for Oliver. Many of our community will not have had the experience of a full-scale Middle and Senior years musical; it is a wonderful opportunity not to be missed.  

We also celebrate Dominican Week with our Feast Day Mass and community activities throughout the week. As a Catholic Dominican School, we invite all students and their families to two things - a partnership in the learning and development of your child, and an invitation to be in the community. We expect all families to support our Catholic Dominican culture, which means helping your child to be present for community celebrations. 

Finding the sweet spot between activity and rest, community and solitude, and work and play is a never-ending quest. I hope the term break brings an opportunity for something that feels like balance. 

Stay warm! 

Clare Nocka


Cyber Safety with Susan McLean

We are delighted to invite our St Mary's College community to our Parent and Friends Education Series occurring during 2023. These important events feature experts sharing valuable insight into a range of topics and aims to empower you with essential knowledge and strategies to support the wellbeing of your children.

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 students’ overall wellbeing, including digital wellbeing. 

On Wednesday, 5 July we invite parents and friends of students in Reception to Year 12 to attend our Cyber Safety session by Susan McLean.

Susan McLean, founder of Cyber Safety Solutions, a member of Victoria Police for 27 years,  and a leading authority on cyber safety in Australia, will share her expertise through thought-provoking sessions, practical strategies, and first-hand insights. Her guidance will equip you to navigate the challenges of the digital world effectively and become proactive guardians of your children's online experiences.

We look forward to your presence at this free event and encourage our community to invite friends and family members to attend. All are welcome. Bookings are essential.

Date: Wednesday, 5 July 2023
Time: 6:30 PM
Location:  Veritas Centre, St Mary's College
Open to: Parents and Friends of students in Reception to Year 12 (Adults only)


The PIE grant program is supported by the Office of the Minister for Education, Training, and Skills, Government of South Australia. Catholic School Parents South Australia is responsible for administering the grants for Catholic Schools in South Australia.

STEM Highlights

Throughout Term 2, students in Year 5/6 and Year 9 STEM have explored what it means to be “ off the grid”.

Year 5/6 students are exploring this concept by looking at what a school community can do to go “off the grid”, considering the way we manage our water, produce and consume energy, and manage our waste. In Year 9 STEM students are exploring “off the grid” from a local community perspective to then develop their own sustainable homes. With the support of their teachers, Matt Pastro and Giovanna Iannicelli, students are developing skills in 3D Modelling using Minecraft and Computer Aided Design (CAD). Students have had the opportunity to visit the SA Water Education Centre, Integrated Waste Services, and Christie Walk. This project-based learning model will explore connections to other technology such as Digital Twin, a virtual replica of a physical model including wiring and water pipes. 

This supports the work that commenced in 2021 by a core group of students, including our Digital Twin Leader, Chanelle Weisz. Through the generosity of our industry partner, Digital Twinning Australia, Chanelle developed skills in 3D Modelling using industry software REVIT to develop a 3D model of the Veritas Centre. This model could be used to determine the efficiency of our solar panels in delivering enough power to the building. With the support of the Digital Twin Club, we were able to identify that we were producing more energy in the summer that was going back to the grid. We were looking for a way to store this energy so we could continue to power the building through the cooler months. By modelling our virtual building in Digital Twinning Software, we are able to view our energy production through a live feed. 

In Week 5 of this term, Chanelle, Georgena and Olive went to the RAA to pitch for a new battery. Under the leadership of Chanelle and the guidance of Ed from Digital Twinning Australia, our students spoke passionately about their desire for the school to be more sustainable and to share their learnings with other schools. We look forward to the opportunity to work with the RAA on future projects to excel in our sustainability goals.

Monique Green
Leader of Learning & Innovation 

Celebrating our Teachers

As adults, many of us look back on a teacher who made a difference in our lives. It might have been through school, university, trade or training, or when learning a new skill. There is an art to being an effective teacher. It encompasses knowing our students, our content, and how to impact the learning of an often-diverse cohort of students. For educators in schools, a highly effective teacher will also influence the learning and development of their colleagues.  

In 2012, the Ministers for Education signed a national teacher certification program developed and led by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. The certification program is managed and assessed by governing authorities. Our program is well supported by Catholic Education SA. 

Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers (HALTs) has three purposes:  

  1. Recognise and promote quality teaching.  
  2. Provide an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their practice.
  3. Provide a reliable indication of quality teaching that can be used to identify, recognise and reward Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers. 

CESA recently celebrated the newest cohort of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers. St Mary’s College was well represented in the cohort. 

Congratulations to Giovanna Iannicelli, Jasmin Parasiers, Christina Kilishiri, Georgie Amadio, and Liz Munday. Each of these teachers makes a wonderful contribution to our learners and to our staff learning community. 

Clare Nocka