Term 3, Week 3 - Issue 12

From the Principal

Towards the end of Term 2, we hosted a parent education evening with Susan Maclean, a leading expert in cyber safety. It was an informative, though at times, confronting evening. 

One of Susan’s gifts is her capacity for straight talk. She is passionate about cyber safety for our young people and refuses to sugarcoat the risks and potential for harm.

If the audience on the night were reflective of the follow-up related to digital technology, there would have been standing room only. Social media and digital technologies have significantly impacted our work in schools. Much of what we follow up on is happening outside school hours, but the impact is felt here at school.

For those who missed it, here are a few key takeaways.

  • Most social media is for children 13 years and older. If your child under 13 is on social media, you allow them in an unsafe space for their age.
  • Get digital devices out of bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • No screens an hour before bed. Keep them in a central place for charging overnight.
  • Children need to see adults modelling good habits with their phones. 
  • Phones are helpful and handy, but they do not keep children safe.

Phones provide wonderful tools for contact, convenience, and connection. We can guide our young people to have an online footprint framed by respect, responsibility, and care for reputation. It is not enough to simply give them a phone; we need to teach them to be safe online.

Susan has a wonderful range of links and resources on her website, I encourage you to have a look. 

Last weekend, we staged the musical production, ‘Oliver!’ . It was an exceptional performance, and a great team effort from the staff and students involved. There was so much talent on display in the instrumental, vocal, acting, and staging realms. We are blessed as a community to have such quality in our Arts team. Thank you to all the families who supported the production. 

Warm regards,

Clare Nocka


Catholic Schools Open Week Events

Catholic Schools Open Week is held from 21 to 27 August and is an opportunity to showcase the many opportunities St Mary’s offers our students.

During this week the following activities will be taking place, we invite you to welcome family and friends both in and outside of our community to attend:

  • Tuesday 22 August - Come and Try Day, 9:15am - 2:30pm - Register HERE
  • Wednesday 23 August - SALA Paint & Sip Night (No students allowed) - Book HERE
  • Friday 25 August - SALA Opening Night for St Mary's Families - Register HERE
  • Saturday 26 August - Principals Tour, 1 - 3pm, - Register HERE
  • Saturday 26 August - SALA, 1:30 - 3pm, Open to public - Register HERE

We look forward to welcoming new and current families to these events.

Science Highlights

Throughout this year, our senior Science students have been experimenting with a variety of techniques and apparatus used by scientists.

Stage 2 Biology students have explored the effect of how varying concentrations of an enzyme in yeast (catalase) impacts the rate at which hydrogen peroxide is broken down. They have also investigated whether there is a difference between how red and green leaves photosynthesise in plants. In both instances, students used the Vernier Gas Sensors to collect the concentration of oxygen produced.

To determine the acid content of waste cooking oil, Stage 2 Chemistry students used volumetric analysis techniques and sourced the oil from their place of work at fast food restaurants around Adelaide. The results were analysed to determine the suitability of waste cooking oil as a more sustainable alternative to edible oil in the production of biodiesel.

Stage 2 Nutrition students have analysed food science data to diagnose lifestyle diseases and design appropriate dietary modifications. The class also completed an investigation into the burning of foods to examine the amount of heat energy released from macronutrients within several ultra-processed food products.

Our Stage 2 Psychology class designed their own investigations related to occupational stereotypes. This involved collecting data from a wide range of participants, including some of our Junior School students, gathering some interesting data about their ideas regarding different occupations. A highlight of last semester was an excursion to the University of Adelaide to participate in an animal behaviour workshop. Students learned how psychological principles about learning, such as positive reinforcement, can be applied to shape animal behaviour.

Stage 2 Physics students have been designing their own investigations into a range of physical concepts. This includes uniform circular motion with students determining the relationship between the mass of a ball on an elastic band and the radius of the circular path. Other students have investigated the relationship between the intensity of ultraviolet light and the thickness of glass through which it passes. 

All students will now explore and report on the current research of scientists around the globe in their Science as a Human Endeavour investigation.

Julia Green
Science Learning Area Leader

'Oliver!' the Musical

The production of ‘Oliver!’ has been such a remarkable experience for students this year. Not only have they been part of a professional pre-production process but have proved to all that if we strive for something with passion and our whole hearts, we can truly succeed.

As they embarked on this theatrical journey, they discovered numerous avenues for learning, collaboration, and self-discovery that left an indelible impact on everyone.

The production required a high degree of teamwork and collaboration. Students learnt the value of effective communication, compromise and mutual respect while working closely with their peers. They discovered how to collectively tackle challenges, brainstorm creative solutions, and celebrate the successes that emerged from their combined efforts.

Rehearsals and performances were accompanied by unforeseen challenges such as last-minute script changes, technical glitches, and unexpected circumstances. The students demonstrated remarkable resilience in adapting to these situations and finding solutions under pressure. These experiences nurtured their ability to remain composed in the face of uncertainty, a valuable skill applicable to various life scenarios.

We are all so incredibly proud of the immense individual and collaborative development the students have displayed. Collaborating intensively in a creative endeavour forged strong bonds among the students. The shared dedication, laughter and mutual support during the many and long rehearsals and exhilarating performances, led to the creation of lasting friendships that extended beyond the theatre.

‘Oliver!’ was not just a musical, but a transformative journey that nurtured personal growth, fostered valuable life skills, and created lasting memories. I think this applies to the creatives on staff too! We are forever learning. The positive experiences and growth that the students underwent through the production will undoubtedly influence and enrich their lives.

Rhiannon Davis
The Arts Learning Area Leader

Click HERE to view more 'Oliver!' photos

Old Scholar and CatholicCare CEO

St Mary’s College old scholar and past Director of the College Board, Julia Mangan (2000), has recently been appointed the CEO of CatholicCare, Tasmania.

Julia commenced at St Mary’s College in Year 8 in 1996 and graduated in 2000, and then returned to our College in 2019 when she was appointed as Director of the College Board in May 2019 until retiring in 2022. Julia credits St Mary’s as having a significant influence in her life explaining, “ There were social justice engagement and opportunities; things like Fred’s Van, making soup for people who are homeless in the city. As a teenager, it lent me towards that social justice drive in my personal life, and later professionally as well”.

Julia went on to complete a law and arts degree, majoring in politics, and worked with the South Australian government at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, SafeWork SA, and Housing SA, working in the housing and homelessness sectors.

Julia has had a strong career of more than 15 years in senior leadership positions including executive roles where she was responsible for social housing, homelessness, regulatory compliance, property and contract management, legal advisory and business strategy, and risk.

CatholicCare Tasmania delivers various support programs responding to the needs of families, individuals, and the wider community, regardless of circumstances or backgrounds.

We congratulate Julia on her appointment.

Welcome Zak, St Mary's Business Manager

We welcome to our St Mary’s College community, Zak Plumridge, who has been appointed as the College Business Manager. This week we invited Zak to answer some questions to allow our community to get to know him better.

What career path led you to the role of Business Manager at St Mary’s College? I started working as an accountant in the property and construction industry where I developed a keen interest to move into the not-for-profit space. An opportunity came up in Townsville to join the St Patrick’s College Board which exposed me to the exciting work that schools do. Subsequent to this, an opportunity came up in a full-time capacity as the Director of Business Operations. I have really enjoyed the role, however the cooler weather was calling!

What has been the most rewarding part of your career working in schools? Being a part of the college community and life, and seeing the direct impact that my role has in helping to produce great learning outcomes for the school.

When you’re not at work, where might we find you? Enjoying life down at the Central Markets eating cheese. Or sipping a coffee on a crisp morning walk and seeing the amazing sights of Adelaide.

What is your proudest achievement so far? Meeting my wife Amy, who just happens to be a fabulous teacher.

Do you have any pets? A black and white Scottish Fold cat named Louis.

What are you most looking forward to about living and working in Adelaide? The great lifestyle this city has to offer and visiting the amazing restaurants and countryside.

What are you most looking forward to in your role at St Mary’s College?  Joining a fabulous vibrant community, with new opportunities, challenges, and relationships.

Important College Information


The Australian Government Department of Education would like to advise all staff, parents, and guardians that it will collect certain information about our College, staff and students as part of the 2023 Non-Government School Census collection (the Census).

Please click here  for more information regarding this process.