Term 3, Week 5 - Issue 13

From the Principal

I have loved books my whole life. My mum said I would line up my teddies and read to them as a child. I had favourite books and would know if the person reading to me tried to skip a page. When we had visitors, I always insisted they read me a story.

In my primary years, I wanted to be a librarian after school. My dad was in maintenance at St Ignatius College, and I spent most Saturdays in their library. Fr Logue taught me to catalogue books, and I catalogued my book collection at home. Each book even had a due date slip.

This year’s Book Week theme is ‘ Read, Grow, Inspire.’ It’s a wonderful theme that captures the gift and joy of reading. As an adult, I always have a novel on the go, usually a couple of work ‘reads’ on Audible, and then something non-fiction that I dip in and out of.

Reading is a source of ideas and wonder. Books can make us laugh, cry, and think about the world in new ways. I once met a woman who told stories for a living. She began every story with the words:

  • All stories are true.
  • Some of them actually happened.
  • When I begin with ‘once upon a time,’ this one happened to you.

Stories invite a response. In that way, they help us learn more about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

I was going to write about a book that has inspired me. There are too many! It was a lot of fun to adopt a character this week and see so many familiar characters among the students.

I hope reading is part of your family routine. It’s a great gift to bestow on your children.

Enjoy the weeks ahead. I look forward to seeing you in Term 4.

Warm regards,

Clare Nocka


Parent Education Series - Madhavi Nawana Parker

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 our challenges as parents and caregivers. Each session is designed for an adult audience, and our students will access content through WRAP. 

On Wednesday, 20 September, we invite parents and friends of students in Reception to Year 12 to attend our ‘Helping children and teenagers respond to friendship difficulties and bullying’ session by Madhavi Nawana Parker, Director of Positive Minds Australia.

Madhavi is one of Australia's leading experts on wellbeing and resilience, and she passionately supports young people, their families, and schools. As a widely published author, Madhavi's books and programs are implemented worldwide in schools, homes, and allied healthcare settings.

Hosted by Catholic Schools Parents SA, this workshop will help parents/caregivers identify the difference between bullying and social clumsiness while providing practical and constructive ways for young people to cope.

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.

Click here to book.

Technologies Highlights

The subjects of STEM, Graphic Design, Information Processing & Publishing, Business & Enterprise, Food Technologies, and Child Studies are part of the Technologies Learning Area.

As a learning area, the focus is to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to thrive in the digital age and participate meaningfully in an interconnected and technological world.

STEM integrates design and digital technologies to focus on creating technology rather than the consumption of it. Our Year 7 STEM students attended a Virtual Reality (VR) workshop at Lumination, where they used coding software to create the ‘ultimate school’. They collaboratively built and coded a virtual school by applying the engineering design process, sustainability, critical thinking, and creative thinking strategies. These learning experiences were brought into the classroom, where they applied their understandings to creating their own VR. Students’ VRs included the addition of solar panels, bridges to the parklands, new playgrounds, and much more.

Food & Hospitality
Our Hospitality students have thrived and celebrated learning the demands of the Hospitality industry by catering for large school events throughout the year. The most recent event where students helped cater for ‘The Women in STEM’ breakfast. This year’s focus has been sustainable food practices, where students designed and produced a dish featuring local, seasonal ingredients.

Child Studies
Child Studies students have been fortunate to work with our Junior School on many occasions. Based on classroom observations and research, students developed their activities as part of a lesson. This is a wonderful way for our Reception to Year 12 students to connect to learning at its core.

Business Enterprise
Year 12 Business Enterprise supports budding entrepreneurs by allowing them to set up partnerships, pitch their ideas, obtain funding, develop business plans, create innovative products, and showcase their offerings. Through the experience of launching their businesses, students have gained invaluable insights that extend beyond textbooks and classrooms. They’ve learned the art of adaptability, navigating the unpredictable terrain of the business world with creativity and resilience.

Giovanna Iannicelli
Technologies Learning Area Leader


Congratulations to our bands who performed at the ABODA festival last week. Our Middle School and Senior Concert Bands performed on Thursday and were awarded bronze and silver, respectively. On Friday, Stage Bands 1 and 2 performed, both achieving gold.

Like most band competitions, each band is required to perform a set 'test piece' as well as their own choice. The Middle School Concert Band performed the test piece 'Teatime Tango' and their choice piece 'The Path Not Taken', in which the band captured the feeling of an epic journey of excitement, challenge, and perseverance. 'The Path Not Taken' featured solos beautifully performed by Emelie D on saxophone and Millicent N on flute.

The Senior Concert Band performed the joyous and boisterous test piece 'Rejoice Be Glad' and their choice piece 'Solas Ane', an exquisite Gaelic-influenced piece that the band performed with stunning emotion and maturity, featuring Harriet B on piccolo.

Stage Band 2 performed the test piece 'Broken Hip Blues' and their choice piece 'Sticks', a fast, fun, and funky number. The band boasted numerous improvised solos, including Harriet C on clarinet, Grace H and Eliza B on trumpet, Carla A, Gemma B and Izzabella K on saxophones, and Chantal D on drums.

Stage Band 1 performed the test piece 'All Set To Fly', followed by a band favourite 'Buckjump', a heavy funk tune written by 'Trombone Shorty'. The band featured soloists Madison S on trumpet, Ella W on saxophone, Eimear A on drums and Joey Y on piano.

Well done to all St Mary’s students for their impressive commitment to preparing repertoire and their energy and passion in excellent performances.

Many thanks to our parents/caregivers for your continued support in helping our musicians and ensembles pursue their passions and achieve their best!

Future Schools Visit

Fifty leaders and educators from around Australia visited St Mary's College as part of the South Australian Future Schools Tour. Our inclusion on the tour itinerary alongside Immanuel College, Trinity College, Compass Catholic Community and SASY is a wonderful recognition of the work to achieve quality outcomes for our students.

Our tour session highlighted the following areas:

  • Digital Twin: an extension program and an example of a problem-based curriculum that draws on innovative industry connections.
  • Wellbeing through a social work and education interface, WRAP (Wellbeing, Relationships, Agency and Personal Responsibility) and SWAG (Student Wellbeing Advisory Group).
  • The Learner Hub: a space and approach that provides individual and flexible pathways for our students.

In each session, our staff spoke with a sense of pride and deep conviction in the work we are doing. The response from tour participants was affirming. 

As is always the case, our students provided the highlight in each session as they spoke confidently about their learning experiences. They are our finest ambassadors.

Clare Nocka