Term 3, Week 7 - Issue 14

From the Acting Principal

Dear St Mary’s College Community,

‘Every child in every community needs a fair go’.

National Child Protection Week, held from 3 - 9 September, aims to promote a safe and supported life for every child now and into the future. A safe community is like a puzzle - you need to bring all the pieces together to make it work.

We work hard at St Mary’s College to ensure it is a safe place for our young people because where we start matters. From our amazing care group teachers who greet and welcome your child every morning to the social workers who support those social and emotional needs, to the playground where students play and interact together building those friendships that matter - all the pieces are important and essential.

We also aim to build a strong partnership between home and school, this is a supportive and protective factor in the development of our young people. 

At St Mary’s College we explicitly teach skills such as personal safety, empathy, cyber safety, setting personal boundaries and building respectful relationships with others. We know this is ongoing from Reception right through to our Year 12 students as they grow, develop, and become empowered young women.  

We encourage our community to attend our next parent session at the College with Madhavi Nawana Parker on 20 September. This is a great opportunity to hear from an expert on wellbeing and resilience. Register your attendance here.

Enjoy the beginning of spring!

Warm regards,

Kate Bawden

Acting Principal

R U OK? Day

‘R U OK?’ is a public health promotion charity that encourages people to stay connected and have conversations that can help others through difficult times in their lives.

In celebration of ‘R U OK? Day’ on Thursday 14 September, our St Mary’s College SWAG (Student Wellbeing Advisory Group) has organised various activities for all students to take part in on the day. As they continue to live out their mission, Creating a Culture of Care, SWAG will be encouraging students, staff and those in our community to have meaningful conversations and ask, ‘R U OK?’.

Some of the activities include:

  • SWAG Pop-Up Station
  • Mindful Activities
  • Making friendship bracelets
  • Gratitude/Affirmation Cards
  • Yellow ribbons and wristbands (for a gold coin donation to R U OK? Charity
  • Coffee Van and Grounds 4 Change Coffee Cart
  • Staff vs. Students dodgeball game (Friday lunch)

We look forward to recognising this important day.

Religious Education Highlights

In Senior Religious Education we have had the opportunity this year to implement a new SACE course at Stage 1 and 2: Spiritualities, Religion and Meaning. In the Stage 2 course our Year 12 students explored the concepts of social justice and ecological spirituality. Social justice, and uplifting voices that need to be heard is important to us at St Mary’s College.

Each Year 12 class explored a different social justice issue and organisation including Zonta, Share the Dignity, St Vincent de Paul Society, Moore Street Centre, and Australian Catholic Religious Against Human Trafficking (ACRATH).

Our students were asked to create an action that advocated for the people affected, raised money for the organisation, or spread awareness of the issue and educate on what can be done to help. Students’ actions needed to draw on the principles of social justice and Catholic Social Teachings which were explored as part of the course. Some groups raised money to buy the materials needed to assemble birthing kits, created videos to inform about the implications of period poverty in Australia and started a drive at school to collect warm clothes and blankets for people experiencing homelessness.

The new SACE courses at Stage 1 and 2 have given our Senior students the opportunity to deeply explore different religious and spiritual concepts and to put these concepts into action.

Karina Baker
Religious Education Learning Area Leader

APY Lands Immersion

On 19 August, eight Year 11 students, four staff and two old scholars, travelled 1400km to the far North of South Australia to Kenmore Park Anangu School within the APY Lands. They had the honour of immersing themselves amongst the oldest continuing living culture in the world, deepening strong relationships with community and connection to country.

Their first night was spent at Kingoonya Campground with a greeting from two wild horses. The sky ignited shades of pink and purple as the Kenmore Park Crew set up their swags with a view of the Trans-Australian Railway Line. After a long day of travel in the 3 4x4 vehicles playing many games of ‘windmill’, our travellers enjoyed their first evening under the stars.

The crew spent four unforgettable days at Kenmore Park Anangu School where they were warmly welcomed by the principal Charlie and his wife Monika. Together, along with the students, a home-cooked meal was shared, and many conversations were had. Across the days, the team learnt Pitjantjatjara taught by elders, created punu (woodcraft) puppets, dug for Maku (Witchetty Grubs), taught music to students, participated in bush days, used night vision goggles to analyse the constellations, and enjoyed playing sport in the rage cage. The team participated in a reciprocity project, creating benches and painting sea containers, giving back to the school as a token of gratitude for their hospitality. They concluded their stay by cooking and sharing a final meal with the community; acknowledging the strong connections formed.

The group then travelled to the sacred site of Uluru for three days, deepening their understanding of history and witnessing the remarkable landscape. They ate dinner together and watched the sunset at Uluru, and were also up bright and early to see the magnificent view of Uluru at sunrise. The team visited Kata Tjuta, walked the 10km base of Uluru, explored the cultural centre, and were guided on the Mala Walk by Ranger Kieran who shared Tjukurpa (Dreaming) with them.

Their final evening was at Coober Pedy, staying at Radeka’s Underground Caves, reminiscing on memories over a pizza meal and too many pieces of Ms Litchfield’s delicious rocky road! It was a delightful way to end the immersion before they returned to the familiarities of traffic lights, school bells and the busyness of Adelaide.

It was a privilege for our students and staff to embark on an extraordinary journey with a fabulous team representing St Mary’s College. We are eternally grateful for our ongoing relationship with Kenmore Park Anangu School and the support from the families of applicants. Thank you to Ms Olivia Quick and Ms Pat Litchfield for their dedication to and organisation of this immersion.

To our St Mary’ s immersion students, may this experience stay with you for a lifetime, smiling as you continue to find the trail of red dust as you unpack your bags.

To view more photos, please click here.

Planning for 2024

At St Mary’s College, we look forward to a long-term partnership with families in the education and formation of your daughters. Whether you begin in Reception, Year 7, or somewhere in between, we want all our students to finish their time as St Mary’s Year 12 graduates.

We are currently building our timetable for next year, forming classes and finalising staffing. If you are planning a change of school in 2024, now is the time to let us know. Please email the Acting Principal - kate.bawden@stmarys.sa.edu.au, or our Registrar enrolments@stmarys.sa.edu.au

As always, the Leadership Team is available to discuss your child's learning and wellbeing. We can also support you when finances are a concern. At the moment, we are planning for all our students to continue, and we look forward to nurturing their growth into a new year level.