Term 4, Week 2 - Issue 16

From the Principal

Dear St Mary’s College Community,

It was wonderful to return to the community last week to see people and hear about the second half of the term. There is no doubt that the myriad of relationships we create in a school community is the absolute highlight of my work. It is also significant to contemplate just what we manage to squeeze into five weeks of a school term!

Over the coming weeks, I hope to share some of the experiences and learning from my time away. Travel is such a wonderful privilege, irrespective of how near or far we venture. For this week, I want to start with the end of our trip which coincided with the term break.

Our oldest daughter lives in Germany with her husband and two sons. It is hard to live on the other side of the world from family. We especially miss the day-to-day connection with our two grandchildren.

It is easy to forget the joy in experiencing the world through the eyes of a young child - the squeals of delight and shouts of “again, again” when they are immersed in something they love. Our oldest grandson is completely bilingual, and it was fascinating to observe the ease with which he transitioned from German to English and back again.

We had lots of time for play and reading stories. We went on long walks and explored their local village. We went to playgrounds. We shared meals. We talked about how much we had forgotten the physical exhaustion of that stage of parenting. On more than one occasion, I offered a quiet thanks to my parents who played such an active role in the care of my children.

Once the children were asleep each evening, we had precious time for conversation with their parents. Having adult children is something I appreciate more each day. The extended break meant there was more time to sit and talk, without the day-to-day pressures that preoccupy us. It really was a time of renewal, both personally and professionally.

I am grateful to my team who stepped in and kept things running smoothly in my absence.

As we head into the start of Term 4, we keep our prayers and best wishes with our Year 12 students who finish lessons this week and head into exams and final assessments.

Warm regards,

Clare Nocka


Year 12 Celebrations

As our Year 12 students end their St Mary’s schooling journey, we have the opportunity to pause, reflect, and celebrate their wonderful achievements with special community celebrations and events.

On Thursday, 26 October, Year 12 students will formally farewell the students and teachers at St Mary’s College at their final school assembly. Our community will gather in the morning to recognise academic excellence and acknowledge the worthy recipients of The Ethos Award and Commitment Awards that reflect our Dominican Spirit and school values.

That afternoon, Year 12 parents and families will attend the Year 12 Final Mass, held in St Patrick’s Church, followed by afternoon tea on Veritas Lawns.

The last official day for Year 12 students is Friday, 27 October, where a celebration breakfast will be held for students. Each year, staff and students dress to a theme, with this year’s being ‘Rhyme Without Reason’.

We look forward to celebrating these rites of passage with the Class of 2023.

The Headstone Project

At St Mary's College, embracing the importance of justice is integral to our purpose as a Catholic Dominican school. Our Catholic tradition honours the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, and we believe education should empower young people to contribute to their community.

As a pilot project in two of our Year 9 HASS classes, students have enthusiastically taken part in ‘The Headstone Project’, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to provide headstones for the unmarked graves of First World War veterans. They believe that all veterans should be recognised for their service and deserve the dignity of headstones to be remembered by.

In small groups, students were allocated an Australian First World War veteran buried at the West Terrace Cemetery to research. Students created a detailed profile of the soldier and put together a commemoration service for them.

Indiana P and Georgia S successfully researched Edward Conlin and have been invited, along with their peers, to attend the West Terrace Cemetery on 9 November 2023 to unveil this veteran's headstone, who was buried in an unmarked grave. With the support of their teachers, Mr Peter Batty and Ms Renee Irvine, Indiana and Georgia have also prepared a service for the veteran and invited his living relatives as special guests to the service, along with dignitaries such as the Lord Mayor of Adelaide.

Indiana said of the project, “I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to gain a deeper connection with those who served in WWI and provide these brave soldiers with the recognition they deserve”. 

St Mary’s parent, Mr Ian Hopely, and Ms Jane Mitta from The Headstone Project have been integral in assisting our students in their research endeavours and have been highly impressed with our students' enthusiasm and research skills.

Our partnership with The Headstone Project has been a valuable opportunity for our students to learn about World War I in an authentic context and contribute to our community in a meaningful way. We look forward to working with them again next year.

2023 SAETA Young Writers Award

Congratulations to Year 8 student Isabella A on placing third in the 2023 SAETA (South Australian English Teachers Association) Young Writers Award.

Isabella’s completed her prose entitled ‘The Concentration Camp’ as part of her Year 8 English Assessment and was encouraged to submit it to the statewide competition. Please read an excerpt below:

I wake to a loud screech of the brakes. The brightness burns my eyes. I look around and see soldiers pulling Mama and Papa out of the truck when I suddenly feel a hand squeeze my arm and drag me out of the truck. I fall hard onto the pebbled floor. I’m pulled up and pushed into the queue of people, lining up to get onto what seems to be a train. It’s a strange train, it has no fancy carriages with tables and chairs, red velvet seating and curtains, none of it.

We congratulate Isabella on this achievement and acknowledge her remarkable determination, creativity, and literacy skills.


The Adelaide City Council have been actively monitoring parking around the College in recent weeks. SAPOL have also made visits to monitor speed and road use around the crossing. These visits are in response to parent concerns about road safety, especially following an accident at another city college last term.

Courtesy on the roads, patience and following the road rules are all measures that keep our children safe. Key things to keep in mind:

  • The drop-off and pick-up zones are for quick transitions - jumping in and out. Please do not hold up time with long farewells or still dressing for school. If your child needs a long transition, please find a park.
  • Do not leave your car in the drop-off and pick-up zones.
  • Move to the top of the queue so there is room for other drivers.
  • Do not park across the bike lane.
  • Do not do a U-turn in front of the traffic lights.

The peak time for pick-up is very brief. If you can park and walk, that is helpful. It is also helpful to stagger the time so that we minimise cars waiting at 3:15pm.

Keeping our children safe is everyone’s responsibility.