Edition 1 | 10 February 2023
Judith Weir

Welcome back to all our families, students and staff. We have had a wonderful start to the year.

On Tuesday 31 January, we welcomed the Year 7 and Year 12 students. One year level beginning their journey at OLMC and another looking to how they can make the most of their last year. The Year 7 students spent a day getting to know the school, their teachers and each other. They all received their computers and now they are logged in and have access to all that they need for class. They are now truly OLMC young people. Year 12 students began with a specific program aimed at supporting them to begin their VCE journey.

Wednesday 1 February, the school year began in full. It is always a joy to watch the excitement of the new school year as all the students arrive full of anticipation for what lies ahead. The sounds of joy and laughter as the students reconnected was heartening for all of us. We wish all students the very best for the year and look forward to sharing in new challenges and successes.

Our Gospel Theme this year is:

And, who is my neighbour?’ (Luke 10:29b)

As I outlined in the Parent and Student Information Booklet sent to families at the beginning of the year, the text, chosen by our Year 12 Student Leadership Team, challenges us to live our Mercy heritage, welcoming all and understanding who our neighbour might be, both from within the school and beyond. It empowers us to open our lives to the needs of others, especially those who suffer. Catherine McAuley challenges us to put our whole confidence in God so that we can be Mercy. We hope that this year we will explore the many ways we can be neighbours for each other.

Today we had the privilege of celebrating the outstanding academic performances of the Year 12 Class of 2022. It was a joy to welcome back students and their families and to share as a community in the success that has come from long hours of hard work and dedication. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the extensive and ongoing support provided to all our students by our dedicated teaching staff. Of course, the support of their families was key for all our students in achieving success. As was the case for the last two cohorts who went before them, the Class of 2022 also contended with the challenges presented by a world coming to terms with a global pandemic. It is a testament to their courage and commitment that they were able to achieve such success. This is true for all who completed their studies in 2022.

The students are now readying themselves for their next big steps and we wish them well for the future. We hope all that they have learned from their time at OLMC carries them forward. We also look forward to a time when we can welcome them back. Congratulations to the Year 12 Class of 2022.

We also hosted two Parent Information Evenings this week, with our Year 7 and 10 families. We look forward to welcoming our Year 8 and 9 families next week. The information nights are designed to help us connect with families and to establish our partnership in supporting our young people to flourish. In addition to sharing important information, the nights are also a time to connect with other parents and to meet staff who are key in the lives of your child this year. Thank you to all who joined us for the evenings. For those who were unable to join us, the information shared is available on PAM.

We are hopeful that during this year we will continue to build our community and provide opportunities for all to grow and flourish.

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day (SID), celebrated on Tuesday 7 February, is a global event that brings together communities, families, schools and organisations from more than 200 countries to help create safer online spaces. In Australia, the day is promoted by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, and their theme for 2023 is "Connect, Reflect, Protect";

Connect safely and with purpose

By keeping apps and devices secure and using social media in positive ways.

Reflect before we act

By taking a moment to consider how what we do and say online may affect others.

Protect ourselves and others with knowledge

This link will take you to the eSafety Commissioner Website where you can explore the resources available for parents.

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

Our College Theme for 2023 comes from Luke’s account of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where the lawyer asks Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ after declaring he follows the Laws of Moses.

So as we begin our academic year once more, how might OLMC be a place of hospitality, compassion, justice, courage and joy for others?

So we pray…

God of Mercy and Blessing
Support and strengthen us as we begin this new school year,
As we live your love and action in our world.
May our place be one of welcome, hospitality, justice and compassion for all we encounter.
We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord.

Upcoming Liturgies

As the OLMC Faith community we will celebrate God’s love for us and presence in our world with the following Masses and Liturgies:

  • Thursday 16 February at 6:30pm
    Year 7 Mass of Welcome, where our newest members of the Mercy family will be presented, blessed and welcomed.
  • Monday 20 February
    Whole School Mass asking God to bless our new school year, including the blessing and investiture of the 2023 Student Leaders and the blessing of our new buildings.
  • Wednesday 22 February
    Ash Wednesday, commemorates the beginning of the holy Season of Lent.
    Please note the canteen will not serve any meat products on this day.
Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

On 13 February 2008, the first sitting of the new parliamentary year, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally acknowledged the immense suffering experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to past government policies of forced child removal and decades of mistreatment of Indigenous Australians.

He said:
We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

As Mercy people, we continue to seek ways of building reconciliation and healing for those hurt in the past; who continue to feel and be treated as second class people.

So we pray…

God of Justice,
We come to seek your guidance, wisdom and compassion
As we pray for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been wronged in the past, may our hearts be open to receive your healing grace, so that we in turn bring healing to each other.
We ask this prayer through Christ, our Lord,

Simon Conlan
Leader of Learning Development

At the end of 2022, the OLMC community bid farewell to a number of wonderful staff members, many of whom had contributed to our school for several years, even decades. As our principal, Judith Weir, has noted earlier in this newsletter, we are fortunate to be welcoming a number of new staff members to the school in 2023, both classroom teachers and in a range of other roles.

The departure of staff and the arrival of new colleagues prompted me to reflect on the legacy left by all members of school community when they depart. The desire to learn that is apparent in so many OLMC students can be partly attributed to the work of our colleagues who have moved on and staff new to our school will benefit from the work of their predecessors. In a profession that relies enormously on collaboration, this ‘passing of the baton’ is one form of partnership, one aspect of legacy, that is really worth celebrating.

Similarly, the students who finished at OLMC in 2022, whether Year 12s or in other year levels, have also left a legacy. Students and families may not be aware of it, but the staff in schools fondly remember many students and their families after they have left. Students leave a legacy of academic success, or an example of remarkable application and resilience, or simply and often most profoundly, a legacy of having enhanced the lives of those they met at school.

The concept of legacy is worth considering in all institutions, but particularly in a school with a history and traditions as rich as ours. As we move through 2023, it might be worth reflecting on the legacy we as individuals might hope to leave at this school when we move on.

Andrew Gibson
Curriculum Coordinator

The National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) will be held at the College for all students in Years 7 and 9 in March. This is earlier than previous years.

The tests will be undertaken online, with students needing their laptop and a pair of headphones for the tests.

There are four tests that students undertake as part of NAPLAN.

The testing dates for Year 7 are Wednesday 15 March - Friday 17 March.

The testing dates for Year 9 are Wednesday 15 March - Monday 20 March.

It is important that students are present for these tests so please avoid making any appointments on these days. There will be the opportunity for students to undertake a catch-up test on Tuesday 21 March or Friday 24 March should they be absent for a test.

Further communication regarding NAPLAN will be sent via email in the last week of February. This will include the order of the tests, and the lessons when the tests will be held.

In the lead-up to the NAPLAN tests, students will be undertaking practice tests in their English and Mathematics classes, so as to familiarise themselves with the platform.

If you would like to view the format of the tests, you can do so via the link here. It will take you to the public demonstration site where you can view sample tests for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Health and Physical Education (HPE) classes at OLMC have started off with a bang! In the first week, teachers planned an array of fun and engaging activities designed to help the students become familiar with each other, build relationships and increase the sense of community and belonging within the group.

This week all classes will commence their HPE programs for Term 1;

  • Year 7: Invasion Court Games
  • Year 8: Invasion Football Codes
  • Year 9: Training Programs
  • Year 10: Elective specific classes

This year all HPE classes will commence with fitness challenges that focus on improving their overall health and fitness in our students.

Teresa Cerra
Health and Physical Education Learning Leader

Are you feeling confused? You’re not alone.

The new Year 7 students certainly looked puzzled in their first week of secondary school when they were also challenged to behave like this colourful little aquatic vertebrate.

Once they had finished viewing the clip from Blue Planet (narrated by David Attenborough) describing the daily challenges faced by the harlequin tuskfish, they understood the metaphor more clearly.

The Year 7s could see how swimming out to the reef each day, searching for food and then working out how to smash through the hard shell of a clam (especially when you don’t have any hands!) could be a metaphor for facing the challenges of transition to high school and Year 7. Doing the same thing every day, this fish with its blue tusk-like teeth develops strategies to make its work easier. It shows determination, persistence and patience until it finally reaps the reward.

Whilst it is a very exciting time, the start of secondary school is not easy: there are so many new subjects and places to be; a lot more names and information to remember; more places to get lost; locks that are hard to crack; announcements on SIMON that may be missed; and changing friendships that can be difficult to navigate. But the Year 7s have been challenged to develop the mindset of the harlequin tuskfish, to ‘swim out to the reef’ every day, continue to turn up, to think about the challenges they face, find strategies to help tackle them and keep going with determination, persistence and patience. And this is exactly what they have been doing. They have made a very strong start to the year and should feel very proud of their accomplishments so far.

These accomplishments were celebrated on Tuesday evening at the Year 7 Information Night when 350 people filled the Nallerijerring Centre and families heard about all the ways the Year 7s were showing initiative to problem solve, eagerness to learn and enthusiasm to get involved. They heard from the College Leadership and Counselling and Wellbeing team, were introduced to Pastoral Leaders and had an opportunity to get a ‘selfie’ in front of their Year 7’s new locker. More information about using PAM is to follow and the slides from that night will be available on PAM for those who could not attend.

We hope that the Year 7s carry on in this positive vein and look forward to continuing to build a strong partnership with families this year and throughout their child’s journey at OLMC.

Well done, Year 7 2023!

Sarah Nash
Year 7 Level Coordinator

It is only Week Two and creativity and exploration is already well underway in the Frayne building!

This week, Year 8 Art is experimenting with coloured pencils and drawing in the style of Danish artist Per Adolfsen. Year 9 Food Studies students are refining their knife skills and awakening their food senses through a gourmet roasted vegetable salad. Year 10 Media students are diving into the world of social media, strengthening their media literacy and developing skills to assist them in navigating interaction in an online world. Year 11 Art Creative Practice students are learning about the three interpretive lenses to develop visual language and Year 12 Visual Communication and Design students are revisiting the three design fields to ensure they select the most appropriate for their major folio.

We also warmly welcome new staff members Andrew Cho, Henry Ralston and Douglas Wright to the DAT team. Andrew is joining the Food Studies and Computing teams, Henry is joining the Computing and Media teams and Douglas is joining the Computing team. We are excited and very grateful to gain their expertise.

We also continue to celebrate our VCE DAT 2022 high achieving students this week, as we welcome them back for our annual Awards Assembly this Friday.

Specifically, we congratulate the Food Studies class who had seven students receive a study score over 40, Media with a top study score of 48, Visual Communication and Design with a top score of 46 and the Studio Arts class who had two students receive a study score over 40. We commend our 2022 cohort for their commitment and persistence and wish them all the very best as they begin a new life chapter. We hope the skills they have acquired in our subjects propel them to take creative risks and actively contribute to the creativity, culture and wealth of the world around them.

Alexandra Seit
Design, Art and Technology Learning Leader

Every new school year, we have the honour of welcoming our Year 7 students to our four College Houses - Carmel, Loreto, McAuley and Mercy.

On Tuesday 31 January our Senior House Captains presented our Year 7s with their House T-Shirts, a token that they will wear throughout their schooling journey. Each House is represented by a different colour, bringing about a sense of belonging and healthy competition. Loreto are the blue team, known for their creativity and kindness. Carmel is the green House, who are often referred to as Carmelites and are known for their dominance in House Swimming and amazing shout-outs to their peers. Mercy is team yellow, with our pastoral rooms known as the Mercy Hive; a space buzzing with students of many talents. McAuley is the red team and love the stage, putting in some amazing performances at House Arts in 2022.

Our House system allows students to connect across year levels, where they build relationships with peers outside of their year level. This reflects and prepares our students for the real world, beyond our school’s wall where they need to work with people of different ages. Being a part of a House gives students the opportunity to build collaboration and teamwork skills through participation in whole school events such as House Swimming, Arts, Debating and Athletics. As our students participate and cheer on peers in these events, they build a sense of belonging, identity and camaraderie. Individual participation is recognised through our Colours program, which also contributes to the overall House trophy.

We cannot wait to see the many ways our new Year 7s will contribute their talents to co-curricular life at the College. Sometimes getting involved can be a little bit daunting, but the rewards and connections made far outweigh the risk. You never know - you might just meet your future BFF in that club or GSV sport!

Jemma Banfield, Felicia Taine, Hayley Gamble Curran, Kathryn Williams and Deb Daly
House Coordinators

Scholarships are offered for students to study one of the following instruments;

  • Viola
  • Clarinet
  • Cello
  • French Horn
  • Saxophone
  • Trombone.

The Scholarship includes music tuition fees for one shared 30 minute lesson per week and the hire of an instrument.

Successful applicants will participate fully in the instrumental music program over the course of the year, including;

  • attending Music Camp
  • being a member of a designated ensemble
  • performing at school events and concerts.

Scholarships will be offered to students who have demonstrated the potential to engage in learning a musical instrument through the Selmer Survey result and a survey of their pastoral and subject teachers.

Students may be required to attend a short interview.

Applications close Wednesday 15 February 2023.

Jo-Anne Mileto, Instrumental Music Coordinator
Email: jmileto@olmc.vic.edu.au

Anne Couch, Performing Arts Assistant
Email: acouch@olmc.vic.edu.au
Telephone: 9455 7556

For further information please see the attached flyer.

Jo-Anne Mileto
Instrumental Music Coordinator

Our Year 9 students have had an exciting first week of school with the arrival of their new CAS TI-Nspire calculators. They have been busy learning all the basic commands for solving equations and drawing graphs.

The first topic of Year 9 Mainstream Mathematics is Pythagoras’ Theorem. We began with a video showing liquid draining from two sides of a right-angled triangle into the longest side, the hypotenuse. From this video, the students of 9BME were able to deduce Pythagoras’ Theorem on their own. They tested their theory with a measuring tape by walking around the room and recording the length and width of different items such as windows, tables, workbooks and posters. Students were able to use the CAS calculator to figure out the diagonal length of each item through application of the theorem without having to measure it.

Pythagoras’ Theorem and Trigonometry have so many real world applications, from construction and architecture, to navigation, land surveying and even facial recognition software. Mathematics is always understood best when it can be demonstrated and applied to our lives outside of a textbook. The students of 9BME were able to take on this challenge and achieve an understanding with not much more than a measuring tape.

Emily Scott
Mathematics Teacher

OLMC College Tours

Bookings for 2023 Tours are now open.

Prospective families are invited on a tour of the OLMC facilities followed by an information session with Principal Judith Weir, Transition Coordinator Rowena Thomson and two students.


Follow the official Our Lady of Mercy College accounts on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We’ll be sharing regular news, student achievements and stories from around the College.