Edition 8 | 31 May 2024
Judith Weir

Reconciliation Week runs from Monday 27 May to Monday 3 June. The 2024 theme, ‘Now More Than Ever’, reminds us all that the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is continuing. At OLMC we are committed to providing opportunities for students to explore why reconciliation is so important for us as a nation. We hope that our students come to appreciate the role of all Australians in the achievement of justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

On Friday 24 May, we welcomed the Trustee Directors of Mercy Ministry Companions, the Public Juridic Person now governing on behalf of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG). Mercy Ministry Companions are the Trustee Directors for Mercy Education Limited, Mercy Health and Mercy Community Services. It was our pleasure to show the Trustee Directors our hospitality, our facilities and the successes of our students.

Congratulations to all involved for a very successful production of Chicago – Teen Edition. A number of special guests from Marcellin College and OLMC attended the opening night and were so impressed with the talent of the young people from both schools. The students performing, involved backstage or in front of house were excellent ambassadors for both schools. We continue to feel both honoured and privileged to be able to provide such important opportunities for young people to show off their skills and talents. The shows were sell-outs, speaking volumes about the appreciation of the broader community for the performing arts at both OLMC and Marcellin College.

We are approaching a busy time of the year for students and one where they can be overwhelmed. Year 10 students are about to go into their first exams. For all students, good preparation, study routines and revision will help to build confidence and reduce stress. It is also important to approach this experience with a growth mindset; one that opens them up to learning from the experience. This is a chance to build their understanding of what supports them and where challenges might be. A growth mindset also focuses on what we can learn from the process. The exam result will be one form of feedback but understanding the questions answered well and the areas for improvement is the most important learning. It is from this that students can grow and learn for the next set of exams. We encourage parents/guardians to talk with their children about the exam experience and what they have learnt about studying and preparation.

Year 7 students will next week venture off to camp at Phillip Island. We hope that it is a wonderful experience and a chance to build new connections. Year 12 students will also head off to their Retreat. This will be their last trip away with OLMC and we hope that they enjoy time with friends whilst making the most of the opportunities provided. We wish both groups safe travels and a fruitful time away.

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

As the people of the Great Southern Land of the Holy Spirit, our shared faith unites us in a commitment to respond with love to all, especially to those who suffer, as Jesus taught us in the Gospels.

As a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition, this calling impels us to address the hurts and injustices of the past and to be people of love with listening ears. We honour the stories of our First Nations people—stories of strength, courage, compassion, joy, and great suffering.

Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The 2024 theme, ‘Now More Than Ever’, reminds us all that the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must and will continue.

Many moments in Australia’s reconciliation journey have made us want to turn away. But when things are divisive, the worst thing we can do is disengage or disconnect. Now more than ever, we need to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation.

Reconciliation supporters must stand up to defend and uphold the rights of First Nations peoples. We must call out racism wherever we encounter it and actively reinforce the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this continent.

Now more than ever, the work continues in treaty-making, truth-telling, understanding our history, education, and tackling racism. We need connection, respect, action, and change. Now more than ever, we need reconciliation.

So, we pray…

Prayer for Reconciliation

God of all creation,
as we journey together in this Great Southern Land,
we pray for healing, forgiveness and unity,
creating a path of goodwill, with justice and compassion.
Jesus, through the power of your love, you have given us the courage, wisdom and strength to share our gifts and talents in humility.
In peace and understanding, we reconcile with each other.
Creator Spirit, we come together in prayer and thanksgiving for the many blessings we have received.
Allow your Spirit to wash over us and give us strength to walk together as one.


This Reconciliation Church prayer was written in 2014 by a small group of Aboriginal Elder women and Reconciliation Church staff members.
Image taken from https://www.reconciliation.org.au/our-work/national-reconciliation-week/

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

On Friday 24 May, some of our Year 7 students, accompanied by Ms Apfelstedt, proudly attended a Healing Ceremony at Malahang Reserve in Heidelberg West. Led by local Wurundjeri Elders and a Yidaki player, this cleansing ceremony respectfully acknowledged the resilience of the First Nations community who were impacted by the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

During a break, an Elder spoke with the girls and shared his family story regarding the Stolen Generation. He became emotional while recalling his painful history but eventually expressed his gratitude for finally finding his family. The students thanked him for sharing his story. As Mercy people, may we actively work towards truth-telling, treaty, and reconciliation.

Six students passionate about Social Justice at the College put up their hands to attend the most recent Seeds of Justice Conference at Holy Cross Centre in Templestowe. We were joined by students and staff from other Mercy Schools from around Victoria, including schools as far away as Mildura, Kyneton and the Mornington Peninsula.

The excellent conference was facilitated by Sam Weir, Director of Faith and Mission at Sacred Heart College, Kyneton (and a previous Social Justice Coordinator at OLMC). The theme of the conference was ‘Breaking Chains’ – learning about human trafficking and modern slavery. The keynote speaker was Bernard Dobson from the Australian Catholic Religious Against the Trafficking of Humans (ACRATH). Bernard enlightened the students on the importance of purchasing fair trade and gave examples of where modern slavery exists around the world and in our own city and country.

Students wrote pledges at the conclusion of the conference. Here is one such pledge:

We pledge to take the first steps in implementing change within the community.

We pledge to use our voice, even if it shakes, to hopefully one day tip the scales and change the reality of many!

Below are some moving reflections from our students:

Being able to attend the 2024 Seeds of Justice Conference along with five other Year 10s from OLMC and over 50 other students from Mercy Schools across Victoria was a fulfilling experience. We spent our time gaining exposure to the confronting topic of human trafficking and got to learn from guest speakers from a few different organisations. By participating in this conference, I made new friends, created memories, gained everlasting learnings and acquired many new skills.

Indigo M (10CTKI)

We came to talk about human trafficking, forced marriage and slavery, which happens in our own country. We had two speakers talk to us about how quickly someone's life can change and what we can do to stop trafficking in Australia. We heard real stories of young girls at the age of seven being forced to marry a 30 year old and another where a young girl told police about her situation at home and by the next morning she had been taken to the other side of the country and was untraceable. We got to meet other people from other schools and work with them to see what they are going to implement at their school to spread awareness. We also got to reflect on the ways we can become like the Poet (Catherine McAuley) and the Punk (Ursula Frayne) in helping those without a voice in our communities. On reflection, we thought of the chains we wanted to break and the chains of Mercy we wanted to form, as well as focusing on looking after ourselves.

Lily A (10CCTR)

During the Seeds of Justice conference, six Year 10 students had the opportunity to work together with other schools to talk about the joint goal of removing human trafficking, slavery and forced marriage from our communities. We were told to seek change and speak out until we are heard and change is made. By this, the change in question would be to offer all people experiencing trafficking, slavery and forced marriage a way out. We heard stories from various speakers of people who have unfortunately experienced these things, and made action plans to implement our new learnings into our school communities. We had a great time having the opportunity to learn and discover new things that may not always be told to us regularly, and thank all the teachers involved in making the conference happen.

Victoria B (10CCTR)

The Seeds of Justice conference focused on the global crisis of human trafficking. This two-day event created an opportunity not only for education but for networking and connecting with like-minded students from within our Mercy community. During the event, two guest speakers from ACRATH educated us on what human trafficking is and the various forms that it takes, while also speaking about their efforts to combat the issue. These presentations inspired many of us to change by making more conscious and ethical decisions on the products and brands that we support. This experience motivated us to embrace and embody the Mercy values in our efforts to make a difference.

Aprila D (10AJIN)

To read more about the great work of ACRATH, please visit : ACRATH

Lauren Marguet
Social Justice Coordinator

We are continuing our initiative to recycle bottles and containers, with three bins set up around the school for this purpose. We will continue to donate the 10c from every container to Caritas’ humanitarian projects.

Students can bring their bottles to school, or donate the bottles they have purchased at the canteen.

Please ensure that you don’t crush the cans or bottles. The barcodes need to be intact for the refunds to be processed. Just look for the 10c icon on the product!

Thank you for walking alongside us for justice and dignity, for the vulnerable and the planet that sustains us.

For more information about Caritas, please visit : Caritas - Project Compassion

For more information about the Government Recycling Scheme, please visit : Victoria's Container Deposit Scheme

Lauren Marquet
Social Justice Coordinator

Landforms, Landscapes and All That Jazz…

While you might be thinking that Humanities has gone all Chicago in its title for this article, you won’t be surprised to know that our Geographical Landforms and Landscapes Unit is almost as exciting and engaging as our 2024 College musical.

True, the unit doesn’t involve jazz hands or the great Cell Block Tango, nor does it require much dancing prowess or acting chops. However, the Year 8 Landforms and Landscapes Unit draws upon creativity and asks students to take a bit of a risk with their learning in order to produce something original.

Year 8 Humanities teachers work with their geographers to develop an understanding of common landforms and landscapes. As a class, they delve into the birth and evolution of the landscapes and landforms, and learn about the impact climate and disaster can have on mountain areas, coastal regions and deserts.

Then, this information is harnessed and wrangled in order for geographers to unleash their creativity and critical thinking skills. Selecting a landform and possible event that may befall that landscape, students write and illustrate a visual short story, a fictional, artistic book that may teach young learners about what they have unearthed about the world around them.

The Year 8 Landforms and Landscapes Unit practically sings off the page. Students are challenged to synthesise facts about geography and make these visually and grammatically appealing, all the while weaving character and plot throughout the narrative. Many geographers take pride in their original work. Some students realise that they actually can draw and conjure a story from their own imagination.

And just like jazz, the narrative process and product can be a little chaotic, a little bit noisy, but when it all comes together, the book permeates with individuality and vigour. That’s a wrap!

Rosemary Jones
Humanities Learning Leader

On Wednesday 22 May, around 100 students completed the Computational and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competition. It gives students the opportunity to develop their problem-solving skills through algorithmic thinking. The competition incorporates unique ‘three-stage tasks’ that encourage students to develop informal algorithms and apply them to test data of increasing size or complexity. There are three divisions for the students: Junior (Year 7-8), Intermediate (Year 9-10) and Senior (Year 11-12). Well done to all the students who took part in this online competition.

Shirley Wu
Mathematics Learning Leader

Megan Edwards
Head of Student Wellbeing

A number of resources that can assist parents in supporting their child’s wellbeing are often made available to schools such as ours. These resources cover a range of issues that may affect a young person’s health and wellbeing. We rely on the partnership between school and home to support our students to flourish. However, resources external to the school can also be beneficial. Please access information on a variety of topics by using the links provided:

Please also find attached a parent wellbeing and self-care session being run next month by Anglicare Victoria.

On Friday 17 May we celebrated one of our annual fundraising events, Dare2Donate! From Taylor Swift to lifeguards, there were many amazing costumes and acts presented by the OLMC staff. The ‘I’m Just Ken’ performance was a hit amongst the students, as was the opportunity to ‘Catch an Onion’ from Shrek. Another new addition this year was the Rock Paper Scissors competition, where students could compete throughout the week to win all the glory by challenging other students to Rock Paper Scissors battles. A delicious addition to Spirit Week was the MasterChef challenge; congratulations to Ms Lambert on winning the Master Baker award!

The energy of both students and staff made this year's Dare2Donate event a fun day. It was heart-warming to see everyone come together for a common cause, showing off their creativity and competitive spirit. The various activities not only entertained but also helped in raising significant funds for McAuley for Women and Children.

All proceeds from the event will go straight to McAuley, an organisation OLMC is proud to support. Their work in helping women and children who are escaping family violence or domestic violence, and helping women who are facing homelessness, is a very important cause, and we hope that our donation will help them continue to do the amazing work they do. If anyone is able, we are still accepting donations and would appreciate whatever amount you are able to give. Your contributions make a real difference and help ensure that McAuley can provide much needed support and resources. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated – your generosity truly makes a difference.

Jessica B and Nathasha J
College Captains

For the last four months 65 very talented performers and 20 outstanding backstage crew from OLMC and Marcellin College have been working away on the production of Chicago - Teen Edition. Over the past two weeks, the students presented their spectacular performance over eight shows to huge crowds.

The commitment, passion and energy that these students have demonstrated on and off stage has been remarkable. We are so proud of all of them.

Being involved in a production can be such a valuable experience for students. Of course, it helps them to refine their skills as performers or crew members, but probably more importantly than that, it enables them to widen their social circle, be a part of community within the two schools and is a place where they can experience success.

Thanks to everyone from the wider community who came to see the show and support the students. We hope you enjoyed the razzle dazzle and ‘all that jazz’.

Ms Felicia Taine & Ms Hayley Gamble Curran

After an amazing run of Chicago - Teen Edition, this week our Music students were privileged to work with Des Flanagan who plays Christian in the current Melbourne production of Moulin Rouge! The Musical. As exams loom near, the Year 11 Music class is putting their final touches on their selections for their performance assessments. Des visited the class on Tuesday 28 May to work with these students to gain a deeper understanding of their character, their emotions and the various techniques they could use to make their portrayal come to life. We look forward to their finished products next lesson.

Des also visited a Year 7and 12 Music class, where he helped develop stage presence and performance energy. In the Year 7 class, students were guided in their understanding of what an anthem is and how they can present this message to the audience.

Des was able to increase the dramatic elements in the Year 12 performances. In particular, the students gained an understanding of who they are singing/performing to and how they use this to inform their choices. The transformation in tone, colour and stage presence lifted their performances beyond their expectations.

At the end of the day Des ran a workshop with the Year 11 Drama class, looking at how best to connect with a text. He talked about finding context for the script and how to break it up to help the performer connect with the character’s motivation. It was a wonderful workshop and the students gained a lot from Des’ visit.

Jo-Anne Mileto
Instrumental Music Coordinator

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