EP10 | Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Anthony Elmore, Principal
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Pastoral Care Update

Veronica Wasiak, Deputy Principal
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Teaching and Learning Update

Emma Bailey, Assistant Principal Learning & Development and Year 12 Students Luke Cashman, Cassie Neil, Aiden Celano and Ashley Finigan
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Anthony Elmore, Principal TRANSCRIPT:

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Hello, and welcome to our final newsletter for term three of 2020. And what an interesting year 2020 has turned out to be. I know that when we were all celebrating New Years, all that long time ago it seems now, none of us would have predicted that 2020 has been the year or would be the year that it has turned out to be.

But we have made it this far, and we’ve done that together. And what a great testament that is to the community that we are here at St. Michael’s. Our staff, our students, and our families, so thank you all very much for the role you’ve played in supporting our students, our young women and men, on their journey all the way through now, to the end of term three. We still have plenty to travel as we move through to Christmas and look forward to journeying with you as we continue working together for our students here at St Michael’s.

Last week, our Gospel message was about love. And it’s something that you have heard me talk about plenty of times across this year, and of course over the time that I’ve been here at St Michael’s. In the Gospel, we heard that core message of, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there amongst them.” And it was so beautiful as we sat there on the weekend and Father Warren unpacked that message for us in the homily, and really boiled it down to as simple, yet as complex, as that message of love. That in everything we do, if we bring our interactions with each other, our interactions with our neighbours, our interactions in the workplace, our interactions with our daughters and sons, our family at home, bring it down to love, then how beautiful, how simple, how lovely life would be. Yet, how very complex and challenging that message is that we love one another. A beautiful, beautiful message, and a great homily from Father Warren.

I certainly commend to you the relationship that is available to each and every one of you with the Surfers Paradise Parish, with Father Peter, Father Paul, and Father Warren, and the team there. I commend that to you, available online at the moment during this time of alternative provision of so many activities, and certainly face-to-face available as well through the Parish.

This week, we will be celebrating as a school community. Well not necessarily celebrating, but certainly acknowledging R U OK? day. And this is an important day for us in the college calendar, and a day we acknowledge every year. But it’s not just a day that we consider once a year. This is an important question for us to consider continually, as we go about our business.

Mental health is the single biggest issue facing young people today. An issue that’s not going away. The question, the ability to be able to ask someone, “Are you ok?” To be genuine in that question, but to have the tools, the skills, the resources to be able to respond when that answer is, “No, I’m not ok.”

The other thing about that question is, how do we honestly ask ourselves that question? “Am I travelling ok? Do I need to seek support? Are there support services available for me?” and deeper than that, acknowledging that if I’m not travelling ok, how is that impacting other people around me?

There is support available here at the college, not just for our young women and men, but for our families. Certainly, for our staff, for the entire St Michael’s community. I commend to you the work of our college counsellors, our pastoral team, the resources available on various websites associated with the R U OK? day movement. I commend that to our entire community.

In the next couple of weeks, we will celebrate a number of events as a school community. And of course, one of those ones that we’re all looking forward to, is our college cross country that we will celebrate and participate in on the final day of school, the 18th of September. Unfortunately, with some of our COVID restrictions still in place, this is an event for students and staff only. Unfortunately, families will not be able to come and participate as observers or as spectators on that particular event. But we look forward for our students and our staff to really get involved on that particular event, another great occasion for us here at the college.

We enter into a period of time now where our Year 12 students have entered into the final three months of schooling here at the college. We know that their relationship as members of the St Michael’s family will continue to grow far beyond that time. But these final three months are important times for our students. The mock assessment period that they’re about to go into, then an intensive preparation time for assessment for our students. Our farewell assembly, then the external assessment period, three and a half weeks of intensive assessment time for all of our Year 12 students.

And then our important rites of passage with the culminating event, our graduation mass and ceremony. I look forward to journeying with our Year 12 families and students through that very important time over these next three months. With all of that taking place of course, it’s a time where our Year 11 students take that step into significant leadership here at the college. So, from term four, which is a change of mindset for all of us here in Queensland, but from term four, our Year 11 students become the student leaders of the college. As a cohort, they move up as leaders of the college. Our student leaders, our school captains, and our house captains, and others in our college leadership responsibilities take those leadership roles from that farewell assembly at the end of week three. Important roles for those young people, and we wish as we wish our Year 12’s all the best, we wish our Year 11’s every great blessing as they take that leadership role from that important time. A great and important milestone for our college community.

Yes, it’s a change to how things have happened in the past, and it’s a change of mindset for us all in Queensland, but a very exciting time for all of us as we navigate new and exciting pathways together.

The 18th of September is our final day of school for term three. And we will commence a two-week holiday period. From me and from my family to you, every single member of the St Michael’s community, our students, our families, our staff, I wish you every blessing for a well-earned, well-deserved holiday period. I wish you a relaxed time, a time of rejuvenation, a time to stop and pause and to take time out with your family and friends, those you love, in prayer and reflection, as we come back refreshed for term four, for that nine-week sprint to the finish line, and Christmas celebrations.

Let’s not wish our life away, like Christmas would be knocking on our door sooner than we know it. And with God’s blessing, let’s move through these COVID restrictions as quick as possible.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our college, it means so much to us. Thank you for your ongoing support of our college leadership team and our staff. I cannot tell you what that means to us. Every great blessing to you. Thank you.

Veronica Wasiak, Deputy Principal TRANSCRIPT:

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Good morning parents and students. My name’s Veronica Wasiak, Deputy Principal of St Michael’s, and welcome to the last newsletter for term three.

First of all, I’d like to begin with thanking all our parents for the way in which you’ve supported the college during these changing times, particularly with when your sons and daughters have been sick, sniffly etc, and you’ve kept them home. I know that’s been a really difficult decision, it’s certainly been a difficult decision for the college here, but we certainly thank you for that. With that though, it is important that when students are well that they are here at the college. So, we ask that with appointments if possible, that they are kept for after school or the holiday period.

I’m pleased to be able to let everyone know, regardless of the changing times, that we’re well on track with meeting our goal for our attendance. As of yesterday, we had 70.2% of our students attaining 90% or above. So, at the moment we’re 4% off achieving our goal and what a great effort that has been of our students. And also, again, thank you to our parents for your continued support with that.

Within pastoral care, our Year 7’s a couple of weeks ago, were blessed with a guest speaker, Brett Lee, and he spoke to our students on cyber safety, on responsible technology use and also on gaming. Brett Lee will be coming in speaking to our Year 8 and Year 9 students in term four and also will be offering an online forum for our parents to engage with, with Brett, to ask any questions that they may have or any advice that they may need in terms of supporting their sons and daughters on the cyber safety issues.

Also, a huge congratulations to all our students who competed in the athletics carnival last week. What a wonderful event seeing many smiling faces and seeing our students be able to shine in their sporting areas. And we also look forward to the last day of this term, where we’ll be able to see our students, our shining runners compete in the college cross country carnival.

Coming up in the holidays, we have an exciting time for our Year 12’s. We have the formal coming up and what a wonderful opportunity this will be for our young people and our staff to get together and celebrate such a great time.

Like to say thank you so much for the term, enjoy the break and we look forward to seeing you in term four.

Emma Bailey, Assistant Principal Learning & Development and Year 12 Students Luke Cashman, Cassie Neil, Aiden Celano and Ashley Finigan TRANSCRIPT:

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Hello St Michael’s students and families. As we get to the end of term three, we start to move into a period where there is more assessment and exams occurring. It’s important that our students take the time to look after themselves to make sure they keep things in perspective and in balance. That they’re eating well, finding time to spend with family and with friends and to do the things that they love and have a passion for.

When students are preparing for their studies, so they can be ready for their exams, it’s important that they have a study space at home that is set up in an area where they can be held accountable for the study that they’re undertaking. So, at the kitchen table is a good example where students could set up this space.

As students are preparing for this period of assessment, it’s important that they put together a plan, a study plan that they can share with their family and with their friends so they can be held accountable for the routines that they’re going through. So they can clearly identify which subjects that they’re preparing for and when they will do their study for these assessments.

Part of preparing for exams and assessment is to make sure that we’re in the right frame of mind and to assist our year 12 students in being prepared for their final period of assessment at the college in term four, we asked a guest speaker, Mr Eric Bailey to join with the students, to provide them a little bit of motivation as they enter that stretch next term for their final assessments.

And I’ll hand over to the students who would like to share a reflection on this day.

Luke Cashman: So, guys, Eric Bailey came yesterday. It was very inspirational for me. How about you, Aiden?

Aiden Celano: Yeah, he helped me understand I needed to manage my time better.

Luke Cashman: Nice. Ashley?

Ashley Finigan: He was really chilled, down to earth, really got to us all.

Luke Cashman: I liked his energy, his energy from the start was buzzing and then he had different levels to it. His pauses were effective, like that. And he had a good message overall.

Cassie Neil: Yeah. He really engaged the audience and reminded us that we’re nearly at the end of Year 12, don’t give up now. There’s not long and then set us up for success in the future.

Luke Cashman: Him coming from America and where he came from, that was pretty cool. You know, playing in the NBA for a little bit and then playing the NBL for like 14 years or however many years and all his injuries he had throughout that. Talked about that and how he persevered. That was some good stuff.

At the end of this term in week 10, our Year 12 students will complete their mock external exam block. So, this is a period for students to go through the same feelings and emotions and to experience the exams and the questions that they are preparing for for their external exams which happen from week four next term. So, in week 10, that’s when our Year 12 students are going through their mock exam block.

Our Year 11 students also have a number of assessments and exams throughout week 10 as well. We do have some exams that take place at the end of week nine, but the majority are in week 10.

So, we look to commence the beginning of term four, our Year 11 students are reminded that this is a period where their summative learning starts to occur. So, their learning in their general subjects, in their assessment, in their general subjects for Year 11, students from the beginning of term four will count as a pair towards their QCE. And these are also counted towards contributing to their ATAR as well. So, for Year 11 students, the period of their summative learning, their summative assessment begins at the beginning of term four for those general subjects.

Previously, we’ve spoken about looking into opportunities and ways that we can provide to parents to give them more information about supporting their students when they’re doing their homework and their study at home. So, at school as part of our personal enrichment program, we have engaged Elevate, which is a study company, to work through a number of different strategies to support students in how they are engaging in studying and being able to be at their best when they’re performing for exams.

Elevate also have a fantastic variety of resources available on their website as well that parents can access. And we’re in conversation with Elevate about putting together a parent information aimed at middle years, and also at secondary years, to provide support and information for families to be able to work with students, to provide support when they are studying and learning from home.

Wish all the students the very very best at this time of the term. Take care.