Week 10 Term 4 2021
From the Principal
Dear Parents, Staff and Students,
Welcome to our final Newsletter for 2021. I apologise for its lateness. The original delay was to ensure inclusion of Year 12 Graduation and Formal photos, then we had a network outage at the College on Wednesday before the Schoolzine platform was down yesterday - so better late than never!
On behalf of all Woodlawn staff, I would like to offer a most sincere ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you for bearing the course of such a difficult year with us.
In a turn up for the books, our Year 12 Graduation and Formal, which were both held last week, went off without a hitch! Our Seniors really deserved this positive conclusion to their time at the College, given the multiple disruptions they have faced throughout their HSC studies. Photos are included elsewhere in this Newsletter.
Our annual Awards and Prize-Giving Ceremony looked a little different this year. As we have still been unable to mix cohorts, each of Years 7 - 11 had their own year level ceremonies which were held yesterday. Photos are included elsewhere in this Newsletter.
As is usual in schools at this time of year, staffing changes are announced. The following staff will be leaving Woodlawn for the final time at the end of 2021. I offer them our collective ‘thanks’ for jobs well done and our very best wishes for the future:
Mr Paul Somerville, our Leader of ICT, is retiring after 33 years on staff. It is impossible to speak too highly of Paul’s work in leading this significant part of College life so seamlessly for such an extended period;
Mrs Michelle Went, our Assistant Year 12 Coordinator and Leader of LOTE, is moving to St Mary’s, Casino after 12 years on staff and taking up the role of Leader of Careers;
Mr Matthew Brown has been on leave from the College in 2021, working as part of the CSO SEACS Team. Matt will remain at the CSO in 2022;
Mr Ross Towns will relocating to Brisbane and taking up a position at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace;
Mr Jacob Franey is moving to St Mary’s, Casino as a second-year YMO;
Ms Emerson Egan will be commencing her studies in education, specialising in Drama;
Ms Ellen Seller is concluding her contract and moving to Mt St Patrick College, Murwillumbah;
Ms Jo Collis relocated to Sydney at the end of Term 1 and has relinquished her position as TAS Aide at the College;
Ms Jane Munro has been on extended leave for the past two years, working in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory and will remain there in 2022.
We will publish a full list of all new staff and Coordinators in the first newsletter of 2022.
Term Dates for 2022 are as follows:
Term One: Tuesday, 1 February (Years 7 & 12 only); Wednesday, 2 February (Years 8 – 11);
Term Two: Wednesday, 27 April – Friday, 1 July;
Term Three: Tuesday, 19 July – Friday, 23 September;
Term Four: Tuesday, 11 October – Friday, 16 December.
As holiday time is often when students take the opportunity to ‘alter their appearance’, I would remind all parents that students will be expected to return to School in 2022 having fully adhered to guidelines in relation to neatness and grooming. Of particular note is school shoes and I thank you, in advance, for your cooperation in ensuring that our students return to school looking like fitting ambassadors for the College within the wider community.
Sincere thanks for your assistance in helping us to enact the various COVID-19 restrictions throughout the course of 2021. We will be in contact before school recommences next year with an update on this situation for 2022. We appreciate your support in keeping our community safe and healthy.
Finally, in this Season of Advent, I include the following Reflection for your perusal:
‘Once October passes, a brief glance around the shopping centres will indicate that the time to prepare for Christmas has arrived. We are all fully aware of the need for us to be ‘prepared’ for Christmas in the best possible way. We want everything to be perfect so we plan, buy, cook, wrap, send out and call in. In our current climate, why is it so important for our political leaders that the borders are open for Christmas? They too want everything to be perfect so people can gather together with their loved ones for the celebration. They want the “mountains” of closed borders flattened, the “valleys” of travel restrictions filled in and the “crooked paths” of lock down straightened out. Don’t we all?
Quite often, the amount of time and effort that we put into the physical preparation for the celebration of Christmas far outweighs the amount of time and effort we put into the spiritual preparation of getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Now more than ever, it is time for the balance to swing back…
This Advent, how about straightening out our own crooked paths—our own crooked relationships and attitudes and being bearers of peace. We can allow the peace which Jesus brings to permeate our lives and guide the ways we interact with each other and our communities. Then we will be ‘preparing the way for the Lord.’ Wherever there is a need for peace this Advent, let us be the instruments of that peace which Jesus brings and let us take the time to be still and know that God is with us.
(Lawrie Knott, Catholic Early EdCare, Brisbane)
I would like to take this opportunity to offer my very best wishes for a Happy and Holy Christmas, spent in the fine company of family and friends. Thank you, again, for your outstanding support throughout 2021. I look forward to finally seeing you all, hopefully in person, in the New Year!
From the Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching
Year 12 Graduation Liturgy and Awards
On Friday, 10 December we were finally able to formally farewell our Year 12 students and congratulate them on their achievements and contribution to the Woodlawn community over the years. This year’s cohort faced unprecedented challenges in 2021, they displayed tremendous resilience and stoicism as they moved through their final year of schooling. I would like to congratulate all the Academic, Sport, Special Award winners and all of Year 12 on the successful completion of their high school journey.
Prize Giving and Liturgy
On Tuesday, 14 December, students and staff celebrated the academic achievements of our students in a series formal ceremonies held throughout the day. I would like to congratulate all recipients and all students for their contribution to the College during this extraordinary time in history.
The Eagle Award
The Eagle Award was instituted in 2021 to recognise students’ academic excellence across any field of study offered by the College. The following students received a certificate and cheque for $125, sponsored by the College P&F.
Return Dates for 2022
Years 7 and 12: Tuesday, 1 February
Years 8-11: Wednesday, 2 February
Assistant Principal-Learning & Teaching
From the Assistant Principal - Mission
As people of faith, we know that the sparkle of Christmas is on the surface, and that Christmas joy goes deeper and is encountered throughout the liturgical cycle whenever we encounter Christ in the sacraments of the Church, through the Gospels and in those around us.
The Christmas message transcends everyday life, particularly in the last few weeks where hope and joy have been witnessed in a number of forums - for which we are thankful. We have truly revelled in every second of togetherness.
Celebrations were all around us this week.
- We celebrated our Senior Students with a Graduation and Gratitude Liturgy on December 10.
- We celebrated and acknowledged our students' commitment and dedication to ‘being the best they can be’ through our RFL commendations. I would like to especially acknowledge the new HSC cohort with twenty-one of our students attaining excellent standards across all subjects. This process has been affirming and supports our focus on growing the young people entrusted to our care.
- We celebrated relationships at our Year 12 Formal. Conviviality and laughter were in the air as we came together on an evening that was magical. I would particularly like to acknowledge our Ministry Team. Our team has been guided by the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (awe, reverence, courage, knowledge, understanding, discernment and wisdom.) We farewelled Jacob Franey and Emerson Egan who have been instrumental in fostering these gifts with our community. We were also reunited at the Formal with Bianca McInnes, who has shared her gifts with St Joseph's College, Banora Point this year.
- We celebrated Christmas Liturgies and Formal Prize Givings for our Years 7 - 11 students on Tuesday. With the message of Hope, Salvation and Care at the heart of our Assemblies, we acknowledged our students for their excellence, meritorious achievements and commitment to community building.
- We celebrated the generosity of our community as we raised funds for our local St Vincent de Paul Chapter. Music in the Quad, Chips for Charity and the Christmas gift card appeal have been the focus on our fundraising.
The true joy of Christmas is the love of Christ, shared with family and friends. Our prayer for you is that you find the peace of Christ, the blessing of hope, and the joy of His love in the coming year. May you all have the opportunity to celebrate with your loved ones this Christmas.
Assistant Principal - Mission
In Malaysia, the word ‘Sayang’ refers to affection, love, sorrow and pity that is experienced concurrently. I only wish it had an English equivalent as it would perfectly express my feelings as we rocket toward the end of 2021; a year that has given us ‘oodles’ of each of those emotions!
Amidst the change and uncertainty of 2021, there has been a constant light within our community that has maintained a sense of togetherness and fuelled motivation to ‘keep on keeping on’. This has been exemplified by the opportunities to participate in two incredibly life-giving formation Retreats with our Year 9 Ministry class over the last ten days.
Having experienced disappointment and mild sorrow at having a majority of their formation and ministry opportunities cancelled this year, our Year 9 Ministry class certainly stepped up to the plate when we ran our Catch the Wave and SHINE: Unplugged Retreats at the College.
With much work from our fabulous YMOs: Natasha, Jacob and Emerson, these days were alive with the Holy Spirit as our students finally were able to ‘walk the walk’ of their faith and deepen their relationships with themselves, each other and God. I will rely on the accounts of two of the students to explain the days from their perspective:
Catch The Wave 2021
Last Tuesday, the Year 9 Ministry class had the privilege of participating in the Catch the Wave Retreat. Traditionally held at the beach, we instead took part in a modified version here at school. The day started off with a few games and team building activities which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. We then moved into our small groups, where we spoke about what we are grateful for in the different aspects of our life and our journey of faith. We heard stories from the YMO’s about the way God guides us and their own experiences with how they ‘rode the wave of faith.’ Following this we completed a prayer walk, pondering a poem which was one of the main focuses for the day. This was then tied together in a liturgy and we got the opportunity to physically mark where we are on the Wave of Faith. Finally, we ended the day with a dance battle which, depending on who you ask, the winner is different (it was definitely Team Z).
The main focus of the day is about ‘Catching the Wave’ of faith. By using the analogy of a beach, we could clearly understand and reflect on where we are on this wave of faith. Whether you were in the car park, looking in at the beach or fully riding the wave of faith in the ocean, this Retreat helped us move deeper into the ocean of our faith. This concept of a beach was continued with the poem that we reflected on. Featuring two sets of footprints in the sand, it represents someone's life journey. It speaks about the times in our lives when God carries us and how God never leaves us. Both of these aspects have the key message of how faith interacts in our lives. If we let God deeper into our lives or we ‘Catch the Wave', it will allow us to live our lives to the fullest.
For me personally, this was a day that brought about a lot of self reflection about my faith and how I interact with others in my day to day life. By participating in the various activities and listening to the YMOs, I felt I learnt a lot about myself and my position with faith and how I too can get closer to ‘Catching the wave.’ The ‘Catch the Wave’ retreat was an extremely beneficial and enjoyable experience and on behalf of the Ministry class, I would like to thank the YMOs and Mr Jones for putting on this event for us. I know it allowed for many others also to venture closer to or ‘Catch the Wave.’
Year 9 Ministry Class
SHINE: Unplugged 2021
When we received the news about Shine being called off this year, I, among the others who were to attend was disappointed to say the least. Fortunately, we were able to have our own Shine held here at school which gave me the chance to reflect upon the year that has been and build better connections with my family, friends and God.
Being able to hear stories of others and their moments in which they have felt God present in their life was an awesome experience and extremely interesting. This opportunity to hear others’ moments with God made me reflect on a very personal situation in which I was faced with a lot of adversity after losing someone who was very important to me. I felt that God was present whilst I was by the beach as the sun was setting as I felt he was sending me a message of love through the colourful sky.
Although we were not able to have the full experience of a traditional Shine, our school based event was still very influential and beneficial for my personal relationship with God. A massive Thank you to our Ministry leaders for organising it.
Year 9 Ministry Class
As the school year comes to a close, our Church calendar is building through the season of preparation in Advent to celebrate the birth of Christ. We are reminded at this time to focus on the love, hope, faith and joy that is upon us with the birth of Jesus and how we might take that through our words, thoughts and deeds to those we meet.
I will leave you for the year, one for which I have an incredible amount of gratitude, with words from the homily delivered by Pope Francis at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, 2020:
“Jesus, you are the child who makes me a child. You love me as I am, I know, not as I imagine myself to be. In embracing you, the child of the manger, I once more embrace my life. In welcoming you, the Bread of Life, I too desire to give my life…
You, my saviour, teach me to serve. You who did not leave me alone, help me to comfort you brothers and sisters, for, You know, from this night forward, all are my brothers and sisters.”
I wish you a happy, healthy and holy Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2022!
Leader of School Evangelisation
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
As I write this last Newsletter item, I am in awe of how adaptable our young people have been this year. COVID has impacted, to varying degrees, all aspects of our lives. The changes to the school routine have been only part of what families and children have been dealing with. For the most part, our students have coped really well with the challenges of online learning and then a return to face-to-face learning. I think it is important to acknowledge the role that parents and caregivers have played in this - so thank you.
I am looking forward to a busy 2022 when the entire College community can engage in the activities that build relationships and connectedness. These have certainly been missing for the last two years.
If your young person experiences some challenges over the break, and you are looking for some support, you will find these contacts helpful:
Kids helpline: kidshelpline.com.au/teens
online chat 8am - 12am
1800 551 800 telephone counselling (24/7)
I would like to wish you and your families a happy and holy Christmas break. May you get to enjoy some downtime doing the things that bring you joy.
I look forward to being in touch again early next year.
Leader of Student Welfare
Congratulations to Padraig Heffernan on finishing 6th at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships in the 3000m event and 11th in the 1500m.
Major Sporting Awards 2021
Year 7- Father Paddy McCarthy Award - Isabella Rowe
Year 8- Father John Begg Award - Michael Bullpitt
Year 9- Brother Terry Garrett Award - Oliver Mason
Swimmer of the Year - Madeline Ewing
Athlete of the Year - Padraig Heffernan
Cricketer of the Year - Sam McLean
Soccer Player of the Year - Chloe Organ
Rugby Union Player of the Year - Harry Sivewright
Rugby League Player of the Year - Henry Lee
Most Talented Junior Sportswoman - Charlotte Gilliland
Most Talented Junior Sportsman - Padraig Heffernan
Female Athlete of the Year - Niquola White
Male Athlete of the Year - Lennox Rowe
The Mitchell Medal is a memorial to Father Sid Mitchell SM (1918-1984), ex-student and Rector of St John’s College, who had a great love of sport and, for the many years he worked in Marist Colleges throughout Australia, greatly encouraged students to give their best in sport.
The award is granted to any sportsperson from the College in recognition for some outstanding sporting achievement. Winners of previous medals in the same sport are ineligible.
Niquola White -Swimming
Michael Bullpitt - Swimming
In this fortnight’s Careers Update, our final for 2021, we have included information on two careers poised to experience significant growth in coming years: Naval ship building and STEM careers. There are the Toyota Dream Car and National Photographic Prize Competitions, holiday courses and hints and tips on choosing the right University and TAFE courses. As well as, what do you need to do if you have been offered an early offer to University.
We wish everyone a safe and relaxing holiday and look forward to working with students and families in setting and achieving SMART goals in 2022.
Vocational Pathways Coordinator
Positions Vacant -Ballina Based Childcare Centre - Trainee
We have been contacted by a Ballina based Childcare Centre who are seeking a trainee to work with them next year. They provide a Centre Based service for children birth to six years of age.
If you are a student finishing Year 12 who may be interested in a Certificate 3 Traineeship in Early Childhood Education and Care to begin in early 2022, this employer offers above award remuneration and has a very supportive staff team who are confidently able to mentor a Trainee.
If you are interested in this position, please let me know and I will put you into contact with the organisation.
Mindful Me Program
The Junior Mindful Me Clay Play Program reintroduced in Semester Two has certainly kicked off with flying colours. I am thrilled to see 100% attendance by students who were offered a place to explore their creative self expression and embrace social connectedness, in a space where students are given the opportunity to drive conversation.
Clay Play is one area of the Mindful Me Program that particularly reaches out to junior students who may be struggling with social identity or a sense of belonging.
In this ever changing year that has felt increasingly unstable for many of us it has been rewarding to offer a project that acquaints students with clay and its valuable healing properties.
Students have embraced a sense of mindfulness whilst learning processes of handling, manipulating, and sculpting clay. They have enjoyed techniques such as wedging, hand building, throwing on the wheel, and decorating.
I look forward to the Clay Play Program continuing in 2022 at St John’s, as an opportunity for students to understand and experience wellness through a creative, sensory experience with clay.
The on-campus shop will operate from the Colin Centre foyer in 2022.
Normal opening hours for the shop will be:
Mondays 8.00 am to 9.30 am
Wednesdays 11.00 am to 2.oo pm
Please see attachment below with extended opening dates.
All parents are invited to volunteer at the College Canteen for 2022. Please complete the form below and return to the College as soon as possible.