Rugby Sevens

The Under 15s boys Rugby Union team headed to Lyle Park in Wollongbar to participate in the NSW Schools Rugby Sevens Competition. Schools from across the Far North Coast would compete in the under 15s and 17s competitions. 
Our first game was against our cross town rivals, Trinity Catholic College, Lismore. Trinity came out strong in the first half and managed to score a couple of early tries. Woodlawn came home with a wet sail in the second half with tries to Billy Beston, Zane Taylor and Jake Fowler to win the first game 22-12. 
The second game saw Woodlawn take on Alstonville High which we expected to be our toughest task. This couldn’t be further from the case, with Taj Bednall turning over the ball at every opportunity. Captain Tom Welman made a number of slicing runs through the defence and was well supported by Noah Vakararawa, who scored a powerful try. Billy Beston was the best on ground with strong defence and some gutsy carries of the ball. The final score was 43-5 with the boys running in seven tries to  one. This put us into the final against St Mary's, Casino. The winning team would move on and compete in the next round of the competition in Sydney. 
After a three hour break between matches, the Woodlawn boys came out of the gates slow, conceding a try in the first twenty seconds of the match. Noah Vakararawa crashed over to even the score and it was a tight contest from there on. The boys went into halftime behind by seven and were the first to score after the break with another try to Noah. A few injuries saw us lose both our halfbacks and unfortunately, we lost our direction. Some late tries to Casino saw the score finish 26-10 in favour of the St Mary’s boys. 
The three best players on the day were: Tom Welman, Taj Bednal and Noah Vakararawa.
Both Mr Jones and I could not have been more proud of the team and we look forward to hopefully playing some more Rugby Union at Woodlawn this year. 

Seamus Reen
Inclusion Assistant

Uniform Shop

The St John's College Woodlawn Uniform Shop is proudly managed by P&C Uniforms.

To ensure you have an easy and pleasant experience while ordering uniforms, we encourage you to order online ahead of time for easy click-and-collect in store.

Opening Hours: Monday 8.00am - 9.30am & Wednesday 11.00am - 2.00pm
Where: Colin Centre
Order Online: 
Book a fitting:

Second Hand Uniform Shop
When: 1st Wednesday of every month
Where: Colin Centre 
Time: 8am - 2pm

Canteen News

Term 3 Changes
Please be aware there will be a price increase in menu items. 
Flexischools orders will have a new cut-off time of 9am.

The cash free way to pay! - REGISTER NOW
Paying for lunches is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school.

The College has Flexischools to allow students to pay at the Canteen using their existing student ID card. Paying for lunches and items at recess or lunch is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school. Parents can set daily spending limits and view transactions online. Parents can also top-up funds at anytime.

The Canteen has introduced a Fast-Track line for students who have pre-ordered to collect their lunches, making it much easier and quicker for students.

We encourage all students to register. This will allow for those days when your student may have forgotten their homemade lunches.

Please follow the link below to register now:

College Basketball

Year 9/10 Girls Diocesan Basketball
The last time some of these girls played Basketball for Woodlawn was in 2019 and for some this was their first opportunity to represent the College. With a tough preparation due to the Colin Centre being flooded and only being able to train a couple of times, the girls went out to do their best.

Our first game was against St Joseph’s, Port Macquarie, and we had a terrific win 58-18.  Poppy Latta toped scored with 20 points.  All players scored, including Tobhiyah Louis and Jaya Wisemantel playing their first games of Basketball.  St John Paul College, the overall champions, were our next opponents.  Being a very strong Basketball school, they had an easy win over us. MacKillop College, Port Macquarie were next and proved too strong also, but were pushed to keep ahead of us.  On the last day we played Xavier, and the girls came out strong and refreshed.  Eliza Herman was a force to be reckoned with under the basket dominating the rebounding with Jaya.  Quick intense defence at the top of the key by Tobhiyah, Nikki Andonov and Sophie Alcorn slowed Xavier’s shooters down and saw us go down by only 12 points.  The Andonov sisters, Jackie and Nikki, shot some lovely three pointers in all games to always boost us along.  Sophie Alcorn and Jackie Andonov led the way with their endless effort in defence and offence.  Poppy Latta, who continuously attacked the basket, top scored for the team with 58 points for the tournament.  Congratulations to all players.  

Senior Girls Basketball
At last, the Senior Girls’ Basketball team got to play!  Only having one tournament last year and not competing at the Diocesan level in Coffs Harbour after the floods this year, the girls played at the Open Pegasus Basketball Challenge in Lismore on Wednesday, 27 July.  They started well with a good win against Lindisfarne 27 – 8.  This gave the opportunity for new player, Nikki McKinlay, to get her bearings.  Next, we played Trinity who proved to be too strong.  Jess Tulk and Kiara Jeffery rebounded strongly, with Eloise Davis and Bella Griffiths making some great steals.  Our last game was against the champions of the day Rivers (Lismore High).  Full of representative players, Rivers came out confident.  Woodlawn wasn’t going to let them dominate though and it was even until the last quarter only going down 36-26.  Juniors, Jackie Andonov and Sophie Alcorn, helped our team with some great shooting and defence.  Congratulations girls on a great day and for Jess Tulk and Kiara Jeffery, their last game of Basketball for Woodlawn as they graduate this year.

Tammie Creary
Basketball Coach

Student Wellbeing

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Our young people use the internet for a variety of purposes. As parents we may not be familiar with all of these purposes, and there are certainly some risks associated with internet use. Below are two free webinars that might be of interest to you in this area:

Learn about TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube to help your children stay safe online. 
Join eSafety’s expert education and training team for a FREE live webinar designed for parents and carers of young people aged 8 to 13.
It will include case studies, research and targeted advice so you can support the young people in your life to have safe, enjoyable online experiences. 
Tuesday, 16 August: 7:30pm to 8:30 pm 
Thursday, 25 August: 12:30pm to 1:30 pm

Online sexual harassment and image-based abuse
Help your teens stay safe by learning how to deal with online sexual harassment and image-based abuse. Join eSafety’s expert education and training team for a FREE live webinar designed for parents and carers of young people aged 13 to 18. 
Monday, 5 September: 12:30pm to 1:30 pm 
Wednesday, 7 September: 7:30pm to 8:30 pm 
If you are interested in either of these webinars you can register here:

Our young people often lead very busy lives. Many of them do not take the necessary time to rest. As adults, we know that rest is vital for better mental health, increased concentration and memory, a healthier immune system, reduced stress, improved mood and even a better metabolism (Integris Health). Rest is not just about physical rest. There are many ways that young people can rest - sometimes we just need to remind them of how they can unwind and feel refreshed.

Consent Education
On Tuesday, August 23, Year 8 students will be attending a Talking Consent program at the College. Each hour-long session will be conducted by Jane McGowen. Our young people will learn skills in understanding self-awareness and being able to identify different feeling states; identifying early warning signs and self-insight through mindfulness and art based practise; address age appropriate understandings of consent in our every day; setting boundaries in relationships and practising self confidence; looking at personal safety issues and protective behaviours; developing bystander awareness and peer support relationships.

Uniform Review 2022
As we move further into the school year,  we have developed these guidelines to support our students to wear the correct uniform:

  1. Full College Assemblies provide an opportunity to remind students of uniform expectations and to check that students do have the correct uniform and are wearing it correctly;
  2. Students who present to school wearing the incorrect uniform, including sports uniform, without a note, must see Mrs Reen to receive a Day Pass. This is recorded. 
    1. In keeping with our mission to ensure all students have access to resources,  the necessary uniform item/s will be provided to the student;
    2. If a student receives three Day Passes, parents will be phoned to ascertain the issue and consequences will be determined.

Personal Grooming Review
1. There is clear communication around the agreed Personal Grooming expectations at the College. Students who consistently disregard these expectations will be placed on lunchtime Uniform Detention.;
2. Students wearing incorrect jewellery will be given an envelope into which they can place their jewellery. This will then be stored in their lockers. 
For your information, here are our agreed expectations. These were determined via an extensive process of consultation with the SRC, P & F and staff.

Personal Grooming 
Students must be clean, neat and tidy at all times. 


  • Extremes in hairstyle, cut or colour are not permitted (ie 'mullets'); 
  • Hair longer than shoulder length must be tied back;
  • Hair accessories should be in keeping with College colours;
  • Students must be clean shaven at all times;
  • Make-up should be kept to a natural appearance; 
  • Nails should be kept to neutral shades or French tips. 

These are not to be visible. 

Jewellery and Piercings 
Students are permitted to wear: 

  • No more than 2 plain rings on each hand; 
  • No more than 2 earrings per ear. These are to be studs or sleepers. NB: No other piercings are acceptable; 
  • 1 necklace; 
  • 1 watch; 
  • 2 plain bracelets or bangles. 

These are not exhaustive lists. Members of the College Leadership Team are the final arbiters on what is deemed acceptable in all Uniform and Personal Grooming matters.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me on or 66262627.

Fiona Fennamore
Leader of Student Welfare

Ministry Matters

“Whatever troubles may be before you, accept them bravely, remembering Whom you are trying to follow. Do not be afraid. Love one another, bear with one another, and let charity guide you all your life. God will reward you as only He can”. St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop puts in words the call to humble service in our lives. Attempting to live in right relationship with one another, in a life of love and servitude, we too can be courageous in our search to strive for ‘more’ for all we encounter.

SHINE Conference
For somebody who lived her life in service of the poor and marginalised in her society, St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop, showed that some of her bravest achievements were completed solely for the benefit of others. She truly wished for the students and families in her school communities to know the fullness of life of faith in Jesus Christ.
From that early time in the history of Catholic education in Australia, we carry on that mission today in our schools. I am delighted to, yet again, promote our ‘touring party’ who are off to the 2022 SHINE Conference in Coffs Harbour next Thursday, 18 August. With over sixty-five (65) students and four staff attending this student discipleship event, the spirit is well and truly alive in our Woodlawn community.

This week, we have met with all students attending SHINE and, particularly, our senior ministry leaders who will help to facilitate workshops and lead small groups at the Conference. There is a real buzz around SHINE this year and we are very much looking forward to participating in this great event for the first time since 2019.

Looking Forward
We celebrate a number of really significant events and feast days in the liturgical calendar over the coming weeks. We look forward to the celebrations of our faith through the Eucharist and will be reporting on these in future Newsletters. The dates are as follows:

  • August 15: Mass for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
  • September 9: Mass to celebrate St. John’s Day as a College community;
  • September 12: Mass to celebrate the Memorial of the Holy Name of Mary.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to your family on matters of faith and ministry.

Nick Jones
Leader of School Evangelisation

From the Assistant Principal - Mission

‘Never See a Need without doing something about it’.  

St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop calls on us to live beyond the boundaries of our own lives. This week we began the celebration of her Feast Day with a reflection by our Year 7 Base class leaders and their SRC mentors, Lilly Munce and Connor Kempshall. The recognition of Mary’s courage, tenacity and care is something that we can all hope to emulate in our lives. 

This fortnight we are featuring our students who are competing in the Australian History Challenge as an example of young people choosing to live life to the full by accessing many of the programs that Woodlawn has to offer. Students from the junior school chose to register themselves to extend their knowledge and capabilities. I was impressed with their commitment and the range of historical issues each student investigated. Thanks to Mr Mason and Ms Darke for encouraging and supporting these students to ‘live a full life.’

Looking forward to the coming weeks where opportunities abound.

Stay well...

Annette Reen
Assistant Principal - Mission

From the Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching

Tell Them From Me Surveys
We have invited students, teachers and parents to provide feedback on their experience of our College using an online survey that takes approximately twenty-five (25) minutes to complete. The surveys are essential to our whole school evaluation and planning processes.
We invite you to complete the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) Partners in Learning survey. As we value the role of parents and carers within our College community, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. The College will use the information you provide to maintain our commitment to working in partnership to further improve student learning and wellbeing at St. John’s College, Woodlawn. 
You can access the survey on your computer or any mobile device using the link below:

Year 8 into Year 9 Elective Choices
Year 8 students will soon be selecting their elective subjects for Year 9 (2023). Students going into Year 9 will select one 200 hour course covering Years 9 and 10. They will also select one 100 hour course to be completed in Year 9 only. Students then choose another 100 hour course in Year 10. Mr Bailey has organised a Parent/Student Information Evening to be held on Tuesday, 23 August in the Performing Arts Centre from 6pm–7pm for Year 8 families only. The evening will provide information on courses and allow time for parents and students to seek clarification so informed decisions can be made.

Year 10 into Year 11 Subject Selection
Mr Bailey is in the final stages of the organisation that will give parents and students the opportunity to meet with experienced Woodlawn staff on Friday, 26 August to discuss subject selections for Year 11. It is important that students make realistic, informed decisions when it comes to subject selection for the HSC. Subject lines are set from the ‘expression of interest’ students recently completed. The lines are determined by the greatest percentage of students gaining their preferences. Unfortunately, this will not suit everyone and there will be some students who will need to rethink some of their elective choices.

Trial HSC Examinations
As the Trial HSC Examinations draw to a close, I would like to congratulate our Year 12 students on the way they conducted themselves during these examinations. Whilst the Trial Examinations are very important in determining school based assessment marks, they are not the overriding factor in the final HSC result. It is important for all students to take in and implement all feedback provided to them by their teachers in preparation for the HSC Examinations which begin in October.  

Michael Campbell
Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching

From the Principal

Dear Parents, Staff and Students,

Students across Years 7 – 11 were able to gather in the Colin Centre for our first regular ‘full’ School Assembly of the year (noting the absence of Year 12 on HSC Trial Exams). When I spoke to those gathered, I reiterated the importance of ‘community’ and coming together as such at regular intervals, which has been one of the hallmarks of a Woodlawn education over successive generations. I look forward to working with our Student Leaders in re-establishing this important Woodlawn tradition post-COVID/flood/s.

In staffing news, our ICT Assistant, Ms Sue Buss, finished her time at the College last Friday after seventeen (17) years at Woodlawn. While officially employed by Lismore CSO, Ms Buss worked through multiple iterations of IT rollouts, especially during the era of school-managed devices. On behalf of the broader Woodlawn community, I would like to wish Ms Buss all the very best in her new role closer to home in Ballina and thank her for the care and attention she showed our students and staff over many years.

Student Awards
Woodlawn has a long and proud tradition of recognising student excellence across a range of fields. It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce the recipients of the following Major Awards in 2022:

  • The Jake Roff Memorial Award has been granted to Lucy Bell (Year 11);
  • The Marsden Medal has been granted to Lilly Munce (Year 11) and Liam Weekes (Year 12);
  • The ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award has been granted to Megan Elliott (Year 12);
  • The ADF Future Innovators Award has been granted to Kye Newberry (Year 12).

Please join me in congratulating each of these students whose awards will be conferred at ceremonies to be held in the coming weeks.

In COVID-19 updates:

  • There have been no changes to the NSW Health advice since our last Newsletter;
  • The Term 3 allocation of Rapid Antigen Tests (1 x 7 pack per student) was distributed to students on Thursday, 28 July during Home Group. If your daughter/son was absent on this day and has not yet received their RATs, please ensure they attend SSO to collect these ASAP;
  • Since last Newsletter, we are aware of at least 34 cases of COVID-19 across students in all year levels, 7 - 12.

As this fortnight’s reflection, I include the following thoughts which parallel admirable personal traits with Scriptural references:

  1. One does not need ‘all the trappings’ for true happiness.
    “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12: 25)
  2. Those who stop caring about what other people think and choose self-love are set free from everything that holds them back, which ultimately leads to real happiness.
    “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1: 9)
  3. Focus on pursuing authentic relationships with both people and nature.
    “And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1: 31)
  4. Never judge anyone by what you first see. It takes time to form truthful and trusted relationships.
    “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”  (Matthew 7: 1-2)
  5. You don’t have to censor yourself just to fit in. Accept and own your differences.
    “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12: 2)
  6. You never know what someone is dealing with. Lead with kindness always.
    “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 32)
  7. Love can bloom in unlikely places.
    “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3: 14)

(Adapted from: 7 Lessons that …… taught us)

Finally, I will be taking a short period of Long Service Leave commencing next Monday. Mr Michael Campbell will be Acting Principal during my time away and I thank him, in advance, for allowing me this opportunity for a short break.

Enjoy the fortnight ahead and thank you, as always, for your ongoing support.


Aaron Beach

Humanities News

Australian Geography Competition results
Last term, all students in Years 7 and 9 competed in the Australian Geography Competition. So too did all senior Geography students. Congratulations to the following students:
Distinction: Oxford Childs (7), Alister Gapes (7), Carmen Garcia (7), Georgia Kennelly (7), Oliver Pennisi (7), Ben Porter (7), Harvey Andrew (9), Wilson Bebbington (9), Alanna Bromhead (9), Elijah Evans (9), Sienna Kemmister (9), Laura Masman (9), Lachlan O’Sullivan (9), Jacob Southwood (9), Zach Cuneen (11), Jay Mason (11), Rain Jackson (12), Indigo Laverick (12).
High Distinction: Ethan Bromhead (7), Kiara O’Brien (7), Mikayla Hart (12), Jaya Morphett (12).

Young Geographer’s Award winner’s list
Congratulations to Jaya Morphett for making the Winners List in the 2021 Young Geographers Award. Jaya's research and final presentation of her Senior Geography Project was recognised by the Geography Teachers' Association of NSW as Highly Commended in the Senior Geography Project/International Baccalaureate Internal Assessment category of the awards. An outstanding effort from Jaya and her classroom teacher, Mr Matt Bailey, who supported her through the project.

Fieldwork Excursions
This term all students in Years 7 and 9 will participate in fieldwork excursions. Fieldwork is a mandatory component of the syllabus and gives students an opportunity to be involved in active, geographical enquiry outside the classroom. The fieldwork excursion leads directly into a Common Task assessment, and is further assessed in the end of year examination.

Year 9 students will visit Shaws Bay in Ballina to look at coastal management. The cost will be $15 per student, added to Term 4 school fees. Year 7 students will conduct their study on-site at Woodlawn, focusing on the rainforest and Wilsons River. Cost will be $3.00 per student to cover materials and resources.

Year 12 Geography Excursion
Last term, our year 12 Geography class went to Moreton Island to participate in a fieldwork immersion on their ‘ecosystems at risk’ topic. We studied the dunes, wrecks, forests and beaches on the Island as well as visiting an aquaculture farm that wild-harvests native oysters. We studied the interactions between people and the environment at the Tangalooma Resort and participated in lectures and information sessions about the flora and fauna on the island. Students completed their assessment report on-site before returning to the mainland after a brilliant and worthwhile week of immersion.

National History Challenge
We have a number of students preparing historical inquiry projects for the National History Challenge. This is being offered as a voluntary extension project for students who have a particular interest in history. Submissions will be finalised in late August. 

Year 10 History ‘Rights and Freedoms’ Incursion
All Year 10 students will attend an in-school incursion on their ‘Rights and Freedoms’ topic in Week 7. The cost is $8.00, added to Term 4 school fees. The incursion brings to life many of the topics from the syllabus, and will lead into a Common Task assessment.

Italian Continuers Incursion
Our senior Italian students attended an online incursion after school this week to prepare for their HSC speaking examinations. We congratulate them on their commitment to their studies and thank their teacher, Ms Jodie Lynch, for her dedication in organising this event.

Duke of Edinburgh Scheme
Last term, twenty-five students and three staff embarked on an ill-fated expedition to Girraween National Park. After weeks of preparing menus, shopping lists, hiking plans and learning to cook on Trangia stoves, each group felt prepared and ready to hit the hills for a weekend of walking in the granite country. The plan was to spend the weekend hiking in the National Park, visiting Castle Rock, The Sphinx, Turtle Rock and Bald Rock. It was a brilliant itinerary. Sadly, the weather was not so cooperative. On the day of departure, the forecast looked poor, but not prohibitive, so we set off after lunch, driving into what looked like a clearing sky. 

Alas, this was not to be: as we drove up the range, the clouds closed in and a light rain turned into sideways sheets of doom and gloom. Arriving in Tenterfield, we made the decision that camping would not be safe, so we searched for alternative accommodation, settling finally on spending the night in the office building of the Tenterfield Saleyards (thanks to the connections of one Mr Simon Andrews - an old Tenterfield boy). Unperturbed, our students cheerfully rolled out their sleeping bags, fired up their stoves, cooked some impressive meals and settled in for a night of listening to the rain hammering at the roof. At dawn, we learned that Giraween had been closed due to flooding, but Bald Rock was still open and safe. So we spent the day exploring the fringes of Bald Rock, before loading onto the bus and heading back to Lismore disappointed, but not defeated.

Given the circumstances, it was a remarkably positive camp. Students demonstrated the flexibility, resilience and optimism that underpins the Duke of Edinburgh philosophy.  Congratulations to: Luca Beasley-Kenk, Bella Griffiths, Eliza Lamas, Indigo Soria, Logan Berriman, Adrian Westerman, Ashlee Rugendyke, Jacob Southwood, Georgia Sheridan, Mia Gulliver-Ward, Ben Davis, Jay Mason, Oliver Mason, Edie Wadsworth,  Mardhi Acton, Asha Baker, Declan Daley, Olive Davidson, Harvey Andrew, Sienna Kemister, Sam Herington, Lachie O’Sullivan, Tijara Taylor and Flynn Doriean.

Thanks to Mr Matt Bailey and Mrs Sally Ryall for giving up their time to attend.

This term, we will be taking nominations for the Term 4 ‘South Passage’ trip. South Passage is a 100-foot tall-ship that we sail from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour. The trip is offered to Duke of Edinburgh students and any remaining places are allocated to students in consultation with Year Coordinators. Given that we have missed the passage for the past two years due to COVID, students from Years 11 and 10 will be prioritised this year. Typically, this experience is offered to students in Years 9 and 10.

Christopher Mason
Leader of Humanities


Please  ring the College on our Student Absence Line (6626 2629)
or email if your son/daughter is absent from school. You can also reply to the text message which is sent out on the morning of the absence.

All student absences need to be accounted for. Accounting for student absences is a legal requirement for all schools. Your assistance in providing the relevant information to us regarding your child’s absences daily is appreciated.

Student Drop-off & Pick-up Zone
The student drop-off zone is located at the sporting field entrance leading to a roundabout with two-way traffic where you may drop-off and pick-up in a marked drop-off zone. There are waiting bays for short stopping on the left hand side when entering, if required. Please also note that the College speed limit is a maximum of 15km/hr.

Signing Students In and Out of the College
If students are arriving late to the College, we ask parents/guardians to phone Student Services Office on 6626 2629 on their arrival. 

If students are leaving the College early, please email with the arrangement details prior to pick-up time.

Sharon Robotham
Student Services Office
6626 2629

Uniform Shop

The St John's College Woodlawn Uniform Shop is proudly managed by P&C Uniforms.

To ensure you have an easy and pleasant experience while ordering uniforms, we encourage you to order online ahead of time for easy click-and-collect in store.

Opening Hours: Monday 8.00am - 9.30am & Wednesday 11.00am - 2.00pm
Where: Colin Centre
Order Online: 
Book a fitting:

Second Hand Uniform Shop
When: 1st Wednesday of every month
Where: Colin Centre 
Time: 8am - 2pm

Canteen News

Term 3 Changes
Please be aware there will be a price increase in menu items. 
Flexischools orders will have a new cut-off time of 9am.

The cash free way to pay! - REGISTER NOW
Paying for lunches is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school.

The College has Flexischools to allow students to pay at the Canteen using their existing student ID card. Paying for lunches and items at recess or lunch is now safer and hassle free. With cashless cards there's no need for students to bring cash to school. Parents can set daily spending limits and view transactions online. Parents can also top-up funds at anytime.

The Canteen has introduced a Fast-Track line for students who have pre-ordered to collect their lunches, making it much easier and quicker for students.

We encourage all students to register. This will allow for those days when your student may have forgotten their homemade lunches.

Please follow the link below to register now:

Kokoda Challenge

Most Australians are familiar with the Kokoda Trail; a trail set in history by a group of Australian reservists who halted the advance of the Japanese in the unforgiving Papua New Guinea Highlands during World War Two. In this campaign, the Australian forces travelled 96km through dense, mountainous jungle, while repelling the Japanese advance. They are credited with preventing an Axis stronghold from which Australia could have been attacked.  It has served as an example of how mateship, strength, courage and resilience makes even the most unbelievable feats possible.

To commemorate this, the Kokoda Youth Foundation runs an annual event named The Kokoda Challenge. The Kokoda Challenge requires a team to travel 96km in the Gold Coast Hinterland (or 48km for the half event) over a track designed to mirror the 4km of elevation in the Kokoda trail.  Each team must complete the distance in less than thirty-nine hours. To compete in this event, you are required to raise money for the Kokoda Youth Foundation and assemble a support crew to meet the teams at selected checkpoints with supplies and medical aid. It’s a massive commitment for everyone involved, and this year, we at Woodlawn took twenty students, five teachers and twelve of our most selfless parents to see what it was all about.

With six months of preparation, a total of five teams of senior students nominated for the event, each led by a teacher and supported by parent volunteers. Emma Allen/Jane Farrugia, Chris Mason and I led twelve students through the 48km event, and Luke Flynn and  Noah Coleman led a keen crew of students through the insane 96km event. It’s at this point that words fail to truly explain what we as teachers witnessed from our students and College community. In the context of incredible physical and emotional fatigue, injury and sleep deprivation, all five of our teams finished the event. Teachers and students supported each other alike and our parent body drove the hills of the Numinbah Valley with almost no sleep to ensure that we all got through as best we could. As a teacher of eighteen years experience, I can’t recall a more difficult, inspiring or rewarding school event. I think Jane Farrugia, Leader of PDHPE, described it best when she said:
'Seeing the Woodlawn Walkie Talkies (Jane’s Team) come across the finish line, with their head lamps, poles and weary bodies was one of the proudest moments of my teaching career. What an incredible and inspiring group of young men and women'.

I would like to publicly thank all the of our students, teachers and parents who were part of this enormously challenging event. Despite the difficulty, everyone involved has been buoyed by the experience. It really is so much more than a run. It’s proof of the depth of strength that we can draw from when things become difficult. I can only echo Ms Farrugia in saying that I, too, have found the resilience to adversity that our community has demonstrated in recent times to be inspiring. This event further proved it. 

Stay tuned for The Kokoda Challenge 2023!

Ruben Garcia
Proud Mathematics Teacher
Even Prouder Year 11 Year Coordinator


Ministry Matters

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We often hear or read this rich piece of scripture in the context of our College within the Diocese of Lismore. Sometimes utilised or determined as the ‘fullness of life’, we have been given an all-encompassing aim for our students, staff and families for their time with us at Woodlawn.

Years 8 & 10 Reflections Days
This week we were truly blessed to have Mr Chris Doyle join our Years 8 and 10 students for Reflection Days in the College Hall. Through the use of song, dance, teamwork and stories, Chris was able to entertain and inspire these students to live their life to the full.

I personally reflected on his challenge to love others we encounter. He reminded students that we are all made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27) and then of the beautiful message in John’s first epistle; that “God is Love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). The challenge then to each of us as Christians is to ensure that we take delight in our capacity to love and share this with others whenever the opportunity might present itself.
This message and focus was a great way to remind all present (and those within our wider community) to engage others we meet with love in an effort to show them the face of Jesus in our modern world. It was a timely reminder for me, particularly, in a time where we are looking to build stronger relationships in our College.

We are very grateful for the energy and passion that Chris brings to his vocation and look forward to seeing our Years 8 and 10 students utilise their learning from the day.

Year 8 Reflection Day

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Year 10 Reflection Day

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SHINE Conference 2022
Our build-up to the annual SHINE Conference continues this term. Natasha and Luke, our very energetic YMOs, have been into the Ministry classes to discuss the Conference and continue preparing and forming our students for what promises to be a wonderful experience.

The theme for this year’s conference is: NO LIMITS - on God’s Love. It is a message that will stand our students in good stead to return to our College community and look for ways to lead within faith initiatives.

In staffing news, I announce with gratitude the inclusion of Mrs Sharni-Lee Garrington and Mr Joel Saye in our SHINE Conference Team. Such is the number of students we have attending the Conference from Woodlawn, that we required a boost on the supervision front. I know that our students will echo my thanks to these staff for helping to make this discipleship opportunity possible.

As always, please contact me if I can be of any assistance in helping you and your family engage in your faith journey in any way.

Nick Jones
Leader of School Evangelisation

From the Assistant Principal - Mission

The idea of a full life is something that we have explored in many of our Newsletters. John 10:10 is both a clear statement of Jesus’ promise to us all but also a challenge - we have the gift of life and how do we ensure that we live it to the fullest? The answer to this question is very different for every one of us. Our Mission at Woodlawn is to provide opportunities, encourage and support our students as they traverse their formative years. Over the next few Newsletters I will be promoting and acknowledging many of the opportunities for our students that are available in learning and teaching and in College life beyond the classroom. At the heart of all interactions are relationships. 

Last week, we congratulated our Base Class Leaders at our Stage Assemblies. The depth of our student leadership is testament to students' commitment and capacity to build relationships within their year groups. Student voice and advocacy are key platforms within a fullness of life framework. As always, we were thankful to Fr Bing for being part of this celebration.

Living Life to the Full Beyond the Classroom:
We encourage students to take up many of the opportunities that are offered to them. Over the next few weeks, I will be showcasing some of the amazing things that are happening at Woodlawn. We see these as opportunities to 'live a fuller life'. Please encourage your students to be involved. Note that I have not included the wide array of sports that are on offer, and these are also opportunities for individuals to live their best lives. 

  • Mindful Me Program (contact Ms Kennedy or Mrs Thompson);
  • Knitting for a Cause Ministry Group (Natasha Wotherspoon);
  • Junior Justice Team: Years 7 and 8 (Mrs Reen) beginning in Week 3;
  • TEC (The Environment Committee): all year groups (Mr Base);
  • Trading Card Game -social club (Mr Robinson);
  • Library Lovers Team (Ms Graham-Smith);
  • Social Justice Committee (Mrs Reen);
  • CHESS (Mr Base);
  • Duke of Edinburgh Scheme (Mr Mason and Mr Bailey);
  • Brotherhood (Luke Rowling);
  • Sisterhood (Natasha Wotherspoon).

This week we feature the Sisterhood group which has been together for a number of years. This group of girls from Years 9-12 meet every Friday to provide a comfortable space to chat about their faith, their relationships and develop supportive connections. 

I would like to acknowledge the generosity of our staff who give of their time to provide these opportunities for our students.

Our Year 11 SRC members also showcased how our uniform is to be worn during Term 3. We have been fortunate enough to assist all students in obtaining uniforms through our Access Program. Thanks to our SRC for setting the standard that is not only demonstrative of a proud tradition but also supported by all College community groups. If you need assistance with any aspect of uniform, please contact me dirctly via email.

We look forward to:
Year 12 Retreat Afternoon - 16 August
SRC Sleepover - 17 August
SHINE - 19 August
Year 7 Sleepout - 8 September
St John’s Day - 9 September
Holy Name of Mary Mass and celebration of our Marist heritage - 12 September
Year 12 Graduation - 22 September

The NAIDOC theme for 2022 also links with our mission to live a full life: “GET UP,STAND UP SHOW UP’. We have been given the gift of life and can choose how we share this gift. 
Let's live it on purpose and be the best we can be.

Annette Reen
Assistant Principal - Mission

From the Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching

PISA is an international assessment program, which is the measure through which governments, education authorities and schools can determine whether or not young people are meeting important educational outcomes. All Australian Education Ministers have agreed to Australian schools’ participation in PISA, which is reflected in the Australian Education Act 2013.

International assessments provide a wide range of valuable information for education policy and review in Australia and overseas and also enable Australia to consider the performance of our education system compared with others.

Since the first PISA assessment involving thirty-two countries in 2000, the survey has continued to raise interest amongst educators and policy-makers world-wide.  In 2022, Australia will be one of over eighty-five countries participating in PISA with around 15,000 students (from around 800 schools) representing our country.

Twenty-six of our Year 10 students will be involved in PISA on 24 August.

Tell Them From Me Surveys
In the coming weeks, we will be inviting students, teachers and parents to provide feedback on their experience of our school using an online survey. The surveys are essential to our whole school evaluation and planning process.

We will invite you to complete the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) Partners in Learning survey. As we value the role of parents and carers within our school community, we would greatly appreciate your feedback. The College will use the information you provide to maintain our commitment to working in partnership to further improve student learning and wellbeing at St. John’s College, Woodlawn.

Reporting Survey
The Catholic Schools Office is looking to standardise student reports across the Diocese. They wish to obtain parent and student voice before a final product is delivered. This voice will be obtained via a short survey. Could parents please open the attached Google form link and complete the parent survey, which will only take five minutes of your time.

Reporting Parent Voice Survey

Year 12 Trial Examinations
Year 12 Trial HSC examinations commence next Monday, 1 August. We wish our Seniors well for these important examinations. Students must gather for their examinations in Br Edward Park near the flag poles at least 10 minutes before the examination start time indicated on the timetable issued by Mr Bailey.

Students are not permitted to drive and park at the College during exam block. Buses will be provided for travel between the College and Lismore after morning examinations and again after the completion of afternoon examinations. If you only have an afternoon examination, then you must catch the bus in the morning and remain in supervised study until your afternoon examination, unless you are dropped to school by a parent/caregiver. Students may be dropped off and collected by parents/guardians if they wish to come and go outside of the arranged bus times.

If students are unwell or suffer any 'misadventure' that stops them from attending an examination, please contact Mr Bailey. Relevant supporting documentation will be required.

Michael Campbell
Assistant Principal - Learning & Teaching

From the Principal

Dear Parents, Staff and Students,

Having now completed two weeks of Term 3 it is almost fraudulent to say ‘welcome back’ as the College has been a hive of activity over the past fortnight. Co-curricular activities are well and truly back on the agenda, despite the current COVID-19 wave, which has seen daily attendance at close to normal levels. I certainly hope this continues for the remainder of the term.

In staffing news, we have welcomed Mrs Fiona Thompson to our Library team, replacing Mrs Jasmine Andrews who has moved into the Office. On behalf of all at Woodlawn, I warmly welcome Mrs Thompson to staff and hope that she enjoys her time with us.

In our last Newsletter we congratulated Mrs Sophie Base, our Hospitality teacher, who was a finalist for the North and Mid-North Coast 2022 NSW Training Awards as VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year. Mrs Base was the overall winner of this Regional Final and now progresses to the State Finals to be held in Sydney later this term. We congratulate Mrs Base on this marvellous achievement and wish her all the very best for the next level of competition.

Our ancillary staff were busy, as always, during the recent holiday period. Keeping a 92 year old school, such as ours, in such pristine condition is no easy feat and I commend the work our maintenance and cleaning teams, in particular, undertook during this time. To give you an idea of specific tasks completed, I include the following ‘Holiday Job Sheet’ for your information:

  • Timber lockers in Webber Block installed;
  • Painting – PAC Foyer, 3 walls, stage back wall;
  • Plaster repairs front Library Room 22;
  • WHS safety signs installed throughout campus;
  • Dance flooring to stage (PAC);
  • Replaced 3 urinal cisterns;
  • Cleaned basement;
  • Pressure cleaning throughout campus;
  • Started replacing 2 rooves (Mid-Richmond Plumbers);
  • Classroom maintenance repair sheets completed throughout campus;
  • Installed all football goal posts;
  • Drainage repairs to Ladies Toilets level 2;
  • Front steps pressure cleaned;
  • Additional fencing installed;
  • A/C servicing completed;
  • Pest control throughout campus;
  • New Canteen servery works commenced.

Special thanks to Mr Darren Magner, Mr Kirk Elliott, Mr Trent Bowler, Mr Max Condon-Hunnisett, Mrs Lisa Canini and our sub-contractors for their tremendous work here.

In COVID-19 updates:

  • The Term 3 allocation of Rapid Antigen Tests (1 x 7 pack per student/staff member) was distributed to students yesterday during Home Group. If your daughter/son was absent, please ensure they attend SSO to get their RATs on their return to school;
  • Since returning from holidays, we are aware of at least 33 cases of COVID-19 across students in all year levels, 7 - 12.

The full COVID-19 Advice to Schools for Term 3 is as follows:

Students learn best in a face-to-face learning environment. To continue to provide this learning environment while prioritising student and staff wellbeing, schools will have a number of COVID-smart settings in place for this term.

The COVID-smart settings that students, staff and communities have become used to will continue in Term 3 including:

  • Staying home if unwell or showing any symptoms, and not returning to school or work until fully recovered;
  • Rapid antigen testing for any students or staff showing symptoms and for close contacts who are able to return to school;
  • Maximising natural ventilation;
  • Good hygiene practices for students and staff including regular hand washing with soap and water;
  • Encouraging all students, staff and families to keep up-to-date with vaccinations, including COVID-19 booster shots when eligible and the flu vaccine;
  • Identifying when schools need to implement additional COVID-smart measures if experiencing rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

In addition to these baseline settings, some additional layers this term as extra protection for staff, students and school communities, include:

  • Strongly encouraging all staff, students and school visitors to wear a mask while indoors, particularly during the first four weeks from the beginning of term;
  • Distributing RAT kits to all staff and students in schools (1 pack per person);
  • Boosting day cleaning in schools, with a particular focus on high-touch areas.

COVID-19 reinfection period reduced to four weeks

NSW Health has revised the COVID-19 reinfection period from 12 weeks down to four weeks effective from 19 July, 2022.

People who have previously had COVID-19 should test for COVID-19 after 28 days since their isolation ended if experiencing symptoms and follow the relevant health advice if they test positive. People who test positive again will be reported and managed as new cases.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said the reduced reinfection period, which follows the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, is due to the latest sub-variants of Omicron circulating in the community.

As this fortnight’s reflection, I include the following thoughts with you, as we recently marked the 60th Anniversary of the Goulburn School Strike which was the catalyst for ensuring State Aid for Independent Schools in Australia:

‘On 16 July, 1962, up to 2,000 students from six Goulburn-area Catholic schools presented themselves to nearby government schools for enrolment, overwhelming the public school system. The Catholic schools had closed the previous Friday on the authorisation of Eris O’Brien, Archbishop of the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese, who had called the ‘strike’ in response to the New South Wales Government ordering St Brigid’s Primary School to build a new block of toilets that it simply could not afford. The purpose of the strike was to highlight that the Catholic schools needed some government funding to survive, while demonstrating that if their students were unable to attend Catholic schooling it would cost the public system and the taxpayer far more to cover the whole cost of their education.

This was a watershed moment in Australian political history, acting as a catalyst for the adoption of ‘State Aid’ for independent schools, an innovation in the Australian education system which has endured to this day. ‘State Aid’ would help to break down sectarian divisions that had long endured in Australian society – the poverty of the Catholic schools had contributed to the ‘otherness’ of a large minority group, while the Catholics themselves had long resented paying taxes for an education system which did not service them…

Apart from Indigenous Australians, Irish Catholics were Australia’s oldest minority group, and their unique education system became a defining aspect of their identity and culture. The fact that they had been able to fund their own schooling through fees and charity, despite often being a relatively impoverished group, was a matter of considerable pride. However, with the growth of Science classes and an explosion in student numbers (created by the post-war baby and immigration booms), schooling was becoming increasingly expensive, and these funding methods were failing to keep up with the times…

(Ultimately), the issue was bigger than politics. It was about a fundamental freedom to choose, touching on identity, equality, and deeply held beliefs. Many Australians… felt a sense of gratitude over this issue’.                                                                                                                                                   (The Robert Menzies Institute)

Finally, I ask that you keep our former Rector (1978 – 1980), Fr Lew Molloy, in your prayers as he is unwell at this time.

Enjoy the fortnight ahead and best wishes for Term 3.


Aaron Beach

Careers Update

Northern Rivers Careers Expo
This year, after two years of cancellations and missed opportunities, the Summerland Careers Advisers' Network has combined with Connect NR, as well as a range of businesses and tertiary institutions, to put on what offers to be an excellent event for local students. 

We have provided permission notes to all Year 12 and Year 10 students. They will travel by bus to the event on 26 July and we have booked our students into the first available timeslot so that they will get early access to as many exhibitors as possible. If your child has not returned their permission note, please complete it and return it to school as soon as possible. 

Attached is the event flyer with more information about what will be available on the day.

Please take a moment to review the full Careers Update at this link.

Bernie Maginnity
Vocational Pathways Coordinator

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