St Saviour's College Newsletter Term 2 Week 6
This week, we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus up into heaven. If we were to ponder this feast day literally, it may be implied that following His Resurrection, Jesus would have spent the next forty days with His disciples, putting in the ‘finishing touches’ of what it was He wanted them to learn from Him before He was finally left them for good. Irrespective of how this played out over 2000 years ago, you could only imagine that when Jesus did ‘ascend’ into heaven, the destitution of His beloved followers who no longer could enjoy the ‘dailiness’ of their relationship with Him.
As it is for all of us, there is a sense of calm that comes with the people we love being close at hand. There is always a sense of homecoming when we regather with those we love; those who know us and know our stories. We have all experienced that sense of ‘homecoming’ when we are reunited with our own, be at Christmas, weddings, family parties and celebrations; the feeling of reconnection is palpable and real.
For our St Saviour’s College community this week, we have been able to experience just that. On Monday, we welcomed most students back to the College, many of whom had been off-campus for more than five weeks, engaging with online learning. While some of our boarders from remote communities in the Cape and Torres Strait are unable to re-join us at this time, we have been blessed to experience that great sense of ‘homecoming’ with those girls who have been able to recommence. Our Year 12 students went to great lengths to share their Mercy Girl hospitality to all those returning students during an extended House Meeting on Monday morning. The girls from their respective houses were treated to muffins, juice, toast, hashbrowns and hot chocolates, and engaged in activities to remind all of our students that St Saviour’s is more than a place we come to school; it is a place where we experience a sense of safety and assurance, a place where we feel loved and a place where we belong.
I sincerely thank all our Senior students for their leadership in this venture and thank them for modelling to our younger students what it means to be a Mercy Girl.
We look forward to the day, hopefully in the not so distant future, when we can have all our girls present with us. We keep our remote boarders in our hearts and prayers and wish them well as they continue their remote learning from their own homes and communities. We can’t wait to have you back, girls!
WALKING FORWARD TOGETHER
As a part of our return to regular schooling, we have been reiterating with all our girls that the online experience would have been unique for each individual. Many students I have spoken with enjoyed the flexibility and relative freedom that came with this type of learning. Others couldn’t wait to re-enter the classroom and get down to ‘business as usual’. The reality is, there is, in fact, no ‘business as usual’. There is nothing ‘usual’ about our the Covid-19 experience and what it has been for ourselves and College community, our nation and our world. So, we can’t expect that each student will be returning to us having a full three to five weeks of high-quality academic engagement. Each family circumstance is unique and, as a College, we acknowledge this. Our concerted efforts from here-on-in rest in our reassurance for our girls to know and understand that no one will be left behind. We commit to ensuring that we meet each individual student ‘where they are at’ in terms of their learning and accommodate accordingly. As a community, we walk forward together, and continue to do our best to provide a quality and inclusive education for all our girls, that is individually tailored to each student. We work in partnership to challenge our students to be resilient and to achieve excellence in their pathways. Above all, we continue to walk with our girls, and help them grow to become empowered young women in a changing world!
VIRTUAL OPEN DAY EXPERIENCE
Given the Covid-19 crisis, in terms of our Open Evening, we have had to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of how we get our great Mercy Girl experience out into the community. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing mini excerpts of the facets of our College, informing the wider community on how we at St Saviour’s engage our young women to be young women of justice, hospitality and compassion, who strive for excellence. We look forward to having you share in the online experience. More details to come…
We pray for the repose of the soul of Hessie Victor’s mother, Wendy, who tragically passed away in Cairns recently (Hessie is Year 8). We pray that Wendy rests in peace and that our loving God holds Hessie and her family in the palm of his hand.
Blessings for the coming week.
Deputy Principal - Curriculum
WELCOME BACK YEARS 7-10!
It was with great excitement that we welcomed back 7-10 students this week. Well done to these girls for their work around at home learning over the past five weeks. It is wonderful you have you all back!
Returning to school after this extended period has been exciting for many students; however, for some it has also been challenging or has created some worries. On Monday, I spent time with some year 8 students to reflect on what life has been like over the past eight weeks away from school. Our worked focused around five key questions-
- What did I miss about school?
- What new things did I learn while not at school?
- What I am grateful for?
- What am I looking forward to?
- What worries do I have?
As expected, there were common threads between many responses but also some unique ways of thinking! It was very clear that friends, family, sport and holidaying have been greatly missed, and that no-one wanted a second wave of COVID-19 to impact Australia. There were also some beautiful sentiments around what our girls are grateful for including their parents, technology which allowed them to continue their learning, their teachers and our St Saviour’s community who teach them to become Mercy Girls. Naturally, many of the concerns raised by the girls were around being behind in classwork and having to ‘catch up’. As a College we recognise that many different types of learning have occurred over the past couple of months. Whether this be through online lessons, looking after siblings or work around the house, all these experiences constitute a type of learning. Coming back, we have spent some time reflecting on the lessons learnt, but now focus on walking forward together. Our amazing teachers are working hard to allow all students to move forward their learning and assessment. Modifications and adjustments have been made to our teaching and reporting plans to continue supporting our girls while proceeding to offer an engaging and challenging curriculum. If your daughter is feeling particularly, overwhelmed please do not hesitate to contact her home class teacher, subject teacher, Curriculum Leader or myself.
Junior assessment calendars for students in Year 7-10 were emailed to students and their parents/caregivers last week, while senior calendars were email in week 3. These calendars give students and their families an overview of due dates for each subject and allow for students to plan their study time accordingly. Please consider displaying this calendar somewhere highly visible at home and have regular conversations with your daughter about her progress toward these dates.
YEAR 12 EXTERNAL EXAM BLOCK
The QCAA has officially released the Year 12 External Exam block for General subjects 2020. This exam block was emailed to all Year 12 students and their caregivers last week. The exam block runs from Monday 26 October to Tuesday 17 November. More information regarding these exams at St Saviour’s will be released closer to Term Four; however, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
After a very successful 2019, the 2020 RACI Titration Competition is fast approaching. We currently have three senior teams entered into this year’s competition, which will now be run on our campus (not USQ) during Term Three. More information for students competing will be available later this term. In the meantime, our labs are open for students to practice at any long break (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at first break and Wednesday at second break). The internal SSC Titration Competition will take place during National Science Week in August. Students from all grades are invited to be part of this competition.
Tutoring is available for all students from Year 7-12 and is held on Thursday afternoon from 3:15 - 4:30pm in the library. Everyone is welcome to attend.
If you have further questions about any of the information above, please do not hesitate to contact me at the College or at Jennifer.Smeed@twb.catholic.edu.au
Assistant Principal - Mission and Student Wellbeing
Faith and Mission
This week we welcomed back most of our students. It is wonderful to once again have our classrooms, walkways and lunch areas filled with laughter, conversation and smiling faces. As a College community, the solidarity, camaraderie and support I have witnessed in these last two months has been so positive and filled me with great hope. These challenges help us to reflect on our relationship with God and with each other, seeing firsthand shining lamps in the darkness. We have picked up the mantra, “walking forward together in faith” as we began our road to a 'new normal'.
We keep the remainder of our community in our hearts and prayers, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians. 2:10
“Here in Australia we’re fortunate enough to have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world. This is something we should all be proud of and celebrate.”
Dr Tom Calma AO
Our ability to move forward as a nation has been challenged. This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme of ‘In this Together’ reminds us to focus on reforming our thinking and our behaviours, so that we value and celebrate our Ancient past, abound in the blessings of God today, and look forward with hope and confidence to the future, as we seek God’s will for each of our lives. When we, as a community, experience times of hardship, loss and separation as a result of the impact caused by COVID-19, we learn to respect the environment and others around us. Our first nations people of Australia have known and practiced this for thousands of years.
Funday Friday - Walking Forward in Faith
This week we celebrated Reconciliation Week with activities designed to acknowledge our culturally diverse community with a group project. Students worked on a giant mural painting, with the theme “Walking forward in faith”. This was accompanied by winter warmer lunches, warming the hearts and stomachs of all! Our dedicated and hard-working catering staff also returned to our College this week, and we are seeing our community blossoming as familiar faces are once again present. Students brought life and culture to the College by coming dressed as their spirit animal or totem, and the girls practised Indigenous art painting and decorated our giant mural with flags from all of our cultures – coming together as one community.
Rosie’s – our friends on the street
Staff and students have kept the donations rolling in for Rosie’s and those in our community who are experiencing times of hardship; surviving on the kindness and generosity of spirit we see every day here at the College. Fay and Jim from Toowoomba Rosie’s Headquarters came by to collect the wonderful donations of items such as soups, noodles, chocolate, biscuits and paper towels, expressing their thanks for the generosity on behalf of the people who are impacted by homelessness, particularly as we endure this pandemic! Rosie’s are still offering a drop-in outreach service, and they have permission to use Harlaxton Park until the end of June. Social distancing rules are still in place, but the Rosie’s patrons are delighted that this service is once again up and running.
Mercy Girl Care Army - 'Calls of Compassion'
Our 'Calls of Compassion' Youth Ministry initiative will continue next term, which is a wonderful way for students to see the fruits of their labour within our local community. We will be videoconferencing with grandparents and friends of staff and our local parishes, as students converse about the “new normal” we are all working towards. It is enlightening for students to connect with the older generations of our College and parish communities and see that resilience is not just something we teach our youth, but something everyone in society is working hard at building.
Last week our Prayer Room re-opened, which was well-timed, given the frosty conditions to which we were exposed! Unusually cold, windy weather chased our girls inside; however, we found refuge in the Prayer Room which has enough room for social distancing to be followed, whilst still catering for a chilly cohort of senior students!
The Prayer Room is a multi-used space, designed with many purposes in mind – planning for our faith gatherings for staff and students, meetings (face-to-face as well as via videoconferencing) preparations for our Youth Ministry Mercy Care Army are among the many initiatives we undertake at the College.
For every day, we give thanks – God bless.
Assistant Principal - Mission and Student Wellbeing
Assistant Principal - Administration
FILMING FOR OUR VIRTUAL OPEN DAY
This week we are filming for our Virtual Open Day. Many of our students will take part in the filming which will feature on the front of our website and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. We are showcasing ten areas of College life and with the help of Shayne Cantly from the video production company ShootNedit. By the end of the shoot we will have ten x 20 second taster videos of life at St Saviour’s College, linking to ten x 2 minute videos that will feature life as a Mercy girl in much more detail.
A big thanks to all our students who are involved in the production this week.
As detailed in our last Newsletter our app is ready to go. I have detailed the steps to download the app, which features 9 tiles, streamlining communication to our community.
Please click the link below to view the steps involved. All members of the St Saviour’s community will receive an email in the coming days with the pin to unlock the app.
Assistant Principal - Administration
Just a friendly reminder Instalment 2 Fees are now overdue.
Should you wish to enter into a payment plan or would like to query your Fee Statement please contact the College office.
NEW PROCEDURES (REMAINDER OF TERM 2)
- There is a designated entry and exit for the library.
- Sanitiser is available at the entry and exit for use.
- Cleaner is available to wipe desks and handles, etc. after each class/break.
- Books will only be returned once a week to allow time and cleaning to occur.
- Borrowing will only occur via the online catalogue and reserving the item. A notification will be sent to the student with a collection time.
- There will be no browsing of the physical items in the library, it is all through the online library.
- The library will be open at breaks for work purposes only. Students will be at the desks.
- There is to be only one student per desk/workspace at any time.
- No furniture is to be moved.
Peruse the images of the new books below. Look them up on the catalogue (online library) to find out more about them. If you would like one, reserve it through the online library. Make sure you sign in through the Single Sign On in the top right corner of the screen. https://au.accessit.online/STS03
BOOK CLUB ISSUE 4
Book Club issue 4 is out – order online through the Book Club LOOP system – choose St Saviour’s College as the school. Orders will come to the school and be distributed to the students.
Check out the issue online:
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey, they are home.” – Anna Quindlen
VET Coordinator Notices
The Year13 Expo lets you find a career you’re genuinely passionate about from the comfort of your own home.
Through a series of live chats, webinars and online ‘booths’, the Year13 Expo will help you figure out what it is you’re passionate about and what you need to do in order to get there.
Oh, plus there is $5,000 and some amazing mentorship and work experience opportunities up for grabs with the Year13 Passport.
Click the link below to find out more.
And let us consider how we may spur on and others on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in habit of doing, but encouraging one and other- and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10: 24-25)
It is with excitement and joy that we welcome back this coming week our Mercy Girl sisters in boarding, who will travel to join our day students in classroom learning once again. However, it is important for us to take time to think of those within our community who are unable to return and the implications for them. We shall not give up on meeting at the table of communication and support, for they are within our prayers, thoughts, and hearts. We share that our interstate boarders, Laney, and Keely will be remaining at home due to the Queensland boarders still being closed. In addition, our northern, cape and island community young women are also unable to return due to the federal government enforced lockdown of these communities. As we gear up to experience joy and kinship with those returning, it is also with care and concern for those who do not return. Our wish and prayer for them is that they can continue to engage with their learning online, remotely or at the designated education institutions temporarily set up for them. Further, we pray for their safety and the knowledge that we are here to support them and their families, even though they are far away; Mercy girls are sisters!
During the first five weeks of Term 2, our boarders who have been returning intermittently, experienced a change of schedule during the afternoons. Mondays we hosted a special afternoon tea online, Tuesday was gardening, Wednesday - craft, Thursday - cooking and Friday, we took to exploring Toowoomba park and gardens. We have had many laughs with our knitting; tried desperately to convince the police that we are in fact the McAuley House family exercising in the park in groups of two to three; and cooked delicious recipes such as donut balls, biscuits, pizza, rice paper rolls, rocky road and Anzac biscuits. We are very proud of the girls' resilience and ability to adapt to change. We will be continuing these activities as we navigate our way through the term. Friday nights have been pizza night, playing cards, enjoying yarning time next to the fire pit while roasting marshmallows and playing spotlight. These are precious opportunities to build positive relationships and special memories with our young people.
We have observed in the media the many impacts that COVID-19 has had on our society, and the impacts projected to be faced into the future. However, we have used our time wisely at McAuley House, to really embrace change. We have had to check in remotely with our girls, have a greater connection with those who have returned early, developed new skills, and provided a safehaven for our girls through care and compassion.
We are now focusing on the back end of Term 2 and the many challenges of assessment, timeframes, organization while still having to comply heavily with COVID-19 health restrictions as they apply to our living space. The girls, at times, find it very difficult to adhere to all the new and changing processes administered by the local, state, and federal health departments. I thank whole-heartedly our boarding staff for their tireless work and positive attitudes during a time when, they themselves and their families, are at risk. Their dedication to the care of those girls who are with us, and their ability to continue communication with families and communities of the girls who are not, is a testament to their personal witness to the values espoused by Catherine McAuley, which were upheld through the charism of the Sisters of Mercy. We are all very grateful.
Boarding Manager & Teacher