29 October 2021 -
From the Principal

From the Principal

Welcome back to our students!

It was with great excitement that we welcomed our students back through the College gates this term. Year 12 commenced last week and other Year Groups this week. To hear the school buzzing again with the sounds of students is music to our ears. It has been uplifting to re-connect as sisters and share stories of shining gifts, as well as learn of the many actions taken to overcome challenges that required either courage or empowerment. The photos below capture the excitement:

Our Primary feeder schools traditionally send a small pack of best wishes to our Year 12 students around this time. This year, they have not let COVID-19 stand in their way and have created a ‘virtual’ video message for their ‘big sisters’, wishing them well for the HSC. The advice from Kindy students to Year 6 students was priceless!! Our feeder school Principals also send their special blessings in a prayer. I encourage you to click on the link provided to watch – you’ll enjoy it!

HSC Exams begin

The HSC Exams will finally begin on 9 November, with the first of two English papers. By the time students complete their final HSC Workshops next week, they will be well equipped and ready to begin. The examination period is a healthy mix of calm and nerves, so please keep our Year 12 students in your prayers for their HSC Exams. 

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

November begins with a double feast in remembrance of those who have died: All Saints’ Day, 1 November, followed by All Souls’ Day, 2 November. 

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day give us consolation that, as saints and sinners, God welcomes all. On these Feast Days, we especially recall the Church as a community of saints who are sinners and sinners who did saintly things. I was always drawn to the expression:

“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.”

An expression that gives us hope in these challenging times.

Dr Anne Ireland, Principal
This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #1, #2, #8 









From the Assistant Principal

From the Assistant Principal

Week 4 saw the return of our Years 7-11 students and with that came the familiar buzz of MSCW. The explosion of excitement as students stepped off their buses and walked into the College grounds for the first time in a very long time, was a moment to remember. It confirmed, quite clearly in my mind, that schools provide a wealth of learning opportunities separate to the classroom. Friendships, building connections and a sense of belonging continue to be one of our significant priorities here at Marist Sisters’ College Woolwich, given the challenges of this year.

As we transition back to face-to-face learning, I draw your attention to information provided via COMPASS on how to support your daughters on their return to school.


Transition back to school – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg

As Dr Michael Carr-Gregg articulates, some of our students are very excited about their return and others may be experiencing mixed emotions, which is dependent on how well they cope with stress and change. It is important to continue to encourage your daughters to focus on things they can control or enjoy, in order for them to remain motivated and ensure their sense of belonging.

The NSW Department of Education has also provided helpful tips for returning to school. I encourage all students to take the time to read the information provided.

Helpful tips for returning to high school – NSW Department of Education

Hygiene measures

Please be assured that as students transition back to the College, we are continuing to maintain high standards of hygiene on site. The following processes are in place to ensure the ongoing safety of our community:

  • Each classroom has hand sanitiser, as well as antibacterial spray and wipes. Students are encouraged to sanitise their hands and wipe down their desks during lesson time
  • Our cleaners continue to sanitise frequently touched surfaces daily

Once again, we encourage our students to continue to practice good hygiene and to frequently wash their hands while at school, particularly before and after eating and after going to the toilet. Likewise, students are reminded to cough and sneeze into their elbow, dispose of tissues and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

As a community, we will be monitoring student health and we ask that parents keep their daughters at home, even if they are slightly unwell. If students present with any signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, we will be in touch and ask that you come and collect your daughter.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to colds and flu and include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing

A reminder that if your daughter presents with these symptoms, a COVID-19 Test is required and results are to be sent to attendance (mscw-attendance@syd.catholic.edu.au) prior to returning to school.

Ms Melinda Alvarez, Assistant Principal

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #2, #6 & #8


From the Religious Education Coordinator

From the Religious Education Coordinator

The past two weeks have given us many joyous moments in the COVID-19 journey.

Week 3 saw Year 12 students return to school for face-to-face workshops. There was a palpable buzz in the air in the Studies of Religion I and II workshops. Sunday, 24 October saw the reopening of churches for public worship, in line with the NSW Government Roadmap. To be able to be present with others and to be united in faith in celebrating Mass was an ebullient experience. Equally delightful was the return on Monday of Years 8, 10 and 11 students and Years 7 and 9 students on Thursday. In the midst of the enthusiastic chatter between students in one of my classes, I asked if they had spoken to each other when we were in remote learning. One student replied, “Miss, it is not the same. There are some things you just can’t say when you are not with each other.” 

On 27 March, 2020, Pope Francis spoke the following in an empty St. Peter’s Square during a livestreamed, night-time Urbi et Orbi blessing of the coronavirus-afflicted world.

We have realised that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”

Being present for each other is the gift we give others as the COVID-19 journey continues. To listen and to hear the stories of others is a privilege. 

Our Catholic faith offers us the opportunity for prayer and the practical, loving concern of a faith community. It also reminds us that we are known by our loving and comforting God, who is with us on the journey.

MSCW THRIVE Film Festival – Have you voted for the People’s Choice?

MSCW’s Developing a Compass for Life film was a student entry and has been selected as a Finalist for Sydney Catholic Schools THRIVE Film Festival. The entry is in the running for the People’s Choice Award. All students, staff and parents are invited to vote for their favourite film from the finalist’s list and hopefully your favourite will be MSCW’s short film.

​Visit the People’s Choice webpage to watch the films, then complete the form to cast a vote.

Voting closes at 5:00 pm, Friday 29 October 2021.

Celebrating Catholic Education

All students will receive a St Benedict medal and pamphlet in their Religion Education/SOR/SICT class, in recognition of 200 Years of Catholic Education in Australia

A prayer for Year 12 students

As Year 12 students prepare for their HSC examinations, you are invited to pray for them:

God, we ask that our Year 12 Sisters feel your presence with them as they prepare for and complete their HSC examinations.

Give them calm hearts and quiet confidence in the knowledge that you hold them in the palm of your hand.

Bless them with a keen understanding of what they have learnt.

Give them the ability to be exact in their explanations and an ability to express themselves clearly.

Holy Spirit send them your gifts of wisdom and knowledge.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Miss Mary Kleist, Religious Education Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #1, #2

From the Leader of Wellbeing


Adolescents, particularly during secondary school years, are often faced with friendship ‘issues’ that tend to dominate their thinking and lives as they try to navigate their way through this stage of development. Often, conflict and confusion arises within a particular group when someone feels insecure and that they don’t belong anymore. Moving in and out of friendship groups as a young child and adolescent is considered quite normal behaviour, even when at times it can present as challenging and difficult for adolescents finding their ‘people’ and place in the world. Things tend to settle however, from the age of 15 years and above, as friendships form more naturally at that point. 

Forming healthy friendships

In Steve Bidulph’s book, 10 Things Girls Need Most, he quotes another psychologist, Michael Thompson, who has identified the key skills needed to form and maintain a healthy friendship:

  1. A positive view of friendship (seeing it as valuable and fun)

  2. Sharing and taking turns (essential with most conversations, games and activities)

  3. Feeling for others (being unselfish and caring about the welfare of friends)

  4. Regulating aggression (not lashing out when we are angry, frustrated or sad)

  5. Apologising when appropriate and meaning it (genuinely being willing to admit mistakes)

  6. Reading emotions (knowing what others are going through based on their looks and behaviour)

  7. Trust with caution (being able to trust, but not being too gullible)

ReachOut also provides a range of wonderful resources and ‘hands on’ strategies for both students and parents. Be sure to check out this site as an opportunity to understand adolescent friendships today, especially as they transition back to school. It is also provides helpful tips in understanding how best to support their concerns or help regulate your child’s emotions when feeling upset with friendship discourse. 

Best outcomes are evident when students are emotionally, behaviourally and intellectually engaged at school.”

Gala Day 2021

While 2021 has provided a range of challenges with remote learning, let us remember that there has also been immense learning within this period as well. To acknowledge these learnings, our theme for GALA DAY 2021 – is Gratitude! Each Year Group has been set a specific challenge that best represents the FOUR key themes linked to Gratitude:



The College is committed to providing the highly anticipated Gala Day opportunity, as we recognise the intense gratification that it brings to all participants involved – from those onstage, to the Year 11 students facilitating the rehearsals, and those students involved with makeup, hair, costumes, judging and video editing. Even with the strict NSW Health restrictions, our aim is to persevere with Gala Day 2021, which promises to have just as much vitality, overwhelming enthusiasm and various opportunities of creating many moments of FUN as previous years!

This spectacular event emulates the Marist qualities that we try to capture in promoting positive sisterly relationships through collaboration, creativity and student leadership within each House.

Schools that effectively collaborate continue to build capacity across their community and ultimately promote both emotional wellbeing in conjunction with learning outcomes.” (Roffey, 2018).  

Time to put the ‘attitude, in Gratitude!’

Mrs Sia Mastro, Leader of Wellbeing

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #6 & #8 

From the Leader of Learning and Curriculum

From the Leader of Learning and Curriculum

This week saw the staggered return of Years 7-11 students to the College. Staff were excited to welcome them back to campus and assist as they began their transition back to the school setting. 

Year 11

Year 11 students had the opportunity to reflect at the end of Term 3, as they moved from Preliminary to HSC Courses. They also took up the opportunity to discuss their progress at last week’s Parent-Student-Teacher Interviews. Any parent/carer who was unable to attend is encouraged to make contact with their daughter’s subject teachers, to assist in understanding their progress thus far. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the HSC Parent Information Evening was presented as a recording. Students and parents/carers were sent a COMPASS notification at the beginning of Week 4 with the link to this presentation. It is an expectation that all students, together with their parents/carers, view this presentation, so that there is clarity around the year ahead. Following the presentation, if you have any further questions or concerns, please contact the College.

Mrs Giulia Laurenzi, Leader of Learning and Curriculum (Acting)

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #6 & #8 

From the College Counsellors

We welcomed students back on site this week and it was especially lovely to see some cheerful and familiar faces.

Transitioning back to face-to-face learning can be a real challenge for some students, whilst others will thrive and feel energised being back in the class environment and amongst their peers. There is no right or wrong reaction; everyone will adjust in their own time and experience the transition differently.

We thought it might be helpful to outline some ways to foster a smooth transition back to school.

Validate feelings

For some teens, returning to school may produce feelings of anxiety and ambivalence. Allow them space to express their worries or negative feelings but try to remain calm and positive. Validate their feelings and acknowledge any frustrations and challenges. It will be tough and frustrating at times wearing masks and adjusting to new school routines and rules.


Connecting with peers and teachers when returning to school is incredibly important, as it allows your teen to feel safe, secure and valued. These connections will foster supportive relationships and hopefully re-engage them in school.


Having a consistent and predictable schedule provides students with a sense of safety and security. Encouraging your teen to have a consistent routine now that they are back to school can enable a speedier adjustment to school life again.


COVID-19 has been hard for us all. Be prepared to see some behavioural changes in your teens. Try to remember that behaviour always communicates a message. Think about what your teen is trying to communicate and try your best to meet that need. Your teen may be more irritable or lethargic. Be patient, avoid reacting and be kind to yourself.


Do frequent check ins with yourself across the day, notice your own emotional state and remember that it is OK to feel worried or overwhelmed. Take breaks as needed and communicate to others around you what you are experiencing, so you can be supported in the process.

Teens may need help and tips to manage their stress. This can look like taking breaks, mindfulness, and getting back into hobbies and sports that they love.

Actively monitor any changes in behaviour in your teens if they are particularly anxious and act early by talking to someone to access help.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the College Counsellors if you have any concerns or need additional support transitioning your daughter back to school:

Ms Louise Scuderi and Ms Monica Rogenmoser, College Counsellors

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #6 & #8


Gifted and Talented Report

It’s a big week this week, as we head into the Grand Final of the CSDA Debating Competition.

The team consisting of Alissa Tosh (Year 7), Nikita Serban (Year 8) and Madeleine Miller (Year 8), will take on All Saints in a virtual Grand Final debate on Friday, 29 October.

The students spoke brilliantly last week in the Semi Final and created an inspiring argument on ‘the power of words’. They referred to significant women of change, including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The virtual audience was left in awe as Madeleine channelled Julia Gillard and quoted her famous speech in parliament. Naturally, I just had to email Ms Gillard and tell her about this inspiring debate. She so kindly replied and wished the girls luck in the Grand Final.

“I was thrilled to read about your Year 8 debaters and their semi final win. Good luck team for the grandfinal on Friday! While we can’t change the past, we can all work towards a more gender-equal future, and I’m glad the girls feel inspired to be agents for positive change. You might be interested to keep up with the work of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership (www.kcl.ac.uk/giwl), if you’re not already.

Kind regards,


Fingers crossed for another brilliant debate on Friday!

Commiserations to the Year 10 Debating Team, who were narrowly defeated in the Semi Final. The adjudicator called the debate a “master class” and found it very difficult to decide on a winner. These young ladies are a debating powerhouse and will be enjoying much success for many years – they’ll be back next year! Well done, Natalie Broom, Charlotte O’Brien and Zara Chand.

In the Sydney University Debating Competition, the Year 7 and Year 8 debaters have both recorded one win out of two debates and are getting better each week. Good luck, Alissa Tosh, Cian Colantuono, Adelaide Kennedy, Monique Abacum, Anika Ressas, Demi Hadjistavrou and Alessandra Carlo.


Mrs Rachael Colreavy, Gifted and Talented Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #2 & #6

Hunters Hill Young in Art Exhibition Winners

A big congratulations to our Hunters Hill ‘Young in Art Exhibition’ winners!

  • Elle Colatosti (Year 12), who took out the major prize
  • Amelia Kelly (Year 10)
  • Alyssa Evans (Year 10)
  • Rochelle Hajjar (Year 10)

Paramount to their work’s success is how all students displayed intricate, careful and deliberate mark making. Every element, every action, every choice gives weight and meaning to the work.

View the artworks here – Young in Art Winners 2021.

Well done to the students! Your awards and prizes will be posted to the College and I will email you to come and collect.

Mrs Helen Landas, Creative Arts Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #6 & #8

Jarnosse News

Year 10 and HSC: All My Own Work

In Week 2 of this term, all Year 10 students were introduced to the NESA program HSC: All My Own Work.

HSC: All My Own Work is a compulsory program that NESA requires all Year 10 students in NSW to successfully complete before they can commence their Preliminary Year. It focuses on academic honesty and the principles of good scholarship.

The students will fulfil NESA’s requirements by completing the program modules online and passing any one of five online tests that will be released for them to sit over five consecutive weeks, commencing on 25 October. Each weekly test will be open from Monday morning until the following Sunday at 10pm, and the results of students who completed that test will be emailed to them the following Monday morning. Students can attempt as many of these tests as they wish, and as soon as they have achieved a score of 80%, or more, they will have fulfilled NESA’s requirements. Test 1 is now open.

The last test will be available for students to take from 22 November until 10pm on 28 November, with the results emailed on the 29 November. After this, any student who hasn’t passed a test will be required to attend school in her College uniform on Wednesday, 15 December for a seminar to assist in gaining the understanding of the content NESA requires, and a final test.

The link to MSCW’s HSC: All My Own Work site, with the assessment tests and links to the NESA program, is on Student Cloudshare under Assessments & Subject Selection. Please encourage your daughter to start early, look over the program and sit one of the first tests. There is no penalty for failure, but there is a great benefit to seeing the sorts of questions she needs to be prepared for in the following tests, should she need to do one.

If your daughter has problems or questions while special COVID-19 arrangements are in place at MSCW, she should email me for an appointment. I am here to help.

Mrs Prue Nelson, Teacher-Librarian and Mrs Maria Del Moro, English Coordinator

This article on College life meets The Archbishop’s Charter for Catholic Schools – Charter #8

Clothing Pool News

The Marist Sisters’ College Clothing Pool is seeking your unwanted school uniforms.

Now is a great time to clean out the wardrobe and unburden yourself of school uniforms that you no longer need.

It is also a great way to support your College community. All proceeds from the sale of Clothing Pool donations go back into projects across the College, which benefit the whole College community.

Donations can be handed into the General Administration Office any time during school hours.

Should you wish to place an order with the Clothing Pool, please visit: www.flexischools.com.au

Thank you for your support.

Reunion News

Members of the Class of 1979 and HSC Class of 1981 cohort are warmly invited to celebrate 40 years since their Year 12 Graduation.

Event details:

  • Saturday, 26 February 2022
  • 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Deckhouse, Clarke Road, Woolwich
  • Cost: $135 for canapés and drinks

Contact Miriam Berlage (Wallace) for more details miriam.berlage@gmail.com

Mass and Special Blessing for all 2021 HSC Students