Edition 18 | 05 November 2021
Judith Weir

On Wednesday we welcomed all students back from remote learning. While they have all spent time at school over the last week it was a pleasure to welcome them to a full return. We are grateful that we can complete the year at school. The joy on the faces of our young people as they reconnected with their friends was heartening. We are also aware that this has required some adjustments for all of us as we settle back into the normal expectations and routines.

We are also entering into a very busy time for students. They are now focused on getting ready to complete assessments and so a continued focus on developing their study skills remains key for them over the coming weeks. Year 10 and 11 students will soon begin their examination period. This is an excellent time to learn from their preparations and successes as they focus on the final years of their secondary schooling. We continue to hold all our Year 12 students in our prayers as they complete their final examinations.

I would like to thank parents, students and staff for their support and cooperation as we navigate through the challenges that COVID-19 continues to present. We have learnt a great deal from our experience, not the least being the courage and compassion of the OLMC community. The Leadership Team has been overwhelmed by the understanding and support shown to them when parents have been contacted. We continue to seek your support in encouraging all students to wear masks appropriately indoors and to use the sanitising facilities in their classrooms. A reminder that anyone who is unwell in any way should not attend the College.

OLMC Congratulates Jocelyn Bignold CEO McAuley Community Services for Women

Earlier this year we provided a link for our community to vote for Jocelyn for the Local Hero award. Thank you to all from OLMC who voted. We hope that in a small way we helped to contribute to the win. The announcement from McAuley Community Services for Women follows:

In August, we asked for your vote to support our CEO Jocelyn Bignold OAM as a Westfield Local Hero at Westfield Airport West.

Today we’re delighted to announce she was successfully awarded the title.

It’s so wonderful to see Joce’s dedication to women and children recognised as one of three top local finalists.

Jocelyn has spent her career working in support of women and children who have experienced family violence and women who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness. She is a passionate and dedicated advocate for the cause and is a leader in the sector - specifically leading sector advocacy for system change. She is a true inspiration to those she meets and to those who work at McAuley – we would not have the impact we do in Victoria without her leadership and focus on the end goal - of helping women and children find safety and helping them toward building a safe and independent future.

Your support has helped to secure a $10,000 grant which will boost our McAuley Learning Support program.

She couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much for your vote and continued support.

November is a time of remembrance; a time to remember all those who have passed. So many families around the world have experienced loss in recent years because of the pandemic, natural disasters or war. For all in our community who have suffered loss this year we hold you in our prayers and thoughts.

Praying for those who have died

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

A very important tradition in the Catholic family is to remember, celebrate and pray for those special people in our lives, who have died and are now in God’s eternally loving embrace.

This week we commemorated All Saints Day (1 Nov) and All Souls Day (2 Nov) when we are invited to remember all those people who have guided us, loved, and who revealed God to us. We remember those named in our families and communities and those un-named, equally loved by God. So we pray...

For all the saints
who went before us
who have spoken to our hearts
and touched us with your love,
We praise you, O God.
For all the saints
who live beside us
whose weaknesses and strengths
are woven with our own,
We praise you, O God.
For all the saints
who live beyond us
who challenge us
to change the world with them,
We praise you O God.
Catherine McAuley, pray for and with us.
Ursula Frayne, pray for and with us.
Our beloved, now with God, pray for and with us.

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

Venerable Catherine McAuley

Shane Taylor
Head of Faith and Mission

Remembrance Day challenges us each year to reflect on with the horror of war, past and present - and to consider the value we place upon human life and freedom. This is a significant day and one that we must commemorate and respect. November 11 is also the date Catherine McAuley died.

In the evening of Thursday, November 11, 1841, Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, died of tuberculosis at the Convent of Mercy on Baggot Street, Dublin—the first of the twelve convents she had established in the preceding decade. She was surrounded by members of the Baggot Street, Booterstown, and Limerick communities, some of whom have left written eye-witness reports. Mary Elizabeth Moore (1806-1868), superior of the convent in Limerick, wrote ten days after Catherine McAuley’s death to the superior of the Mercy convent in Tullamore

“She died the Death of the Just. Cautious as she was from bringing herself into notice unnecessarily in health she was still more so in sickness, waiting on herself even in her last agony, preserving to the last moment the same peace and serenity of mind which so eminently distinguished her through Life . . . . her first and last injunction to all was to preserve union and peace amongst each other . . . .
. . . . About five in the evening she asked for the candle to be placed in her hand. We commenced the last prayers . . . .
When we thought the senses must be going and that it might be well to rouse attention by praying a little louder, she said: No occasion, my darling, to speak so loud, I hear distinctly. In this way she continued till 10 minutes before 8 when she calmly breathed her last sigh.”

How blessed are we to be invited into living Mercy! On this day, we give thanks to God for the example and invitation of Catherine. May we always seek to model her, in our seeking God and serving those in need. Catherine, pray with and for us. Amen.

Megan Edwards
Head of Student Wellbeing

All of us want bodies and brains that function well and help us live our life to the full. Society and social media can skew our idea of a healthy body. In order to support families work with young people to build positive body image Banyule Youth Services are running a free online forum.

The session will be presented by Marina Payne from Eat Love Live. Marina will take us through the risk factors for young people of developing an eating disorder, warning signs and how to promote a healthy relationship with food and positive body image.

Wednesday 17 November 6.30pm - 7.30pm


Brooke Kilborn
Head of Student Wellbeing

OLMC is a member of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools. The Alliance offers OLMC many opportunities from student leadership conferences to professional learning for staff.

They have partnered with Flourish Girls, a not for profit organisation developing social and emotional wellbeing for girls, to deliver a unique program Flourish within: Reset your mindset for 2022. After nearly two years of challenges we did not predict, and social change that has challenged all of us in different ways, this is a great opportunity for young people to regain a sense of control and purpose in 2022.

Designed for Gen Z girls aged 14-16 years, by Flourish Girl founder Mandy Dante and her team, this half-day live virtual program will help girls to reset for 2022. Mandy is passionate about giving teenage girls a voice and space to become all they can be.

Flourish Within is an opportunity for girls to start the year feeling positive, motivated and confident.


Date:11.00am to 3.00pm (AEDT) 19 January 2022
Format: Virtual Holiday Program
Individual registration:$45
Alliance discount:Use the code FLOURISH22 when booking individual registration
Brooke Kilborn
Head of Student Wellbeing

It was great to welcome all the Year 7 students back to school late last month. It was very apparent that many students found great joy in returning to school life and catching up with their peers.

Teachers understand that the students may take a bit of time and need assistance adapting to the earlier starts, longer days, and getting back into regular school routines. Please contact me or the relevant Pastoral Leader if you or your daughter requires any support adjusting back to onsite learning.

As the end of the year is fast approaching, the Year 7s have started to work on their time capsules. Each year the Year 7 students collect photos, funny stories, notes and memorabilia to put into their time capsules which will be stored until they are in Year 12. An envelope with instructions will be sent home soon inviting a parent or significant adult to write an affirming letter to their young person. It will be sealed so that they cannot read it until their final day in 2026.

Our focus then turns to Year 8 transition. Over the coming weeks students will participate in some Q&A sessions and hear from some older students about what to expect when changing pastoral groups, teachers and some subjects. As mentioned in my recent correspondence to you regarding the class allocation process, we believe that students benefit greatly by mixing up the classes to create new opportunities to work with different students and expand connections.

Some suggestions when talking with your daughter about transitioning into Year 8:

  • Anticipate the change and plan ahead. Is there anything that you can do to help prepare for changes?
  • Do not take change personally. An emotional response to change is natural. We tend only see what’s being taken away from us.
  • Focus on possibilities. Being optimistic about outcomes does not necessarily mean you have to be happy in the moment. Look long term and see the big picture.
  • Think about past times when you have coped with change. When were they? How did you cope then? Access those resources and remind yourself that you will get through this latest challenge.
  • Allow yourself time to adjust. New habits and routines take time to develop. The stability will come.
Rowena Thomson
Year 7 Coordinator

Ms Geraldine Lewin’s Year 10 Mainstream Maths class was set four challenging, modelling and problem solving tasks to complete as part of the Measurement Topic during their lesson.

They had to work collaboratively on the Measurement Task using the skills learnt in class. This involved understanding and exploring each of the problems posed, developing a strategy to solve the problem, testing the strategy with logic and reasoning, reflecting on and justifying a solution. This incorporated using clear communication skills in groups in order to complete the task. Students were able to use the CAS calculator and incorporate technology as part of their problem solving techniques.

The girls were challenged to think critically. After a long period of remote learning the girls enjoyed the opportunity to work collaboratively, communicating their ideas.

Geraldine Lewin
Maths Teacher

Despite COVID restrictions the Year 10 World War History students were still able to come face to face with a holocaust survivor albeit virtually.

The girls were introduced to Gilah Leder who survived Nazi persecution. Gilah was removed from her Jewish family and adopted by a large Polish Catholic family, where she joined 7 siblings . This decision, while allowing her to survive, was not only very dangerous but also difficult as she was removed from her own family and also introduced to new ways of being and a new religion.

Gilah’s story speaks of both the bravery and compassion humans display in the face of persecution.

The girls were very interested in Gilah’s story and were able to ask her many questions about her experiences. Her story of belonging and identity intersected with the lives of current students who were able to relate to the difficulties experienced by Gilah in order to survive.

Thank you to Mr Smithers for organising this event.

Russell Ives
Humanities Learning Leader

OLMC was invited to participate in the digital trial of the Australian Geography Competition this year.

Students undertaking Year 9 Geography in Term 3 competed in the Australian Geography Competition whilst working remotely. This was a great opportunity for students to experience a completely online skills-based assessment under exam conditions. The new digital format allowed interactive stimuli to be embedded in external websites. The feedback from the trial will assist AGC to move the Competition fully online in 2022.

Congratulations to the following two students who received very commendable results.

Ella 9DCA - Distinction

Sharanka 9SBR - Credit

Rowena Thomson
Humanities Teacher

After weeks of online learning from home lounge rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and hallways we are finally returning to onsite Instrumental Music Lessons at OLMC!

We are so excited to see our girls in Roma, and hearing the progress they have made whilst learning online. It is also extremely exciting that our junior band students can now rehearse as an ensemble at school on Thursdays after school.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Instrumental staff, parents and students who have been so flexible as we navigated our way through the pandemic and the many challenges it brought to all things music. Even though we are back, our vocal, woodwind and brass lessons will take place outside to comply with health advice and students recording their AMEB music exams will do so in a designated space.

We also look forward to hearing all Year 7-10 students perform in an online video which will be released to students and their families in late November in place of the Year 7-10 Performance Evening.

Welcome Back Girls!

Jo-Anne Mileto
Instrumental Music Coordinator

Follow the official new Our Lady of Mercy College account (@olmcheidelberg) to stay connected with OLMC on Instagram. We’ll be sharing regular news, student achievements and stories from around the College.

OLMC is also now on LinkedIn. Follow our page for updates and news from the College.

Liz Baxter
Leader of Marketing and Development