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Berwick Campus – 29 November 2018

Christmas Wishes

As this is the last newsletter edition for 2019, I would like to thank all staff, students and parents for their efforts and contributions in making 2018 a most successful and productive year.
It is through working together that we can achieve optimum outcomes for all of our students.

May all have a safe and Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you again in 2019.


Casey Tech School Visit

Last week, one Year 7 class was selected to attend the recently opened Casey Tech School. It is situated on the grounds of Chisholm Institute and is fully equipped with state of the art technology to promote creativity and collaboration through the lens of STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics.)

All students thoroughly enjoyed the challenges presented to them in the discovery program which is designed to familiarise students with what Casey Tech School has to offer.
Special thanks to Mr Peter Collingwood and Mr Todd Zadow who accompanied our students for the day.


Students of the Term 4 – 2018

Year 7 – Jasmine Crivari

• For the way in which she consistently shows kindness to those around her, both her friends and those who are seeking to be included.
• For the fairness she displays when making well thought through and right judgements.
• For her love of learning and her unwavering persistence in the acquisition of knowledge.
• For the zest she displays in all of the activities she takes part in.
• For the unconditional respect she shows for all of those around her, both staff and students

Year 7 – Toby Marquis

• Kind, caring and considerate of others both staff and students alike.
• Involved in all aspects of College life such as House Dance, SIS, rock band, and strive for excellence in their academic endeavours.
• Socially Intelligent. Building connections everywhere he goes with prudence.

Year 8 – Sophie Weller

• Participates in all House activities even when it is out of her comfort zone, such as debating.
• Shows compassion, empathy and kindness towards all of her peers.
• Overcomes difficulties with great maturity and perseverance

Year 8 – Josh Parkinson
• Shows dedication and commitment to studies
• Shows leadership qualities (culminating in being awarded Year 9 House Captain)
• Actively involved in the College community
• Good team player

Year 9 – Madelyn Lloyd

• Excellent contributor to the Performing Arts
• Positive outlook on all things
• Support peers always
• Achieves high standards through hard work

Year 9 – George Mandalias

• Always tries his best with his academic tasks
• Has a smile every morning when he greets you, asks how others are and genuinely listens, willingly helps when asked
• Treats others with unconditional respect and is one other most friendly and welcoming McKenna students.


St Vinnies Christmas Hampers

An enormous thank you to all staff and students that have contributed to the annual Berwick Campus Christmas Hamper drive for St Vinnies.
This initiative asks for our school community to give to others in the true spirit of the festive season. There is no obligation to participate other than to think about what each of us can contribute to help those less fortunate at this time of the year.
White House, under the guidance of Head of House Ms Cate Baird have again excelled in their efforts to coordinate this charity cause across the school and it symbolises the true ethos of our Catholic College.


Hands on Learning Beach Visit

Recently the Hands on Learning team celebrated a fantastic year’s works with an end of year excursion to the beach at Mount Martha.
In total, it involved 40 students that had engaged in the program at some point throughout the year. Students travelled by bus where they enjoyed a series of games on the beach in including water balloon volleyball and tug of war. They day also involved a delicious hamburger lunch. Thanks to Allan Grigg and John Hoogenbrugge for their efforts and input to make the program such a success this year.


Soccer Marathon

Congratulations to all students who recently competed in the annual fundraising event knowns as the Soccer Marathon. Over 100 students took part in the day which essentially sees students competing in a non-stop soccer game that runs for throughout the school day. As always, the day was well supported and has many benefits including; relationship bonding, promoting healthy exercise and raising awareness around the charity of the School of St Jude.

The School of St Jude is a charity-funded school located in the city of Arusha, in the northern Arusha Region of Tanzania. The school, located across three campuses, provides free primary and secondary education to the poorest and brightest children of the Arusha Region. Thanks to Heads of Houses Ms Sharon Kosta and Ms Gemma Harriss for their efforts in coordinating this beneficial fundraiser in the name of social justice.


Catholic Identity


Advent begins this Sunday

This prayer was prepared by Lindsay Sant, our REC at the Beaconsfield Campus. Our Liturgy and Justice Captains led this prayer at the Beaconsfield Campus assembly yesterday.

As we approach the season of Advent, we remember the ways in which our Indigenous brothers and sisters commemorate Christmas. Indigenous artist, Duwuun Lee, created this depiction of the Nativity of Jesus from his perspective. He describes it in the following way:

The painting is a celebration of Jesus Christ who is held on high in the coolamon. The white figure is the Holy Spirit that is always with us; whoever looks at the painting will receive his blessing.

The star is the guiding light to help people on their journey in life and to find Jesus.

The blue cross reminds us that Jesus died on the cross to redeem our sins and celebrates His birth.




What do we value during Advent?

In our Religious Education classes, we have been learning about different ways in which faith is represented in society. This has led us to looking forward to the season of Advent which begins this Sunday and marks our journey towards the Christmas season. When we hear that Christmas is coming, our first thoughts may turn to shopping lists, who to invite on Christmas Day or frantic plans to decorate our homes.

While these things are important, it’s easy to forget that Advent and Christmas come with a set of values which are meant to guide our Christmas journey.

These values are symbolised in our Advent Wreath. The four candles of the wreath represent faith, hope, joy, and love. Imagine if every person prioritised these values, what would our world be like. Imagine if YOU prioritized these values, how would your world change if you were a little more faithful, more hopeful, more joyful, more loving.


Reflection on Jesus

Advent reminds us that we are accompanied by Jesus in our human journey. The birth of Jesus brought with it, hope and possibility. By sharing our human nature, God dramatically broke into human history to tell us that we are important and that everything we do can make a difference.

Consider the example of George Bailey, lead character in the classic Christmas film, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. George’s life falls apart after his small town community bank is on the verge of financial collapse. He bitterly states “I wish I were never born’. At this lowest point in his life, he is shown by an angel what would have happened if he hadn’t been born –

  • his younger brother would have died if he wasn’t there to save him from drowning when they were children,
  • his brother would not have saved over 100 other lives during the second world war,
  • many people in his town would have lost their homes because George’s bank didn’t exist to help them,
  • his wife never married an inspiring husband,
  • and the children he loved were never born.

The message of this film is the message of Jesus’ birth, your life and everything you do with it matters.

Let us pray that we can approach this Advent/Christmas season first with faith, hope, joy and love

Lord Jesus, just as you showed the importance of what one ordinary life can do, we ask you to inspire us to use our ordinary lives to be bringers of hope, bringers of faith, bringers of joy and bringers of love. Through your Holy Spirit, direct our words and deeds and fill them with justice, compassion and mercy. Through us, may each person we meet be touched by the heart of God.

We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen


Our Student Leaders met Bishop Patrick O’Regan.

Last Thursday eight of our College leaders spent the day with Bishop Patrick O’Regan at the Catholic Education Office in Warragul. Our College, Vice, Liturgy and Justice Captains prepared a presentation about our school, including the hopes and dreams of the Year 9’s whom they had met the week before. I am pleased to report that our students made an excellent presentation to the Bishop, they articulated clearly the ethos, gifts and talents of our community, and were able to connect the faith of our College, (Jesus our way, truth and life) with our actions that expressed our faith, liturgy, soup van, winter sleepout, etc.

Our Captains – Matthew Lawless, Kailee McAuley, Connor Hinds, Susmitha Raju, Chloe Jones, Luke Cranswick, Ben Shields and Jasmine Mamontov enjoyed meeting the Bishop, along with the captains of the other six secondary schools in our Diocese.


Plenary 2020 continues.

Staff and students have taken part in Plenary sessions across the College. Parents are invited to join a session on December 5 at the Beaconsfield Campus.


Year 12 Retreat 2019.

By now you would have received the revised letter about the changes to the Year 12 Retreat. It is essential that forms are returned by the end of this year for the Retreat. We are pleased that Fr Rob Galea, robotics expert Marita Cheng and wellbeing expert Margaret Hepworth will be joining us across the three days. Each of these three are world experts in their fields and will inspire our students.


Feast of St Francis Xavier

Monday December 3 is the Feast day of St Francis Xavier. Celebrations begin with the first Berwick Soup Van Christmas party for those involved in this service on Sunday December 2, including those we serve. This event has been organised by our Year 12 Youth Ministry students, including gift bags and entertainment. It is a wonderful expression of our faith. It is close to ten years that the Berwick Soup Van, began by past students of St Francis Xavier College, started. Over that time our students and staff have been dedicated to serve our local community.

We are celebrating Mass at the Officer and Berwick Campuses as united year levels. REC’s Liam Doherty and Michelle Pereira have organized a special day of activities about our great saint to accompany the day. These two faith events express our St Francis Xavier Goal:

Our community is a living witness to the Gospel where Christ is encountered.

May Jesus walk with us through the Advent and Christmas seasons. We thank God for this time of difference, encounter and peace.


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