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From the Principal

Small ideas have the potential to grow and have significant impacts in ways unimagined when they are first conceived of.  Siena’s ‘Night of Change’ is one such initiative that began in 2011 thanks to a Year 12 student at the time.  Maleah Gridley encouraged others to invest their talents in an evening of entertainment to raise funds for the very disadvantaged community of women and children in Kopanang South Africa.  Maleah was an advocate for justice during her time at Siena College and a person of conviction who persevered when others suggested her endeavours might fail. Since that first venture, ‘Night of Change’ has grown and been supported by successive waves of students and staff.  This week we will have the largest ever attendance with a fleeting return visit from Sr Sheila Flynn and two wonderful women from Sydney, Stacey Bannon and Toni Virgona, to support the event and to bring handcrafted items from Kopanang for us to purchase.  The funds generated provide some source of hope for this community that confronts poverty and enormous challenges on a daily basis just to survive and provide basic necessities.

I enjoyed the early spring sunshine last week when I joined Claire Moody and a group of Year 7 and 8 students outside the Camberwell Library at a Flag Raising Ceremony for our National Flag Day.  We were there at the invitation of local Ward Councillor, Lisa Hollingsworth who has supported many of our College events in recent years and worked with us to establish partnerships with the local community.   

We are preparing to relocate our College Counsellors from their current home at 6 Compton Street to a new ‘Counselling Hub’ in the Administration Building.  The more centralised location will enhance their accessibility and integration into the Siena community and year level visits to the Counselling Hub are planned for Term 4 to introduce students to the new location and the wonderful services and support offered to our community.  Millie Holmes, Gemma Morley and Lisa Ellis bring high levels of expertise and experience and we are so fortunate to have them at Siena College.

I am pleased to advise that McGlashan Everist Architects has been appointed to work with the College on the next long term Master Plan.  This will include consideration of the properties on Compton Street that are part of Siena College, like the current Counselling Centre at 6 Compton Street.  In the interim, the property will be leased to generate an income stream.

 It is finals season in the sporting arena and there have been some great results for Siena this week. Thirty-two students qualified to compete in the Aeroschools National Competition on the Gold Coast.  They returned excited and proud of their achievements.  Of five teams entered, two teams finished in first place on Day 1 of the competition, one in second place, two teams ranked thirds and fourth place respectively and the remaining team was acknowledged with a special award for perseverance.  On Day 2, Siena teams placed second, third and fifth in their respective divisions, exceeding expectations.  Congratulations are extended to all involved.

To allow an opportunity for elite athletes to be recognised, Girls Sport Victoria (GSV) holds an Athletics Finals Evening where the top ten athletes across all twenty-four schools are invited to participate as individuals.  This year fifteen students qualified with Holly Nieuwenhuizen (Yr 9) participating in five events, Emily Hodder (Yr 12) and Jemma Rigoni in four events and Teah Wilson (Yr 7) in three events.  A more detailed report of the results on the night and of the various GSV finals is featured in Sporting News.

The end of Term 3 is also ‘Reunion Season’.  Last Saturday we welcomed alumnae from the Class of 1979 and 1989 and this week it is the Class of 1999 and 2009.  In 2019, we have been able to welcome past students to the Heritage Centre in the refurbished Convent and it is lovely to see their reactions to the artefacts and memorabilia assembled there and the uniforms of the past that are on display.  Last week, the buzz in the room was a tangible reflection of the strong relationships forged and the sense of community.  Some of our returning alumnae travelled from overseas or interstate and for many it was the first time back at Siena College since graduating.  

Next week heralds many events, the Antonio De Montesinos Public Speaking competition, performances of Romeo and Juliet featuring students from St Kevin’s College and Siena, the Year 10 Social at Xavier College and the 2019 Interhouse Athletics Carnival at the Bill Stewart Athletics Track in Burwood East.  Board Chair, Kath McCarthy and I will represent the College at a Dominican Education Australia gathering in Sydney on the first Saturday of the holidays.  

As we look ahead to the Term 3 break, I thank all staff, students and parents for an exceptional term and wish our Year 12 students well for their final weeks of study ahead of the VCE Exams.  May the forthcoming holidays offer some time to reenergise and to enjoy the Spring blossoms and the sunshine.

 

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Small ideas have the potential to grow and have significant impacts in ways unimagined when they are first conceived of.  Siena’s ‘Night of Change’ is one such initiative that began in 2011 thanks to a Year 12 student at the time.  Maleah Gridley encouraged others to invest their talents in an evening of entertainment to raise funds for the very disadvantaged community of women and children in Kopanang South Africa.  Maleah was an advocate for justice during her time at Siena College and a person of conviction who persevered when others suggested her endeavours might fail. Since that first venture, ‘Night of Change’ has grown and been supported by successive waves of students and staff.  This week we will have the largest ever attendance with a fleeting return visit from Sr Sheila Flynn and two wonderful women from Sydney, Stacey Bannon and Toni Virgona, to support the event and to bring handcrafted items from Kopanang for us to purchase.  The funds generated provide some source of hope for this community that confronts poverty and enormous challenges on a daily basis just to survive and provide basic necessities.

I enjoyed the early spring sunshine last week when I joined Claire Moody and a group of Year 7 and 8 students outside the Camberwell Library at a Flag Raising Ceremony for our National Flag Day.  We were there at the invitation of local Ward Councillor, Lisa Hollingsworth who has supported many of our College events in recent years and worked with us to establish partnerships with the local community.   

We are preparing to relocate our College Counsellors from their current home at 6 Compton Street to a new ‘Counselling Hub’ in the Administration Building.  The more centralised location will enhance their accessibility and integration into the Siena community and year level visits to the Counselling Hub are planned for Term 4 to introduce students to the new location and the wonderful services and support offered to our community.  Millie Holmes, Gemma Morley and Lisa Ellis bring high levels of expertise and experience and we are so fortunate to have them at Siena College.

I am pleased to advise that McGlashan Everist Architects has been appointed to work with the College on the next long term Master Plan.  This will include consideration of the properties on Compton Street that are part of Siena College, like the current Counselling Centre at 6 Compton Street.  In the interim, the property will be leased to generate an income stream.

 It is finals season in the sporting arena and there have been some great results for Siena this week. Thirty-two students qualified to compete in the Aeroschools National Competition on the Gold Coast.  They returned excited and proud of their achievements.  Of five teams entered, two teams finished in first place on Day 1 of the competition, one in second place, two teams ranked thirds and fourth place respectively and the remaining team was acknowledged with a special award for perseverance.  On Day 2, Siena teams placed second, third and fifth in their respective divisions, exceeding expectations.  Congratulations are extended to all involved.

To allow an opportunity for elite athletes to be recognised, Girls Sport Victoria (GSV) holds an Athletics Finals Evening where the top ten athletes across all twenty-four schools are invited to participate as individuals.  This year fifteen students qualified with Holly Nieuwenhuizen (Yr 9) participating in five events, Emily Hodder (Yr 12) and Jemma Rigoni in four events and Teah Wilson (Yr 7) in three events.  A more detailed report of the results on the night and of the various GSV finals is featured in Sporting News.

The end of Term 3 is also ‘Reunion Season’.  Last Saturday we welcomed alumnae from the Class of 1979 and 1989 and this week it is the Class of 1999 and 2009.  In 2019, we have been able to welcome past students to the Heritage Centre in the refurbished Convent and it is lovely to see their reactions to the artefacts and memorabilia assembled there and the uniforms of the past that are on display.  Last week, the buzz in the room was a tangible reflection of the strong relationships forged and the sense of community.  Some of our returning alumnae travelled from overseas or interstate and for many it was the first time back at Siena College since graduating.  

Next week heralds many events, the Antonio De Montesinos Public Speaking competition, performances of Romeo and Juliet featuring students from St Kevin’s College and Siena, the Year 10 Social at Xavier College and the 2019 Interhouse Athletics Carnival at the Bill Stewart Athletics Track in Burwood East.  Board Chair, Kath McCarthy and I will represent the College at a Dominican Education Australia gathering in Sydney on the first Saturday of the holidays.  

As we look ahead to the Term 3 break, I thank all staff, students and parents for an exceptional term and wish our Year 12 students well for their final weeks of study ahead of the VCE Exams.  May the forthcoming holidays offer some time to reenergise and to enjoy the Spring blossoms and the sunshine.