Next week we enter the most sacred week in our Catholic tradition, Holy Week. As we journey through this time we reflect on the centrality of God’s love in the sufferings and joys of life. We are mindful that Holy Week falls in the final week of Term 1, when we too journey into Easter. At this time we are very aware of the many blessings of this term where staff and students have experienced the fullness of our learning and faith community in its many expressions. So too, we look forward. As Easter people, we are attuned to hope and to life.
In this newsletter you will see themes of looking back and looking forward. Next week will see students heading out on camps, retreats and city experiences. Students in Years 10 and 11 will engage in a future focussed exploration of careers and pathways, including opportunities to explore tertiary settings and engage in enjoyable activities, also in the city of Melbourne. We wish each year level all the very best and I extend thanks and appreciation to staff for the many hours of preparation which have gone into each of these significant learning experiences for students.
A number of years ago, ABC journalist Caroline Jones wrote the following words about the significance of Easter:
At this time, millions of Christians will enter into the 2000 year history of Jesus Christ, man of love, nailed to the cross, dead, buried and amazingly risen to life. The cross is placed as a template of meaning on the many small ‘deaths’, the crises and disappointments of human life, it offers a way out of despair to hope. Of every bewilderment, the Christan can ask, not the defeating ‘why’, but instead the hopeful: ‘Where in this pain is the seed of life?’
We wish all families a blessed Easter of peace and joy.
It’s difficult to believe that we are drawing to the end of Term 1. We are blessed to be moving into holidays (holy days) that will enable us to reflect upon our life of faith, hope and love across these past months.
This term our College Community has supported Catholic welfare, aid and development agencies, including Caritas Australia, Vinnies and the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project. In the coming days Year 12 students will participate in their annual three-day retreat at Pallotti College in the beautiful Yarra Ranges, Years 10 and 11 students will tap into our College Theme Be Possibility, Year 9 students will undertake Siena in the City, with Year 7 and 8 students embracing the beauty of God’s creation at their respective camps.
Our personal life of faith and the mission of the College integrates our head, heart and hands; we have offered hospitality, sought and received forgiveness and recognised God’s hand at work in our lives through the daily practices of our Dominican education. I hope and trust that all members of the Siena Community can reflect back over the term through God’s eyes and heart.
Palm Sunday: Internationally people around the word march on Palm Sunday to advocate for peace and justice for all. For Christians it is a reminder that Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem only to be shunned and crucified a few days later. Members of the Siena College community will gather on Sunday, 28 March to acknowledge and support those seeking asylum in Australia.
Triduum: The holiest days of our Church’s calendar occur at the end of the final week of this term - please check your Parish Bulletin or website for details.
Interviews are now complete! A warm thank you to everyone for your participation and consideration during these events. For those of you who, due to specific circumstances, emailed a subject teacher to request a conversation outside of the interview dates, we will endeavour to facilitate these conversations within the first two weeks of Term 2. Activities Week commences on Monday and most teaching staff will be supporting and accompanying students on a wide variety of activities and will therefore be unavailable during the school day. Next week we will invite parent feedback via a survey available through News Digest. All comments will assist to inform our approach to Term 3 Parent Teacher Interviews.
Next week promises to be a wonderfully fun-filled week of myriad educational adventures as students are invited to ‘See the Possibilities!’. The weather is looking spectacular with a few days in the high twenties – don’t forget the sunscreen!
Year 7 and Year 8 students will head off to camp, and we look forward to hearing about their learning experiences through the many activities on offer during the camps. No doubt, they will have much to share upon their return.
Year 9 students will participate in an Arts and Technology focussed discovery of Melbourne City, ‘Siena in the Interconnected City’. The program offers enrichment of student understanding in the Arts and Technology subjects through carefully selected city experiences. Students will reflect upon these experiences as a source of inspiration to explore ideas, technologies, sustainability, and community, through the lens of ‘Be Possibility’, as the basis of a Term 2 unit of work within their Arts and Technology elective. The culmination of the students’ engagement will be displayed in the SITC Showcase, on June 1.
Year 10 and Year 11 Students have the opportunity to engage with a variety of activities offering further development of study skills, careers profiling, engagement with alumnae, body image workshop, leadership workshop, first aid workshop, and university tours, culminating with Melbourne City experiences on Thursday. With the range of experiences, the week offers many opportunities to further all aspects of student development.
Year 12 Students have the opportunity to reflect upon their learnings of Term 1 and to further connect with our College theme, ‘Be Possibility” during their retreat.
Students studying a VCE Unit 3 and 4 subject will sit the compulsory VCAA GAT (General Achievement Test) on 9 June, between 10.15am – 1.00pm. Please note there will be no Year 11 or 12 classes on this day.
Year 9, 10 and 11 students will undertake Semester Examinations in June. The Year 9 to 11 Semester 1 examinations will commence on 11 June and conclude on 18 June.
The Siena ‘S’ date is the final date for unit assessment for each year level.
• Year 7 and Year 8 ‘S’ date is 11 June
• Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 ‘S’ date is 4 June
• Year 12 Unit 3 ‘S’ date is 18 June
The Term holidays are a great opportunity for our students to relax and be reinvigorated. We expect that the Years 10 to 12 students will dedicate some of the holiday period to completing set work, preparing for Term 2 topics and revising for their Semester Examinations. Year 7–9 students will not have any set home learning over the holidays, but we do encourage them to continue with their wider reading.
I wish our students, parents and guardians a well-deserved break and a joyful Easter.
Most teenagers are heavily invested in their social media platforms, with the pressure to be available 24/7 a very real challenge for many. This dependence can however come at a heavy cost, causing anxiety, envy and lowered self-esteem. Additionally, critical communications skills are not given the chance to develop with many teens opting to look at a screen rather than another person. Texting and communicating online means that body language, facial expressions and vocal reactions are rendered invisible.
For these reasons and many others, our mobile phone policy at Siena is strictly enforced and we are committed to encouraging "real-time" interactions as a counterpoint in today's tech-obsessed world. Providing opportunities for meaningful face to face connections is so important. Allowing constant access to phones also leads to poor choices about being in or posting photos, especially from school. Your support in talking to your daughter about this is greatly appreciated.
Once information makes its way online it can be difficult to remove. Images and words can be misinterpreted and altered as they are easily and quickly shared around. Privacy settings on social media sites need to be managed in order to protect your child’s digital reputation.
Parents of junior students are asked to check that your daughter does not have any inappropriate apps on her device as this would not only be in breach of the ICT Policy, but may be placing her at risk. No student under 13 years of age should have Instagram, etc. on her school device. Your support in this matter would be greatly appreciated. The apps below are just a small selection of many available which disguise their true intent.
Following the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, we are taking the opportunity to share information with our students about cyber safety and bullying and help them better understand what bullying looks like and how to seek help if bullying occurs, online or at school.
We encourage parents to initiate or continue conversations with their daughters about these issues, even if they don’t believe that their daughters are experiencing bullying. It is important for young people to understand what bullying is, so that they know what to do if it happens to them.
We recommend this helpful resource for initiating conversations around bullying with children and young people.
Please also encourage your daughters to reach out to their Head of House or teachers if they are experiencing issues of bullying.
Term 1 has been a busy term with over four hundred girls participating in an array of sports including Indoor Cricket, Tennis, Softball, Triathlon, Swimming and Diving.
Both junior and senior indoor cricketers have again had great success, remaining undefeated all season. The girls are looking forward to finals week next week and are hoping to progress through to the Grand Final.
Our swimmers have made excellent improvement across the term, with the intermediate swimmers finishing first in the Division 2 GSV Championship Carnival at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Surrey Park Swimming Club and coach Julie-Anne.
Our senior divers again blew the competition away at the Division 2 GSV Championship Carnival finishing first against the other schools and placing in the top three in all grades.
Our Triathlon girls had a very early start last weekend for the GSV Triathlon at Altona Beach. All the girls raced beautifully, and Siena spirit was on full display all morning. The girls competed in teams of three, each taking a leg of the race.
Thank you to all staff and coaches for your help and support this term, it does not go unnoticed.
Next term we are looking forward to Netball, Hockey, Cross Country and AFL. We are excited to continue our partnership with the St Kilda AFLW team who will be coaching our girls for the season.
If you have any questions please feel free to email email@example.com. All information regarding sport each week can be found on the Siena Central Sport page.
Students in Year 7 and members of the Eco Warriors have been learning about chocolate. Specifically, about the Cocoa industry in West Africa and the use of child labour by some major producers of chocolate.
The majority of cocoa farmers in West Africa work on small farms. Many children and adults must work to harvest cocoa for global consumption. Often families live in poverty and children must work to help support their family. Typically adult farmers are paid poorly for the cocoa they harvest, further compounding the issue. In other cases, children are trafficked and forced to harvest cocoa. Children as young as six years old work on cocoa farms under extremely hazardous conditions. Their work includes carrying heavy loads, using machetes to clear land and inhaling harmful pesticides. Labouring in extreme heat is also common in West African countries, where midday temperatures can average 30-35 degrees throughout the year and the tropical climate means high humidity and a torrential wet season.
Child labour is any kind of work that deprives a child of their childhood, their potential and dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development. It may include work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; that interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; causes them to leave school prematurely or requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
As consumers, we have the power to make choices about the companies we will support. In this case, will we choose to support brands associated with the child labour industry or opt for brands which we know are working towards fair trade conditions for their workers? Ethical certification schemes such as Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified help ensure a better deal for farmers and better conditions for workers through minimum labour, pricing and production standards. When a company sources from certified farms and maintains the appropriate environmental, social and economic standards, it may display the ethical certification logo on the package of the cocoa product.
As a result of consumer demand, there is an increasing presence of ethically certified goods in Australia. However, this is still limited to only a handful of chocolate bars from leading chocolate companies which are made from ethical cocoa. Around 95 percent of global cocoa supplies still remain uncertified against the use of forced, child and trafficked labour.
2021 is the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. All members of the Siena Community are invited to help make this goal possible by examining their consumer choices and opting for brands that maintain the dignity and protect the rights of all people.
For more information:
Next week we have an amazing array of activities that will encourage Siena students in Years 10 and 11 to “See Possibility Everywhere.”
On Tuesday students will complete the Morrisby profile, a comprehensive Career Assessment that will help students identify their strengths and abilities, opening doors to future subject and career choices.
Barry Darnell from Career Analysts will unpack Morrisby and explain what the results mean at the Morrisby Parent Webinar on Tuesday evening at 6.00pm. Parents of students in Years 10 and 11 will be able to log in to the webinar and ask questions via the Q and A.
Next Wednesday, students in Years 10 and 11 will be able to listen to the career stories of some notable Siena alumnae as well as pick up some new skills in the workshops provided. These include a Leadership workshop, IT and engineering skills workshop, modified first aid, money management and resume writing.
Thursday’s activities give students a taste of what lies ahead in tertiary education interspersed with some fun. Year 11 students will visit the University of Melbourne, RMIT and Hard Rock (Rock Climbing)and Year 10 students will be Racing around the City and attending a presentation and tour at the Australian Catholic University.
In this week’s Siena Career News you will find:
Earlier this term, all Year 7 students participated in a Chess incursion, conducted by ‘Dark Horse Chess’. Students were introduced to the game of chess and enjoyed the activities presented on each day.
A few student reflections are below
I really enjoyed the chess incursion. I learnt a lot about castling and learnt a few smart moves I never knew. I had lots of fun playing with my partner who was just as competitive as I was. One of the tutors taught us how to play different games with the chess pieces. I enjoyed it so much my friends and I all joined the chess club. Overall, I had a great time.
The Year 7 Chess Incursion was a really good experience especially if you don’t know much about chess. I have never played chess before and I loved learning about the different ways you can move.
In the Chess Incursion I learnt lots of tactics and I now have more knowledge of the game. I never really liked chess and I thought it was a bit boring but now after the incursion I have seen a new side of chess. It is a fun game to play against your friends and it doesn’t matter how much skill you have.
As a follow on from this introductory activity, students may join Chess Club which is available for beginners and experienced players. Chess Club is held every Tuesday lunchtime in the Hall with coaching provided by ‘Dark Horse Chess’.
Home Learning Club (HLC) will commence in Term 2, 2021. It will run on Wednesday afternoons from 3.17pm to 4.15 pm in Room J103, near the Resource Centre. Home Learning Club provides students with the opportunity to work in a quiet, friendly study environment where assistance with work may be given by Learning Diversity staff. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) are now open. If you hold a valid Health Care Card (HCC), Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) or are a temporary foster parent and are a first-time applicant you may be eligible for a $1,000 fee discount.
If you believe you are eligible, please fill out and return the CSEF Application Form before 25 June, 2021.
If you applied for the CSEF in 2020 at Siena College, you do not need to complete an application form in 2021 unless there has been a change in your family circumstances.