We are each other’s harvest:
we are each other’s business
we are each other’s magnitude and bond.
Last week the Catholic Secondary Principals’ Association listened to a webinar by leading psychologist Dr Aimee Maxwell. Dr Maxwell offered participants some space to consider this extraordinary term under three categories: Common Challenges, Common Graces and Common Inspirations. No doubt everyone in the Siena community has given consideration to the learnings, the blessings and the new opportunities arising from these extraordinary times. Whilst each of us will have our own experience, none of us has escaped some impact on our life. Thus, we are bound by the word ‘common’. This common element has brought us to a heightened experience of each other; our relationships, our interdependence, of those in greatest need.
This year, Dominican Education Australia has taken as its theme, this commonality we share. The words spoken by St Catherine of Siena speak to this understanding of our shared humanity and beneficence.
Keep in mind that each of you has your own vineyard, but this is joined to your neighbour’s vineyard without any dividing lines, so that you cannot do good or evil for yourself without doing the same for your neighbours.
- Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena
The themes of shared humanity and the precious gift of life are themes we have also reflected on this week, both during Migrant and Refugee Week and in our shared reflections with Student Leaders. This week I was delighted to meet with our Student Representative Council (SRC) as they considered the many ways they maintained student connection and engagement in Term 2. By necessity, student leaders needed to think creatively to ensure that the student body maintained a sense of connection and motivation. We thank them for providing activities such as Tone Up Tuesday, House Assemblies, Kahoot Games and Art competitions and I encourage everyone to view this wonderful video Bridget Hoy (Year 12) has prepared, celebrating all that was achieved during remote learning.
The College community was saddened by the recent passing of John Davenport, Compton St resident and great friend of the Siena community. In April this year Mr Davenport celebrated his 99th birthday. The Davenport family have lived behind the College since the 1940s, providing valuable support to the sisters at the time. John's wife Eileen sadly passed away in 2008 after a long battle with breast cancer. Our sincere condolences to John's family including his children, Margaret (Class of 1971), Anne (Class of 1977), John and Paul.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him.
May John rest in peace.
Refugee Week: 14 -20 June
The theme of Refugee Week in 2020 is the Year of Welcome. As we are moving to a lifting of restrictions, it is important to keep our hearts open to people who have been left without family, without country and without support, and have come to seek protection. It is time to make this year a year of welcome, and this land a welcoming land. The need for Catholics to unite in care and outreach to people who seek protection is stronger than it has ever been.
Andrew Hamilton SJ
Catholic perspectives on people seeking asylum:
We reflect on this term…
Dominicans are itinerant – this means we’re always on the move, going to where we’re needed, looking for the place of greatest potential. Our move to flexible learning showed that we were open to exploring opportunities for connection in what was, for all of us, a new space.
Now that we’ve returned to Siena we continue to search for truth by responding to the area of greatest need…using our learnings from this important time to inform our decisions and renew our commitment to prayer, study, justice and community.
In our current context it’s important to remember that we live in gratitude and hope for the future, open to what ‘can be’.
Congratulations to the Years 9 to 11 students on the way that they have approached the Assessment Week. Assessments will be returned to students at the start of Term 3. Year 7, 8 and 12 students have also been working well to complete the term. All Year 7 to 12 results will be published on Siena Central by Friday, 26 June and Semester 1 reports will be available on Wednesday, 1 July.
Tuesday, 23 June is the final day for all students. Years 10 to 12 students are required to complete any set home learning during the holiday break. Years 7 to 9 students are encouraged to catch up on some reading.
Staff will participate in three staff professional learning days from Wednesday, 24 June to Friday, 26 June. Over this period, assessments will be marked, reports prepared and Semester 2 subject planning will take place.
Thank you to all the staff who have done an incredible job providing the best learning experience for our students during remote learning, and then adapting to the staggered return to school. We have been well supported by our support staff working tirelessly behind the scenes.
The 2021 subject selection process will commence in Term 3. As a result of COVID-19, we will run the subject selection process differently this year. Years 7 to 11 students will access the Heads of Learning subject presentations online during a Pastoral session and these will also be accessible for parents via Siena Central. Year 8 students will also receive a PDF version of the Year 9 Handbook, and Years 9 to 11 students will receive a PDF version of the Year 10 to 12 Handbook in Term 3, Week 1.
The Year 9 and 10 Senior Pathways evening will be a virtual event held on Thursday, 30 July from 6.00pm to 7.45 pm. Parents and students will be provided a link to enter Year 10 (2021) and Year 11 (2021) rooms, via Zoom. The purpose of the virtual evening will be to respond to any parent and student questions regarding subject choices. This will take place instead of the usual subject expo held at school.
Parents and students will be able to post questions prior to the evening and further information regarding this will be sent to parents early next term.
Students in Years 9 and 10 can apply for an accelerated study. The Unit 1 and 2 accelerated subjects are: Biology, Drama, Physical Education, Product Design and Technology and Psychology.
A Year 9 student must meet the following criteria:
The Unit 3 and 4 accelerated subjects are: Biology, Business Management, Drama, Further Mathematics, Geography, Physical Education, Product Design and Technology and Psychology.
A Year 10 student must meet the following criteria:
A high level of literacy is beneficial to a student studying an accelerated subject. A student who does not meet these criteria in Semester 1 may reapply at the end of Semester 2 but cannot be guaranteed a place.
How many times have we read the phrases “in these unprecedented times”, “in these unusual circumstances” and other similar expressions this term? It is absolutely true, of course. Who would have thought that after returning from the bushfires of the Christmas break that we would end Term 1 with a pandemic and commence Term 2 with remote learning?
There have certainly been hardships – personal, financial, health and wellbeing. When we look back on this period in our lives, I wonder what we will remember most? I think I will remember the phone calls and friendly voices, the relationships both personal and professional that sustained me. When I have asked students the same question, they have provided some of the most beautiful and honest responses, as young people often do. They have said that they loved their family time, cooking and eating together, that they discovered that they actually liked their siblings and they loved family movies and going for walks together. Isn’t it interesting that the simplest things in life are the ones that mattered most and brought out the best in us… They also said that realised how much they missed school!
Andrew Hamilton in a recent Eureka Street article said that “when considering the recovery from isolation we must look broadly at its effect on human beings and all the relationships that shape the quality of their lives.” Being blessed with loving relationships is not to be taken for granted, and hopefully the upcoming holidays will be a new opportunity for revisiting the simplest aspects of life that bring such joy.
In closing, I wish to thank and acknowledge the dedicated efforts of parents and your support of our work. The numerous conversations, emails and thank you messages have been testament to the strong partnership between home and school and our shared commitment to student wellbeing for learning. Also, I would also like to make mention of our Year 12 students, who are to be admired for their resilience and acceptance of all that has happened during their final year of school. They will always be remembered as a very special cohort in the history of Siena and we will do everything we can to make sure this year remains positive, memorable and significant for them.
This week during our first lunchtime soiree we enjoyed hearing students perform pieces they have been working on during our period of remote learning. Many of the students who performed are soon to complete AMEB exams and the standard of performance was very high. Well done girls!
Staff and students are excited that we will be resuming rehearsals for all ensembles from Term 3 on the regular rehearsal days. Please review the Term 3 rehearsal schedule. We have social distancing protocols to follow and the venues for rehearsals have been changed to accommodate social distancing. Stay tuned for announcements regarding concerts and performance opportunities!
In 1990 Nelson Mandela delivered a speech at Madison Park High School, Boston in which he urged the audience to see the importance of education to move hearts and minds and bring about change. It is here that Mandela first said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.
Recently, our world has been significantly impacted by the death of George Floyd in the United States of America and the resurgence of the #blacklivesmatter campaign. Globally, this movement has once again gained momentum, resulting in many Australians joining with others around the world, voicing their support for this cause and shining a shameful spotlight on the experiences of Indigenous Australians, especially in relation to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
For many of our students, the death of George Floyd has captured their attention as have the ongoing protests throughout the globe. As such, the Learning Centre has compiled a collection of books, both fiction and non-fiction which explore racial issues, be it here in Australia or in other places around the world.
One of the pillars of Dominican life is that of study and Dominicans pride themselves on responding to the signs of the times. As such, we urge our students to look over this selection of books, to borrow and to read. We will grow as a community when we learn about and listen to the variety of voices and experiences of people from cultures and traditions other than our own. This knowledge may equip us with the confidence that is required to speak up and challenge racist behaviour.
Polish up your times tables knowledge by entering the Times Tables Challenge in Classwork Home Learning Club on Wednesday afternoons after school until 4.15 pm. Times tables are the doorway to countless areas of Maths - from Fractions to Factorisation and everything in between. Using games and programs recommended by teachers in Siena’s Maths Faculty, Classwork Home Learning Club will provide coaching in this skill where the human mind infinitely surpasses the calculator. Incentives will be offered to those who achieve automaticity in their 1 – 12 times tables.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your attendance at CHLC Times Tables Challenge.
In this week’s edition of Siena Career News you will find information on Box Hill Institute’s Course Information Webinars, including the popular Allied Health Assistant and Veterinary Nursing courses.
- If you missed the recent “Meet Melbourne” Webinars explaining courses at the University of Melbourne, you can now listen to the recordings of these webinars
- Law at Swinburne University – what makes it different and what you didn’t know!
- A new scholarship at Swinburne University of Technology worth $40,000 for students of Bachelor of Accounting and Bachelor of Information Technology
- The latest news from Monash University, a new double degree bridging faculty for Arts and Business
- Information on a new government sponsored Digital Apprenticeship (for Year 12s)
- How to become a Diplomat (a question I am often asked!)
- Comparison of teaching degrees at Victorian universities
As we continue to transition back to some sort of normality, we understand that the current economic challenges may be adding pressure on the budget for some families.
To assist with your school fee payments, we are working with Edstart to provide Siena College families with flexible payment options to help you better manage school fees and other education expenses.
Edstart allows you to spread your fees into weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments, as well as reduce your total annual costs by extending payments beyond the current school year.
You can use Edstart to fund tuition fees and additional charges such as music fees and other extra-curricular activities.
To find out more and to apply, please visit Edstart’s dedicated website for Siena College families at www.edstart.com.au/siena
The College Hall has served the Siena community for nearly sixty years, but it almost didn’t survive its first decade. In 1967 one of the nuns woke early as a rosy glow filled her room. She drew back the curtains but rather than the beautiful sunrise she expected, she saw that the Hall was on fire. The nuns went out to tackle the blaze but quickly realised it was a job for the professionals. The Hall was almost destroyed and had to be rebuilt, delaying work on the Centenary Wing which was under construction at the time.
The photograph was featured in the newspaper story under the heading, “FIRE! But nun saved the rabbits.” The rabbits called Acto and Passo, whose hutch was next to the Hall, were rescued by one of the sisters and as we can see from the photo, emerged unscathed by the ordeal.
We welcome back Johanna Bonnici and Mark Smith who are both returning from extended leave.
We also say farewell to:
We sincerely thank them for their contribution to our community over these past months and wish them well.
As we continue the enrolment process for Year 7 (2022) students, we would like to remind any current families with daughters in Grade 5 to please ensure that you have submitted an enrolment form.
Applications and supporting documents can be submitted online via our website. Offers will be made in October of this year.
If you have any further enquires please contact Tracey Lawson at email@example.com