Of the many words of farewell spoken this week, perhaps the most moving were those spoken by Year 12 students themselves. It was a privilege to hear students talk of their love of Siena and their gratitude for the gift of a Siena education. Their words were filled with heartfelt pride and affection for their teachers, their peers, their place. Many favourite and funny memories too!
We wish the graduating Class of 2020 every blessing as they move beyond our gates and into the world. We do so with pride and affection. In this most memorable year for them, they have demonstrated such solidarity, grit and grace. Their next chapter, and ultimately their gifts to the world will no doubt be strengthened by these qualities. So too have they been strengthened by the sustained endeavours to pursue excellence in their studies and by the steadfast support of staff, family, our faith and community. Go well, great women of Siena!
To live out your most precious dreams, to blossom into the best possible version of yourself, to grow into your full power, to find your own voice and to use it, that is the purpose of your life, the reason you were created. In the end, that is what good teaching, good parenting, good friendship, good religion and good art are about – to convince you of the beauty of your one wild and precious life, how to make it flourish and how to share life with all. To be fully alive is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and to the universe. Don’t ask what you or the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because, what the world needs most now, is people who have come alive.” Fr Daniel O’Leary
Last week's Visual Arts and Technology Exhibition showcased some outstanding work from our VCE students, testament to their dedication and hard work throughout such a disrupted year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we utilised ArtSteps, a virtual and interactive gallery space, enabling visitors to "walk through" the exhibition and view artwork by our Year 11 and 12 Arts and Technology students.
With well over a thousand views already, I encourage our community to take the time to wander through this virtual space by clicking here.
The worthy winner of the Principal's Award was Isobel Osboldstone whose three large scale canvases reflected different life stages and the ageing process of individuals. Alessia Tyson won the People's Choice Award with her installation explored the experience of individuals during lockdown with each bubble, butterfly and flower representing friends forced to keep their distance.
In this newsletter, I wish to advise of a number of staff departures at the end of the academic year. Each member of staff has made a wonderful contribution to Siena, touching the lives of students and staff. We thank them and wish them every success and happiness in their next chapter.
Maree Cody, 2008-2020
Maree will depart the College after thirteen years of outstanding service as Head of Student Wellbeing – Kurrajong and a Chemistry teacher.
Jill Foley (Head of Student Wellbeing – Waratah), 2017-2020
Marissa Joyce – (Head of English), 2018-2020
Ben Nieuwkerk – Music teacher, 2016-2020
Riley Khan – AFL Trainee for 2020
We also farewell Louise D’Angelo as she prepares to take a period of parental leave. We wish Louise and her husband Nicholas all the very best as they await the arrival of their first child. We also extend our thanks to Louise for her great work as Acting Head of Student Wellbeing – Dianella House for the first three terms of this year, alongside her teaching role. Best wishes Louise.
Last night we gathered online as a Siena community to celebrate this rite of passage for our Year 12 students. Our tradition was honoured in word, image, music and song - rich in the symbolism of light, embodying the gift that these young women have been for our college.
We mark the Solemnity of All Saints (All Hallows) on the first day of November; the evening before this day is known as Halloween.
Before commercialism hijacked this beautiful commemoration, many cultures remembered their dead around this time – it is felt to be when the veil between heaven and earth is at its most fine.
One of the obligations of Christians is to pray for the dead; it is also an important part of the Dominican spiritual tradition, honouring those who have gone before us.
A Peruvian Dominican saint, Martin is the patron of social justice and racial harmony. Read more about him here.
Graduating from secondary school is a significant rite of passage for students and their parents, guardians, carers and families. The Graduating Class of 2020 has experienced a year like no other and their resilience at overcoming adversity and not losing sight of their goals is testament to their character. Our students were farewelled beautifully at House Assemblies on Tuesday. On Thursday, they celebrated a lovely outdoor breakfast together and in line with their chosen theme "Childhood Memories" enjoyed many games and activities. The College Assembly, although presented differently this year, was marked by traditional rituals as our 2020 College Captains handed the reins to their 2021 counterparts. There was great camaraderie between students which is a particular hallmark of leaders at Siena College.
The College Graduation Liturgy and Ceremony was pre-recorded this year and it was such a beautiful and meaningful service; a culmination of their years at Siena and it reminded the Class of 2020 that they will forever be members of the Siena community.
In 2015 when these students began their journey at Siena, many were only twelve years old and they were probably all singing along to “Hello” by Adele. This is particularly poignant as they never failed to greet each other warmly as they logged on this year during long stretches of remote learning. These graduates are indeed a unique group of students who are supportive of one another and are committed to their individual goals. Among them we have great thinkers, writers, speakers, artists, actors, sportswomen and performers. We wish the graduates of 2020 every success in their upcoming exams and for all the wonderful opportunities that await them, and thank their parents, guardians and carers for their support of them and of us, their teachers. We know that they will grasp life with both hands and make a difference in our world as strong Dominican women.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
(St. Catherine of Siena)
We were thrilled to welcome back our remaining students onsite this week and it has been wonderful to see them reconnecting with their friends and teachers. They have shown such remarkable resilience and courage and we are here to support them in any way required as they continue the transition to face to face learning.
On Monday, 26 October the Music Department hosted a virtual music concert featuring fifteen Siena ensembles. It was undertaken in true Siena spirit with students capturing their ensembles performances at home and then packaged together by staff for the performance. The Soiree featured Wind Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Stage Band, Sisters of Swing, Groove Train, Guitar Ensemble, Senior Strings, St Cecilia Strings, Folkus, Clarinet Choir, Junior Clarinet ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Canti Dolci and Senior Choir. Sincere thanks to all students and staff who have attended online rehearsals throughout the year, worked hard on their pieces remotely and stayed connected throughout the lockdown.
Every year we celebrate the Year 7 cohort's achievements at the ‘Rising Stars’ concert and this year the virtual concert will be held on 5 November. Year 7 students will perform in small groups, duets, trios, solos and the Junior ensembles will also be featured. All instruments will be represented and students are excited to share with their families and friends what they have achieved this year. This concert is usually a favourite amongst the Siena Community, so I encourage everyone to attend. Year 7 families can attend through their daughter’s Microsoft Teams account or please contact the music department.
This week we farewelled our Year 12 Musicians, acknowledging their achievements, commitment and talents while at Siena. We went down ‘memory lane’ and reminisced together on concerts, tours, rehearsals, music camps, workshops, Masses, competitions, musicals and plans to continuing playing music next year. Siena’s Music staff send a musical salute or fanfare to our Year 12 musicians, they will be missed.
During remote learning, many instrumental students took part in a series of online Soirees, including the vocal, double reed, brass, woodwind and the Spring Soiree Showcase. We had students from Year 7 through to Year 12 performing a wide range of repertoire covering many styles of music. Many students performed pieces they have been working on for their upcoming VCE and AMEB music examinations and assessments. We wish all students well for their examinations this term and congratulate them on their performances at the soirees.
2020 has reminded us that sometimes it is not only desirable but in fact necessary to escape from the real world and enter into a world of imagination. The theme for the CBCA Book Week this year celebrated creative benefits to be gained from reading. Books arouse and feed our curiosity, challenge our minds to create and imagine another world, time and place. They inspire us, provoke us, challenge us, entertain us, transport us.
Our 2020 Book Week activities ensured that all students, whether on site or learning remotely, could participate. Students were invited to participate in daily challenges and digitally submit their entries for judging. Learning Centre staff were encouraged by the volume of entries and impressed by the creativity of our students.
Activities included a Scavenger Hunt, where students had to locate books at home to fit a specific criteria, the creation of a scene from a book using a medium of the student’s choice, redesigning the front cover of a book and, to create a feeling of nostalgia, a dress up! Special mention goes to Isabella Petrone (Year 9) for completing each of the four daily tasks and to Year 9 students Yasmin Fitzgerald, Isabella Petrone, Abbie Brownless and Shearne Davis for their creativity and collaboration with their dress up entries.
Winners in each category were awarded a $30 Readings voucher, with runners up receiving a $10 voucher.
“May the people of the ages ahead smile back to our rescue of their Earth our Earth. For we are them and they are us and their happiness is the truest measure of our own” Bob Brown
During Phase Two of remote learning, the Eco Warriors committed to learning and teaching about sustainability and ethical consumption. In our weekly Tuesday meetings we explored our learning and discoveries of the week and made plans for sharing this with the Siena Community. Last week, we were very proud to launch Issue 1 of Sustainable Sisterhood, a magazine researched and written by the Siena Eco Warriors for the Siena Community. The aim of Sustainable Sisterhood is to “bring information and guidance about how you can make a positive impact on the environment and the world’s people through the choices you make when you purchase”. Each publication will include DIY projects, product reviews and recommendations, interviews and information about environmental and ethical issues.
The publication can be accessed via Siena Central https://sienacentral.siena.vic.edu.au/send.php?id=90809
Look out for Issue 2 to be published in time for Christmas!
You might have noticed, or even watched as a family the new Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma', which explores how social media companies have been developed to influence the way individuals think, read and engage with one another. It showcases the use of algorithms and data analysis in the creation of these platforms and discusses the often alarming impact social media can have on our own mental health.
At Siena College we are committed to educating students about the importance of online safety. The Victorian Curriculum places particular emphasis on developing a student’s ability the recognise the need for cyber-safety when using online information systems, for example recognising that shared personal information can be used for undesirable purposes and that using a password is a means of protecting identity. This is discussed at various points in each student’s learning journey and is complemented by resources within the Wellbeing program that assist students in understanding the impact that social media can have on their mental health.
Whilst social media can play an important role in keeping communities connected, it is important that students understand the harm it can do if not accessed with understanding, and in a measured way.
As parents, there is much information available to you to help your daughters understand their digital footprint. These may also assist you in your navigation and management of your daughters use of social media. Some links you may find useful are:
In this edition of Siena Career News you will find:
If you have a current Grade 5 daughter who will be attending Siena College in Year 7 2022, please be advised we are currently moving forward with enrolments.
Enrolment Applications and supporting documents can be submitted online via our website https://www.siena.vic.edu.au/enrolment/enrolment-procedure
Any further enquires please contact Tracey Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org