Principal's Report

We have high expectations of our young people and, why not!

High Expectations

We have high expectations of our young people and, why not! Why would we want to settle for mediocrity? Ms Jen Howard, Director of Students, has asked the staff to impress upon our young people that their appearance matters, and that they need to show that they are proud of their school in the way that they wear uniform. We are also reinforcing that phones and air pods must be always out of sight at school so that students can focus fully on the teacher and the other people around them. Learning improves when we minimise distraction. Like many things in life, if we get the small things right, the big things tend to follow. I know that we have your support and appreciate you reinforcing your high expectations as well.

Understanding Our Pastoral Chain

Each of our students is supported by a pastoral chain and, as we start a new year, it is timely to discuss the make-up of this team and their role. As is often the case, some etymology of the term “pastoral” helps in describing the role. Pastoral relates to the land and, more specifically, to the grazing of animals. In scripture, there are many references to shepherds minding their flocks and the role of the shepherd was to keep their sheep safe from harm, find them nourishment and to ensure that they did not stray. Jesus calls himself The Good Shepherd in John’s gospel.

Our pastoral chains are comprised of:

Classroom Teacher → Pastoral Care Teacher (20-25 students) → Year Level Leader (60-100 students) → Director of Students (Jen Howard) → Deputy Principal (Shaun Lancashire).

Each level supports the one below and acts as a point of escalation when appropriate. Our Behavioural Tracking system notifies those in the pastoral chain automatically when a concern is lodged. It is important that you bring any wellbeing concerns to the attention of the Pastoral Care Teacher as soon as they become apparent as early intervention is important to good outcomes.

Teacher shortage

We are experiencing a period of teacher shortage across Australia and, unfortunately, St Mary’s has not been immune from this issue this year. The challenge of finding teachers, which is even greater as you move out of metropolitan areas, is a topic of discussion in many forums at present and has been acknowledged as a priority by Education Minister, Hon Jason Clare. Research presented by AITSL at a recent principal’s forum indicates that with a median entry age of 27 years and a completion rate of just 54%, teachers are not emerging from our universities at anywhere near the rate required to meet a growing demand and an ageing workforce. In the short term, we are going to need to look towards immigration and encouraging those who have left the teaching profession to return. In the longer term, we need to do better at promoting teaching to our school graduates as a career that is rewarding. Your support as parents and caregivers in having such conversations with our young people is crucial.

Funding for schools

National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) Executive Director, Ms Jacinta Collins, has called upon commentators to stop “distorting the facts” in a recent media release. The reality is that most Catholic schools are low fee and parents / caregivers make significant sacrifices to send their children to a school that supports their values. Our schools are subsidised by government to try and ensure that that they remain affordable. The rhetoric that this money is redirected away from public

education, and we are, therefore, responsible for under-funding of public education deserves to be challenged. Acting Executive Director of the Victorian Catholic Education Authority (VCEA), Mr Bruce Phillips, adds: “Hardworking families that choose a Catholic education for their child make an incredible contribution to the Victorian education system through both the schools fees and the taxes that they pay, while at the same time their children receive significantly less government funding compared to government schools,” in this recent media release.

Darren Atkinson
College Principal

Director of Identity Report - Lent

We are currently in the season of Lent.


We are currently in the season of Lent. Lent is one of the five seasons of the Catholic liturgical calendar, along with Advent, Christmas, Easter, and Ordinary Time.

During Lent we are called to focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving/charity. Many of us would be familiar with abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, or the oft asked, what are you giving up for Lent question. I began Lent giving up my morning coffee, I have failed already! So, I have been exploring the plethora of online resources to accompany me this Lent.

During Lent, the College focuses on Caritas. We support them with advocacy and a range of fund-raising activities during the term. Almsgiving reminds us of Jesus’ call to serve (For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve ….Mark 10: 45) and to stand in solidarity (1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ) with those in our world who are most in need.

If you are looking to engage with prayer this Lent, I have been using the resources below. From inspiring music to Gospel reflections and prayers, they are most useful.

For prayer, mediation and music try-




Kate Johnston
Director of Identity

Director of Students Report

Year 8 - Male Mentor Night

The College recently hosted a tremendously successful Male Mentor Night, aimed at fostering positive relationships and guidance for our Year 8 students. Personally invited by our Year 8 students, the event brought together accomplished professionals, alumni, and community members who generously volunteered their time to assist with the event or serve as mentors. Through engaging activities, workshops, and discussions, the mentors provided invaluable insights, advice, and encouragement to the Year 8 they accompanied, emphasising the importance of education, personal development, and setting goals. The atmosphere was vibrant and supportive, with mentorship sessions tailored to address connection and create bonds between mentors and mentees. The event not only empowered the Year 8 students but also strengthened the sense of community within St. Mary's College, leaving a lasting impact on both mentors and mentees alike.

Unwell Students

Parents play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy school environment by keeping unwell students at home. This not only prevents the spread of illness but also allows children the necessary time to recover fully. If you child is unwell, please keep them at home. This proactive approach ensures that students can return to school when they are fully recovered, better enabling them to engage in learning activities. If students are going to be absent for an extended period of time, please contact your child’s Pastoral Care Teacher to assist in obtaining work.

If your child is unwell at school, they should report to their teacher who can assist them in reaching reception. The campus receptionist can call home on their behalf. It's important that students do not use their mobile phones to contact parents directly.

Similarly, in case of an emergency involving their child, parents should promptly contact the school through designated emergency numbers. This enables us to support your child, pass on a message or collect them from class if necessary. Again, mobile phones should not be used to contact your child during school hours.

Students out of class (including toilets)

‘Students are required to be in class on time, prepared, and ready to learn’.

At St Mary’s College the wellbeing and safety of our students is our highest priority. During school hours, students are our responsibility. While in our care, the College expects that students do not leave the classroom or the school grounds without permission.

To minimise disruptions and give all students the best opportunity to learn, students are expected to arrive to class on time prepared and ready to learn, bring all required equipment and materials to class and not to leave the classroom to visit lockers for forgotten equipment and materials. Students should also fill drink bottles with water during breaks and bring these to class if required. If your child requires assistance with organisation, please speak with their Pastoral Care Teacher for support.

For use of toilet facilities, students are encouraged to use these during scheduled breaks when facilities are supervised by a staff. However, if a student require use of the toilets during lessons, they must speak with their teacher who can issue a class pass. Medical emergencies are the exception in this case.

Jen Howard
Director of Students

Director of Learning and Teaching Report

Our school community is alive with energy and a strong commitment to learning.

Our school community is alive with energy and a strong commitment to learning.

As we move forward into the new academic year, our school community is alive with energy and a strong commitment to learning. It's been wonderful to see the enthusiasm from our students, both newcomers and those returning, as they dive into their studies. Our teaching staff, a mix of returning educators and new members, brings a wealth of knowledge and innovative approaches to the classroom, fostering a dynamic learning environment.

We are thrilled to announce the cast for our upcoming musical, "Little Shop of Horrors." The auditions highlighted the incredible talent within our student body, and we are eagerly anticipating a performance that promises to be a memorable event for our college. Meanwhile outstanding achievement in Sports have been seen by girls and boys who have been representing the college with pride in the CGSAV and ACC competitions.

Our commitment to academic excellence continues with the Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT) for Year 7 students recently completed, providing us with insights to support their learning journey. Moreover, March will mark an important period for our Year 7 and 9 students as they prepare for the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. These assessments are a crucial step in our academic calendar, and we are committed to ensuring our students are well-prepared and confident.

This year has also seen a promising start from our VCE students. As they embark on this significant phase of their educational journey, we wish them all the best and are confident in their ability to achieve great outcomes.

At St. Mary's College, we hold high expectations for all our learners, grounded in the belief that taking pride in the small things can lead to the fulfillment of big aspirations. Whether it's in the classroom, on the sporting field, or on stage, we encourage our students to believe in themselves and their potential.

Next week, we will be hosting our academic awards ceremony, a celebration of the dedication and hard work of our students and teachers. This event is a testament to the exceptional academic talent within our community and a great opportunity to recognise some incredible achievements.

We look forward to continuing this journey together, creating a learning environment where every student can thrive and achieve their best.

Warm regards,

Daniel Di Lisio
Director of Learning and Teaching

Prefect Family Night

A wonderful opportunity to extend a warm welcome.

A wonderful opportunity to extend a warm welcome.

The St Mary's College Prefect Family Evening unfolded as a tremendous success, creating a heartwarming atmosphere of connection and inspiration. The event provided us with a wonderful opportunity to extend a warm welcome to our esteemed College Prefects and their families.

Amidst the joyous occasion, we were privileged to hear insightful words from our dynamic College Captains MacKenzie Prentice Evans and Geremy Baxas along with our esteemed Principal, Mr. Darren Atkinson. Their visions for the future of St Mary's College resonated deeply, setting the tone for an exciting academic year.

A special highlight of the evening was the presence of our valued current parent, Mr. Steven Baxas, who shared invaluable perspectives and experiences. His contributions enriched the event, emphasizing the importance of community collaboration and support.

As we reflect on the Prefect Family Evening, we are reminded of the strength and unity that define St Mary's College. The connections forged during this event will undoubtedly contribute to a thriving and supportive school community.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the success of this special evening. 

David Formosa
Director of Development

Little Shop of Horrors - Cast Announcement

Unveiling the Stars: Cast Announcement for "Little Shop of Horrors" Production!

Excitement is building as we unveil the stellar cast for our upcoming production of "Little Shop of Horrors"!  After an impressive round of auditions, we're thrilled to introduce the talented individuals who will bring this iconic musical to life on the St Mary's stage.

Seymour Krelborne - Geremy Baxas (Yr 12)

Audrey - Tabitha Catalan (Yr 12)

Audrey II (Voice) - James Cappola. (Yr 10)

Audrey II (Puppeteer) - Tomasz Tamowicz (Yr 11)

Mr. Mushnik - Noah Douglas. (Yr 12)

Orin Scrivello - Thomas Lauder (Yr 11)

Ronnette - Allanah Hager (Yr 12)

Chiffon - Maddy Gournas (Yr 11)

Crystal - Charity Nzenza (Yr 9)

Patrick Martin - Alexander De Jong (Yr 12)

Radio Announcer - Tomasz Tamowicz (Yr 11)

Mr. Bernstein - Will Douglas (Yr 10)

Luce Slips - Audrey Gueverra (Yr 12)

Skip Snip - Ted McMahon (Yr 10)

Curious Customer - Eli Mutyambizi (Yr 10)

Rose - Alison Rae (Yr 10)

Lily - Maya Taifernopoulos (Yr 10)

Brad - Callum Woods (Yr 11)

Brendan Tollit
Drama Co-ordinator 

Director of Sport Report

Celebrating the Spirit of Sportsmanship and Perseverance at St Mary's College

Over the past few weeks, our college community has been actively engaged in various ACC & CGSAV sporting events, showcasing the incredible talents and determination of our students. While securing first-place finishes eluded us this time, the true victory lies in the effort and persistence demonstrated by each student during their matches and events.

CGSAV Triathlon 

Our athletes participated in the CGSAV Triathlon, demonstrating remarkable endurance and determination. Although the podium remained just out of reach, the perseverance exhibited throughout the race was truly commendable. A round of applause for Charli Potts, Agatha Mathieson, Monique Panozzo, Stella Ligudzinski, and Jessica Maya for their outstanding efforts.

Senior ACC Volleyball 

In the Senior ACC Volleyball tournament, our team faced formidable opponents, showcasing exceptional teamwork, skill, and sportsmanship on the court. Despite the outcomes, their positive attitude throughout the tournament epitomised the true spirit of competitive sports.

Tennis Tournament 

At the recent Tennis games, our players exhibited their talent and passion for the game. Despite facing tough competition, they displayed exceptional skill and sportsmanship on the courts. Every match played reflected the pride our students take in representing the College.

While victory may not have been in our favor in these events, let's celebrate the invaluable lessons learned through sports participation. The resilience, teamwork, and sportsmanship demonstrated by our athletes serve as a testament to their character and the enduring values instilled in them through their athletic endeavors.

In the spirit of continuous improvement and growth, we look forward to the upcoming opportunities and challenges on the sports horizon, confident that each experience contributes to the holistic development of our students.

Here's to the unwavering spirit of our student-athletes and the positive impact they bring to the St Mary's College community!

Dean Bird
Director of Sport

Schools Surf Carnival

Schools Surf Carnival Torquay

Outstanding Effort in Torquay

St Mary's College proudly made a splash at the Schools Surf Carnival held in Torquay. 12 schools in total were represented at this event. 

Our amazing students showcased outstanding talent and teamwork, securing a fantastic 3rd place after the thrilling water events.

Huge congratulations to all the students who represented us with skill, determination, and a true sense of sportsmanship. Your efforts and achievements continue to make us proud!

St Mary's College Representatives

Harry Charlesworth Year 12 (Captain) - 1st in Swim, 1st in Team Aquacam (wade/swim/board/run), 1st in Board, 2nd in Flags, 1st in Wade Relay

Joe Charlesworth Year 10 - 2nd in Swim, 2nd in Board, 4th in Flags

Noah Chapple Year 9 - 1st in Swim, 1st in Team Aquacam (wade/swim/board/run), 2nd in Board, 1st in Wade Relay, 4th in Flags

Maverick Yin Year 9 - 1st in Wade Relay, 5th in Flags, 7th in Team Aquacam (wade/swim/board/run)

Alex Dalby Year 9 - 1st in Team Aquacam (wade/swim/board/run), 8th in Wade Relay

Finn McNamara 9 - 8th in Wade Relay, 7th in Team Aquacam (wade/swim/board/run)

David Formosa
Director of Development

Academic Scholarship Exam

Academic Scholarship

Book your seat on Saturday, March 16, 2024, for the St Mary's College Academic Scholarship Exam! 

Discover an opportunity to showcase your academic excellence and be part of our vibrant and distinguished community. 

Secure your spot and take the first step toward a future of educational excellence at St Mary's College!

David Formosa
Director of Development

Uniform Shop Open

Uniform Shops Open this Weekend

Fortnight in Photos

Remembering with Images