Parent Corner

01 August 2019
Issue Six
Quick Dates
Deputy Principal - Student Development
Year 7 Pastoral Guardian
Year 8 Pastoral Guardian
Year 9 Pastoral Guardian
Year 10 Pastoral Guardian
Year 11 Pastoral Guardian
Year 12 Pastoral Guardian
Counsellors' Corner
From the iCentre
La Cucina
Mount Alvernia College
07 3357 6000
82 Cremorne Road
Kedron, Qld, 4031

Quick Dates

Week 3/4, Term 3

Friday 2 August

Year 11 Spirituality Day

Year 12 QCS Immersion Day - Periods 1-4

UQ Athletics Meet


Sunday 4 August

9.45am  Nigawa students depart (from Padua)

Japanese Speech Competition (Griffith University)


Monday 5 August

FCIP Ensemble Photos

Period 2: Adolescent Aware Survey (Years 11 & 12)

4.00pm UHL Sport Quarter Final (Annerley FC)


Tuesday 6 August

Year 9 Camp commences

7.00pm  Francis School Subject Selection Information Evening (San Damiano Centre)


Wednesday 7 August

4.30pm  College Choir at Multi Faith Conference Mass (City Hall)


Thursday 8 August

Adolescent Success International Conference visit

1.30pm  Year 10 Immunisations

3.00pm  Year 10 English Extension activity - Romeo & Juliet (Assisi Room)

5.30pm  Franciscan Schools Conference Dinner (Rooftop Terrace)


Deputy Principal - Student Development

This week in Parent Corner, the Pastoral Guardians will provide you with special advice on what they see relevant to support your child at this time of the year.  You will receive the usual Conversation Starters so that you can also get some idea of what is going on for your daughter at Mount Alvernia.


Rather than give specific advice, I have decided to provide you with some excellent literature around parenting girls during adolescence.  Each of these books are available as eBooks and also in most well-known book stores.


Untangled, by Lisa Damour, is an excellent guide to the various stages of adolescent development for girls and what they are likely to experience during secondary school.  There are some excellent ideas on how to have the right conversations around drugs and alcohol, social media, the need for sleep, and how to handle friendship issues.  I would highly recommend this book because of its use of real scenarios and sensible problem solving.


Steve Biddulph, who is well known for his books Raising Boys and Raising Girls, published his recent work in 2018 called 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow up Strong and Free.  This book is an answer to concerns for girls’ mental health.  It is a series of guided exercises, conversations, reflections, and self-rating questionnaires, and is complemented by real-life case studies.  Many aspects of issues faced by girls is considered to help you understand what is necessary to parent girls.


Reviving Ophelia: Solving the Selves of Adolescent Girls,  by Mary Pipher, looks at the impact of social media on the adolescent girl and how finding acceptance is crucial for self-worth.  This book is an easy- to-read collection of research and realistic examples of the difficulties facing young girls and how to address them.


For those of you fortunate enough to attend Judith Locke’s parenting presentation at Mount Alvernia earlier this year, you will  not be surprised to see her book The Bonsai Child added to the collection of good reads for parents.  The Bonsai Child provides honest, sensible advice on how to grow confident and resilient young people.  It is easy to read and offers practical strategies on how to parent effectively.


Any of the books above would make a great bedtime read.  A chapter a night will leave you with more answers than questions, and you can easily pick and choose the chapter with which you start.  If you have read a good book on raising adolescent girls, feel free to send through your own review and I will be sure to pass it on to the general community.

Annette Butterworth

Year 7 Pastoral Guardian


“Every day we build our character piece by piece….every word and every action defines our character. The digital world and the real world have merged.” (Flipside, Brainstorm Productions)


On Tuesday afternoon, Year 7 students enjoyed the live performance of The Flipside, an engaging dramatic production that explored the complex consequences of cyber bullying and irresponsible online behaviour.  In the play, two high school students learnt that their actions in the digital world, while seemingly entertaining or trivial to some, had devastating outcomes for others.  The characters presented the very real scenario of how easily things can go viral and that, once ‘post’ or ‘send’  is pressed, there is no way of controlling the image, message, and what others choose to do with the material.  The students quickly came to appreciate that “every day we build our character piece by piece …  every word and every action defines our character” (Flipside).  The performance gave the girls the opportunity critically consider their own online behaviours and issues about online ethics, Internet safety, digital citizenship, and values, and called on them to question their assumptions about what is humorous, humiliating, harmful, and ethical online.  Additionally, and most significantly, it helped students to develop strategies for navigating the digital world in a safe and positive way.


The Year 7 students were captivated as they came to appreciate the moral and legal consequences for the characters’ online behaviours, as evidenced in these comments:


I think the message about what we post and how it affects others needs to be told.  The scenario was believable and the actors really helped us to feel for the victim of the cyberbullying.  Trinity Woodward


This show had a really strong message about how we should behave online and how our actions say a lot about ourselves. It was powerful in teaching us empathy and responsibility. I loved it!” Kiara Mammarella


In order for our girls to feel safe and to ensure that they behave responsibly online, they require frequent education; they also need opportunities to reflect on their own social media use and its effect upon themselves and others.  Tuesday’s performance was another way to educate our students about social media use, and its message was consistent with Mount Alvernia’s Student Procedures, as outlined in the front of the Student Planner.  As parents and carers, you can do the following to support your daughter as she navigates the world of social media:

  1. Monitor the amount of time on screens.  Some psychologists suggest 60-90 minutes; too much time (2 hours+) has been shown to contribute to mental health issues.
  2. Monitor your daughter’s social media usage by insisting that you are a ‘friend’.  If you do not want to do this, use apps like Norton, TeenSafe, MobSafetyRangeBrowser, Qustodio to help you stay connected and reassured about your daughter’s digital footprint.
  3. Insist that electronic devices are not in bedrooms at night time.  Use a common place in the home for all family devices to be re-charged.
  4. Have frequent conversations with your daughter, asking her: “What does this post say about your character?” “Are you happy for grandma/granddad to see this post from you?”

Social media is the way we, and our young people, communicate and interact with our world.  Therefore, we need to equip them with skills for doing this ethically and safely.


Conversation Starters:

What did you enjoy about The Flipside performance?

What message did you take from this performance?

Who would you speak to, if you were having issues on social media?


Jeni Barlow

Year 8 Pastoral Guardian

At this time of year, you and your daughter are thinking about subjects for next year and the impending change from Francis to Clare School.


Transitional change from Year 8 to Year 9 will be a challenge for some but, to other students, this change will be viewed as a natural progression through secondary school.


Many of the girls will discover new friends in their new learning groups while maintaining those who they connected with in Years 7 and 8.  The shift in groups and changes may mean there will be some ups and downs, but this will be navigated successfully through growing maturity and resilience.


Some may lament the loss of stability and security when they have come to know and remain with their core teacher for two years.  However, the time is right when your daughter is cognitively mature to be accustomed to, and be exposed to, a variety of teaching styles and personalities.  Your daughter’s Pastoral Guardian will assist her in her journey, and will endeavour to ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible.  Assisting her in solving problems that arise will support her growth mindset and resilience.


As parents, you can positively talk about the new changes.  Help your daughter to see change is a part of life, to view a situation in a broader context, and to keep a long-term perspective.  Encourage her to see that there is a future beyond the current situation.  An optimistic outlook enables students to envisage good things in life and to keep going even in the hardest times.  Viewing past challenges and how these were negotiated can build the strength to handle future challenges such as the one from Year 8 to Year 9.


This prayer from Dr Kerrie Tuite in her staff memo this week is quite pertinent to this edition of Parent Corner:


Leunig’s Prayer for the Day: 

God give us rain when we expect sun.
Give us music when we expect trouble.
Give us tears when we expect breakfast.
Give us dreams when we expect a storm.
Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations.
God play with us, turn us sideways and around.



Conversation Starters:

What changes are you looking forward to?

What changes are you concerned about?

How are you going to rise above the challenges that come your way? 


Mick Butterworth

Year 9 Pastoral Guardian

Laura Gietz, Australian netballer, often is asked, “Knowing what you know now, what would you go back and tell your teenage self?”  Her response: “You are equipped with everything you need to fulfil your journey”.  I read this comment only a couple of days before officially taking on the role as Year 9 Pastoral Guardian, and it has been at the forefront of all my interactions and endeavours.  I am determined to help the Year 9 cohort to understand that they have what is necessary.  I want them all to hear, read, and understand this quote, and know that they are capable of more than they know. 


The teenage years can certainly be an interesting and sometimes bumpy road, not only for them but for you as the parents.  The two stages of life with the most rapid development are the baby years and the teenage years.  We need a village to raise a baby, so we therefore need a village to raise a teenager.  With this in mind, the Wolf Pack initiative was launched this week to all Year 9s.  Wolves are incredible animals.  They unite together in packs demonstrating loyalty and devotion to one another.  Your daughter was asked to identify her wolf pack by naming six key people in her life who show loyalty, devotion, strength, support, and respect.  The aim of the wolf pack is for each student to feel connected and to know that she is never alone, no matter the circumstance.  It is important that there is always someone to turn to.  This in return will build a village for your daughter, and strengthen her resilience and understanding of life’s journey.


Please have a conversation with your daughter about how she is travelling with school, her friends and, most importantly, herself personally.  Keep the communication door open, no matter the resistance, and never lose sight that this stage of life will soon to pass just like the newborn phase!


Finally, camp is next week.  This is going to be an extremely fulfilling experience for the cohort.  There may be some pre-camp nerves, and this is very natural.  I encourage you to talk to your daughter about the positive experiences she will have, and how proud she will be of herself when she has achieved the unexpected.  Another way to decrease any nervous tension is to be prepared.  Spend time this weekend to pack everything she needs (list provided in your camp email) and take time to explore the Adventure Adventures website  I look forward to sharing their experiences when we return.

Tamara Richardson


Conversation Starters:

What are you mostly looking forward to about camp?

Who did you identify at school to be part of your wolf pack?

Did you want to invite some friends around for a movie and popcorn?

What do you think you are equipped with?






Year 10 Pastoral Guardian

It has been a pleasure to see that all Year 10 students have begun Term 3 all refreshed and eager to jump into their new electives and the challenges that this semester will bring.   


This semester has been a busy start for Year 10 so far, with many students and parents attending Parent/Teacher conferences, Subject Selection Evening, and the Futures Expo.  All these events, along with SET (Senior Education and Training) Plan interviews, will assist you and your daughter to make the correct decision for choosing senior subjects and future career.  With all this in mind, this is a perfect time for girls to reflect on their personal goals and make any necessary changes to their individual study plan and extra-curricular or work commitments, to focus on their studies.  One important note that has been stressed to girls is to take subjects in their Senior years that they enjoy and in which they can positively achieve well.   As parents, it can be hard to step back; however, with your support, girls need to be able to choose the subjects and career options in which they will be able to Raise the Bar and reach success.


“Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says, I’m possible”

Audrey Hepburn

As you all know, when we talk about resilience, we are describing a person’s ability to cope with ups and downs, and bounce back from the challenges that life can throw at us.  The skills adolescents develop to deal with everyday challenges - for example not being able to do something the first time or not getting what they want, - act as a foundation for coping with life’s bigger challenges.  When bigger stresses come along – such as dealing with loss, rejection, or disappointment – young people can draw on what they have learned before about helping themselves to cope and feel better.  Even though at first they might feel quite distressed, their resilience skills can help them bounce back.  They also feel more confident asking for help when they need it.  As parents, it is important to allow students to make mistakes and deal with consequences of any inappropriate decisions they may make.  This will allow them to learn from their mistakes, bounce back, and become strong and resilient young ladies. (2017). beyondblue - Healthy Families. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Jun. 2017].


Teena Christofis



Conversations Starters:

Have you uploaded your subjects for Year 11?

What are your personal and school goals for this term?

How are your new electives for this semester?

Have you achieved a healthy balance for school and outside-school commitments?

Year 11 Pastoral Guardian

Term 3 marks a real turning point for your daughters for reflecting on the Senior journey so far, with regards to committing six months already in the Elizabeth Hayes School, rising to challenges in studies and skills in the Australian Curriculum in Units 1 and 2, engaging wholeheartedly in college opportunities and events as leaders, shaping into a unified year level identity as senior school students, and growing personally as young adults who are future-directed. 


The girls, or should I say young women, are already, in July 2019, excitedly looking forward to thinking about life in 2020 in their final senior year as college leaders as a cohort.  The captaincy process began last term for applications for the fourteen leadership positions.  College Captain interviews were held this week, while other position interviews and voting will continue this term, culminating in all positions being announced at the Cultural Festival.  This is always a future-directed turning point for the whole year level.  Sony Camp interviews are also in process for girls genuinely committed to outreach service.


Another future-directed focus is consideration and planning for post-schooling career options.  This week’s successful Futures Expo at the College stimulated much thought and, no doubt, at home, discussion and formative decision making about your daughter’s real future. 


This week’s Spirituality Retreat, led by the Character Builders, is timely, presenting two days of enjoyable and challenging team experiences to prompt individual reflection about the type of person your daughter is today, and key values in her life that help to shape her decisions and values today as a leader and a person.  Students will be encouraged to engage in meaningful conversations with one another to realise the importance of listening to others, respecting difference, being authentic, and learning new ways of building friendships.  In these experiences, one goal is for your daughters to realise that we are all part of each other’s journey.  The two days also reinforce a more mature understanding of Franciscan values of service to one another and society.  This is an important realisation as your daughter embarks on the final one and a half years of her school life, preparing her for the adult world she will be entering.  

I will be reminding your daughter that you, as parents, are so invested in this senior journey too and how important it is for her to communicate openly and honestly with you about how she is going and how you can support her.  Please contact me at any time if you need so we can work together on these final stages of your precious daughter’s journey. 


Reflecting  on the past semester, Year 11 students in my classes shared some goals and tips for success: sleep more, eat well, find a life balance, be involved in a sport or interest to enjoy these years, use some of the meditation strategies we have learned, start assignments earlier, ask teachers if you need help, have a plan to revise work weekly, and be better organised.  Discuss what your daughter’s tips and goals are so you can work together to achieve her personal best.

Karen Farrow



Conversation Starters

What did you take away from the Spirituality Retreat?

What is your dream career or life dream?

Year 12 Pastoral Guardian

The Journey


The journey is well advanced but the terrain is about to become a lot more challenging.  So here is some advice for you as your daughter approaches those ominous Term 3 assessments.  


Make sure your daughter is getting enough sleep.

Encourage exercise and a nutritious diet.

Reassure your daughter and remind her to just do her best.

Praise her for her efforts.

Encourage her to seek advice, no matter how uncomfortable she may feel in asking the question; there will be similar queries; she is not alone.


Focus on weekly goals and small steps, as opposed to Overall Position.  According to Catherine Brandon, Educational Psychologist at Genazzano FCJ College, students who set ‘goals’ have proven to be successful when they make a plan to study for a set amount of hours per week.  Brandon stated, "The results will take care of themselves”. (Catherine Brandon, 2019)


Remember, we are building the capacity for resilience in your daughter’s journey beyond the school gates.  So take time to acknowledge her transformation as a result of her own experiences.  Bear witness and share in her growth and transition into adulthood.  (Nicole Christensen, principal of Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, 2019)

Your daughter may be, in fact, struggling to maintain momentum, so remind her that as humans we learn more when things don’t go to plan or when we make mistakes.  Amazing things happen, but it requires a leap of faith and a lot of thought.


Remember, your daughter is an individual; to compare her with a peer or a sibling is unrealistic.  Every student in Year 12 has been shaped by her experiences, and each one of them is unique and on her own educational journey.

Bridget Piper

Counsellors' Corner

At every stage of development, children have different behaviours and experiences that can be challenging for parents.  From physical challenges of sleep deprivation when they are newborns, to the more mentally demanding challenges of navigating their complex academic and social worlds as children and teens, parenting certainly presents a range of challenges.


During adolescence, typically children begin to shift their focus to creating a more independent identity with peers rather than with family members.  This too is tied in with the hormonal changes of puberty. This may present in the form of less communicative young people in your household.


It can be worrying and hurtful for parents as they feel their relationship become more distanced with their teenager.  Additionally, it can be difficult to understand teenagers’ behaviour at this stage in their development.  Teens tend to present a conflict in their behaviour - sometimes in a matter of hours – from presenting as confident and arrogant to insecure and unworthy, to the fear of being judged while also being highly judgmental of others.  Teens are hypersensitive to fitting in and being aware of what is considered socially acceptable.


Given these challenges, parents can feel that they are lost in navigating the teenage years.  Some suggestions for coping with these changes in behaviour are:

  • Set an example:  As teenagers grow in their independence, they also grow more confident at voicing their opinion.  They wish to be treated as adults and may focus on what is 'fair' in their eyes.  Abiding by some of the expectations you set for your own children (eg manners, limits on phones, etc) can help to minimise teenagers’ feelings of an imbalance of power.
  • Be clear in your communication and open to negotiation:  Similarly, with independence, teenagers yearn to have a voice in their decision making.  When limits are set, clear rationales can help to avoid arguments.  Fair negotiation and perspective-taking can also help teenagers feel less powerless and more heard, and can decrease the tension between parent and child.
  • Allow your child to make her own mistakes:  As well as the importance of developing their self-esteem and resilience, helping a teen navigate and manage her mistakes can foster your parent-child relationship.  Do not bring up past mistakes, and treat each day as a fresh start.
  • Focus on your identity and interests:  As your daughter grows into an independent young person, it can be helpful for you to develop your own interests outside of your role as a parent. This can help to role-model the importance of interests and positive activities, as well as giving you a positive subject to discuss with your teen
  • Seek support from close friends, family, or professionals:  This can help to avoid feeling isolated in your journey of raising a teenager.

If you have any concerns about how your daughter is coping with any of the things discussed in today’s article, please do not hesitate to contact Ellie Keane or Liz Marlay at [email protected] or on 3357 6000.

Ellie Keane and Liz Marlay

From the iCentre


On the iCentre Website This Week


La Cucina


Friday 2 August

Kellie Jilani

Monday 5 August

Rachel Browne, Cathy Conaghan

Tuesday 6 August

Vicky Ferlito

Wednesday 7 August


Thursday 8 August

Tanya McMinn, Colette Rosso


Open from 7.15-10.00am & 11.00am-3.00pm (3.15pm Wednesday).   Staff, parents, and friends are very welcome to drop in for coffee—$3.50; $3 in own cup.


Please direct any enquiries to Kim at College Reception, ph 3357 6000.

Parent Corner