Synergy - Newsletter 

23 November 2018
Term 4, 2018 - Issue 2 
From the Principal
Learning & Teaching
Education In Faith
Student Wellbeing
Student Leadership
Sport & Outdoor Education
Community Noticeboard
Calendar & Events
Mount St. Joseph Girls' College
(03) 8398 2000
133 Maidstone Street
Altona, Victoria, 3018

From the Principal

November 9 was a devastating day for the City of Melbourne. The attack in Bourke Street has made us question our safety. It has made us become suspicious of our neighbours and made us become apprehensive in our community. It was a very sad day. The death of Sisto Malaspina was a real tragedy; he was a man who was going to the aid of another. There is a real tension between what happened that day and what happened the days that followed. As a community, we were angry and wanted answers as to why such an attack can happen. And yet, our response to those that went to help and our response to the tragic death of Sisto showed so much love and compassion.  It is that love and compassion that we need to focus on.


Thursday night was a great night of celebration as we farewelled the Year 12 students at their Valedictory Dinner. It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces after the end of a busy and studious year. It was also wonderful to see the students celebrating with their family members.

I have no doubt that they are very grateful for all the support that they have received during their school life. As I mentioned at their Graduation ceremony, I hope that in partnership with their family, we have not only prepared them to make a living but have prepared them to live a life, a life that is full of love, joy, hope and compassion.


As we race towards the end of the year, I would like to thank the students for their hard work as they complete assessment tasks, exams and for our senior students who commence their VCE and VCAL studies. This is an important time of the term and it is imperative that students stay focused and studious. I encourage them to put in place a well-planned study routine and ensure that they eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep.


I would like to thank the students and parents for their patience as we completed refurbishment of the Front Office and Giovanni classroom block during the school year. Both are now completed and the refurbishment has made a huge difference to the learning environment for our College community. Further in this newsletter, Noel Kennedy, Business Manager, has provided details in regard to our next building stage that we are hoping to commence in June 2019. This is an exciting project involving the refurbishment of the Pierce classroom block and the development of a College Cafeteria in the Finucane building.


Kate Dishon



Learning & Teaching

From the Deputy Principal - Learning and Staff

Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College - Developing Confident, Creative, Active and Informed Students

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) has become a keystone document for subsequent Australian educational reforms (including recent Victorian Curriculum reform).
A significant focus of the Melbourne Declaration (and of the Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College Curriculum) is the development of critical and creative thinkers who are able to apply their learning in an ever-changing world. Nurturing the development of these skills and dispositions, particularly within a curriculum crowded with competing priorities, is a challenge for any school. Confident, creative, active and informed students are evident throughout the College.

The recent VCE Visual Arts Exhibition is further proof of the opportunities and talents of our students. During Open Mornings and Open Day, College Ambassadors confidently guide families around the school, it is evident that our students are confident, creative, active and informed students.


2018 VCE Results and ATAR Service

Students undertaking Year 12 studies sat their final written exam on Wednesday 21 November. The VCAA and VTAC encourage all students to register for access to the VCE Results and ATAR service before the release of results on Friday 14 December at 7.00am. Registration opened on Monday 6 August 2018.


Students will need their VCAA student number and personal details to register. Students will be asked to select a secure password when registering, which will be used to access their results.  Students will need to register only once – the password can be used for both the internet service and the mobile app.


To ensure easy access to results, students are advised to register by 5pm Thursday 13 December.


If students have created a VTAC account, please note that this is separate from the registration for the VCE Results and ATAR Service and will not give students access to the service.


The VCAA and VTAC offer three options for accessing VCE results and the ATAR: internet, mail, and app. The VCAA also offers a student email option for accessing VCE and VCAL results. Information about each of these options and the Post Results and ATAR Service (PRAS) is below:



The internet service is free and available 24 hours a day from 7am Friday 14 December until noon Wednesday 19 December.



VCE and VCAL results and ATAR statements will arrive in the mail from Monday 17 December. Printed ATAR statements are mailed only to VTAC applicants who have submitted and paid for a course application. Students who have not applied for courses can request an ATAR statement from the VTAC website. Administrative fees apply.


VCE and VCAL certificates are distributed by schools and colleges, rather than mailed with the results.


Mobile app

The mobile app is available now for download on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Search for ‘VCE Results and ATAR’.


Note: you can install the app now but 2018 results and ATAR won’t be available until 7am Friday 14 December.


Student email

To receive VCE or VCAL results via email on Friday 14 December students must provide an accurate email address to educational providers for them to record on the Victorian Assessment Software System (VASS).


Post Results and ATAR Service (PRAS)

The Post Results and ATAR Service website is run in conjunction with the VTAC and contains up-to-date information about what your results mean for admission requirements to university courses.



All students currently in Years 10 and 11 have began the HeadStart program. During HeadStart, students undertake lessons in each of their semester one subjects throughout the program. Homework will be set to assist students to commence the new year with confidence and knowledge regarding the type of learning that occurs in each subject.

In many cases, the homework is designed to prepare students for school assessed coursework (SAC) tasks that occur very early in the course.


Any student absent from any of the HeadStart program must see their Wellbeing Leader. Students are advised that absence may put their VCE studies at a disadvantage. Absentees will be required to undertake the work missed in addition to completing the holiday homework.


Monitoring Learning – CANVAS

Exams for Year 7-9 students will begin on Monday 26 November. Subject teachers have been working with students on effective revision strategies for the exam preparation.


Results and feedback from other assessments are available on CANVAS. In order to support the parent partnership in learning, it is important that parents/carers have access to information. Mount St. Joseph Girls’ College offers continuous online reporting and monitoring learning progress through CANVAS. This feedback allows students to dialogue about their learning at home. CANVAS provides parents/carers with information to support our students learning progress.


Awards Evening

As published in the previous Synergy, the Mount St. Joseph Girls' College Awards Night is to be held on Thursday 6 December at 7.00pm. The evening recognises student academic achievement, student involvement and student encouragement. Students and parents will be notified if they are to be presented with awards on this night along with details of the presentation ceremony. Our Awards Night is an opportunity to recognise the many achievements of members of the College community throughout 2018.


Joanna De Bono

Deputy Principal - Learning and Staff

Keeping up-to-date with Student Feedback and Results

With the end of the year approaching, now is a great time to check in with your daughter's progress and achievement on Canvas. Here you can access assessment results, but more importantly, the feedback left by teachers. This provides students with powerful advice and support for further improvement. We encourage you to review this feedback and speak with your daughter about her achievements and her next steps for growth.


New & Improved Canvas Login page

Accessing Canvas is now even easier with the improved login page for parents and carers. You can now follow the links within your email notifications or go directly to and log in with your school issued username and password.


If you need your login details emailed to you for Canvas and the Parent Access Module, please either call the IT helpdesk on 8390 2000 or email the team directly at [email protected].


For handy tips, please see the below Canvas parent Guides:

Canvas Parent Guide: Log in and view marks

Canvas Parent Guide: Updating Notification Preferences

Canvas Parent Guide: Changing your Language Settings


Semester 2 Reporting

Semester 2 reports will be available on the Parent Access Module on 10 December for all parents and carers. Semester reports offer a summary of achievement, results in assessment tasks and progress through the Victorian Curriculum.


Grades displayed within the Semester reports are already available within Canvas and can be accessed at any time.


If you have any questions regarding your daughter's achievement and progress, we invite you to contact your daughter's subject teacher or Learning Mentor.


Adam Gonzalez

Director of Pedagogy and Innovation



Education In Faith

From the Director of Catholic Identity

A Prayer for Advent

God of joy,

Just as You sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus,
help us to clear the path in our hearts, too.

Show us the distractions in our lives that block us from accepting You during this time of Advent.

Give us hearts, Lord, that look for Your coming on a daily basis and help us to live lives where we constantly seek Your presence.



The word 'Advent' comes from Latin and means "coming"; its purpose is to look forward to the coming of Christ on Earth; it was a season that focused on waiting. So, Advent means something new is coming: the dawn of a new and better era. This is really what the Christmas season is all about - the celebration of the ADVENT of a new era. God broke into time and space and entered our world which we celebrate at Christmas. Year 7-10s participate in liturgies during this time to reflect on how they can invite God again into their lives.


Year 12 Retreat

The 2019 Year 12 students go on their annual 3-day Retreat to Rutherford Park Country Retreat on the 28-30 November. The theme is, "The Treasure Within". The students explore the notion of bonding as a community and how that is linked with knowing Jesus. They participate in a number of quiet, reflective, prayerful, creative, group and fun activities. It is a significant event that begins the journey for our 2019 Year 12 students over the next 12 months.





Charitable works

One of the strengths of MSJ is the amount of charitable work that the students get involved in. Pastoral groups have been busy organising Christmas Hampers over the last few weeks. These will be given to Joseph's Corner who will distribute them to needy families accordingly. The new student leaders have been instrumental in organising this in Pastoral Groups.


Socktober is held each year at the end of October. On Wednesday 31 October, the students were able to wear crazy socks and hair and eat pancakes in exchange for a gold coin donation. This event successfully raised over $800 for the St Vincent de Paul Society.


Well done to the girls for their support of those in need.


Praying for the Deceased

November is the month in which the Church traditionally prays for the deceased. Our College Chapel has had a dedicated spot during the month of November where students and staff have been able to come and light a candle in honour of deceased loved ones. This has allowed a number of people to come and spend some time in the Chapel in quiet reflection or prayer. 


Wishing you all blessings for the coming seasons of Advent and Christmas,


Scott McNulty

Acting Director of Catholic Identity




Student Wellbeing

From the Deputy Principal - Student Wellbeing

Our students continue to be engaged in the Assessment Cycle that is so evident at this time of the Semester.  I thank the many families who have supported their daughters through this busy and challenging time.  It is through challenge and hard work that our young women continue to develop skills in resilience and organisation. Our responsibility as adults is to guide and support our young people, ensuring that they do not become too overwhelmed but rather, are invigorated and energised by the workload. Busy and balanced people are able to live life to the fullest.  Well done, everyone!


This week, our Year 12 families gathered for the Year 12 Valedictory Dinner at Sheldon Receptions. The Valedictory Dinner is a formal celebration with students, family and the College community. It is important we acknowledge the hard work and commitment to study demonstrated by our young people. The Valedictory Dinner promotes connections between the family and the College community. As a community we thank the Year 12 students for all they have contributed to our College Life. We wish each of our students happiness and personal fulfilment as they enter the next transition in adult life. May they continue to be blessed with passion, a love of learning and profound friendships.


We thank our Year 9 and 10 students who have been trained in Peer Support and Supportive Friends. Both these roles are essential in promoting community and developing the leadership capacities of our students.


All students from Years 7–9 will conclude the term on 6 December. Students are required to wear their full summer uniform and will be dismissed from the College at 3:10pm.


Steven Mifsud

Deputy Principal - Student Wellbeing


Queen of Peace Band Tour

On Wednesday 14 November, MSJ Voices had the amazing opportunity to showcase our singing skills to a primary school audience at Queen of Peace. MSJ Voices had been prepared for this moment from the start, and we were so excited to encourage young children to take the path in Music. It was great to see the involvement of other ensembles that performed, such as the String ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Jazz Cats, Flute Duo, Saxophone Quartet as well as MSJ Voices.


Seeing the faces of these students and enthusiasm as soon as the music began, made me realise the importance of music, especially for primary school students to see the musical opportunities they will have in the future. You could really see how much the students loved the performance and see all the instruments, as they also got involved in the song ‘Come So Far.’  The nerves kicked in as we were up next, but once we were warmed up, MSJ Voices were ready to raise the roof and show them what we got! We had huge smiles on our faces throughout the entire performance, and the laughter amongst all the staff and students when doing a vocal warm-up of “My mother makes me mash my mini M&M’s on a Monday morning,” and to see all of Queen of Peace having a go. 


This tour has brought up my confidence as well as MSJ Voices vocalists altogether, especially putting in the hard work to perform ‘Siyahumba’, ‘When You Believe’ and ‘Come So Far'. The ensembles that performed truly showed the amazing hard work all the musicians have put in, to put an on a show for Queen of Peace. A huge thank you to Mrs Ambrose, Mr Burcul, Mrs Fichera, Mrs Hills, Mrs Laird, Mr Smith and Mr Tresize for making this opportunity possible.


By Olivia Massarany

(Year 8)


VCAL Getting Active

The Year 11 VCAL students were given the opportunity to plan their own end of year activity as part of their Personal Development Skills class, and they chose to sweat it out at a disco spin class. While researching trendy new fitness classes, the students found Bodhi & Ride – a spin studio that features an urban Melbourne lifestyle.


After independently navigating their way to-and-through the CBD for a shared lunch at the Emporium, the students got their cycling shoes on and participated in a dance party full-body workout. While brutal, the girls left feeling energised and happy, and some even made plans to return. Thanks to Bodhi & Ride for the private tutorial and for participating in the girls’ RnB Friday music requests.


VCAL's Cooking for a Cause

As part of the Year 11 and 12 Headstart program, the VCAL students have come together to cook for a cause and give back to the community. The Year 11 VCAL students spent Wednesday 21 November baking and decorating sweet treats which they will later drop off to Joseph's Corner. Joseph’s Corner is a not-for-profit charitable organisation that assists drug and alcohol addicted families, and has a long-standing partnership with MSJ.


The Year 12 VCAL students also spent Wednesday 21 November in the kitchen but for a different cause. These students, who already know their way around the kitchen through their Food Studies unit, worked to prepare the 2018/2019 VCAL staff and student lunch.


The VCAL lunch provides an opportunity for the 2018 VCAL staff and students to celebrate a successful year, and introduces the 2019 VCAL staff and students to one another ahead of what hopes to be a successful year in VCAL.


A big thanks to Bianca Stafrace, Jane Sammut, Michelle Saccoccio, Leanne Azzopardi and Jane Azzopardi for their guidance and support of the Cooking for a Cause program.


2019-2020 Building Program

The College is planning for a major development from mid-2019 to early 2020. The works will improve access to the Learning Resource Centre and provide a student cafeteria and amenities on the lower level of the Finucane Building.  The Pierce Building will also be refurbished and extended.

Artist’s impression of the new cafeteria

Artist’s impression of the new open learning area in the Pierce Building


As a result of works, there is expected to be disruption to the main quadrangle over 2019 / 2020.  Accordingly, works will commence soon on development of a new garden in the area between the oval, buildings and Mary MacKillop Centre that will be completed in early 2019.

To provide the best outcome, a number of trees in this area will need to be removed to allow works to proceed.

Student Leadership

Photo: Amy Smedley & Mia Paladino - College Captains

College Captains 

Amy and I have been very busy in the last few weeks. We’re both so proud of the Student Leadership Team for putting on so many fun and engaging activities. We are especially happy with the turnout of Socktober with so many students wearing crazy socks and hair and donating money to charity.


We would like to say thanks to all the Student Leadership Team girls who got to school early to help cook pancakes on Wacky Wednesday to once again raise money for charity. We also have the Year 12 Retreat coming up for this year's Year 11s, during which we will explore our theme for next year, ‘A year like no other’. Once again we are so proud of these past few weeks and the effort the Student Leadership Team has put into all of our initiatives so far.


Mia Paladino and Amy Smedley


On 31 October, MSJ celebrated Wacky Wednesday, a day where students could wear crazy socks and crazy hair. This day was about raising awareness for those without access to warm clothes and to help the Catholic Mission help communities around the world in projects to help the disadvantaged. This day was organised by the Cameron House Leaders and the Ministry team. With a pancake breakfast, Club MSJ and other various activities we were able to raise a massive $876.10 which will be donated to the Catholic Mission.  


Coming up for the rest of the term, our Lunchtime Activity Leader, Elizabeth Bell,  with help from our Junior house captains will be running downball competitions during lunchtimes on Wednesdays. The table tennis and sports box will also be available for girls to use during lunch for the remainder of the term!


There will also be two “Rock up Lacrosse” games held at lunchtime on the oval on Thursday 22 November and Tuesday 27 November, so grab some friends and get a team together or just "rock up" and play with whoever is there and form teams on the day.


The junior house leaders are also working with Year 7 and 8 students to introduce some fun and stress-relieving activities in the lead up to their end of year exams.


Emma Walton

October marked the beginning of “Socktober,” where we reflected on the impact of poverty. The MSJ community worked together to raise money for Catholic Mission, to help reduce poverty and bring fullness of life to the disadvantaged.


During pastoral, each class participated in a powerpoint which recognised the work of Catholic Mission through activities and sending prayers acknowledging hardships faced by those in poverty. On 31 October, Cameron House organised “Wacky Wednesday,” a day where everyone could wear their wackiest socks and craziest hair to raise awareness about poverty. The day began with pancakes cooked by the Student Leadership Team, followed by an outdoor Club MSJ; this saw many students dancing and singing, and showing off their best socks and hair. Prizes were also awarded to 7 Cameron 1, who proudly raised the most money to go towards Catholic Mission, the wackiest socks and craziest hair.


Cameron House Leaders, Ministry Team and the Student Leadership Team would like to sincerely thank the MSJ community for their participation and for making Socktober a great success.


Senior Cameron House Leaders

Alysia Hanel, Jacinda Bonanno and Teagan La’Brooy


Over the last few weeks, the Academic portfolio has been sending out exam tips that we hope at least some of you have found entertaining and useful. Congratulations to everyone on completing this year (almost) at MSJ and we hope that you are excited and looking forward to 2019!

Next year we will have a new set of tutors ready and willing to help out anyone who would like some assistance with their studies, and look out for plenty more academic activities throughout the year.


Madi Hansen


For the rest of this term, the Ministry portfolio needs YOU! We need you to bring in items to put together Christmas hampers for Joseph's Corner, who will then give them out to those in need this Christmas! We are collecting items so that those less fortunate than us get to have the best Christmas this year.


Each house has different items to be donated! So please look in your pastoral class or for posters around the school listing what your house has to donate this year. We’d love for everyone to get involved!


“Find happiness in making others happy.” - Saint Mary MacKillop


Emily Thiel

Sport & Outdoor Education

Year 10 Outdoor Ed
Rock Climbing & Mountain Bike Riding Camp

This semester, we had our Year 10 Rock Climbing and Mountain Bike Riding camp at the Brisbane Ranges and the You Yangs.


We arrived at school at 7:30am and we were excited to start our journey to the You Yangs to begin our activities. We arrived at the You Yangs where we met our activity guide for the next two days and then got started. We got given our safety equipment and then made our way to the rock walls, talking about how we were going to attempt to climb the wall! Rock climbing was challenging but it was worth it when you reached the top and was able to see the view of the ocean.


Afterwards, we went walking up the East-West walk where we saw the beautiful views of the surrounding areas, and we were able to see the defining perimeter of the You Yangs. We then packed up and went to the Brisbane Ranges. We all set up our tents and cooked our dinner, and then went on a night walk around the Brisbane Ranges.


The next morning, we packed up and headed back to the You Yangs for our next activity, mountain bike riding. We were given a bike and a helmet and then we began. We split into two groups to ride along the first track. We had to jump over rocks and trees roots and go up and down the winding paths. They were fun but challenging rides, sometimes going uphill for a long time, but then eventually being able to speed up and go down the hills really fast. We all completed two different tracks and then packed up and got back on the bus.


We were all sad to go but also happy to be returning home. It was a really great experience and I am glad that I was able to be a part of it.


Chloe Ianna




Community Noticeboard

School Fees


Unless alternative arrangements have been made with the Business Manager, all fees were required to be finalised by 28 September.

It would be appreciated if families could settle their accounts as soon as possible.


Noel Kennedy

Business Manager

Holiday Office Hours

The College Administration Office will close from 12:00pm on Friday 21 December 2018 and re-open at 8:00am on Monday 21 January 2019. From 21 January - 25 January, office hours will be 8:00am - 4:00pm.


Academy Uniforms

238 Wolseley Place, Thomastown

Phone: 9460 8011

Open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm and  

Saturday 9am - 12pm 

Open at the College

Monday 3pm - 4pm and Wednesday 8am - 9am


CLICK HERE for online uniform store

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Buy and Sell Second-hand textbooks via the Sustainable School Shop

Also buy and sell Calculators, Sporting Items, Musical Items, Electronics, DVD’s and Stationery.

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Letter from Catholic Education Commission of Victoria to Parents and School Communities regarding the State Election


Calendar & Events

Calendar Highlights


Please regularly click on the link below to access the Google College Calendar for updates to the events as listed below.


Monday 26 November
Years 7-9 Exams commence


Wednesday 28 November - Friday 30 November (Last day for Year 11)
Year 12 2019 Retreat


Thursday 29 November
Last day for Year 10

Classes finish at 3:10pm

Monday 3 December & Wednesday 5 December
Year 7 Swimming Program



Tuesday 4 December

Student-free day

Thursday 6 December
Last day for Years 7, 8 & 9

Classes finish at 3:10pm.

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