Parent Corner

13 June 2019
Issue Five
Quick Dates
Acting Deputy Principal - Student Development
Acting Year 7 Pastoral Guardian
Year 8 Pastoral Guardian
Year 9 Pastoral Guardian
Year 10 Pastoral Guardian
Junior Study
Year 11 Pastoral Guardian
Year 12 Pastoral Guardian
Counsellor's Corner
From the iCentre
Networking Breakfast
Junior Study
La Cucina
Community Notices
Mount Alvernia College
07 3357 6000
82 Cremorne Road
Kedron, Qld, 4031

Quick Dates

Week 8/9, Term 2

Friday 14 June

Year 8 Camp concludes

7.15pm  Year 11 Drama & Drama X excursion


Monday 17 June

Year 12 Exam Block commences


Tuesday 18 June

11.30am-2.00pm  Year 9 Digitech excursion

6.30pm  P&FSN meeting (Delamore Room)


Wednesday 19 June

Year 12 Exam Block concludes


Thursday 20 June

Year 12 QCS Test practice



Acting Deputy Principal - Student Development

Celebrations and the Significance of Family Rituals

Coming to the end of the semester is a good reason for celebrating – for both students and families.  So, as a family, how do you acknowledge the effort your daughter has invested in her learning and involvement in the opportunities that are presented to her? In a broader context, how do you as a family celebrate being together, or the small and large milestones that occur within your family?


Rituals and celebrations can be extremely simple and become part of the fabric of our lives.  In other cases, they can be markers of significant rites of passage.  No matter how big or small, rituals and traditions create a sense of identity and belonging within the family unit, and have the capacity to bond and strengthen connections between family members.  Furthermore, they provide a kind of stability in times of stress and unfamiliarity. 


Rituals that offer predictability can direct anticipation and be a source of comfort.  For example, for a child, a bedtime story offers comfort, safety, and connection before going to sleep.  Additionally, they are an opportunity to create wonderfully meaningful memories to hold on to and pass down to future generations.  According to psychologist Andrew Fuller, rituals “act like coat-hangers for people to hand the good memories of their childhood on”.  A classic example of this is family members cheering on the same sports team, watching the games in supporter gear, and having special food when watching the games.  Having listened to students chatting excitedly in the lead-up to State of Origin, it is clear that many girls value this family night, not always because of the football, but because of the rituals associated with it: relaxed atmosphere, visitors, celebration food, and a common focus for the night.


Within our lives, there is much to acknowledge, value, and celebrate . By incorporating rituals and celebrations into our lives, we develop a greater awareness and appreciation for events and people in our lives.  These rituals may be family rituals, such as eating dinner together and sharing daily events, playing board games, or watching a favourite television show together.  It is something that all members can participate in and enjoy.  Alternatively, the ritual may be a one-on-one experience or even one shared between siblings.  It is often in these situations, when barriers are down, that meaningful communication and a strengthening of bonds occurs.


So, as the end-of-semester reports are published, perhaps reading the reports at a café while sharing a favourite meal can become a new ritual.  Or, with winter holidays almost here, some walks in the afternoon sun, playing hoops at the local park, or Sunday afternoon movies could become the event to look forward to.

Jeni Barlow

Acting Year 7 Pastoral Guardian

Time for a Brain Vacation

Here are some of our exuberant Year 7 students celebrating in response to the question



How do you feel about the upcoming holidays?


I think their feelings are quite clear, and fair enough too.  They are entitled to celebrate the end of a successful term.  They have worked hard and deserve a break.  In fact, they don’t just deserve a break; they need one.


Did you know your brain is designed to have regular rest periods?  Our brains are often in action mode, processing information in order to make sense of the world around us.  However, when your brain takes a break, it switches to the Default Brain Network (DBN).  The DBN is essential for unstructured activities like daydreaming, remembering, and imagining.  Spending time in this network is essential for mental rejuvenation and is linked to well-being, intelligence, and creativity.  In short, for the optimal functioning of body and mind we need to give ourselves opportunities to relax and recharge.


How can we encourage our Year 7s to recharge their brains over the holidays?   Here are a few suggestions.

  • Encourage your daughter to go outside in the sunshine.  It will activate different parts of her brain and increase production of serotonin and Vitamin D.
  • Give your daughter opportunities to spend time in nature over the holidays.  This has surprising benefits for the brain.
  • Encourage daydreaming – it stimulates important mental processes.
  • Keep your daughter moving – physical activity is good for her brain.
  • Help your daughter find and engage in an activity she loves.  It will lift her mood and increase her feelings of well-being.

Next term Mrs Barlow will return to the Year 7 Pastoral Guardian position.  It has been a privilege to spend this term getting to know the Year 7 cohort.   I look forward to seeing them back in the classroom next term, brains recharged, and ready to give their best in all they do.


Tonia Campbell

Conversation Starters

What has been your favourite part of your first semester at high school?

Which of your achievements are you most proud of this semester?

How are you going to give your brain a vacation over the holidays?

Year 8 Pastoral Guardian

Happy Snaps from Camp




Celebrating Sporting Success

Paris Hanna recently returned from a tour of UK with the Girls Australian U14 Futsal Team.  She played exceptionally well and was rewarded for her efforts by receiving the Most Valued Player Award (MVP) for the entire UK Tour. 


Paris's experience overseas was incredible.  She is to be commended for the way in which she handled herself when meeting the team for the very first time,  and her interaction with all coaches, especially external coaches from the Hibernian FC.  Paris has now been selected for the 2019 Queensland North Coast - 2019 National School Futsal Championship in October.  She is to be congratulated for such a fantastic effort. 

Mick Butterworth

Year 9 Pastoral Guardian

Let’s celebrate reaching the halfway mark of your daughter’s journey through Year 9.  This bright spunky bunch of girls have had some ups and downs and some friendship challenges, and learnt lots; some have challenged themselves, others have maintained their good work ethic, and some are realising that perhaps next semester they will need to establish better routines and habits.  They have, however, certainly maintained their wonderful reputation as a cohort.


Early next term the girls will have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone at the Year 9 Camp and should fully immerse themselves in this opportunity.  It is absolutely vital that they are provided with these experiences to allow them to learn what they are truly capable of.  Please resist and discourage any negativity about these opportunities as being challenged and being put out of our comfort zone is where resilience is best learnt.  Year 9 camp is also an opportunity for the girls to forge new connections with other girls who will become a part of their tribe over the next couple of years.  Fear can prevent them from doing this at school, but camp offers this opportunity to get to know others in the group in both fun and challenging circumstances.

If you can please ensure that you have accessed the form via the link sent in the email regarding camp and have completed it in the next couple of days, that would be fantastic


Also, as this is the final Parent Corner for the semester, I would like to take the opportunity to say farewell for a period of time.  I too will be challenging myself and doing something entirely different for the next twelve months.  I think it is essential that even we, as adults and parents, face our own fears and step out of our comfort zones to experience completely different opportunities.  I am exceptionally confident that your beautiful daughters will be in excellent hands as Tamara Richardson steps into the role of Year 9 Pastoral Guardian.  I wish you and your daughters all the very best for the next twelve months, and look forward to reconnecting in the future.

Therese Dooley

Conversation Starters

How well do you know Mrs Richardson, your new PG beginning next term?

What are you most looking forward to for camp?

What is worrying you about camp and how are you going to conquer that fear/concern?

Year 10 Pastoral Guardian

Last week, I have had the pleasure to spend time away with your daughters at Marantha Camp, Yandina.  I not only valued this time as it allowed me to be outdoors, but gave me the opportunity to spend time with Year 10’s away from school.  During this time, I enjoyed observing the girls working collaboratively and helping each other, facing challenges positively and enthusiastically, relaxing and chatting during free time and most importantly having fun. 


This camp challenged our students to build social skills, trust, resilience, mutual support, group cohesion and leadership skills through a range of activities that were thrilling, relaxing, fun and educational. The natural environment provided a perfect setting for outdoors activities and the chilly weather did not stop all girls participating in the range of activities including mid ropes, abseiling, yoga, giant swing, drumming, bridge building, Jacobs ladder and bush skills.  The Monday night prayer reflection ceremony gave the girls a chance to reflect on their growth and think deeply about faith and spirituality.  I hope you enjoyed having your daughter back, and hearing her stories about her time away.  Now that girls are back, it is a good time to celebrate what you achieved. This might be getting to know other year 10 students better or doing something out of your comfort zone. Congratulations to all girls for your positive spirit and resilience during the camp.


A huge thank you must go to all the staff that attended camp for the three days, who gave up their time to spend this valuable time with our students – Therese Begley, Ellie Keane, Lorella Masci, John Hutchinson, Krystal Gagen-Spriggs, Suzanne Walker, Laura Mayes, Alison Ward, Jeni Barlow and Denise Shaw. Also, thank you to Jennifer Southern for all the work she has done behind the scenes in the lead up to camp.


Enjoy some pictures taken over the three days of the Happy Campers!


Teena Christofis




Junior Study

Please note that Junior Study has now concluded for the term.  It will restart in Week 2 of Term 3 on Tuesday 23 July.  Please advise of any change to your daughter’s enrolment in this program.


Karen Ross, Student Enrichment & Advancement Centre

Year 11 Pastoral Guardian

Year 11 Celebrating

Semester 1 ends by celebrating success and achievement of our Year 11 cohort. 

The College can certainly celebrate how Year 11s as a group have approached the Australian Curriculum in a focussed way on their journey of academic and personal growth in Elizabeth Hayes School.


This week, I received many nominations for 2020 captain positions.  By the end of term, nominees will submit evidence to support their initial nomination to Ms Butterworth (Acting Principal) of their own commitment and engagement to wide aspects of college life in the Raising the Bar Leadership Program.   Their enthusiasm, pride, and commitment deserves celebrating.  In fact, the cohort is demonstrating leadership in so many ways that we acknowledge and celebrate.


In our year level meeting today we celebrated as a cohort the enthusiastic committees of girls who are demonstrating leadership and initiative in the Outreach Below the Line Day to raise awareness of poverty, Peer Support initiatives, Z Club, and anti-bullying groups.  In college cultural life, a team of Year 11 captains is leading the way in running regular Junior Drama Club, Theatresports, and Drama X groups, while others lead as role models in Art club, FCIP choir, and sport.


 I decided to ask teachers their feedback on aspects to celebrate:


Mr Joshua White on returning from Interschool CAASA competitions applauded the Year 11s as showing excellent leadership and participation in sports.


Mrs Amanda Bopf (Learning Area Advisor Humanities) celebrated that the Year 11s were trailblazers and pioneers of the new system who have forged ahead positively with their studies.

So I asked the students what merited celebration and interestingly the comments were focussed on curriculum and their growth as a cohort:

We are the trailblazers of ATAR. 

Emma Richards

We celebrate how well we transitioned to Senior School. 

Ella Blazak

We are halfway through Year 11.  So weird! 

Megan Ellis  

Finishing Unit 1.  Sarah Galvin,  and Starting Unit 2.  

Maddie Ellis

We are united and all came together as one.   Because the work is harder we support each other more, like in study groups.  We can have a genuine conversation with anyone.  Each girl has grown as a person and together we have grown as a cohort.

Amy Turner, Olivia Searle, Chantelle McEvoy, Charlotte Andrew,

Maddie Ellis, Chloe Winstanley, Jaide Boccalatte, Bianca Duncan.

Congratulations, girls, as you develop into young women who are in control of making informed decisions, giving your best efforts, and taking control of changing strategies to achieve success.   You have deserved a holiday, so refresh, re-energise, and be ready for the next part of your senior journey.   Return to Term 3 ready to take part wholeheartedly in the  next phase of your learning, contributions as leaders across college initiatives and events, the Athletics Carnival in Week 1, and the Cultural Festival at the end of term. 

Karen Farrow



Conversation Starters

What strategies have you employed to be an independent learner?

In what ways do you feel you have grown?

How involved are you in college life and how could you show your leadership? 

How can I as a parent help you to achieve your very best?

Year 12 Pastoral Guardian

Celebrating Goal Setting

Regardless of your daughter’s ability at school, her performance in Year 12 may be hindered by feeling overwhelmed.  The most important strategy is to keep an open dialogue with your daughter and encourage her to take ownership of her future.  At this time in your daughter’s life, you need to be positive - celebrate achievements (big or small), avoid arguments, and create a united front for her future.


Before sitting down with your daughter, ask yourself, “What do I really want for my daughter?”  Frank and trusting dialogue will benefit the conversation.  Structure discussions around long-term goals and never allow arguments to impede this decision-making.  Although your daughter’s behaviour may not be in line with your expectations during this time, forgive her easily, as you need to get on with the more important issue of her future.


Encourage your daughter to focus on her aspirations and set goals that are salient and realistic.  Set Plan B as students can create alternate pathways in achieving their career goals.  Chat about barriers that may affect her long-term aspirations.  Remember to respect your daughter’s ability to make decisions.  Allow her to speak without interruption.  Remember she will learn and grow more from being part of the decision making process, especially in respecting her ability to work things out.  Having critical thinking skills allows your daughter to ascertain the problem and come up with a solution that is beneficial to her future.  Skills that are essential in making life decisions.


While you may have an alternative opinion, the best tactic to motivate your daughter to understand and maybe take on your opinion is to respect and acknowledge her view.  Listen to your daughter’s perspective: do not react, rather promote a healthy discussion.  Ask questions that will lead and encourage a more realistic look at her decision-making.  If this approach is adopted your daughter will be more open to your suggestions.


Remember to persist and resist short-term arguments.  Think about the goals for your daughter but allow her to establish her own, and revel in the fact that she is able to set realistic benchmarks. Decisions can be emotional, as this will involve change.  Engage an external facilitator, as this may help the decision making process.  Our Careers Guidance Officer, Miss Melissa Loveday, can play an enormous role in this decision making as she can facilitate, and assist in setting Plan B.


For you as a parent, the hope is that your daughter will emerge from her formal education as a responsible, autonomous, and independent young woman, ready to take on the world!


The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child's home.”

William Temple (


Recommendation for Your Daughter's Well-being

Free App to Help You Manage the Stress of Years 12

Year12 can be stressful, especially around exam time and assignment due dates (which seem to coincide!).  Having stress management strategies to call on when needed is essential, not just for this year but also for your daughter's future success and happiness in studies and living.  The Smiling Mind app is a tool that could get her started on learning useful strategies.  This app is free for use online or as a smartphone app.  It is a modern meditation program that guides the user through a series of exercises.  Visit the Smiling Mind website for more information.



As we near the completion of Semester 1 for 2019, the year level's ambience has certainly turned quite reflective, as we all have come to realise we only have, in reality, one and a half terms left.  Personally, I find that this is the time more so than ever we need to be reflecting upon and embracing the Franciscan values our college has ingrained in us - by learning to come together as the senior cohort, being joyful for the completion of assessment and special 'milestones' in the year, being compassionate to not just our year level, but to the whole student cohort, teaching staff, and ourselves, learning that now is the time more so than ever to be of service to the community that truly has helped shape us into the young women we are today.  Through the inevitable struggles and hard times that Year 12 has brought, I personally find solace in placing my faith and trust in our college's patron saints, Saint Francis and Saint Clare.  I hope that I have been able to role-model this feeling of hope, serving as a reminder that we should not spend our time focused on the hard times but, rather, negate those feelings and turn them into ones of positivity and joy.  I wish the sincerest of luck for all Year 12s in regard to the completion of examination this exam block, and would like to express my gratitude to our Pastoral Guardian, Mrs Piper, who has supported the rest of the cohort and me along this pathway that, sadly, is drawing to an end all too soon.

Fiona Hollamby, Liturgy Captain, Greccio 9


Semester 1 of Year 12 has been an extremely busy but incredibly rewarding period of my schooling life. In the space of almost five months, I have had the pleasure of experiencing the Formal, undertaking my position as a student captain, and sadly beginning the very long list of 'lasts' here at Mt A.  By finally reaching the end of Semester 1 - over halfway through the year for us seniors - I am beginning to feel rather excited for what the rest of the year will bring, and beyond.  However, Term 3 is the 'big term', in which we will finally undertake the QCS Examinations, and all of our senior work will be sent off to panel.  So, in preparation for the term ahead, I aim to create an organised and detailed plan of my workload to ensure that I will not be overwhelmed, make a head start on some of my assignments, and catch up on some much needed sleep!

Beth Falzon, Curriculum Captain, Spoleto 6


As exams are done and assignments are turned in, we are reminded of the hard work we’ve put in so far this year, along with the amazing memories we’ve made at our carnivals, school events, and clubs. Closing the middle of the year with Semester 1 makes me look forward to my next and final semester as a high school student.  I’m nervous for Term 3’s Cultural Fest and Term 4’s graduation period, but excited nonetheless.  I’m preparing for Term 3 by relaxing and reflecting on my efforts thus far so I can improve; and, of course, taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for the second year in a row, this time at a more advanced level than before.  My past six months in Year 12 have been spent studying for it, so I hope my efforts will reflect my results.

Laphini Wynne, Greccio 8


Nearing the end of Semester 1, Year 12 has certainly been a challenging yet rewarding first half of our final year at Mount Alvernia College.  Although the work load has been quite overwhelming at times, it is satisfying to know that our ambition, perseverance, and resilience have assisted us along our journey so far.  With exam block soon, students are studying to the best of their abilities, and utilising the opportunities provided, such as weekly study groups.  I wish all the girls good luck in their studies and a very happy holiday! 

Karylle Malana, Villa Spada 8

Counsellor's Corner

The Importance of Mindfulness and Celebration

As we come to the end of a busy term and first semester, it is easy to become bogged-down in the busy-ness of life and to become fatigued.  Just as we become frustrated with our daughters closing off and hiding in their bedrooms, we too can be guilty of being 'too busy' and unavailable when our children and families need us most.  We may forget the importance of being mindful and celebrating the 'little things' in our own and our daughter’s lives.


Various studies have demonstrated the benefits of mindfulness, such as reduced rumination, decrease in levels of stress, improved working memory, reduced emotional reactivity, and increased relationship satisfaction (Davis & Hayes, 2012).  Just like us, our daughters lead busy lives with school and extra-curricular activities.  However, through attentive and meaningful conversations with your child, it can help to foster your parent-child relationship and to build a greater understanding of her worldview.  It can also act as an important model for children who are developing these communication skills in a world of distractions.


Although the way we celebrate may differ, all cultures appear to have an instinctive determination to commemorate significant events, whether this be special milestones, anniversaries, or noteworthy events such as the birth of a child.  However, it is also important that we celebrate personal victories – great and small.  This entails an understanding of our values in life, whether that be love, achievement, kindness, stability, or the like.  Celebrating our daughters' victories helps to strengthen our bond and to improve their self-worth.  Celebrating their successes, whether that be a personal best or making it through a challenging time, helps to bring meaning into our lives and to create positive lasting memories.  It signals to your child that you are aware of her daily challenges and you actively believe in her ability to persevere and thrive.


Being mindful also gives us the grounding to sit with our child when disappointment or perceived failure occurs.  Helping to present these situations to our child as an opportunity for growth is imperative in building their resilience, as Liz mentioned in the last Counsellor’s Corner article.


At the end of term and the beginning of the holidays, keep in mind the following quote from Russian-American writer and philosopher, Ayn Rand:

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”


Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday period!

 Ellie Keane

From the iCentre


Networking Breakfast

This morning saw the inaugural event of the newly formed Mount Alvernia Women's Network (MAWN) - a Networking Breakfast featuring guest speaker Maria Rampa (Alumnae 1981).


Maria addressed the audience of current and former students, as well as parents and staff members, and inspired everyone with words of wisdom gleaned from her professional and personal experiences since leaving the gates of Mt A.

Thanks must go to members of the Parents and Friends Support Network Coordinating Committee for their organisation of the event.  If you would like to be involved in MAWN, please contact the P&FSN ([email protected]).



It Takes a Spark

It Takes a Spark #SparkEdu Conference for teachers and students in Years 4-10 - Bookings are now open for Brisbane (9 August at Mount Alvernia College).


You’re invited to attend It Takes a Spark - the only conference of its type focussing on STEAM for girls and their teachers - a unique experience where teachers and students experience STEAM workshops together with the aim of educating, learning, and growing STEAM leadership within a school.


Places are filling fast so, if you would love the opportunity to attend a conference all about STEAM, book or hold places now!  Contact Ms Clark to register ([email protected]).


Find out more:  IT TAKES A SPARK


Students interested in being a member of the STEAM Team (presenting, hosting, coordinating, etc), please contact Ms Clark.

Junior Study

Please note that Junior Study has now concluded for the term.   It will restart in Week 2 of Term 3 on Tuesday 23 July.   Please advise of any change to your daughter’s enrolment in this program.


Karen Ross, Student Enrichment & Advancement Centre

La Cucina


Friday 14 June

Jen Davissen, Amanda Russell

Monday 17 June

Rachel Browne, Vicky Ferlito

Tuesday 18 June


Wednesday 19 June

Anna McNee

Thursday 20 June

Julie Ingle


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.

Community Notices


Parent Corner