News & Views

16 August 2018
Issue 13
Quick Dates
From the Desk of  the Principal
Deputy Principal Student Development
Deputy Principal Staff Development
Year 11 Visual Arts in Practice
Indigenous Art Workshop
Year 9 Art GOMA Excursion
Queensland Catholic Colleges Music Festival
FCIP Rock Band
La Cucina
Community Notices
Mount Alvernia College
07 3357 6000
82 Cremorne Road
Kedron, Qld, 4031

Quick Dates

Week 5/6, Term 3

Friday 17 August

Queensland Catholic Schools and Colleges Music Festival (continues to Sunday)

Year 10 Hospitality - Barista course

Monday 20 August

CaSSSA Athletics Carnival (Years 7 and 9 to attend)

Tuesday 21 August

1.50pm  Year 8 Dancing - LG 1, 2, 7 (Padua)

6.30pm  P&FSN Meeting (Delamore Room)

Wednesday 22 August

P.A.R.T.Y. Program - some Year 11 (RBWH)

Thursday 23 August

8.50am  Brainstorm Verbal Combat - Year 8

11.30am  House Mass - Rieti, Spoleto, Villa Spada


From the Desk of  the Principal

Thought for the Week

All will, in the end, be well.

Mary MacKillop 1883


Dear Parents and Carers, Staff and Students, and Friends of Mount Alvernia College


I hope that you enjoyed that rare treat – a public holiday in the middle of a week.  The weather was beautiful for whatever you were doing.  The weather is beautiful at this time of the year and it was good to have an extra day to enjoy it.


I arrived back on Monday from the Yarning Up trip to Lockhart River on Cape York.  Both flights into the town and out of the town were uneventful, which was pleasing as we flew in very small propeller planes.  On the way up, the sky was very cloudy so the view was disappointing.  However, the plane we flew back from Lockhart River was a small ten-seater aircraft.  While it was small, it was a smooth ride at 25000-feet cruising altitude.  The view of the coastline and the Great Barrier Reef was amazing, and it was a treat to see the beautiful clear waters for most of the time.  The runoff from the cleared areas was obvious, with the waters changing colour from blue to brown.  I am certain that I, like most of us, do not really appreciate the beauty that is our own country.


After my trip, I am more convinced than ever that working for reconciliation with our Indigenous sisters and brothers needs to be at the forefront of our educational outreach programmes.  Over the course of the next while I will be looking at our options for remaining connected with the people I met on the Yarning Up trip.  The school is looking at developing a working garden like ours, so I have already spoken to Jack about options.  Siobhan, the Principal, has invited me to bring some staff and students to work in the school and community, and I know that it would be really worthwhile for all concerned. Students would gain an appreciation of how others live and learn. 

Getting gear into the area is problematic as it is eleven hours by car to Cairns, so gear of all sorts and food of course comes in on barges from Cairns or by aircraft.  When we shopped in the local store, it was clear that the distance meant much more expensive food – at least twice the price of goods in Brisbane. For example, I bought some yoghurt and paid $4 for a $2 tub.  There is also a limited variety of food, though the council does subsidise fruit and vegetables.  All meat arrives frozen and lots of food is tinned.


Getting the students to school is also a challenge; families function very differently from what we have come to expect.  The school provides breakfast and a hot lunch each day, as well as providing a bus to pick up students so they can come to school.


It is clear that most families would love to have work to do rather than the 'sit down' money they receive from the government.  The council is doing a great job with road and house building, but there is so much scope and so much interest in starting up new enterprises.  The situation is made difficult because the community is a closed one; no outsiders are allowed to set up businesses and there are difficulties with accessing training.


More than anything, I was struck by the generosity and kindness of the community.  Indigenous people in this community were welcoming, funny, insightful, and wise, are aware of their issues, and are working to sort themselves out.  They have moved on from the stereotypical handout mentality to making positive decisions for themselves and they make great fried scones.  As one man told me, “Actions speak louder than words”.  St Francis would have approved.


As this is the fifth week of the term, the pace of Teaching and Learning at the College is really ramping up.  Students are really well engaged in their learning and this is pleasing.  Before long the Year 12 OP students will be sitting the QCS Test.  This is the second last time this test will be administered and, as we move into the world of ATAR, life will change for our students once again.  I am satisfied that we have been fully engaged in the process at so many levels.  I am on a Steering Committee at the Curriculum Authority, members of the CLT have been meeting with other Deputies and Assistant Principals, and staff have been attending many and varied workshops to ensure understanding of ATAR and QCE 2020. Change after such a long time is always going to have its teething problems, but I know that we will manage this to best serve the young women at the College.


Peace and all good things



Deputy Principal
Student Development


Being the Deputy Principal who oversees the responsibility for Student Development, I have great opportunities to see our young people in various stages of personal growth.  A lot of the positive development stems from their willingness to be involved in not only their academic studies but in the many aspects of college life that are there for the taking.


On the weekend past, I was delighted to be able to spend the time with our aspiring athletes at the Athletics Camp at Runaway Bay.  What a pleasure it was to see our girls giving 100% to their endeavours and reaping the benefits through their skill development.  Not only that, the spirit of your daughters was infectious, and their capacity to share in each other’s success was true evidence of their respect for self and others.


Yesterday, I joined our Kedron Wavell  RSL liaison students, Clare and Chloe, as we commemorated the Victory in the Pacific Day at Kedron Wavell Services Club.  Not only there as school representatives, Clare and Chloe were joined by Amy Strachan and Ms Holley to form the Mount Alvernia Singers who were amazing in their rendition of Abide with Me.  We are certainly blessed to have students and teachers who are willing to share their talents and commitment with others.


This type of commitment extended to the school playing host to the It Takes a Spark STEM Conference that was also held on the Exhibition holiday.  A rare opportunity for students to experience conference-style learning and presenting, eight of our exceptional learners joined Ms Clark, Mrs Walker, and Mrs Farrow in gaining further skills from the ten other schools which represented at the conference and showcasing their own.  A huge thank you must go to Mr Crump and Ms Clark, who were key organisers within the Steering Committee.  This will be an event that will be repeated in the years ahead due to the opportunity that it provides our girls to recognise that their abilities are a force to be reckoned with. Conferences such as It Takes a Spark  give students a chance to showcase their abilities and engage with like-minded students.


Next weekend another 50 students will partake in the St Vincent de Paul School Sleepout.  With the aim of the Sleepout to allow students to connect on a personal level with the issue of homelessness, the students who have taken up this opportunity will move somewhat closer to understanding the answer to the question, Where do you go, when there is nowhere to go?.  While we do not wish this to be something that any of our students will experience, it is only in knowing the other that they can really learn to appreciate how fortunate their lives are and to be grateful for them.


I sent out an expression of interest for students to sign up to the Public Speaking workshops that we are offering at the end of this term.  What a delight it was to see yet another overwhelming response and the willingness of the girls to grow their skills, whether for the Raise the Bar Leadership Program or for self growth.  This program has run previously in Term 2 and, with the interest expressed for this term’s workshops, we are likely to be looking at running another program in Term 4.  If you haven’t expressed an interest in your daughter attending, then keep an eye out for the Term 4 dates.


Deputy Principal
Staff Development

Mount Alvernia Staff Well Equipped for the New Senior Schooling System

On Monday evening this week, staff continued their preparations for the new senior secondary schooling system that begins implementation in 2019.  There has been significant work done in this area to ensure our staff are well equipped to navigate and implement the new system.  This has included:

  • Planning sessions where staff have developed the new units of work;
  • Mapping of the skill development in every discipline across Years 7 – 12 to maximise student success in the senior context;
  • Twilight learning sessions where staff have unpacked the new system and developed plans accordingly;
  • All key teachers of senior subjects attending professional learning days for their discipline areas;
  • All staff completing online accreditation modules through the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority;  and 
  • A Professional Learning Team established, that focused specifically on building capacity of our staff to become endorsers and confirmers of assessment, and writers and markers of external exams.

These preparations work towards ensuring Mount Alvernia is effectively placed to transition into the new system and maximise success for our students.  It is an exciting time and we as teachers of Mount Alvernia are highly passionate about ensuring our programs of study meet and extend the needs of our students now and into the future.  We are blessed with a team of teachers committed to their professional learning in this field.

Spotlight on Staff

This term we welcomed Roula Abed to the College, who has joined the iCentre team as a Library Assistant.  Roula is employed at the College through the Work and Welcome Program in which Mount Alvernia College has been participating for several years now.  This program has been instrumental in providing refugees and migrants with paid work experience that is funded by the generosity of staff who voluntarily contribute a small amount of their fortnightly pay.

Roula is a mum of two and comes to us from Syria.  She arrived in Australia in 2017 after spending twelve years in Saudi Arabia and six months in Iraq.  She has a background in cake decorating and has had a small business called Fine Sugar.  Roula continues to make delectable and beautifully iced cakes for friends here, and those in the iCentre have already had the opportunity to indulge on some of her amazing creations.  She is also currently studying a Certificate 3 in Home and Community at Kirana College, Chermside.

It is a pleasure to have Roula as part of the community for this term.

Spirit of Assisi Awards

Every year during Catholic Education Week, the Spirit of Assisi Award is bestowed on Mount Alvernia College members – staff and students – who, by their exceptional, life-giving relationships and community presence, lift others in our community through actions and grace.


The simple everyday actions and spirit of all these people ensure that we are connected to one another in our community through simple engagement, such as their smile and commitment to their work that lifts us up.


We congratulate the following recipients for 2018:


Francis School: Megan Darley

Megan always tries to lift the mood in Home Room.  She has a happy disposition and always aims to considers the needs of others.  Megan is a friendly, smiling face who says hello and talks to everyone, no matter who they are.  She truly embodies the Franciscan spirit.


Clare School: Rhianna Janas

Rhianna is a motivator.  She always aims to support others to ensure they do the very best they can.  Rhianna is encouraging, in and out of the classroom, and is a natural leader.  She shows respect and compassion to her peers and is always known as a hard worker.  Rhianna reflects the Franciscan values in all she does in the community.


Elizabeth Hayes School: Chloe Nicol

Chloe is a thoughtful student who is caring and compassionate.  She is a delight to be around and is inclusive with those she encounters.  Chloe approaches her leadership role with focus and dedication.


Gary Horn

Gary shows care for everyone in our community by getting involved in school events and outreach programs.  He is always a friendly face around the college and greets everyone he approaches.  Gary makes the effort to say, “Hi”, or engage in conversation with others.  He is respectful to everyone at the college and always shares in the community spirit.


Sacha Carney

Mrs Carney has a love for teaching that is displayed through her constant positive attitude and willingness to ensure that students understand the content in a way that is fun and interesting.  She continually engages and inspires all the girls in her classes through her bubbly and friendly personality. Mrs Carney is an amazing role model for those within our community.  She is inclusive within the classroom and embodies the Franciscan value of joy in all she does.  Mrs Carney goes above and beyond to ensure her students are enjoying their Mount Alvernia experience.


This will be my final newsletter column for the term as I will be taking some long service leave. Initially I will be heading to Malaysia where I will be spending two weeks training secondary teachers from international schools in Arts Education.  Following from this I will be taking some time in America for a holiday and rest, and will conclude my long service leave with presenting at a conference in Perth at the start of October.  I am looking forward to this time away to develop my practice further and to share the impressive work we do here at Mount Alvernia on the national and international stage.  I look forward to sharing some of my learning with you on my return.


While I am on leave Mrs Kerry Jell will be acting in my position.


All the best for the remainder of the term.

Daniel Crump

Year 11 Visual Arts in Practice

World Press Photo Exhibition

On Thursday 19 July, the Year 11 Visual Arts in Practice class travelled to the Brisbane Powerhouse to visit the World Press Photo Exhibition, in conjunction with this term's unit of Photography.  The annual exhibition portrays the world’s best press photographers, documentary photographers, and photojournalists who have captured an issue or event of tremendous journalistic importance.


We saw photographs capturing a variety of events ranging from wildlife to refugees.  This exhibition features the most intimate, compelling, and controversial images in today’s world.  Some images were quite intense; however, despite this, we came back with a new perspective of life. 


After exploring the exhibition, we concluded the day with a trip to New Farm Park and a walk along the river.  The day was very enjoyable and allowed us to widen our knowledge of not only photography but current events that are occurring in our world today.  On behalf of the class, I'd like to thank Mrs Markwell for organising the day, and everyone else involved in making this day possible.

Laura Kelly

Indigenous Art Workshop

Design Tracks Creative Mentor Program

As a part of Design Tracks Creative Mentor Program, select students from schools across Queensland and Northern New South Wales were invited to attend a three-hour workshop at GOMA with a variety of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers, and curators.


On arrival at the gallery, students were able to partake in a buffet breakfast, including sweet and savoury croissants, ‘fancy’ tea bags, friands, and fruit.


Students were then involved in a 'speed dating' scenario, where they spent approximately seven minutes with each practitioner and spoke about their practice.  Some highlights included Freja from Brisbane curatorial collective Blaklash, Carol McGregor’s possum cloaks stitched with kangaroo sinew, Aurora Liddle-Christie, and prominent contemporary Indigenous artist Tony Albert.


After this, students were treated to a personal tour by the artist Tony Albert of his new exhibition at QAG, Visible.  Some highlights from this experience included the work Brother (our Future) (2013) that examines racial profiling by police in Australia, as well as Aboriginal deaths in custody.  This work included the remnants of a burnt out car, as well as screens projecting newsreel.


Students found this experience extremely inspiring and rewarding, as well as informative about the different creative pathways available to them once their time at Mount Alvernia is over.


Shontaya Jackson and Chloe Bailey

Year 9 Art GOMA Excursion

Curious Affection

It is Australian artist Patricia Piccinini's largest exhibition to date, Curious Affection.   "Known for her imaginative, yet strangely familiar, lifelike hybrid creatures, Piccinini invites us to think about our place in a world where advances in biotechnology and digital technologies are challenging the boundaries of humanity." (taken from


At the end of July, the Year 9 Visual Art class was lucky enough to see this blockbuster exhibition and be inspired and challenged by Piccinini's unusual and thought-provoking pieces.  While the works had been discussed in class prior to the excursion, nothing could prepare students for the large-scale immersive environments filled with strange, hybrid creatures designed to inspire empathy in the viewer. While students found some of these works confronting, they were all engaged with the work on a level not often seen at gallery exhibitions.  Additionally, to have an exhibition of this scale produced by a contemporary Australian female artist is an extremely valuable example for these students to have regarding the success and impact that women can have through a career in the arts.

Students in Year 9 are using the works from Curious Affection to assist them in their Nature’s Little Helpers sculpture designs - based on works in the exhibition.  Additionally, the exhibition provided the starting point for their Responding Task.  We are very excited to see how the girls appropriate these works for their own final pieces, and also how they continue to seek out opportunities to challenge their understanding of 'what is art?' 


Lastly, we were fortunate enough to see the artist at the GOMA Café, where one of our students, Molly Kerr, was brave enough to speak to her about her artwork and ask for Piccinini’s signature; well done, Molly!


Murakami School Visit


Queensland Catholic Colleges Music Festival


Best wishes to our musicians and choristers participating in the Festival this week.  All are welcome to lend their support and enjoy some fine music.  Times are as below:


Thursday 16 August (all at St James, Coorparoo):

Performance Chorale: 5.10pm - Church Hall

Showcase Chorale: 6.30pm - Church Hall

Mount Alvernia Voices: 7.25pm - Church


Friday 17 August (all at Villanova College):

Intermediate String Orchestra: 4.35pm - Augustine Centre

Senior String Orchestra: 6.10pm - Augustine Centre


Saturday 18 August (all at Villanova College):

Intermediate Percussion Ensemble: 9.20am - Augustine Centre

Jazz Combo: 11.20am - Quadrangle Stage

Senior Big Band: 3.50pm - Goold Hall

Senior Percussion Ensemble: 5.05pm - Augustine Centre

Jazz Ensemble: 5.50pm - Tolle Lege (Senior Library)


Sunday 19 August (all at Villanova College):

Intermediate Concert Band: 9.00am - Goold Hall

Rock Band: 10.00am - Quadrangle Stage

Wind Ensemble: 11.10am - Goold Hall

Senior Concert Band: 3.45pm - Augustine Centre

FCIP Rock Band

Four Weeks to Battle of the Rock Bands 2018


La Cucina


Tuesday 21 August

Amalia Drakos, Anna Pezzetta

Thursday 23 August

Jo Holmes, Kathy Leddy


Open from 7.15-9.30am & 10.30am-3.00pm (3.15pm Wednesday).   Staff, parents, and friends are very welcome to drop in for coffee—$3.50; $3 in own cup.


Would you like to volunteer?

We are looking for extra volunteers for La Cucina.  You would only be required to volunteer once a term if possible.  Even if you are able to volunteer for a morning, that is also a great help.


 Thanks in anticipation.  Please direct any enquiries to Cathy at College Reception, ph 3357 6000.

Luisa Scimshaw


Community Notices

St Anthony's School Bush Dance - 25 August


Women's Night of Spirituality - 28 August


Go Music Academy


News & Views
bush dance flyer july v8.pdf
Women's Night of Spirituality.pdf
Go Music.pdf
Battle of the Rock Bands.pdf