Parent Corner

24 August 2018
Issue 7
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
Book Chat Breakfast
La Cucina
Community Notices
Father Daughter BBQ Dinner
Mount Alvernia College
07 3357 6000
82 Cremorne Road
Kedron, Qld, 4031

Quick Dates

Week 6/7, Term 3

Friday 24 August

10.00am  Years 10/11 Music excursion- Queensland Symphony Orchestra

2.00pm  Musica Viva performance - Year 7


Tuesday 28 August

1.50pm  Year 8 Dancing - LG 3, 4, 5, 6  (Padua)


Wednesday 29 August

2.00pm  Brainstorm Wired - Year 11


Thursday 30 August

6.30pm  Year 12 Fashion excursion - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Runway



Deputy Principal
Student Development

Fess up, Face Up, Fix Up, Finished!

Mount Alvernia is on a Restorative Practice journey.  Currently the Pastoral Guardians are managing behavioural issues with a focus on restoring relationships.  “As practitioners, they know that the relationship is at the core of learning and the management of behaviour” (Thorsborne & Vineyard, 2002, p9).  This is the premise of Restorative Practice, and is already proving a fabulous process in ensuring matters affecting community can be dealt with in a positive manner.


In its simplest form, Fess up, Face Up, Fix up, Finished! enables a relational approach to the management of behaviour in the consideration of the following questions:

  • FESS UP:  What has happened?  Who is responsible and accountable for what has happened?
  • FACE UP:  Who is the community of people that has been affected?  What might their needs be? What is the extent of the harm that has been done?
  • FIX UP:  How might we repair that harm?  Who are the best people to do that?  How might we prevent this happening again?
  • FINISHED:  How will we know that the situation has been fixed?  Let’s move on!

Sometimes the difficulty in these situations occurs in trying to get the girls to Fess Up to their inappropriate behaviours.  What we continue to encourage in these incidents is that working through the four stages will mean that the relationships will be restored and issues finished relatively quickly if an individual is able to own her behaviours in the first instant.  Drawn-out processes are not beneficial to anyone, so it is encouraging when girls immediately own their behaviours and we can continue with the process.


In essence a Restorative Practice school is, “a place where victims and wrongdoers and their respective communities of care are active participants in processes that ensure equal justice and fairness.  Victims are empowered through having their experiences validated and having their needs met.  Wrongdoers are able to tell their stories and are given the chance to make amends.  And finally, the community of care can seek ways to ensure that the incident does not happen again.” (Thorsborne & Vineyard, 2002, p8)


For further information about Restorative Practices please visit   or contact your friendly Pastoral Guardians to access the resources that they have available to them.

Annette Butterworth

Year 7 Pastoral Guardian

News from Year 7

Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make someone resilient.  These include a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of useful feedback.  The research further discusses resilient people and their outlook for challenge.  They found that resilient people can challenge themselves by taking small or even large steps outside the square. This enables them to overcome any fears that are present.  In short, resilient people soldier on.  In the main, as young people learned to face the tough times and come back stronger, they were encouraged to have a go, regardless of the fight they put up and they saw failure as a possibility for positive change.


The experience of college life presents challenges through the variety of educational and extracurricular activities.  Some students might be anxious to face challenges such as performing in front of an audience, or being involved in something strenuous such as cross country, even though much dreaming goes into being a famous singer or being a great athlete.  However, they can be reassured that, by taking that little step outside of their comfort zone, considerable positive effects will be evident.  It is proven that it goes a long way to promoting self-confidence, self-esteem, and the realisation of "I CAN DO IT".


At Monday’s CaSSA Athletics Carnival, Mt A performed very well; the great result is due to our girls giving their very best.  More girls having the courage to be involved will ensure future success - 'Because of her we can achieve’.  Additionally, the Cultural Festival at the end of this term will highlight the many talents we have in Year 7.  I would encourage your daughter to give it a go and be involved in the many opportunities for participation, 'Because of her we can achieve’.

Michael Butterworth

Conversation Starters

  • Name an activity in which you were afraid to participate, but would like to give  a try.
  • How can you overcome your fear of trying this activity?
  • What steps would you take?
  • What activity are you doing for Cultural Festival?

Year 8 Pastoral Guardian

Respectful Relationships

This term, Love Bites has been implemented within our personal development program across the whole college.  The Year 8 program focuses on respectful relationships, bullying, and gender stereotypes.  Through discussion and activities, students’ awareness about the forms of violence and inequality within relationships is being raised, along with the attitudes they have already adopted regarding their worth as young women within relationships.  Raising awareness and challenging the pervading gender stereotypes about how girls and boys are meant to behave in relationships is essential for promoting self-worth and self-respect, and for realising potential in current and future friendships/partnerships in life.  Furthermore, the program offers opportunities for the girls to reflect on the healthiness of their own friendships, and to explore appropriate ways to support friends who may be in harmful friendships/relationships.  Watching the news at night only reinforces the need for this proactive program to be taught to help empower our girls to understand and value themselves as individuals, and within their relationships.  So this program offers theory and practical strategies for developing positive relationships, but it is also important to practise these skills in a social setting.


The opportunity to practise respectful, inclusive relationships is being achieved through the Mount Alvernia and Padua Year 8 dance lessons each Tuesday.  The qualified Dance Fever instructors teach the girls and boys a range of modern and traditional dance techniques, and provide opportunities for building positive male/female friendships in a supervised, social environment.  This program also helps to build confidence, self-esteem, communication skills, and better physical coordination skills.  So far, all students have had three lessons, with two more lessons remaining.  On Thursday 20 September, from 7.00-8.30pm, a Year 8 Dance will be held at Padua, as the culminating event for this program. Pencil this night in your diaries, as you will be invited to come into the hall for the last twenty minutes of the night to see the students showcase their new talents!  More specific details about this event will be provided closer to the end of the term.


I hope your daughter is looking forward to a busy, productive and successful final half of Term 3.

Until next time

Jeni Barlow

Conversation Starters

  • What kinds of behaviours from your friends/boyfriend would ‘cross the line’?
  • How would you tell your friend that his/her behaviour has crossed the line and, therefore, threatens the success of the friendship?
  • What gender stereotypes are applied for how males and females should behave in a relationship?
  • How do you feel about these gender stereotypes in relationships?
  • How have you grown as a result of the Year 8 dance lessons?

Year 9 Pastoral Guardian

News from Year 9

Over the last few weeks, all students have read the College Student Protection Policy and Student Procedures in their Student Planner during Home Room.  This information has also been provided to parents in the Silver Pages via the College website or Mount Alvernia mobile app.  During Semester 1, it was pleasing to see that the majority of Year 9 students were abiding by our college procedures and participating appropriately as a Franciscan community.  I am confident that this will continue for the remaining of the year.


On Monday, all Year 9 students attended the Interschool Athletics Carnival.  This was a perfect opportunity for girls to not only spend time chatting, laughing, and enjoying the company of those around them, but more importantly their priority was to focus on supporting the Mount Alvernia Athletics team.  This helps contribute to building positive school spirit and a strong year level culture. Congratulations to all Year 9 students who represented our college by competing during the day, and to all the Year 9 cohort for their enthusiastic and very loud cheers.


Camp is another perfect opportunity for students to swap the classroom and use of technology with the outdoors.  You would have received another email recently with an updated link containing information for Year 9 Camp, held during the first week back next term at Adventure Alternatives Education Centre at Woodford or Kenilworth.  This camp exemplifies our theme for this year: Traffic Light Decision Making, which encourages students to think deeply about the foundation on which their decisions are made.  Over the four days, girls will be challenged to participate in activities outside their comfort zones, foster relationships, and work collaboratively with students outside their friendship group, while building resilience and tolerance.  These activities address the General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum: Personal and Social Competence, Intercultural Understanding, Sustainability, and Critical and Creative Thinking.  On that note, thank you to those families who have already submitted their daughter's permission, medical, and dietary forms online.  There are still outstanding forms that need to be submitted online.  Can I please ask that this is completed this week, to enable the administration procedures to be completed as soon as possible.


As we head to the busy part of the term with drafts and assignments due or exams just around the corner, it is very important for students to maintain a positive mind set.  Part of doing this requires the girls to keep a healthy balance and consider what effective use of time is.  They must be able to remain focused and set realistic goals if they are to achieve their potential.  Many Year 9s have discussed that they are feeling stressed with coping with their school workload and outside commitments.  Students juggle part-time jobs, school, study, homework, family responsibilities, household duties, music lessons, tutoring, sport, exercise, socialising … the list goes on.  We may think that students have everything to be happy about, but research has shown that theirs is actually a generation with the most stress.  If we throw social media into the mix, it is no wonder that they may feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, and panic about completing everything they need to by a set deadline.  It is important for students to learn strategies to cope with the many things they need to do in their day.  This in turn will help them remain on top of their game at school.


Healthy body + Healthy mind = Happy students

Here are some tips that may help to maintain a balance between all your commitments:

  1. A varied and healthy diet – especially breakfast!
  2. Regular exercise – 30 minutes five times a week.  How about a family walk or a walk with the dog or your neighbour’s dog?
  3. Meditation and relaxation
  4. Get organised: prepare a study plan or weekly schedule
  5. Take regular breaks from study – every hour a five-minute stretch and connection with the outside.
  6. Sleep and sign off on ALL SOCIAL MEDIA and TECHNOLOGY.  The same time every night – preferably an hour before bed time.
  7. Have a positive mindset.  Self-talk the positive not the negative.
  8. Listen to music
  9. Ask for help and support
  10. Laugh

Teena Christofis


Conversation Starters

  • What are three things you are looking forward to at camp?
  • Have you recorded your assessment dates and task details in your planner for this term?
  • Have you submitted your subject selection form for Year 10?

Year 10 Pastoral Guardian

Love Bites

As you would be aware, from the beginning of this term the girls throughout the college have been involved in a PD program called Love Bites, considered to be “an extremely successful Respectful Relationships Education Program for young people aged 15-17 years". 


Our students in Year 9 and below are undertaking the junior Love Bites program and the 10-12s are currently covering the Senior program, both programs effectively addressing the issues at an age-appropriate level. 


The program is “based on best practice standards for education programs as recommended by the Federal Government funded Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearing House and other leading academics in the area of violence against women.”


Hopefully this has already provided opportunities for your daughters to come home and discuss with you some of the information covered in their PD classes.  If this hasn’t happened yet, I strongly urge you to ask them some of the following questions:

  • What do you think a respectful relationship involves?
  • What are some early warning signs for relationship violence?
  • Can you tell me a bit about the DVD you watched in PD?
  • What would you do if you noticed that one of your close friends was in an unhealthy relationship?

As both a Pastoral Guardian and a mother of four daughters, I cannot be more pleased to be involved in delivering this program.  It is at times confronting, but so incredibly valuable.  In my class, I asked why they thought we might be covering this program in PD, and their response was unanimous: “Because it is about a topic no one ever really covers and any one of us can be at risk”.  They stated that this is exactly the PD they have been needing.


When recently exploring Myths, Gender, and Relationship Violence, we questioned the statements that "Girls provoke guys into hitting them", and also, "It is easy to break up with someone if they are abusive".  Many of you as parents would be very pleased to hear your daughter’s strong views and thoughts on these topics; however, there were also many questions raised about: "Is there a point when there is too much provocation?", and,"What if someone really loves their partner and can’t see beyond their abusiveness?"  Hence the importance of developing the highly important skills of identifying ‘red flags’ in a relationship and also establishing their own ‘line in the sand’ for how they deserve to be treated.


I strongly recommend that you continue to ask your daughters questions about this program.  It is a terrifying thought that our daughters may find themselves in a potentially devastating relationship, but discussing the problem openly and honestly, and getting more comfortable with being confronted could potentially be a life saver.

Therese Dooley

Year 11 Pastoral Guardian

P.A.R.T.Y. Program

On 28 August, 30 Year 11 students attended the P.A.R.T.Y. program at the Royal Brisbane Hospital.  The injury-prevention program is designed to educate adolescents on the consequences of alcohol and risk-related trauma.  The program is aimed at reducing trauma injuries, disability, and death in young people as this age group is grossly over represented in injury and trauma statistics.  Students who attended this day learnt about the consequences of risk-taking behaviour, enabling the girls to recognise potential injury-producing situations, make prevention-orientated choices, and adopt behaviours that minimise unnecessary risk.


On arrival, the girls met with an amazing group of health professionals and emergency services personnel (eg ambulance officers) involved in trauma.  The girls then followed the typical journey of a trauma patient.  They visited the clinical areas involved in the management of trauma patients, including the Emergency and Orthopaedic Department where educators staged simulations of traumas; this was extremely challenging as the situations were based on real life events.


Following these scenarios, the girls were then taken to the Rehabilitation Department where again professionals, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians, and speech pathologists,  educated the group on the difficult journey of life after a trauma injury.   While at times the information was confronting, the learning activities provided students with a real insight into the effect of poor decision making.


Despite these experiences providing authentic learning opportunities, the stories of two young trauma patients challenged the students, and the choices each makes and encounters in her daily life.  The students listened to a young man who had become a paraplegic due to a history of substance abuse; this connected with the students emotionally as his story related to poor choices made by a young adolescent.  The girls then quietly sat and listened to the story of a father and his daughter who had been in a terrible car accident; while she survived, six years on she is still learning to walk and talk.

Each story resonated with the girls and at times was extremely challenging to hear; however, we need to inform our students.  We need to remind them that, ”Trauma is responsible for 40% of deaths in the 15-25 year age group – but many more youth are disabled as a result of the effects.  Data collected across Australia shows that traumas involving this age group are on the increase and are often preventable.  It is hoped that exposing young people to the possible traumatic consequences of risk-related behaviour will have an impact on the participants’ perceptions of the choices they may make in the future.” ([email protected])  

(For more information, contact the P.A.R.T.Y. Program Office on (07) 3646 1591 Email – [email protected])


To Mrs Debra Evans, Mrs Therese Dooley, and Ms Liz Marlay who accompanied the girls on the excursion, thank you.  Your support was greatly appreciated.  Finally, thank you to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Ms Annette Butterworth for her organisation of this worthwhile learning experience, as the only way to change mindsets is education, education, ... and more education.

Bridget Piper

Student Reflections


The day was a steep learning curve and was really worthwhile.  It made me think about what actions I take and how they can affect the rest of my life.   Amy Campbell


The day made me look at the actions I take and how the consequences effect not just you but everyone around you.   Zoe Webb


I think it was a really good experience and opened up my mind to what really can happen.  The stories were confronting but they put everything into perspective.   Kelsey Sologinkin


The program was an eye opening experience as what hospital and health professionals have to do as a result poor choices.  It was a valuable learning experience.   Georgia Lawson

Year 12 Pastoral Guardian

Congratulations, Parents and Carers


You have been working hard as parents and carers, I am sure, supporting your daughters in every way through a term, or should I say a final year, of steady study and balancing life commitments.  All too soon you will have the reward, sense of achievement, and pride in your daughter’s milestone of graduation.  Life beyond school is now starting to be tangible as students attend QTAC interviews, receive OP predictions, make choices, and consider pathways to reach their dream courses or jobs. 


In such a busy term, it is important for your daughter to realise that she needs to allow herself time for self -care and balance.  Encourage her to take personal time out to connect with friends and family, exercise, or spend time outside.  Friends and family, at this time, are such important support networks to build positivity, reassurance, and confidence.  To support the awareness of  self-care, Tania Henry, College Counsellor, will be running a session on managing stress at our next year level meeting before exams.


On the Personal Development front, I have heard from PD teachers that Year 12s have been engaging maturely and positively with the Love Bites program, based on establishing healthy relationships.  Please ask your daughter about the discussions and reflections in this pertinent personal development program facilitated by our counsellors. 


On 4 and 5 September, many students will sit the QCS Test, for which they are well prepared.  We wish the girls success.  On these days the non-QCS students are engaged in an alternative ongoing Life Skills Program.  On 6 September, all Year 12s will attend our tradition of a Celebration of Learning Breakfast as an opportunity to celebrate and connect as a whole year level cohort.  Students in past years have commented on how pleasant this event was just to spend time with one another to celebrate. 


The Year 12s celebrated their last Athletics Carnival early in the term with great participation, energy, and spirit.  It is these special college events that girls remember well after they have graduated.  Another celebration that the Year 12s are looking forward to is their final Cultural Festival.  The Cultural Committee has been creatively planning and House Captains have been dynamically leading their houses in rehearsals for whole house dances.  Other students are preparing for the role as Sony Camp volunteers in the holidays, demonstrating  an outstanding commitment to Outreach.

Life for 12s at the moment seems a mixture of the challenge and focus on study and assignments, the last celebrations, and the excitement of end-of-year graduation in November.  The 'graduation' word is floating around often as I walk through the Year 12 area as students count down their days towards adulthood.  Recently, all Year 12s were excited to try on sizes for their graduation rings that will be presented at Graduation, and we have started collecting photos from over their years at Mount Alvernia, sparking memories.


Within all of this anticipation, I remind students to stay focused and to keep working hard to improve their results until the very end of their studies, as they are in charge of their futures by the choices they make today.  I also remind them to continue to set high standards of presentation and behaviour as role models for younger students who look up to all Year 12s as college leaders.


You will be receiving an email before the end of term outlining important information about QCS, the Transition Program for Personal Development, and graduation events.


I realise how proud you must be of the delightful young woman your daughter has become, and encourage you to contact me with any questions you have about the final months of your daughter’s schooling.

Karen Farrow


Student Reflections

Each others’ support is what gets us through extremely stressful times.   Bella Chapman

My family and food gets me through busy times in Year 12.   Shimea Toomey

Music helps me to relax when I am stressed.   Celeste Ponticello

Getting enough sleep really helps me.    Sara-Jane Mowbray

Looking forward to weekends with friends gets us through.    Mikella Esposito

Teachers are really supportive in helping out of their time.    Abbie Mann

The Love Bites PD program is eye opening and is helping girls who may be in unhealthy relationships.

 Angeline Kerrigan

The Love Bites Program is interesting as we get to see everyone’s opinions and that opens our eyes to what everyone is doing.   Madi Dillon

The consent section in the Love Bites Program is important to know at an earlier age.   Ella Boxall

Conversation Starters

  • In what discussions have you been engaged in PD?
  • What strategies of self-care are you using to help you through the exam block?
  • How can I best support you?


Odette Jonelynas has been awarded an Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Education Award, in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement at school and her impressive presentation before the Army Officer Selection Board.  Odette aims to study Electronic Engineering at ADFA.  We wish her well for the final stages of her selection to ADFA.


Counsellors' Corner

Handy Hints

I would first like to say how happy I am to be back at Mount Alvernia after working away for the year in an international school in Malaysia.  Sometimes it takes time away to reflect and realise how wonderful home is.  We really are lucky to be a part of a school community with such strong and guiding values.  I am incredibly grateful at the moment for the blue skies, the delightful manners of your daughters (thanks to you!), and friendly familiar faces.  I must say it is nice to see the vegetable garden and rose bushes blooming too!


We have had a lot of change in the Counselling Department this year.  We have said goodbye to Lorraine Slaven and Lisa Farrow, who have taken up new positions, and the College community has warmly welcomed Liz Marley and me.  I am really enjoying working with Liz, who has much to offer our college as a teacher and social worker with previous experience at both Child and Youth Mental Health Service and Barrett Adolescent Centre.


As it is now Week 6 in Term 3, your girls have many assignments due, exams approaching, and Cultural Festival dances to learn.  With some girls feeling a pressure to run on fast forward, Liz and I have been talking a lot in the counselling room about the importance of self-care and respecting moments each day to slow down.  I spoke to one student today about how the to-do list is never actually complete, and how she needed to create boundaries with her time to ensure a balance of work, rest, and play.  As adults we too need to remind ourselves of this too!


In busy times I remind students of the importance of rest, food, and sleep to fuel the body, and I have listed below the strategies I often share with my students.  You may like to share these with your daughter also:

  • Eat well and plentiful to fuel your mind and body, and enhance performance.  Adolescence is a time of rapid growth hormonally, socially, cognitively, and physically and, just like a car needs fuel, your body needs food to function.  Eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nutritional snacks ensures that your body gets the fuel it needs to perform daily tasks such as school work, socialising, exercising, and managing your moods.  Iron deficiencies are very common in pubescent girls, and can lead to symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and irritability.  If your daughter is displaying any of these symptoms, I recommend taking her along to the GP for a health check.
  • Move your body for energy.  Any form of exercise, especially aerobic, will improve your concentration, attention, focus, and mood.  It will also help you to sleep at night!  Pick something you love to do like yoga, walking the dog, dancing, and/or kicking a ball with friends, and try and do something small every day.
  • Sleep to recharge.  It is recommended that adolescents receive ten hours' sleep per night to ensure optimal cognitive, emotional, and academic functioning.  For optimal sleep, I remind the girls to put away all technology and schoolwork one hour before bed to give the brain a chance to relax and the sleep hormone melatonin to release.  I encourage the girls to read, write in a diary, play with a pet, take a shower, or just connect with family during their pre-bed routine. That way when they get into bed they are already relaxed and their minds won’t take forever to switch off!
  • Relax for at least five minutes a day.  In a busy day the girls often tell me that they feel on edge, unable to relax, and constantly worried about their ever growing to-do list.  In an attempt to break this pattern, I encourage my girls to stop each day and do nothing for at least five purposeful minutes - they can sit in nature, in their rooms, or anywhere really, just as long as they do nothing for five minutes - off their phones and technology.


Without rest, movement, and fuel your daughters cannot function to the best of their ability and they will be less likely to cope with the demands and stresses of everyday life.  So over the next few weeks I hope you can work together with your daughters to ensure that they are performing to the best of their ability by helping them get enough sleep, food, and movement in their day.


If you have any concerns about how your daughter is coping with any of the things discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Liz Marley or me on [email protected] or on 3357 6000.


I wish your daughters luck for the rest of Term 3!

Tania Henry

Book Chat Breakfast

iCentre Event


La Cucina


Friday 24 August

Kristin Purvis, Melanie Horswill


Tuesday 28 August

Danielle Spark, Sarina Puglisi

Wednesday 29 August

Renay Green, Julie Wilson

Thursday 30 August

Natalie Mills


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.


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

Community Notices




Father Daughter BBQ Dinner

You're Invited

The Parents and Friends Support Network is happy to announce details of this annual celebration.



Parent Corner