from the principal
Follow us : StAgnesRootyHill
Term: Three | Issue 4 | Date: September 14
During the recent rescue mission in Thailand, the focus was on having a sufficient oxygen supply to sustain the rescuers and the young men during their underwater journey.
Just as the body needs air to survive, so our spirits need the “oxygen” of the Holy Spirit to survive. And when we have a dangerous mission that takes us through dark waters, we need this more than ever. The answer is: prayer.
Jesus modeled prayer. It was the source of all his wisdom and his power. “Jesus departed to the mountains to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve who he also named Apostles.” (Luke 6:12-19)
This was a moment in which Jesus was going to make one of the most important decisions in history. He was identifying the twelve men whom God had chosen to be foundational leaders of the Church.
At important junctures in our lives we forget, sometimes, to spend long periods of time in prayer—to discern God’s will and to become aware of his future plans for our lives. Ironically, we spend hours talking, worrying, checking out the Internet, and in other ways try to discern what’s best for us. Jesus set the example. God is our Father who loves us and knows us deeply. He has a plan for the lives of each of us. Do we spend enough time with him, so that we can begin to listen to his voice?
Prayer is a key part of our day at St Agnes, we are unified daily by the Angelus bells – we take time to stop, reflect and spend time with God.
PDSSSC Basketball Gala Day
Staff Development Day
State Rugby League Finals
Year 8 Aline Wetlands excursion
Year 8 Bline Wetlands excursion
Feast of St Francis of Assisi Mass/Multicultural Celebrations/Colour Run Walkathon
Year 9 English - Macbeth
END OF TERM 3
from the assistant principal
Attendance at school provides children with opportunities to develop the basic skills for learning, and assists in the development of social skills including communication, self-esteem, teamwork and friendship building. There can be little argument with this statement. Attendance at school does not guarantee engagement with the work but it is an essential feature of learning.
We know, of course, that regular attendance assists learning. But what has not been able to be measured up until now is how large an effect absence has on learning.
The Australian Government recently conducted a detailed study of the relationship between attendance at school and student achievement. Some of the findings were:
achievement on NAPLAN tests declined with any absence from school and continued to decline as absence rates increased. The data strongly suggests that every day of attendance in school contributes towards a child’s learning,
There is no “safe” threshold. The effects of absence also accumulate over time. Absence from school was related to lower achievement in numeracy, reading and writing not only in the current year, but in future years as well.
Unauthorised absences had a significantly greater effect on achievement than authorised absence. Even small amounts of unauthorised absence from school were associated with substantial falls in average NAPLAN test scores.
Improvements in absence rates over time, particularly for unauthorised absences, protected students from falling further behind and in some cases were related to improvements in NAPLAN scores.
We know that absence from school is due to a number of factors and may at times be unavoidable due to illness or complex family situations. We also know that low attendance rates are a strong indicator of a student at risk.
Now that it is clear that any absence (authorised or not) has an effect on learning, we need to work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for students. Parents need to understand that when their child misses school it can have an ongoing impact on their learning. The college wants to support parents and provide opportunities for students to catch up when they have missed work. Some examples that we provide are Maths help and Homework and Assignment help that occur after school.
We will also provide more visible recognition of students with high attendance levels and more regular contact and follow up with families where attendance rates are below 95%.
One day of absence per fortnight (90% attendance) means a student misses 4 weeks of school a year. Across all years of school this equates to an entire school year lost. Every 5% increase in absence equals another 2 weeks of school lost per year. These effects accumulate over time.
A student with an attendance rate of 85% would have missed 6 weeks of school and across all years would equate to almost 2 years of schooling lost.
Every day counts.
Catholic High School
Ph: 02 8882 0700
Fax: 02 8882 0790
St Clare's Catholic
175 Buckwell Drive
Ph: 02 9835 2466
Fax: 02 9835 2539
91 North Parade
Ph: 8882 9500
Fax: 02 9832 1839
I’d like to formally acknowledge the Student Catechists for 2018: Back: Callandra Jane, Anella Saco, Abigail Morales, Katelyn Leonardo, Chanel Saliba, Micah Fernandez, Vanie Barcelon & Angelene Concepcion
Front: Nera Pulido, Aaliyah Villanueva, Avrielle Pulido, Mari Cuasay and Kiera Everingham
Missing: Rhiannon Soans
Last Friday, Ms Henderson and I had the pleasure of witnessing 16 of our Year 10 Catechists acknowledged and thanked for their ministry as Special Religious Educators (SRE) at the Good Shepherd Parish Plumpton along with hundreds of students, SRE volunteers and members of the Diocese of Parramatta. The homily by Bishop Vincent has been in my mind since then as it was centered around the story of St Francis of Assisi and God’s calling for him to
rebuild my church.
The following passage is from Bonaventure's Life of Francis:
“One day when Francis went out to meditate in the
ields he was passing by the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse because of extreme age. Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray.
Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation as he
prayed. While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord's cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: 'Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.'
Trembling with fear, Francis was amazed at the sound of this astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church; and as he received in his heart the power of the divine words, he fell into a state of ecstasy. Returning finally to his senses, he prepared to put his whole heart into obeying the command he had received. He began zealously to repair the church materially, although the principle intention of the words referred to that Church which Christ purchased with his own blood, as the Holy Spirit afterward made him realize....”
Although St Francis took these instructions quite literally, Bishop Vincent creatively linked this same calling to the work of Catechists as the work of building the church through education, stories and our constant invitation to others to experience “the fragrance of the Catholic faith”.
Since Term 1 Week 6 every Tuesday morning, I accompany the Student Catechists on a nice 15 minute walk
to Eastern Creek Public School. This is one of my favourite parts of the week as I take this opportunity to get to know these lovely students with (mostly) the sun in our eyes but with a step in our stride. They have been blessed with wonderful SRE teachers who have held their hand and gently walked alongside them as Catechists; with ample opportunities to observe and teach their own lessons and room to be creative and innovative. These students have shown unwavering commitment to this ministry with a love for teaching children the Catholic faith. I am honoured to witness their dedication to spread the joy and richness of our faith and can only pray they continue to travel on this journey of discovering in a deeper way the love of Christ.
Our Catechist Journey
The purpose of being an SRE Catechist is to be able to express your understanding of faith to younger children and this is a journey we take with at least 43 students from Eastern Creek Public School every Tuesday morning. Before we go for the walk, we always read the Prayer for Catechists as it gently reminds us of the special role we play for our school community. We were drawn to this ministry because it was an opportunity to share our faith to children in our community. In preparing our lessons, we work together to ensure that we capture the Church’s teachings and the meaning of the Scripture passage that has allowed us to firstly reflect on how Jesus is speaking in our own lives and how we live this out.
As Catechists, providing the students with proper and well structured lessons on the Catholic faith so that they are able to interpret God’s message for them into their own understanding is challenging at times, but as soon we ask them questions on the topic, they surprisingly have their answers ready to go, this is how we know that they have understood what we have taught. We welcome all their questions because it shows us that they are thinking about how God is moving in their lives.
Every week when we recap from the last week’s lesson, they remember everything. Every student bounces off each other and everyone’s hands go up to tell us what they have learnt the previous lesson. The class is very welcoming as the students listen to everything we say. At times when they are noisy and you ask them politely to be quiet the room becomes pin drop silent. The respect and relationship that we have built between the students is very positive, and we know this as a Catechist because after each lesson we have at least 15 students come up and talk to us. We’ve learnt that being a Catechist is not just about teaching the faith, but it also reminds us that we are part of a community where faith can be shared between young people in a creative and engaging way.
Teaching them each week has been a joy because we know they’ve learnt something more about the love of God. Our teaching methods include worksheets and PowerPoint presentations as we have noticed that they enjoy visuals over just bookwork. Animations and imagery also assist in their understanding of Scripture as we include symbols and questions on the screen to help them reflect on how our faith links to their own life.
We enjoy walking to Eastern Creek Public School every Tuesday morning, as we have this wonderful opportunity to share our faith and model this through respect for one another. Being a Catechist has been an eye opening experience this year because we too are able to learn something from them about the love of Jesus and our place in the church.
By Callandra Jane & Anella Saco
Year 10 Catechists – Eastern Creek Public School
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION REPORT
In light of St Francis’ experience as he began “zealously to repair the church”, the Young Christian Students (YCS) St Agnes group have responded to this same calling and is now part of our social justice culture and meets every Wednesday in the Prayer Room. This is a student led organisation that is strongly supported by Bishop Vincent and is held in high regard as an active way for students to meet, discuss, reflect and act on social issues they feel passionate about. As we’re only at the beginning of our YCS journey, 6 students have already courageously
stepped up to be St Agnes YCS leaders and it is with pleasure that I introduce to you our newly appointed St Agnes YCS Leaders: (Year 7) Amarra Bumactao, Joleanne Magallanes & Jon Timbol and (Year 9) Farida
Zaheer, Marc Cuasay and Alecksandra Favor.
We are officially one of many schools in the Diocese of Parramatta who have embraced the mission of YCS and I look forward to watching this group grow to be active and compassionate builders of the church. All students are invited to attend YCS meetings every Wednesday in the Prayer Room. For more information about YCS, visit the official website at https://www.aycs.org.au/. Very exciting times ahead for St Agnes!
The social justice culture at St Agnes continues to be a strong element of our Catholic identity and it is through events such as the Farmers Fundraising (Week 7 4th Sept) that shows just that. With the aim to raise as much money as we could for our struggling Aussie farmers affected by droughts, we responded to this need by hosting a mufti day and bake sale and by coming together for one day, we raised more than $1,400! We even had chickens visit our school for a selfie - thank you Mrs McGovern! I’d like to acknowledge all the students helpers who made this day possible, and the constant support of Ms Raad and Ms Juarez
for coordinating this event.
Farmers Fundraising Helpers:
(Year 7) David Miguel, Beatrix Favor, Melos Kebede, Krish Patel, Camille Aquilizan, Summah Russell, Anthony Israel
(Year 8) Rita El-Ghossein, Nicole Cabalhin, Kayla Montenegro, Emma Johnston
(Year 10) Maddison Harris, Jesse Gonzalez, Anthony Gagliardi, Jorvania Kalepo, Litia Lausii
I’d like to take this opportunity again to thank you for your continued support to our St Agnes WYD pilgrims, whether it is financially or through your prayers as they are in the formation stages of their pilgrimage preparation. It is still not too late to buy raffle tickets and be in the chance to win some amazing prizes and can be purchased at the Front Office or online (details outlined below).
The raffle will be drawn on the 27th October at the Lifted Live event at the St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta forecourt.
The online purchase of raffle tickets, please follow these steps:
Step 1: Visit website www.rafflelink.com.au/wyd2019. (Check out this website for all the cool prizes to be won!)
Step 2: Select the number of tickets ($2 each)
Step 3: Choose “St Agnes” in the school/parish option.
Step 4: Pay online.
As we are continuing to be building blocks for our community through our strong support to the St. Vincent De Paul Winter Appeal through our Winter Wonder Appeal for 2018, with many more donations coming through every week from our staff and students. There is still time to donate until the end of the term so we are also inviting our friends and families to help us gather as many winter items
for those in situations of homelessness.
And lastly, on behalf of all St Agnes staff and students, we’d like to invite all parents, families, friends and our community to join us in celebrating the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi on Wednesday, 26th September with Mass at 9am. We look forward to celebrating our Franciscan Heritage and Spirituality
with you as we “Walk with Christ” together.
Then as now, the call of the Cross remains the challenge of our time. So as the work continues in us, may we all just keep on, keep trying and keep building.
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
that I may carry out, Lord,
Your holy and true command.
Pace e bene,
STAFF DEVELOPMENT DAY
MONDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER
MONDAY 15 OCTOBER Term 4
This will be a planning day focused on preparations for our Stage 6 next year.
We would also like to thank the parents and carers for their support throughout this process as we look forward to continuing our commitment to a strong pedagogy now and into the future.
AUSTRALIAN MATHEMATICS COMPETITION 2018
A number of St Agnes students took part in the Math’s Competition on Thursday 9th August. The Competition tests the student’s problem solving and reasoning skills at a very high standard that reaches beyond their normal curriculum. Congratulations to all students involved, especially the following students who achieved levels of distinction and credit.
Rita El Ghossein
Prince Martin Gonzales
TUESDAYS 2.30-3.30pm in the Library
Since homework is expected to be completed outside of school hours, ‘Homework Club” runs outside of normal teaching hours. The aim of the program is to allow students the opportunity to stay at school to receive support, whilst the homework given to them is still fresh in their minds.
‘Homework Club’ is a program, which encourages students to seek out some initial guidance on what is needed so that they can complete assigned tasks at home. We all know how busy life is, and there is often little time available for parents to sit down and help their children with this crucial first step.
Since the curriculum being taught is also changing so rapidly, in order to keep pace with our ever changing society, many parents often may not understand what is being asked of the students in certain assessments or homework. Many students also lack the skills and motivation needed to get themselves started which is why we offer a ‘Homework Club’ at St Agnes.
On Thursday the 23rd of August Claudia Estrada and Rachel Galacio had the opportunity to experience a day in the Navy.
The event being attended was ”Australian Defence Recruitment” a unique experience, which let them experience things that involved engineering and STEM work. The Defence Force were searching for female volunteers to attend, due to the lack of females in the male-dominated career.
During the day they experienced 6 types of jobs. These were, Technical Engineering, the welding of the transporter’s body. Having the chance to test circuits, fix the plane’s engine, create their own metal shield, test night vision goggles and entering planes (Spata and Hercules). Learning and opening more doors than they knew existed. Coming to the realisation that women had more options than they could of imagined.
The program is highly recommended to female students next year. Especially if you don’t know what you want to be, this experience can help open your eyes. It’s fun and educational about things they don't get to experience in school. Hopefully there would be more than 2 students going in 2019 “Australian Defence Recruitment” day.
CHESS SEMI FINALS
defence force recruitment day
WESTERN SYDNEY GIRLS 9-a-side RUGBY LEAGUE
– PROGRESS THROUGH TO STATE FINALS
PDSSSC Basketball Gala Day
On Monday 3rd September, the Junior and Intermediate Boys Basketball teams played in the PDSSSC Basketball Gala Day, hoping to win to gain qualification to the NSWCCC Championships next term.
The boys were placed in a pool with St Marks, St Bishoy and Gilroy with the winner of the pool progressing to the final against the winners of the other pool.
Both teams won their pool and went trough to the Semi Final against St Andrews. St Agnes played really well in both games but unfortunately went down in both games.
Well done to all students who played. You represented St Agnes with pride.
Recently the St Agnes Under 16’s team participated in a girl’s rugby league carnival comprising of schools around the Western Suburbs area. Schools progressed through to this day after being crowned winners at their respective districts gala day with St Agnes as the Penrith representative.
All games throughout the day were very close, with the girl’s game developing now through a strong pathway system. The quality of skill and technique for teams and individual’s continue to rise each year.
Our first game was against Thomas Reddall, where a hat trick of tries to Otile proved decisive in a 3 tries to 2 victory. We then were up against one of our regular foes from the Penrith area; Dunheved Chifley where we lost this game 5 tries to 4. Otile again crossed the try-line with some exciting play from Raewen allowing her to get her first try of the day too. Tyla crossed twice which was a sign of things to come from an outstanding player who is crucial for our team.
Our final pool game was against Strathfield where we won the game by a try in the end, but a far more comfortable game allowed some key players to rest up for the upcoming semi-finals. Some try-scorers in this game were Katalina, Shahana, Otile and Tyla.
Our semi-final was against Rooty Hill High, the team we played in the grand final of the Penrith Gala Day. The girls needed to stand up for this game as they had some big strong players, and stand up they did. Strong plays from our middle in attack and defence by May, Kathleen and Solo laid on a strong foundation for a commanding win 6 tries to 2, with Tyla crossing for 4 tries!!!
In the Grand Final, we played Dunheved and in another strong display, the girls were crowned champions of the Western Sydney Districts gala day. We won the game 6 tries to 3, with Katalina, Solo and Tyla proving valuable players in the final game crossing for tries.
Well done to all players on the day, and for those girls that filled into the team due to injuries and other commitments. Their efforts allowed us to now progress through to the State Finals for the 3rd year in a row, an outstanding effort considering a lot of the team are under 16 years old.
Ciel Laban, Tyla Amiatu, Raewen Nansen, Taumatina Natini, Christina Tuliatu, Katalina Vave, Kathleen Sikuea, Shahana Lasini-Rite, Solo Tafau, Litia Lausii, Maoputasi Tupua, Leduina Piliae and Otile Manakofua.
Coach: Mr Chavez
This year, St Agnes entered two Frisbee teams into the PDSSSC Competition. Both teams were very strong all the way throughout the season and Team 1 finished 1st in the ladder and Team 2 finished 3rd. Our strongest competition was MCHF, who where always very tough to beat and they provided a very challenging competition. Team 2 made it to the Semi’s but unfortunately went down to MCHF. Team 1 faced MCHF in the final. After a very tough game, with both teams being in the lead multiple times, the score was in our favour at the final whistle, 5-4. It was a great relief to hear the whistle and everyone from St Agnes was very excited.
It was a pleasure to coach both teams in this competition and they displayed so much teamwork and restraint at times, to always represent St Agnes with pride. Congratulations to both teams.
DON'T FORGET TO TAP ON AND TAP OFF THE BUS
Last semester, the Environment Portfolio team at St Agnes Catholic High School applied for a financial grant through the Eco Active Schools’ program from Blacktown City Council. The purpose of applying for this grant was to help fund an environmental project to be undertaken at the school.
Fortunately, we were successful in our application and received the funds that have allowed us to begin our chosen project. The project being undertaken is the implementation of two vertical gardens. These vertical garden structures will house a range of plants and herbs and they also have the added bonus of being mobile, so they can be moved around the school as needed. This will be a beneficial project that all students at St Agnes can enjoy. Not only will it be a beautiful garden feature but it will also be a valuable resource for the Science and Food Technology faculties as they will be able to utilise the plants and herbs as a part of their curriculum.
The Year 7 – 10 Environment Portfolio leaders enjoyed an afternoon of pizza and planting after school in order to help create the amazing vertical garden feature. The structures contain a range of beautiful and practical plants such as succulents, mint, thyme, chilli, lettuce and more. The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to ‘get their hands dirty’ and learn about elements of gardening such as getting the right ratios of potting mix, fertilisers as well as the art of planting. The Environment Portfolio leaders will be the caretakers of the vertical garden structure and will ensure that it remains a vibrant, healthy resource for all of our students to enjoy.
Mrs Cruickshank and Mrs Devine
Environment Portfolio Mentors
Environment Portfolio Leaders
This Term Year 7 students in Visual Art have been learning about art styles and processes through the genre of portraiture.
Students have enjoyed developing their techniques in this area and have been open to experimenting and trying new art practices.
Teachers of Visual Art have been impressed with their enthusiasm, talent and ability to embrace new ways of making art in response to this subject.
Here is a little a selection of some of their portrait to date.
YEAR 7 VISUAL ARTS
The school uniform shop is open on Mondays between 8:00am and 12:00pm,
and Wednesdays between 12:00pm and 4:00pm
SHOP ONLINE AT
SYDNEY DESIGN SCHOOL OPEN DAY
Saturday 3 November 10am - 12pm / Location Level 2, 40 Oxley Street St Leonards
If you’re passionate about becoming an Interior Designer or Interior Decorator, bring your friend and family.
Immerse yourself in the exciting world of interior design and get creative building your own moodboard. To attend, register your details here
Catholic High School
Ph: 02 8882 0700
Fax: 02 8882 0799
St Clare's Catholic
175 Buckwell Drive
Ph: 02 9835 2466
Fax: 02 9835 2539
91 North Parade
Ph: 8882 9500
Fax: 02 9832 1839
Plenary 2020 Information and Training
Learn about the Australian Catholic Bishops Plenary Council’s impact on you. Receive support to share the Plenary invitation with parish, friends and family.
· 20 September, 7pm-9.30pm, Parramatta Cathedral Hall
· 29 September, 10am-12.30pm, St Thomas Aquinas Springwood School Hall (168 Hawkesbury Rd)
· 29 September, 2pm-4.30pm, Emu Plains School Hall (17 Troy Street)
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org 8838 3460 with date, time and parish/agency.
Save the Date – Seminar for Couples Hoping to Conceive
Date: 11 November 2018. Waiting for Gabriel is an information afternoon. You’ll hear testimonies and learn about natural options which assist fertility. For more information contact Natural Fertility Services, Diocese of Parramatta email@example.com 0400 427 605
Liturgy Conference 2018
Date: 10 November 2018. Keynote Speaker: Fr Peter Williams Vicar General from the Diocese of Parramatta. Tickets are now on sale. For tickets and a full list of workshops go to parracatholic.org/liturgyconference2018. Cost $30 - includes lunch.
St Vincent de Paul DROUGHT APPEAL
Help support struggling rural communities facing tough drought
conditions. Help individuals and communities across NSW in three ways:
· Provide immediate relief through food assistance and other household bill payments
· Fund the delivery of water and animal feed by partner organisations
· Organise social events for rural communities to come together and find support
Donations can be made by calling 13 18 12, www.vinnies.org.au/drought or at any local Vinnies Shop.
Kimberley Catholic Volunteer Service
Volunteers wanted – Finance Officer and Property Manager. The Diocese of Broome, Western Australia requires volunteers to assist with the work of the local Church in the Kimberley. There are various important voluntary tasks: administration, building maintenance, gardening, shop staffing, cooking, cleaning etc. Placements are preferred for a period of six months. We are currently seeking volunteers for several parishes including Broome, Balgo, Kalumburu and Bidyadanga. For further details on how to be a part of this unique experience, and an application form, please contact Anneliese Rohr via 08 9192 1060 and firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Web: www.broomediocese.org.
Grief to Grace – Healing the Wounds of Abuse
This is a spiritual retreat for anyone who has suffered degradation or violation through physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual abuse. The retreat will be held May 26 – 31 2019. To request an application contact Anne by emailing email@example.com or phone 0478599241. For more information visit www.grieftograce.org
FROM THE BISHOPS OFFICE
9 Adelaide Street
Ph: 02 9625 8404
23 Nelson Street
Mt Druitt South
Ph: 02 9625 8847
254 Luxford Road
Ph: 02 9628 7272
St John Vianney's
17 Cameron Street
Ph: 02 9622 3426