St Agnes Catholic High School

May Newsletter - Term 2, Week 6 2021

From the Principal

National Reconciliation Week (May 27-June3) allows all Australians to focus on and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements. It is also a time to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. 

The dates are the same each year and commemorate TWO significant milestones in the journey of reconciliation. May 27 was the day of the 1967 referendum which had the highest YES vote in history. It sent a clear message to the Government of the desire for equality. June 3, 1992 saw the Australian High Court deliver the Mabo decision which acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of lands. This decision paved the way for the Native Title Act (1993). 

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians to create a nation strengthened by respectful relationships. 

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action”, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action. Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians - as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation.

Assistant Principal - School Culture 

I am delighted to advise that Mr Gavin Hilder has been appointed to this role while Mr Wolffe is on leave through 2021. Mr Hilder is highly committed to the St Agnes community and looking forward to working with students, staff, families and the wider community. 

Head of Mission

I am delighted to advise that Mr Patrick Madigan has been appointed to this role as Mrs Mary Reyes has accepted a position at Our Lady of Mercy Parramatta.

Year 11 and 12

Please be aware that Year 12 students are coming to the end of their coursework and their Trial exams begin Term 3, Week 3. Before this, many students have major works that are due that contribute to their final HSC. Similarly, Year 11 students are more than half way through their courses as their Preliminary Exam block occurs late Term 3. A practical way to support them is ensuring that they have a dedicated quiet time and space each evening to complete work and study. 

Lisa-Maree Browning



2 JuneSoccer Gala Day
4 JuneCSDA debating competition
7 - 11 JuneYear 11/2022 Online Subject Preferences
8 JuneYear 11 Biology Penrith Lakes Excursion
9 JuneCSDA debating competition Elimination 2, Year 12 Advanced English Excursion
11 JuneCSDA Debating Competition Playoffs, St Agnes Day - Feast of the Sacred Heart
14 JuneQueens Birthday Public Holiday
16 JuneCSDA debating competition Elimination 1
18 JuneCSDA debating competition Elimination 2
23 JuneYears 7 - 10 Student Led Conferences 3pm - 5:30pm
24 JuneYears 7 - 10 Student Led Conferences 8:15 - 2:25pm, 
25 JuneStaff Spirituality Day - No school for students
25 June - 9 JulySchool Holidays
5 - 9 JulyYear 12 Study Week
12 JulyTerm 3 Commences
16 JulyAthletics Carnival, CSDA debating competition Quarter Final

From the Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

We are now officially over half way through the term and the students are rather busy with learning; in class and at home by completing their homework and assessment tasks.

NAPLAN testing recently took place for all Year 7 and 9 students. Whilst we had a few technical glitches, overall the experience was positive for all concerned. At St Agnes, we utilise a number of measures to assess literacy and numeracy skills which are critical for ongoing learning. NAPLAN is just one of these testing measures which help us gain a complete picture of our students.

The Year 10 students are well and truly in the process of considering the best pathway for them to take in Stage 6. The students have already had an overview session (with their parents) and also, a specific meeting about what it means to be an active learner in Stage 6. The next steps are:

  • A meeting to discuss English, Religion, Mathematics, and VET (28th May);
  • Year 10 Market Afternoon (4th June p4 and p5). This is where the students will be able to speak with all Leaders of Learning/class teachers about subjects on offer here and at CathWest. They will also be completing the NESA Mandated Programme, All My Own Work.
  • Friday 11th June. The students must submit their online preferences by 2.25 pm

2021 HSC Study Support @ Max Webber Library, Blacktown 

1st June - 9th June 2021

This will be held at the Library Function Centre and three HSC Lectures are on offer: 

1) Preparation for the Mathematics - Standard HSC examination Tuesday 1 June, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm 

2) HSC English Human Experiences - Paper 1 Common Paper, Standard and Advanced Monday 7 June, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm 

3) Biology Wednesday 9 June, 5:30 - 7:30 pm 

All tickets are $10. Due to COVID restrictions, tickets are limited to 40 places. Purchase tickets through Eventbrite in the ‘What’s On’ section of the Library’s website:

Tell Them From Me (TTFM) Survey

We encourage parents and carers in our community to complete the online Tell Them From Me (TTFM) survey, which will open on Monday 31st May and close on Friday 25th June.

These surveys provide CEDP with information about school life, how engaged students are with school, and the different ways that teachers interact with them. They measure such topics as emotional and social well-being, physical health, and behaviours and attitudes linked to student success.

Your link to participate will be sent to you by email and/or through Skoolbag. The surveys are anonymous and optional. Students will complete the student survey during school hours - if you would prefer that your child/children not participate, please contact the school for the relevant form.

If you need more information, please contact the school.

Study Skills Tip for May – Set Times for Home Learning

Parents: Many students come home from school and end up just waiting until they might ‘feel’ like doing schoolwork. Or else they drag everything out over the whole night. A much better way is each night to have set allocated times for home learning. Many students find that learning in 20-30 minute blocks works well for them. During this time students should do homework first, then work on any assignments or upcoming tests, then use the rest of the time allocated for schoolwork to complete independent learning activities such as reviewing work they find difficult, making study notes or doing practice questions to build their skills. All distractions should be removed during this time, so students learn to focus for 20-30 minute blocks of time. It is a great idea to make a timetable of the home learning and place it on the fridge, so everyone is clear when students are focusing and when they are doing other activities or having free time.

Some of the benefits for students of having set times allocated for home learning are:

  • You are more likely to learn at home if you know when to start and when to end.

  • You will be more effective when you remove distractions and learn to focus for 20-30 minute blocks.

  • In all the times NOT allocated to schoolwork, you can do whatever you like without feeling guilty about it.

  • Having set times stops arguments between students and parents as everyone has agreed when the time slots allocated to students will be.

  • You know that you are definitely doing enough work for school.

  • Keeping your home learning and personal life separate means you will be able to manage all of the distractions in your life and still complete your work for school.

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Mr Kemmis
Assistant Principal - Learning Transformation

Subject Selection Talks

From the Assistant Principal - School Culture

St Agnes is a school which offers so many opportunities for your children to succeed. Earlier this term I was able to address the school during a whole school assembly and my focus was on making sure that each student took advantage of this. I challenged the students to use their talents and to try their best each and every day. In theory this is such an easy concept, but the reality is that standing out and trying your best with the option of failure can be daunting. Please talk with your children about this and encourage them to be willing to put themselves out there and try hard in all aspects of school life.

Enrichment Learning Period (ELP) runs each Thursday during period 5. During this time St Agnes has students represent the school in our PDSSSC Sports competitions (This term being Rugby League and Soccer) as well as school based options to excel in areas other than sport. St Agnes offers a CAPA Magazine Group focussing on digital elements of design and production, Art Collective where students get the opportunity to produce artwork for exhibitions, both at school and externally. Chess Club, where students compete against each other and in tournaments, Tournament of the Minds where students put their creative thinking to the test in a range of problem solving open ended situations, debating where St Agnes has reignited a once proud tradition and many more. Some students also use this time to focus on assessments and homework in supervised classroom settings. I urge you all to speak to your children about how they utilise this time and use it to help show their talents and try their best.

St Agnes is a school which has been built on the pillars of Dignity, Inclusiveness, Integrity and Compassion. Our uniform symbolises this and as such is vital to us maintaining our strong learning culture. By wearing their uniform correctly and with pride each and eveyr day, your child is showing a commitment to our community. The uniform shop is open Monday mornings from 8am to 12pm and Wednesday afternoons from 12pm to 4pm each week to ensure that this commitment by our parents, carers and students can be honoured. Our Leaders of Learning Pathways and Mentors are also only too happy to work with families who may be experiencing financial hardship and are having trouble with getting any items of the uniform.

Our school is growing, but our commitment to each and every child is as strong as it ever has been. I encourage all parents and carers to continue to remain in regular contact with the school as needed to ensure that this is evident for all. We value input from the community and our parents and caregivers are a vital part of ensuring that this continues into the future.

Mr Hilder

Acting Assistant Principal - School Culture

From the Head of Mission

Pace e’ bene

Greetings to you all, 

It was a great honor to be awarded this opportunity as Head of Mission, to lead our Franciscan community in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, St Agnes, St Francis, and St Clare.

Firstly and foremost I must acknowledge and thank Mrs Mary Reyes for her leadership and formation of both staff and students. The experiences that our community were afforded will not be forgotten. We wish you all the very best as you begin your next chapter of your journey.

Over the past few weeks, we as a community have emerged out of the fog of Covid and slowly been able to celebrate together with not only the student body but also include our parents and carers.

Mothers Day Liturgy

On the 7th May, we celebrated Mother’s day and recognised all the important women in our lives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and carers. We thank you for your selfless work you do to care for those in your care. Mother’s, carers and guardians were invited to celebrate with the school community via a breakfast with the Principal and staff of St. Agnes. Thank you to those members of staff who prepared the breakfast, as well as cooked the BBQ. Thank you to the Catholic Identity / Social Justice leaders for leading the celebration through prayer. 

As restrictions begin to ease, we look forward to hosting more celebrations with members of our community.

Pentecost liturgy

Last Friday, 21 May, we came together as a community to celebrate Pentecost. This is one of the most significant events in the church’s calendar. Although celebrations were split into two gatherings, we were able to mark this significant occasion by challenging each other by asking ‘How can we make a difference to not only ourselves, each other but the community?’ Thank you to the staff and students involved that made the liturgy such a success. As we reflected on the Pentecost story, we were confronted with the challenge and mission of the church today. To spread the Good News where possible. As disciples in Christ, how can we do this? What will this look like?

There is no more important time for this discussion amongst family than as we enter Ordinary time. A time of reflection, prayer and action.  How can we act and support the community most in need? 

Acts 2:1-11The Coming of the Holy Spirit2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

Peace and Blessings.

Patrick Madigan

Head of Mission

Around the Classrooms

Year 9/10 Design and Technology

The elective Year 9 and 10 Design and Technology students were given the opportunity to collaboratively design and create a “Child’s Toy”. The toy had to be for comfort or educational purposes and to suit a child that is 1-5 years old. Students worked through the Design Process together and learnt many new hands on skills. Some students also incorporated laser engraving or cutting into their projects.

Year 9/10 Food Technology

The elective Year 9 and 10 Food Technology students participated in a “Masterchef” challenge. They were given 75mins to create a dish of their choice. However, the students had a budget of $20 and they had to include Greek Yoghurt in their creations.

Year 9/10 Food Technology

Year 11 Food Technology

Students participated in a food experiment “Sensory test for flavour differences”. In this experiment they identified and explained sensory characteristics of food and evaluated the appeal of food using a sensory assessment. They completed this by using a triangular comparison test.

Year 11 Food Technology

Year 11 Design and Technology

Year 11 Design and Technology students were given the design situation and brief to create a portable speaker as a designer for “JBHIFI”. Students worked through the design process to document their ideas, explain their material choices and evaluate their design. Students had to work collaboratively to create the product, however, were required to document the process in their own portfolio. They started the unit by completing a “Design Challenge” to create the tallest freestanding tower possible, made of spaghetti. This activity allowed the students to see how well they worked together and what role they played within the group. The students then had the opportunity to learn and practice new skills and the use of equipment, such as the lathe, before commencing practical lessons on their portable speaker.

Year 11 Design and Technology

"List 5 things you could do with the debris from a cleared rainforest." 

Do you love a good mind challenge, for example finding solutions to open-ended problems like this one, or logic puzzles? St Agnes has just started our first TOURNAMENT OF THE MINDS group. 

Tournament of the Minds is an international program where students compete with other schools to solve open-ended problems in creative ways. We are looking for students who are able to commit to one Sunday in August (and potentially 2 further days in September/October), and work well with other students in a group setting.

If you're interested, please see Mrs Rana, Mrs Nash or Mrs Fraser.

Delivering Quality Customer Service In Business Services

During our Business Services class we engaged in the skills set of working at a Medical Centre. The skill set acquired were helping a disabled customer, helping an NSEB customer and pacifying an angry customer. We also learnt how to assist new customers with filling the patient information forms. Our role play showed us how to deliver quality customer service. 

We enjoyed learning and acting out how we would be delivering those skills while working in a medical centre, and how to deal with different types of people who come in every day. We were all engaged in the role play and helped each other out as well as giving feedback to each other. The skills we learnt and gained from this experience were: greeting customers, assisting them, being patient and polite, talking with respect, verbal communication as well as non verbal communication, and acknowledging customers specific needs and responding appropriately. 

 Everyone took something away from this experience and it was something different and fun to do. We made mistakes at first and learnt how to correct them so that it can help us whenever we need to deal with customers in the real world. So, this topic was a success for all students in Business Services. We would like to thank our Business Services teacher Mrs Dass for giving us this wonderful experience at St Agnes.

Written by Hulita Silva

Year 7 and 11 Art Display

Careers Advisor

2022 Australian Defence Force Gap Year

Applications for the 2022 Australian Defence Force Gap Year are now open. An ADF Gap Year is a unique opportunity for students to experience life in the Navy, Army or Air Force, without needing to make a long-term commitment. The skills obtained through the ADF Gap Year program will provide them valuable work and life experience and are completely transferable. Learn more and apply at :

UNSW Winter Workshop for Year 12

Last week students from Year 12 attended a Winter Workshop with student ambassadors from UNSW where they were able to find out more regarding degrees and uni life. These workshops are designed to help students identify pathways at University. It also allows them to connect and apply for the holiday program which can help maximise ATAR, improve outcomes in HSC and support their application for an early conditional offer to UNSW through the Gateway Admission Pathway. Students were extremely engaged and found enjoyment and value from the collaboration. 

Macquarie University Visit

Year 11 attended an excursion to Macquarie University on Friday. They wore the St Agnes uniform proudly and conducted themselves with the utmost maturity. Their integrity was on display to the students and staff at the University. They engaged in a collaborative project: creating a spaceship out of Lego. They listened to a Business and Astrophysics lecture. They walked around the campus and saw the library which has over 1.8 million books in it that are ordered and collected via a computer database and robot. The dorms were modern, and students visualised themselves being roomies and planning movie nights together. Finally, the food court and central gardens were impressive with students enjoying a variety of cuisines including snack packs, sushi, frappe's and Korean Fried Chicken. The day was a hit the key points that will assist with their transition to Macquarie University in 2023. These are: Leaders and Achievers Program, School Recommendation Scheme, Academic Entry Scheme, The College, Guaranteed Entry Program, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathway - Walanga Muru

Big History Adjustment Factor Scheme

What is it?

The Big History adjustment factor scheme rewards you with three additional points for your commitment to learning, acknowledging your participation and completion of the Big History: Connecting Knowledge MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) available through the COURSERA platform.

Western Sydney Universities PATHE Network Meeting

It was a delight to have Western Sydney University PASIFIKA Team, Community members and teachers from many schools including Nagle High, Aird High, CathWest and St Andrews welcomed into St Agnes Catholic High School this term.

Bronwyn Williams, the Widening Partnerships Community Project Officer led the acknowledgement of country and guided the panel of speakers for the evening. The program runs from Year 7 to 12. The focus in Year 7 and 8 is for students to recognise their personal strengths. Year 9 and 10 it is about navigating which route to take. By Year 11 and 12, students  are identifying their voyage and figuring out where to go from here.

We had speakers talk about the importance of offering Pacific Islander families translation documents regarding process and procedure. Albert Tevita from "Can't Walk, Can't Talk" provided deep insights into student wellbeing and his talk was extremely powerful. His perspective is lived and personal and the work he is doing with our young PASIFIKA students is inspiring. We look forward to welcoming him into our school community to engage with our students in the future.

Katalina Vave is a St Agnes alumni and was a student ambassador on the panel during this evening. She spoke highly of the teachers that went above and beyond in and outside of the classroom to  provide her with guidance and nurture her true passions. She also talked about how the PATHE program offered by the school broke down barriers with family and offered a personalised and culturally inclusive communication style that allowed them to value what University has to offer.

Many of our students are currently involved in the program which includes online and on campus conferences as well as access to a range of resources including STtudiosity which is a free online tutoring and resource service that students can access at anytime with wifi and a device.

To participate in PATHE events and workshops, all students must complete or have completed an application form. If a student has already completed an application form, they will not need to complete another one. To complete this form, please use this link: 

Local AECG Meeting

Our local Pemulway Aboriginal Executive Consultative Group (AECG) has been working for many years to support students, their families and communities by providing support to the school in the form of culturally appropriate advice and recommendations. As educators, even during a health pandemic, education is at the forefront of everything we do. So staff from St Agnes including Eliza Clarke and myself attend these meetings held quarterly at Chifley Senior Campus at Dunheved. All community ar welcome to attend and this term the president of our Junior AECG, Alkira Field represented her school. She discussed some of the challenges students at school have faced and continue to advocate to overcome. She spoke of her passion to strive to make a difference in educational outcomes for the future of Aboriginal children and how she feels supported at all levels by the St Agnes community to have a voice. We will keep the school community informed of the next local AECG meeting and will extend an invitation to all who would like to attend.

Nashwa Karafotias

Careers Advisor

WSU NEC PROGRAM: Attention all African and Middle Eastern (Arabic) Students from Year 7 to Year 12

If you are a student who came to Australia on a visa and were not born in Australia you can be supported by Western Sydney University and their NEC program by having opportunities to attend conferences and gain access to resources like Studiosity that can help you excel in your learning.

If you are interested in being part of the New and Emerging Community (NEC) Western Sydney University Community please complete the online form at with your parents.

The form is completed once and stays as your record until you finish schooling at St Agnes CHS.

If you find it is hard to complete an online form please complete the hard copy attached and return it to the office.

There is a flyer attached with more info for parents.


If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Mrs Karafotias




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