Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College - Newsletter

Volume 26 Edition 1 - February 2021

Welcome to Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox College eNewsletter

From the Head of College

A warm and heartfelt WELCOME to all our Families, Staff and Students and as we commence this 2021 Academic year, I pray this year runs slightly more smoothly for all and that through each person's efforts, everyone be able to achieve success with their endeavours. 

In particular I welcome all our new incoming Kindergarten students and their families, along with all new students and families commencing  in their respective year groups throughout the College.

It also gives me great pleasure to welcome the following new member of Staff and returning members of Staff from their Maternity Leave and hope their time in the St Mark's Coptic Orthodox family is rewarding and fruitful for both themselves and also the students they will be caring and instructing:

Mr Andre Trujilo - Visual Arts (Stges 4 - 6) & Creative Arts (Stges 2 & 3)

Mrs Marianne Margi - Primary

Mrs Bianca Khoury - Primary

Miss Rachel Bestawros - Primary Yr 5 additional class, temporarily during Term 1 until a permanent replacement can be secured.  Following this Miss Bestawros will resume her tasks in the Learning Support Unit for Primary.

HSC 2020

My CONGRATULATIONS to the Yr 12 Class of 2020 and each of their teachers on the brilliant achievements following the 2020 HSC Results. (Summary Ads included).  Every student of the 69 in the cohort worked hard to achieve their respective best and like all other Yr 12 students everywhere, had to manage and excel in on-line learning, and for those achieving Band 6's and All-Rounder status (achieving Band 6 in all and each of their courses). 

English, Science and Mathematics deserve special mention as collectively, their results were consistently above all state averages for all their courses.  Overall SMCOC received a State standing of 88th in the State across 880 secondary schools: made up of 74th in Mathematics Advanced & Extensions; 31st in English Advanced & Extensions.  (Only English & Maths show state standings hence why Science is not indicated with a standing). Under the challenging circumstances experienced in 2020, the result was nonetheless a BRILLIANT achievement from all.  Bravo and Well done!


As other members of the Management Team have already outlined certain areas for parents consideration, and highlighting upcoming events etc throughout this Newsletter, I would again like to re-iterate and ask parents to PLEASE NOT use the STAFF CAR PARK to drop off or wait to collect children AT ANY TIME.

The Car Park is to be used soley by STAFF at the College.  It is already crowded, VERY difficult to manoeuvre and far more difficult to see anyone whilst trying to park so we must all be extra careful.  Staff members leave and return throughout the day attending their meetings and school related tasks and so we cannot continue to waste valuable time trying to find who owns the vehicle left blocking entry/exit accesses and where are they to be found in the school.

Unauthorised vehicles seen parked in the Staff Car Park/Driveway will be towed at the owners cost.  The College has no liability for anyone's vehicle within the Car Park and is not liable for any damage caused.  Please ensure others (who may not read this newsletter) collecting or dropping off your children are made aware of these requirements.

Traffic Drop Off and Collection 

Please understand that like every school in the City, ours also suffers with the topic of transport and collections.  In all cases, parents and guardians must understand that the school endeavours to do its best in collecting and exiting students safely and in a timely and orderly manner.  However, no school or school personnel has any authority outside of the school fence.  The traffic laws are for all road users to ensure they traffic requirements safely and within the law.   Parents are continuing to stop around the Round-a-Bout and thereby are holding up the traffic trying to get on with their business and get through.  Additionally, our neighbours MUST BE respected and not have to deal with parents parking across their driveways or parents sitting on their fences or people leaving their snack rubbish outside their yards.  Please, we ask and plead with each of you to be courteous, patient and to maintain the road rules at all times as we cannot override these Road Laws and subsequent fines that may be administered by the Police or Traffic Wardens.

Drivers Arriving Early Blocking Traffic

The point of the Drop Off & Collection plan is to ensure continuous traffic flow.  This however is being hampered terribly by drivers that start arriving from 2 pm and whilst remaining in their cars are actually contributing to the blocking and build up with others trying to come in early also to collect.  Cars therefore build up very quickly and now it seems the line has reached the roundabout at the beginning of Australis Ave (1.5 km away!!!), which basically cuts any movement into or out of Wattle Grove for 1,000's of people.

Facebook posts and emails to the school have gone into overdrive with complaints and blaming the school with aggressive emails and threats being sent daily.  In our endeavour to assist in maintaining the required instructions from Dept of Health for staggered times and Kiss and Drop service, it seems to have caused the opposite effect with terrible blocking of flow-traffic.

Drivers are NOT to remain stationery in their vehicles outside the school blocking incoming traffic.  If you wish to arrive early, then please go and park your cars and walk to the gate and remain standing there whilst observing the Covid distance requirement to collect your child or children and then walk back to your car.   

This is very frustrating and unless parents observe the road rules correctly and keep traffic flowing and display courtesy to our frustrated residents and all road users, then we'll have no option than to stop the Kiss & Drop facility as it's causing more harm than it is assisting.  We have tried to stagger end times to assist in traffic flow and even this is not helping as drivers continue to remain stationary and block others with built up backing.  Keep moving, or instead just please park properly and walk to collect.

Students aged 12+ travelling to and from school

A reminder that currently and until further official notice is received, that it is compulsory for ALL students travelling to and from school using public buses or trains, or privately owned bus services wear a mask at all times whilst travelling.

HSC 2020 All Rounders and High Achievers

HSC 2020 All Rounders and High Achievers

HSC 2020 All Rounders and High Achievers

Building and Construction Update

From the College Chaplain, Very Rev Fr George Nakhil

Let us give thanks to our Beneficent God

Nothing is more befitting than starting the 2021 academic year with thanksgiving. Indeed, all our Coptic liturgical services begin with the thanksgiving prayer; whether in the Holy Liturgy, vespers, weddings and even funerals.

We give thanks to our merciful God for His bountiful love and care; not only for what we understand and know, but also for what we do not really recognise nor comprehend.

Thanksgiving simply sums up our gratitude towards Him and confirms our submission and trust in Him. It gives us the chance to remember all the great and wonderful things that God continues to do for us each and every moment.

However, many times we fail to properly appreciate His divine provisions and care.

When the sun shines up every morning, we should not take it for granted. The warmth and light filling the earth is the result of the sun fusing over 500 million metric tons of Hydrogen explosions, every single second, to bring us the sufficient energy needed to live. A plethora of cancerous cells are abnormally divided and developed in our bodies every day, however, thanks to the clever immune system that God equipped us with, these aggressive cells are eliminated. Some people may complain about not having enough wealth, the top technology, the coolest brands or the luxurious products and lifestyle, and unaware that we, in Australia, are the wealthiest 1% of the entire world’s population, yet we are not thankful.

Are we grateful that we, our family and our loved ones in Australia are being safe during this deadly pandemic which reaped so far over 2 million souls around the world?

But most importantly are we thankful for God’s spiritual gifts? He forgives us, saves us through His Only Begotten Son, adopts us to Himself as His children, abides in us through the Holy Eucharist and is preparing us for the eternal dwelling.

Let’s begin this year together with thanksgiving for He has protected, assisted, preserved, accepted us and has compassion upon us and brought us till this very hour in peace. Amen

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” Psalms 136:1

From the Deputy Head of College - Mrs Grohala

Dear Parents and Students

I wish to take the opportunity to welcome all students and families back to the new school year. In particular, I extend a special welcome to all of the new students and their families who are commencing their association with St Mark’s College for the first time. I trust that the first few days have been positive and rewarding and this is the start of a long and valued partnership with the College over many years.

The school year is well and truly underway and it doesn’t take long before we start to fill up our calendar with a variety of events.


Monday 8 February  K-12 Photo Day

Wednesday 10 – Friday 12 February  Year 7 Camp @ Narrabeen

Wednesday 17 February  Yrs 3-6 Swimming Carnival Revesby

Friday 26 February  Yrs 7-12 Swimming Carnival Liverpool 

As the new year gets underway, there is also the need to remind all students and their families about transport arrangements. For those students who travel on buses and trains, there are clear expectations regarding excellent behaviour and high levels of respect for other passengers. The vast majority of students consistently uphold the good name of the College through the way they travel whilst on public transport and the challenge is there for each student to ensure they are doing their best in this regard. In line with the latest NSW Covid 19 Health advice all students over the age of twelve are requested to wear a mask whilst travelling on public transport.

We have also been advised that students that do not present a valid Opal card when boarding will have their details recorded by the driver. Repeat offences may lead to travel suspension of up to ten weeks, in line with Transport for NSW’s Student Codes of Conduct, which will result in parents being responsible for getting their children to and from school. 

Finally, all parents and carers are reminded about the arrangements for drop-off and pick-up via the main gate entrance on Australis Avenue. As we endeavour to keep the roundabout clear at the junction of Australis Ave and Village Way we ask that you that do not park for longer than 2mins when collecting your children and to continue driving around the block - so PLEASE DO NOT PARK earlier than you have to so that flow is maintained. (Refer also to Head of College's section earlier in this Newsletter).

You may be asked to continue driving if there is significant traffic blocking the roundabout. Our focus is to keep all children safe and therefore we thank you for your cooperation and patience during the drop off and pick up times.


Current Collection and Drop Off Plan

Upcoming Dates

Term 1 - 2021


Mon 8    K - 12 School Class & Individual Photography Day

Thu 4     Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 5       Period 1 & 2 Stage Liturgy -  Year 11

Thu 11   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 12     Period 1 & 2 Liturgy Year 10

Wed 17 Yrs 3-6 Swimming Carnival

Thu 18  Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 19    Period 1 & 2 Liturgy Yr 9

Mon 22 - Wed 24 Feb  Jonah's ( Nineveh) Fast

Thu 25   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 26     Period 1 & 2 Liturgy Stage 2

Fri 26     Yrs 7 - 12 Swimming Carnival


Thu 4     Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 5       Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

Mon 8    Holy & Great Fast Commences

Thu 11   Early Bird Liturgy 6 - 8 am

Fri 12      Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

Thu 18    Early Bird Liturgy 8 - 8 am

Fri 19      Period 1 & 2 Liturgy

Monthly Quote for Personal Growth