St Agnes Catholic High School

March Newsletter - Term 1, Week 9 2021

From the Principal

Dear Parents and carers, 

As the term comes to a close, as a community we are grateful that the easing of COVID restrictions has meant that we are able to resume many school events. Last week was important as we recognised diversity. 

Closing the Gap is a critical recognition of the need to address inequity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non indigenous Australians in areas such as education and health. As a community we stand together to acknowledge this gap and commit to equity. 

Harmony Day is a highlight of the school year - a day where we come together to celebrate diversity and the multicultural fabric that encapsulates the St Agnes spirit. 

The wet weather did nothing to dampen the spirit of celebration and the new performance was vibrant with dance and cultural activities. 

It is days such as these that we see and feel in full glory how young people can be empowered to make a difference. The school staff are incredibly proud of the community spirit that shines at St Agnes and the empowered young people that will graduate with the capacity to change the world. 

Easter is a great reminder that Christ died and rose once and for all and for each one of us. His death and resurrection can Transform our lives as we endeavour to live lives that know the freedom of goodness – lives that have love for our neighbour, lives that respect all creation, lives that restore hope and mercy.


Lord, help us to accept the grace of Christ’s resurrection.

Let us be renewed by God’s mercy.

Let us know the love of Jesus.

Let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives.

Let us become agents of his mercy, channels through which God can protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish. Amen.

Thank you to every member of our beautiful school community for making our very first term so vibrant and happy. I feel privileged to be part of the fabulous school staff team working with your children every day.

May you have a holy and happy Easter, and we look forward to seeing all students return Monday 19 April to begin Term 2. 

Lisa-Maree Browning



29 March - 1 April

Year 12 Hospitality/Tourism Workplacement
31 MarchVinnies Van
1 April

Haka Warrior Competition, Passion Play

End of Term 1

2 - 18 AprilSchool Holidays
19 AprilTerm 2 Commences
23 + 30 AprilCSDA Debating Competition
7 MayMothers Day Liturgy, CSDA Debating Competition
11-21 MayNaplan
11 MayYear 12 Reports Distributed
14 MayCSDA Debating Competition
18 MayStudent Led Conference Years 11/12
18-19 MayCathWest Innovation College Open Nights
19 MayYear 7/8 Vaccinations
21 MayCSDA Debating Competition, Pentecost/Confirmation Mass

From the Assistant Principal (acting)/Head of Learning

As you are aware every day of attendance at school adds to your child’s chances of success and achievement in high school. You play a key role in making sure your daughter/son attends school every day. You do this because you understand that attendance leads to success, not just at school but later in life. Every day at school counts towards your child’s learning.

We realise some absences are unavoidable due to illness or other circumstances. However, we also know that when students miss too much school, no matter the reason, it can cause them to fall behind academically. The more absences your child has, the harder it is for them to catch up on missed work and stay connected to their school community. 

Please have a read through the image below, as this states the effect of absences from school and please have a conversation with your child about this.

Year 11 Study Skills Session

Last Tuesday (16th March) Dr Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services ( ran a study skills session with Year 11.  The session focused on helping students identify changes and improvements they could make to their approach to their studies in order to maximise their results in their final years of school. The main areas covered with Year 11 were working effectively in the evenings and dealing with distractions, managing time efficiently, planning for assessments, making brain-friendly study notes on a regular basis and using a wide variety of active study techniques to suit individual learning styles. Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and discuss the main areas identified where changes need to be made.

Parents can also find extra study skills tips on the following website:

All students and parents at our school also have access to a great study skills website to help students develop their skills. Go to and enter the username: stagnes and the password:  24success. There are lots of useful handouts on the THINGS TO PRINT page on this site and students can work through the units where they need additional help. 

Study Skills Tip for March – Four Reasons Not To Put off Starting Assessments

Here are four reasons why you should start working on your assessment immediately.


Even if your assignment is not due for weeks, start thinking about it immediately. At the very least, ensure you review and understand the requirements the day you get your assignment. Even if you are not thinking about it directly, your subconscious will be hard at work.


Although the school or local library may not be your main source of reference, you should drop in soon after receiving the assignment. Your teacher will probably have alerted the school librarian to the assignment, and reference book, may well be displayed. These will disappear quickly if the whole class has the same assignment. Reference books can sometimes be a useful general overview for an assignment and they help clarify a direction as you begin to immerse yourself into the assignment topic. Your librarian can also guide you to online journals or databases that may be useful.


If you do some initial research on the assignment, you could find yourself needing more direction in your next research. For example: Perhaps there isn’t enough information, or perhaps you find you don’t understand important concepts, or perhaps you need to speak to your teacher to get further clarity. If you find this out early, you will still have plenty of time to plan, research, write and present your assignment. Imagine if you didn’t start your assignment for a week or so, and then discovered you needed more guidance. You could easily run out of time. Starting early also gives you a longer time to think through and develop your ideas.


Starting your assignment immediately will give you a safety net in case you get sick or something unexpected happens. Assignments are usually given over a period of time because they require more time; students must plan a strategy or schedule to ensure they are completed. You should always have a schedule that allows for the unexpected.

So get started today!!!

Learn more this year about how to improve your results and be more efficient and effective with your schoolwork by working through the units on Our school’s access details are:

Username: stagnes

Password: 24success

Mr G Kemmis

Acting Assistant Principal/Head of Learning

From the Head of Mission

“Be More” this Easter

I’d like to share with you all a snippet from Lent with St Francis, an online subscription from the Franciscan Media on the topic “True Disciples”.

In modeling his life on the Gospels, Francis hoped that people would see in him and in the Lesser Brothers an example of what they, too, could achieve if they would only follow Jesus. Francis had a profound ability to translate what many saw as only sacred words to be read at Mass into a way of life that could be adapted to any place and time.

People now saw how the brothers rejoiced in the midst of trials and tribulation; how zealous they were in prayer; and how they did not accept money like other people, nor keep it when it was given them; and how they really loved one another. Seeing all this, many became convinced that the brothers were true disciples of Jesus Christ; and with remorse in their hearts they came to ask the brothers pardon for having previously injured and insulted them.

The brothers forgave them gladly, saying: “The Lord forgive you,” and gently admonished them concerning their salvation…. When they were all together, joy filled their hearts, and they no longer remembered past injuries.

How do we, in our own lives, set an example for the people around us? This will always be a more powerful way of sharing the good news than anything we could say.

Lent is a time of contemplation and change of action. It often feels like a microscope on the contents of our heart and brings to the surface what we do more of. I myself find it challenging to balance a prayerful, generous, and more mindful way of being during this time, as I often give myself a to-do checklist this Lent, what do I need to do? When do I need to achieve this? How much can I give and to who? In my own Lenten journey this year, I have come to a deep realisation affirmed by the reflection above, that what Jesus really calls us to do is to do the small things with great love and compassion. 

It's not about counting every dollar we donate to Project Compassion, or the number of toiletries we can donate to the Wash House, or just because it’s Friday to give up meat. It’s so much more than that, it’s actually much more simpler.

In every conversation we have, in every opportunity to put the needs of other people first, in every moment we stop to take a deep breath, to remember to show compassion and dignity. To speak kind words of truth, to walk beside people in their need and to remember that we are so deeply loved by God who gives us people around us in every moment, to love. 

As we journey towards Holy Week starting this Sunday, I ask you all this question, how have you shown small acts of kindness and compassion this Lent? Did you do small things with great love?

‘Be More’ Project Compassion 2021

On behalf of the Catholic Identity and Social Justice leaders, thank you for your support to Project Compassion this year. Our focus as a school is to raise money for water tanks for Margret and her school in the Solomon Islands and I can confidently say we are very close to providing one water tank!

This year, the staff at St Agnes have also initiated a Toiletry Drive to the WASH House in Mt Druitt, an organisation that we believe is a significant resource for the community of Blacktown, with International Women’s Day as the launch of this initiative. “The WASH House is a community-based resource centre for women in the Blacktown LGA operating for over 35 years. Our mission is to reduce the impact of poverty, social disadvantage and violence on the lives of women and girls” ( Our donations aspire to assist our local families even in a small way to remember their worth and dignity as we stand in solidarity with them. Thank you to all St Agnes staff, particularly to Mrs Virginie Nash and Mrs Jenet Chapman, as the inspirations and spirit behind this wonderful initiative, for their generous contributions this Lent.

May this Easter echo in our mission the words of Saint Oscar Romero “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.”

Pace e bene,

Mrs Mary Reyes

Head of Mission

Around the Classrooms

HSC Business Service students on Work Placement

Ms Dass visited a number of our students at their workplaces. All the employers gave affirmation of the students' hard work, manners, communication skills, maturity, politeness, dedication, ability to take instructions, etc as the list is endless. Some employers wanted our students for 2 weeks, as they serenaded the skill sets of our students.We are so proud of our students and congratulate them. 

Student reflection Business Services Work Placement

Work Placement was one of the best experiences I’ve had throughout my schooling years.

I was taught by the amazing people at Heartland Hyundai many things that would help me in my years to come after school. Not only was I shown skills for the future, but I met people that I could never forget. 

From day 1, I met everyone in the crew which was daunting at first because I was going to be the only female in the Hyundai workplace for a week, but I got used to it by Tuesday. 

The first couple of days I was taught to file all the paperwork for people who came in for a car service. It was boring at first until I was used to it and then every day after that I would just come in and file everything for my supervisor before being asked so I could get that job done and dusted.  I also took many phone calls during my time there; it is something that everyone is nervous about at the start but because of my attitude towards these things and my prior experience at work it was much easier for me. The easiest thing I did whilst at placement was stocktake, there were also a lot of safety precautions that came with it. Whilst picking up and putting down boxes with the product in them you have to be aware of your safety which means look at your surroundings and be careful with posture, so you don't injure yourself. You also are in possession of a sharp blade in order to open the boxes, it is an open blade, so I had to be very careful. Thanks to our theory lessons in class, I did not have much problem adjusting to my demanding workplace. 

Overall, I had an amazing time, and I can't wait to get out in the workforce next year!

I would like to thank the following for providing me this wonderful experience; my school and the coordinators for VET for the opportunity to work outside of school. Most importantly, I’d like to thank Ms Dass for her patience and willingness to look out for all her student during the week for placement and for being an amazing teacher throughout my Business journey.

Polixeni Papafilopoulos

Business Service student

Public Speaking Report, Term 1

Students speak their minds as St Agnes re-enters the Public Speaking and Debating arena

While Public Speaking and debating have been absent from the St Agnes calendar over the last few years, it was really pleasing that in week 7 of Term 1, eight St Agnes students represented the school in the annual Public Speaking competition. 

Students were required to write and  deliver an engaging, well-crafted speech on one of the following topics; If only, Dreams, I am strong, I am invincible, I am…, Let us build a house…,Dear Santa and One who is in chains, cannot run. 

Due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions, all speeches were performed via zoom instead of in front of a live audience. No parents or other students besides those competing were allowed to watch the speeches. This made competing particularly challenging as students had to stay back at school after the swimming carnival, change back into their uniforms and perform their speeches alone in a room. 

All students from 7-11 showed great passion, commitment and skill in delivering high quality speeches with two students; Andrea Plaatjes, Year 7 and Purva Kumar, Year 9 making it through to the Zone Final in Week 8.

Again both girls were a great credit to St Agnes in the way they performed and the commitment they showed in backing up for a second week. Despite illness and some technical difficulties with the Zoom Link, Andrea was successful in making it through to the Grand Final in the Year 7 Division in Week 9. While Andrea wasn’t successful in placing in the Grand Final, once again she was right up there in her delivery and passion and was perhaps unlucky to miss out in a competitive field of talented speakers from Catholic Schools all across Sydney. You can view a recording of Andrea’s amazing grand final performance on the topic Dreams on the school website.

Well done to all our public speakers for participating this year:

Andrea Plaatjes, Isha Maharaj (Year 7), Ishaal Siddique, Hayley Shepherd (Year 8), 

Angela Maroky, Purva Kumar (Year 9), David Miguel (Year 10), Raneen Hashim (Year 11).

A big thankyou also to Ms Browning, Mr Kemmis and Mr Hilder for their support of Public Speaking, to Mr Khan for all his assistance and for staying back late in week 7 and week 8, our I.T staff for technical support, and to my fellow organisers and coaches Miss Dunne and Miss Dahdah for their incredible enthusiasm and hard work with our public speakers during ELP time and the last 3 Fridays after school. These events do not run without the dedication and support of teachers.

Next up is the CSDA Debating competition which begins in Term 2, and Ms Dahdah and Miss Dunne are already busy preparing. We have been inundated with students wanting to try out so hopefully our success in speaking will continue in 2021!

Mr Patrick Loughlin

Leader of Learning - English

How do we express the inexpressible within the human experience? Waiting for Godot Excursion. HSC Extension 1 English

Vladimir: ‘What’s in the bag?’ 

Pozzo: ‘Sand.’

Journeying the sand-filled bag of life.

Last week, St Agnes’ HSC Extension English 1 class attended a Symposium at the Seymour Centre, presented by Sport for Jove, on Beckett’s ‘Waiting For Godot’ as part of our ‘Worlds of Upheaval’ unit.

Damian Ryan, director of Sport for Jove, revealed the constraints of the visual and aural, to speak of how the acting of the play manifests a text into poetic imagery, allowing limitless insights and understandings. For ultimately, we bring our context to the play. The duality of Estragon and Vladimir, the viscerally experiencing and the mentally feeling respectively, was evident in their performance and helped us to recognise that ‘all of mankind is [them]’. This performance, and discussion after, allowed for a reflective ‘silence’ into our own interpersonal and intrapersonal dualities.

The dramatic expression, voice, and action, all pivotal elements of a drama, brought the play to life for a clearer understanding. The two-act play was segmented into pivotal scenes by the director. Every scene was impressively performed, bringing to life the characters and was followed by an insightful and informative discussion about its meaning. We were able to link it to previous analysis within the World of Upheaval unit, and our Advanced study of the human experience.  Cleverly, the director linked parts of the analysis to our study’s rubric, analysing the drama for its universal, limitless meaning, as well as specifically targeting our unit’s focus.

We experienced the interchangeable nature of Vladimir and Estragon’s lines (as, at times, the actors themselves spoke the other’s line). This revealed the musicality within Waiting for Godot, as the metrically balanced and harmonic rhythm was carried through their comradery.

Like a Banksy image, Beckett’s literal and metaphorical deconstruction of language offers the audience visceral moments of physical language that create poetic imagery. We recognised that the play is not meaningless, but anti-meaning, and Beckett’s adamant refusal to make more of it, is itself meaningful. 

Whilst at first audiences were confused or disturbed by Waiting for Godot, it  became, in our eyes now, one of the most complex and powerful plays ever written. It is precise in meaning yet not precise in context and therefore it speaks through its universalisation to contemporary audiences. Perhaps  we are waiting, like Vladimir and Estragon for a contextual ‘Saviour’, or vaccinations, or for our lives to return to ‘normal’?  

Vladimir: ‘I am here. You did see us didn’t you?’

Analysis aside, we were lucky enough to experience the companionship and generosity of the actors in sharing their deep knowledge of the play. This warmth evident too in the audiences sharing of chocolate cookies, was probably why, contradictory to the director’s words advising us to simply experience life and discard the contemporary need for ‘proof of living’ through ‘instagrammable moments’... we took a photo with the actors.

It was an exciting and informative excursion. Thank you for the opportunity!

Our next Sport for Jove experience will be with Advanced English when we attend Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Extension 1 Students

Farida, Jamie and Aryan

Harmony Day events

This year we came together as a school community to celebrate our cultural diversity. It is clear with the current political climate that often the media can portray all the things that can go wrong when people choose to incite hate or express their racism with unfair and inappropriate behaviour. However, unfortunately, they don't seem to aspire to present to the world how many schools across Australia and the rest of the world came together as unified communities to celebrate the spirit and lived experiences of all of our students. I congratulate all the students who took on a leadership role. It is because of your skills in time, organisational and event management that the rest of the students at St Agnes were able to share in a day full of dance, food and cultural immersion.

The following is a link to a video that we shared during Know Your Learner. I encourage you to share this link with your family and friends as we continue to spread love and acceptance as a St Agnes community.

Careers Advisor

Tax File Numbers

Any student will need at tax file number if he/she starts work (part-time and full-time) and all students planning on a tertiary education require one when they start. Importantly, current Year 12 students are reminded that they will be requested to provide their Tax File Number (TFN) on enrolment to TAFE or university next year, so it is worthwhile getting an application submitted early! Students must now apply for a TFN online and have their identity verified through an interview at a participating Australia Post office. To apply and also to find out about participating Post Offices, visit

ACU and Western Sydney University In-School Visits

This term Year 12 have had both Australian Catholic University and Western Sydney University attend the school to discuss courses, early offers and pathways to a variety of areas of study at University. We have a close partnership with ACU and as such all of our Year 12 students can apply for the Access Guarantee pathway which can provide up to 10 ATAR points to assist with entry into courses. Western Sydney University run both a PASIFIKA and New and Emerging Communities and Refugees Program that allows students to access resources such as mentors, on-campus experiences and informative conferences such as the one run earlier this term which saw many of our students engage in faculty-specific sessions which provided information on how to gain entry into the courses and what learning could look like once they leave school. 

MTC Youth Frontiers Program has started quite successfully and we meet during Know Your Learner every Friday in the library GR12C. Students involved in the program gain essential skills required to be strong, resilient and active citizens in today's modern world. They work together to create their own community engagement program which will allow them to express their entrepreneurship, creativity and compassion.  

Our Junior Aboriginal Executive Consultative Group (AECG) was officially nominated this term. Congratulations to Alkira Field (President), Amira Osborne (Vice President) and Bailey Wright (Secretary) who have continued to show exceptional leadership skills with regard to events, mentoring others and actively being involved in school community events. At our next assembly these students will be presented with their school leadership badges. 

Defence Careers - Commando Virtual Information Session

Life as an Army Commando is as challenging as it is rewarding. Are you ready for the ultimate Australian Defence Force career?Find out more about the endurance, strength and courage required to thrive as an Army Commando at an upcoming virtual info session.Time: See link belowLocation: Online

Australian Catholic University - Entry and Pathways to ACU

Whether you’re currently completing Year 12 or have been out of school for years, there are many entry pathways to ACU – including the ACU Guarantee early offer program.

Time: 6.00pm

Location: Online

Details and Registration:

NIDA - Holiday Program - Parramatta

Holiday Course on Offer: Spend a week exploring performance for both stage and screen in this practical introduction to acting. Develop skills in improvisation, text analysis and script work then apply these skills to an on-screen performance. This course includes a session on auditions and screen tests.

Acting Boot Camp Grades 7 – 10        6 April – 8 April Location: Parramatta

Details and Registration:   REGISTER HERE

Congratulations to the 29 St Agnes students in  Year 11 who were accepted into the ACU Step-up programs for either Business or Exercise Science. A reminder to you all that you must be enrolled and as of 23.3.21 you are in week 2 of your University core subject. This subject is for free and will count towards the remainder of your degree should you choose to continue in this pathway. 

Nashwa Karafotias

Careers Adviser


School Fees due date 17 March

School fees are now due, if you have paid thank you.

Many families choose a Catholic Education for their children for the Catholic Values and quality that it offers and it’s acknowledged that this choice often requires life style sacrifices to be made

Regrettably some families are not up to date with their school fee obligations.  This place an unnecessary burden on our school in terms of increased administration and diverts resources that would be better devoted to the students.

Out of consideration for the school, students and other parents and in the interests of freeing up more resources to educate your children, we remind all parents of the need to pay school fees by the due date.  We especially ask those parents with overdue accounts to make immediate arrangements with the Business Manager, Mr Thompson on 02 8882 0700 to bring them up to date.

Mayoral History Prize 2021


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