Cootamundra High School Newsletter

Term 4 ‐ Week 5, 2021

PRINCIPAL: Mrs Leesa Daly  

DEPUTY PRINCIPAL: Mr Christopher Payne

Principal's Report

It is hard to believe that we are almost half way through Term 4 already and continue to enjoy gorgeous Spring weather. The hot weather cannot be too far away but we are all going to very much enjoy the protection from the sun and heat that our brand-new cola will provide us this Summer. 

Some much has happened in the last 10 weeks. Students, staff and parents, on the whole, managed 4 weeks of remote learning from home as the state was placed into lockdown mid term 3. Feedback from all stakeholders has clearly indicated that we were all better prepared this time around and there was a greater sense of calm and structure to the teaching and learning. I would like to congratulate the students for rising to this challenge and managing the many complexities that come with being away from friends and the face to face teaching experience. Staff worked incredibly hard to re gig programs to suit the online learning platforms and to provide timely feedback to students and to make regular contact to check in on student’s wellbeing. 

Since our return to school in Week 10 Term 3, under Level 3 COVID Safe School Operations, we are all learning to do things a little differently. I appreciate how well students have adapted to these requirements which have included the wearing of masks indoors, the separation of cohorts in the playground and restrictions associated with sporting activities. With all staff required to be double vaccinated by the 8th November and an increasing number of our whole school community being vaccinated, we know that we are all doing our bit to keep our school community safe. 

A big shout out goes to our Year 12 students who have lived this COVID nightmare for the last 2 years. They are to be congratulated on the way they have conducted themselves in the most challenging of times. With a third change to the HSC start date and timetable we know our students are keen to get their HSC exams over and done with. We wish all our students the very best of luck as they begin their exams on Tuesday 9th November and look forward to celebrating the completion of their secondary studies with them all at their Formal in December. 

I would also like to acknowledge our Year 11 students who also had to take a leap of faith in their abilities as they completed their final Year 11 exams using online platforms. The was a first for our students and indeed CHS staff and I must say we are incredibly proud of how well they managed this challenge. 

At the end of Term 3 we farewelled a number of staff members: School Psychologist Sarah Zimmerman made the move to Kooringal High School; Relieving HT Wellbeing and Engagement & PDHPE teacher extraordinaire Mr Rob Plain has taken up a Special Education teaching position at Cessnock High School and Ms Amanda-Lee Boatswain, Visual Arts teacher, went on maternity leave. A beautiful baby girl has been welcomed into the family. At the start of Term 4 we welcomed numerous new staff to the CHS family: Miss Kate Jenkins has joined the PDHPE faculty as a permanent staff member; Fiona Harvey and Danielle Sayers have joined our school counselling team and Mrs Charlotte Matheson and John Officer have joined the Creative Arts/TAS team. 

Our school continues to have major upgrades occurring including the ‘Cooler Classrooms’ project which will see all our teaching spaces fitted out with new air conditions and the old blue heaters will finally go. This is a massive undertaking and we appreciate all the tradies who are working hard to get this project completed. Our massive new cola over the Basketball courts is finally up – what an awesome space this is. Tiered seating, drainage and fencing still needs to take place to complete this project. The last of our classrooms to be refurbished with new blinds, carpet, paint and furniture in C block will take place in the coming weeks. 

We are thrilled to announce that the school has taken up the call to get a Therapy Dog and ‘Gizmo’ is his name. A gorgeous Cavoodle who is slowly being introduced to students and staff. Gizmo is about to start attending puppy school and is regularly sited in the playground and in fortnightly year meetings. Gizmo will be around to help a number of our students settle into their HSC exams and to help our Year 6 students as they start their extensive transition program here at the High School every Thursday. A warm welcome is extended to our Year 6 students and their teachers. 

Congratulations is extended to our newly elected School Captains - Will Holt and Amelia Franklin and Vice Captains – Maddie Robertson, Yasmin Lambert and Eric Chick. We know you will lead our school beautifully and we look forward to working with you all in 2021/2022. Thank you is extended to Ms Clarke for supporting these students through this process. 

Take care and continue to enjoy all the opportunities being provided for you here at CHS. 


Mrs L. Daly

Mrs Daly and Gizmo

Year 7 Female Pop Band

I want to congratulate the Year 7 female pop band on their perseverance, resilience and commitment during remote learning to this new project. They met consistently twice a week over the last 3 weeks in their lunch times and tested the capacity of their listening skills, as we trialled having jams over the web in real time on Teams. 

The individual practise of drummers Ashley Irving, Grace Derrick, Raya Prakkid and Hanna Hunt also deserve a mention. 


Sarah Whitteron


Spring has definitely sprung at the Ag Plot, with Cootamundra High School students returning during a very busy time of the year. The Dubbo Wether Challenge has come to an end, with the sheep being delivered safely to their drop off point a few weeks ago. Due to the evolving Covid-19 situation, they are yet to be processed, so we are still anxiously waiting to see if all our hard work paid off! Farm Club students had the opportunity to create a video submission to send off with the wethers instead of attending the excursion in Dubbo, which was cancelled earlier in the year. A big thankyou to Danny Bowditch who came in and tidied up the boys before they were sent in for judging.

Show Team have also had a busy term, despite the lockdown. Our steer Back Creek Square Meaters “Ringo” continues to gain weight, and is now 390kg, getting ever closer to his finished weight of around 400kg. Show Team have been busy feeding Ringo a specific and balanced feed ration to ensure his growth continues at a rate that will see him reach his target weight early in November. A big thankyou to Tony and Sue Dickeson for their continued support of our Show Team, we are so grateful for your expertise and generosity.

If you have been following the Cootamundra High School Facebook account, you will have seen that we have had quite a few new arrivals over the past few weeks. We are lambing at the moment, and currently have 2 healthy lambs on the ground out of our new maiden ewes. The incubator has also been busy, with 2 batches of fertile pure-bred Lavender and Light Sussex chicks hatching, giving us over 25 birds. We will be looking to sell surplus birds at point of lay and budgies towards the end of the year, so keep an eye on the Facebook page or call the Office and ask for Miss Callaghan to find out what we have available.

To cap off a very busy term, Stage 5 and Year 11 Agriculture classes have entered into the UNE Soil Your Undies Challenge for 2021. This is an excellent competition that helps educate students about soil health. Miss Callaghan was sent 2 pairs of cotton undies to bury in the Ag Plot for 8 weeks, before they are dug up and sent back to UNE for analysis. This is a competition between classes also, as both pairs have been buried in different parts of the Ag Plot, with the most decomposed pair at the end of the 8 weeks declared the winner. Results and progress shots will be posted on the Cootamundra High School Facebook page. 


As another busy year begins to wind down, there is still plenty happening at the Ag Plot. This term, our team of wethers for the Dubbo Wether Challenge were sent off for processing at the conclusion of the competition. Cootamundra High School placed 49 out of 65 schools across the state for the restocker value of the sheep, and 22nd out of 65 for the wool value. Unfortunately due to interruptions caused by the pandemic, we were unable to get the carcase data for our wethers. I would like to congratulate the Cootamundra High School Show Team for their persistence, hard work and dedication to fulfilling the requirements of the competition under such tricky conditions.

This term we have also sent our school steer through the sales. R10 or “Ringo” as he was called here was generously donated to Cootamundra High School by Tony and Sue Dickeson of Back Creek Square Meaters earlier in the year. Tony and Sue have worked closely with the Cootamundra High School Show Team, and we are very appreciative of their ongoing experience and support. Prices were strong on the day of sale, with the end price being $560c/kg liveweight being achieved. Square Meaters are favoured at Cootamundra High School for their low birth weights, vigorous growth, placid temperament and early maturing times. We are very pleased with the results, and we look forward to working with Tony and Sue again for the 2022 Show season.

Our poultry enterprise continues to develop at Cootamundra High School. We are currently developing show quality lines of Light and Lavender Sussex. Students have enjoyed raising day old chicks hatched in our incubator, and have taken great pride in selecting the best birds to keep for our breeding program. Towards the end of term, we will have Light Sussex pullets and Light and Lavender Sussex cockerels for sale. If you are interested in adding to your flock, please contact Miss Callaghan through the Front Office.

I would also like to thank Mick Raleigh and Paul Watson for their assistance in shearing our school sheep at no cost. Mick and Paul took great care in handling our sheep, and we greatly appreciate their assistance in keeping our stock comfortable for the summer.

Finally, we are anxiously awaiting the results of the UNE Soil Your Undies Competition. After several attempts were made to find the Stage 5 Agriculture pair of undies, we successfully located them after the flag marking their position went missing. Stage 6 Agriculture also exhumed their pair, and now both pairs have been sent back to UNE for analysis. Stay tuned to the Cootamundra High School Facebook page for updates on the soil health of the site.


eBooks and eAudio resources for students.

A lot of things have been happening for our students at Cootamundra High School in the library. While students may not be able to physically browse the library as easily as they did prior any covid restrictions, we are pleased to say that they now have access to more than 3000 eBooks and eAudio books as a part of our collection. All they need to do is log onto their school portal, go to My Library and browse the resources. If there is a book they’re interested in, they can click on it to see if there is a digital version to borrow. Students can also go to the News Tab in the library catalogue to access digital resources from Australia and across the globe. There’s links to the State and National library and museums in Australia and overseas. We even have free comics there. We also have a link to Cootamundra local library, where you can access digital books to read. 

Access eBooks and eAudio anytime:

Book Review ... Mrs Whitlam by Bruce Pascoe

WHO would have thought one of Australia’s most notable writers of non-fiction and the Australian environment, Bruce Pascoe, (Dark Emus) would also be quite confident in creating Young Adult fiction!  Mrs Whitlam, is a novella which was recently shortlisted for the Children’s Book of the Year Awards.

It’s about life in the bush for a lower income family. The description of the landscape makes you think about our own region, especially towards the Snowy Mountains. Within this setting a girl inherits a beautiful horse from a grieving mother, Mrs Arnold, whose daughter has suddenly died. Both girls attended the local pony club where Marnie works with the horses and the other girl had all the trappings of the best equipment only money can buy. What both girls have in common is they can ride, really well … and now through the gift given by Mrs Arnold, Marnie has a horse which she can love as her own. Marnie’s family is Aboriginal. They have been through rough times but they make do with what they have and care for each other and their community. With this as the backdrop, Marnie deals with other pony club girls who laugh at her because she doesn’t have all the stylish equipment. But it is Marnie in the end, who saves a family from drowning because she knows how to build a rapport with her horse, who helps her rescue them.

This book has a simple message – but it’s a good one. This is a book for kids who like or dream of getting outdoors. It’s also a book for all of us to think about how we treat each other in our community. It’s not about the money, it’s about your attitude to life.

I give this book 4/5.

Ms Freeman.

Just a little reminder: 

Don’t forget you can access free eBooks and eAudio through My Library when you log onto your school portal.  Just browse the catalogue or go to the News tab at the top of the My Library catalogue to find books or comics you can use on any device!  Have fun and enjoy your next adventure!

Books and Reading. Year 11 student Madi Robinson talks about time-out and why reading is a great way to unwind.

To sleep in a sea of stars is what I'm reading at the moment by Christopher Paolini. Books that have stuck with me are The Chronicles of Narnia, The Folk of the Air Trilogy, Percy Jackson, The Illuminae Files, The Aurora Cycle, The Inheritance Series, Lore, The Hunger Games and many more. Some of my favourite authors are Sarah J Maas, Christopher Paolini, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. They all write captivating novels that transport you to different worlds, even universes.

 My favourite genres are sci-fi and fantasy because they create fantastical worlds that are so different from our own and interesting in their own ways. I read when I'm bored, when I feel like I need time alone, in the car, on the plane, before bed, and the best place to read is in the sun on a hot day or snuggled up in your blankets with a hot drink when it's cold. I read to escape from the stress of my life and the everyday problems and events that can drain me. Reading is a recharge and an escape from real life for me.

Books and Reading. An Interview with Cootamundra High School teacher Mr Michael McPhee.

What are you reading at the moment?

I just finished The Rich Man's House by Andrew McGahan. 

About to start "Hail Mary" by Andy Weir (who wrote The Martian)

Which book/s have 'stuck with you' over the years as the best?

I loved "A wrong turn at the office of unmade lists" by Jane Rawson. It is an outrightly bizarre book, but easy reading and brilliant for its imagination.

Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai. I can't explain what is going on in this book, it was so bizarre. But I remember reading it and deliberately going slow, so that I wouldn't finish it too quick. I then bought a copy of it to give to a friend.

IQ84 by Huraki Murakami. This is set in Japan in 1984, and the main character slips into a slightly different version of reality. I love the premise of "What would the world be like if this one small thing was different". It's big, again it's weird, but really good. I can still picture the world created.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Ursula K. Le Guin is without doubt my favourite author. She wrote a lot of Science Fiction with some Fantasy. For anyone who goes "I don't like Science Fiction" then you should read some of her stuff. It's not about the other worlds or space ships, her books just use these places as a setting. But the main reason she is my favourite author is that her writing is so beautiful and poetic. There are paragraphs you'll read and then stop and go "Wow" and then read them again.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Dystopian Future (Australian is the best) is my favourite. (With Sci Fi a close second) I'm not a "Dooms-day-er" but I like to think about what would it be like if the world came to an end as we know it? I love Australian stuff because usually I can relate to the setting/landscape.

When do you find time to read?

I read after work, sometimes to help me switch off. Often after dinner. When I have a good book I make time to read.

Why do you read?

To escape into another world, to entertain and to enlighten.


Welcome to new members of Staff

A warm welcome is extended to Ms Kaitlin Jenkins who has replaced Mr Rob Plain in the PDHPE Faculty. Ms Jenkins joins us from Cessnock High School, and is insisting she is not missing the sea breeze too much!

Ms Ellisha Large has also been a wonderful addition to the PDHPE faculty, fulfilling a temporary role until the end of 2021. Ms Large is a graduate from the University of Canberra and a past student, enjoying working alongside a number of her teachers who are now colleagues!

A warm thanks is also extended to Mr Paul Frilay, who has taken a small break from retirement to work with us. Students have been afforded a rare opportunity to take part in some rigorous and challenging activities centred around his expertise in a well-known football code – we are certain that all students in his classes are now Australian Rules converts!

Basketball Courts open!

After a number of delays, the courts are finally back open for business! The roofing is an excellent addition, and we are looking forward to fencing, seating and the finalisation of drainage in the new year, to complete the job.  It is a beautiful facility that has been well worth the wait!

Junior PDHPE

 Year 7 are building on their learning earlier this year with the theory unit “Respectful Relationships II”. This topic further examines power balance in relationships, a sense of belonging and connection to groups and communities. Students will explore how these elements impact an individual’s sense of self.


This term, Year 8 are studying a unit entitled ‘Protect Yourself’.   This unit examines the importance of safety when it comes to the decisions that our students make in their everyday lives.  To date students have discussed their digital footprints, explored how to keep safe online, and used the POOCH method to analyse risky situations to ensure they are aware of all options and the consequences of their decisions.

 Our Year 7 and 8 practical unit for the term is Net and Racquet sports.   Students have been participating in badminton, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and variations of these games over the course of the term.

Year 9 have commenced a Building Positive Relationships unit.  This unit focuses on developing all students’ understanding of developing relationships that are inclusive, equal and respectful.  To develop these relationships students have identified the important skills needed in a relationship and discussed the rights and responsibilities of individuals within these.  Students have examined the influence of strong negative and positive emotions on their behaviours and why it is important to acknowledge and seek strategies to help manage these.  We have also looked recently at active listening and why it is important in healthy relationships.

Understanding Resilience is the unit of study for Year 10 this term.  In this unit students learn how to respond positively to life’s challenges and how to build resilience. To date, students have identified some personal challenges, discussed the importance of choosing positive coping strategies to deal with these and researched how to locate jobs, address the selection criteria and how to be successful in a job interview.

In practicals, both Year 9 and 10 are completing a unit entitled Striking and Fielding.  Students have participated in T-ball, softball and cricket and variations of these games.

Outdoor fun ...


Keeping you in the loop ...

Tutors have done their best to minimise the impact on revision classes for our COVID ILSP by taking students from their elective’s classes over the Examination period.  Student participation remains high despite the students’ feeling tired by the additional study they had been doing for the exams.

It is recommended that your child should be coming along to at least two COVID ILSP small group classes each week.  For the timetabled lessons Alasdair and I have across the week with Year 9 and Year 10. Apologies if your students are behind in electives subjects, they now should have ample time to catch up.

Students are doing well to remain committed to their learning, and I am very impressed by the hard work they willingly engage in.  Our students continue to do their best despite tiredness and a feeling like the academic year is drawing new an end.

There are still things to learn.

Complex sentence writing using the Seldon Bubble Method – This …does that …does this

Punctuation within complex sentences

Writing a formal letter

Self-editing skills

Spell-it Program

Some students have been identified as needing additional support with spelling.  This program will begin in week 6 this term, and students identified have taken a letter home with additional information.  If you have not received a copy of this letter, please contact Ms Katherine Moore or Rebecca Perry.

With thanks for your support,

Ms Katherine Moore

COVID ILSP Coordinator and Tutor



10Y Science

This term year 10 are investigating energy and motion.

10Y made simple electric motors using wire, a magnet, and a battery to explore how motors convert electrical energy into mechanical energy.

9X Science

Year 9 are learning about the dynamic earth and investigating phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes caused by the movement of tectonic plates.

Here 9X are creating model seismographs that used to measure the motion of the ground during an earthquake. 


Cootamundra High School’s budding scientists have been very busy in term 4. Year 7 are currently studying cells, microscopes and micro-organisms in their topic “Building Blocks of Living Things”. Students in Miss Fritsch’s Year 7 class have been developing their skills in using microscopes in their practical lessons.

Year 8 Science are currently studying types of weathering and erosion in their topic “The Earth Beneath Us”. Miss Callaghan’s Science class has been working hard in their practical lessons. Here are some photos of students conducting experiments that demonstrate different types of weathering and erosion on a variety of materials.

Year 9 have been working through their topic called “From Ice Age to Heat Wave”. Currently, Year 9 are looking at interactions between tectonic plates and how these interactions affect the world around us. Miss Callaghan’s class enjoyed using plasticine to make models of the different faults and folds in tectonic plates and had a great discussion on the types of natural disasters interactions between tectonic plates can cause.

Year 10 Science are learning about energy in their new topic “Cars and Rockets”. Miss Callaghan’s class designed and made marble roller coasters to demonstrate the Law of Conservation of Energy, and have been investigating different types of renewable and non-renewable energy, and have had lots of discussions about improvements that have been made in technology supporting renewable sources of energy.

Our Stage 6 scientists have been applying themselves in Chemistry and Biology, and Mr Sides, Miss Fritsch and Mrs Drum are very pleased with their progress. Year 11 Biology are currently working on their depth study Assessment on the effectiveness of antibacterial substances, and are currently working through a module on Infectious Disease. Year 11 Chemistry are currently working on an Assessment Task on Equilibrium Systems in the natural or industrial worlds, which is developing their understanding of equilibrium reactions.


Sport at Cootamundra Sports Stadium - playing futsal and dodgeball


Country Education Scholarships

Important Information for Year 12 Students!

Best wishes are extended to Year 12 next week as they commence their final exams…finally!

Please ensure that you find the time to apply for a Country Education Scholarship, if you are intending on studying at TAFE, university, or undertaking an apprenticeship. These scholarships are donated by local people and provide generous financial assistance for school leavers to pursue their dreams. Application close on 30th November. Don’t miss out!

Year 10 Work Experience

Work Experience is still on hold until further notice, due to our ongoing COVID restrictions. Hopefully this will change in time for students to undertake some workplace learning before the end of the year.

Infrastructure Traineeships

Please find below some opportunities for a number of unique traineeships which may be of interest.

Infrastructure Traineeships Factsheet


TAFE Certificate I Program - Automotive

A number of our Years 9 and 10 students have been attending this course and the feedback has been excellent. Students are really enjoying the ‘hands on’ experience and their teacher, Mr Ian Kemp has contacted Mrs Alderman a number of times to praise our students.

Hands on experience at TAFE

AWS GIRLS' TECH DAY - Registrations Open

Girls' Tech Day 2021 - FAQ's


YOUTH FACT SHEET - Laws and important information

The laws surrounding the supply and possession of nicotine vaping products changed at the beginning of October 2021.  Click on the link for further information...



Superheroes Trivia Night

Calling all Superheroes!

Cootamundra Youth Council are hosting a Superheroes Trivia Night on Friday 19th November, 6-8pm. 

There will be games for all, food provided and prizes to be won.


At the Cootamundra RSL – Wattle Room


More info at