It has been such a pleasure to have all of the students and staff back on campus. We are very grateful for everyone’s safe return and look forward to establishing some good routines over the next six weeks.
Just a reminder that we are trialling the new timetable structure I shared with you in my letter of Tuesday, 20 October. The new structure aims to support students’ full engagement with their studies over the course of the day, as well as providing time after school for home learning, extra-curricular activities, and of course, family time. We will be asking for feedback about this renewed structure before the end of the term. It has been remarkable how adaptable this community has been to the shifting times and structures over the course of this year. While we do not want to be doing this often, we know we have the capacity to adjust to the circumstances as we need to.
Year 12 Celebrations
It was a pleasure to be able to celebrate the “mini-Graduations” with our Year 12 students last Monday and Tuesday, and to pray with them to acknowledge the last 13 years of their compulsory education. In the absence of our capacity to celebrate together in community, we live-streamed each ceremony for our parents, recorded various elements of what would normally make up a graduation celebration, and will screen the 2020 Graduation Celebration at the Coburg Village Drive-In for our Year 12s and their families next Wednesday night. I would like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Brigitte McDonald, and the Graduation Team, for the months of planning to ensure that we could provide a wonderful COVID-safe send-off for our Year 12s.
Our official send-off for the Year 12 students took place on Tuesday, 27 October. While this was not the send-off we would normally anticipate, it was none-the-less a joyful occasion for our girls. I would like to congratulate them on their maturity and commitment to partnership, in working with us to ensure we provided for them a safe and fun farewell.
I have included the closing comments from my address to the students at the farewell assembly:
As I finish, I want you to imagine that red thread, and what you can do to extend its influence and its impact on others. That red thread encapsulates Mary Aikenhead’s passion for the suffering poor, the spirit of courage and endeavour of the first Sisters who arrived here in Australia, the tireless and inclusive love that the Sisters show in working with the marginalised and oppressed, the tenacity and resolve to overcome adversity and blockers, and the hope that the Sisters have in education and how it can change the world. Take all of this with you, extend, make it larger, and by your lives, others will come to know what it means to be St Columba’s women, women of faith and courage, formed in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity – formidable women who are coming to change the world.
So, we wish you good luck in your endeavours. We hope you will enjoy safe travels and stimulating journeys, and that you will return to us in the years ahead to share your stories with those who share your heritage. Thank you, for the privilege of your trust as we have cradled your education in our hearts and our hands.
In closing, I offer you this blessing:
Go out in joy as you celebrate your achievements here today.
Go out with confidence, knowing that the God of love will lead your way.
Go out in unity, take your gifts and give them to the world, in the name of Jesus.
Go out with strength, clothed and equipped with all you’ve learned.
Go out with wisdom, as God renews your mind each day.
Go out in love, with kindness and blessings to give away.
Go out with your learning and our tradition to bless and enrich God’s world.
“Go forth and set the world on fire.”
Grace be to our graduates, grace be to us all.
Staff Changes in the Finance Office
From Tuesday, 17 November we will welcome Mrs Sandra Taylor as the new Finance Officer – Family Accounts for the College. Mrs Pam Woodhams will move into a different role within the Finance Team. Many of you would know Pam, and her compassion and dedication to our families over a significant period of time. I am personally grateful for the support Pam has offered to our families. We are pleased to be able to retain her expertise as we transition to a new structure within the team due to the resignation of Mrs Cony Wong. Mrs Elisa Williamson will take on the position of College Accountant.
Increased mental health support
As part of the 2020–21 Federal Budget, the Australian Government will provide 10 additional psychological support sessions subsidised by Medicare. The purpose of these is for young people and adults to continue to receive mental health care from their psychologist, counsellor or other eligible allied health worker.
Additional in-person mental health support sessions may be accessed through a medical general practitioner referral until 30 June 2022.
For people accessing telehealth support services, additional sessions are available until 31 March 2021.
To be eligible for the 10 additional mental health support sessions, a person must have:
- an approved treatment plan developed by their medical practitioner
- used their initial 10 individual sessions
- a referral from their reviewing practitioner.
People who do not use all of the 10 additional sessions by the end of the calendar year may continue to access the remaining services in the next calendar year.
- An additional 10 psychological support sessions for in-person services will be available until 30 June 2022.
- Additional telehealth services will be available until 31 March 2021.
We encourage all eligible people to access the support listed above, for any enquiries please visit the Mental health care and Medicare webpage on the Services Australia website https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.