What's coming up
- Wed 16 Dec: Last day for students
- Wed 27 Jan: Staff returns to school.
- Fri 29 Jan: Years 1 to 6 return to school.
- Tue 2 Feb: Kindergarten begins.
TERM 1 2021 CALENDAR
- Wed 27 Jan: Staff returns to school.
- Fri 29 Jan: Years 1 to 6 return to school.
- Tue 2 Feb: Kindergarten begins. 10.00am: Zoom morning tea with parents of new Kindergarten students.
- Tue 2 Feb: First day of gymnastics lessons. (Every Tuesday in Term 1).
- Mon 8 – Fri 12 Feb: Lockdown and evacuation drills.
- Wed 10 Feb: Parent information sessions on site: (3.10pm-3.35: Kinder, Year 1); (3.35pm-4.00: Years 2 & 3); (4.00pm-4.25: Years 4, 5 & 6).
- Tue 16 Feb: Lakes regional swimming carnival.
- Wed 24 Feb: P&F meeting at 6.30.
- Thu 25 Feb: Diocesan swimming carnival.
- Fri 12 March: School cross country.
- Fri 19 March: St Patrick’s Day celebrations at St Patrick’s (2 days late!)
- Fri 19 March: Diocesan winter sport trials.
- Mon 22 March: NAPLAN practice tests.
- Wed 24 March: P&F meeting at 6.30.
- Thu 25 March: NAPLAN practice day to test the platform.
- Fri 26 March: Term 1 interim reports published.
- Thu 1 April: Last day of Term 1.
- Fri 2 April: Good Friday.
- Sun 4 April: Easter Sunday.
From the PrinciPAL
As I reflect on the 2020 school year, I acknowledge and celebrate the many wonderful learning experiences and educational opportunities that have taken place for our students at St Patrick’s this year in very creative and innovative ways. This year has clearly been momentous. The global pandemic has affected schools, and education more broadly. You, the students, their parents and their carers, have had to navigate this year in a manner that no-one would have ever expected. You have been resilient and understanding, and you have coped graciously with last minute changes to routine, to the delivery of lessons, and to postponed and cancelled major events. Undoubtedly, this will be a story for generations to come that will be shared time and again.
Throughout this year, I have been honoured to work alongside a staff that is so dedicated, committed and immensely talented. Our teaching and support staff make St Patrick’s a welcoming and inviting place to work. They generously give of their time and talents to give our students every chance of success. From the classroom to the sporting field, from our prayer life to the ways we celebrate, it is all done for the benefit of the students. Throughout this rather challenging year of COVID, I am so grateful that your children have had teachers who are passionate about learning, but more passionate about the education and wellbeing of young people. What a team!
Two of those teachers will leave St Patrick’s at the end of this week, and I wish to acknowledge their contributions to St Patrick’s:
Leanne Hyland has been teaching at St Patrick’s for two years. In her role as our Religious Education Coordinator, Leanne has provided spiritual formation opportunities for both our students and our staff . . . opportunities that have challenged each of us to reflect on our relationship with Jesus, and how that relationship plays out in the ways we relate to one another. Leanne has enabled us to consider how the Scriptures resonate with our inner lives and personal experiences. In leading our Mini Vinnies group, Leanne has encouraged our students to focus less on their personal needs and more on how they can reach out to people who need a helping hand. Leanne has encouraged us to be prayerful people, and undoubtedly many people would recall our (pre-COVID) Prayer and Worship celebrations. These were powerful experiences which, for many of us, enriched our relationships with God by allowing us to spend time with him and to get to know him better. I wish Leanne all the best as she begins a new chapter in her teaching career at St Joseph’s Wauchope.
Megan Koster has taught Year 3 alongside Ben McCarthy this year. She adapted well to the challenges of remote learning during the lockdown. This time of remote learning was challenging for a number of her students, and Megan listened to each of her students to discern how best to engage each of them with their learning. Megan’s patience and ability to keep cool under pressure allowed her students to cope with the demands of a new way of learning and ultimately to make a smooth transition back to face-to-face learning.
Summer is a very special time for children and is the source of many happy memories. I hope that you and your children enjoy many opportunities to have fun as a family in the weeks ahead. I look forward to seeing your children next year.
I wish all of the St Patrick’s families a happy, holy and peaceful Christmas and a New Year that exceeds your expectations.
Last Tuesday we held our end-of-year awards ceremony. Congratulations to those students who received awards. It is very challenging for teachers to choose just three students to receive awards, and it is difficult for parents and staff members to see children miss out on an award when they have their hearts set on being publicly recognised for their achievements. It is a measure of a person’s resilience – both children and adults - when they can bounce back from these disappointments, to continue to strive for their academic and sporting goals, and to use these setbacks as learning experiences.
The recipients of this year’s awards were:
Archer Hoogwerf, Sara Corbett, Grace Turner, Rhys Stewart, Blake Marriott, Teddy Beckett, Tamika Fitzgerald, Alex Wallwork.
Consistent effort and application
Sebastian Reddie, Madeleine Koller, Ellie Boyce, Sebastian Koller, Lukah Thornton, Emma Wilks, Lacey Joyce, Kai Johnson.
Layla Buchanan, Eloise Ayshford, Skye Porter, Tyla Hope, Eva Pasfield, Hayden Wallwork, Caitlin Farrell, Jemima Kelman.
In addition to these awards, Summer-Rose Ward and Maci Staples were recognised for their achievements. Summer-Rose was named as our Sportsperson of the Year, and Maci as the recipient of the MacKillop award.
We congratulate the following students who have been elected as student leaders for 2021:
- School captains: Lacey Joyce and Ben McIvor.
- Leaders of Mission: Peppa Kelly and Sheridan Owen.
- Blue sport captains: Annabelle Low and Nate Thornton.
- Gold sport captains: Tamika Fitzgerald and Emily Jack.
- Green sport captains: Aisha Krueger, Robbie McTyer and Alicia Stewart.
STAFFING UPDATE 2021
Two weeks ago, I let you know as much as we knew at that time in regard to staffing in 2021. Since that newsletter, Jessica Kuterovac has declined the position that she had accepted at St Patrick’s, as a position arose at the school at which she is currently teaching.
The allocation of teachers to classes is as follows:
- Kindergarten: Liz Walker.
- Year 1: Cheryl Ogden.
- Year 2: Louise Stewart.
- Year 2: Claire Browne.
- Year 3: To be appointed.
- Year 4: Cathy Dent (3 days per week) and Cathy Curk (2 days per week).
- Year 5: To be appointed.
- Year 6: Daniel Lockwood (4 days per week) and Ben McCarthy (1 day per week).
The delayed appointments of teachers to Years 3 and 5 have been due to circumstances beyond our control. Applications for these positions close tomorrow (Tuesday), and we hope to interview either late this week or early next week. I hope to be able to notify you about the outcome of these appointments before Christmas, and to supply you with some information about the successful applicants.
My apologies for this delay. I thank you in anticipation of your patience and understanding.
FAREWELL TO YEAR 6 - 'Clap out'
Tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon, we will say goodbye for the final time to those students and staff members who will leave St Patrick’s this week, including our Year 6 students. Fortunately, some COVID restrictions have been lifted, and this will allow us to welcome back to the school two adults from each Year 6 family and other departing families to our farewell ritual, which will begin at 2.30pm.
There are some strict conditions attached to the attendance of adult family members:
- Each adult family member entering the school site will be required to register their entry outside the front gate by scanning a QR code and entering their registration details.
- Each adult family member will be required to remain seated on the bench seats and chairs which will be situated around the perimeter of the concrete area.
- Adult family members may take photographs from their seats, but will not be permitted to leave the seat to take photos.
- Following the farewell, all adult family members will be required to exit the school site. No mingling will be permitted within the school grounds.
Our apologies for imposing such harsh controls on what will be a lovely and somewhat emotional occasion, but we are required to enforce these restrictions on people if we are to allow them on site.
Elsewhere in this newsletter is an updated document on relaxation of restrictions. Let’s hope that next year we will be able to welcome back all parents and other family members onto the school site without restrictions. We will keep you posted.
SCHOOL SWIMMING Wrap up
Last Friday we held our annual swimming carnival. Congratulations to the winning house – Seagulls with a huge total of 242 points. All swimmers competed eagerly and fairly and encouraged one another. Congratulations to all of the students who competed.
A huge thankyou to the many volunteers who helped to make our carnival run smoothly:L
- Our starter, Jake McIvor.
- Our timekeepers - Brad Marriott, Leanne Fletcher, Leisha Fitzgibbon, Kelly Wijnans, Shermaine Fitzgerald, Steven Jack and Margaux Windever.
- Our marshall, Liz Sharpe.
- Our lifesavers, Lynne Wilks and Amy Stewart.
- Our photographer, Margaux Windever.
Of course, a special thanks to the wonderful staff of St Patrick’s who worked throughout the day to ensure that the carnival was a huge success.
The Lakes regional swimming carnival will be held on Tuesday 16th February 2021. Details of this carnival will be sent home early in Term 1. Our swimming champions will receive their medals at our first assembly in 2021.
LATEST COVID ADVICE
Last week, Catholic Schools NSW reviewed its advice to schools regarding COVID restrictions. Here is a summary of the advice that applies to our school:
- All adults must continue to maintain a minimum of 1.5 metres physical distance from each other at all times.
- Parents and carers on site: Parents and carers are allowed on school sites or at offsite school events held during school hours for the following purposes only:
- Essential parent and carer meetings with teachers.
- Parents and carers who are picking up their child if they are unwell.
- Parents and carers who need to be on-site for canteen and uniform shop duties or to collect or purchase uniforms.
- Parent or carer volunteers who are assisting with reading groups and other classroom support.
- • No parents or other spectators are permitted to attend activities held on the school site during the school day.
- P&F meetings may occur on the school site. These meetings must occur outside of school hours.
- School based outdoor activities that involve parent and community gatherings, such as parent functions and working bees, can proceed with up to 100 people outside of school hours. A COVID-19 Safety Plan must be in place.
Community use of the school hall
- The school hall may be used by community groups. The organiser remains responsible for compliance with physical distancing and hygiene requirements. All community user groups must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.
- Students should continue to bring water bottles from home to fill at water bubblers rather than drink directly from the bubbler.
- External providers delivering educational services may proceed, but they must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.
- Whole school assemblies can take place, although parents and carers are not permitted to attend school assemblies.
- Whole school carnivals (swimming, cross country, athletics) are permitted.
2021 Classroom Supplies
A copy of this list in PDF format can be downloaded from the Compass News Area.
Kinder Orientation #2
Thanks to Liz Walker who again welcomed our new Kindergarten 2021 students to St Patrick’s last Thursday.
P&F END-OF-YEAR WRAP-UP
As we all know, this year has been like no other. COVID restrictions meant that we were unable to do many of the fundraising and fun activities that the P&F would usually organise. These activities include the end of year disco, trivia night, Mothers’ Day stall, Fathers’ Day stall, Fathers’ Day breakfast and Christmas carols. Even though the P&F could not meet regularly at the school, we were still able to conduct the meetings via Zoom. It was a great way to stay connected to the school and to keep the friendships going.
Our aim for next year is to spend P&F fundraising money on outdoor seating and play equipment. Your support, whether it is attendance at P&F meetings, working in the canteen or uniform shop, or supporting the many activities, means a great deal to the students.
Last Thursday we ran a very successful Christmas fundraiser. A huge thank you goes out to the Year 6 students, led by Cathy Dent. This was a big day for the Year 6 students and they did an amazing job. A big thank you goes to Summer and Jemima who spent the whole week running the guessing competition.
We thank the following parents (and one grandparent!) who sourced gifts and donations, set up stalls and activities, packed up afterwards and wrapped the raffle prizes: Liz Sharpe, Sharon Koller, Belinda Newell, Anna Marriott, Vicki Raybould and Margaux Windever.
We would like to thank Shane Hallal who sourced many of the prizes for the raffle.
To those parents and grandparents who baked all the goodies, they were certainly enjoyed by the students. We thank you for your support.
Congratulations go to Flynn who won the guessing competition with a guess of 354, missing the correct total by one (355).
Congratulations to the following students who won gift cards donated by the P&F for their fantastic art works.
- Kindergarten: Neve Bowmaker
- Year 1 White: Ella Hardi
- 1 Blue: Skye Porter
- Year 2: Sebastian Koller
- Year 3: Zahli Boyce
- Year 4: Lara Windever
- Year 5: Lacey Joyce
- Year 6: Ayla Parker
We had 26 prizes up for grabs in the raffle. A sincere thank you to the businesses who donated the prizes:
- Swansea RSL Club (https://swansearslclub.com): 2 x $25.00 gift cards.
- Blacksmiths Family Meats (86 Turea St, Blacksmiths, phone 49711673): 2 x half ham vouchers and a $50.00 gift card.
- The Local Yolk (https://www.thelocalyolk.com.au): Candles.
- Sage Style and Co (https://www.facebook.com/sagestyleandco/): Preserved floral arrangements.
- Woolworths Swansea: Movie night pack.
- Coles Swansea: Movie night pack.
- Caves Beach Bar and Bungalows: 3 x $50 gift cards.
- Swansea Surf Shop (https://swanseasurf.com.au): 4 x $25.00 gift cards.
- St Patrick’s P&F (Make and Bake packs).
Thanks also to the families who purchased raffle tickets.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Green for his guidance and encouragement of the P&F as well as the support of the teachers and staff of St Patrick’s, and wish the staff, parents and students a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
UNIFORM SERVICE OPENING HOURS
During the first week of the 2021 school year, the uniform shop will be open on the following dates and times:
- Friday 29th January, 9.00 to 10.00.
- Tuesday 1st February, 8.30 to 9.30.
I thank Sharon Koller and Liz Sharpe for making this service available to our parents.
Undoubtedly a number of parents will need to replace their children’s school shoes during the school holidays in preparation for the new school year. In choosing your child’s shoes, please note the following uniform regulations in regard to shoes:
- The shoes worn with the summer and winter uniforms are black leather lace-up, elasticised or buckle shoes that are able to be polished. Sport shoes, canvas shoes, suede shoes, slip-on shoes, etc. are not acceptable. Please do not be persuaded by your children to purchase anything other than these shoes. Thank you in anticipation of your understanding.
- Shoes that are rarely or never polished look terrible and they do not last as long as shoes that are cared for. Children (even young ones) should be expected to polish their own shoes at least weekly.
THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERS
One of the highlights of the end of each year has been to host a BBQ to thank those people who have given of their time and talents throughout the year in the service of our school. COVID restrictions have forced us to cancel this year’s BBQ, and it has therefore not been possible to properly thank those people in person.
COVID has led to fewer opportunities to volunteer at the school this year. This has highlighted for us the critical role played by volunteers at St Patrick’s, as we have been unable to offer as many opportunities to our students as we have been able to do in previous years. Nevertheless, restrictions are gradually lifting, and I very much look forward to the day when families can walk onto the site, when we can shake hands, and when our school once again feels like a community.
I sincerely thank those volunteers who have continued to provide those essential services that have kept our school running. I hope that you realise the very real difference that each of you makes. I know that if I publish names, I will neglect to mention somebody, so I will play it safe and hope that you will accept this thanks as a genuine message of appreciation from all of the staff of St Patrick’s.
ATTENTION TALENTED CRICKETERS
Girls and boys in Years 5 and 6 attending Catholic schools in the Lakes region are invited to attend the Lakes Regional Cricket Trials. The details are follows:
- VENUE: Gateshead Indoor Sportsworld, 26 Oakdale Road, Gateshead.
- DATE: Friday 12th February 2021.
- TIME: 9.30am to 11.30am. Arrival no later than 9.15am.
Only highly talented players who are currently playing for a club should nominate for these trials. If you would like to attend these trials, please contact Peter Green.