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The School Newsletter Week 3, Term 3 2021

What's Coming Up?

  • Mon 2 Aug: A Matter of Seconds water safety program (K, Yr 3, and Yr 6)
  • Fri 6 Aug: Mary Mackillop Games
  • Mon 9 Aug: ICAS Writing and Digital Technologies Assessments

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From the Principal

Yesterday we celebrated NAIDOC Week at St Patrick’s. This week, which was officially commemorated during the recent school holidays – is a week during which we acknowledge and celebrate the gifts of Australia’s First Peoples to our nation. On Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday, the Gospel (Mark 6:1-6) was very fitting because Mark tells us of Jesus returning to his ‘native place’ – Nazareth – to a non-accepting, hostile reaction. Jesus had been welcomed and revered in other places. He was mocked and disregarded in his own home because he did not fit into the people’s ideological view of a leader and thus did not deserve respect in their eyes.

In Australia, our own First Nations people have suffered a similar reception to Jesus in Nazareth. Their knowledge and complex cultural systems, created and honed over millennia, are often dismissed as primitive and irrelevant to our fast-paced world of today. This could not be further from the truth, particularly as we become more aware of their continued care, love, and respect for ‘country’.

Because of the connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognise between country and people’s wellbeing, it is no surprise that when the world is in pain, Australia’s First Peoples are in pain. During the current pandemic, many of the trappings of Western life have become impossible. The rivers are calm and clear from the absence of boats. The cities are quiet. Animals are returning to previous habitats. Smog is clearing from above cities across the world as the world takes a ‘breath’ from our constant consumerism and drive for development.

NAIDOC Week presents us with an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge that we are united in a fight to save God’s creation. It is one we cannot fight alone. We must combine the knowledge of First Australians with the technology borne of Western culture to ensure that future generations shall have the opportunity to experience the gifts of God’s creation as intended.

I thank Ben McCarthy for the opportunities that he gave us yesterday to learn more about the many contributions of Australia’s First Peoples to our cultural heritage.

Have a good week.

Peter Green.

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ICAS ASSESSMENTS

A reminder that the due dates for registering and paying for ICAS assessments are as follows:

  • English: Sunday 1st August.
  • Science: Sunday 8th August.
  • Spelling: Sunday 8th August.
  • Mathematics: Sunday 15th August.

Parent page link: https://shop.icasassessments.com/pages/pps

School access code for parents: JHR549

If you require more information about ICAS, you may either contact me or visit https://www.icasassessments.com/products-icas

Peter Green.

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NAIDOC Week CELEBRATIONS

Yesterday we celebrated NAIDOC Week at St Patrick’s. Throughout the day, the students moved through a variety of activities in which they learnt about the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The activities included:

  • Traditional games of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Pukamitjal (Mornington Island) and Buroinjin (Kabi Kabi people of South Queensland).
  • Using sand art to create a decorative boomerang.
  • A reading of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s shortlisted book ‘Little Bird’s Day’.
  • Creation of a mural based on Little Bird’s Day.
  • An exploration of the artistic style of the artist Johnny Warrkaja Malibirr.
  • Listening to the Awabakal Dreaming story ‘How Muloobinba was created’.
  • Exploring various artists’ depictions of the Great Rainbow Serpent.
  • Using wood and dot stickers to create Rainbow Serpents.
  • A study of Torres Strait Islander culture, including languages, sculptures, stories, dance and art.

One of the highlights of the day was a whole school gathering in the hall for our liturgy. While some students assembled our sacred space, Layne Wiseman used charcoal to outline a picture on the front wall. Later in the liturgy, some senior students completed the picture with paints. The theme of ‘Water’ provided the link between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and our Catholic faith. For the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, water is essential to survival. In the Catholic tradition, water is a sign of new life in Christ. For both traditions, water is a central theme in the stories of creation.

Our sincere thanks to our Aboriginal Education Teacher, Ben McCarthy, who organised the day. Thanks also to Craig Duncan (a Kamilaroi man and Education Officer, Catholic Schools Office) and Matt Nicoll (a Wiradjuri man and member of our parent community) who ran several of the activities. Thanks also to our staff who ensured that the day ran smoothly.

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OUR CELEBRATION OF THE FEAST OF ST MARY OF THE CROSS MACKILLOP

On Friday next week (6th August) – NOT THIS WEEK – we will celebrate the Feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, who established the Sisters of St Joseph. It was the Sisters of St Joseph who founded our school in 1952.

There will be further details in next week’s newsletter. Here are a few matters that you might need to prepare for:

  1. The students will wear their sport uniforms to school on the day.
  2. We will be using the Mary MacKillop Games as an opportunity to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation called Mary MacKillop Today. We will be seeking to raise money by levying every student $2 to participate in the Mary MacKillop Games. We will collect this money on the morning of the Games.
  3. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions do not allow us to invite parents and other spectators to our celebrations.
  4. The teams have been named after schools in our Diocese that were established by the Sisters of St Joseph. The teams are as follows:

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WATER SAFETY PROGRAM

On Monday next week, lifeguards from Lake Macquarie City Council will visit Kindergarten, Year 3 and Year 6 to teach the students about water safety. The title of their program is “A Matter Of Seconds”. This is an annual event and we are very thankful for this opportunity.

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UNIFORM SERVICE

The uniform service will be closed for face to face service until further notice. Orders placed on the Qkr! app will still be filled and sent home with children on a Friday .

CANTEEN ROSTER

As you can see from the roster below, we still require volunteers this term.

Without a recess volunteer, children are being given their recess orders at lunch time.

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R.I.P. NOLA

Last Thursday morning we heard the sad news that Rachel Wright’s mum, Nola, passed away. Rachel was our learning support teacher until the end of Term 1 this year, and she is now working as an education officer at the Catholic Schools Office. Nola had fought courageously against a terminal illness for a long time. Her funeral service took place this morning. Please pray for the eternal repose of Nola’s soul.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

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School Garden Bed Competition

The St Pat’s Green Team is excited to be entering the School Garden Bed Competition at this year’s Living Smart Festival. Over the next 8 weeks, the Green Team will be designing and constructing a sustainable garden bed drawing inspiration from the first line of our school song, “St Patrick’s, St Patrick’s, our school by the sea...”. The Green Team already have many fabulous ideas and are asking for donations to help create our garden. Items we are collecting include:

  • PVC pipe (various widths/lengths), caps and elbows
  • Hollow, dried bamboo
  • 20L plastic bucket
  • River stones/rocks
  • Salt and drought tolerant plants/ cuttings
  • Vegetable seedlings/plants

For more information about the Festival visit https://www.lakemac.com.au/Events-directory/Council-events/Living-Smart-Festival

Thank you for your support,

Claire Browne and the Green Team

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PEG MEETING

Last Wednesday evening we held our first Parent Engagement Group (PEG) meeting. Liz Walker, and Cathy Dent presented a very informative session on how we teach our students to read. Karen Devlin followed this up with some excellent websites that parents can use to assist them in selecting appropriate literature for home reading. I thank Liz, Cathy and Karen for their valued input.

Unfortunately we experienced a technical issue with Zoom. I had not logged on correctly. Anna Marriott donned her superhero cape and came to our rescue, and the meeting proceeded with only a few more technology hiccups. Thank you, Anna! Zoom is a wonderful tool, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction. Let’s hope that COVID restrictions are lifted in time for our next PEG meeting to proceed in a face-to-face format.

Thanks to those parents who attended last week’s meeting. We value the partnership of our parent community in bringing about the best possible outcomes for our students.

Our next PEG meeting will take place on Wednesday 25th August. We will let you know as soon as possible the topic of the presentation.

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OUR DIO ATHLETICS REPRESENTATIVES

Four of our students have been selected to represent the Lakes region at the Diocesan athletics carnival tomorrow. We wish all the very best to Florence, Madison, Jacob and Evan.

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MUSIC BUS Singing Lessons

3 more students are needed to fill a singing class with The Music Bus! – Would your child be interested? - Jump on board the music bus.

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