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St. Mary's News!

Friday, 20 December 2019

Dear Parents and Friends, 

Today I write my last message to you as Principal of St. Mary’s school and as an educator in Catholic Education. I have had the privilege and honour to have been able to work with St. Mary’s community for almost 14 years, and prior to this, served as Principal at two other schools, thus having completed 29 years as Principal. My journey has been one of joy as I have loved every day that I have been able to work with students, parents and staff in our schools. I have been most fortunate in that I have been well supported in my work and that I have had opportunities to grow professionally myself and to have watched the growth of others. I have had the good fortune to have always had such professional and dedicated staff on my Team and this has allowed me to see so many innovative and excellent programs develop. I sincerely thank and congratulate our staff on all that they do each day to make a difference in the lives of our precious children. I also feel so lucky to have worked in supportive communities where, I believe, I have been able to work effectively alongside parents and the wider Parish community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr. Steve and all the Parish staff for their leadership and support of me and especially thank Fr. Steve for his trust in me as Principal.

The students of St. Mary’s are such beautiful, caring – and sometimes – interesting young people. They are the ones that drive me as a Principal. They are always foremost in my thoughts and bring to my job my greatest pleasure and reason for why I do what I do and why what I do is so rewarding. I will miss them, but I will, I am sure, hear stories of their achievements into the future.

My work has meant so much to me, and other than the years are passing me by, I would stay in education for even longer than I have. It will be a sad day for me when I walk out the door for the last time, but I will do so knowing that I have given myself to the job, but in return, I have been given so much more. Thank you to everyone – St. Mary’s has meant so very much to me. Good bye and good luck to all for the future.

FAREWELL TO STAFF
As we close the doors for the 2019 school year, we say thank you and farewell to some staff who have contributed so much to St. Mary’s over many years.

Fran Jolley has worked as our school secretary for 39 years. She has seen so many students come through the door and been a support to not only these students, but also often the sounding board for their parents. I know she has always been a great listener and someone who would do so much for us all. I have personally appreciated and valued Fran’s manner and approach to all that she does. Thank you Fran and best wishes for your retirement.

Another to retire is Philippa Griffin. Philippa is a whiz when it comes to financial matters and has served the school extremely well in this role for 23 years. Not only has Philippa looked after all financial matters, she has taken care of HR matters, organized catering for functions, booked School Camps and performed a myriad of other duties. Philippa has been a great support to me in my role as Principal. Thank you Philippa. May your retirement bring you many blessings.


After 35 years serving St. Mary’s as a class room teacher, Leader of Curriculum and in her last role in the school, Leader of Student Diversity, Margaret Colangelo has also joined those who are retiring. Marg has been an exceptional educator who has devoted her career to supporting the learning and development of so many students and supporting the learning and growth of her colleagues. She has always been available to meet with parents and source support for students who require extra assistance. She is very generous with her time, very caring of students’ needs, patient, fair and insightful. Marg has had a long and successful career and now that she retires, I wish her happiness and fulfillment in the next stage of her life.


Our next retiree is Kerry Conte. Kerry joined our Team 8 years ago. As a Reading Recovery teacher, her expertise has been well utilized in assisting those through the Reading Recovery Program to progress to their full potential. Kerry brought a passion for Literacy to our school and besides working individually with students on the Reading Recovery Program, she has shared her knowledge with all teachers, thus enriching our Literacy Program. There would be many students whose learning has been extended through Kerry’s commitment, passion and expertise. All the best to you Kerry.

Elizabeth Whiting leaves us also, but not to retirement. Elizabeth has been appointed as Deputy Principal to St. John’s in Heidelberg. Elizabeth has been an amazing contributor to our school – both as a classroom teacher when she joined our Team in 2008 and then as our Literacy Leader. Elizabeth is extremely innovative and researched based in her approach to teaching and learning. Through her knowledge and commitment to ongoing learning, she has been instrumental in leading the implementation of approaches that have led to growth in teaching pedagogy and therefore, student outcomes. Elizabeth is highly organized and has so many personal gifts which she brings to leadership. These qualities will be an enormous asset to the community of St. John’s. Congratulations Elizabeth on your appointment and thank you for all that you have given to us.

Taking up a new teaching appointment after 9 years with St. Mary’s, is Amelia Morse. On her appointment in 2011, Amelia was our Religious Education leader and also classroom teacher. Amelia has the gift of being able to see what needs to be done and she has the skills to source what is needed to bring about an excellent outcome. As REL, she was the chief designer of many amazing Faith evenings for parents and provided resources for teachers to bring alive the teaching of Religious Education. As a teacher, she is highly respected because of her expertise and never ending desire to do the very best for her students. She is much loved by her students and is renowned as an excellent teacher. We are sorry to see you go Amelia, but we will always be grateful for what you have given to St. Mary’s.

Emily Walton joined us 5 years ago and has proven herself to be an excellent teacher. She is encouraging, supportive, gentle and able to bring out the best in her students. She has the ability to know her students and understand the best way to bring out the best in each of them. She is a wonderful staff member who is always ready to assist with those activities that bring a positive dimension to the life of a school. Emily will be certainly missed – especially by the next group of Preps who enter our school as she has such an affinity to the needs of our new comers. But Emily is moving on to extend and build herself as a professional. I know she will do well in her new setting. Thank you for everything Emily and may your next move be a successful one for you.

FAREWELL TO FAMILIES
Today I wish to thank and farewell families who leave us tomorrow. I trust your time in our community has been rewarding and that you leave with fond memories of your time at St. Mary’s. Families whose time has come to an end with us are – 
Brocchi, Earthayil, Fan, Gauci, Giosserano, Lieu, Mills, Pacher, Papagianis, Williams, Cain, Cowie, De Cata, Dinakis, Kerr, McRae, Pearson, Stamatov, Vidajic, Agapito, de Run, Di Muzio, El Hourany, Ferronato, Grossmann, Hawley, Kalkos, Pilone, Randall, Simpson, Warren, Culbard, Nagy, Matheson, Premoselli, Li and Foti.


YR 6 GRADUATION 2019
Sincere thanks to all the parents who decorated the Hall and prepared and served the meal for the graduation of our 2019 Yr. 6 students. The evening was very much enjoyed and it was a special night for our students as they graduated. Thank you. I wish all our students who graduated last Thursday evening every success in the future. You have all grown into excellent young people and we are all so very proud of each of you. May your journey through life bring you much happiness.

BENEVOLENT FUNDRAISER
On Friday the 6 December, we held our second Fun Run as a fundraiser for St. Mary’s Benevolent Fund. This Fund is something I am very proud of and so pleased we were able to  set it up in 2018 as a fund to support our own families. This year we raised $6724.55 and along with the generous generation of $1500, from Le Pine Greensborough/Eltham, our fund is in a healthy position. Thank you to all who supported this year’s Fun Run. A special thank you to Sally Kerr who took on the organisation of this event.

MORRISONKLEEMAN COLOURING COMPETITION
Thank you to MorrisonKleeman for the opportunity for our students to participate in a Christmas colouring competition. Congratulations to the winners of the scooters! 
TUCKSHOP REMINDER
A reminder to all parents that we will only be accepting lunch orders online via the FlexiSchools App in 2020.
Cash orders will no longer be accepted.
We will still be accepting cash for counter sales at breaks.
We have more than 140 people using Online ordering and the feedback has been that it is easy to use and makes it faster for the tuck shop to get lunch to the students in first break.
Visit the following site to find link to App <flexischools.com.au>
Any questions, please contact smgpapresident@gmail.com
The tuck shop will be operating as from Wednesday29 January.


UNIFORM SHOP
The Uniform Shop will be open on the first two days of Term 1 – these being the assessment days, Wednesday 29 January and Thursday 30 January between 8.30am and 9.30am.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
2020 AGMs for the various Committees will be held as follows:
Parents’ Association Wednesday 19 February
Maintenance and Development Team (MaD) Tuesday 10 March
Parish Pastoral Council 22 March
School Advisory Board Thursday 26 March

SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAM
The School Holiday Program conducted by the staff of Camp Australia will run at St. Mary’s over the Christmas Holiday break. It will commence on 7 January and run until 25 January.
Please note, you can register even if your child does not currently use the OSHC program.

The 2020 School year will finish tomorrow 17 December at 3.30pm and Yr. 1 - 6 students will attend on either Wednesday 29 January or Thursday 30 January 2020. These assessment days will commence at the normal time of 8.50am. Students are to wear school uniform. All Yr. 1 – 6 students will attend on Friday 31 January. Preps will commence on either Monday 3 February or Tuesday 4 February.
On behalf of all staff, I wish all students and parents a Christmas filled with joy as you celebrate the birth of Jesus. May you be surrounded with many blessings as you gather to celebrate the gifts given to us as people of God

I trust each of you will enjoy time relaxing and enjoying special moments with family over the holiday break. I trust that the New Year treats each of you well.

Regards 
Helen.


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