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2023 Student Leaders Ceremony

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On 1 November 2022, St Brigid’s held a Leadership Ceremony for our Senior Student Leaders for 2023.  It was great seeing so many families attend the ceremony.

Congratulations to our new Student Leaders: Isla Anderson, Kahli Burgess, Chloe Debono, Noah Ellis-Helmers, Brooke Elwell, Layla Hepplewhite, Braydn Hoile, Cooper Jones, Tom McMahon, Ben McCulkin, Bridget McLear, Laura Peters, Nathaniel Remaili, Holly Ross, Riana Sherrin, Cooper Sweeney and James Vipan.

Engaging in your Child’s Education

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I had the opportunity on Wednesday night along with Mrs Walters and Mrs Smith to head down to Catholic Schools Broken Bay to hear about the Diocesan vision for increasing family engagement within our schools.  It was great to hear from Danny Casey, our Director of Schools who outlined the progress that had been made on the Towards 2025 Strategy and it was abundantly clear how much Danny values parent voice and how keen he is to drive family engagement across all schools.  We also heard from Cath Garrett-Jones who is the Executive Director for Council of Catholic School Parents NSW/ACT.  Cath is an exceptionally passionate advocate for inclusivity in schools and spoke about the need for the school and its families to work in partnership with the goal of bettering the educational outcomes for our children.

 

 At St Brigid’s we are very keen to hear from our wider community.  We appreciate that not everyone is able to be physically involved in the life of the College, but we do have a high expectation that you will be engaged with your child’s education.  Our wonderful Parent Advisory Group is already considering ways we can build an even stronger community at St Brigid’s, and we will have more news on these initiatives in coming weeks.  In the meantime, I encourage you to think of ways that you can show your child how much you value the importance of their education.  It really can be as simple as staying up to date with Compass, reading College communications and sharing that with your child, reading for pleasure with your children, helping with homework, discussing College events, attending College functions or volunteering when opportunities arise.

 

Mr Paul Lynch

Assistant Principal

Marine Studies Excursion to Irukandji Shark & Ray Centre

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On Wednesday the 26th of October, Stage 5 Marine Students plus their teachers, Mr Nicholas McFarlane and Ms Courtney Harvey, attended an excursion to the Irukandji Shark & Ray Centre in Anna Bay. Students and staff received hands-on education experiences with qualified professional marine biologists, exploring different species of sharks, rays, fish and eels all cared for at the Shark & Ray Centre, as well as gaining valuable knowledge about the plight of sharks throughout Australia and the world.  

Students were offered the opportunity of a lifetime, with up close and personal encounters with the resident leopard sharks in the large lagoon environment. Students waded into knee deep water and allowed the sharks to swim all around their legs, using the opportunity to feel the rough, sandpaper-like skin of the sharks. Simultaneously, another group of students engaged in a meet and greet with the youngest, smallest shark in the centre, watching her frolic in the currents and request scratches from the students as she swam by in the nursery tank. 

To conclude the experience, students had the opportunity to feed the various species of stingrays by hand, step into the stingray lagoon and enjoy their slimy, snot-covered bodies glide over their feet and watch as the monstrous, 300kg smooth rays swam past. Many students found the stingrays friendly nature to be enjoyable, with the rays having no problem sitting on the feet students attempting to get more food! 

After a quick visit to the gift shop, we then set out for home, stopping for lunch on the way, with the students busily chatting away about their favourite parts of the day. 

Quotes from students: 

The excursion at the Irukandji Shark and Ray centre was enjoyable because we had the opportunity to feed the stingrays as well as pat the sharks. This was an interesting excursion as we learned about the sharks and stingrays in the centre. 

Yesterday at the shark and ray centre I enjoyed learning about sharks. It was cool to find out about their behaviours, habits, getting to pat them and the baby shark. Feeding the stingrays was also really interesting. 

In terms of the marine excursion, I thought it was a really great opportunity for the class as a whole to finally get out and do something marine related. For the last year and a half, we’ve been promised this excursion so to finally get out and do it was something really fun. Being at the shark and ray centre was something different but it was actually really cool. 

The interactive hands-on experience of the Shark and Ray centre made it an easier way to comprehend and learn the content that the instructor talked about throughout the day. It captured our attention with live experience and gained an appreciation for these marine creatures. Being able to touch these creatures in a safe environment gives us the opportunity we wouldn’t be able to have in the wild.  

I thought that the marine excursion to Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters was educational and helped us gain first-hand experience with sharks and rays. The instructor that took us around the site helped us to learn new things about sharks, rays, and pretty much everything about them 

I really enjoyed when we had the talk on sharks at the start. The information given was clear and very interesting. Did you know that Australia is home to a couple hundred different species of sharks but only three have accidentally attacked humans? These three are the Great White Shark, Bull Shark and Tiger Shark. I enjoyed the talk because not only did we get to watch a variety of different small sharks feed and learn more about the large nurse shark. 

I thoroughly enjoyed swimming with sharks and the rays. The sharks were a very unusual texture and they felt kind of rough like sandpaper. The rays however were how I expected to feel, they were very slimy and most of their outer layer is made of mucus and alcohol. 

Nick McFarlane 

Vacancy at Toukley Parish

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Vacancy

Parish Secretary vacancy – Toukley-Lake Munmorah Parish

Permanent, part-time

 

Could you see yourself as the face of the Toukley-Lake Munmorah Parish, providing high level administrative support and a warm and inviting welcome to visitors?

 

The Catholic Parish of Toukley-Lake Munmorah is seeking to recruit a new permanent part-time Parish Secretary, Mondays to Fridays, 9:00am to 2:00pm. This role plays an important part in the Parish team, providing support for Parish communications, administration, financial processes, Parish property, compliance and Diocesan support. If you have high developed administration skills coupled with well-developed relational and rapport building skills  and this role interests you, please email a brief cover letter and CV to recruitment@bbcatholic.org.au

 

Applications close Friday 25 November 2022.

The Diocese of Broken Bay is committed to and promotes a culture of safety and care for all people, especially for children and others in the community who are vulnerable. Our Diocese has no tolerance to Child Abuse and is committed to ensuring our staff and volunteers understand the joint responsibility to safeguard all those within our community.

 

The successful applicant must have the right to work in Australia and will be required to undertake a National Police History Check and Working With Children Check.

World Teachers Day

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The 28th of October was World Teachers Day, and students at St Brigid’s showed their appreciation of our amazing teachers in many ways. They presented a morning prayer and gratitude session, gave out handmade badges, prepared a staff morning tea and more!

Thank you to our wonderful students who make the role of teaching so rewarding.

Guest Speaker – Maxi from Bondi Rescue

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Year 8 PDHPE students have been busy in class learning about sun and water safety and on Tuesday we welcomed Maxi and Leigh from Live, Learn, Survive to speak with our students to share their knowledge on how to have fun in the sun – safely.

Maxi is known for his role on Bondi Rescue as a Surf Lifesaver and he also works as a Fire Fighter in one of the busiest fire stations in Sydney.

Maxi educated and inspired our Year 8 students to take extra precautions at the beach to keep themselves and others safe.

Thank you to Maxi and Leigh for a fun morning for both students and staff and we already look forward to seeing you next year!

The Shrine of Saint John Paul II

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On Saturday, I had the honour of attending a special installation mass at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in East Gosford, which will be become a permanent shrine to Saint John Paul II, who visited Australia as Pope in 1986.

Two first class relics were displayed in a Shrine to St John Paul II at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, East Gosford on Saturday 22 October – the feast day of the former much-loved Pope.

Strands of hair and blood were placed in a reliquary near the altar during an Installation Mass attended by many hundreds of faithful including parishioners and those from communities on the Central Coast and the greater Sydney area.

Most Rev Anthony Randazzo DD JCL, Bishop of Broken Bay, celebrated the Mass. The Parish Priest, Fr Greg Skulski SDS celebrated along with a number of priests from the Diocese and the leader of the Salvatorian Congregation, Fr George Kolodziej SDS.

I thank Sister Josie, Mr Landrigan, Mrs Walters, Isla, Laura, Layla, Cooper and Noah for representing St Brigid’s on this special occasion.

The Mass was live-streamed and can be viewed here – https://www.bbcatholic.org.au/gosford/jpii/live-stream

 

Paul Lynch
Assistant Principal

Start of Term 4

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The first two weeks of this term have been busy to say the least.  Schools are always a hive of activity but it has been so apparent to me across the last fourteen days just how privileged I am to work with such fantastic students, such a supportive parent body and a staff that consistently go above and beyond to make St Brigid’s such a special place.

Even just a snapshot of what has occurred in the last fortnight hopefully gives you some insight into why you choose to send your children to St Brigid’s.

On the first day of term our staff engaged in professional learning.  A big focus of this day was the teachers collaborating together to prepare for the Diocesan compliance process.  This process is an essential part of what we do as teachers and ensures that we are meeting the high standards set by the NSW Education Standards Authority.  I’m not going to lie, it takes a different kind of person to get excited by compliance but what does impress me is the way our staff pull together and challenge each other to deliver the very best education possible for your children.

Later that day and during next I had the opportunity to interview applicants for teaching roles at the College in 2023.  This is a process I treat very seriously, its so important that we recruit well and the quality of candidates was very pleasing.  To hear these teachers share their experiences and their passion for teaching and their desire to join our community is genuinely uplifting.  Our new staff will be introduced to the community in due course but I can confidently say that they will add further quality to what is already an amazing group of dedicated educators.

The middle of the week consisted of more staff interviews with new student enrolments in between.  Meeting with new families and the students hoping to join our College is an absolute pleasure.  To hear them articulate their hopes and dreams and how they believe that St Brigid’s can help make those dreams a reality is so motivating.  These interviews are a constant reminder to me of how fortunate we are to have a growing group of parents who promote the College in their everyday interactions.  It is clear that the word on the street outperforms glossy advertisements every day of the week.  It also highlights to me just how fortunate we are to have such amazing teachers and support staff, make no mistake, the school would not be growing in numbers or in reputation if it weren’t for them.

On Wednesday of the first week, the 2023 HSC commenced with all of our kids coming in to sit their first exam.  It is a great thrill for me and for all HSC teachers to see our kids finally reach this somewhat daunting but yet exciting milestone.  I have seen the kids most days as they come and leave their exams and I’m heartened by their generally confident demeanour.  Our aim as a school is to continually build year on year, a culture of academic rigour with high expectations for all our students.  By all reports, the graduating class of 2022 are setting an excellent standard for others to follow.  I wait with baited breath for their results but beyond that, I thank them for their enormously positive contribution to our College.

Later that evening I had the good fortune to head up to Tahlee to spend the evening with our new Year 12’s on their three day Retreat.  I have sung the praises of this Retreat many times in the past and again, it did not disappoint.  To see our senior students having fun and genuinely coming together as a group before they commence their final year of education is truly inspiring.  I have really high hopes for this group of young men and women, they are already proving to be wonderful role models for their younger peers.

In between all of these happenings was the typical cut and thrust that is St Brigid’s on any given day.  To see our incredible office staff spring into action when they were confronted with a rather serious student injury, again highlighted to me what a special place St Brigid’s really is.  Every one of them assumed a role and at all times they cared for the child like he was their own.  I’ve been in this game a while now and I can honestly say the administration team at St Brigid’s are second to none.  Another situation that really grabbed at my heartstrings was when a couple of our students moved on this week, to see these students shed their sometimes hard exterior and just give into their true feelings as they farewelled some of their most influential teachers would seriously bring a tear to a glass eye.  So many of our staff play that pivotal role in our children’s lives and I will be forever grateful for their kindness, their compassion and their authentic care.  It often goes well beyond the expectations of their role.

This week has seen all of our Year 10’s engage with their yearly examinations.  I must say, the maturity they are displaying has been so impressive.  I am encouraged by the habits that many are forming and its clear that experiencing these formal exams more regularly will put them in good stead when they sit their own Higher School Certificates.

Tuesday night was the Religious Creative Arts Showcase at The Light of Christ Centre in Waitara.  To see some of our students rewarded for their performance amongst such strong competition is so pleasing.  I sincerely thank the parents and the staff who came along to support them.  On Thursday the Diocese celebrated the Catholic Mission Mass and again, I was so proud to see our new College leaders chosen to read the Prayers of the Faithful during this special gathering of all the Diocesan schools.

Earlier this week our Leaders of Learning took part in the formal compliance process and I thank them for their commitment to this challenging work.  It is obviously a side to teaching that our community is not exposed to but I can assure you that our staff are very dedicated to ensuring that your children are provided with teaching programs that challenge them to grow academically.  In coming weeks we will have the full analysis from the compliance process which will help to guide our ongoing strategic planning.

What I have outlined above, truly only scratches the surface of what happens at St Brigid’s.  There are countless lessons to prepare and conduct, there are exams, assessments, reports, budgets, carnivals, gala days, showcases, formals, assemblies, fundraisers, meetings, phone calls, emails, retreats, camps, mass, liturgies, information evenings, work placements, etc.

I don’t cite any of these things to garner sympathy for those who choose to be teachers or those who work in schools.  We do it knowing that its an intense job in often unpredictable circumstances but it’s a job that comes with enormous rewards when we see your son or daughter develop into the fine young men and women who finally leave our great College with the skills and the confidence to tackle whatever comes their way.

My only purpose in acknowledging some of the things I’ve witnessed in the last two weeks is to recognise how important our staff are in building our culture at St Brigid’s.  I feel genuinely blessed to work alongside such wonderful people and privileged to see the commitment they bring to the children in their care.  I am the first to admit that as a school, we make mistakes and we have areas that we need to improve but what I also know is that the people who man our front office and those on the frontline in classrooms are something special and for that, I am eternally grateful.

 

Paul Lynch
Assistant Principal

Pathways Guest Speaker Grant Wilson – Careers Pathways

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St Brigid’s Catholic College Year 9 Students were part of a Careers Workshop with Grant Wilson who is developing a Career insights Program. Grant engaged the students with questions to learn about their ideas on careers and finding the perfect job. All the students were encouraged to get involved, look outside the box, and join in some informative conversations. The next steps will be to travel to workplaces to gain real-life experience and put all the student’s thoughts, passions and ideas into action.

Thanks to everyone involved!

2023 Leaders

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Congratulations to our Captains and Vice Captains who have been selected for St Brigid’s 2023. 👏
Captains: Bridget M and Ben M
Vice Captains: Brooke E and Cooper S
We are so proud to have such talented and dedicated students and we are excited to see you lead our School for 2023 🫶