From the Principal Class Team
Dear Parents and Families
A slightly belated welcome back to Term 2 – covid has even impacted the production of our newsletter this term!
And, as is the case in many schools at the moment, we are certainly feeling the impact of illness with many staff, students and families struggling with covid or flu and colds. We know how challenging it can be for students when their teachers are absent, and also for families managing work and caring; however, it is essential that people’s individual health is the main priority.
I want to thank you for your vigilance in monitoring your children’s health, especially with RAT testing; and also acknowledge our staff and casual replacement teachers (CRTs) who are doing a fabulous job in keeping all aspects of the school’s program running smoothly.
It is a pleasure to welcome a number of new staff to our school this term. Alexandra Bushby joins the Individual Needs Department as a Speech Pathologist; along with Ilija Manojlovic as a Teacher Assistant. Anne Ingram joins the Wellbeing Team as our Mental Health Practitioner, and Jasmine Shea is working at reception in the general office team. Vonnie Posnakidis joins the Maths and Science Departments, and Paul Gleeson joins the tutoring team.
We wish each of these staff all the very best for their time at St Albans Secondary College.
It is always exciting to have things to celebrate, and Term 2 has gotten off to a great start in this respect.
Warmest congratulations to Ebony Kemeridis and Joseph Vincent; to Jacqui Hunter and David Thompson; and to John Coulson and Harin Silva who have all recently announced their engagements. We wish them every happiness for their futures together.
We also welcome Annemarie Papaleo’s baby, Eleanora Lucia Nelli, and Tina Phan’s baby, Kayden Phan. Congratulations to both families on the arrival of their newest members.
Congratulations also to Di Phyland on her remarkable achievement of umpiring 1,500 games of football in the Essendon District Football League, and in the VFLW and AFL Masters.
Di is a passionate and skilled sportsperson and has had a significant positive impact on football as a player and as an umpire, as well as through her role in mentoring young players and umpires.
We are very proud of you, Di.
You can read more about Di’s achievements in this newsletter.
Visit from Natalie Suleyman, MP for St Albans
We were pleased to host a visit from Natalie Suleyman, MP, earlier this week. At the invitation of our School Council President, Dr Tracy Nero, Natalie met with staff and students to tour our performing arts centre, and to hear about our plans for redeveloping the centre into a state of the art performance space and theatrette.
The school will commence the development of more detailed plans in collaboration with the Department of Education.
On behalf of the School Council and community, I thank Natalie for her interest in and support of St Albans Secondary College.
This year, Education Week runs from 22 to 28 May. The theme, ‘150 Years of Public Education’ commemorates the past, celebrates the present and imagines the future of education in Victoria.
Education Week is an opportunity for all schools to highlight their education journey.
This year, St Albans Secondary College is 66 years old. Since we opened, we have proudly served the St Albans community, always striving to provide a quality education to improve the outcomes and pathways of our students.
See below for some photos of our past.
St Albans Secondary College will be celebrating Education Week in a number of ways.
We have a display in the Library highlighting the history of the school, with articles, photos and artefacts from different decades.
A past student, Laura Van Keulen will present a Q&A to discuss her time at the school, what it meant to her, and her pathways since leaving the College.
There will also be Key Learning Activities each lunchtime for students to get involved with. The timetable for these activities will be published on Compass and also on the Important Dates page of this newsletter.
Below are the reflections from a past Principal, John Brookes, who was at the school in the late 1970’s
REFLECTIONS ON ST.ALBANS HIGH SCHOOL: 1977-1979
John D. Brooke
St. Albans was a big school: 1250 pupils and a staff of 114 including non teaching staff. Of the teaching staff, roughly 80 were aged 27 or younger. Coming as they did, from such a diverse range of ethnicities, the students, like the staff, were all striving to find their place in the world.
Such a volatile mix could have led to a fairly troubled school. That it did not was due to three factors:
The first was the existence of a capable group of senior staff who displayed sound leadership to staff and students.
The second was the enthusiasm of the staff for their work. More than at any school at which I taught, the staff put the students first. They put an extraordinary effort into meeting the needs of the students and their parents.
The third was the response of the students to the efforts of the staff. I think they sensed that their teachers really cared about them as individuals, and as a consequence, an air of mutual trust and respect pervaded the school.
As I look back, through the prism of more than 25 years, I have but one regret about my time at St. Albans. I think that we could (and should) have harnessed the relationship between staff and students and used it as a platform to build a much stronger academic focus and, eventually, an academic tradition. We had all of the ingredients to do this, and we could have done it without sacrificing the really good things which we achieved. The job of the school principal is to provide educational leadership, and I think that the lives of the students who were then, and those of those who came after them, would have been enhanced if I had exercised more leadership in this area.
Having said that, we put a huge effort into focusing the curriculum on ensuring that our students were literate, numerate and socially competent and in these basic aspects of building an academic tradition, I think laid a good foundation for those who followed.
April 3, 2006
The College commemorated ANZAC Day this year on our first day back to school after the holidays. Students, staff and special guests gathered to remember and pay their respects to those who have served in the armed services. We also hold this service annually in honour of the anniversary of when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25 April 1915. Thank you to our VCAL students and staff who organised this event; a very special day in our College calendar.
Year 6 Transition Days
This term has seen the first of our Year 6 transition activities commence for the year with over 300 Year 6 students from nearby schools visiting the College. Students had an opportunity to tour the school and learn more about the way high school works to support their transition to Year 7 next year. The day was a wonderful success and students met teachers, participated in mini lessons and had fun completing a variety of engaging and hands on activities. A very big thank you to all the students who came along and the transition team at our school for organising such a successful event.
Interact Club 2022
We were very fortunate to have a number of members from our local Rotary club attend our first Interact Club meeting for Term 2, held on Tuesday 3 May. There was an excellent student turnout of 28 students who were very engaged and excited by the projects for the Club to consider and ideas for fundraising presented.
John and Barbara Watters, who have been integral to our Interact Club since it was initiated at the school over 6 years ago, brought along information about a water project in Cambodia. As John outlined, Project W involves our club fundraising to provide clean running water and toilet facilities to one of 54 schools in the most disadvantaged areas of Cambodia. We aim to raise at least $5000 towards this cause. International Committee Chair, Cherrie Osborn, provided further details and stories of how the funds would assist the children in the schools. She also outlined how we could build connections with students in a particular school in Cambodia that we would be in partnership with as part of this Project. The students present were enthusiastic to become involved as they learned that there were no toilet facilities or clean running water at these schools. Our Interact club is now planning fundraising activities so we can assist and look forward to partnering with a school.
As an idea for a local project, Barbara outlined a working bee program the Club could be involved in. It would entail undertaking maintenance and gardening at the Brimbank Bicycle Education Centre in Green Gully Reserve.
Also present at this meeting was East Rotary Club President Yvonne Osborn, who provided ideas about sponsorship and working closely with Rotary to assist with fundraising. We have a long and successful partnership with our local Rotary Club and are very grateful for this connection. There will be more information about the proposed initiatives throughout the year. We look forward to building up the achievements of the club after many of our initiatives over the last two years were impacted by lockdowns. We anticipate this will be a very successful Interact year and thank the student members for their strong show of support.
Business Partners Breakfast
We had a great turnout for our annual Business Partners Breakfast which is an important part of our school calendar and an event that provides an opportunity to build connections and partnerships within the community. The breakfast was held on Wednesday 4 May before school.
Two VCAL students, Shawanah Sciberrras and Vishall Gill, spoke about their journey and experience with this vocational pathway. They were followed by the guest speaker, Deidre Boaz, the Community Food Programs Coordinator for Foodbank Victoria. Deidre, in partnership with her team, has played a vital role in supporting our community. We have partnered with Food Bank over a number of years and many in the community have benefitted from the services they provide.
Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, operating on a scale that makes it crucial to the work of the front line charities who are feeding vulnerable Australians. Foodbank provides more than 70% of the food rescued for food relief organisations nation-wide. At our school, Foodbank provides the food for our daily breakfast program as well as lunches for students on a needs basis. Also, thanks to Deirdre’s work, we have been able to provide groceries to members of our school community needing some additional support on a regular and ongoing basis. The grocery program started in 2021 during COVID with the provision of hampers to families in our staff carpark, this was particularly important for those impacted during lock downs. We now have a mobile Supermarket onsite twice a term where families can select the groceries they need. Deidre spoke of the desire to assist those in need and she outlined how the services of foodbank assisted many members or the community.
Breakfast was prepared by a number of students in the Year 12 VCAL class, supported by Ms Marlene Cassar. The buffet of food they prepared, and the way it was presented, was commented on by all of those who attended. It was so professionally executed and is a testament to the skills of this team. The event was hosted by the Year 10 mentors who did an exceptional job of running the event with the support of Mr Adrian McCall and Ms Lynda Vo.
A group of VCAL students in front of the breakfast they prepared
There were many present whose connections went beyond being a member of the local business community, a number of our business partners are school alumni who are keen to support the school that they attended. We thank all our business partners and look forward to continuing these strong relationships. Thank you to our guest speaker Deidre Boaz, the VCAL students and Ms Cassar who catered for the event, the Year 10 mentors, Mr McCall and Ms Vo. It was a lovely way to celebrate these important connections within our community.
Western Chances Reception at Government House
A small group from our school were invited by the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria and Anthony Howard AM QC, to a reception at Government House for Western Chances. Western Chances currently have 35 scholarship recipients at St Albans Secondary College and those of us at the reception were fortunate to also catch up with a number of SASC alumni during the evening. Current Year 11 Student, Sui Hlawn Ceu represented our current student recipients and attended with her father, Lal Hlawn Ceu. Ms Terry Bracks AM, who established Western Chances in 2003, addressed the gathering and spoke of how proud she was of all past and present recipients and how far the program had come in the 19 years it has been running.
You can read more about Western Chances and the scholarships and support they provide at: https://www.westernchances.org.au/our-story
As we approach semester tests and exams, we urge students to maintain their focus on their studies, and also on their health and wellbeing so that they are best prepared for the assessment period.