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From the Principal Class Team

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Dear Parents and Families

It was a pleasure to welcome our students and staff back to Term 2.  We particularly welcome those students and families who are new to the school this term, as well as Sachin Sudan, our new Grounds Person.  We wish everyone a successful and happy term.

Acting Assistant Principal

Janet McKenzie joins the Principal Class team this term as Acting Assistant Principal whilst Craig Jennings is taking long service leave.  Many of you will know Janet, not only as a teacher, but also through her previous role as Sub School Leader, and as the director of MAC, among other leadership positions.  Janet brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in student management, teaching and learning, curriculum, and staff development, and we are enjoying having her as part of the team.

           Ms Janet McKenzie




To Amra Pajalic on the publication in the Age this week of her article about St Albans.  Amra’s vignette is a delightful insight into a special suburb.  She explores growing up, leaving, and returning to St Albans as an adult.

You can see the link below to access Amra’s article.  I’m sure you will enjoy reading her observations and story.


Why I came back to the melting pot 

The Age By Amra Pajalic

Page: 23 (09/05/2023)

As a teen, I couldn’t wait to escape St Albans, but I soon returned. Amra Pajalic When I tell people I’m a teacher at the public high school in St Albans, their faces crumple in sympathy. “You teach all those criminals,” they say. Then they usually share some



Year 6 Transition Visits

Last week we welcomed Year 6 students from several of our local primary schools for a “taster” of secondary school.  The students experienced mini lessons in core and elective subjects, sports, a tour of the school, and a BBQ lunch together.

Hopefully, the day made them more comfortable with the transition to secondary school by increasing their knowledge of our school , meeting teachers and coordinators, and meeting some new people in their classes.

Further transition events including the Big Day In, are scheduled for later in the year.

Thank you to Lauren Honeycombe and Marlene Cassar for their organisation of the Taster Days.


The cold weather has arrived.  Our Uniform Shop is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:30pm to 1:30pm.  If your daughter or son needs some additional items to keep them warm, they can purchase them at the shop, or you can come to the school on these days.

If you need assistance with purchasing uniform, please have a chat to your child’s Year Level Coordinator.

Curriculum Day

On Friday 5 May, our teachers engaged in professional learning which reviewed and deepened our work towards creating a more inclusive and differentiated learning experience for our students. When we first began this work in 2020, our focus was largely on pedagogy within the lesson, understanding how students learn best and meeting students at their point of need; this work was based on American educator Carol Ann Tomlinson’s model for differentiation.

Our recent curriculum day focused on developing our ability to plan for a differentiated experience of learning through curriculum and assessment. We are very lucky to be able to provide quality professional learning for our staff through the expertise of our teaching and learning team and other leaders.

On the day, teachers participated in workshops on stretching students on their learning, rubrics, assessment, literacy and numeracy, and heard from colleagues ( Stav Bekiaris, Athanasios Theoharopoulos and Myers Nguyen) about their experiences in using and developing various teaching strategies. The day finished with teachers working in their key learning area teams to develop and refine curriculum and assessment based on the learnings of the day.

The organisers and presenters of the workshops included: Louis Turner ( Teaching and Learning Coordinator), Avril Good ( Curriculum Leader), Shona Cowell (Acting Staff Development Coordinator), Kathleen Main ( Differentiation Specialist), Becky Annetts ( Literacy Specialist), Amy Lee ( Assessment and Feedback Specialist), Piera Biondi (Digital Specialist), Marty Conboy (High Abilities Coordinator), Caroline Tran (Acting LOTE Leader), and Tessa Gould (Numeracy Leader).

Exams and Semester Tests

In two weeks, year 10 and 11 students will be starting their end of semester exams. For the year 10 students this is the first time they will be participating in formal exams. Year 9 students will be doing end of semester tests. The tests and exams should be seen as an opportunity to consolidate the learning of the semester. Teachers will be reminding students to prepare their summaries of units and giving extra tips on how to study and revise. We ask parents to please assist by establishing routines for study, asking questions about the work and ensuring your children are sleeping and eating well.

Staff Training by Mancave

One area of focus at our school has been to ensure that students of all genders have a positive experience at school. In the past, this has involved us working closely with girls to look at the issues they face, and how best to address them. The school has also worked closely with staff on how to create a gender inclusive school.  Teachers have examined their expectations, language and the curriculum, and also explored ways to call out discrimination.

The next step in our work is a training session for staff run by Mancave, a not for profit organisation promoting social change regarding representations of masculinity.  Their work has been developed by psychologists, and mental health experts to safely and reliably create an attitudinal and behavioural shift in the boys who participate in their programs. Mancave will also run a session for parents on June 15 (information on Compass) and a session with Year 8 boys later in the term.

A key focus of this new training will be to build on our previous work on gender inclusivity and to provide staff with additional strategies to challenge gender bias and discrimination at our school.


The College commemorated ANZAC Day this year on the 26 April 2023.  Students, staff and special guests gathered to remember and pay their respects to those who have served in the armed services.  We 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 VCE Vocational Major (VM) students and staff who organised this event; a very important day in our College calendar.

Business Partners Breakfast

We had a great turnout for our annual Business Partners Breakfast held on 3 May this year. This important part of our school calendar is an annual event that provides an opportunity to build connections and partnerships within the community. Two VCE VM students Crystal Nguyen & Tommy Tang, who spoke,outlined their journey and experience within this vocational pathway. Their personal stories were truly inspiring and showed the value of having connections with a range of business partners and of taking advantage of opportunities that are available. They were followed by the formal welcome by our College Principal, Ms Kerrie Dowsley, who introduced the guest speaker, Terry Bracks, AM. Terry is the founder of Western Chances, a non-profit organisation that provides scholarships and opportunities to disadvantaged youth in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Through her work with Western Chances, Terry has enabled young people to access educational opportunities, mentorship, and financial assistance to help them achieve their goals. Since its inception in 2003, more than 400 students at our school have obtained Western Chances Scholarships. 

You can read more about Western Chances and the scholarships and support they provide at:

Breakfast was prepared and presented by a number of students in the Year 12 VCE VM class and VET Hospitality class, supported by Ms Marlene Cassar.  The buffet of food was professionally executed and received many compliments from those in attendance who commented on the quality and presentation of the catering.  Ms Daniel Karner also assisted with the food preparation in the lead up to the event. We extend our thanks to this team for their work in catering the event. The Breakfast proceedings were hosted by the Year 10 peer mentors who did an exceptional job of emceeing the event and we thank them for their preparation. 



There were many present whose connections went beyond being a member of the local business community; a number of our business partners are also 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 breakfast organisers, Ms Emily Dickinson supported by Ms Lynda VO, a great deal of behind the scenes organisation went into the smooth running of this event.

We would also like to thank our guest speakers Terry, Crystal and Tommy.  It was a lovely way to celebrate these important connections within our community.

And finally……………

We began the year with a focus on Prepared for Learning (PfL).  As the semester 1 test and exam period is approaching, we encourage all student to focus on routines, organisation, positive relationships, behaviour, and physical and mental readiness to support their learning and achievement.




From the General Office

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General Office Hours 

8:15am to 4:15pm   

Compass Communication

Any important information will be sent to parents and families via the Compass News Feed.  Parents are asked to ensure that they have access to Compass.



General Office Payments

Preferred method of payment for School Events and Curriculum Contributions is via the Compass school management system.  Parents will log in to this system using their allocated unique User ID and a temporary password.  Payments can be made through the Action Centre from the home screen.  Please contact the General Office on 9366 2555 should you need further information. 





ID Cards

Students are reminded that they require their ID cards with them when they present to the front office.

Student Lunches at the General Office

Families are advised that the General Office is unable to accept lunches for student collection.  Please discuss and prepare for a different course of action with your child, should they forget to bring their lunch to school.

College Expectations 

Attendance, Uniform, Punctuality  

We greatly appreciate the support we receive from parents to make sure that your child attends school regularly and punctually, is in full uniform, and is well prepared for all classes with books and equipment.


Students must have a minimum of 90% attendance in all classes at each year level.


Full uniform must be worn to and from school, at school and on all school excursions, including interschool sports.


Students are expected to be punctual at the start of each day and for all classes. Any student who is late more than 4 times will have a Friday detention from 3:20pm to 5:20pm. 

Sustainable School Shop

The Sustainable School Shop website is available to purchase and/or sell second-hand uniforms and used textbooks.

 Parents can log in or register at any time at

When selling items, click the Sell Uniforms button and follow the prompts. Assistance is given to construct your “For Sale” ads including a pricing guide.

To see the ads for items currently on sale or to obtain the seller details, you will need to log-in to the Sustainable School Shop website, click the blue Stocktake button and then click the item you need. Buyers contact the seller directly.

 Sellers are asked to delist For Sale Ads as items sell.

Student Absence 

Parents and guardians are now able to leave student absence messages directly with the relevant Sub School.

Follow the telephone prompts to be connected to the Sub School needed.

  • Wait for the beep before leaving a message
  • State who you are, eg:  I am the parent of ……..  and clearly state your child’s name and home group
  • Clearly state the reason for your child’s absence and how long they will be absent for

Please ensure that your message is audible (not on speaker phone) and there is no background noise.  

Camps, Sports, Events Fund (CSEF)

Parents with a valid Health Care Card may be eligible to apply for the CSEF.  The CSEF is a yearly payment for each child in the family attending our College.  This payment is to assist with the cost of Camps, Sports and Excursions for your child to attend.  Applications for CSEF close on 23 June, 2023 and forms can be downloaded from our College website or obtained from reception.

State School Relief (SSR)

Should you have a valid Health Care Card and require assistance to purchase school uniform and/or school shoes; you may be eligible for SSR. Health Care Card holders with students enrolled in the VCAL program may also be eligible for assistance with the purchase of personal protective gear. Please enquire at the General Office.

Student Lunches

The office is unable to hold on to food for student collection.  If your child has forgotten their lunch at home, parents can leave money in an envelope for their student to collect at the office.  The canteen has an array of choices for your child to purchase their lunch.


Important Dates & Calendar

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Wednesday, 10 May 2023

All Day Yr 11 VCE VM – Keep the Change Session 2 (Allocated Classrooms)

08:30AM – 03:30PM Senior Boys and Girls Table Tennis

08:35AM – 03:10PM Yr 7H Strathbogie Camp

08:55AM – 10:35AM Yr 12 VCE VM Brimbank Careers Expo (P1 & 2)

09:00AM – 10:30AM VCE VM Yr 12 Brimbank Careers Exploration Day (P1 & 2)

12:40PM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE VM  Brimbank Careers Exploration Day (Lunchtime, P3 & 4)

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE VM Brimbank Careers Exploration Day (P3 & 4)

Thursday, 11 May 2023

08:35AM – 03:10PM Yr 7H Strathbogie Camp

11:00AM – 11:50AM Yr 10 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

11:50AM – 12:40AM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 10 Careers Workshop

Friday, 12 May 2023

All Day Athletics Carnival (Yrs 7, 8, 9, 10 & Yr 12 VCE VM Helpers)

01:30PM – 03:10 PM Yr 11 VCE VM CHASE Education Phase Workshop 1

Monday, 15 May 2023

08:55AM – 10:35AM Yr 12 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 3 (Nindethana)

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

01:30PM – 03:10PM  Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

All Day Yr 11 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 3 (Allocated Classrooms)

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 7J Strathbogie Camp

Thursday, 18 May 2023

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 7J Strathbogie Camp

11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 10 Careers Workshop

Friday, 19 May 2023

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 7J Strathbogie Camp

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE & Yr 11 VCE VM Careers Expo (Melbourne Showgrounds)

08:55AM – 03:10PM Yr 8 Social Explorers (Altona)

Monday, 22 May 2023

 08:00AM – 03:15PM Yr 12 VCE VM SYN FM & Scavanger Hunt

08:55AM – 10:35AM Yr 12 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 4 (Nindethana)

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

All Day Yr 11 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 4 (Allocated Classroom)

08:35AM – 03:10PM Yr 7E Strathbogie Camp

09:00AM – 10:15AM Yr 7 Police Presentation (PAC)

11:00AM – 11:50AM Yr 7 & 8 Big Science Competition (R3)

11:00AM – 11:50AM Yr 9 & 10 Big Science Competition (R3)

02:20PM – 03:10PM Yr 12 Assembly

Thursday, 25 May 2023

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 7E Strathbogie Camp

11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

Friday, 26 May 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 7E Strathbogie Camp

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE VM CHASE Education Phase Workshop 2

Monday, 29 May 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

All Day Yr 9 Core Subject Exams

08:55AM – 10:35AM Yr 12 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 5 (Nindethana)

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

All Day Yr 9 Core Subject Exams

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

All Day Yr 9 Core Subject Exams

All Day Yr 11 VCE VM Keep the Change Session 5 (Allocated Classrooms)

09:00AM – 10:15AM Yr 8 Police Presentation (PAC)

Thursday, 1 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

11:00AM – 11:50AM Yr 10 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

11:50AM – 12:40AM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

Friday, 2 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 & 11 Exams

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE VM CHASE Education Phase Workshop 3

Monday, 5 June 2023

All Day Yr 11 & 12 Start Semester 2

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Thursday, 8 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience

11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 10 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

Friday, 9 June 2023

All Day Report Writing Day (Student Free)

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience

Monday, 12 June 2023

All Day King’s Birthday Public Holiday (Student Free Day)

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Wednesday, 14 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience

Thursday, 15 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience


11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 10 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

11:50AM – 12:40PM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

Friday, 16 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Work Experience

Monday, 19 June 2023

All Day Yr 10 Start Semester 2

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

08:45AM – 03:10PM Yr 8 Proactive Program Day

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 8 & 9 New Foundation for LIfe (Selected Students)

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

01:30PM – 03:10PM VCE & VCE VM 100 Days of Success (PAC)

Thursday, 22 June 2023

11:00AM – 12:40PM Yr 10 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

11:00AM – 12:40PM Yr 7 S.T.O.M.P (Selected Students)

Friday, 23 June 2023

All Day Last Day of Term 2 (Students Dismissed at 2:30PM)

All Day Yr 7, 8, 9, & 10 Assemblies

01:30PM – 03:10PM Yr 11 VCE VM CHASE Education Phase Workshop 4

Junior School Report

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Welcome To Term 2.  This term, the remaining Year 7 classes are attending the school camp for class team building and a great experience for all.  It will be a brilliant 3 days away where students cook, explore, canoe and hike amongst other things. It is a chance for students to bond and get to know their classmates and teacher well. All students are encouraged to attend. Year 8 Students will commence in Term 3.

Grade 6 Students from various Primary Schools attended the school on Tues May 2 and Thurs May 4 for a Taster Day. The classes were led by our Leadership Groups,  – 7C and 8C.  The students experienced some Maths, Art, Japanese, Italian, Food Technology, Music, Integrated Studies and some English. They had a BBQ lunch and experienced a day in the life of a Secondary Student, finishing the day with a concert in Performing Arts. It was an excellent day and the Grade 6 students enjoyed themselves very much.

Our Year Level Assembly had a focus on Connect Protect and Respect and Building Positive Relationships.  Our focus of “Connect, Protect and Respect” is reinforced every day to our students through class activities and conversation.  The Junior School is very proud of our students in the way that they reinforce these values and demonstrate them to their peers and teachers.


The cold weather is settling in now so please ensure your child has warm uniform. Please contact your coordinator if you need assistance.

The Junior School coordinators look forward to continue meeting with parents and assisting them with any concerns they may have about their child. Please contact us if you need support for your child. If you need to meet with a coordinator in person, please organise a meeting through the General Office.


Ms Lauren Honeycombe – Junior Sub School Leader

Middle School Report

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Dear Parents and Guardians,

Over the last month, the Year 9 and 10 students have been involved in some exciting events here at school. In this edition of the newsletter, we will highlight some of these events, including the Scienceworks excursion, Community Partnerships Breakfast, the Year 9 Morrisby Profile work and our student-assisted assemblies.

The Scienceworks excursion was a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage in interactive and hands-on learning. Our students were able to explore the wonders of science and technology through various exhibits and activities. They were also able to apply what they had learned in the classroom to real-life situations, helping to bring their studies to life. We would like to thank our science faculty for the organisation of the event as well as the teachers that helped on the day.


We were also delighted to host our annual Community Partnerships Breakfast. The event was a great success, with many community leaders and local businesses joining us to discuss the importance of education and community engagement. Our Year 10 Peer Mentors were able to display some of their talents, including public speaking and engaging with members of the outside community. We would like to extend our gratitude to all those who attended and contributed to this meaningful event.




In term 2 the Student Representative Council (SRC) were given the opportunity to assist us in the running of year level assemblies. These assemblies provide an opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and leadership skills. From musical performances to speeches on important issues, our students have demonstrated their diverse talents and abilities. We are proud of our students’ hard work and dedication to creating a positive school culture. There will be further opportunities for students to participate in these assemblies as we progress through the year.

Finally, in the first few weeks of Term 2 our Year 9 students have been interviewed as a part of the Morrisby Career Program. Each student has now completed the program and has been provided a list of careers that would best suit them and their interests. With the support of our Careers Team, we will continue to work with the students on their long-term career goals as they change and refine over time.


We are thrilled to see the continued success of our students and the positive impact they are having on the broader school community. We are grateful for the ongoing support of our parents and guardians, and we look forward to future opportunities to work together to support our students. If you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out to us in the middle sub-school.


Owen McIntyre – Middle Sub School Leader

Senior School Report

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Soccer Challenge

The Year 11 versus Year 12 Soccer Challenge was a great way to end Term 1. It was a highly anticipated game, and it was fantastic to see so many students involved in playing and cheering on the day. We would like to extend our congratulations to the Year 11 team, the “Soccerboos”, for their outstanding win against the Year 12 “Hustlers”. We would like to thank Mr Lakovski for refereeing, and all the players, cheerleaders and supporters for their enthusiasm and excellent sportsmanship.


In the first week of Term 2, we held a ceremony to commemorate ANZAC Day. Our Year 12 VCE VM students led the ANZAC Day service, and the school captains and vice captains laid a wreath to acknowledge the contribution and sacrifice of all those who have served our country. A special thank you to David Wilson for playing the Rouse and Last Post, and to Mr. Peter Burquest from Caroline Springs RSL for his heartfelt commemorative address to our school community.

Lest we Forget.

Year 11 Assembly

The Year 11 assembly was held on Monday May 1, 2023. The focus of the assembly was to introduce the Term 2 CPR theme of positive relationships, and to share study tools and techniques as students prepare for the exam period. VCE exam expectations and procedures were also communicated at the assembly.

We enjoyed having increased student involvement in this term’s assembly, and we would like to encourage our senior students to build their leadership, confidence and public speaking skills by volunteering for future assemblies. If you are interested in presenting in future assemblies, please see us in the Senior Sub School.

Study Skills Sessions

The Senior Sub School will run follow up study skill sessions in Weeks 3 (Year 12, during study periods) and Week 4, Tuesday 16 May periods 1 and 2, to further support students with developing effective study habits, tools and techniques, so they are well equipped to achieve their full potential.

Community Breakfast

The VCE VM students worked with Ms Dickinson and the Middle Sub School Peer Mentors to deliver a community breakfast event for the school’s business partners. The students arrived at 5:30am to prepare and serve a selection of breakfast items and barista coffee to the 42 distinguished guests, including key note speaker, Terry Bracks, CEO of Western Chances. Brendan Dang and Crystal Nguyen spoke on behalf of the VCE VM students, shared their personal experiences, and highlighted the significant impact our partner organisations and the VCE VM program have had on their lives. It was a wonderful acknowledgement and celebration of the school’s partnerships and work within the community.



Victorian Careers Show

The Year 11 students will attend the Victorian Careers Show at the Melbourne Showgrounds on Friday May 19, 2023. Students will have access to a range of university, TAFE and training providers, and will be able to obtain useful information and resources to inform their future pathway.

VCE VM Brimbank Careers Expo

In addition to the Victorian Careers Show, the VCE VM students will attend the Brimbank Careers Expo on  May 10, 2023 to gain further knowledge of the careers and pathways available to them.

Prior to the event students will research their interests and skills, and are shown occupation clusters in their interest area from a survey supported by Deakin University. They then will be able to list specific organisation’s to visit on the day. This task will go towards meeting Work Related Skills outcomes.


CHASE Program

The Year 11 VCE VM students started the CHASE program this term. CHASE is a community initiative working to improve health through education. Their goal is to see young people empowered to take control of their own health, to then engage with their local communities to improve health awareness and outcomes. The program is being run by students from the universities across Melbourne, who will be assigned to the VCE VM classes for the duration of the year. These volunteers mentor the students to achieve their goals.

Year 11 VCE VM students will be given the first of six health education sessions and will meet their tertiary student mentors on Friday 12 May. They will continue to have these education sessions during Term 2 and will meet with their mentors to form partnerships with local community organisations and health professionals to improve community health.


Progress Reports

Year 11 Progress Reports are due this week. Year Level Coordinators will be interviewing students and speaking to parents/guardians, as needed. Progress reports will be available for students and parents/guardians to view from Friday 19 May 2023.


Year 11 end-of-unit exams will commence from Thursday 25 May 2023 to Friday 2 June 2023. The students will be preparing for their exams in classes. The Year 12 practice exams will be held during the holidays from Thursday 29 June to Tuesday 4 July 2023. We encourage all Year 12 students to use the study schedules, which they will develop during their study skills session, and to ensure they have allocated adequate time for both revision and study. A quiet and well-organised study space at home is essential for effective study.


A reminder that as the weather is cooling down, students can purchase the school scarf and jacket from the uniform shop on Mondays and Thursdays at lunchtime. The school scarf is the only scarf to be worn at school.

We request that parents/guardians contact the school if their child is absent and that a medical certificate is obtained, where possible. Students are required to meet our Attendance Policy for a satisfactory result in their end-of-semester reports.


We would like to thank parents for their continued support of the Senior Sub School, and invite them to contact us on 9366 2555 if they have any queries or concerns about their child. 


Ms Marlene Cassar – Senior Sub School Leader

Science Faculty

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Science Students Celebrate UniSTEMDAY2023

“Getting to the Heart of it: Using Stem Cells to Understand Heart Health and Disease”

Year 10 Biology and Year 9 SEAL students celebrated UniSTEMDA2023 at the Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC) supported by reNEW Melbourne. UniStem Day is a one-day meeting organised globally for high school students since 2009. This event is solely dedicated to the dissemination and outreach of stem cell science and research. Professor Megan Munsie from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) introduced the students to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW), highlighting Nobel prize for medicine recipients, John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka (2012). The award was given for their brilliant work showing that mature cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells. These cells can develop into any other cell in the body, without the need to destroy human embryos. Wow!


  • Disease causing genes – using Genome informatics to analyse DNA sequence information of defective heart genes.
  • Using 3-D printers to produce heart patches & heart valves from pluripotent stem cells
  • Cardiac Organoids – A 3-dimensional, mini-organ-like structure made by growing heart stem cells in the laboratory.
  • Consent in Research

Student Reflection

“The GTAC biology excursion allowed us to have an in person experience with professional researchers. They showed us their interesting new heart valves made with stem cells, and explained their process of developing the life-saving graft. I loved talking with the researchers about their journey to how they got to where they are, and the day-to-day life of working in a lab. GTAC allowed me to consider my future options and revealed new future pathways in Biology.” – Ethan Shaw (Yr 10)


Sincere thank you to our Science Coordinator, Ms Angela Hanley for organising this fantastic experience for St Albans Secondary students; to GTAC for their invitation to participate in UniSTEMDAY2023 and to Science Teachers, Ms Marion Mortimer and Gloria Vlasonjic who attended the excursion.



Ms Marion Mortimer – Science Teacher

Year 7 Zoo

On Tuesday 2 May, Year 7 students attended the Melbourne Zoological Gardens to “meet the animals” and to learn about animal adaptations and classification for their Year 7 Science investigation. Zoo Educators shared skull specimens and biological artefacts and challenged students to consider behavioural adaptations that ensure species’ survival. Students attended Zoo Keeper Talks and enjoyed the freedom to roam the zoo with their friends. It was a “great day out”!

  • Thank you to Science Coordinator, Angela Hanley for organising the excursion.
  • To Science Teacher, Ms Di Phyland for her expert organisation and leadership on the day.
  • To the Office staff and Assistant Principal, Tracey D’Elton and Junior School Coordinators for encouraging students to attend.
  • To all the teachers who attended the excursion – well done.


7A Zoo Reflections

“The zoo was fun and exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favourite part was definitely the aquarium. I liked the fact we had free rein and could do whatever we wanted to do. The zoo lesson was cool and informative. I loved it.”  – Ava Bird

“The aquarium was great – the atmosphere was very refreshing and seeing the Pinnipedia was fascinating because of the way they swam, fed and interacted with each other.” Quynh Nguyen

“The elephants were really cool, especially their new calves. The snow leopard was my favourite and they display an interesting adaptation of smelling each other before mating. They also have small skulls because they run very fast.”  – Andy Huynh-Tai

“I had learnt many new things on the zoo excursion. The koala, snow leopard, lion and meerkat talks Zoo Keeper Talks were quite fascinating. I learnt at least one new fact about each animal: koalas are very territorial and have evolved to eat 40 types of eucalyptus leaves; snow leopards communicate with smell; the lionesses usually do the hunting and meerkat female matriarchs rule with an iron fist.”  Lina Dhingra

“I never knew the reason why meerkats always stand and look up in the sky but after hearing the meerkats talk, the reason why they do that is to keep watch on the birds of prey. The zoo excursion was fun and educational, but I wished there was more time to see the animals.”  – Yenvy Le

“I had a lot of fun exploring the zoo and the animals were so cute. I enjoyed the Orang-utans Keeper’s Talk the most. I learnt that orang-utans share 97% of our DNA and they’re very intelligent.”  Gia-Han Truong

“My experience at the zoo was amazing. I really loved the zoo lesson learning about adaptations and animal skeletons. I also enjoyed learning about how koalas feed their young.”  – Khola Fatima

“It was one of the best days I’ve ever had at the Zoo.” Thank you, Science Teachers.” – Dat MA


Ms Marion Mortimer – Science Teacher


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Modern History

On Thursday 26 April the Yr11 Modern History class travelled to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville to view the film ‘Till’. The film is based on an historic event, the racially motivated murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, and the activism of his mother Maimie, who brought her son’s case to wider public attention. With the help of other significant African Americans in the 1950s, Maimie ensured her son’s legacy was to shed light on the atrocities conducted in the Southern states of America and garner broader support for the Civil Rights Movement.

Students will use the information gained from viewing the film while studying the Civil Rights Movement in Term 3. It was a great way to learn about the case and it enabled us to also shop at the bookstore next door. I believe there are students who are reading Kafka and Plath while you are reading this article! 

A great day was had by all.



Jill Donaldson  –  Humanities Teacher


To engage with our study of hazards and disasters, the Year 11 Geography class spent a day in the Kinglake region, which was heavily impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Throughout the day, our class participated in a range of fieldwork activities at Toorourrong Reservoir, Mount Sugarloaf, Mason Falls, and in Central Kinglake, including field sketches and surveys. In these areas, our class also completed measurements of a fully to determine the regrowth of vegetation 14 years after the fires decimated the natural environment. We also took quite a steep hike to Mason Falls Lookout, where we completed tree growth measurements at the picnic ground, and posed for a class photo with the waterfall backdrop upon our departure from the lookout.

By completing these activities and more, we were able to collate data for our field report, which will examine the economic, environmental, and sociocultural impacts of the Kinglake bushfires in 2009, and how the community and environment have recovered.

The day was enjoyable overall, as the rain held off during our visit. The fieldtrip was beneficial as we not only collected information about the fires but were able to improve our teamwork skills by working in groups to collect this data. Thanks to Ms Lee for organising the field trip for us, as well as Mr Swan’s support and Mr Cooper for driving the bus.

Students drawing and annotating field sketches of the landscape at Toorourrong Reservior



Amy Lee – Humanities Teacher & Daniel Koutras Yr 11 Students 



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Careers Forum

Year 9 St Albans students were invited to attend a careers forum where they heard from inspiring people working to solve some of our most pressing global and local challenges that we face as a community. They also attended the Science Gallery and viewed the ‘Break the Binaries’ exhibition.




Angela Hanley – Science Learning Area Leader

Sports Faculty

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Year 10 – 12 Netball Match

We are excited to share the results of the highly-anticipated Staff vs Year 10-12 Students House Netball game that took place on Friday 31 May.

It was a day full of energy and friendly competition as both teams battled it out on the court. The staff team emerged victorious, winning the game with a score of 9-3. Congratulations to the staff team for their win and to all the students for their impressive performance.

We would like to thank all the students and staff who participated in the game to earn points for their House, as well as those that came along to show their support. Your enthusiasm and House spirit truly made the event a success.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the next House event.


Ms Jennifer Papagianopoulos –  Netball Coach


International Dance Day

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In the week leading up to April 29, we celebrated International Dance Day at lunchtime at SASC on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Thank you to all who danced and all who supported by clapping and cheering in the audience. Thank you to Ms Nicole Gurd who kicked off the week with a dynamic Wilderdance class. Although we had an audience, it seemed SASC wasn’t quite yet ready to join in. Thank you to Manny who came in on Thursday to get everyone moving to a Zumba class. Thank you to all the beautiful dancers on Friday who put in their requests and turned up to turn up! Thank you to Ms Tracey D’Elton who requested and danced the Nutbush with us. BIG thank you to Ms Melrose Tran and her Teaching Candidate Stu who made it all happen by making sure we had speakers set up for music and mic.

Thanks again all, remember dance is for everyone! Get yourself ready for next year.

See you all then.



Ms Tania Segura – Dance Teacher


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As appears to be the norm these days, the alumni program got off to yet another flying start this term. First up, there was alumni presence at our Community Partners and Business Breakfast, Wednesday May 2, with Mariah Magri (Class of 2013) representing Brimbank Youth Services, and Eangano Singehebhuye (Class of 2015) flying the Western Chances flag along with his own as founder of charity Acts of Random Kindness (ARK).  It was wonderful to catch up with them both and to hear about all the good works they’re doing in community.

On another note, I am always on the scout for prospective future Q&A candidates, and the two year 12 students, Brendan Dang 12X and Crystal Nguyen 12W, have most certainly secured a spot on the list! They engaged and captured the audience completely with their eloquence and authenticity and left many with overwhelming feelings of awe and admiration. Bravo to Brendan and Crystal, we look forward to hearing about their future endeavours in the years to come.

Next, we invited Jason Nguyen (Class of 2020) to come back for a Q&A with VCE maths students. Jason, who is studying a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the Monash University, met with the students Thursday May 4th (be with you!) to chat about his study habits (good and bad) during Y12 and university preparation. He passed on many hot tips for effective study practice during SACs and exams and offered practical recommendations for settling into university.  He offered sage advice on being an intentional learner and taking responsibility for your learning now before you realise the hard way that the university environment is very different to high school, and one where you won’t succeed unless you can be self-driven. HOT TIP #1: Using a digital calendar, time block everything! From specific subject study time to hanging out with your friends – and put your phone away during those blocks.


And finally, Wednesday May 10, we had a session in the Performing Arts Centre with former SASC student and TikTok sensation Vincent Ton (Class of 2014), aka @Vindooly. To say the students were excited is an understatement! With a hefty turnout of 270 students, the crowd listened intently as Vincent gave a colourful account of how he creates content for TikTok and how he broke into the e-sports world. Although he advised against creating content for attention, he urged students to just keep trying and to dare to be different.  There were those that won a PWR pack, and those that won posters, but in the end, we were all winners! What an amazing session! A big thank you to all the staff that played a hand in making a calm but swift entry for.




Ms Nicole Gurd – Alumni Coordinator