LINKS: Term Four Week Nine
From the Principal
Happy and Holy Christmas
What a huge year we have all had at St Mary’s School. As we move into the season of Advent, we remember that this is a time of preparation. We are waiting on the arrival of Jesus as we celebrate his birth at Christmas. Over the September school holidays, I was blessed to visit many of the Holy Sites in both Israel and Jordan. Because of this, Christmas for me, this year, will look different. Throughout my time in Israel, I was able to visit the site where Jesus was born. On the ground where Jesus was born, there is a star. Touching this star was an awe-inspiring moment.
The next day, we went to the Shepherd’s Field and celebrated Mass. We were told about how shepherds, at the time, were not respected by the rest of the community. For the shepherds to find out so early about the birth of Christ is hugely symbolic of our Jesus lived his life – reaching out to the outcasts and looking after ALL people in the community. As a Mercy school, this is what we strive to do, every day. Last week, we donated goods to our Vinnies hampers. We pray for those people within our community who do not have the same blessings that we do. Thank you all most sincerely for the generous donations for our Vinnies Hampers.
Christmas is a time of Hope – a time of new beginnings. As we enter the Christmas season, we remember and pray for those people living in Bethlehem and all of Israel and Palestine as they live in war. We pray that this Christmas season brings peace, hope and love to all affected by this war.
We also pray for our own families. May the joy and hope of Christmas be with all of us this Christmas season. May we take this time to remember how lucky we are to live in peace and be surrounded by love and support of family and friends. I wish you all a safe and Holy Christmas and a restful holiday - ready to make a new beginning in 2024.
On Monday 20th November, we hosted our P-3 and 4-10 Awards Night. A huge congratulations to our award recipients. I would also like to acknowledge all students who have worked so hard throughout the year. Even if you didn’t receive an award, you should be proud of the effort and progress that you have made throughout the year. I would like to thank the many staff members, under the leadership of Mrs Karra Suhr, who worked so hard to ensure this was a fantastic evening of celebration for our students.
New Student Leaders 2024
At Awards Night, our new 2024 Student Leadership Team was announced. Congratulations to the following students:
Student Council Executive: Luke Aylwin, Hugo Heath, Millie Rae, Belle Larkin, Lacey Hilton, Annie Keeping, Jarin Charles and Gurshaan Dhaliwal
Cultural Captains: Alfred Charles, Sophia Woods and Lexi Boyd
Loretto Captains: Annabel McDonald, Fergus Murray and Alice Pink
McAuley Captains: Eadie Moffatt, Milly Doherty and Zara Dennis
Mackillop Captains: Rory Wiggan, Abby Pimm and Tristan Galvin
Coolock Captains: Molly Giltrow, Ella Dunmill and Grace Leadbetter
School Captains: Bridie Bate, Jonathon Webb, Scarlett Reardon and Jack Coggan
I would also like to thank the 2023 Student Leadership Team who have done such a great job this year!
Year 6 and 10 Celebrations
Our last week of school has been incredibly busy and we have celebrated both our Year 6 and Year 10 cohorts as they finish big educational milestones this year. Thank you all for the hard work you have put in and the contribution you have made to this community. We look forward to welcoming many of our current Year 6 cohort back in 2024 as they start their Year 7 journey. However, we wish our Year 10s and those Year 6’s leaving us all the very best for a bright future ahead.
Report Cards/Class allocations
On Thursday 30th November, we will send out the report cards for this semester. Along with this, will be the class and teacher allocations for 2024 for P-6 along with a map of where the student’s new classroom will be. I would like to thank the hard work of all staff to ensure this has been sent in a timely manner, particularly teachers who have worked so hard to complete marking and report cards and made thoughtful choices about class lists for 2024.
Congratulations to all of our dancers for their brilliant performances at the Cultural Centre on the 11th November. There is a ballet workshop coming up in Goondiwindi. If any family is interested, you can find more information here: https://www.balletworkshopsaustralia.com/upcoming-workshops
Please note that the office will be closed from the 20th December until 15th January. The email@example.com email will be monitored throughout this time, should anything require urgent attention.
The Book Drop off for 2024 will be Friday 19th January between 12pm and 1pm to your child’s classroom, which you will be notified of on Thursday 30th November.
The first day back at school for 2024 is Tuesday 23rd January – looking forward to seeing you all then!
Miss Angela Collins
From the Deputy Principal
Hello St Mary’s community,
I simply want to thank you for your support this year. Whether it was backing us with a behaviour or uniform issue, attending events, digging deep for our many fundraising activities, encouraging your child with their homework, getting them to school each day, and so many other things: Thank you!
Have a safe and blessed Christmas, and a restful break (if you get one).
Please uphold our St Mary’s staff in your prayers, as they recharge and prepare for 2024 classes.
And remember that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
Until next year,
As we approach the end of another remarkable year at St. Mary's School, it is with gratitude and joy that we reflect on the many highlights that have shaped our community. The support from our St. Mary's community and Parish has been instrumental in making this year truly exceptional.
From the beginning of 2023 to now, our community has demonstrated the spirit of collaboration, dedication, and kindness. Whether it was through volunteering at school events, participating in fundraisers, or attending parent-teacher interviews, your active involvement has enriched the educational experience for our students.
Our partnership with the St. Mary's Parish has been a source of strength and inspiration. The seamless connection between the school and the parish has fostered a nurturing environment where spiritual and academic growth go hand in hand. We are deeply grateful for the guidance, support, and prayers that the parish has provided to our students and their families.
As we approach the festive season, we extend our warmest wishes to each member of the St. Mary's community and Parish. May this holiday season be filled with joy, love, and laughter. Take this time to cherish the moments with your loved ones, reflect on the year gone by, and look forward to the possibilities that the new year holds.
We want to express our sincere appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the success and vibrancy of St. Mary's School in 2023.
Thank you for being an integral part of the St. Mary's family. We look forward to creating more memories and achieving new milestones together in 2024.
Assistant Principal Religious Education
On Friday, 24 November 2023 we celebrated our year 10 Students, Milly Keeping and Georgia Henderson. The event took place with emotions running high with both family, and staff taking the opportunity to congratulate our two graduates on their exemplary behavour and representing the school so well throughout the year. We wish both Milly and Georgia every success in the future and remind them that they will forever be an integral part of our St Mary’s School community and we look forward to having them visit in the near future.
This academic year has been incredibly rewarding, marked by the commendable behaviour demonstrated by our students in terms of self-respect, consideration for others, and environmental awareness. Personally, I take great pride in stating that I am confident in taking any of our students anywhere. A standout example of this is evident during our camp experiences, where the St Mary's group continues to impress camp staff with their outstanding behaviour, enthusiastic participation, and a consistent display of respect throughout the entire camp duration. Where standards inevitably may falter from time to time, the students respond positively to corrections, for the benefit of the entire school community.
In selecting participants for our rewards trip, it was a source of pride to observe that all students in years 7 to 10 achieved an attendance rate of over 80%, a significant contribution to their ongoing academic progress.
As we assess the effectiveness of new initiatives aimed at enhancing both enrolment and retention, it is evident that our most valuable assets are our students. This realisation emphasises the need to express our gratitude to parents and caregivers who serve as the primary educators in their children's lives. We extend heartfelt thanks for the work done behind the scenes and the support provided, ensuring that each child realises their full potential. Your commitment is truly appreciated, and we acknowledge the crucial role you play in our students' success.
Think Tank update
As we reflect on the past year, it's with great enthusiasm that we share the positive strides made in our 7-10 sector of our school, thanks in part to the deliberate and strategic efforts of the Think Tank. Communication has been at the forefront of our success, both within the Think Tank and in reaching out to the wider school staff and the Goondiwindi parent community.
The Think Tank, established to foster direct communication between parents and the school, consists of representatives spanning from Year 4 to 10, including parents, teachers, administration, and executive members. We also encourage students to voice their opinion through the student council and direct surveys.
"Our mission is to retain and attract students, building capacity by fostering strong relationships with parents, carers, staff, and students within our school and potential feeder schools”.
Over the next three to four years, our focus areas are developing a strong secondary identity, improving communication and marketing, and refining the finer details. Our goal is to stabilise strong enrolments in Years 7 to 10. Through our collective efforts, we aim to create a thriving and inclusive Prep to 10 school community that prepares our students for a successful future."
Throughout the year, the Think Tank has implemented various strategies to achieve its mission, including an Art Show, increased interaction between Year 5 and 6 students with secondary students, sport rotations, transition days, open nights and secondary teachers teaching Year 6 students.
We are delighted to share that our efforts are already bearing fruit, evident in the projected secondary student numbers for 2024. This reflects the success of our growth and retention initiatives. We sincerely thank you for your support.
Looking ahead, we are excited about the continued work of the Think Tank in 2024. Please consult the 2024 school calendar for the projected meeting dates, ensuring everyone is informed and involved in our collective efforts.
Lastly, it brings us immense joy to work alongside the school and wider community, striving to fulfill the clear preference expressed in our initial survey - keeping kids at St. Mary's longer. This collaborative spirit is at the heart of our shared commitment to the well-being and growth of our students.
Congratulations to our Secondary leaders for 2024
School Captain (Girl)
School Captain (Boy)
Curriculum: Year 7 – Year 10 Reporting
Report Cards will be sent on Thursday 30th November. Report Cards will be sent via the Sentral Parent Portal.
Parent Portal App/Browser: The Sentral system will push the report card to the Parent Portal. Please see instructions below.
Siblings: Top left corner will have student initials. For siblings, click the down arrow and select new student. Repeat above steps.
Browser User https://sis.twb.catholic.edu.au/auth/portal
Log in to your account.
Select student from navigation panel on left
Siblings: Click new student name on navigation panel on left. Repeat steps above.
Please find below explanations of the different aspects of our report cards.
Attitudes – Social Learnings: We use a three-point scale; Commendable, Expected, and Requires Extra Effort for general areas:
- Adherence to uniform expectations
- Cooperates with others
- Responsible for own learning
Learning Profile: We use a three-point scale; Commendable, Expected, and Requires Extra Effort for each area of learning:
- Attitude towards learning and feedback
Math & English Comments: These will highlight the significant areas students are to be commended on and what area/s need further development.
If you have any questions about the above information or if there are any issues with your report cards, please email: Christine.Border@twb.catholic.edu.au
Mr Bevin Goodes
Assistant Principal Secondary
Primary Sports Report
Thank you to everyone for your continued support and patience this year. It is very much appreciated. Special thanks to those parents who stepped in and took trainings when I couldn’t and offered to help with timekeeping/jobs at carnivals/pack ups etc. There is no way these events can happen without your help.
Next year, the term starts very busy. The best point of contact is via email on the below email – Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org
All sports will be advertised for students to sign up on day 1 of term 1, 2024. Mac Zone sign up will continue to be outside the library, and Border District will be outside the teacher’s staffroom at the middle school. (it is the responsibility of the students to make sure they sign up). Please have discussions with your child regarding the upcoming sports to see if they are going to sign up.
I look forward to the new adventures of 2024.
Dates for Mac zone 2024 - Term 1
Friday, 2nd Feb
Mac Zone Swimming
Friday, 9th Feb
Tuesday, 13th Feb
Wednesday, 14th Feb
Mac Zone cricket trials
Friday, 23rd Feb
Mac Zone netball trials boys and girls
Mon, 26th Feb
Country cricket trials
Wed, 28th Feb
Thurs, 29th Feb
Mac Zone touch trials
Fri, 1st March
Mac Zone tennis trials
Tues, 5th March
Mac Zone basketball
Fri, 8th March
3-10 school swimming carnival
Dates for Border District 2024 - Term 1
Monday, 29th Jan
BD Summer trials
(cricket, touch, tennis)
Tuesday, Feb 6th
BD Winter Trials
(basketball, soccer, netball, rugby league, squash)
Thursday, Feb 8th
BD Swimming - Stanthorpe
Tuesday, 13th Feb
Tues, Feb 27th
Fri, 8th March
3-10 school swimming carnival
Mon, 11th March
Jim Stephen’s and Steph Hancock
“Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.”
Yours in Sport,
Well done to all students for returning books – it is always great to be able to start the new year with as many books as possible for our children to chosose from!
Holiday reading challenge
Please find attached a bingo page for a holiday reading challenge. Information is all on the page but if students don’t get through 5 books please send the page back with any squares completed as there may still be a prize involved!
Whilst we do not offer borrowing over the holidays, reading is most definitely encouraged! A couple of online resources to keep kids reading are:
P-2- Reading Eggs online library
Visit our town library
Purchase a magazine subscription for Christmas
Re-read favourite books
Have a book swap with friends and meet up for a milkshake and book chat
Read one of mum or dads favourite children’s books
If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail the library staff at:
Bedtime Mental Health Tips & ‘Tis the Season to be asking R U OK?’
Mental Health Quick Tip 1: Bedtime Chats for Better Sleep! Bedtime can stir up the day's stresses for older kids. Ease their minds by:
- Heart-to-Heart: Spend a few moments each night discussing their worries or the day's events.
- For Younger Kids: Share about your day, highlighting the simple moments, in a gentle tone. This not only calms them but also sets the foundation for open communication as they grow.
Nightly chats: a way to relax and bond.
Mental Health Quick Tip 2: The Power of Sleep! Sleep is crucial for students' mental well-being. Foster healthy sleep habits by:
- Winding Down: Promote regular pre-bedtime relaxation activities.
- Tech-Free Zones: Keep the bedroom free of TVs and devices. Turn them off an hour before sleep.*
- Consistent Routines: Maintain regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends. *
- Ideal Sleep Environment: Ensure a quiet, dimly lit room.
- Watch the Caffeine: Limit caffeine from tea, coffee, sports drinks, and chocolate in the evenings.
**Our body relies on daylight to signal when to wake and the dim night to wind down for sleep. Screen light tells our bodies to wake up and confuses the natural sleep wake rhythm.
Connection tips for the holiday season
Christmas and the holiday season is a time of joy and celebration but for some it can also be a difficult time of year. They might struggle with the festivities going on around them, or be dealing with the strain of financial pressure, work demands, world events, grief, or a challenging family situation.
You can make a difference by giving them the gift of conversation.
Check out our tips to help you stay connected this holiday season.
You're welcome to share our free videos, posters and social tiles to encourage conversations in your workplace and community.
Nominate someone to get a gift or food hamper from our Christmas Appeal!!!??
We believe that everyone deserves to experience the magic of Christmas, but we understand that 2023 has been tough and some families won’t be able to give their children or loved ones the Christmas they’d like to….. That’s where our team of elves would like to step up to help.
Care has been taking donations of food items, toys and gifts to help those who might not otherwise be able to afford to put as many presents under the tree or a festive meal on the table this Christmas, and for those that do not have family or friends close by. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of the Goondiwindi residents.
And now we need you to hear from you, so that everyone in Goondiwindi will get something from Father Christmas this year. Our appeal for your nominations doesn’t focus on children only, as we’d like to hear from you about vulnerable or elderly individuals who may be alone this year, and we’ll do our best to get a gift to them too.
Maybe you know someone who goes above & beyond to help others. Why not nominate them for a gift?? Please call 46 700700 or email details to email@example.com if you know someone who could use an extra gift this Christmas?!