Principal's Message

Welcome parents, carers and friends of St Mary’s College to our Issue 02, 2024 newsletter.

Term 2 has been a long term, ending in a typically cold and wintery Melbourne way. I am sure many students are looking forward to being able to spend a little longer in bed in the morning if they are able.

Semester One Reports

St Mary’s College semester one reports have been published and are available to view on St Mary’s Parent Access Module (PAM). The report covers the curriculum and subjects taught by St Mary’s teachers as well as each child’s PLP with details of progress towards their learning goals. Semester one reports from curriculum and subjects taught through each of the partner schools are available through their online portals (PAM, SEQTA or Schoolbox). I encourage parents to discuss their child’s reports with them, celebrate achievements and consider goals for next semester.

If you need help accessing the reports, please don't hesitate to speak with your Head of Campus. Just a reminder that we need parents to acknowledge online that they have read the PLP reports. If you could do this at your earliest convenience, we would greatly appreciate it.

Principal Ireland & UK Study Tour

Earlier this term, I had an opportunity to travel to England and Ireland where I attended a conference titled “Diversity in Deaf Learners” before embarking on a study tour of 10 different specialist school settings for deaf students across both countries. This included stand-alone Schools for the Deaf, facilities located in mainstream schools and Schools for the Deaf working in partnership with mainstream schools like St Mary’s College does. Through this experience, I gained much new knowledge about ways to strengthen reading skill in students with hearing loss, how to get around the mental tiredness so many deaf and hard of hearing students experience each day at school and how to ensure that the difference in each and every deaf and hard of hearing child is recognised and planned for so that they can reach their full potential at school. There should never be a one-size-fits-all approach with our students.

The staff and students I met in both countries were welcoming and delightful and very keen to explore international connections between our students. The students in Ireland and England were particularly interested in what life was like in Australia and were keen to make new friendships with Australian primary or secondary students who were also deaf and hard of hearing. I had the privilege of visiting Emmaus Chapel in the heart of Deaf Village Ireland with it’s beautiful stained glass windows representing both the identity of the community as well as their faith. I look forward to using this new found knowledge to enhance the educational opportunities available to all our students at St Mary’s College as we enter into our period of review and school improvement planning next term.

Year 7 2026 Enrolments

Just a reminder that enrolments for Year 7 2026 will close on closing Friday 16 August 2024 (current grade 5 students). This is one year earlier than what happens in government schools. Places fill up very quickly and for many of our campuses, once that date has passed, an opportunity for a late enrolment can be rare. There is no cost associated with submitting an application.

Please visit the College website or contact our Registrar Lexie on 9800 2733 or for more information.

Student Leadership News

Have a look at what our fabulous Student Leadership team have done in term 2...

Plentiful Pizza

Our student leaders worked diligently this term to organise a social lunchtime where St Mary’s students across all year levels could gather together and participate in a social activity, while enjoying a delicious pizza lunch. The leaders were asked to plan the social lunchtime by choosing a date that suited their campus, communicate this date with all St Mary’s staff and students, take pizza orders, work together with their school canteen or local pizza shop to order the pizza, create or organise a social activity and finally run the event on the day. Students across both our primary and secondary school campuses really enjoyed getting together to meet other students across different year levels, enjoy a pizza lunch and participate in the social activities on offer. Well done to Lianna, Jack, Tanisha, Ira, Rosetta and Cleyara for organising our St Mary’s social lunchtime.

Creating Connections

A past St Mary’s student who has been studying film at university, was offered the opportunity to create a documentary in Vietnam. Through this incredible opportunity, the student came across another school for the deaf called Hearing and Beyond. This past St Mary’s student thought it would be fantastic for us at St Mary’s to connect with another school for the deaf.

Through conversations with our student leaders about this opportunity, they have decided that St Mary’s should

connect with the students at Hearing and Beyond. Our student leaders have been busy this term writing a letter to the students at Hearing and Beyond to ask them about Vietnam and what it is like to be a student at their school. The student leaders are hoping to start a pen pal program, in which our St Mary’s students can connect with other students overseas.

We await a response from Hearing and Beyond and hope that this will form an ongoing friendship.

Comming Up...

In term 3, our student leaders will be busy coordinating a fundraising event for St Dominic’s Day. St Dominic’s Day is a day where we celebrate the patron saint of Santo Domingo de Guzman who spent his life travelling to help others in need. The fundraising event will include both students from St Mary’s and partner school campuses. It is a chance for us to give back to people in our community.

This year, students will be raising money for the charity Caritas. Our student leaders have been working very hard behind the scenes to plan and coordinate their fundraising event. We hope to get all St Mary’s and partner school students involved in these events!

Wantirna South Campus News

Check out term 2's news from the Wantirna South campus...

Cross Country

On Monday 29th April, we had our whole school Cross Country events. We had to run various laps around the school and collect a ribbon at the end. We got to dress up in our house colours and collect house points for effort and cheering on our peers.

Mater Christi Taster Day

Students in Year 4 attended a Taster Day at Mater Christi to experience life as a secondary school student. They participated in some Sport, Science and STEM activities. Some highlights of the day were making slime in the Science Lab and playing with the ‘Spheros’ on the iPads.

P Day

The Prep year level had a very special ‘P Day’.

Students could wear a costume that began with the letter P (including PJs!) and participated in some fun activities such as making Pizza, making a Peacock craft and playing with Playdough!


St Mary’s students have been learning new vocabulary this term. We have learned new Tier 2 vocabulary and used Marzano's Six Steps to learning Vocabulary.

Some students have enjoyed creating google slides to show their new understanding of words and also engaging in some games such as memory, word and definition match up and crosswords!

St. John’s Ambulance First Aid

The Year 5, 6 students participated in a first aid session where they all had the opportunity to practise and perform CPR. They followed the steps and procedures of DRSABCD and even had the opportunity to practise on a manikin. Ira was a terrific volunteer and played her role as the injured person well.

Not only was the session a lot of fun for the students, but they will also take their vital skills with them beyond the classroom. Fingers crossed they may never have to use them but it's so reassuring to know we have several young, responsible young people on hand to assist in an emergency.

Positive Behaviour for Learning Sessions

Our St. Mary’s students have been coming together to have explicit lessons aligned with our Positive Behaviour for Learning Model.

In this session, students learned about how important it is to connect with a community and, in turn, contribute to the group to make it a healthy and safe environment. The students were asked to complete a Jam Board of how they can contribute to their community inside and outside their school setting. It was a thrill to see our students coming together, working collaboratively, and putting their learning into action,

Mad About Science Incursion

The Year 5, 6 students enjoyed an afternoon with Ken from Mad About Science. They worked together to explore various forms of energy. Firstly, they examined static and magnetic energy. They had the opportunity to experiment with energy sticks, forming a human circuit.

They also investigated electrical circuits using a battery to power a light bulb and a fan. To further apply their learning, they built their own circuits to power a speaker and a siren. Additionally, students explored conductors, such as metal objects, and insulators, like rubber.

Year 3/4 IMAX & Melbourne Museum Excursion

The Year 3, 4s went to IMAX and the Melbourne Museum to explore the different exhibits around life cycles and bugs. As part of our Inquiry unit this term, we have been learning about different life cycles and what different factors impact how their life cycle changes.

We watched a 3D movie at IMAX about the life cycle of bugs and what they need to stay alive. It was a great way to end our Inquiry unit.

Sunbury Campus News

Check out the latest happenings from our Sunbury Campus...

House Athletics Carnival

Along with other St Mary's students, Arden enjoyed the social activities and lovely weather at our partner school House Athletics Carnival.

Leadership Skills

As part of our Student Leadership Program, Rosetta organised an amazing pizza lunch at our Sunbury campus.

She learned how to budget, find the best pizzas and invite students to join in.

It was a great way for all our students to come together, socialise and enjoy some fun.

Wood Work Wizard

Jagan proudly displays his completed kitchen cutting board made in Wood class during Term 2

South Morang Campus News

Read all about what we've been doing at the South Morang campus...

People’s Choice Award

A big congratulations to Tanisha for winning the People’s Choice Award for her artwork “Everyone is Different”. Organised by Deaf Children Australia, this event is a wonderful opportunity for deaf and hard of hearing young individuals to display their artistic talents and for the community to rally behind them with support. Let’s give a round of applause to all the participants!

PBL Stars

Our Prep students were very excited to get their first PBL Awards!

Year 9 Science

Our year 9 Students were studying neurons in science and used visual designs to create a 3D version made from pipe cleaners, playdough and chopsticks. The students labelled their model identifying various components which was a fun and hands-on way to learn.

Prep Auslan Alphabet Class Presentation

Well done to our South Morang Prep students, Sophia and Evelyn, who helped Ms Jones with a class presentation about Auslan alphabet signs.

Both students led the class with Emma Memma to sign the alphabet before their Prep peers.

Year 8 Wood Technology

Our year 8 students Tanisha and Luis had to design and build their own racing car in Wood Tech. Upon completion all students raced their cars off a ramp to see which vehicle went the furthest.

All students had fun and loved guessing what car would travel the longest and see if their predictions were correct!

Ancient Egypt

In term 2 our year 7’s studied Ancient Egypt in Humanities.

One of our students, Kyle, made a diorama of a pyramid and researched Ancient Egyptian culture and beliefs. Kyle enjoyed making his own pyramid replica creating hidden treasures and ancient hieroglyphic writing inside the chamber. His finished product was a terrific masterpiece!

Street Art Excursion

On Monday 13th of May, our year 6’s went into the city for a Street Art Excursion.

The class explored all the city streets and alleyways seeing different examples of painting, graffiti, sculptures and billboards.

The students were amazed with the huge artwork on high rise buildings and enjoyed using the school cameras to capture image of this unique artwork. It was a day of fun and exploration!

Tarneit Campus News

Read what we've been up to at the Tarneit Campus' in term 2...

Animal Studies

Lianna joined her Animal Studies classmates in an excursion to Bundoora Park Farm for a practical assessment with some of the animals. She worked with lambs, goats, donkeys and guinea pigs, cleaning their pens, noting their eating habits and grooming them.

Thomas Carr Day

SMC Tarneit Campus celebrates its partner school’s annual "Thomas Carr Day" in honour of its founder, bringing the school community together for a day filled with fun and festivity. This vibrant event features an array of exciting rides and delicious food trucks, offering something for everyone to enjoy. This day of celebration is a cherished tradition that embodies the spirit and unity of the college community.

Farewell to Mr. O'Neill

TN students wish Simon O’Neill farewell on his last day at SMC. Throughout the last 3 years, he has not only imparted knowledge but also inspired us to pursue our dreams and strive for excellence. As he moves on to new adventures, the students and staff at Tarneit wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for all you've done. Best wishes for the future, and thank you for everything.

Dandenong Campus News

Check out the latest from the Dandenong campus for term 2...

Farm Excursion

The year 7’s had a unique experience when they visited Myuna Farm and were shown all the animals and interesting information about farm life.

Work Experience

Daniel has started some work experience at a the Dandenong Pavillion. It is wonderful to see his practical skills and talents learn at school be put into practice at the resturaunt

St John's Founder's Day Talent Quest

Founder’s Day was a celebration for all the St John’s community. St Mary’s were extremely proud of Rianna’s participation in the Founder’s Day Talent Quest. Rianna received the Encouragement Award for her efforts.

Creative Minds

Our talented students have been displaying their artistic and creative talents in a variety of ways. From brainstorming and producing stylish garments to designing recipies for a Food Safari assignment.


Melisa had the opportunity to participate in a program called the SMART program where she was involved in a number of excursions.

Harmony Day

Harmony day is a day to be reminded about the importance of including everyone from all races. At St John’s students dressed up to celebrate their race and the day.

Sharing more than just a classroom

The students highlight their connections with other St Mary’s students as well as the partner school.

Ringwood Campus News

Find out what's been happening at the Ringwood Campus in Term 2...

Recognising Our ANZACs

In preparation for ANZAC Day next week, the Year 7s made ANZAC biscuits in their Food Technology class. Before making the yummy biscuits, the students were taught the background of this iconic treat; why and when they were first made. They remain an Australian favourite to this day.

Safety Online

Class lessons have been investigating online safety. The Year 8 students have been designing posters to share with others.

VM Excellence

Kaylee and Ryan showed off their many skills with a variety of excursions this term. Ryan was very impressive at surfing.

Ryan has also been enjoying his time working at the cafe and shows off his culinary skills.

Cafe 9 Experience

The Year 9s enjoyed starting Term 2 with their turn working in Cafe 9. The first day was spent learning all about working in hospitality, watching each dish be prepared, and then making a range of cakes and slices in preparation for the coming days. From there, it was action stations for the rest of the week as Aquinas staff, students and families poured through the doors, ready to experience great food and drinks prepared with newfound skill.


Jack’s Hospitality class has recently been learning the art of setting a table for a formal occation. Everything has its place!

Homophones vs Homographs

Our year 8 students have been becoming masters of homophones and homographs. By mastering these tricky words, they’re enhancing their literacy skills and becoming more confident writers. Knowing when and where to use words like "there," "their," and "they're" or "lead" and "lead" is a game-changer!

Tasty Taco Tuesday

The Year 7 students had a fun class making tacos. In pairs, they made the spicy meat filling and then put the tasty treat together, putting a variety of salad items with the meat into a hot, crunchy taco shell. Yum!

Ancient Civilisations

As part of their studies about ancient civilisations, each student had to make an artefact and present it to the class.

James chose Egypt as his civilisation and presented three pieces which he felt represented the time. He made an artwork showing Tutankhamun’s mask, a replica of a pyramid, and an amazing sphinx made from origami. To accompany his work, he explained the significance of each and how they were made.

Impressive work, James!

Staff News

What's up with the staff?

Women in Leadership Dinner

Members of our senior and middle leadership teams attended the Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools Deputy Principals Association annual Women in Leadership dinner. The guest speaker was Laura John, a human rights lawyer and advocate who spoke passionately about supporting refugees in Australia. Our staff were thrilled to see Auslan interpreters providing access at this event for the first time.

Welcoming Our New Staff Members

We are pleased to welcome new staff members to our St Mary’s team this term. Joanne Tarpey a teacher of the deaf joined us at the Tarneit Campus, Halyer Rayner stepped in as our new Business Manager, and Kylie Blacker joined our administration team based at Wantirna.

Additionally, we are excited to welcome back Danyelle Stoneman, who returns from maternity leave to work at our South Morang Campus at the start of Term 3.

Farewell to Mr. Simon O’Neill

Farewell to Mr. Simon O’Niell whose contributions over the past three and a half years at our Tarneit Campus have been invaluable. We thank Simon for his positive impact in helping establish our new campus and fostering connections with families.

He brought joy and support to our school by establishing the Auslan club, attending numerous camps and leaving a lasting impression with his trumpet performances. We wish Simon all the best and much happiness in his future endeavours.

Alumni News

Often we hear from past students about the great things they are doing...

Where are they now?

From time to time we catchup with past students from St Mary's. They're keen to share about what they have been up since completing their school years at St Mary's, what they have acomplished so far and what their plans are beyond tomorrow.

We recently caught up with Bailey Heron who graduated from Ringwood in 2019 and was the Dux at partner school Aquinas College.

Hi everyone, my name is Bailey, I graduated from St Mary’s Ringwood campus in 2019. I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science (honours) at Monash university. Currently I have just started my PhD in the field of microbiology, studying how to block the spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic organisms.

A Rising Ruckman

Past student Ryan Emerson has always had a passion for football and worked hard at it through dedication and pushing past barriers. He was recently featured in the Herald newspaper with shining comments from Hawthorn legend Gary Ayres, who now coaches the Montrose football team.

Read the excerpt from the Hearld Sun article below...

Montrose’s Ryan Emerson debuts in ‘one of the best feel-good stories’, Ayres says

Montrose coach Gary Ayres has been around senior footy for near 50 years – but says his latest debutant’s story is hard to top. Meet young ruckman Ryan Emerson – and remember the name.

Ayres says it’s “one of the best stories I’ve been involved with in 45 years” of senior footy.

Emerging talent Ryan Emerson didn’t miss a trick in his debut for the Eastern league Division 1 club on Saturday.

Despite the Dees overcoming a 10-point deficit late to sink North Ringwood by two points – and arrest a three-game losing run – Emerson’s maiden top-flight appearance transcended the scoreboard.

Emerson is deaf.

But the disability didn’t stop the steely young ruckman from carving out a debut to remember.

Toiling away in the under-19s for the past year and a bit alongside stints in the reserves, Ayres said Emerson had earned his stripes.

Receiving a late call-up for second ruckman Kyle Staples, the coach wasn’t short of praise for what the club’s sixth debutant of the season produced.

Full Flight
Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson in full flight. Picture: Sue Lennon

“He came in a little bit unexpectedly, I guess, because we had another second ruck pull out through work,” Ayres said.

“He’s a competitive young man and clearly that’s what you want to see – he’ll give you a very honest effort.

“Sometimes when we’re not playing to our capabilities, effort and energy are two things that each individual can control, and I thought he certainly brought that in his role on Saturday.”

On hand was Emerson’s brother, Lachlan Gray, relaying the coach’s instructions via sign language.

Lachlan Interpreting
Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson receives instruction from brother Lachlan Gray. Picture: Sue Lennon

“His brother was there alongside me on the boundary and we were actually able to get a permit where his brother could actually run out onto the ground and translate from a sign language point of view,” Ayres said.

“The players had a bit of a heads-up as to what his hitting areas were and they were able to communicate that with sign language.”

Hitting the front with a minute to go, the club rooms soon swelled with boisterous, rusted-on supporters as the Dees notched their fifth win of the season from eight starts.

Every Heart Beats True
The Montrose rooms swayed to ‘Every heart beats true’ on Saturday. Picture: Supplied

Consecutive losses to Beaconsfield, Bayswater and Mooroolbark were washed away with a heaving Gatorade shower – Emerson in the victory circle’s crossfire to toast his first senior win.

“There was a lot of people in the rooms and it’s probably one of the loudest renditions of the song I’ve heard for a long time,” Ayres said.

“As a club, Montrose is pretty proud that the young lad’s been able to get an opportunity.

“To play at this level, I reckon it’s one of the best feel-good stories you can have.”

- Written by Daniel Cencic

- Article: Hearld, May 28, 2024. (News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom)
- Images: Sue Lennon

Distressing Content Online

Support for families viewing distressing content online

The e-Safety Commissioner has released a number of resources to support young people and families on how to deal with violent or distressing content they have viewed online. This includes advice for parents and carers on using parental controls and general online safety. Resources can be found by accessing the following link:

New Student Absence Notice

Just a reminder, we are asking all parents/guardians of St Mary's College students at all campuses to follow the new Student Absence Notification process. This is designed to ensure we have a timely and responsive approach to the care and wellbeing for our students.

Student Absence Notice