From The Principal

Welcome parents, carers and friends of St Mary’s College to our Issue 03, 2023 newsletter.

Term 3 has been exceptionally busy for our school community with many activities and events being held specifically for the St Mary’s College community including the 75th anniversary events, Secondary Schools’ Deaf Sports Day and our St Dominic’s Feast Day celebration.

75th Celebrations

A highlight for this year was the 75th anniversary celebrations held across 5 of our campuses over a 2 week period. It was wonderful meeting many past students and staff and hearing about each person’s journey since leaving school. Learning about how past students have strived to overcome barriers and find their place in the world is an inspiration to current staff and students and reflective of the empowerment, resilience and independence we hope to develop in all students. We are particularly grateful for the support of our partner schools in providing the venue for each event and look forward to the possibility of establishing a St Mary’s alumni.

SAC Board Meeting

The School Advisory Council met online and reviewed the school’s NAPLAN results, finances and plans for the growth of the College. We welcomed new member Alexandra and look forward to her contributions and advice in ensuring St Mary’s continues to provide an exceptional education for deaf and hard of hearing students. New members are more than welcome and any interested parents or past students can contact Lexie at the administration office for more information on 9800 2733 or

Enrolment interviews

We have commenced pre-enrolment interviews with year 7 2025 applicants and also transition meetings with new students entering the school in 2024. It has been a wonderful experience meeting each student and learning about their strengths and goals. There is a high level of interest in enrolling with St Mary’s and we have waiting lists at many year levels so I would encourage anyone interested in enrolling to do so early to avoid disappointment.

2024 Planning

The College Leadership Team has been working hard on planning for next year including preparing the budget, setting fees and establishing staffing. We are fortunate to have a bursary that was set up following a generous bequest to the school that allows for the continual upskill and training of staff in deaf education. This ensures that even with the current teacher shortage, teachers with limited experience in teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing can quickly gain the necessary skills to provide quality teaching to our students.

National Child Protection Week (NAPCAN)

Last week was NAPCAN Week. The overarching message was: ‘Every child in every community needs a fair go’. Where children start in their lives in terms of where they live, the resources available to them, and the opportunities presented makes a significant difference to their life outcomes. In order to ensure deaf and hard of hearing students have a ‘fair go’, they need access to the same information as children with typical hearing. They need to know of the softer conversations in the classroom and yard, the respectful way conflicts are resolved and relationships work between adults and children and what others say when they are empowered. If this knowledge is usually learnt by being overheard, we need to make sure our children get access to this information through the use of FM and captions at home and school, signing or repeating something when asked or through explicit teaching and 1:1 conversations. In doing so, we are giving students a ‘fair go’ in having a safe and supported future.

As we head into the break, I wish all our year 12 students completing practice exams over the holidays the best of luck and for everyone else, a safe, enjoyable and blessed couple of weeks.

Happy 75th Anniversary

St Mary's College celebrates 75 years!

(From the Principal’s address)

For the past 75 years, St Mary’s has been providing the best possible educational opportunities for students who are DHH. Whilst the name has changed slightly and the school location moved with the community, the heart and soul of the school has remained steadfast. Our current vision of a faith community shaping the formation of empowered, inquiring students is as alive today as ever. I would like to spend some time reflecting on the past, appreciating the present and looking forward with excitement to the next 75 years. 1948 is where our story begins…St Mary’s Delgany Portsea. Catholic families seeking an education for their DHH child gave rise to the idea of a school dedicated to the development of effective communication and specialist deaf education in Victoria. The idea was put to Archbishop Mannix and he in turn, the Dominican Sisters, who had substantial experience in deaf education.

Delgany in Portsea was selected as the first site and a small group left Siena Convent to establish the school that would operate from that site for the next 36 years. At that time, St Mary’s was known for its interest in technology, developing speech and listening skills and innovation. Looking at where we are today with technology and education, it must have been challenging for students and staff 75 years ago. However, the dedication and passion of the school at the time in seeking to provide the greatest opportunities for their students is undeniable.

Parents wanting the best education for their child made the difficult decision to board them at the school and enrolments grew. The founding school community was led by Mother Madeleine and six Sisters, where music, sport, dance, literacy, numeracy, cooking, carpentry and religious education featured as part of each student’s preparation for life beyond school. By 1965 ballet, Scottish dancing and golf were added with the Sisters bringing back the latest methods of teaching in deaf education from Ireland. New technology in hearing aid systems and auditory loops were purchased and in 1970, Cued Speech was introduced. Interestingly, St Mary’s commitment to ensuring deaf students had opportunities to participate in educational programs alongside hearing children goes back as far as 1968 with a small integrated program commencing with Sorrento Catholic and State primary schools. The 1980s saw a significant shift in technology and greater opportunity for students to connect with their families through Telephone Typewriters (TTYs) and for some, the newly developed cochlear implant.

However in 1983 with declining enrolment numbers, it was decided that the school should relocate to Melbourne so students could be closer to their homes. So, in 1984, the whole school moved to Wantirna South, building a new primary school alongside Holy Trinity Primary School on St Jude’s Parish Scoresby land. A portable building was placed on the grounds of St John’s Regional College in Dandenong for the secondary students. As Melbourne Catholic schools in a joint mission to ensure DHH students had access to all the benefits of a mainstream school along with the specialist services provided through deaf educators, the partnerships with Holy Trinity and St John’s evolved.

The 1990s was a difficult time for the school financially and the boarding house and kindergarten unfortunately closed. However, the dedication of Board Chairperson John Patterson, staff and families ensured the school program continued to flourish. By 1997, there was a growing demand for enrolment in the eastern suburbs and a second secondary campus was established in Ringwood within Aquinas College and the school started providing a visiting teacher service to non-government schools across Melbourne. St Mary’s also began its commitment to supporting teachers in training to become Teachers of the Deaf in partnership with Glendonald Training Centre, Burwood Teachers College and the University of Melbourne which continues today.

The tradition of celebrating St Dominic’s Feast Day, brought students from all campuses together at Wantirna South for a day of prayer, connection and fun activities. Through the partnerships, students were able to participate in many and varied areas of study and experiences including interschool sport, camps, Deb Balls and structured work placements. There was also a growing shift from students having to do all the work to access communication to creating classroom environments that were accessible for all. In 2003, the ownership of St Mary’s College was passed from the Dominican Sisters to the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The school continued to grow to meet the needs of DHH children across Melbourne and a prep to 12 campus opened in South Morang within Marymede Catholic College in 2008. A further secondary campus opened in Sunbury within Salesian College in 2016 and another in Tarneit within Thomas Carr College in 2021. Finally in 2022, the College was passed from the Archdiocese to MACS Specialist Schools.

Over the years, many students and staff have come through this school, all who have significantly contributed to St Mary’s. We are indeed fortunate and grateful for the tireless support and commitment we receive from the partner school communities and the opportunities staff and students have been afforded over the years. Reflecting on the early beginnings of our school to today, there have been many changes but the important things have remained the same. We have all played a part in making St Mary's past, present and future a place of wonder where we continue to foster a Catholic community dedicated to supporting DHH children and young people achieve their dreams with resilience, independence, empowerment and compassion.

St Dominic's Day

Celebrating St Dominic's Day together as a whole college community.

On the 8th of August, St Mary's students and staff gathered together in prayer at St Dominic's Church in recognition of St Dominic's Feast Day.

This special day allowed staff and students to further strengthen and build relationships with each other. It also brings us to reflect on how we live out the richness of our tradition which underpins the value of our school.

The afternoon was a big hit of fun and connection at Bowling and Laser Tag.

Secondary Deaf Sports Day

The Deaf Sports Day is a sensation of sporting action each year...

Secondary Deaf Sports Day

Our St Mary's students had a great day at the Secondary Deaf Sports Day at Melbourne University. The sun was shining for a range of activities including futsal, netball, basketball and tennis.

This annual event allows students the chance to meet like-minded deaf and heard of hearing students whilst joining in sports clinics to help perfect their skills and compete in games.

Student Leadership News

Student Leaders were busy again this term and leading the way...

Earlier this term the Student Leadership team, organised and ran activities at each campus in a collective effort to raise funds for the not-for-profit organisation, Caritas.

Our leaders hope to educate our communities about the fantastic work that Caritas does each year. We also hope to support people in need through fundraising.

Caritas is an organisation that helps people suffering from poverty and inequality in Australia and overseas. As of 2023, Caritas serves in 20 countries to bring hope, support and compassion to vulnerable people. They work with people and communities to provide support to people who have been impacted by natural disasters, conflict and human rights issues. They aim to advocate for all people.

The St Mary's Student Leaders organised fundraising activities such as the Chocolate Coin Toss, Guess the Lollies in the Jar, or a Pizza Stall at their campuses.

Thanks to Kai, Myisha, Rosalee, Daniel, Isabella & Lianna for their dedicated efforts in making this fundraiser a success and displaying the Dominican Pillar of Service through this fundraiser, which raised $392.95.

Tarneit Campus News

Check out term 3's news from the Tarneit Campus...

Boy's Football

Marlan joined his Thomas Carr College teammates in their first home match versus Penola Catholic College. Many of the TCC students came to support the team including Ewan and his friends.

Wyndham Tech School Excursion

Zoubowa joined the Year 8's on an excursion to Wyndham Tech School. They engaged in activities in their video gaming facility, 3D printing lab, robotics and design processes. The students were amazed at the breadth of opportunities in STEM fields.

Happy Birthday Zoubowa!

Mr O’Neill, Ms Hills and the Tarneit campus students gathered to celebrate Zoubowa’s birthday. Ewan was away getting his cochlear implant repaired and joined us in spirit.

Reflecting on the Country Experience

Marlan and Ewan joined their classmates for the first day of a two-week camp at the Thomas Carr College Good Samaritan Campus in Coragulac. The boys’ first activity was orienteering at some extinct volcanoes. The view was spectacular.

On the second day the Year 9 boys visited a chicken farm and then celebrated mass with the Coragulac community and St Brendan’s Primary school parish.

The following day, the we went to Forrest Trails to practice their mountain biking skills. Marlan, Ewan, Ms Lucy and Mr O’Neill struck a pose on their mountain bikes.

The boys tried some more challenging courses at the Forrest Trails. Marlan successfully learned to ride his bike after working very hard with Mr Wilson and Mr O’Neill for two straight days. Ewan was very brave at trying some difficult courses.

On day five, the last activity in the first week was learning to cook a delicious meal of pasta with vegetable marinara using a portable cooker. They will need these skills next week when they go camping in their tents. Then they returned home for the weekend to rest with their family. They will need to save their energy for the second week of camp.

During the second week of Country Experience, Marlan, Ewan and their classmates visited a sheep farm where many lambs had recently been born. They were very cute as they ran around the paddocks playing just like little children! One lamb had sadly been killed by a fox. It was a good lesson on the circle of life.

On the seventh day of the experience, students visited a native wildlife reserve and learned about the diversity and beauty of Australia’s unique fauna.

The next day, a local Indigenous elder, Richard, led a guided tour of sites sacred to his people. He explained the cultural traditions practised here in antiquity and spoke of the importance of protecting this heritage for future generations. We finished the day with a bush walk then made our way to a campsite where we erected our tents. We had a campfire and enjoyed smores.

On the final day, after an eventful two weeks, we packed up our tents and went on a picturesque hike along the coast. It was spectacular! Later, we stopped at a playground in a local town to enjoy lunch, and then returned to the Good Samaritan Campus. The students separated into two teams and competed in what they termed the Coragulac Cup. Opinions were divided as to which team won!

Mr O’Neil and Ewan visited the local primary school, St Brendan’s Primary School, and spoke to them about Ewan’s experience being Deaf and communicating in Auslan. All the children had been learning some Auslan in their classes and some even asked Ewan some questions in Auslan. Everyone agreed it was a valuable experience.

Later that same day, Ewan led the evening prayer in the chapel. It was a prayer written by John Wesley. And it was likely the first time they had a prayer led in Auslan. He did a great job!

City Experience

Ewan and Marlan joined their year 9 classmates for the City Experience to develop their skills and confidence in the Melbourne CBD. All staff and students met at Hoppers Crossing railway station and caught the train to Flinders St station. From there, they broke off into groups of five and completed various activities in their booklets. They visited a sustainable cafe, Melbourne Central underground, the Fortress Melbourne, Chinatown and the RM Williams Museum. For lunch, out of all the diverse cuisines from around the world available in the CBD, they chose to eat KFC. Then they went to the Big Issue offices where they listened to a lecture about how that organisation assists the homeless.

Marlan, Ewan and their group visited the ACMI museum the next day. They played some games and saw the car from Mad Max and the Queen Victoria markets where Mr O’Neill treated them to some hot jam doughnuts. Mr O’Neill visited the State Library of Victoria and saw Ned Kelly’s armour.

Animal Studies

Lianna’s Animal Studies class visited The Cat Cave in Ocean Grove to demonstrate their cat handling skills. With so many varieties of cat present, it was plain to see how each cat had a different personality. Lianna enjoyed handling the cats and the cats loved being petted and cuddled.

Ringwood Campus News

Read about what's been happening at our Ringwood campus...

Talents of students

The artistic skills of the students are amazing. Here Eadie shows off her skills and talents to produce very skilful and eye-catching works.

The vocational students were able to trial different gym equipment on their excursion to the Victorian Institute of Sport. Ryan became fully involved and trialled the curved treadmill, powered by his own motion, before his big trip to Kakadu.

Global Green

Students were involved in the serious building of the enrichment designs. Tluang’s group were focusing on hippos, creating a wonderful new enclosure space that provided plenty of interesting opportunities for varied exercise throughout the day.

The final day of Global Green saw the completion of the group projects. The morning saw each group present their work to the class, explaining their chosen environmental goal and then their enrichment idea for an animal at the Melbourne Zoo. It was a great example of young minds working to ensure animals live their lives at the zoo in conditions as close to the natural world as possible.

Welcoming Next Year's Year 7 Students

In July we welcomed our Year 6 students who will be starting at the school next year. Some of these students currently attend our primary school at Wantirna South and others attend Eastwood. It was a great day with fun activities, a tour of the school and time to meet new people. Our current Year 7s made them all a welcome card with some helpful tips for next year!

Year 8 Dominic Camp

Year 8 Dominic were the first to head off to The Summit, in Trafalgar, for their annual camp. They beat the cold weather while trying many different challenges which all focus on ‘being comfortable not being comfortable’. With the support of their classmates, the students all conquered their fears and concerns, proving that you should always try, no matter how hard a task looks.

Success Criteria

Co-constructing success criteria helps to enhance understanding, engagement and ownership in the classroom. When students are involved in creating success criteria, they gain a better understanding of what is expected of them in their learning tasks. It nurtures a collaborative environment and promotes personalisation, reflection and better communication between our students and their teacher. When students have a say in setting the criteria for success, they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their learning. This increased engagement can lead to higher levels of motivation and commitment to achieving the set goals. By fostering a student-centred approach, a more meaningful and effective learning experience can take place.

Investigating Sustainability

The Vocational Major students visited the Melbourne Zoo to investigate sustainability.

Live Captions for Classes

Caption Connect is a program we are trialling at a number of our campuses this year. It allows for live captions to be instantaneously relayed to the students laptop using the soundfield system and a hearing loop. Once captured the students are able to keep the notes and revise their work. Students are finding the technology extremely helpful and enjoying the added independence.

South Morang Campus News

What's been happening at our South Morang Campus in Term 3...

Gearing Up For School

Our incoming 2024 prep students are currently participating in our ‘Gearing up for School’ (GUS) sessions, specifically designed to provide a seamless transition into primary school. These sessions encompass a range of activities, from storytime and creative crafts, to play and song experiences. Our Year 9 student Madison has joined us in extending a warm welcome to our new students, creating an invaluable connection and sense of belonging.

The Little Mermaid

Congratulations to the entire ensemble of The Little Mermaid, which featured our student Tanisha. Following months of practice and preparation, Marymede Catholic College showcased its remarkable rendition of The Little Mermaid Jr.

A Welcomed Visitor

We were delighted to welcome back former student Chelsea Garraway, a Graduate of 2019, for a visit.

Chelsea is currently undertaking her Certificate in Learning Support and hopes to do some placement at our campus with our students.


Congratulations to Luis Fragale and Araz Tavakol whose efforts were recognised at the Marymede Assembly this term. Araz was awarded the Year 8 boys overall swimming champion and Luis received an award recognising his outstanding work ethic.

The Future Awaits

Ibrahim Diallo recently had the opportunity to visit Melbourne Polytechnic as part of his career plan. He met staff involved in Certificate 4, Building and Construction that could be an area he decides to pursue after he graduates this year. It was great to see the amazing facilities and hear about the support offered to students undertaking this course.

Father's Day

Arihant Achanta and Mahika Yadav have attended the Fathers Day stall and created a gift for Dad.

Wantirna South Campus News

Check out what's been happening at our Wantirna South Campus in term 3...

Freaky Friday

On Wednesday 12th of July, the students in grade 5 were invited to Monash University to view the dress rehearsal of Avila and Mazenods school production, Freaky Friday. Ira had the opportunity to mingle with the stars of the show and received many of their autographs. What an outstanding bunch of performers!

Spirit Day

Myisha and Baylee, recently attended Spirit Day with their partner school. Father Tony guided them through the Confirmation process and emphasized the commitment the students were making to their faith. The day included a pizza lunch and activities led by Mr. Denham Harvie, which deepened their understanding of Confirmation and its significance to the Catholic faith. Myisha and Baylee left the event with a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation for the Catholic community.

Student of the Week

Both Emilia and Evie were presented with awards at our partner school assembly on Friday.

Evie received the “Student of the Week” award for constantly treating her peers with kindness and understanding. Well done Evie!

Emilia received the “TORCH Award” for confidence when preparing her Show and Tell which she presented in front of her class in Year 1&2. Excellent job Emilia!

The CUBES strategy

Our St Mary’s students in Years 1 & 2 are working on maths worded problems using the “CUBES” strategy on our interactive whiteboards. CUBES stands for:

C: Circle the important numbers

U: Underline the question

B: Box any maths action words

E: Evaluate and draw

S: Solve & check

Budding Artist!

Emilia received an Art Award earlier this term from Mrs Laming in the art room. Emilia has been working on different lines and textures.

Well done to her for all her fabulous work in Art!

Paese Della Danza

Our St. Mary’s students recently participated in the HT school production “Paese della danza - The Land of Dance’.

Students jumped outside of their comfort zones and danced up a storm. Dances were choreographed by HT students and several of the songs were signed in Auslan.

It was a terrific night with many memories created.

Book Week

Book Week 2023 saw us dressing up as our favourite book characters. We started the day with a parade, showing off and admiring our costumes. During the day, we participated in a range of activities including a treasure hunt, completing book reviews, and participating in a book swap.


Baylee was presented with the Holy Trinity TORCH Award for displaying the qualities of Optimism and Respect. He continually tries his best to listen attentively, staying focused and completing his work.


Marcus and Rainee in Year 1/2 have been learning about addition and subtraction as part of their numeracy learning this term. They are creating “Fact Families” and exploring the connection between addition and subtraction.

Strengthening Our Descriptive Writing

Myisha and Ira both identified that they would like to add more descriptive detail to their writing during their PSG meetings. To support this, a unit of work has been designed focusing on 4 areas - descriptive verbs, adjectives, figurative language and the 5 senses.

Together we worked on the ‘Show, Don’t Tell” strategy. We created an anchor chart together, mapping out 5 senses to a basic sentence “It was a hot day”. Ira and Myisha were able to apply their learning and identify examples of these in some modelled writing.

Sports Competition

Our 5/6 students had the opportunity to participate in the Scoresby District Summer Interschool Sport Competition, competing in volleyball, softball and tennis.

The girl's softball team were successful in winning the finals and progressed to division level.


Evie and Durva participating in Friendship Groups, displaying the value of TEAMWORK. Working together, the group built a tower out of straws and sticky tape, demonstrating cooperation, good sportsmanship, working together, listening to others and helping each other. Their creation was one of the tallest out of all the friendship groups, well done!

Year 1/2 Camp

Our students in years 1 & 2 attended a taster camp onsight. In order to provide further opportunities for students to participate in Outdoor Education and activities over an extended time as a progression to longer camps, students stayed at school until 7pm.

First we walked to Lakewood Park Lake and played a game of Spotto, followed by an afternoon tea of fruit and muffins. Then we had rotations that consisted of lots of team games. We had pizza for dinner and went on a night walk around Holy Trinity and St Mary’s. We played a Kahoot in the tech lab before getting into our pyjamas ready for bed.

Dream Music

On Monday 11th of September, students from HT and SM who participate in private music lessons with 2 Deam Music, had the opportunity to perform their talents in front of the school community.

Durva displayed her singing and dancing talents, while Myisha, Zach and Geoffrey, rocked it out on the drums. It’s fabulous to see our students shine as they displayed their musical talents.

Dandenong Campus News

See what our Dandenong Campus have been up to this term...

Welcoming Next Year's Year 7's

In July we welcomed our Year 6 students who will be starting at the school next year. Some of these students currently attend our Primary school at Wantirna South and others attend Pearcedale. It was a great day with fun activities, a tour of the school and time to meet new people. Our current Year 7’s made them a welcome card.

Great Work!

The year 8’s showing off their skills. Izzy is displaying her repurposed shoes for the fashion show and Sahel showing his work learning the parts of speech.

Izzy did an amazing job presenting her repurposed shoes at the Fashion Show at the St John's Assembly.

Sahel is finding that Interactive Smartboards are a great tool for learning!

Some of the students found a relaxing space after enjoying a wonderful St Dominic’s day.

Story Time With The Vocational Major Students

The Vocational Major students read stories to the local Primary school students as part of an engagement project. Daniel, Ashley and Jai became fully involved in the activity and really seemed to enjoy their experiences.

Student Reflection

City Excursion to the Immigration Museum

I had an amazing day in the city, and I arrived back at Officer Station. I really enjoyed hanging out with Brendon, Jerom, and Nathanial. Immigration museum had lot of things, but I didn’t get to see that much because I was writing things in my booklet that I was given. It was about voices across time from 1600 to 2020s about First Peoples’ culture and connections back into Deep Time.

Our group went on Sandridge Bridge that had the travelers and the ten period of Australia migration on it. After that we went to Federation Square for lunch. Me, Brendon, Jerom, Nathanial, and Alex decided that we should go to McDonald’s. All I ordered from McDonald’s was a cheeseburger because I didn’t want to use lot of money on it. After that I went to Seven Eleven to get slushie that only costed 1 dollar and 50 cents. As we were heading back to Federation Square, I decided to take selfie of myself with slushie cup in front of Flinders Street Building.

As everyone arrived back at Federation Square, we had to do an amazing race challenge to take picture of it, but half of our small group managed to get photo that was National Gallery Museum, Shrine of Remembrance, Garden (which I am not sure what they did there) and Meadmore Sculpture. But other half of my group that I was with, we tried to get to Shrine of Remembrance, but we noticed that our half of group was heading there so we decided to turn around and head to St Patrick’s Cathedral by walking there and using free zone tram. We didn’t have enough time to get there because we need to get back to Federation Square. I decided to get another slushie from Seven Eleven. I had to quickly finish drinking it before I get on train from flinders street, past Dandenong and arriving at Officer Station.

I really had a great experience in city. I would like to thank you to Ms. Walton and Miss. Atkinson for coming and helping me getting back home to Officer Station also Mr. Begley, you should’ve come, it was amazing doing this stuff.

- Thomas

Sunbury Campus News

Find out the latest from the Sunbury Campus...

Under Construction...

Ben has been enjoying his time at TAFE, attending weekly on Wednesdays. This term he has been working on his construction skills, making frames, attaching palings, and creating window spaces. He has also completed Work Placement, learning the demands of working in the building industry as well as the basics of site cleaning.

Year 7 Reflection Day

Our year 7 Students spent the day at Don Bosco Centre in Brunswick, and also celebrated the arrival of the Don Bosco Relic that has travelled around the world.

Suessical The Musical

One of our year 7 students, Arden Jackson, was a cast member and played as “Thing 1” for the Suessical - a musical based on the book in the Dr Suess series. She has worked on her performing skills and attended rehearsals weekly leading up to the school production nights. She should feel proud and be commended for her effort and wonderful talent!