It has been an enjoyable week talking to staff and girls in both the Senior and Junior Schools. Everyone certainly appears very relaxed and refreshed after the three week break. Whilst many have sun kissed faces from relishing holidays abroad, many also enjoyed holidays more locally in Victoria and at the snow at Mt Buller. A number of St Catherine’s students also participated in co-curricular activities throughout the break.

Standing at the Arrivals Hall last Friday to welcome, what I thought would be, world weary travels from the World Challenge program in Nepal, the girls were not weary at all! They arrived fresh faced, complete with colourful bandannas, matching Nepalese linen pants, less than desirable paint stained t-shirts and what was clearly an extraordinary experience etched on their faces. The girls embraced every opportunity to work in the local schools, undertake a Tea House trek through the Nepalese country side and a final few days exploring the markets, food and culture in Kathmandu. Thank you to teachers – Mrs Loretta Carter, Mr Fiachra Barry and Ms Kylie Flavien for their beautiful care of the girls and their expertise as travellers through developing countries. The School is fortunate to have teachers so willing to travel with girls abroad for the entire holiday period.

Two of the students shared their highlights from their Nepalese adventure.

“Our five day hike was great in giving us all some valuable, solo time to reflect on our completed six days of community service at the Rameshwori school, located in Pokora. On day 1 of the trek there was a lot of conversation and banter amongst our group of 19 girls. Although, after the numerous hours of climbing steep, uneven, slippery stair cases we began to spread out into a long single file. Voices were replaced by the sounds of surrounding waterfalls and often the pitter-patter of rain on our ponchos. It was awesome when Flynn O’Brien whipped out her waterproof speaker and we got some motivating tunes pumping as we climbed to our peak of 3200m. I know many of the other girls in the group agreed with me when I expressed to them all how ‘I think it is rare to find time in our busy Melbourne lives to stop and just swim around in your own thoughts.’ This is why I personally found it really nice to have the numerous quiet hours alone on the hike to reflect and give thanks for all I have. At times, it was difficult to capture every bit of breath-taking scenery that the Annapurna region had to offer, without tripping over the rocky surface underfoot. Although by the end of the trek we were all masters at using our hiking poles and were ready to trade them in for some picks and harnesses so we could take on Everest.” Emily Sutherland (Year 10)

“I absolutely loved Nepal! It was an incredible, life-changing experience that I will never forget. It is really hard to choose a highlight of the trip as every part from the project to the trek to the rest and relaxation period was incredibly worthwhile, rewarding and equally as challenging. Everyone got on really well and were all supportive of each other. Lots of photos were taken and there was always a friend to talk to and a laugh to be shared. The project first of all was incredible. The kids were so fun and bubbly and wanted to play all day!  I think we all learnt how it feels to be a celebrity! At the school, we managed to paint and do murals in all of the downstairs classrooms as well as put in ceiling fans and electricity. We also put working sinks and taps into the toilets and built the foundations for their new library. Every girl and teacher worked extremely hard and it was very hard to say goodbye. The trek was also very challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Although it was quite cloudy and we didn’t actually make it to Poon Hill, we all had a great time and enjoyed every bit of it. Finally, the rest and relaxation period was a lot of fun! We went on the world’s longest, steepest and fastest zipline! I was crying from the wind in my eyes but had a blast! We also went white water rafting which was also lots of fun as well as visiting many temples including a monkey temple! There were dogs, cows and monkeys everywhere! I think this trip really put into perspective how amazing and fortunate our lives are here in Melbourne and at St Catherine’s. It was amazing to see how happy and joyful the kids were with such a simple lifestyle. I have also suddenly become very grateful for simple things such as flushing toilets, hot showers and clean smelling clothes! Overall, the trip was by far one of the best trips I have ever done and I would definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone! It was really an experience of a lifetime!” Sarah Steven (Year 11).

Year 11 students, Isabelle Gough (Year 11), Samara Gill (Year 11) and Sophie Karunaratne (Year 11) enjoyed participating in the Oxbridge Program at Oxford University, UK. The girls completed the Broadening Horizons Program where they engaged in the study of economics with students from around the world. Congratulations to Samara Gill who received the Top Student Award for Economics and was selected to present the graduation speech. This is an outstanding program for students thinking about tertiary study abroad and was the second year we have offered the opportunity to St Catherine’s girls with resounding success.

Samara Gill (Year 11)and Demi Markakis (Year 11) also participated in the Global Young Leaders Program in both Washington and New York University. This high school summer camp offers ten amazing days building confidence, independence and opportunity to think globally by participating in Global Issues Workshops, and study the art of cross-cultural communication whilst experiencing Washington Embassies. In New York City, the girls heard from a United Nations speaker, drafted policy proposals, debated issues, and worked to pass resolutions, all of which will culminated in the Global Summit simulation, which was held at the United Nations Headquarters.

“When I arrived at the historical Yarnton Manor to attend Oxford Summer school for two weeks to complete a course in Economics and Literature, I was excited at the prospect of meeting people from all over globe and broadening my horizons academically. From the very first class attended, I learnt to embrace the range of different perspectives and views from numerous cultures. This unique opportunity made the learning environment both dynamic and exciting. Being taught by Oxford graduates and experiencing different methods of teaching enhanced the skills that I had garnered back at school. The sheer privilege of learning in an environment steeped in the magnificent academic history of Oxford University was extremely inspiring and motivating. The rigorous nature of the course mixed with intense socialising and networking, provided a great insight into college life. I will never forget the life changing experience that I had at the summer school program. Having the opportunity to give the final address to 85 graduates was a very rewarding feeling. Lifelong friends were sadly left behind momentarily, with many plans to reconnect in the future. The program provided ample insight into life after school and the endless possibilities for my learning journey.” Samara Gill (Year 11)

Over the break, a number of Junior and Senior School girls managed to get a ‘jump start’ on their skiing by participating in the Cross Country Ski training offered to students through the Snowsports Auxillary. Thank you to Mr Tom Crebbin and Mrs Gina Peele for attending this training. I wish all our Snowsports families safe travel and a wonderful family weekend at Mt Buller for the annual House Snowsports event this weekend. This year, we have approximately 140 girls participating in the House competition.

St Catherine’s Snowsports will again be using the smart-device application ‘Team App’. We strongly advise all families to download Team App onto your devices (iPhone/Samsun g Galaxy) to ensure you are up-to-date with information regarding the Snowsports program across the weekend.

Team App is available for free download to all smart-devices. Download Team App from the App Store  or Google Play and install it on your smart–device. Snowsports Teamapp link:

Mystcatherines Snowsports page provides a team app user guide and additional relevant information about the snowsports program:

Junior School Development

The foundations of new the Junior School building are beginning to take shape, with the lift well, services and basement slab all clearly visible. We have been blessed by a dry three week period in Melbourne which has enabled builders, CICG, to move with ease around the site. We can expect the ground floor slab to be poured in the coming week. As part of the Risk Management of this project in a school environment and included in the CICG Contract, all trades people regular to the site and sub-contractors must have a Working with Children Check completed.

In the coming weeks, I look forward to unveiling the landscape architects final drawings of the Village Green. Knowing how much the Barbreck School girls love to run, kick the footy and play team games with Mr Tom Crebbin and Ms Jenny De Nardis, the oval size has been maximised and will be complete with tiered seating for ease of viewing. The design also includes some more gentle play spaces, paved and timber obstacles to curiously walk through and the ever-popular Environment Club garden.

The term village green evokes a grassy rural environment, however, the term is also used more broadly to mean an “open-air meeting place for the local-people, which may be used for public celebration”.  Our Village Green reflects the community based nature of our School and I intend for this space to be home to the annual Teddy’s Bear’s Picnic and the Christmas Fare. Exciting times ahead!

Best wishes for the Term ahead.

Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal