Principal’s Message

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time.

But if you have come because liberation is bound up with mine, let us work together”

(Aboriginal Activist 1970)

With the events over recent weeks saturating our media, our hearts and minds have had much to consider and reflect upon, as many across the world come to terms with the impact of the brutal death of George Floyd.  With the distressing images and news from Minneapolis and then over 70 other cities across the United States, it does place many Australians in an uncomfortable position of how we as a country and culture deal with the increasingly complex questions regarding dignity, respect and inclusiveness.

As I have identified many times to teachers, staff and students, it is our responsibility to explore ways that provide insight and understanding into how we consider ways to move forward.  Whether this be through reflecting upon history, both written and unwritten or whether it be through a contemporary lens of educational awakenings, it must include the act of walking with and along-side our sisters and brothers.

Setting a path for all, as an educational community, means that we cannot shy away from the difficult questions and events but be open to being uncomfortable so that we might not only think differently, but also act differently.  In many ways we have a responsibility to live our values of inclusion, dignity and respect so that those experiencing discrimination and abuse are supported and provided with ways to engage through meaningful changes to human attitudes and behaviours.

These are all very challenging ideas at difficult times, with COVID-19 restrictions, underemployment and disadvantage being experienced by many people.  The difficulty is also how and when we decide whether it is an appropriate time to work with these uncomfortable issues.  In Paul Keating’s Redfern Speech in 1993, he said,

“The High Court has determined that Australian law should not, as Justice Brennan said, be `frozen in an era of racial discrimination’….  The court described the situation faced by Aboriginal people after European settlement.  The court saw a `conflagration of oppression and conflict which was, over the following century, to spread across the continent to dispossess, degrade and devastate the Aboriginal people’. They faced `deprivation of the religious, cultural, and economic sustenance which the land provides’ and were left as `intruders in their own homes’.

To deny these basic facts would be to deny history—and no self-respecting democracy can deny its history. To deny these facts would be to deny part of ourselves as Australians. This is not guilt: it is recognising the truth. The truth about the past and, equally, the truth about our contemporary reality.

Today we offer a modicum of justice to indigenous Australians because we have reached an understanding of their experience—and our responsibility. Today we move that much closer to a united Australia which respects this land of ours, values the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and provides justice and equality for all.”

Recent events have highlighted underlying inequalities and disadvantage across a range of communities.  It appears that it is now the time, to consider the intensity of these matters, to act differently and change what we do, to work together and overcome these obstacles.  I look forward to sharing ideas, providing comprehensive understandings and an ability to learn to ‘walk humbly with our God’.

Congratulations to the many students and staff who have been involved in a great variety of activities here at the College. These include:

  • World Environment Day
  • Message Sticks
  • Suspend Judgement Student Project
  • Student Captains / Leaders online updates
  • School Officer Day – 10 June

With one week until the mid-year break, please note the following staffing changes for next term.  Staff returning from leave in Term 3 include:

  • Dr Catherine Reid Teacher
  • Mrs Liz McAnally Pastoral Middle Leader

Staff leave Term 3 include:

  • Ms Nicole Kapernick Teacher                              13/7/2020 – 10/8/2020
  • Mrs Dani Sprenger Pastoral Middle Leader – 12 Months Maternity Leave
  • Ms Philippa Holtz Teacher  – 12 Months Maternity Leave

Staff changes:

  • Mrs Kathy Webb Retiring
  • Ms Debbie Everett Resigned              Replacement Ms Tara Hawkes
  • Ms Helen Paviotti Resigned              Replacement Ms Mary Gweshe
  • Ms Tamara Haydock Appointed          Pastoral Leader Damien House
  • Ms Shannon Metzeling Appointed          Pastoral Leader Chanel House
  • Mrs Chelsea Muscat Appointed          Pastoral Leader Delany House (Acting)
  • Ms Karen Schofield Appointed          Music Teacher Contract 12 months
  • Mrs Maree Austin Appointed           English Teacher Contract 4 weeks
  • Ms Danielle Brand Appointed          Admin Support Student Reception

With the mid-year break almost upon us, let us take some time and rest.  While the challenges of online learning have been successfully navigated by all students, teachers and families, perhaps we can have a break from our devices and enjoy the company of each other?  I wish everyone a restful time over the next few weeks and look forward to seeing everyone back safe and sound in Term 3.

Blessings to the Brigidine Community.

Brendan Cahill

Damien House Update

2020 for Damien House has looked very different to previous years but nevertheless we have started the year with great spirit and pride.

The first day of school was an exciting one, meeting all our new Damien students and getting to know them and their personalities. As our mascot is an eagle, this has been a base of the theme for this year – SOAR (Solidarity, Originality, Authenticity, Respect). For the first half of the year we have focused on solidarity and originality by incorporating activities in House assemblies and online learning which has aimed to encourage girls to uphold these important attributes. Students have really taken on this theme and we have seen great engagement across all aspects. We launched solidarity through continuing the ‘Sea of Blue’ committee. Students have really got around this idea and we saw an amazing turn out – their creative input is to be commended and their enthusiasm appreciated by their prefects.

COVID-19 took us all by surprise but just as Damien students do, we took it in our stride and found positives in the unusual situation. This was done during online learning as we completed weekly challenges in a ‘Check-in’ video published every Wednesday. We are very thankful for everyone who participated. Finally, we are currently participating in a walking challenge ‘Uluru to The Reef’ to carry on the Damien spirit. Damien students have been tracking their steps to be the first homeroom across the finish line. This has allowed students to stay active and have an element of team spirit and friendly competition.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all girls and teachers of Damien House especially Miss Haydock who has helped us achieve and maintain the Damien Values.

Ella McHugh and Laura Davis
Damien House Prefects

Giving Back

The Social Justice Service Program is an accumulated service hours reward program from one academic year to another. There are different levels of rewards for middle and senior school, with different amounts of hours for bronze, silver and gold awards. There are a multitude of activities that count towards service hours both in school and in your local community such as Spirit Squad, St Vincent de Paul, food banks and collections, and visiting aged care facilities. This year, the program has encouraged me to join and participate in the College’s Environment Club and involve myself more with my community and neighbourhood during home isolation. I have involved myself in the Western Suburbs Special School and the local services club as well.

Tarah Hayes
Brigidine Student – Year 10

Technologies Update

Term 2 has been an actioned-packed time in the Technologies department. Our Middle School students studying Enterprise Education, Design and Digital Solutions, Business and Food and Textiles have flourished through their online learning and in their return to school. Whilst learning at home, our Textiles students loved the opportunity to explore fashion design and sketch in response to design briefs. Some samples of student work are in the images below.

Our Digital Design students recently completed the Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge – many of our students received merit and credit awards for this competition. Well done to Vy Le and Lucy Low on being awarded Distinctions and Bridget Flynn for receiving a High Distinction.

The Technologies department now has specialised rooms in the Marian Centre for our Business and Design/Digital Technologies classes; room layouts allow for enhanced collaboration amongst students. The Design and Technologies studio offers a range of specialised industry-standard resources available to our students including specialised drawing facilities, an industrial laser cutter and 3D printers – see the images below.

Year 10 – Introduction to Fashion

Design challenge: Design the branding of a new Australian sportswear fashion label.
Students: Heeji Noh and Grace Mahony

Year 9 – Design Essentials

Design challenge: Design an outfit inspired by nature using innovation and creativity.
Students: Indianna Farinazzo, Grace Rodgers and Chloe Stott


Mellisa White
Curriculum Leader Technologies

Categories: The Brigidine Blog