Reflecting on December 2018 | go to Calendar »

Newsletter - December 2018

1. From The Principal

Dear Families,

This is the final Monthly Reflection for 2018. It has been an incredibly busy year and one that seems to have rocketed along since we started at the end of January. I know that many of our children are ready for a chance to rest and recharge over the next few weeks and we look forward to seeing everyone back on Thursday 31st January for Day 1 of the 2019 school year.

Staff Changes

At the End of Year Mass we bid farewell to Fr Peter Hoang, our Parish Priest, who will be moving to Engardione in southern Sydney to lead the Salesian community there and to continue his work in a couple of schools as chaplain. Fr Peter has led our school community for the last seven years, taking an interest in the children’s welfare and learning and interacting with staff and parents in a most supportive way. We presented Father Peter with a hand-made stole which our Grade 4, 5 and 6 children had contributed to under the guidance of Michele Davies and Jennifer Jacobs-Vandegeer (thanks to Jennifer too for the sewing to bring it all together). Fr Peter will be handing over his role to Fr Martin Tanti who will be in the parish in January and who we will introduce to the school community early next year.

We also thanked and farewelled Ella Boag, an ex student at St John’s who has been assisting us in the Grade 5/6 class this year. We thank Ella for the help and support that she was able to provide directly to Hayley Dustow and indirectly to the senior students. We wish Ella well with her continued studies in 2019 and beyond.

Linda Molinaro joined the staff this semester to take on the Grade 4/5 class after carlie Dowley left to commence her parental leave. Linda built a great rapport with the children and continued their learning journeys for the remainder of the year. Linda brought with her a knowledge of the structures and expectations of secondary schooling that she was able to pass on to the children – particularly the Grade 5s who will soon be making that transition. She takes away with her a knowledge of where students in Year 7 have come from, knowledge that she will be putting to good use next year at Santa Maria College. Linda’s role is being filled next year by Jessica Thwaites who has become a regular face around the school as a Casual Relief Teacher (CRT) over the last few months.

After five years with us, we also said thank you and farewell to Hayley Dustow. Hayley has built a terrific rapport with students, parents and staff over her time at St John’s, engendering an excitement around learning and its possibilities for the children in her classes as well as with the staff in her roles as Learning and Teaching and Pedagogy Leader. Hayley set high expectations for the children and followed this up with goal setting, regular feedback, explicit learning intentions and success criteria, and creative ways of thinking. Hayley moves on to Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Deepdene as their new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teacher and we wish her well for this exciting challenge. Hayley’s position will be filled by a teacher new to our school, Stephanie Jarmena, who has already met the children and started to work with her colleagues to ensure learning programs continue from Day 1 next year.


At the start of this month we hosted the final G.A.T.E.WAYS extension program for the year. Hosting this program enabled us to have a number of our children attend and also gave us the chance to welcome people from outside our school community in to the school. We will be continuing our involvement with the G.A.T.E.WAYS team in the new school year with a program running each term. The details of these programs are not yet available but we will notify families as soon as they are.

Excursions and Incursions

This month there we also a number of incursions and excursions to wrap up units of work studied by the children this semester. The first of these was an indigenous story and song excursion for the benefit of the Grade 4/5s and that the whole school was invited to attend. This was followed up by an excursion to the Botanical Gardens for our Prep to Grade 3s and an excursion to CERES Environmental Park for the Grade 5/6s. Our Grade 6 students also travelled to the Fun Park at Whittlesea for their annual Big Day Out excursion to celebrate the end of their Primary schooling. Thank you to the staff and parents who made these valuable experiences possible, and thank you to our students for representing their school well at these events.

City of Yarra Carols by Candlelight

The school choir once again performed at the annual City of Yarra Carols by Candlelight, held this year at Citizens Park in Richmond. The very warm night saw most of those gathered seeking any available shade but the night was most successful. I thank Stephanie Brett who returned to St John’s to assist our two student Choir Leaders for the night with live music and advice. Sadly one of those leaders, Emily, was unable to be with us after all of her hard work due to dance commitments elsewhere but I know she was very proud of the work done during the year and was able to affirm this at the practice earlier in the day. A big thank you goes to Emily and Meija for taking this project on earlier this year and to Gus and Isabella who also provided  support to their classmates with the younger students.

Combined Schools and Parish Carols

This year we once again came together as a parish community for our annual Carols. This year we gathered for the first time at St Joseph’s Church in Collingwood. Despite the busyness at this time of year we had a good representation of students from both schools and a number of parishioners there who joined in to herald the lead up to Christmas day and the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who contributed in anyway to the success of the event, hopefully we will see more of our school families next year when we again host it here in St John’s Church.

Collingwood Children Farm Farmers Market Cake Stall

Thanks to all of those who baked to contribute to our annual Cake Stall at the Children’s Farm – there was a great array of goods for sale and everything went, either on the day or on the Monday afternoon following. Thank you to Karen, Julia and the team of helpers (including students and past students) who organised the event and staffed the stall to ensure the general public were given friendly service and an enthusiastic experience of our school community.

SRC Talent Show

The final SRC event for the year was their annual Talent Show. This year a number of children auditioned their acts, whether singing, playing an instrument, dancing or a comedy number. Everyone put their heart and soul into their performances which were appreciated  by all gathered to watch. Congratulations to everyone who displayed one of our school values in courage to put themselves out there in this way, and especially to those who chose to be solo performers, what a fabulous effort everyone!

End of Year Picnic

This year’s End of Year Picnic was held in Aikenhead Hall as the heavens opened up over Melbourne. While our numbers were a little bit down as a result, the children still thoroughly enjoyed the disco and the chance to let their hair down. Parents and other family members and staff also enjoyed the opportunity to gather and finish the year off as a community. Thanks to the hard working P&F Committee and helpers who provided nourishment for the night, especially Vince for cooking the BBQ in the rain and Choi for the delicious dumplings.

Thank You to Helpers and Volunteers

Each year we have a number of people who give up their own time to assist us in looking after the education and wellbeing of our children. Thank you to our hard working Parents and Friends, whether executive members or those who turn up to help at the many social and fundraising events held throughout the year. Thank you to all of those parents and grandparents who assist with reading, excursions and in other ways. Thank you to those who take an active interest in their children’s learning through support with homework, extra coaching or engagement with school staff. Thank you to our Mercy Connect volunteers, Karen, Kate, Kathy, Marie and Sue for joining us each week and making a difference within each of the rooms they work. Thank you to Lorenza Nolan who, although no longer on staff, comes in each week to continue to work with our children to support their oral literacy and reading development. Thank you to Faye, Virginia and Frances who completed their Education Support training placements with us but who also volunteered their own time when this had finished to continue to support learning across the school. And thank you to the many ex students who visited our school for community placement, work experience, or just to say hello, and who also lent a hand over the year in so many different ways. The support of all of these wonderful people makes a huge difference to the life of our school and our children and is greatly appreciated.

Farewell Graduating Class of 2018

To Hendrix, Meija, Max, Bianca, Allegra, Leo, Pietro, Giselle, Liliana, Ollie, Gus, Emily, Isabella, Jack, Laura, Bruno, Sebastian, Monty and William we say farewell and good luck for the future. Each of these children have represented the school well across their time with us, whether outside the school or within the playground, and their support of each other and the staff, and their leadership of the younger students, was evident to all. We wish them well as they transition to secondary school in 2019 and we look forward to hearing from them and seeing them again soon.

Winners of the Christmas Raffle

1st Prize Alessio Peel

2nd Prize Cruz Dearman

3rd Prize Ash McKay

First Day Next Year

Please remember that the first day for children next year is Thursday 31st January as staff will be completing First Aid training on the Wednesday.


Wishing all of you a safe, happy and holy holiday break. Until next year, respectfully, Daniel 🙂

2. From The Parish


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