Reflecting on December End of Term 4 | go to Calendar »

Newsletter - December End of Term 4

1. From The Principal

Dear Families,

Farewell to the Class of 2019

We are finally at the end of the school year and what a wild ride it was to the finish line this year! For our Grade 6 students it was an emotional time to bid farewell to friends, teachers and the place they have been so familiar with for the last seven years. They had their Big Day Out at Funfields in Whittlesea on Thursday 12th December – normally when they come back into school from a trip out they are full of energy but on this day they were quite exhausted from the day’s fun and frivolity. Thanks to Stephanie Jarema for organising and supervising this event for them and to Franca Montagna and the parent helpers who assisted as well. This was followed up with a brilliant final assembly last week where they celebrated their time at St John’s and brought a tear or two to many eyes including my own. Graduation Mass and their celebration dinner hosted by their parents then took place on Tuesday evening this week and then they were sent on their way with a water fight and a guard of honour. We thank all of the Class of 2019 for their contribution to our school over the last seven years – slightly less in some cases – we wish them success and happiness into the future and look forward to hearing of their future endeavours.

Thank You and Farewell to the Following Families

Each year, as their last child finishes Grade 6, we reach a point when a number of families conclude their time as part of our active school community and join our alumni community. The Wilson family have been members of the St John’s community for the last 14 years with Sebastien commencing in Prep in 2006. They are very closely followed by the Carnovale family who have been with us since Loris commenced in 2007, the Quilty family, with Ella starting in 2009, the Colyer, Dabbs and Thai families, with Flynn, Stephanie and Joseph, respectively, beginning in 2011, and the Gottoli family with Maria and Pietro in 2012. In addition, we have those families who have had their only child go through St John’s and so we so thank and farewell the Carter, Doan, Nodin-Gangoiti, Gledhill, Hardaker and Tyrrell families.

I also take this opportunity to thank and farewell the O’Callaghan family, with M-C next year joining her older sister as part of the Middle Years Program at MLC.

City of Yarra Carols by Candlelight 2019

On Thursday 5th December we had a number of children forming a Christmas Choir to present two songs at the annual City of Yarra Carols by Candlelight. Appearing at the carols was a tradition started by Mary-Anne Balmer when she joined the staff many years ago and was the last official function she performed immediately prior to her untimely death in 2014. As a tribute to her, this year we had seven of our Grade 6 students part of the choir, I thank Amelia, Elise, Ewan, Grace, Jayda, Joseph and Violet for helping to lead our efforts this year and congratulate all of the children involved on a great performance.

Combined Carols and End of Year Picnic

It was wonderful to see so many of our families come along to celebrate the Christmas Season last week as we joined our sister school, St Joseph’s Collingwood, and our Vietnamese Choir in singing carols in our church and then, afterwards, sharing food in Aikenhead Hall.

It was also wonderful to see so many of our families at the End of Year Picnic last Friday to celebrate the year that was and to look forward in hope to the year that is to come. Thank you to the P&F for all of the work they put into organising this event once again.

Deepest Sympathies and Condolences

We were saddened and distressed to hear of the sudden passing in the recent week of Elizabeth Trampevski. The Trampevskis are a past family of St John’s and many of our families are still good friends with them. Elizabeth’s passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of her husband John, her children, Ivana and Jordan, and her mother, Del. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this very difficult time. May perpetual light shine upon her, O Lord, and may she rest in peace.

Final Sign Off

Over the last week there have been many farewell events, many kind words said, and many tears shed as I finished my time here at St John’s. I began here in July 2004 and so conclude 15 and a half years as part of the community. Over my time here I have been presented with many opportunities to grow and develop and I sincerely hope that I, in my turn, have been able to offer similar opportunities to children and staff alike.

I am grateful to the parent community for their ongoing support of the school and the work that we do with our children, this engagement is essential to the success we achieve.

I am humbled and grateful for the partnership I have had with so many talented, dedicated and caring teachers and support staff over my time at St John’s, and especially over the last eight years as principal. St John’s School is indeed fortunate to have these people looking after the education and well-being of our children.

Lastly, and most importantly, I say a heartfelt thank you to all of the children, both past and present, who are at the heart of our school and the reason that we exist in the first place. As teachers we are also learners, I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from all of the children I have taught, they have helped me in many small and large ways to be, not only a better teacher and leader, but a better man.

I will move on next year to a temporary Acting Principal position at OLHC in Brunswick East, and will then be taking a long break to refresh, recharge and evaluate what is next for my future. I will take with me heartfelt memories of the people I have encountered in the last 15 and a half years and I wish all in our community, especially the children, fair weather into your futures and much success in the beginnings that will emerge under the leadership of Kerrie Campagna in the coming years.

God bless all of you and thank you,

Daniel 🙂



3. From The P&F

Dear Parents and Friends,

With the final goodbyes and farewells almost done, we find the year swiftly coming to an end. I wanted to close with a huge thank you to this lovely community for all the hard work, friendship and encouragement you have given us over a busy year.

But first a few thank you’s. Every year we say good bye to friends and families who see their last children graduating from St John’s. It’s bittersweet to see these kids leave, but we know in leaving, they come one step closer to putting their stamp on this world! We will miss all those families and thank you for your contribution to our school community.

In 2019 we farewell a few families that have gone above and beyond in one way or another. Your enthusiasm, ideas and friendship will be missed. In particular we thank Michelle and the Tyrell family, Virginia and the Carter family, Laura Venus, Marcia Wilson and the Gottoli family. And a special mention to Cass and the Quilty family for 11 years of volunteering on the P&F committee, that has to be some sort of record!

Finally, a big thank you to Daniel Ryan for his pastoral stewardship of the school over the past 15 years. We hope that the future holds wonderful, new challenges for you!

On behalf of all the P&F Committee, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year. We look forward to seeing most of you back next year, refreshed and ready for a new year.

Kind Regards,



2019 St John’s School, Clifton Hill

AGM- President’s Report

A warm welcome to all those present at this year’s AGM, and especially to any new faces

It has been another busy year for our P&F Committee with a number of events both large and small. Our two major events this year were both second time endeavours which we hoped would build on the success of the previous year.

Our first event the Bush Dance, though enjoyed by those attending was lower in numbers than the previous year. A perfect storm of different factors including venue location, timing of the federal election, holding it on a Saturday night and being later in the year combined to make this years attendance at the Bush Dance lower than last year.

This was disappointing given the work that goes into organising. However it was enjoyed by those who attended and we still managed to raise some money. Our other major fundraiser the comedy night again proved to be a success, although it was noted that the quality of the talent wasn’t as strong. The turnout was good, the atmosphere terrific and we managed to make over $5000 despite having fewer auction items. Despite this the consensus for 2020 will be to take a rest from both of these events and try something new.

As well as these major functions we had many more smaller events including lunch orders, Bunnings BBQ, welcome picnic, the Art Show, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day stalls, multiple raffles and the mango drive. We will conclude the year with our annual cake stall and end of year picnic in December.

We still face the same challenges that we talked about at the end of last year particularly how to engage our parent community and encourage more people to get involved. I know this is not a problem unique to our school, however with a decreasing pool of people to draw from, it is more obvious in our community now.

We will continue to try and encourage as many people to get involved as possible and to evolve the type of events we offer, to cater for our community’s changing needs.

Going forward this will probably mean fewer big events and sticking to smaller events that require less man power to get up and running. As always we welcome feedback from our school community and encourage anyone with ideas, suggestions or improvements to let us know what they think. To this end we will be sending out a short 3 minute survey for people to give us their feedback.

Despite these challenges, it has been a privilege to fill the position of president for this year’s P&F. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with and get to know so many people from our school community.

It is a cliche but in this case it’s true, that our community is what makes this school so special. Though we are small, it is thanks to the enormous talent, hard work and energy from a small pool of people, that makes us able to pull off the number of successful events that we do.

I would like to say a huge thanks to this wonderful committee who make the time spent together not only productive but enjoyable.  Thank you to Michelle Tyrrell for pulling out all stops for her last year at St John’s as vice president and being willing and able to do what needs to be done. Thank you to the absolutely unflappable Melissa McIntosh who has been running our major events  and keeping the accounts in order for 7 years and has never missed a beat.

Thank you to our first husband and wife tag team duo Bernadette and Vince the quietest achievers you will ever come across, you are both wonderful. Thank you to the multi-talented Bec Fanelli who’s role has combined buyer, caterer, chief cocktail creator and general doer.

To Cass Quilty who whilst taking a well deserved back seat this year, finishes her time at St John’s after I think 12 years of continued service to this school community, thank you Cass! To the regular team of people who show up, sleeves rolled and ready to help in whatever capacity is needed, especially those who are leaving at the end of the year Anne Gottoli, Laura Venus, Marcia Wilson. Please know your contribution is appreciated more than you know.

To everyone in the community who has helped out by doing, making, baking, sizzling, donating, buying and showing up to our P&F events and making those vital contributions to our social and fundraising efforts. We are incredibly grateful.

Thank you to Melanie and all the staff who also help us achieve our goals by supporting the work we do particularly the incredibly efficient Gina. Finally the last word must go to Daniel.

You have always been a great supporter of our P&F committee, even if the result is months of picking the hay out of the playground! We know we can count on you and your generosity and contributions are always appreciated.

I’m sure it has been an eventful decade and a half with plenty of highs but also some lows. Mary Anne’s death must have been a difficult burden to carry both professionally and personally, yet you managed to pull the school community through this tragedy and carry on being present first and foremost for the kids. Despite the challenges, you have always had our children at the centre of all you do, your kind, gentle nature and pastoral leadership will be missed by all, but particularly by the children of this school who you have nurtured.

On behalf of the P&F committee not just from 2019 but the many years before, I wanted to say a huge thank you and wish you every success and happiness in your next step.

Your legacy at St John’s is all of the children who have been through the doors, prepared and ready to face the next stage of their lives. Now it’s your turn to do the same. I’ll finish with a final blessing from St Therese of Lisieux.

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

Thank you

4. Thanks from the Environment Captain


As the 2019 school year has finished, and I have ended my time at St John’s, I wanted to say thank you to all those who participated in the Environmental activities the Planet Kids, teachers, and I organised over the year. 

I’ve loved contributing to the St John’s community environmentally this year, and over my years at primary school.

I hope that in 2020, the garden stays as lovely and green as it is, thanks to Ms Sally and the students!

Pope Francis called our environment, “Our Common Home”. I am honoured I could lead the school to take care of “Our Common Home” this year. As I hand over my duties to a new Year 6 in 2020, I am sure they’ll do the same!

5. Extra Curricular Noticeboard

6. Community Noticeboard