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Newsletter - July 2017

1. From The Principal

Welcome Back

Dear Families,

Welcome back to third term at St John’s. I trust that all of the children have had a good break and were able to regain their energies for what is already shaping up as another busy term. We have two parent nights organised for this term, the first on Mathematics, and the second on Behaviour Management. Both are topics of interest to parents and ones staff are often asked about. I am sure that we will see a good turnout for both of these events, check the school calendar for dates and times.

I hope that all Parent/Teacher Meetings and Three-way Conferences went well at the end of last term. These were an important time for parents and teachers to catch up over children’s progress to date and, for the older children in the senior grades, a chance for them to share their learning over the last two terms and their goals for the next two. Teachers will be making contact with anyone who has not yet met with them but parents are also encouraged to make an appointment if you haven’t yet caught up.

While I was away last term there was much said in the media about the future of funding across all education systems, I believe we might even have received a mention in what used to be the big paper in Melbourne. Funding on the basis of a Socio Economic Status (SES) score does not necessarily reflect the capacity of the parents at any school to contribute to their children’s education, and that is certainly true of our community. We have increased fees slightly over the last few years and are always conscious of the potential impact this may have. While the so called Gonski 2 legislation has now gone through parliament, we still need to be vigilant and engage with our politicians to ensure that any ramifications over the next few years are brought to the fore to ensure that all families continue to have access to Catholic education.

I would like, once again, to thank our community for their many sympathies and prayerful support extended after the deaths of my parents. Oscar Wilde’s character, Lady Bracknell, is often quoted as suggesting that the loss of one parent is unfortunate but the loss of both is careless. Thankfully, we have no Lady Bracknell’s in our community, and, while life generally goes on quite well, I continue to feel supported at those times when it isn’t so easy. This level of empathy and compassion, extended to me on this occasion but also to all at various times, is a testament to the caring connections to be found in our school community and one which I hope will endure.

Deepest Sympathy

On the note above, I am sure that, as a community, you will join me as we extend our deepest sympathy to those of our families who have also recently lost a loved one.

Lois Wheelahan, grandmother of Abbie Harvey and past students, Maddie, Angus and Hamish Harvey, and Will, Euan and Finn Jenkins passed away tragically during the holidays. Lois was a proud grandparent at St Johns for 15 years.

Victoria Newman, aunt to Ivana Trampevski and past student Jordan Trampevski, passed away far too young.

Elizabeth Luhrs, Grandmother to Nicholas (5/6 Dom) and past student Timothy Luhrs, was born 1 February 1929 and passed away peacefully in her sleep at home on 2 June 2017.

Gilly Gatt, Grandmother to Dreamz and Zion Gatt, passed away unexpectedly in early June and is deeply missed by all the family.

Our prayerful support and thoughts go out to all of these families at this sad time.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.

Playground Improvements

It was wonderful to return to school and see all of the work carried out at the last Working Bee, a big thank you to all families who contributed. It was also exciting to see the new junior equipment being erected at the end of the first week back – it has certainly been a hit with all of the children since completion. We are grateful to our Parents and Friends for their continued efforts in completing aspects of our Playground Master Plan, and for the leadership on this occasion of Lisa Gatt and Melissa McIntosh in securing the grant from our local Bendigo Bank that funded this aspect. We are especially grateful to the Clifroy branch of the bank for their ongoing support of the school, and encourage everyone to consider opening an account with them so their generosity to our local community is able to continue.

Our major fundraiser for this year is fast approaching and help is needed with this, stay tuned to note pockets and emails for further details or contact Melissa McIntosh to volunteer. All money raised through this effort will be going towards the next stage of works which will be sensory features for the passive play space on the bottom yard.

NCCD 2017

The nationally consistent approach to data collection provides all Australian schools, education authorities and the community with a clear picture of the number of students receiving adjustments because of disability in schools, and the adjustments they are provided to enable them to participate in education on the same basis as other students.

The information that our school must provide to the Department includes, in relation to each student with a disability:

  • the student’s level of education (i.e. primary or secondary)
  • the student’s category of disability (i.e. physical, cognitive, sensory or social/emotional)
  • the student’s level of adjustment (i.e. support provided within quality differentiated teaching practice, supplementary, substantial or extensive adjustment).

The information provided to the Department will not explicitly identify individual students.

Please note, for the 2017 NCCD collection, Victorian Catholic schools must provide their data collection via an excel spreadsheet which specifies individual student names. Where parents/carers/guardians do not consent for their child’s name to be provided they must return the consent form to the school office before August 11th. Please click here (2017 NCCD CECV Consent Form) for more information.

First Communion

This weekend we have a number of our Grade 3 and 4 children and a couple from older grades making their First Communion at either the Saturday night or Sunday morning Masses. We wish these children and their families well for this occasion and pray that their faith will be strengthened at this important time. A big thank you to their teachers and Fr Peter for the preparation of the children. We will share more of the celebration in the next Monthly Reflection.

Keeping In Touch

I look forward to sharing, not only stories from First Communion, but also some of the learning insights from our children in the next Monthly Reflection at the end of August. In the meanwhile, I encourage parents to check the blog for things that are happening across the school and in your child’s grade specifically – if you need assistance getting on, please let your child’s teacher know.

This term I will be sending our annual Insight-SRC school improvement surveys out to seek feedback on what is happening at St John’s. The data gained from these surveys is very important to our strategic planning and is used both annually and at the end of each four year cycle of school improvement.

Also going out this term will be a feedback form to parents seeking comment on the ways we currently engage and communicate with you, please stay tuned for that in the next few weeks.

Until next time, yours respectfully, Daniel

2. From The Parish

Download the latest newsletters from the Parish

Parish Newsletter July 15-16

Parish Newsletter July 22-23

Parish Newsletter July 29-30


3. From The P&F

P&F July Reflections

So what’s happened this month?

With the new playground equipment being installed the first week of term, we think it’s a good time to reflect on all the fundraising efforts that have taken place over the last few years in order to get the playground to the stage it is at now.

To date, the parents and friends have spent in excess of $76,000 on the playground (this is over and above the grant received from our community Bendigo Bank).  This includes planning, surface works, excavation, plants & ground covers.

We still have some money left over, and with the fundraising efforts remaining for the year we hope to have sufficient funds to start on another section of the playground soon.   Every raffle ticket you buy/sell, every lunch order, every fundraising event you attend, every sausage you cook all add up to funds for the playground.  It’s a fantastic achievement and something the whole community should be proud of.

What is coming up this term:

Playground Plan – The Next Phase

It has been decided that the next area to be developed will be a section of the passive junior play space, the sensory garden, and we are hoping to raise enough money by the end of the year for the main elements of this section to go ahead.

This space has been designed to be a calming area for the children to go to, and as such it will be filled with different textural features, it will include a water feature, digging pit and dirt kitchen.  Click here for images of the concept.  The Junior Playground – Sensory Garden

We haven’t forgotten about the seniors and the passive play area for the seniors is next on our hit list.

Major Raffle

Please don’t forget to sell your raffle tickets and bring the stubs and money into the office as soon as possible.  More books are available so if you can, please get another book to sell.  All the fantastic prizes for this raffle were donated by school families so every ticket we sell will go towards the playground.

We have arranged to have a table at Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre on Saturday August 5th to sell raffle tickets and we need volunteers to man the desk.  Please give up an hour of your time and volunteer to do this.

Bendigo Bank – School Banking

Representatives of our local bank will be at assembly on Friday August 4th to assist with opening school banking accounts for those that are interested.  For every account we open, the school will receive $5 towards our playground plan.

It will also enhance our relationship and enable us to apply for more grants in the future.

Major Fundraiser – St John’s Parents & Friends Cocktail Party

Please pop Saturday 9th September in your diary now and book the babysitter.  If babysitting is difficult, come individually, or tag team, or perhaps co-ordinate with some other parents to share a babysitter.

Tickets will be on sale shortly.  It is a fun night for the community and a great chance to catch up with other parents.

Donations Needed

For our cocktail night to be a success, we need donations to sell in our silent and live auctions.  Please take a few of the donation request forms and remember to ask for a donation.  If every family is able to obtain three donations each we can potentially raise lots of money.

Think about places where you regularly shop, your hairdresser/barber, dentist, plumber, your child’s after school activities or party venue.  Don’t forget your boss, or perhaps you have a skill that you could provide. A5FundRaisingFlyer#2

Online Auction

The online auction will again be running tandem to the silent auctions on the night.  It normally contains some fantastic family activities, so far we already have family passes to Sovereign Hill, Puffing Billy and The Enchanted Adventure Garden but more will be added.

The link will be sent out shortly.  Feel free to share the link with family and friends who also may be interested.

Classroom Hampers

This year rather than allocating themes to each classroom, we are providing with a list of theme’s and you can take your pick which theme you would like to contribute to.  A list of the theme’s will be going out shortly, and we ask each student to bring in an item to place in the tub in your child’s classroom.

The classroom with the most impressive collection of donations will win a prize.

September Holiday Accommodation

Do you have time off in the September holidays and want to go away?  This year we are again offering a weeks accommodation in Wye River wye river flyer but instead of auctioning this prize live, we are giving all families the chance to bid on it by secret ballot – highest bidder wins so nominate your biggest bid for a chance to win, all proceeds go to the playground.  Bid forms will be sent out soon.

Helpers Needed

We’ll again need helpers so set up for the auction night so if you are free during the day on Thursday 7th, or Friday 8th, pop into the hall even for a small amount of time to help us put the hampers together and to turn the hall into a venue worthy of a cocktail party.

We’ll also need helpers on the night to help with the bar, process sales and to help with the clean up.

Parents of St John’s Facebook page

Don’t forget to join our facebook group for regular updates.




4. Young Journalist Entries

People Need to be Seen

Jen Payne works at Vere Street, which she describes as an old-fashioned supermarket for the homeless. Her role involves: stacking shelves, giving support, understanding and company.

Jen began volunteering because of her parents’ influence. Even though the family were ‘dirt-poor’, her parents still helped others. Every Friday her mother would visit a bedridden neighbour down the road. She would wash the sheets, give her a bath and then tuck her back into bed. Jen saw all this and it resonated with her.

Jen volunteers not only to help others but for the pleasure it brings her. She likes giving people hope and it gives her the opportunity to build relationships with people, which she would not have otherwise had. Slowly Vere Street became her family.

She also finds it intriguing that people think she is a good person because she volunteers. She admits that it is time consuming, but believes that being Christian means being part of a ‘faith community,’ committing time and using your God given talents. Jen lives by her favourite quote from her parish priest, ‘If you stop being Christian when you walk out the door on Sunday, then it doesn’t count for much, we need to put our faith in action.’

One of Jen’s strongest memories is of a man who had been living in his car. He came to Vere Street after receiving some bad news from the doctors’. When asked how he was going, he burst into tears.

‘Sometimes people just need to be seen,’ Jen says. Almost gently she explains that when people walk down the street, they avoid eye contact with the homeless. They seem ashamed of looking at these people and Jen says that if you are never really seen, then you are not accepted. You are not part of the community, you are invisible and that is hard to deal with.

In the end, Jen believes that there is really no such thing as a ‘fair world’. However, she likes striving towards it and contributing to improving the world through Vere Street. She understands that many things make the world a better place and so she aims for ‘better’ rather than ‘fair’. She believes that human beings need to be seen, cared for, and recognised. Fairer yes, better yes, but not fair.


From Refugee to Priest

Interviewee: Fr. Peter Hoang, the Parish Priest for Our Lady of the Southern Cross, (Clifton Hill and Collingwood). This Parish community is managed by the friendly leadership of The Salesians of Don Bosco.

Fr. Peter’s life wasn’t always easy. Like thousands of other Vietnamese refugees fleeing communist rule, he came to Australia by boat in 1983. At only 17 years of age, he discovered firsthand the hardships of life at sea. Desperate and afraid, he walked the boat barefoot wearing nothing but a tee-shirt and shorts. Being Vietnamese he spoke no English, this caused him great disadvantage according to Fr. Peter, “that the following year I had to start year 10 again at the age of 18.”

After university, Fr. Peter was teaching while studying to become a priest. “As a brother I graduated from my teaching qualification and spent three years studying to get a diploma.” He then taught in secondary schools for two years. “This was while I was a brother so teaching was part of my priestly ministry.” Fr. Peter then studied theology for four years to become a priest. After becoming a priest, Fr. Peter went back to teaching in three schools from year 7 to year 10 teaching Mathematics, Science and Religious Education.

Fr. Peter works with young people, especially refugees and offers hope through the teachings of Christianity.  “I welcome young refugees into the country and teach them how to be good citizens and good Christians. I help them integrate into society.” He shows empathy for others and uses his teaching skills to spread the word of God.

The Vietnamese community strive to have a better future. Fr. Peter runs activities so that they feel part of something and to reflect on their past. He is passionate about bringing different cultures together such as the Italian, Samoan, African and Vietnamese communities. “I show them other people and their cultures. They meet more people and work together as a community in harmony and peace, because that’s the values of God’s kingdom.”


5. Community Noticeboard