Reflecting on September 2017 | go to Calendar »

Newsletter - September 2017

1. From The Principal

Dear Families,

As we come to the end of third term I wish all of our staff and children a well deserved and restful holiday. I look forward to seeing everyone back next term relaxed and refreshed and, in view of the illnesses that we’ve been going through, bug free.

Fathers Day

I hope that all of our dads and granddads had a wonderful Fathers Day. Our Annual Fathers Day Breakfast began the month of September and, although I was unable to be there, I am informed that there was a great turn up and a good buzz during the event; thank you to the volunteers who assisted on the day. Thank you also to the mums who helped out on the Fathers Day stall as well. The children look forward to finding a great gift each year so I do hope that all of our dads appreciated the presents that were purchased with love. Connie Cabral has organised this and the Mothers Day stall over the last few years and we are very grateful for this. As Connie leaves us at the end of the year, with daughter number two going off to secondary school, I am hoping that we will have another willing volunteer to take this on next year.

Author Visit

Our extended Children’s Book Week concluded on Wednesday 6th September with a visit from Belinda Murrell. Belinda’s stories include the Pippa’s Island series, the Lulu Bell series, the Timeslip series, and the Sun Sword trilogy. Belinda ran two sessions for us, one for our junior classes and one for the senior classes, and shared how she goes about the creation of her characters and stories as well as the writing process she uses.

Parents and Friends Cocktail Party and Auction

Our Parents and Friend held their major fundraiser activity at the end of the first week this month on Saturday 9th September. It was wonderful to see so many of our parents in attendance at this night taking advantage of a rare night away from the children, a chance to dress up, and the time to eat and drink sharing a laugh and good conversation. The hard working organising sub-committee and parent volunteers, lead by Melissa McIntosh, put together a great assortment of items for our school community to bid on, some online, some as silent auction items and some as live auction items. Between these items and the wonderful raffle we managed to raise just over $13,000 to go towards further work on our playground improvements. I sincerely thank everyone involved in putting this event together, those who secured donations, arranged decorations and various parts of the night, wrapped auction items, donated prizes for the raffle or contributed to the class hampers, and those who came along to the night.

Chompers Dental Visits

We are grateful again to the Chompers Dental Program, provided by North Richmond Community Health, who visited over three days this month. Each year we have dental nurses and technicians come in to share oral health tips with the children and to conduct dental screening tests to alert parents to any potential concerns. Each child is also provided with a tooth care kit free of charge.

District Athletics

Congratulations to all of those children who proudly represented our school in the Carlton District Primary School Sports Association (CDPSPA) trials in Coburg on Thursday 14th September. Thank you to Hayley Dustow, Domonique Heard and to our parent volunteers for attending on the day and to Anthony Falcone for conducting qualifying events leading up to the day. All of the children did very well in their events with four children making it through to the next stage, the Divisional Trials to be held on Wednesday 11th October; congratulations go to Thierry in Grade 4 for making it through in the 200m and 1500m races, Isabella in Grade 5 for making it through in the discus, Gus in Grade 5 for making it through in the long jump, and Nicholas in Grade 6 for making it through in the 200m race.

Footy Colours Day

Our Student Representative Council (SRC) arranged a Footy Colours Day on Friday 15th September which was enthusiastically embraced by our children. The parade held in the afternoon showed that support of AFL football is still just as strong in Melbourne as it has ever been, with long suffering Richmond supporters being particularly enthusiastic and vocal; by the time we come back to school from the holidays we will know whether their faith in their team has been rewarded. On our Footy Colours Day we also had a hot lunch treat organised again by our P&F volunteers, thank you Connie, Rose and the team for putting this together.

Grade 3/4 Mass

On Sunday 17th September our Grade 3/4s gathered to celebrate and lead the 5pm Parish Mass. They came together at 4pm prior to Mass to share cake and cordial as a post First Communion celebration which was most enjoyable. Father Peter was very pleased with the leadership shown by our new communicants during the Mass. Fr Peter’s reflection on the readings during his Homily at this Mass linked being part of the family of the Church through First Communion with forgiveness and reconciliation. He reminded the children and adults alike that letting go of anger and grievance with others can bring love and happiness not just to those being forgiven but to the person doing the forgiving, thus making our bonds stronger; this was a message that the children could readily understand and appreciate.

Staff Professional Development and Parent Night

Yesterday the staff took on the position of the learner during our School Closure Day facilitated for us by Behaviour Analyst Dan Petro. During the day Dan ran through a series of points designed to further develop our understanding of what works in ensuring that our children are able to meet our behavioural expectations. Much of what Dan presented was affirming of the work that we already do in this area through our School Wide Positive Behaviour Support Program (SWPBSP), but there was also room for reflection on what we can do to improve our practices and to review what we currently do that is not effective. This day was followed up with an opportunity for parents to hear how the techniques that are applied at school can also be applied at home to ensure a consistency of approach for our children across both settings; it was great to see a good turn out of parents at this night even if illness did keep some away at the last moment.

Bendigo Bank Visit

At today’s assembly we again welcomed Ben and Kim from our local Community Bank back to the school. The last time they visited us, back in second term, they presented us with a large cheque to sponsor the erection of the junior playground equipment and the purchase of trees for the passive play area on the bottom yard. Today they returned to see what had been done in the months since and to officially open the new equipment. We are incredibly grateful to the Clifroy branch of the Bendigo Bank for their ongoing generousity to our school. The bank is supportive of many organisations in the Clifton Hill and North Fitzroy area and this genrousity is only possible through the opening of new accounts and regular deposits. The profits that would normally go to bank shareholders are, in the case of the Community Bank, instead put back into the community through donations such as the one we have recently benefited from.

Farewell and Thanks

Today we thanked our School Chaplain, Mel Kelleher, for being part of our school community over the last three terms. Mel joined us at the start of the year while Tess Sibbel was on maternity leave after the birth of her second daughter. Today we reflected on the contributions that Mel has made since January to so many of our children, their families and their teachers. We look forward to welcoming Tess back among us but we will miss Mel’s presence and involvement. On behalf of the whole school community I wish Mel well for the future and thank her for journeying with us.

Summer Uniform

Our Summer Uniform can officially be worn from the start of next term. If you haven’t already found those school hats, please remember that these are essential items and should have already been on heads as of the start of this month. Hats are available for purchase from the school office if you can’t locate them at home.

Looking Forward

Next term we again have a full calendar: towards the start of the term all of our classes have excursions scheduled to immerse them into their inquiry units for the term, notes have already gone out in relation to these events; we also have our annual Twilight House Sports at the end of Week 3 which is something that our older students are particularly looking forward to; we will be welcoming next year’s Prep students as they join us for Playgroup sessions and Orientation Days, we look forward to meeting them and their parents as they make this important step forward in their lives; our biennial Art Exhibition will be held celebrating the work that has been done in this area and the creativity of our children; our Combined Carols, together with St Joseph’s Collingwood and other groups in the parish, will be held in St John’s Church; and we will farewell our Grade 6 students as they prepare to move on to secondary schools. Details of all of these events can be found on the school calendar at

Remember, Term 4 begins on Monday 9th October at 8:55am.

Until then, respectfully, Daniel


2. From The Parish

Download the latest newsletters from the Parish

Parish Newsletter September 9-10

Parish Newsletter September 16-17

Parish Newsletter September 23-24

3. From The P&F

P&F September reflections

So what’s happened this month?

Once again we had a very successful major fundraiser.  The cocktail party, including the major raffle, kept us all very busy with fundraising for the playground, so now we can take a well earned rest.

Whilst the cocktail party wasn’t as well attended as it’s been in the passed, those that did support it did so with gusto and enjoyed a very entertaining evening amongst friends.  As usual, the bidding on prime items did get very competitive, but bargains were still had.   For those parents and teachers who came along on the night, thanks for making it such a fantastic night.

It was great to see those that couldn’t attend participate in other ways from assisting with preparations, selling or buying lots of raffle tickets and sourcing or making donations.

Whilst a few transactions still need to be finalised preliminary counting looks like funds of approx. $13,500 were raised which the community should be very proud of.

The winners of the various draws on the night were:

Major Raffle  1st prize:                   Hutchisnon Family

Major Raffle 2nd prize:                    Tim Bell

Major Raffle 3rd prize:                    Melanie Granata

Money Tree:                                    Jessica Cabral

Make the Garden Grow:                Rohan Lancaster

Wye River Getaway:                       Marcia & Nick Wilson

Door Prize:                                       Melanie Granata


It was great to see some new faces on the night, and more importantly it was also great to see some new faces assisting with the planning and arranging the donations.  Thanks need to go out to all of those who assisted with requesting donations, making donations, assisted with preparing the hampers, decorating (and cleaning up!), and selling raffle tickets.

In particular Rose, Connie, Fiona, Bec, Michelle, Shauna, Clare, Briohny, Bernadette, Cass, Karen C, Laura, Robyn, Karen E and Roni, all put in many hours of work to make the night a success.  A special thankyou also needs to go to the teachers and staff who supported the night, and in particular to Gina for all of her assistance.

Don’t forget to support our sponsors, the website will be updated shortly for all of our new sponsors.  It’s fantastic that a social evening has already been arranged at one of the pubs who made donations.

We also had another round of football day lunch orders raising $527.30.  A big thanks to those parents who came in to assist with lunch orders, and to Connie for co-ordinating this so well as usual.

The  bowling activity on the student free day will have occurred when this newsletter goes to print, however at the time of writing this is still to happen, so more on this next month.

What is coming up next term:

We’ll have another lunch order day (5/6 parents turn to help out) next term as well as some smaller evening activities planned.

We’ll be looking for helpers on the BBQ for the twilight sports day, and probably also at the end of year picnic.  There may be some smaller social functions during the course of the term but for the most part, the fundraising is done.

Don’t forget, all are welcome to the Parents and Friends meetings, so if you have an idea, or just want to roll up your sleeves and get involved, we are always pleased to welcome new ideas.

Playground Plan

Just a reminder that all funds raised through P&F activities continue to go towards our playground plan, and, funds raised can potentially be doubled through any successful grant applications.  We are currently in the process of preparing a grant application for submission.

Parents of St John’s Facebook page

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





Friday November 10 from 5pm

Parent & Friends support is greatly appreciated to install the children’s artworks, everyone is welcome!
If you can help please email Art teacher Michele
Preparing the exhibition on;
Wednesday 8 NovemberThursday 9 NovemberFriday 10 November

5. Grade 5/6 Dustow Reflections

Sri Lanka

Murky, brown water surrounds me on all sides, littered with scraps of wood and mesh. A putrid, sour stench overwhelms my senses. On the steep, crumbly mud banks stand small, wooden structures, clothed in ripped and soiled fabric and old, rusting mesh. Here people live in the Australian equivalent of chicken coops. My heart aches but I am soon distracted by low brushing branches and squat bridges.

Greenery flogs me and it is impossible to know where to look. The sun cheekily hides, peeking out between the leaves, only to burst out in full brightness. King fishers rest on branches, unmoving, waiting for their portraits’ to be painted. Massive monitors hide in bushes by the bank, resting in the shade, and flowers in full bloom brighten the scene while the water gently rocks the boat, lulling its’ child to sleep.

Suddenly, we burst through to a wide section of river, melting into sandbanks and ocean. We race along, kicking up froth and speed towards the market. As the river narrows we slow. Stick thin children holler and wave, greeting royalty. Fishermen work cross legged, sewing up their green, red and blue nets. Boats sit in colourful lines, adorned with eyes and the town above hustles and bustles.

By Eloise


My First Flip

I didn’t want to do it! No! I wouldn’t! Never! Butterflies bumped around in my stomach. I clenched the bar tightly for dear life! I scrunched my eyes feeling scared as I sat uncomfortably on the bar ready to drop back and do my first flip! The only part I was thinking was would I survive?

My friends were surrounded around me like a barrier. They encouraged me happily to do it! One second they would say! One second of flipping then it would be over forever. Would it be over for me too? The bar was slippery, my hands were shaking madly and my heart was pumping loudly in my chest.

I suddenly felt a tug on my jacket. My heart pounded! I shrieked and my body jerked off the bar backwards. I let go and jolted hanging upside down in midair for a split second. I felt my head and back hit a hard surface. People yelled and screamed around me worriedly. My head throbbed! It took me a few seconds to realise what was going on. My vision was blurred and my eyes are shut closed. All I could see was darkness and black.

I could still hear the yelling! I could only make out some of the words. “Get a teacher! Jasmine!” I felt my ears getting clogged up but I could still hear more people coming. I couldn’t make out who was there. Tears streamed down my face. My head hurt so much! I grabbed my hands around my forehead and cried silently.

I heard Miss Stasi coming to me and helping me up. My body ached and my head throbbed! I struggled to open my eyes and saw a blurry vision of people around me. I was standing and stumbling! My head feeling heavy! I was standing and stumbling! I walked unsteadily to the sick bay. I was never going on the bar again!

By Jasmine


The First Halloween

It was a mysterious and creepy evening, with dusty cobwebs on houses, hairy and red eyed spiders, eerie flickering lights and strange distant music… It was Halloween! Excitement was bubbling over me as my mum drove to the place my friends and I were Halloweening together. It was my first trick-or-treating experience and I couldn’t hold in my eagerness.

When we finally arrived at the meeting point I nearly tripped on my sparkly purple witches’ dress as I leaned down to pick up my pointy and cobwebbed hat which was now rolling on the gravel pavement. I quickly stood up, embarrassment sweeping over me and looked around, realising in relief that no one had seen my clumsy fall.

Forgetting to wait patiently for my mum, I grabbed my plastic pumpkin lolly bag and raced around the street corner, quick as a flash.My heart was bursting with joy. ‘Hi Elena!’ my friends waved as I ran towards them.vEach one of my friends was wearing a completely different costume; A broken doll, a devil, a pixie and a bright red-ish orange pumpkin costume.

As soon as everyone arrived, my friends and I raced towards the first house on the street, which was covered head to toe in cobwebs and candle lit jack-o-lanterns. We ran up to the front door, quite squished, and rung the doorbell. A creepy and bone-chilling laugh echoed around us and suddenly the front door opened to reveal a spooky lady dressed as a zombie with tattered green clothes. ‘Trick or treat!’ We all said in union. The lady smiled warmly and showed us a bowl of brightly coloured lollies. We each grabbed two lollies, mine an eyeball-gumball and a redskin, yelled ‘thank-you!’ from outside the house and ran away to the next house, giggling and putting our treats in our lollie bags.

I gazed at the red eyeball lollie and instantly my mouth watered. The sweet aromas were sucking me in and I couldn’t resist popping it in my mouth quickly. It was delicious. Chewy and sweet with a sugary liquid in the inside. I opened my eyes to see my friends already at the next house, grabbing more lollies and treats. ‘Wait for me!’ I yelled as I ran up to them. I sighed happily as I licked my lips and noted that Halloween was my new favourite holiday.

By Elena


The Rip

Dark, wavy, blue water is splashing on my pale face. My feet can’t touch the grainy yellow sand and I can barely breath. It doesn’t look like I will live for much longer.

I’m in the middle of the deep shadowed water all by myself. My heart is racing and pounding like a drum and for all I know there could be a big blue shark with teeth like needles that can rip my body into thousands of piece right underneath my drowning body.

My weak legs are aching so much. I don’t know how much of the longer until i sink to the bottom of the deep, dark sea. I might never see my loving family again plus my caring fring friends. I’m surrounded by happy laughs that I can faintly hear. I wish I was laughing to., but instead I’m slowly drowning.

The deep blue water is bashing into me like a rhinoceros and it feels like an angry octopus is pulling me down with all 8 grimy, slimy, tentacles and I can’t bare it.

In the distance i can see a lifesaver with red and yellow, shiny clothes. He’s bobbing  up and down. He does a big  crashing right into a big, strong wave while holding his board that nearly slips out of his wet, slippery hands.I just have have enough strength to stay above the water because I know the lifesaver with red and yellow, shiny clothes is coming. He eventually reaches me and shows me how to smoothly through the waves.

I finally get to shallow, light blue water and quickly run out. My feet touch the warm, Grainy, yellow sand and I sigh a sigh of relief.

By Laura

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