From the Principal

From the Headmaster

Dear Parents, Students and Friends,

Yesterday the Church celebrated the life of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Mary MacKillop died on 8 August 1909 at the Josephite convent in North Sydney. MacKillop is one of our six College Houses.

Mary MacKillop founded the Josephite Order of teaching order of nuns. In her life the Josephites began schools across Australia. Their aim was to educate the poor. These schools were well ahead of schools of the time and they had their own curriculum. It was in fact the first Australian Curriculum.

Mary MacKillop walked and lived in North Sydney. She would have trodden the same paths we walk everyday to school. In her life she was excommunicated from the Church and she battled with the established Church and yet, never gave up her faith. Eventually the Church withdrew their excommunication of her.

Mary had many sayings, but probably best known for ‘never see a need without doing something about it.’ This should be a constant reminder to us all to look for opportunities to help others. Following Mary’s example we probably don’t have to look too far to find someone in need.

Three of our Year 10 boys were at Street Level Café last Friday evening. This is a simple project run by the Salvation Army to support the poor in Sydney. Our boys gave hospitality to some of these locals and they appreciated the boys’ efforts.

Our school has many examples of times and situations over many years where boys, support staff and teachers have connected with people on the edge of society. Through Solidarity boys have taken the opportunities to connect with others and build relationships with the poor of society.

Tony Duncan

From the Assistant Principal

Semester Two and More

Semester Two

With Semester Two well underway, there is an opportunity for the boys and their families to assess their outcomes in Semester One and also take some time to look at the student's specific goals, which were set at the beginning of the year, and see how they are progressing. With all parent/teacher interviews conducted, both students and parents have been given the opportunity to examine what needs to happen in this semester to ensure that each boy reaches his full potential both academically, spiritually and socially. The boys must ensure they have regular conversations with their tutors, class teachers and House Coordinators about their progress. Our learning journey is not successful without the support of those within the community. At MCNS we continue to strive to establish positive relationships that facilitate good learning and opportunities for individual challenge and success.

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Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

Drug Education

On Wednesday 2 August, in our pastoral period, Year 9 students took part in a Drug seminar presented by Tom Reynolds, an old boy of our College. Tom specialises in educating young people in the community on all issues relating to drugs on a local, national and international level. Tom spoke about the current legal and illegal drug use trends and addressed the many misconceptions of drug use, particularly alcohol abuse, in an effort to empower the boys to make good decisions for themselves and their mates. Tom is very engaging, he challenges and educates students with his powerful message. Tom will be presenting the second part of his seminar to Year 9 next term.

Milena Vuckovic
MacKillop House Coordinator

Brainstorm Production

Recently, Brainstorm Productions came over to our school to present a play focused on bullying. The production told the story of teenagers at a school who were continuously being peer pressured. Being based on a real story, the play relayed a message of not being afraid to be yourself and the importance of treating people with kindness always. The play’s story itself is set in a Melbourne school. The play portrayed four main characters, each of which were struggling with finding themselves and doing what they wanted.

Essentially, Brainstorm Productions gave a saddening point of view on a real event that happened at a Melbourne school. A girl moves to a new school, the setting of the play, and she finds herself under fire from people from more popular social groups. Throughout the production, 4 characters are introduced: ‘Rocky’, a boy who loves to rap and cares greatly about the way people see him, ‘Daniel’, a boy who gives an aura of care and trust but is truly scared of losing his popularity, “Gabrielle’, a popular girl who lets herself be manipulated by others, and ‘Emily’, the focus of the story of who struggles with being harassed by popular groups.

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Write A Book In A Day

Have you ever wondered what writing a book in a small room with eight guys for twelve hours is like? Relaxing? No! At 8am after a brief preparation phase we began writing.

We were given random characters, a situation and a setting which we would use when writing our story. We brought our own food which we ate during the (relieving) breaks. For dinner, pizza was courtesy of Dominos. Our group, FurFam, worked really well together, it was tough going but I think we did a great job.

To read our story, 'Panic! at the Dingo' click here and over the next four High Notes you will have the chance to read all of the stories created on that day.

Happy reading!

Jonathan Overstead
Year 9 Kelly 2

Year 10 Macbeth Excursion

On Monday 31 July 2017, the Year 10 English students experienced a performance of William Shakespeare’s, Macbeth at the Sydney Opera House. This was lead by Ms Kim and the Year 10 English teachers Mr Watts, Mr Davidson, Ms Tlaskal, Ms Bell and Ms Hutchinson.

The production was traditional in many ways but employed an interesting soundtrack that appealed to a younger demographic, whilst the staging created a suitably dark atmosphere, reflecting the themes of betrayal and ambition at the heart of the play.

The Year 10 students commented in their feedback that “the performance of the actors was quite exceptional, especially regarding the fact that each actor played multiple roles, as it forced the actors to greatly emphasise the features of each character, allowing for a more interesting and lifelike performance.” “The experience was enhanced being seated close to the stage where a king came flying towards the front row.” “It felt very immersive with the use of lighting and loud music... made the audience feel eerie, happy and it was action-packed.”

Overall, the students enjoyed the performance and it was a very positive experience that deepened their understanding of the relevance of Shakespeare today.

Ruby Kim
Year 10 English


Year 9 Mathematics

At the end of Term 2 both the Year 9, 5.3 Mathematic classes came together to work on our Trigonometry skills. With the guidance of Miss Rorke and Miss Perry, we split into groups of four and went around the school measuring heights using the Tan skill we were taught in a prior class. The groups were instructed to create a clinometer that we would use to measure the height of school objects. With the help of straws, strings, paperclips and a protractor we were able to create a device to measure the objects. I found this lesson to be very interesting and I enjoyed splitting into groups and going around the school. The lesson was more engaging with these features and with the help of the two teachers we were able to learn what we first thought was a difficult skill. I would definitely recommend doing this type of lesson again in the future.

Jane Rorke
Mathematics Teacher


Night Patrol

A huge shout out to all MCNS Solidarity staff and students who have volunteered numerous hours this year, giving a helping hand to those who are marginalised and less fortunate. Every fortnight dedicated students from Years 9-12 and staff serve and work along side those who are doing it tough - Sandwich making, Street Level cafe, Matthew Talbot hostel and St Vincent’s Night Patrol. Their continued support and generosity is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Gabrielle Nicholson
Solidarity Coordinator / Learning Support Teacher

City to Surf

We are participating in the 2017 Sun-Herald City2Surf on Sunday 13 August. We would love you to join our Marist180 team to help raise money for young people facing homelessness in Western Sydney.

It will be a great time for us to get together for a fun day of fitness and helping to create positive change in the lives of young people that really need our help.

The number of homeless young people has been skyrocketing. This year, we’re expecting to support over 750 young people facing homelessness in Western Sydney alone, and 60% of them are young women.

These young people are faced with domestic and family violence, mental health issues, financial problems and lack of family support. They are young, vulnerable and often have no choice but to leave home.

Together, the funds we raise will help these young people transform their worlds – giving them a safe place to sleep, clean clothes and essential hygiene products. These are the basics for them to start turning their lives around.

As one of Sydney’s largest service providers for youth at risk, we’ve been working with economically and socially excluded young people in Western Sydney for over 110 years.

Where others may see problems, we see potential. We know it’s possible for these young people to turn their lives around for good - they just need the right support. No matter how small your contribution, every little bit helps.

A fresh start in life begins with the basics. As a supporter, you can help create positive change for young people. Real change needs practical support, but it also means arming them with the skills, knowledge and encouragement they need to turn their lives around.

Please follow the simple steps below if you’d like to get involved.

Option 1 - Join us in walking or running on the day
  • Register for the 2017 Sun-Herald City2Surf by clicking here
  • Create your fundraising page with everyday hero by clicking this link and then clicking Join Team
  • Share to social media from your everyday hero page or simply forward this email and encourage your crew to get involved
Option 2 - Fundraise with us but not participate on the day
  • Create your fundraising page with everyday hero by clicking this link and then clicking Join Team
  • Share with your family and friends to social media from your everyday hero page or simply forward this email and encourage people to get involved.

Gabrielle Nicholson
Solidarity Coordinator

Northern Territory Immersion

On 28 June 2017, nine students along with Ms Durand, Mr Collis and myself boarded a Qantas flight to Darwin to begin our Northern Territory Immersion. After a four and a half hour flight we arrived in Darwin to a very pleasant 32 degrees celsius. From there we caught taxis to our first overnight stop which was the Value Inn on Mitchell Street. The accommodation was very basic but clean. We then, again caught taxis to the Catholic Education Office for a cultural understanding talk with some teachers who had worked in Wadeye. A very insightful talk.

After a stroll through downtown Darwin we ended up at Port Darwin where we enjoyed a pleasant dinner while watching the sunset. 

The next morning was an early start as we needed to be at Murrin air services for an 8am flight. The group was split up into 2 and we flew on twin engines Cessnas to Wadeye. Our flight took approximately an hour.

We landed in Wadeye and were greeted by Chris Moore who works as part of the administration staff at the school. Chris was our chaperone for the next five days along with David King. Some of the staff who were away for bush holidays kindly offered their houses to us for accommodation.

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UAC Open Days

Click here to view

US College Athletics Program Invitation

School Notices

P&F Association Meeting

Community Notices

Driving Workshop


Coding Competition

Last week the National Computer Science School Challenge (NCSS), which is a five week competition run by The University of Sydney and Grok Learning, released its first set of computer coding challenges. This online opportunity teaches Python Code and programming fundamentals set at different levels to cater for students who have no programming experience through to students who have confident programming skills with experiences in Python Code. 

We have 50 students, from Year 7-10, who have signed up to compete in this competition. As the program is available online the boys are completing a lot of the work at home, however, we are offering after school help on Mondays and Wednesdays and this has proven to be highly successful as the boys help each other solve problems and in the process, learn a great deal from this collaborative approach. So far the boys are doing a great job and with continued effort they will all gain a great deal of new knowledge in this ever growing area of computer coding.

Good Luck and keep up the good work.
Tracey Dunne
Academic Resource Leader

A Grade Soccer

An all-conquering season for the A Grade Soccer Team climaxed with a Grand Final victory over Kogarah at Lambert Park. The 1-0 scoreline reflected what a tough game this was with few chances for either side, as MCNS struggled to reproduce the free-flowing football that has characterised their season. In the end, it was a first half header from Tori Agostino that proved the difference between the teams in a tense tussle.

The boys deserve immense praise for their amazing season which has produced nine straight wins with only two goals conceded and North Shore's first premiership since 1980. The team now progress to the CCC knock out championships in the coming weeks.

Jon Watts
A Grade Soccer Coach

Joshua Phillips State Cross Country Champion

Student Goal Setting Midpoint Review

Over the next two weeks, student goals will be revised by individual students and their Tutor teacher during tutor time. If parents could also take the opportunity to discuss their son’s goals with them, this will reinforce the importance of setting achievable goals in order to improve or grow. In surveying parents, teachers and students last term, I received valuable feedback from all stakeholders in the community about the student goal setting conducted at MCNS, and whilst the parent feedback was mixed, the student feedback was overwhelmingly positive. This data is consistent with education researchers such as Carol Dweck who notes that when students are in charge of their goal setting, they often learn to self motivate and challenge themselves in order to grow and achieve. I will endeavour to share some of the feedback provided by the college community in the upcoming High Notes and will use this to revise our processes for 2018. Thank you to all who responded to the survey.

Ann McGovern
Director of Teaching and Learning

Vienna Boys Choir

Adrian Escudero-Geno (left) and Sebastian Tan (right) are both students in Year 7 who have been performing with the Sydney Children's Choir this year and have sung with Opera Australia in Tosca (Adrian) and King Roger (Seb), as well as Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performances at the Sydney Opera House and the City Recital Hall. They have just finished a series of four performances of Mahler, three with the SSO in the Concert Hall at the Opera House. The Sydney Morning Herald rated these concerts as 5 out of 5!

On Tuesday 10 October, Adrian and Seb will be singing with the Vienna Boys Choir at the Opera House. They are delighted to be singing with one of the 'best choirs in the world'. Sebastian has been asked to travel to Cairns for a further series of concerts with the Vienna Boys Choir and Adrian has taken up a cast role in the operetta 'Little red riding hood' as Jo.