From the Principal

Dare To Be

Dear Parents, Students and Friends

We have begun this year with the great energy coming from our outstanding HSC results of 2017. Our 2016 HSC cohort had such brilliant results and we were proud to announce that our 2017 Year 12 cohort excelled even further. We have very high expectations for all students.

The swimming carnival on Monday was another excellent event for the College. Our swimmers showed some great swimming ability. House competition lives on at Marist. It is an iconic location to have the carnival under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I have been asking the students what are they Daring To Be this year. I have been very interested to hear their thoughts:
Second in PDHPE because Tom is first
Good at Maths
A good writer
The best I can be

Dare To Be is our College’s Vision for Learning. From this vision we will be working with staff and students to create our MCNS Learning Framework or school wide pedagogy.

Our College Mission Statement 

I have been drawn over the last few months to looking at how are we doing with the area of Wellbeing. This area contains the word resilience? I am concerned that our young men need to become resilient. The staff insisted that this word was present in the Mission Statement. How do we build resilience?

It is ok to fail? In fact is it good or bad to fail? This Herald Article speaks about the importance of failure in our lives. I am sometimes working with families where something has gone wrong. How do we respond when something in life goes wrong? Do we throw the towel in? Do we blame everyone? Yes, I can hear a whole set of cries asking but why does it go wrong? We do need to work hard to do and to be our best. How can we use difficulty, conflict, disappointment to our advantage? It should not happen but what can we learn from a problem that allows us to build more resilient young men? I am asking a lot of questions. I think that life can and most probably will throw each of us a few difficulties. We all need to be ready for these tough days and use them to build our capacity to take on further tough days of the future.

So after all of my philosophical pondering, a prayer for the beginning of the year:

Lord Jesus,
at this time
we can look back to the old year,
and look forward to the new.
We give thanks
for the blessings of the past year,
and we place into your hands
the mistakes we have made.
As you are ‘the Light of the world’,
take away the darkness in our lives.
As you are ‘the Way’,
lead us in the year ahead.
As you are ‘the gate of the sheepfold’,
protect us from danger.
We entrust the past to your mercy, Lord,
the present to your love,
and the future to you providence.

Nicholas Hutchinson FSC

Tony Duncan

From the Assistant Principal

Welcome to the new school year

A very warm welcome to the new school year, especially to our beginning Year 7 students and new students to Years 8 to 12. The boys have already participated in a very successful Swimming Carnival and the weeks ahead include the Commencement Mass, Welcome to Year 7 parents and the Year 7 Camp. We also welcome a number of new teaching staff to the College joining us in our dynamic Catholic community of learners.

The College theme for 2018 is Imagine. The students, in developing the theme for this year, placed great emphasis on all aspects of College life- the religious, academic, well being and extra curricular.

Pastoral programme
The College pastoral programme is delivered to the boys in year groups. In supporting the vertical House system, the pastoral programme aims to address and support year groups with age appropriate content and themes. The pastoral lessons will take place often as an alternate to the Headmaster’s Assembly on Wednesday Week 1 Period 1.

Student attendance remains an important focus for the College this year. The research continues to support a strong correlation between student attendance and academic achievement in all years. I strongly encourage parents to ensure that regular contact is made with the College when your son is absent. It is recommended, that where possible, all appointments should be made after school hours and during the holiday breaks. It was pleasing to see such great attendance at this weeks Swimming Carnival.

College Summer Uniform
Thank you to parents and students for the encouraging way we have begun the school year in regards to uniform. Please refer to the College diary for the uniform and grooming guidelines and expectations. As a College community, I would ask all boys to ensure they comply with the uniform and presentation requirements. During the first week of school a number of boys have been asked to address areas such as haircuts, socks that fit and new shirts. Parents, your support in ensuring the boys are presented well and show pride in their uniform is vital in the ongoing partnership of schooling.

The College has many ways that communication between staff, students and parents can take place. The College diary is the first form of communication, especially for class teachers and tutors. Email contact details for the specific Leaders of Learning and House Coordinators are listed on the College website.The diary, College website and skoolbag app list calendar of events, letters to parents and proformas.

Rick Grech
Deputy Headmaster

Faith Formation

WYD2019 - Update

World Youth Day 2019 in Panama is less than 12 short months away. It promises to be an amazing adventure for the pilgrims who decide to take up the challenge and experience not only new cultures and new friendships but also explore their own faith while being a part of the biggest youth gathering in the World.

Families who already expressed interest with Mr Dela Cruz last year should have received a letter generally outlining next steps and indicative pricing and in the coming weeks I will be following up with those students.

This is another invitation to students in Years 10 & 11 to consider taking up this opportunity. There may boys who were inspired by ACYF2017 in Sydney and who haven’t yet expressed interest. If this applies to your son, please tell them to see or email me at

The WYD Pilgrimage will go through either Mexico, Peru or Washington DC before ending in Panama for World Youth Day itself. The exact option MCNS takes will be decided in consultation with the students and the College in the coming weeks.

Students currently in Year 12 are also able to attend as part of a special post-school group which would be a unique and amazing way to end their time in secondary school.

If you or your son(s) have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Gabriel Rulewski
Solidarity & Youth Ministry Coordinator

Welcome to 2018

Welcome to a new school year! I trust that you had a great Christmas and holiday and that your son is ready for a wonderful year ahead.

Last week, I wrote to parents in Years 7-10 about some expectations for what is now known as Catholic studies (formerly Religious Education). Our faith is why we exist as a Catholic school. Students will have various levels of personal faith and this will always be respected. In turn, we do expect that your son respects the subject of Catholic Studies and participates to the best of his ability, both in class and in his formal assessment tasks. We are truly blessed to have a dedicated and enthusiastic group of teachers who are passionate about their subject and they will work closely with your son throughout the year to help maximise his potential.

We certainly ‘hit the ground running’ in 2018 with the Season of Lent commencing on Ash Wednesday 14 February. The College will hold an Ash Wednesday Liturgy in the Hall where students will be marked with a sign of the cross on their foreheads as a reminder of our mortality. The words ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospels’ will accompany this action. Sin is a breaking down of our relationship with God. The Church provides us as Catholics an opportunity to say sorry to God for those times where we have failed to love Him and each other. This is done through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Throughout the Season of Lent, we will be providing opportunities for staff and students to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at school. The days and times will be published in the Daily Notices.

On Friday 16 February we will celebrate the beginning of the new school year with our Commencement Mass. At this Mass, we will formally launch our 2018 Theme of ‘Imagine’, welcome all new members of community by placing their names in our Marist Heart and we will also commission our student leaders through their Investiture ceremony. It is a magnificent community celebration and parents, if you are able to attend, you would be most welcome to join us.

As well as being Ash Wednesday, February 14 is well known for another important day - Valentines Day! Like Christmas and Easter, society has seen the commercialisation of this Feast Day and it is more known now for giving Roses and Chocolates. St Valentine’s story is quite fascinating. St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. A short YouTube video about St Valentine is shared with you here.

Best wishes for the year ahead.

Anthony Munro
Director of Faith Formation


Music Tuition Program 2018

Parents and students who wish to continue in the Music Tuition Program in 2018 are to complete an enrolment form and return to Ms Carolyn O’Brien. Forms were provided to all Music Tuition students towards the end of 2017, however if you wish for another copy please contact Carolyn O’Brien:

There are many openings for instruments in 2018 so I wish to invite new students to the program. Year 7 students will commence their lessons in Week 4 after their Camp to ensure a smooth transition into high school. They will receive their first timetable in Week 3 after their return from Camp.

The Music Tutors are highly professional and organise a structured program in the mentorship of their students. A Tuition Booklet is issued to each student and alike the College Diary, it is a means of communicating rehearsal times and a home practice routine.

The tutors at MCNS for 2018: Sam Pellegrino – Guitar, Mark Roulston – Guitar and Bass Guitar, Fiona Keating – Piano/Keyboard, Dave Smith – Drums/Percussion, Penny Coucill, Alan Paardekooper – Woodwind, Ben Swatton – Lower Brass and Trumpet, Alison Flett – Vocal and Tony Gardner – Improvisation, Woodwind and Piano. The tutors are encouraged to communicate with parents on the curriculum, each student’s progress and to establish goals such as the AMEB Exam, eisteddfods and involvement in the College’s Band and Ensemble Program.

Students involved in the Tuition Program are reminded to be responsible for recording the time and day of their tuition lesson from the email (College Gmail) sent each Friday before the week of their lesson or from the Music Tuition Notice Board in their College Diary and remember to be punctual to their lesson. Year 7 Music Tuition parents will also receive the weekly timetable via email to assist in the organisation of their son. If a parent with a son in other years wishes to receive the timetable each week via email please contact Carolyn O’Brien to arrange. If a student is absent from school on the day of his tuition lesson, please contact the music tutor and the College as early as possible. Tutors cannot contact the students to remind them of their scheduled tuition lesson whilst in class, so it is important that all students record their day and time in their College Diary and use an effective strategy to remember their lesson time.

A majority of the students are removed from class time and as a result need to communicate with their teacher about the work to be completed and homework obligations, and finally, to reap the most from their lesson, appropriate instrumental performance practice is required. Students should be reminded that class tests, assessment tasks and excursions or incursions take priority, thus they need to communicate early with their tutor and Carolyn O’Brien of any alterations that need to be made to the time and day.

The students can store their instruments in the Music Instrument Store Room near Music Room 2.

There are still opportunities for involvement in the Music Tuition Program. Please consult your Music teacher – Mr Herbert, Mr McDonnell or Ms O’Brien for a form comprising details and enrolment.

Carolyn O’Brien
Creative and Performing Arts Leader of Learning
Director of Diverse Learning

Newman Program

Newman Selective Gifted Education Program

Marist College North Shore is now in our second year of the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program. 2017 was an exciting year teaching the first Year 7 cohort through into Year 8. Now we have our second Year 7 cohort and more teachers have joined the program. The current priority for the 2018 Year 7 students who have been selected in the program is to have a smooth transition into high school and to develop good organisation and work habits. Their teachers have participated in meetings where they have endeavoured to know each student in their class through their Individual Student Profiles and data from standardised tests to gauge areas of strength. They are a bright and engaged group of young men who are embracing the intellectual rigour through open ended questions, hypothetical inquiry and academic challenges which their teachers have prepared for them in each subject. The Year 8 cohort are building on the strong foundations established in 2017. By now they should have all equipment required in their subjects and have reimplemented their study/homework schedule to ensure they re establish strong work habits after the holidays.

There are many reasons why the College is involved in the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program:
  • As a catalyst for academic excellence through engaging and catering for students who are identified as potentially gifted and talented.
  • To foster a lifelong love of learning and enabling the students to achieve their academic potential through independent and collaborative learning experiences, creative and critical thinking, problem solving, through a culture of inquiry and curiosity, adaptive learning, connecting to world through authentic learning experiences and academic rigor.
  • To support the wellbeing and self efficacy of each student through creating an educational environment where they academically supported and challenged. 
  • Teacher professional development where we build the capacity of teachers for the benefit of the students. The 2017 Newman teachers successfully completed the GEO 1 Gifted Education Course through Sydney Catholic Schools. New teachers to the Newman Program will be participating in the GEO 1 Course later this term. The GEO 1 Course informes teachers about the characteristics of gifted and talented students and identification measures. Teachers who completed the GEO 1 Course in 2017 will participate in the GEO 2 Course where they will learn about gifted pedagogy to take into their classrooms. The main focus will be learning about differentiation for gifted and talented students and educational models for project/problem based learning for their enrichment activity this year.
  • Through the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program all students at the College will benefit as the Newman teachers’ professional learnings will be shared with the teaching staff through professional conversations and mentorship, meetings and Staff Development Days. Teachers will impart their deeper understanding of gifted teaching and learning strategies into their other classes across year groups and subject areas.
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Solidarity Launch

MCNS has a strong tradition and history of showing generosity and support to those people on the margins of society. At the College the work we do regarding social justice, service and supporting charitable organisations falls under "Solidarity", which speaks to our challenge as a community to stand with the marginalised and less fortunate in our world.

On Wednesday of Week 1, students in Years 9 - 12 took part in the ‘2018 Solidarity Launch’ which detailed some of the volunteer initiatives that run throughout the year. The fact that this event is one of the first on the College calendar highlights the importance it holds in the life of Marist North Shore.

As a new member of Staff at the College, and taking over the coordination of Solidarity from Ms Nicholson, it was exciting to see the interest and willingness our students have to serve their community by sharing their time and their presence and I look forward to working with them in the year ahead.

Students in Years 9-12 have been emailed a link to a google form to volunteer to participate in one of the following initiatives:

Year 12 - St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol - Mobile service providing food/drink and other outreach services in the CBD.
Year 11 - Matthew Talbot Hostel Kiosk - Operation of the kiosk.
Year 10 - Salvation Army Street Level Cafe - Serving drinks and desserts.
Year 9 - Sandwich making - Preparing sandwiches to be taken out with Year 12 Night Patrol.

Students who have expressed interest will be emailed a roster soon along with a parental permission note to be signed. Please remind your son/s to check their school email regularly.

Solidarity is a great opportunity for your son to become more active in the College community and to open them to new opportunities in faith formation, social outreach, advocacy and leadership. Students who have volunteered in previous years speak of the enriching and lasting experiences they have gained from their participation in these programs. I urge you to encourage your son to be a part of these programs too.

Gabriel Rulewski
Solidarity & Youth Ministry Coordinator


HSC High Achievers

Congratulations to all of our 2017 HSC High Achievers.  The results were the best we’ve seen for such a large variety of students in many years and reflect the continued growth and improvement at the College. Mr Duncan formally acknowledged the students in a special edition of High Notes at the end of 2017, however, the school community will acknowledge the HSC High Achievers at a special assembly on Wednesday 7 February 2018. Outside of the students who are being acknowledged for their academic performance, many “good news” stories are also filtering in to the College about this particular cohort securing apprenticeships and joining the workforce.

Click here for highlights
Ann McGovern
Director of Teaching & Learning

Goal Setting 2018

Year 7 and 11 Goal Setting will take place on Wednesday 21 February. Goal Setting preparation will begin with students during Week 3 at school to help better prepare and guide the students through the process of setting SMART goals. This extra step is in response to feedback parents provided me during 2017. Information will be e-mailed home to parents over the coming weeks.

All bookings will still take place via the parent portal in Sentral. Year 7 parents will receive instructions and their portal key very shortly if they have not already received this information. Any other parent who needs to have their Sentral portal key reactivated is asked to contact me (Miss McGovern) via the school website before the Goal Setting Day.

Further information will be sent home to parents and students in the coming days to help you with this year’s Goal Setting Day, but it is hoped that parents also take an opportunity at home to start discussing some goals with their son/s by firstly looking back at 2017 and then looking forward to 2018.

Year 12 will also be required to attend school for the day, but will not be involved in Goal Setting with their Tutor teacher on this occasion. Further information will be communicated to Year 12 during the next week.

Ann McGovern
Director of Teaching and Learning

Changes to Academic Awards and Assemblies 2018

Last year there was a gradual move to a reduction in the number of academic assemblies held at the College. This was in response to a decrease in the number of assessment tasks being carried out in a number of courses and how this was then determining the students being recognised. For example, in some cases, courses had not completed a task or completed only one task before the Semester One Academic Awards were being distributed - so in effect, students were not necessarily "first in course” but were first in a task. With further reductions and changes to the number of assessment tasks being mandated by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) being implemented this year, First in Course will be recognised at the end of the year in what was previously referred to as the Semester Two Academic Awards. These will now be whole year awards. Dux for Years 7 to 11 is determined by the number of first in course and is also recognised at the end of year assemblies. Year 12 Dux is determined by the ATAR and is awarded at the HSC High Achievers Assembly, however, the Professor Canalese Award recognises the Year 12 student who receives the most number of first in course placements at the Year 12 Graduation. Parents, family and friends are invited to these important assemblies which occur during school time. It was disappointing that so many students in Years 7 - 9 chose not to attend school in the last days of Term 4, 2017 and missed out on being recognised by the community. Let’s hope that students remember that there are many important days at the end of this year. Commitment (Effort) Awards will still be distributed at the end of both semesters. The Year 7 Student who is awarded the most number of commitment awards during the year will receive the Study Cup at the end of 2018. Do not hesitate to contact me at the College if you are unclear about anything mentioned here.

Ann McGovern
Director of Teaching and Learning