From the Principal

Faith and more

Dear Parents, Student and Friends

We hear that Australia is a most secular society. Faith is not cool. Faith has become far less desirable over recent years in Australia and in truth for reasons that are not deniable. We Catholics in Australia will live for a long time with this reality. Having said that I must declare a conflict of interest with this mantra. We must not gloss over the wrong done in our Catholic institutions but we also need to look after our faith. God has not done wrong. It has been done by men.

The Provincial of the Marist Brothers in Australia, Br Peter Carroll, wrote an interesting article on faith in a secular society. Peter writes of ‘a denial of God or at least a disinterest in God’. Peter refers to a talk given by another Marist, Br Graham Neist, whose message is that our image of God may be too small. Graham’s ideas remind me of the work of the famous theologian and writer, Richard Rohr.

Richard Rohr is a Franciscan Friar, a priest, based in New Mexico, America and is a very popular writer on spirituality.

Richard says that ‘your image of God creates you’. He speaks of the problems of having an image of God as a western Zeus figure throwing down thunderbolts at the creation that he didn’t like. If this image of God as one who delivers punishment is our personal image of God this presents problems in how we see God being part of our lives. Alternately, Richard says that if we see the very essence of creation is love then the very shape of God is in love. He says that this allows us to read reality in a very different way. Our purpose in this life, why we have been created is seen and is founded on love.

We need to nurture our faith because it can become less passionate if we are not living it.

I began and ended last week at Marist Dinners. The first was the Marist Student Leaders’ Forum at Mittagong. Mr Rulewski took four of our student leaders to this forum. These were Josh Willathgamuwa, Tom James, Jonathan Amirzaian and Tim Pettigrew. Our leaders joined student leaders from 18 other Marist Schools around NSW. The forum gave our leaders a chance to talk about their goals for the year, within a really supportive forum, based on Christian Leadership.

On Friday evening our College Leadership Team attended the Annual Marist Schools Australia dinner at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill. Each year, at this dinner, there is an opportunity to recognise the contribution certain teachers have made to Marist Education over the years. We took the opportunity to recognise Dr Sue Turner for her passion and energy as a teacher of Ancient History for over 33 years at MCNS.

I read the following citation in regard to Sue’s work at the College:

Dr Sue Turner began teaching at Marist College North Shore in 1986 and for all of these 33 years she has taught Ancient History. Over recent years Sue has also taught Extension History to the senior students. Sue dedicated herself to the study of Ancient History and Egyptology in particular. Sue was awarded her PhD in 2016 and the topic of her thesis was Horses in the Ancient World. Sue shares her passion and her deep expertise in history which she shares with her fellow history colleagues and her students.

Sue is a Marist Educator. Her presence is evident every day in her working with students in need. Sue displays a love of work and simplicity can be seen in the positive working relationships that she creates with students and with staff. Sue is a worthy recipient of this award and we thank her for her contribution to Marist education.

Tony Duncan
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From the Assistant Principal

Opportunities and more

The beginning of Term 4 has presented itself with numerous opportunities for valuable messages to be reinforced with the boys of Marist College at many levels. The boys experienced a pastoral lesson last Wednesday which catered to the specific needs of each year group. Whilst the College has a well established House system, there are often times that the boys are brought together to hear messages or engage with an issue relevant to their age group. Year 11, soon to become Year 12, are looking at planning for their HSC assessment tasks. Many have obtained their driver's licence and are beginning to drive, and as they mature into responsible young men, they are now able to enjoy lunch in the local area, free to make good choices. Year 10 have a specific focus of the term working towards 2019 and the many options they have in front of them.

Years 7, 8 and 9 boys are working towards their end of course examinations in the coming weeks. Ms Carolyn O’Brien has prepared a valuable resource, explaining effective study, which the boys have been working through and which has been shared with parents.

The College regularly takes the opportunity to remind the boys of their obligation to maintain the high standards set by the College, whether they are inside the school grounds or travelling to and from school. We feel that pride in our College by all members of the community facilitates a positive and dynamic environment where healthy competition and respect for others permeates through to the learning in the classroom, on the sporting field and in the schoolyard during recess or lunch. Pride is not only displayed in how you wear the uniform, although it is one of the essentials, it is also how we speak of our experiences to each other, to family and friends about MCNS. It is about how we present in public, how we engage with members of the public in either word or action.

Our new student leadership team have spent a day working on a theme for 2019. A great deal of the discussion on the day centred around the great experiences all the boys have to encounter but also on how we can all work to further the Champagnat spirit at MCNS. The boys are very energised and filled with many ideas. The leadership team will look for boys in younger year groups to get on board and be part of the experience. They, as does the College, want to ensure that the boys voices are heard and supported as much as practically possible.

Finally, I encourage all boys to continue to work hard, alongside their teachers, to ensure they maximise their learning in the last half of Term 4 to ensure a successful completion of 2018.

Rick Grech
Assistant Principal

Faith Formation

Marist Schools Leader Gathering

From Sunday 28 - Tuesday 30 October 2018, Tim Pettigrew, Tom James, Josh Willathgamuwa and myself, had the opportunity to represent Marist College North Shore at the Marist Schools Australia Student Leaders Gathering in Mittagong.

The annual SLG invites all Marist schools in NSW to gather at the Hermitage in Mittagong to discuss and focus on what it means to be a leader in a Marist school and an agent of change. At the same time it was an opportunity to bond with students from other Marist schools.

I know I can speak on behalf of all of the boys when I say this experience was definitely one that had a strong impact; giving each of us much to consider and think about and we are excited to use what we learned in the year ahead.

I called this experience an "opportunity", but in fact, it was nothing short of a privilege.

Jonathan Amirzaian
Year 11, Kelly 5

Pastoral Care and Wellbeing

Mental Health Youth Forum

On Monday 22 October a select group of Year 11 students from the College took part in the annual Mental Health Youth Forum at the ACU North Sydney campus. The forum was organised and presented by North Sydney MP, Felicity Wilson, alongside four team members from Burn Bright Australia and a panel of mental health experts. This event was attended by local secondary school students in the broader North Sydney area.

The students were able to deepen their understanding of issues associated with mental ill-health as well as the benefits and strategies to maintain positive mental health. This was achieved through a range of engaging, interactive activities where students from different schools collaborated with each other with a common goal to better understand mental health. Additionally, they listened to questions being asked and answered by renowned expert speakers and the Burn Bright team members. Finally, the students drafted a plan to implement a more supportive network surrounding mental health around the College, named the Student Wellbeing and Awareness Team. Working with school administration, the APC centre staff and the College staff, the team aims to implement training for students to recognise mental ill-health and to provide them with strategies to support their peers.

After the Forum ended the senior students were armed with valuable experience and new-found knowledge of the reality of Youth Mental Health. The students were appreciative of the opportunity provided by the College to attend the forum, to learn about mental health, constructively draft a plan to implement effective strategies to support other students, and to meet their local parliament representative.

Georges Sineux
Year 11, Montagne 2

Creative and Performing Arts

Band Performance to Feeder Schools

On Wednesday 31 October the Marist College North Shore Concert Band hit the road to perform. Bringing some musical fun and entertainment to some of our local Northern Sydney feeder primary schools.

We travelled to Sacred Heart Primary School in Mosman and St Michael's Primary School in Lane Cove, performing for students and teachers from Kindergarten to Year 6. It was an exciting, high energy, international music and food exploration of the globe!

Our repertoire included:
  • Demonstrations of all the woodwind, brass and percussion families; 
  • Australian National Anthem, Play School and Bananas In Pyjamas Singalong;
  • French repertoire with guest Ballet dancing teachers doing Can Can dancing; 
  • Mexican with the song Tequila with guest brass players and percussionists;
  • 1960’s Surf Music and Born To Be Wild;
  • The heavy metal music of Black Sabbath in Metal;
  • American grooves including The Blues Brothers, YMCA and rapping Bruno Mars Uptown Funk.

It is always wonderful to experience the reactions of our young audience, These performances are often the first live music experiences that these young children may receive.

I would like to thank our band members for their outstanding performance and ambassadorship.

Rod Herbert
Band Coordinator

Y9 PDM Cockatoo Island Excursion

On Tuesday 23 October Year 9 Photography and Digital Media went on an excursion to Cockatoo Island to take photographs for a Body of Work on the concept of ‘Journeys’. The students had spent several weeks researching the history of the island and discovering things about the past of the island. The island has a long history dating back to the time of first settlement, playing a significant role in the development of Sydney and the nation.

The following information provided by the Australian Government Sydney Harbour Federation Trust highlights the varied history of the island:
  • The island's first visitors were most likely the Eora people, the Aboriginal people of Sydney's coastal region. They called the island Wareham. 
  • In 1839 the Governor of the colony of New South Wales, Sir George Gipps, chose Cockatoo Island as the site of a new penal establishment to alleviate overcrowding on Norfolk Island. 
  • Convicts were put to work building prison barracks, a military guardhouse and official residences. 
  • 1850-1870 the Fitzroy Dock and a workshop are built by prisoners to service Royal Navy and other ships. 
  • 1870-1880 the prisoners were relocated to Darlinghurst Gaol and the island was used for an Industrial School for Girls and a reformatory. The ship, Vernon, was anchored nearby to train wayward and orphaned boys. 
  • 1880-1900 Shipbuilding and repair activities expand steadily and Sutherland Dock is completed. The island reverted back to a goal from 1888-1908 due to overcrowding elsewhere. 
  • 1900-1930 Cockatoo Island became the Commonwealth Naval Dockyard in 1913 and Australia built its first steel warship on the island.
  • 1930-1945 the island became the major shipbuilding and dockyard facility for the South West Pacific in WWII following the fall of Singapore. 
  • 1945-1965 additional buildings were constructed for shipbuilding and repair. The refit of T-Class submarines occurred and the Navy destroyers, HMAS Voyager and HMAS Vampire, were built. 
  • 1965-1992 the island's work included service and refit of Oberon Class submarines and construction of HMAS Success. 
  • The dockyard closes in 1992, machinery was sold off, and about 40 buildings and several wharves were demolished. From 2001 until present, Cockatoo Island lay dormant for a decade until the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust assumed control of the island and embarked on major restoration works. 
  • After extensive remediation work, Cockatoo Island was opened to the public in 2007. The Harbour Trust continues to actively rehabilitate the island. 
  • In 2010 Cockatoo Island, together with 10 other historic convict sites in Australia, is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 
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Mathematics Homework Club is back for Term 4!

Each Wednesday afternoon during Weeks 2 - 6 there will be a Mathematics teacher in the Academic Resources Centre to help students in Years 7-10 with homework or assessment preparation. Students are to come prepared with their own work to complete during this time and teachers will be there to assist.

When: Wednesday Week 2 - 6
Where: Academic Resource Centre
Time: 3:15 pm (for approximately an hour)

A reminder that students also have access to past papers through Google Classrooms for the Mathematics level they are studying which will help them with revision and exam preparation.

Please encourage your son to attend, this is a great opportunity to get some extra help - don’t miss it!

Amanda Conde
Mathematics Leader of Learning

Community Notices

Diabetes Australia

Click here for further information.


Study Skills

A Growth Mindset is where students strategically set goals and implement effective strategies to achieve their goals. Many students in their goal setting strategies have identified improving their study skills for examinations. To support the Year 7 and 8 students in their preparation for their assignments and their examinations this term, and Year 10 students for their examinations in their Assessment Week (Term 4 Week 5), the Pastoral Care Team of House Coordinators, Mr Grech and the Director of Diverse Learning have prioritised time for Study Skills lessons for the students to revise, reflect and implement effective study strategies and a conducive home study environment. These lessons have been designed to help the students to prepare to the best of their ability and to alleviate any anxiety issues through effective study strategies for their upcoming examinations in their Assessment Week. 

The Year 7, 8 and 10 Pastoral Care lessons conducted on Wednesday 31 October involved a staff member who mentored the students through a Study Skills Booklet designed to inform, evaluate and set goals for their upcoming examinations. Each student and parent/caregiver received a copy of the Study Skills Booklet to assist building strong home/school partnership which is a key foundation for the students academic success and well being. The teachers informed the students of what will be required for study in each of their exams in an Assessment Notification Sheet to assist in the early preparation of the Assessment Week tasks.

To help support your son, the Academic Resource Centre can assist all students with supervised study, helping to organise their study notes and mentoring students with effective study skills. The Academic Resource Centre is open to all students for their study and examination preparation and it is an excellent resource for learning under the guidance of Ms Tracey Dunne. The Academic Resource Centre is open after school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3.15pm - 4.30pm.

Year 11 (2019 HSC) students have commenced supervised study on Thursday afternoons this term. Over the past two weeks the students have fully embraced a focused approach to study. They have demonstrated the hard work and organised approach required for their academic pathway through their HSC year.

Study skills has been a focus of the College throughout 2018 with Study Skills Seminars with Dr Prue Salter for Years 11 and 12, and also with Year 7 and their parents. The aim of the College is to forge strong home/school partnerships where we address the students' needs to achieve their potential, to develop life-long learning, and study habits. It is hoped students take advantage of the many opportunities available to them so they can achieve their goals.

Carolyn O’Brien
Director of Diverse Learning