From the Principal

Uniforms and more

Dear Parents, Students, and Friends,

In a pastoral letter to the people of the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent Long spoke of being ‘first and always a community of disciples following our one master, Jesus Christ. We are not the church of one particular leader, be it Pope Francis or Cardinal Pell or any other bishop’. He remarked that ‘we are the living Body of Christ made up of saints and sinners’. Bishop Long called for humility, and a letting go of superiority, privilege, and power.

I have heard Bishop Long speak a number of times and each time I am impressed with his ability in few words to cut through, to say it as it should be said and to say what needs to be said at the time. This has been a dreadful week for the Catholic Church and this week follows a dreadful five years. It is our great sorrow for the victims of child sexual abuse that is at the heart of our dismay. These crimes should never have been committed especially by a church that should have been protecting the young.

Last Friday, I had one of those great positive experiences in life. One I had not been expecting. My whole day was set to listen to four school uniform companies put forward their thoughts on the Kindergarten to Year 12 school uniform for Marist Catholic College North Shore. Not a simple matter in that it included girls and boys, infants, primary, junior and senior secondary, summer, winter, sports, accessories such as bags, scarves and more. I could not have imagined a worse day. Hours of conversation about fabric, fashion, skorts vs culottes.

Our journey with the uniform is only just beginning. Our group on Friday consisted of Bev Coffey, Principal of St Mary’s Catholic Primary and three mothers. I won’t name them for their personal safety at this stage. Two of the mothers have sons at our school and daughters who will be joining us. One of the mothers has children who are much younger and will be making this their school into the future.

After a couple of presentations, I could not believe my personal transformation. I was asking questions of thread count, shades of colours and was very enthused with the experience. I think what happened was that I gained a glimpse of the future with children and young people dressed in this uniform studying at this college. Young adults dressed in these new, smart colours benefitting from our traditions and yet finding new ways of being Marist.

It is early days in the uniform discussions. We are very keen to bring parents, students and teachers along in this process. We have not made big decisions yet but are very interested in the creativity of two of the manufacturing companies. I may have found my calling in life.

Sadly, this week we will farewell our outstanding English Coordinator, Janette Durand. Janette is a great English teacher, coordinator, and member of staff. She has built the English Faculty into being a strong and effective team. Under her leadership, our HSC results have shown outstanding success. Each year HSC English students at the various levels have shown strong growth when compared to their expected performances. This was Janette’s seventh year of coordinating English at Marist. Janette is moving to become the English Coordinator at an independent girls’ school.

Ms. Candice Green will take over from Janette. Candice has a strong record of teaching and leading English and will commence at Marist at the beginning of Term 2.

Tony Duncan

From the Assistant Principal

Mobile phones, bully and more

Mobile phones
The beneficial use of mobile phones at the College has been under review over the last three weeks. Parents, students, and staff have all completed a survey around mobile phone use at the College and at home. We are now setting up a mobile phone staff committee to explore the data obtained and determine how we move forward with the use of mobile phones here at the College. Thank you to all parents who completed the survey, we had an overwhelming response. We will, of course, keep parents and students updated on the way forward in this area.
Bullying at the College
At Marist College, we aim to create a safe and supportive school community for everyone. Parents are an important part of our work to prevent bullying and to respond effectively if it happens. Stopping bullying involves everyone. Parents know their son best and know the best way to tailor communication to their needs. Adapt these tips to what works for you and your son. 

If your son talks to you about bullying:
1. Listen calmly and get the full story. Your calm response is important to allow your son to tell you all about the situation. After they’ve told you their story, ask questions to get more details if you need: who, what, where, when. Although you may feel some strong emotions about your son’s experience, try to keep calm to avoid more distress to your son.
2. Reassure your son they are not to blame. Many students blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse. You could say things like, ‘That sounds really hard to deal with. No one should have to put up with that.’ or ‘I’m so glad you told me. You should be able to feel safe at school; that’s not fair at all’.
3. Ask your son what they want to do and what they want you to do. A critical part of your response is to avoid jumping in to solve the problem. While it is natural to want to protect your son, helping them to find their own solution is a better option. It helps them feel they have some power in the situation.
4. Visit to find some strategies. The website has tips and ideas for different bullying situations. One idea is to practice strategies at home to help your son feel more confident.
5. Contact the school. Your son may be reluctant for you to do this, so discuss the idea and reassure them that the school would want to know and is able to help. Make an appointment to meet with your son’s House Coordinator. Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your son’s safety.
6. Check in regularly with your son. Keep the conversation going. It can take time to resolve issues, so check in regularly with your son about their experiences and their feelings. Your ongoing support is important.

If you are looking for support for yourself to deal with a bullying situation, you will find ideas on the Bullying. No Way! website for parents. As well, please feel free to contact the College if you would like to discuss any aspect of our approach to preventing bullying.

Pupil Free Day - Friday 12 April
An early reminder that Friday 12 April is a Staff Development Day at the College. This is a pupil free day for the students, there will be no supervision on this day.

Winter Uniform

With only a month to go before the Easter break, this is the optimal time to ensure your son has the correct uniform for winter. The boys are required to wear their blazers in winter as well as long pants.
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Faith Formation

We are a Catholic School

We are a Catholic School!

The title says it all. We are a Catholic School. Jesus is at the heart of who we are with our actions based on Gospel Values and lived out through a Marist lens. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, I have had many conversations with students about disrespecting various aspects of the faith life of the College. It is, in fact, a condition of enrolment that the Catholic Nature of the College is respected including but limited to Prayer, Religious Education classes, Reflection Days, Retreats and Masses. I understand and appreciate that each student is unique in terms of their faith and spirituality and their personal level of faith will always be respected. We will not force students to believe. What we will never do however is apologise for being Catholic. We would appreciate your help at home to encourage an appropriate level of respect for faith and spirituality at the College.

During our Ash Wednesday Liturgy, everyone present was marked with a sign of the cross with ashes, along with the words ‘Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.’ During last Wednesday’s Principal’s Assembly, I spoke to the students about Lent being a season of repentance, a season for saying sorry. As humans, sometimes we say and do things that we are not proud of. Sometimes we think things we shouldn’t and other times we fail to act when we know that we should. In thinking about a time where they had fallen out with a friend or relative, I asked the students to recall how they felt at the time. Anger was common, along with feelings of hurt and regret. We then asked how this conflict was resolved. The words ‘I’m sorry’ came up, as well as gestures such as a handshake or even doing something nice for them. Once the conflict was resolved, feelings of peace, relief, happiness and a sense of moving forward were common.

Following this practical example, I likened the falling out, apology and moving on to their relationship with God. Sometimes, we do things, say things, think things and fail to do things that hurt our relationship with God, and just like our friend in the yard, we need to say sorry. The Church offers a chance to say sorry through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Particularly during this season of Lent, a time of repentance as we get ready for Easter, it is a good time to examine our lives and make peace with God and each other. On Friday, Fr Michael Stoney SJ offered the Sacrament of Reconciliation during lunchtime in the Faith Formation Room. It was pleasing to see a number of students take up this opportunity. There will be other opportunities for reconciliation during Lent, and indeed, throughout the rest of the year for that chance to say sorry to God, where the Lord is always waiting for you “ return to me with your whole heart ..." (Joel 2:12).
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English Homework Club

The English faculty has begun an English Homework Club. Students are welcome to join members of the English faculty on Wednesday afternoons in the Academic Resource Centre. Beginning at 3:20pm and running until 4:30pm, the English Homework Club is a space where students can receive further assistance in English or literacy, work collaboratively with their peers or teachers, or have a quiet place to study and reflect. Hope to see you there.
Rhys Williams English Teacher


Mathematics Homework Club

Mathematics Homework Club is back for 2019!

When: Each Wednesday afternoon (Week 6 - 10)
Where: ARC
Time: 3:20 - 4:20pm

This is back by popular demand and an excellent opportunity to complete homework, prepare for assessment tasks, get extra help with Mathematics, work collaboratively with friends or set up a study group. See you there!

Amanda Conde
Mathematics Leader of Learning


Chess 2019

The new school year has only just begun, and with it, a myriad of opportunities for students to further enrich their academic lives here at Marist College North Shore, through the participation in various extracurricular activities. Such activities range from displays of public oratory skills (debating and public speaking) to displays of elite, physical fitness in a vast array of sports. Yet this article isn't about the aforementioned activities, although it very well could be, as such activities are of equal importance and benefit to the student body. Instead, it is about the College Chess Club. To the great benefit of both the college and the student body, the College Chess Club has been around for many years and has become an integral part of the rich culture of extra-curricular activities that the college provides.

If desired, students from Years 7-12 can join chess teams for their year group (4 students per team), and based on their previous experience and ability to play chess, will assign themselves to boards 1 through to 4. With 1 being the player with the most experience and aptitude, and 4 being the player with the least experience. Once these teams have been formed, they will play teams from other schools in the North Shore region in competitive, yet cordial competitions, taking place mainly all in Term 2 (for more precise dates, consult either Mr. Dela Paz or Mrs. Drivilias). These competitions provide students not only with the ability to further enhance their chess skills, but also to consolidate friendships with other students in both their team and ones from other schools.

Now, what if you don’t feel as if joining the chess team is something that takes your fancy? Then don’t fret, as you can still engage yourself and become involved in the well-established and respected culture of chess at the college. This can be done through attending one of the many lunchtimes in Room 19 (on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays), where students from Years 7-12 come together to play chess. Coming along on one of these days, either to play chess or to just have a look, is very much recommended. As in doing so, you have the chance to connect with and form bonds with other students while simultaneously improving your ability to play chess and contribute to the rich and vibrant culture of Marist spirit that is abundant in the college. For students who are interested in the joining the chess club, please see Mr. Dela Paz or Mrs. Drivilias, or come along to Room 19 on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday at lunch. Hope to see you there!

Dorian Duschlbauer
Year 12, Kelly 4

Religious Education

Nan Tien Temple Year 12 SOR II Excursion

On Friday, March 8 the Year 12 Studies of Religion ll class travelled

to the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong as a part of our religious tradition study of Buddhism. As we drove in through the front gates the temple already made an impression with its size and we now understood why it is the biggest temple in the Southern Hemisphere. We began the day by participating in a series of meditation processes which was lead by one of the Buddhist nuns. The purpose of these meditation processes was to cultivate a sense of calm and focus the mind to gain wisdom. This was done through the traditional ways of indoor mediation and environmental meditation but we were also introduced to walking meditation which was a new experience for the whole class.

The meditation ended and we commenced learning about the key beliefs of Buddhism. We learnt how the five precepts are the foundation for all virtuous actions as well as the moral standard for the human race. After a nice vegetarian lunch, our tour guide took us to the Great Hero Hall. Inside the Great Hero Hall, the five Buddha's of Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom, Inner Beauty and Peace looked upon the shrine with 10,000 smaller Buddha's, showing that everyone can achieve Buddhahood. After this, our tour was wrapped up with a visit to the museum where many interesting relics were on display.

This excursion was very worthwhile and an authentic learning experience. It was a very nice way to tie the unit together. I would like to thank Mr. McDonnell for organising this excursion and all of the boys found the day really worthwhile.

Guiliano Parisi
Year 12, Montagne 2


Careers Update

Year 10 Careers Assessment/Profiling
Following the Careers Assessment and profiling session earlier this term, reports will be distributed to the boys on Friday afternoon. Any student who was absent on Friday is asked to collect this from me in the Careers Room. Furthermore, the timetable for optional interviews has been distributed to the students.

Macquarie University School Visit
Last Thursday afternoon, we commenced our series of University and tertiary providers visits to the College with Macquarie University. It was very encouraging to see over 40 boys from Years 11 and 12 choose to participate in this opportunity. As such, the boys engaged in conversations with the student ambassadors around new course options, scholarships, entry pathways, and daily life at MQ.  Moreover, the boys were able to gain a holistic view of what makes MQ a university which is undertaking dynamic change and producing graduates who are well rounded, globally focussed and practice ready. Click below to view Macquarie at a Glance.

Other University visits this term:
Week 9, 28 March University of Technology
Week 10, 4 April University of Sydney

UTS Big Day IN IT Careers Expo
The Big Day Excursion will take place this coming Thursday. Boys who are participating need to meet me at North Sydney station at 8.20am. All students will need to be dressed in full school uniform and bring their lunch with them. Boys will also need Opal cards for the train journey to Sentral.

Click here for up to date Career Information

Nicola Brown
Careers Advisor

Community Notices

Monte Performance


Book Reviews Term 1

New Books in the ARC!

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body"
- Joseph Addition

Click on the books below for a quick review.

Dare To Be

By now many parents would be aware through assemblies, information evenings, conversations with their son or reading High Notes that the College has a Vision for Learning - Dare To Be, and four principles that teachers follow that aim to bring the vision to life, that being Challenge, Relational, Engaged and Deep Thinking. Over the following issues of High Notes, I aim to arm you with some language that your son might start using at home. To ensure that we bring the Vision to life, we endeavour to make it part of our everyday conversations.

In this edition, we will look at “Challenge”

The idea of challenge in learning is important to teachers and your son as a challenge means:
  • Having high and realistic expectations at home and school - stretching students.
  • Authentic learning - using real-world experience to help solve problems - accepting that solutions are not easily found.
  • Learning from our mistakes and failures. Celebrating improvement, not Grades.
  • Changing mindsets - challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about ourselves and each other.
  • Experimenting with different ways of learning - adapting, flexibility, integrating technology.

So, at school, your son might hear his teachers say:

  • This is going to test your assumptions
  • What might be another option?
  • What is another point of view?
  • Yes, it’s difficult. That is why you will learn
  • Keep trying, failure is just the first step in learning
  • Are you able to change my mind on this?
  • How would that work in your world?
  • What evidence suggests this?
  • Work with someone you haven’t worked with before
  • What makes you think that?
  • Why do you think about this?
  • Can you give me an example?
  • Let’s try something new today
  • If you do things that are challenging that’s how you learn and grow
  • Learn out of your comfort zone
  • Think laterally on this
  • Doing your best is important
  • Change my mind!
  • Fact or opinion?
  • Is there another way of doing that?
  • How did you get that answer/conclusion?
  • I’m going to ask you to consider this from another person’s perspective…
  • Step outside your comfort zone…
  • Ok, that didn’t turn out how you wanted, what can you do?
  • What’s another way you can go about it?
  • Have a go
  • “Yet” - you can’t do that “yet”
  • What is a further solution to this complex problem?
  • Let’s find out; let’s be curious; what do you think is going to happen?
I encourage you to use this kind of language with your son at home and see if he draws the link to the school. I wonder if he will say “Mrs so and so says that too!” or “You sound like one of my teachers!” I hope that this is the case.

Mark Heiss

Year 11 Study Skills Seminar

On Tuesday 12 March Dr. Prue Salter from Enhanced Learning Educational Services ( conducted a study skills session with Year 11. The session focused on helping students identify changes and improvements they could make to their approach to their studies in order to maximise their results in their final years of school.

The main areas covered with Year 11 were:
  • Moving into a senior mindset.
  • Working effectively at home and dealing with distractions.
  • The importance of independent learning.
  • Managing workload and planning for assessments.
  • Organising resources for school both paper and digital.
  • Steps to effective study for assessments.
  • Increasing the range of study techniques used.
  • How often and how to make study notes.
  • Making study notes - practical guide and examples.

Parents are encouraged to review the handout from the session with students and discuss the main areas identified where changes need to be made. Parents can also find extra study skills tips on the following website:

The Year 11 Study Skills Seminar is in alignment with the student's Goal Setting and the College’s focus on developing a Growth Mindset. The College offers students support with developing strong study habits through Study on Thursday afternoon and in the Academic Resource Centre. Ms. Tracey Dunne, our Academic Resource Leader offers guidance with effective study notes strategies. This support coupled with the seminar strategies presented by Dr. Prue Salter should provide the Year 11 students the opportunity to manage the senior school in terms of both achieving their academic potential and for their wellbeing.

Carolyn O’Brien
Director of Diverse Learning

High Achievers Forum

On Wednesday 6 March the College hosted a Parent Forum where our 2018 HSC High Achievers shared their experiences and strategies for their academic success. There were over 90 guests with families from all year groups attending the forum who were keen to hear each student’s HSC journey and their advice. 

Questions included:
What are they doing post-school?
What aspect of their academic life are they most proud?
How did they study and what worked for them?
How did they manage stress and achieve life balance in their HSC year?
Strategies for managing distractions such as their mobile phone and social media?
How did their parents/caregivers help them in their HSC year?
What advice would they provide to a student to achieve their potential?

What was revealed in the forum was that each student had their own unique journey and strategies for what worked for them in terms of study habits, study environment, management of work and life balance.

But there were underlying themes that were evident in their responses including:
Self-discipline in maintaining a study schedule.
Goal oriented.
Have a go attitude.
Knowing what study strategies worked best for them.
Having strong relationships with their peers to work collaboratively. This included teaching each other in study sessions (optimising memory retention and deeper thinking), sharing drafts for peer collaboration and improvement, and providing support through friendships.
Recognising that they can have setbacks with their academic results and still achieve through perseverance and re-setting goals and strategies.
Trusting teachers strategies and support in their academic journey.
Removing distractions when studying - especially mobile phones. The students provided advice about what strategy worked best for them including a variety of apps to block access for a certain period of time. Students shared the following blocking apps:
Self Control for Mac, Windows, and iPhone
For iPhones in Settings - Screen Time - Downtime - set time periods when you require blocking
Developing skills, knowledge, and understandings early not just in their HSC year. Students related that they had their academic focus and habits from Year 7 where they took every test and assessment task seriously.
Select subjects they enjoyed and were good at - made workload and study easier, and even enjoyable.
Family support - parental understanding.
Life balance was a reoccurring theme with the students. Each had their own advice including sport, developing friendships outside the HSC ‘bubble’, selecting subjects that were right for them and suited their learning style, playing a musical instrument, and organisational skills to be on top of study and assessment obligations.

We are so proud of our 2018 High Achievers who were so generous with their time and insights as they have now commenced their university studies and apprenticeship. Their advice and strategies were helpful, realistic and attainable for the families and students who attended the event.

Thank you to our 2018 High Achievers:
Rohan Geraghty
Frederick Krisman
Leopold Metzker
Riley Sanders
Robert Slater
Michael Spano

Carolyn O’Brien
Director of Diverse Learning