Principal's Blog

Each week, our Principal shares his reflections on learning in this Catholic community.


Week 1 Term 3 2016




Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,

Welcome back to Term 3 which will certainly require a high level of engagement from all members of the Magdalene Community. Thank you for the welcome that I have received from staff, students and parents in my role as Acting Principal.

In the final week of last term Parent/Teacher/Student interviews were conducted and I encourage all students to now focus on this feedback and set goals for ongoing improvement.  Thank you to all staff who participated in this important process. Year 12 students are preparing for the Trial HSC exams, which begin in Week 3, and I ask everyone to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Throughout this term the school will continue to work on differentiation and assessment which should lead to further improvement in student learning.

On a sad note on Sunday 3 July, Mrs Tracey Dakin, mother of Rebekah (11W), passed away after a long battle with illness. A number of staff, students and parents were able to attend her funeral in the first week of the holidays. I ask that all members of the Magdalene community keep Mrs Dakin, Rebekah and her family in your prayers during this very sad time.

This week has been filled with many activities that have involved all members of the Magdalene community. Monday’s athletics carnival started the week and it was pleasing to see the level of participation by all students. Congratulations to all athletes who achieved their personal best and to Mr Hewitt, staff and House Captains for their organization of the day.

On Tuesday we welcomed 17 Year 4, 5 and 6 students along with 5 staff from St Patrick’s Primary School Brewarrina. Over the next three days they participated in a range of activities organized by Mrs Franciscus, staff and Magdalene students. These activities included a welcome BBQ, student workshops, visits to Austinmer Beach and Taronga Park Zoo and a farewell assembly hosted by our student leaders. This immersion opportunity was greatly appreciated by the Brewarrina students and staff . I commend Mrs Franciscus, staff and participating students for their wonderful work and generosity of time and spirit. This is another example of the Magdalene community reaching out to support other Catholic communities.

Magdalene Feast Day was celebrated today which saw our community come together to celebrate a special Mass for the feast day of Mary Magdalene followed by a school fair which raised money for the Care Fund that supports families within the school community who have members suffering from illness. Special thanks to Fr Michael Williams, invited guests, Mr Steven O’Neill, Mrs Ivana Forner, members of the P & F and the staff, students and parents who supported the day. It was also an opportunity for the Magdalene community to farewell and thank Mr Alan McManus (Foundation Principal of Magdalene Catholic High School and Head of School Improvement Secondary CEO) as he retires from many years of service to Catholic Education Wollongong.

The Magdalene Feast Day was a significant celebration and I believe the school prayer captures our mission as a Catholic community


Jesus, you chose Mary Magdalene to be the first witness to your resurrection. 

Help us to be filled with the power of your spirit.

May we become witnesses to your love and healing, 

both within and beyond this community.

Mary Magdalene


Pray for us.


Enrolments for 2017 continue to be processed and I ask that all acceptances are finalized by Friday 29 July.

A special welcome to Ms Mareena Drezina as she replaces Mrs Lena Foti who is on long service leave. Mrs Simone Dowdell will be Acting Year 12 Coordinator.

A reminder that the next P & F meeting will be held on Tuesday 2 August beginning at 7pm. Apart from the normal business there will be a presentation on Numeracy by Curriculum Coordinator Mrs Peiti Haines. All  parents are most welcome.

I look forward to working with all members of this special community over the next two terms.


God Bless


Mr Michael Mullaly

Acting Principal






Week 9 Term 2 2016

Dear Parents, Students, Staff and Friends of the Magdalene Community,

Over the last two weeks of term the school is conducting Parent / Teacher / Student Interviews for students in Years 7 to 11. These interviews provide a great opportunity to improve learning and develop academic capacity and performance. I encourage parents and students to truly reflect on the advice given. In many cases the initial interview may involve further follow up.

As a follow up to the interviews I encourage parents to: 

-   Speak honestly with your child about the discussions you had with their teacher

-   Praise them for the positive feedback and discuss any problem areas

-   Discuss with your child any suggestions to help make improvements

-   Begin any plans for improvement as soon as possible. This shows your child that changes are valued and need to be

     put in to place. Putting plans into action now will certainly have positive benefits for all students.

I remind all students and parents of two special events occurring in Week 1 Term 3. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the first day back at school will be used for the Athletics Carnival Monday 18 July. Magdalene Feast Day will follow this on Friday 22 July. Both of these days are important community days and attendance is compulsory. I especially acknowledge the importance of Magdalene Feast Day. This is an opportunity to celebrate our community, to reflect on our mission and to support those in our community who may be facing adversity. I take this opportunity to invite parents and friends of the community to both events.

Last week the school conducted the Annual Magdalene Shines evening. As in the past, this was certainly an entertaining showcase of tremendous talent, I am in awe of so many students and their willingness to share their gifts with others. I thank and acknowledge all students involved both performing and behind the scenes. I also thank the staff for this venture and especially acknowledge Mr Mäe, Ms Flick and Mr O’Donnell for their overall organisation.

As we approach the Federal Election on July 2, I ask all members of the community to be mindful of party policies related to education. It is essential that all governments support the education of young people and in our case Catholic Education of young people. Please consider the impact of each candidate’s policies and how this can be advantageous for our future generations.

This week we took possession of the new 25 seater school bus. This resource has been made available through the generosity of the Parents and Friends Association. I am grateful for and thank the Parents and Friends Association for their ongoing support. The bus will certainly make a difference to the transporting of students to various venues. I also acknowledge Townsend Signs for generously providing the signage that appears on the bus.

Over the past few weeks there has been much turmoil in our world with the Orlando massacre, the political killing in Britain, refugee crisis and war in Syria and other examples of people’s inhumanity to others. Even though these events are geographically removed from us it is important that each of us recognises that we have a role to play in promoting and bringing about peace. This can certainly be accomplished through prayer.

St Francis Peace Prayer 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Last Tuesday a number of present and former members of the Magdalene community attended the funeral of Jenni Byles. Jenni was a student at Magdalene up to 2013 and would have completed Year 12 in 2015. Sadly after a long battle with illness Jenni passed away last week. I ask that everyone in the Magdalene community keep Jenni and the Byles family in their prayers during this very sad time.

This is the final newsletter for the semester and indeed my final newsletter for the year. As of Week One Term 3, Mr Michael Mullaly will assume the role of Acting Principal in my absence. I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the  community for their support throughout this year. I also wish everyone a prosperous and productive Semester 2.

God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio




Week 7 Term 2 2016




Last week the school photos were taken of each student, class groups and groups of special interest. One aspect of the photos that stood out was the high standards held by our students. As on many occasions, students were complimented for their spirit and respectful cooperation. It was also very obvious that the vast majority of students are proud of their uniform and present in a commendable manner. I thank the students who continue to uphold the highest standards, I also acknowledge parents for ensuring the students are so well presented.

Last week a small number of students were reminded of uniform expectations. I ask parents of those students to support the school in its efforts to uphold our positive reputation which is of benefit to both the individual students and the whole Magdalene community.

Over this term the student body has displayed its support for the wider community, most recently, by involvement in the Saint Vincent de Paul Can Drive, the upcoming Winter Sleep Out and the Mobile Muster. These activities are a reflection of our Catholic School’s commitment to service to others. This commitment is highlighted in our Mission Statement, which concludes with “Through the integration of faith, culture and life experience, we aim to assist each student to be intellectually capable with a love of God, a love of one another, a strong sense of justice and a sense of hope.’  These activities are a practical means by which young people can reach others and live out our Mission by offering a sense of hope. I am impressed by the willingness of students to involve themselves in these activities as they do make a significant difference to the lives of others.

I remind all members of our community that our Annual Magdalene Shines Evening will be conducted on June 16 at Mt Carmel Catholic College Hall. This evening is a way to highlight the significant talent of many Magdalene students . I encourage all who are able, to attend the evening as it is a most entertaining and awe inspiring event.

This week and for the remainder of Term 2, Mr Michael Mulally will be present at Magdalene as part of the transition to Acting Principal. Mr Mulally will have the opportunity to work with staff and students prior to Term 3 and 4. I hope everyone joins with me in welcoming Mr Mulally to Magdalene and look forward to a close association for the remainder of the year.

At the beginning of last week the school conducted our assembly. I congratulate The following students on being acknowledged by their peers.

ClareVella        Year 7        Commitment to her learning

Michael FullerYear 8       Constantly trying his best

Travis Clark Year 9       Assisting others in their learning

Annalise SmalleyYear 10      Assisting others in their learning

Jessica GunnerYear 11     Commitment to her learning and assisting others


KaylaCaruanaYear 12     Assisting others  

On 27 May the staff were involved in a professional development day with a focus on developing ‘Higher Order Thinking Skills.’ Many students are performing well but have the capacity to perform at a higher level. Often this involves greater insight and a willingness to explore questions in greater depth and detail. The aim of the staff development day was to give teachers the opportunity to explore strategies to take students beyond their present level of achievement. I am sure that these strategies will allow the students to improve their levels of achievement and learning.

Recently I came across this inspiring passage for parents. On many occasions we tell our children what they “should” be doing, however they often notice what we are doing, rather than saying, and certainly take their lead from what we do. As parents we are challenged to do more than “talk the talk”, young people notice what we do (often more than we know) and take these actions to heart even if they do not make this obvious.



When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

– Unknown

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang up my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favourite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight, and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking, I LOOKED… and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.


God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio