Principal's Blog

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


Week 5 Term 2 2016



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

On Wednesday last week Year 10 students were involved in an information evening for Year 11, 2017 subject selection. The evening was an opportunity for students and parents to gather information in relation to senior school and senior subjects. It is also a very important time for students as they have quite significant input into their future directions. Clearly the decisions made at this time should not be taken lightly. To emphasise this fact, during the evening the students were reminded that their future is in their hands and each individual can have significant impact on their destiny through their commitment effort and wise decision-making at this time. 

As part of the evening two of our senior students spoke about their experiences. Isaac Percy from Year 11 and Eliza Rourke from Year 12 gave their insights into subject selection and senior school. I include Eliza’s reflection for all students in approaching elective choices but also for setting future directions.

“...I have been asked tonight to share with you some of my experiences of subject selection for Year 11 and 12. The process of subject selection seemed very daunting at the time as I was suddenly thrown the challenge of choosing subjects that could well determine my future endeavors at university or any future study I might choose to do. Fortunately I had a goal in mind and was able to do some research to find out if there were any subjects that were mandatory for the course that I was considering that I would need to choose in Year 11 and 12. 

What I did know and kept in mind were the subjects that I was considering choosing had to be ones that I did well in and enjoyed studying the content, because at the end of the day my ranking in each subject would go towards my final ATAR result.   

Upon reflection on the process you are about to undertake I figured the best advice I could offer to you all would be to provide you with an A-Z directory of subject selection tips for the HSC, minus a few letters of the alphabet that just didn’t seem to match my task!


So here we go…

A – is for ATAR, choose your best subjects to get the best ATAR

B- is for be prepared. The first six subjects you choose may not be the one’s you get. In my experience choosing mostly HSIE subjects, I had to change my subject choices twice to fit into the timetable. 

C- is for choose, choose subjects that emphasise your strengths and interests. 

D- is for dedication, anyway who tells you it’s not hard work has never done the HSC!

E- is for explore, explore your career path and future endeavors, as you choose your subjects.  

H- is for help, my greatest advice is to seek help from family, teachers and older peers, if you are undecided about what subjects to choose. 

K – is for key. The key to subject selection is to choose for yourself and not for anyone else. 

M- is for Mrs. Haines, her guidance and advice as Curriculum Coordinator is paramount when making these choices. 

P- is for partnership. It is imperative that you build a relationship with your subject teacher. They become your other best friend and greatest support person.

T- is for 12 units, your minimum amount of units for Year 11.

U- is for university, it seems a long way off but believe me it sneaks up on ya. 

V- is for valuable, use the next part of tonight’s presentation when subjects are showcased to ask lots of questions. 

W- is for wait. Once you hand your subject choices in the wait can often be the most nerve wracking time, and sometimes your subject choices may need to be revised, but don’t worry it will all work out in the end.

Y- is for yes! I bet you are really pleased I am nearly out of tips!

Z- is for zero! I have no tips to offer…. but what I hope you have gained from my A-Z directory, is a few tips that might assist you tonight and take away some of the anxiety that you may be feeling right now. 

My greatest tip by far is choose what suits and interests YOU! It would be a very long two years if you find your subject uninteresting or too difficult. Ask about the requirements of the subject as you visit the teachers tonight and ask yourself….are there lots of essays to write? Is the subject based on lots of inquiry? Do I need to do a lot of mathematical calculations? Then make your choices wisely based on information.   

Good luck, I wish each and every one of you all the best in your subject selections. I was you, only 18 months ago, and now look at me with only 5 months to go before the HSC, I’m resorting back to my ABC’s…… it becomes quite evident that the building blocks we set at the age of 5 become the corner stones of our future learning.”    Eliza Rourke

As part of the subject selection process, the Year 10 students will be interviewed by members of staff. The purpose of these interviews is to help with wise decision-making and appropriate subject choices. I thank the parents and students for their attendance at the Information Evening and acknowledge and thank the teachers and senior students present for their support. 

This Friday the school will be conducting professional development for staff. The Staff Development Day will involve a focus on curriculum differentiation and student engagement and the promotion of higher order thinking skills in the classroom. The development of these skills will promote engaging for lessons and enhance student learning. 

Yesterday was National Sorry Day, which is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. Stolen generations refer to Indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities. This is an important day in our history as it allows us to attempt to heal some of the pain caused by previous generations’ treatment of Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders.

National Sorry Day is followed by National Reconciliation Week (May 27 - June 3). The 2016 theme of National Reconciliation Week is 'Our History, Our Story, Our Future'  “Our History” reminds us all that historical acceptance is essential to our reconciliation journey. Historical acceptance will exist when all Australians understand and accept the fact that past laws, practices and policies deeply affected the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, often having devastating immediate impacts and causing much of the disadvantage that exists today.  It is also a commitment to ensuring these wrongs are never repeated. The following prayer allows us to reflect on the events of our past while promoting a positive future.


Lord God, bring us together as one, 

Reconciled with you and with each other. 

You made us in your likeness. 

You gave us your Son, Jesus Christ. 

He has given us forgiveness from sin. 

Lord God, bring us together as one, 

Different in culture, but given new life in Jesus Christ:

Together as your body, your church, your people. 

Lord God, bring us together as one, 

Reconciled, healed, forgiven, 

Sharing you with others as you have called us to do. 

In Jesus Christ, let us be together as one.


© Prayer by Bishop Arthur Malcolm taken from APBA


God Bless 

Mr John Lo Cascio







Week 3 Term 2 2016

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

Last Sunday the community acknowledged our mothers on Mothers Day. Mothers are acknowledged in a special way on “their day”. The sentiments expressed show how we feel towards our mothers, however, it is important, to stop and reflect on the fact that the role of a mother (and indeed father) is so integral to whom we are. The influence of mothers can never be underestimated, these people help to shape the lives of their children from the time they are born. The challenges mothers face, are often difficult as there is no guidebook that has all the answers. Yet, mothers continue to confront the challenges and appreciate the joy and love of their children.

A mother will always be just that, ‘a mother’ no matter what the age of the child. Mothers have been given a great privilege and on occasions challenges which so many take up so valiantly. On a special day like Mothers Day I pay tribute to all of our mothers.

I thank the mothers in our community for the love and care they show their families.

This week the Parents and Friends Association met for the Term 2 meeting. At this meeting I explained that the school bus would be delivered in the coming two weeks and that the shade cloth area in the lower quadrangle has now been finalised with the submission of a new engineer’s report. In addition progress of the school hall was discussed. The architects have submitted initial plans with the location of the new hall being finalised. The proposed hall, at this stage, will accommodate approximately 2000 people. The architects will also develop a new master plan for the site so as to accommodate increasing student numbers and future expansion of the school population.

Finally the Parents and Friends Association approved purchase of a laser printer for the TAS department. I thank the parents who were able to attend and offer their support to our students.

This week there have been a number of tests taking place at the school. Year 7 and 9 students have sat for their NAPLAN Tests and Year 11 have presented for their Half Yearly Examinations. We look forward to receiving the results of each. The results will provide valuable information, which will inform future learning directions.

Over the last two weeks the interviews for Year 7, 2017 have been conducted. The interviews have involved a discussion with new students and parents around commitment to the faith life of the school, academic achievement, extra curricular involvement and parental support. All of the interviewers have been impressed by the quality of the applicants and the maturity displayed by so many. The underlying theme that seems to be coming, from the interviews, is that people are attracted to Magdalene due to the fine reputation, quality education (Religious, Academic and Extra Curricular) and the quality of the young people attending Magdalene. As a principal, hearing that feed back continually makes me very proud of the community that exists at Magdalene.

This week students returned to school in their winter uniform. I thank parents and students for ensuring that the appropriate uniform is worn and worn correctly. I remind everyone that when a student enrols at Magdalene they agree to support the school and abide by the rules including the uniform policy. It is essential that all students adhere to the school’s uniform policy, as this is a reflection of the respect that students have for themselves and the school.  Each member of the community needs to be fully aware of the school uniform policy. (The school’s uniform policy is included in the school diary and available on the website.)

As we begin the term there have been two staffing changes as a result of the departure of Mrs Kaperonis and Mr Abourizk. Mrs Haines will now assume the position of Curriculum Coordinator at the school and Miss Casuscelli will replace Mr Abourizk.

Next Sunday we celebrate the feast of Pentecost.  This feast is a reminder that Christ continues to journey with us, through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also provides us strength through the “Seven gifts of the Spirit.” These gifts offer great support to each of as we are challenged to live a truly Christian life at all times.

Prayer of St. Bonaventure to the Holy Spirit

Lord Jesus, as God's Spirit came down and rested upon you,

May the same Spirit rest on us,

Bestowing his sevenfold gifts.

First, grant us the gift of understanding,

By which your precepts may enlighten our minds.

Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow

in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.

Third, grant us courage,

by which we may ward off the enemy's attacks.

Fourth, grant us knowledge,

by which we can distinguish good from evil.

Fifth, grant us piety,

by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.

Sixth, grant us fear,

by which we may draw back from evil

and submit to what is good.

Seventh, grant us wisdom,

that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion


God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio




Week 1 Term 2 2016

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

Welcome back to Term 2. This term is quite a busy term with students undertaking NAPLAN testing, year group examinations in Years 11, 10 and 9, Magdalene shines, Year 12 moving into their final semester of schooling, subject choices and selections for Year 11 2017 and interviews for Year 7 2017. There are also many challenges in the academic and extra curricular life of the school. It is with this in mind that it is pleasing to witness so many students returning to school with a positive attitude and outlook. This can only enhance their contribution to their education and the education of others.

As we begin the new term I, once again, wish to stress the importance of striving for “personal excellence”. This is essential for every student at Magdalene. This means that students need to continue to develop a positive mindset and believe in themselves. Personal excellence involves continually seeking to improve on what has previously been achieved. This can often involve making mistakes and doing things in a different way. Some students will say they do not wish “to get things wrong” or not wish to “lose” or they “can’t”  do something but each of these challenges allow the individual to grow and have a greater understanding of their own capacity and ability to improve. With a positive mindset and an attitude which suggests students believe they “can”, success will continue to come the way of the individual.

Over the holidays a number of maintenance jobs were carried out across the school to improve facilities.  Ten new projectors were installed across the school to continue the upgrade of ICT facilities. The projectors will enable better quality audio visual presentations and in a number of ways enhance student learning. In addition two new footpaths were placed in the car park area. This will allow movement directly to the footpath leading into the school. This is a safer path for pedestrians as they move from the car park area to the school buildings.

This week our nation stopped to commemorate ANZAC Day. Mrs Forner along with a number of students took part in the Camden ANZAC Ceremony on April 25th which, was a fitting way to express the Magdalene community gratitude to those who gave so much in the support of fellow human beings. I thank all who represented Magdalene last Monday. 

Our community also paid tribute to those brave men and women who served in the armed services and made sacrifices so that people in this country could live in a free and democratic society. Our school was able to conduct our own ANZAC service on Tuesday 26 April. The service was attended by Commander Maxfield from the Australian Navy who is also a parent of a Magdalene student. Commander Maxfield spoke to the students and staff about the nature of the ANZAC spirit. He focussed on courage, self-reliance, mateship, selflessness, bravery, courage and self sacrifice among other attributes. He finished by stating “Soon the torch will pass to you, as the next generation of leaders, to honour the sacrifice of those who have gone before and to live the spirit of the ANZACs.” A very real challenge for every student.

The ceremony proved to be a fitting tribute to those who gave so much for us. It was also an opportunity to acknowledge those relatives of members of our community who served in the armed forces. I thank Mrs Phillips and the students involved for their contribution to the Magdalene ANZAC Ceremony.

ANZAC Prayer

Lord our God, boundless provider,

source of peace that the world cannot give,

kindly hear our constant prayer

for those who bore witness to your own fidelity

by giving their lives for those they loved.

Resurrect them in our true homeland

and perfect that peace for which they longed and died


God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio