Principal's Blog

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


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





Week 11 Term 1 2016




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

This week the school issued the Interim Reports for all students in Years 7 to 11. These reports are a summary of how each student is progressing in each of their subjects to date. The reports are not as comprehensive as the ‘End of Semester Reports’, however, they are an attempt to give parents and students greater insight into student progress. As students and parents reflect on student progress I ask that students continue to adopt an “I can” attitude. A belief that they are able to attempt and complete tasks at the highest level. This will combat mediocrity and promote excellence. When students state they “can’t” do well it is a means of giving up. Every student has the capacity to achieve with a positive attitude and perseverance.

Should any parent have any concerns about student progress as reflected in the Interim report, they should contact the subject teacher in the first instance. I remind all parents that the relevant teacher is the first point of contact in any situation and generally issues can be resolved at that level. If there are concerns beyond the subject or Pastoral Care teacher level the year group Pastoral Care Coordinator or KLA Coordinator should be contacted.

Over the last two weeks Year 12 students have been involved in their Semester One Examinations. The students have approached the examinations in varying ways, reflecting their confidence in their capacity to perform well. It is important to stress that the examinations are as much a learning exercise as a measurement of progress. I encourage all students to see every experience as a learning exercise and to put into practice what they have learnt from the examinations in order to increase success and improve learning in the future.

I remind parents that the Parents and Friend’s Committee and Parent Consultation Committee will meet on Tuesday, 10 May in the learning Resource Centre. After the business of the Parents and Friend’s Meeting the school’s Catholic Care Counsellor will give a presentation on Teenage Anxiety, which is an issue for many of our students. Teenage anxiety is often complex and quite different from one individual to the next. In nearly all cases there is no clear cut answer to issues. I encourage parents to come to the meeting and be involved in the presentation and ensuing discussion.

As we come to the end of Term One, I remind parents that students will return to school in their summer uniforms. As the weather continues to be warm at the end of April, we have moved the beginning date for the wearing of winter uniform from the start of Term Two to the Monday following Mothers’ Day. Winter uniform is worn from the Monday following Mother’s Day to the Monday following Father’s Day. I ask that all parents check their child’s uniforms before that date as often the individual has outgrown the previous uniform and replacement items need to be purchased.

As we conclude the  term we have received news that two of our teachers will be leaving Magdalene early in Term Two once replacement teachers have been employed. Mrs Kaperonis, the Curriculum Coordinator at Magdalene, has been appointed Senior Officer in Curriculum and Assessment at the Board of Studies. This is certainly a recognition of Mrs Kaperonis expertise and skill. Mr Abourizk has decided to leave Magdalene for family reasons. I thank each of these teachers for their contribution to our community and wish them all the best in the future.

As the Church moves beyond the Feast of Easter we have been faced with daily readings, which give insights to the various encounters that the apostles had with Jesus as He re-entered their lives after his death and resurrection. We read about Mary Magdalene having the first encounter, the apostles meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus and Thomas who refused to believe, until he was able to place his fingers into Christ’s wounds. This is a time for us to recognise the significance of Christ in our lives, a time for us to reflect on where we find Christ in our lives and how we mirror Christ’s teaching in our lives.


Let me be an example to all that I encounter.

By my life, let me be an inspiration.

Not proud and puffed up but gentle and sensitive,

a light to all.

And let that light shine from within me,

so that it is recognised without words,

the very essence of your love and promise to us

so that those who cross my path on life’s highways

will feel your presence living in me

and want this too to be written on their own hearts.



I wish all students a safe and restful holiday and look forward to their return with an enthusiastic and positive approach to their studies.

God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio







Week 9 Term 1 2016

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

On Monday 14 March the school conducted our annual Open Afternoon and Information Evening. After a downpour at 2.30pm the afternoon got off to a slow start with visitors increasing as the weather improved. Throughout the afternoon our visitors enjoyed tours and displays and were able to ask many questions. The event was quite successful and a number of parents and students commented on the great school that Magdalene is, with greatest emphasis on our students. From my perspective I am very grateful for what we have here at Magdalene. As I stated to our visitors we are more than a school of buildings and facilities. We are a Catholic Community committed to our faith, committed to excellence and supportive of our whole community. I believe we have a great deal of which to be proud.

We had over 100 students volunteer to be guides for our visitors and this is certainly reflective of the wonderful student body we have at the school. Our teachers gave up their time to be involved in the afternoon and evening and this is certainly reflective of their commitment to Magdalene. Finally our Parents and Friends Association and supporters helped to increase the hospitality by organizing a sausage sizzle and drinks. I thank and acknowledge everyone involved and especially acknowledge our parent supporters: Mr David Cornett, Mrs Cornett, Mr Harrington, Mrs O’Keeffe, Mr Lowry, Mrs Gironda and Mrs Foden.

This week our Year 9 and Year 7 students attended their camps with their teachers. The camps provide a wonderful opportunity for students to move out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. The events also allowed students in each year group to develop or increase their sense of community with their peers and teachers. I thank the students for the spirit with which they entered the camps and I am grateful to the teachers for giving their time to provide the students with such a worthwhile experience.

Next week our Year 12 students begin their end of semester one examinations. These examinations are the last examinations that are set by the school for Year 12. The next examinations are the Trial HSC Examinations followed by the Higher School Certificate in November both of which are set externally. This can be a stressful and challenging time for students, however the effects can be reduced with appropriate preparation. I stress that this preparation does not begin in Year 12 or for that matter Year 11. Preparation and good habits should be developed from Year 7 with students being organised and planning their work and study. If this is the case the stress and pressure of senior study can be drastically reduced for students. I encourage all parents and students to be prepared to develop positive habits early and to see the journey to Year 12 and the HSC as a part of the educational continuum from Year 7.

Last Thursday at the school assembly the following students were acknowledged by their peers:

Year 12 - Rosanne Arcadi - assisted others with their learning and commitment to her studies

Year 11 - Mitchell Fabri - improved understanding and great transition to senior studies.

Year 10 - Alyssa Bestulic - commitment to her studies and improved understanding.

Year 9 - Daniel Mora - consistent application in his studies.

Year 8 - Joshua Nies -  commitment to his learning.

Year 7 - Kayla Parreno - Assisting others with their learning

I congratulate them and acknowledge them for their commitment and outstanding efforts.

During the assembly two issues affecting students were also acknowledged by senior students. Caitlin Liddle, Melissa   Zanatta, and Sophie Maurymoothoo spoke about support for students who experience anxiety. This was followed by a speech by Georgia-Mae Galea who spoke about anti bullying.  (This was timely as Friday was “National Day of Action Against Bullying”) The speeches by the students were well presented and contained a very powerful message for our whole community. I have included the speeches later in this newsletter and I thank the students for their ongoing support of other students.

This week is Holy Week the most important week in the Catholic Church year. This is the week Christ gave us the first Eucharistic celebration on Holy Thursday, the week He died for our sins on Good Friday and the week He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. These events would not only fulfill the scriptures but give each of us the opportunity to have    eternal life in God’s kingdom. Easter is a celebration that each one of us should take personally. Christ died and rose from the dead for each one of us so that we may “have life and have it in abundance”. Let us commit to our faith and changes we make well beyond the season of Lent.

I wish everyone a holy Easter and encourage each person to attend the Easter ceremonies in their parishes.

Loving Father,

During these holy days, we ask You for the gift

To understand the dying and rising of Your Son, Jesus

Change our hearts and our attitudes

So that as we die with Him to all that keeps us from You

We will surely live with Him in Your love and glory .


God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio