Principal's Blog

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


Week 1 Term 1 2016

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

Welcome back to 2016.  I especially welcome new staff and students who join us for the first time in 2016. It was wonderful to welcome the entire student body back today and it was certainly gratifying to witness their enthusiasm and eagerness to begin a new school year. 

Last year finished on a positive note with the Higher School Certificate results being released in the last week of school. Of particular note was the performance of the school dux who achieved an ATAR of 98.95. 5 other students received an ATAR above 90. Other performances of particular note were Samantha Coupe who came second in the state in Food Technology and Caitlin Fitzgerald who was placed thirteenth in the state in PDHPE. The review of the Higher School Certificate will take place over the coming few weeks. This will allow us to learn from successes while developing strategies for areas of improvement.

The high achievers will be acknowledged at the Opening School Mass and High Achievers Ceremony on 4 February  beginning at 9.30am. I take this opportunity to invite any parents who are able to attend and be part of both celebrations. Congratulations to the following students who achieved an ATAR over 90.

Luke Papandrea (98.9 ATAR DUX), Caitlin Fitzgerald 98.1 ATAR, Anna Kelly 96.65 ATAR, Samantha Coupe 95.75 ATAR, Frank Gerada 93.6 ATAR and Alexander Hamilton 91.2 ATAR.

This week we welcome ten new members of staff who join us at Magdalene in 2016. The following teachers have become members of the teaching staff: Ms Jennifer Foldes (Assistant Principal) Mr Abourizk (Religious Education), Mr Matthew Bubb (PDHPE), Ms Madelaine Joyce (English HSIE), Mr Marco Cimino (HSIE, Religious Education), Mrs Elaine Fernandez (Mathematics), Ms Aimee Boughton (Science), Ms Sara Gray (English, Learning Support), Mrs Stacey Treloar (English) and Mrs Chantelle Angileri. We also welcome back Ms Walker who will join us in a part time capacity for 2016.

As we begin the year it is essential that students begin with the right mind set. Last year they were spoken to about the  importance of a growth mindset. Students should firstly believe in their ability to achieve and secondly to aim for excellence in everything that they undertake. It is my hope that every student strives for personal excellence in all that they attempt. It is also essential that every student adopts a “can do” attitude. Too often students will say that they cannot do something and will accept that they not move beyond their present performance level.

I ask everyone in our community to recognise the importance of a “can do attitude”. I also ask students to continue to strive for personal excellence in the spiritual, academic, social, physical and emotional aspects of their lives in order to make a difference both to their lives and to the lives of others. 

I remind all parents that the first meeting of the Parent Consultation Committee and The Parents and Friends Association will be conducted on Tuesday 9 February beginning at 7pm in the Learning Resource Centre. I encourage parents to     become involved in the Parent Consultation Committee and the Parents and Friends Association in order to support their children’s education. Any parent who would like to join the Parent Consultation committee should 

Last Tuesday as a nation we celebrated Australia Day. Australia is a nation of which we can all be very proud. As we begin a new year as a school I ask everyone to be aware that we can make a difference to this wonderful Australian community and indeed our own community. I encourage everyone to pray the following prayer and to recognise our role in spreading the word of God. It is appropriate as we begin a new year to make this our commitment.

Over the recent holidays a significant amount of maintenance work was carried out across the school in order to ensure the school was in pristine condition for the return of the students. The maintenance work involved: the repainting of the   chapel, the painting of all classroom doors and hand rails, the steam cleaning of carpet in all classrooms and corridors and the rectification of plumbing issues. I thank Mr Trimarchi for overseeing these significant works.


Over the recent holidays a significant amount of maintenance work was carried out across the school in order to ensure the school was in pristine condition for the return of the students. The maintenance work involved: the repainting of the chapel, the painting of all classroom doors and hand rails, the steam cleaning of carpet in all classrooms and corridors and the rectification of plumbing issues. I thank Mr Trimarchi for overseeing these significant works.


Father, you reached out by the power of the Holy Spirit

through Jesus your Son

to show your love for all creation.

You invite everyone to share in your life

made available to us in Jesus.

You established the Church

to bring your good news to all people.

Let your Holy Spirit help us

to be the presence of your saving love to all.

May that same Spirit help us

to proclaim your good news

in a way that is meaningful to people

and touches their hearts.

May we, like Mary, Help of Christians,

have the courage of the cross,

to fulfil the mission you gave us,

no matter what the cost.

Sharing in his confidence and trust in you,

we ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


1300 4 FAITH (1300 432 484)

God Bless


Mr John Lo Cascio









Week 11 Term 4 2015




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

This week the Magdalene community came together to celebrate the outstanding achievements and the successes of 2015 at the annual Presentation Day. 

The day was well supported by many parents and I acknowledge and thank them for their attendance.  

I also acknowledge and thank our special guests Mr Russell Matheson (Federal Member for Macarthur), Mr Christopher Patterson (Member for Camden), Mr Alan McManus (Head of Secondary School Services, Catholic Education Office Wollongong), Brother Thomas Rice (representing the Patrician Brothers), Mr David Cornett (President of Magdalene Parents and Friends Association), Mrs Mary Ellen Bland (Schools Liaison Officer, Campbelltown Catholic Club), Ms Emma Burton, Mrs Mary Wade, Mrs Claire Madrill and Mrs Jo Lake. These people are wonderful supporters of our community and I thank them for their support.

During the presentation I reminded the students that at the beginning of the year our mantra was “Excellence in every student, excellence in every classroom, excellence every day, excellence in every way.” This was certainly achieved by many of the award winners, it is a credit to them and a reflection of their commitment to many areas of school life. I am very proud of the many students who were acknowledged and congratulate each of them on their efforts. The names of all award recipients are available on the school website


The major award winners are listed below:

Kevin Wade Award for SportsmanshipSamantha Coupe

Long Tan Award for Leadership Year 10Kaitlyn Paroz

Long Tan for Leadership Year 12Emily Sutherland

Noel Burton Award for Social JusticeBianca Messina

Corey Lake Award       Nathan Vassallo

Bastien Madrill AwardLachlan Opalniuk

Brother Joseph Crowley Award Celine Watson

Mary Magdalene Award         Caitlin Fitzgerald

As we conclude the Year there are also a number of internal staff changes.  Last week I announced the Year Coordinators to the students and include those persons in this newsletter.

Year 7Mrs Mamone

Year 8Mr Dowdell

Year 9Mr Johnson

Year 10Mr Arzapitian

Year 11Mr Sinclair Kydd

Year 12Mrs Foti

The Assistant Year Coordinators are: 

Stage 4 Mr Manns

Stage 5 Miss Colella

Stage 6 Mrs Dowdell

I thank these people for taking on these positions and their on going support of our students.


Once again thank you to everyone in our community who contributed to the St Vincent de Paul Christmas hampers. This year students and staff at Magdalene contributed many Christmas hampers to the appeal. This is truly a generous gesture and will make a difference to the lives of many this Christmas. Thank you to all and a special thank you to Mr Pannell and all of those involved in the organisation.

As we conclude 2015 I take this opportunity to acknowledge every member of the Magdalene community for their contribution to our journey throughout the year. To the staff, parents, friends and especially the students, you have all added to the Magdalene story and I thank you for your positive contributions and willingness to be a part of this wonderful school community.

As we approach Christmas let each of us remember the true meaning of the occasion and the selflessness of Christ whose birth we celebrate.

A Christmas Prayer

Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth 

 May we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us. 

 As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor

 To receive the greatest news the world had ever known, 

So may we worship you in meekness of heart.

May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves

 in this season of giving. 


Finally, farewell to those teachers and students not returning to Magdalene in 2016. I wish you every blessing in your lives beyond our community. 

I wish everyone a holy Christmas and a safe holiday. I look forward to the continuing Magdalene story in 2016.


God Bless


Mr John Lo Cascio







2015 Week 9 Term 4

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

Last Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Victor Chang Excellence in Science Awards. These Awards recognise Year 11 students, in the Camden local area, who have demonstrated the highest achievement in scientific studies throughout the year. This year two Magdalene students received the award. Congratulations Warwick Suters and Sophie Cornett for this recognition and their outstanding achievements throughout the year.

I remind parents that the Semester Two reports will be available on Monday December 13. I have had the opportunity to view most reports and they are certainly helpful to both students and parents in setting future directions. The reports will be followed by the upcoming  Parent / Teacher / Student interviews. The interviews will give parents an opportunity to clarify any concerns and get a greater understanding of each child’s progress. The interviews will be conducted throughout the day on Wednesday 16 December from 8.30 – 3.00pm. I encourage parents to ensure that bookings are made early in order to obtain a suitable time. 

Last Friday evening the final Spark retreat was conducted for the year. This retreat involved Year 7 and 8 students and was organised by Mr Pannell, Mr Elliott and student leaders from Year 10, 11 and 12.  The experience allowed the Year 7 and 8 students to have a meaningful faith experience while enjoying the company of their peers. I thank Mr Pannell, Mr Elliott and the organising committee for providing students with such a great experience.

As we come to the end of the year there will be a number of staff changes taking place with teachers taking up new appointments or taking leave for extended periods. At the end of 2015 the following teachers will be leaving Magdalene : 

Mr Elliott (Principal Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Glenmore Park) 

Mr Zakris (Year Coordinator Good Samaritan Catholic College, Hinchinbrook)

Mr Pannell ( Religious Education Coordinator St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Albion Park)

Mr Boom (Holy Spirit High School, Bellambi) 

Mr Leydon (Tutoring)

Mrs Agland (Maternity leave 2016)

Mrs Duke (Maternity leave 2016)

Mrs Tree (Maternity leave to September, 2016)

Mrs Vannan (Completing her temporary contract)

Ms Gloria Melham (Catholic Care Counsellor, St Benedicts College, 2016)

I wish all of the teachers well in their new positions or during their leave and sincerely thank each of them for their significant contributions to Magdalene. 

On December 8 this year (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception) we in the Catholic Church begin the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.  The 8th December 2015 is also the 50th anniversary of the closing of the    Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis will open the door of St Peter’s Basilica to officially welcome the Jubilee Year.  He has said that the door will become “a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.” The Jubilee Year’s theme is: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” A jubilee year is a special year called by the church to receive blessing and pardon from God and remission of sins. The Year of Mercy provides each of us with an opportunity to reflect on our lives and encourage mercy across our world in many varied ways.

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,

and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.

Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;

the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;

made Peter weep after his betrayal,

and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:

“If you knew the gift of God!”


You are the visible face of the invisible Father,

of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:

let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness

in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:

let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.


Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,

so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,

and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,

proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,

and restore sight to the blind.


We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,

you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.



(Diocese of Wollongong Year of Mercy Prayer)

It is with great sadness that I announce the tragic death of Mr Wayne Johnstone ( father of Sarah Year 10) in a road accident last Thursday. I ask everyone to keep Mr Johnstone and his family in your thoughts and prayers at this very sad time. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.


God Bless 

Mr John Lo Cascio