Principal's Blog

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


Week 7 Term 4 2015

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

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Year 11 Retreats at Tallong and Kiah Ridge Retreat Centres. On attending the events I was incredibly impressed by the sense of community and the willingness of each person to be involved in the retreat. The retreat offered each student the opportunity to explore their lives and relationships with other people and their God. Overwhelmingly, the student response has been that it was a very positive and uplifting experience. As a school we continue to promote the development of the whole person and give students every chance to explore their lives and their faith. The retreats provide a unique opportunity for individuals to take time to focus on areas of their lives they otherwise would not have taken.

I express my thanks and appreciation to the teachers involved in the retreat and thank the students for their very positive approach to the experience.

Last Friday night I had the opportunity to attend the Wollongong Diocesan Sports Awards. These awards are the most prestigious in Catholic Education in the region. The students who were acknowledged have excelled in their sports at an elite level and thoroughly deserve the recognition they received. I take this opportunity to congratulate the following students on being recognised for their achievements in sport.

Sheree Farrell (Swimming), Brittany Rasmussen (Hockey), Matthew Burke (Swimming), Maighan Duck (Tennis), Paige Pirotta (Netball), Jemma Crane (Football), Maddison Smith - Blues Medallion (Softball).

Last Tuesday the school conducted the annual art exhibition Magdalene Impressions. The evening is a showcase of the creations of students in the area of Visual Arts. It was great to see the talent of many students I congratulate the students for their willingness to use their talents and to challenge themselves to reach a level of personal excellence, which was reflected in their work. I also thank our special guest Mrs Kimberly Oates and the Visual Arts Teachers Miss Delaney, Mrs Eggleton and Miss Cusak for creating the opportunity for students and their families.

I remind parents that at the end of each year students are acknowledged for their outstanding performances in areas of school life throughout the year. Our end of Year presentation will take place on Monday 14 December beginning at 10am. Once again the event will be conducted at St Gregory’s College Hall. All parents and carers are warmly invited to attend.

I remind parents that one way to be involved in your children’s school is through the Parents and Friends Association. Information about the Association can be accessed via the school website.

At our last assembly a  number of students were acknowledged by their peers for their contribution to learning and/or support of their fellow students’ learning. Congratulations to:

Kaine Harrington Year 7Assisting others with their learning.

Mathew HamshereYear 8Assisting others with their learning.

Jayden McAllisterYear 9Contributing to class discussion and helping others with their learning.

Monika BazdaricYear 10Assisting others in their learning, in particular in Mathematics.

Lauren AllenYear 11Improved learning and assisting others, in particular in English.

Next Sunday (29 November) marks the beginning of Advent. For each of us personally it is a reminder to prepare our minds and hearts for Christ’s birth. In simple terms the Advent season provides the opportunity to reach out to others, and allows us to get caught up in the joy of the coming of Christ. It is a time of reflection about the importance of what family and friends mean to us and how we can respond to the presence of Christ today. We can achieve this by drawing on all of our experiences and resources in an attempt to create a better world for all. How will we do that in our world and our local community? One practical way is through hampers each Pastoral Care Class is contributing towards. These hampers will be donated to less fortunate families over the Christmas period.

During the season of advent it is also essential that we do not lose sight of our relationship with God. It is essential that we reflect on the importance of God in our lives. Our relationship with God can continually be enhanced through regular prayer.

Loving God, 

I sense that all is your creation 

and everything, and all of us, 

are being drawn back toward your loving heart.

Help me to be a person of peace, 

to speak about it in an uneasy world, 

and to live it among the people 

you have put into my life every day.

Light in me a desire to prepare for your coming 

to stand in the darkness, waiting, eager and filled with joy.


Creighton U. Online Ministries Home Page | Praying Advent Home Page 

God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio




Week 5 Term 4




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

On Wednesday evening (28 October) the Magdalene community welcomed the parents of Year 7, 2016 (Year 12, 2021). The evening was informative and provided the opportunity for many parents to have their first meeting with some of the staff at Magdalene. It also provided an opportunity for the parents to meet the person who will play a major role in the students’ transition to High School, Mrs Mamone. During the evening, I reminded parents of our role as a school and the importance of an ongoing partnership. 

At Magdalene, we believe that it is essential that a positive partnership is established early and continued throughout each student’s time at the school. That partnership is dependant on parental involvement in their children’s education and ongoing communication with the staff. It is an expectation that at the very least, all parents are involved in Information Evenings and Parent Teacher Interviews, contact the school with concerns and support the school in matters of discipline. It is important for all parents to be aware that the above involvement is a commitment that each makes as they enrol their children into Magdalene.

The students of Year 7, 2016 joined our community today for their orientation day. An overview of the day will be included in the next newsletter.

This week the Higher School Certificate Examinations concluded across the State. Our students concluded the examinations with Visual Arts on Wednesday. Tonight the Year 12 cohort, their parents and teachers will come together for the last time to celebrate their education and time at Magdalene. This is an exciting but sad time in the life of Year 12. Students have a great deal to celebrate and a great deal to look forward to as they move into the next phase of their journey. The first significant event for Year 12 will be the release of the results of the Higher School Certificate which will be available to students on December 16, followed by the ATAR results which will be available on 17 December. We look forward to hearing of the successes of our students on those days.

Last weekend 27 students along with Mr Dowdell, Miss Miller and Miss Delaney undertook the Duke of Edinburgh expedition to the Royal National Park. The Duke of Edinburgh provides an opportunityfor students to develop skills and contribute to the community beyond the classroom and school. By all reports students proved to be very skilful and cooperative which made for a successful expedition. I congratulate the students and thank the teachers for providing the opportunity to the students.

At our last assembly a number of students were acknowledged by their peers for their contribution to learning and/or support of their fellow students’ learning. 

William Kiss               Year 7        Assisting others with their learning

Tiahna Whitley       Year 8  Always working to improve her understanding and taking up the challenge of learning

Alyssa Jane Farrell       Year 9       Assisting her peers with their learning

Samyra King      Year 10       Contributions to class discussion and learning and assisting others

Dina Lou      Year 11       Improving her learning and assisting others

With the departure of Mr Elliott to the role of Principal at Caroline Chisholm College Glenmore Park the school has now appointed a new Assistant Principal. The appointment of Ms Foldes was announced this week in a letter sent home to all parents. I take this opportunity to welcome Ms Foldes to Magdalene and certainly look forward to her becoming an integral contributor to the Magdalene journey.

Last weekend the Magdalene Chapel hosted the wedding of ex-student Andrew East and his fiancée Cyrene. It proved to be a very special day and the Chapel and grounds at Magdalene certainly added to the occasion. I take this opportunity to congratulate Andrew and Cyrene and wish them God’s blessings in their future lives together.

Congratulations to Ms Nicole Tree and her husband Jesse who celebrated the birth of their daughter, Isabella Grace on Wednesday 4 November. Both mother and baby are doing well. I wish Isabella Grace every blessing all the days of her life. 

Next week the nation will observe Remembrance Day. This year 11 November marks the 97th anniversary of the Armistice, which ended the First World War (1914–18). Each year on this day Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11am, in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts. It is important that we as Australians    continue to remember and be thankful for the sacrifices made by these people to enable us to have the freedom we have in our wonderful country. Lest we forget.

Lord our God,

We entrust all our prayers and needs to

 your infinite mercy.   

 Help us to become ever more mindful of the bonds that unite us as a human family despite our differences.

 Heal our inner wounds and outward divisions,

 that one day our world might live in your true and lasting peace.  

We make this prayer to you in the name of Jesus, Your Son. 



God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio







Week 1 Term 4 2015




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

Welcome back to Term 4. I am glad to return from my leave and thank Mr Elliott, Mrs Forner, Mr Zakris and Mrs  Eggleton for assuming roles of responsibility in my absence.


Upon my return I was able to be involved in the Year 12 farewells both during the day and in the evening. The events were filled with excitement and a tinge of sadness as students prepare for life beyond Magdalene. At each of the events the students behaved impeccably and were a credit to their parents their year groups and themselves as individuals. During each of the events the students took the time to recognise the wonderful efforts of their parents and families, their peers and their teachers. This fact reminded me that the road to the HSC is a combined effort and I thank all involved for their willingness to work in partnership with each other.

During the Year 12 Graduation Mass the School Captains Caitlin Fitzgerald and Luke Papandrea spoke beautifully of their time at Magdalene. They also emphasised the nature of education at Magdalene being about education for life. They finished their speech with the following, which is a pertinent message for each of us. 

“Throughout tonight’s Mass you will be witnesses to our faith in action. The involvement of the graduating class is a clear display of our commitment to discipleship and our willingness to take up these Gospel values as we step out into the wider community. Year 12 as we graduate we pray that you keep in mind the values and lessons that you have learnt through your time here at Magdalene and always hold them in a special place where they will not be lost or forgotten.”

As we farewell our Year 12 leaders we welcome our new school leaders for the 2015/16 school year. This week the new leader induction was conducted at the school and the leaders across the school were presented with their badges. I take this opportunity to publicly congratulate the leaders as they commit to leading the Magdalene community for the coming 12 months. The special guests at the Leadership Induction were Fr Joseph, Mrs Lara Symkowiak (Mayor of Camden) and Camden Citizen of the Year 2015 Mr Ted Gilroy. Mr Gilroy spoke to the students about leadership being a possibility for everyone. Leadership can also be demonstrated in little ways and individuals always have the capacity to make a difference to others through their actions on any scale. Our special guests certainly added to the occasion. The names of the leaders for 2016 are included later in this newsletter.

I remind parents that the Parents and Friends Association and the Parent Consultation Committee will meet on Tuesday 20 October. This meeting is also the Annual General Meeting of the Parents and Friends Association and as such office bearers will be elected. I ask every parent to consider being part of the Parents and Friends Association as a means of supporting your child’s education.

As we begin the final term of 2015, I remind parents of the importance of having high expectations of young people (your children) and making these expectations clear to them. Clear boundaries help young people to understand their limits and your expectations. I reinforced to the staff this week, the importance of having high expectations as well as doing the little things well. As a school we will continue to have high expectations in all areas; respect, academic performance, homework, punctuality, manners, presentation and so on. It is important that we have ongoing parental support in these areas so that students then set high standards for themselves and develop self discipline and grow as positive individuals. I look forward to ongoing parental support in setting high expectations for all students at Magdalene.

Next week the Year 12 students begin their Higher School Certificate Examinations. I ask everyone to keep the students in their thoughts and prayers as they approach such a stressful time in their lives. I include the following prayer from my local parish bulletin. We can all pray this prayer for and with our Year 12 students.

Staff News

Congratulations to Mr Tim Manns who married his fiancé Jenna over the holidays, we wish the new Mr & Mrs Manns all the best for their future lives together. This week we farewell Mrs Duke and Mrs Tree as they begin their maternity leave. We wish both “mums to be” and their husbands all the best for the birth of their babies. During the period of her leave Mrs Duke will be replaced by Mrs Monger for the remainder of 2015. Mrs Tree will be replaced by Miss Lauren Cusack until she returns in Term 3 2016.

A Student’s HSC Prayer

Lord, you have loved me into life and I thank you. 

In this exam period, give me a calm heart and quiet confidence in the knowledge that you hold me in the palm of your hand. 

Bless me with keen understanding and a retentive memory. 

Give me the ability to grasp things correctly, and express myself clearly. 

Help me to look beyond this time of exams and see clearly 

whatever you call me to be in life. 

Show me my gifts and talents and help me to have the courage to use them to love others, to give you glory and to leave this world a better place.




God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio