Principal's Blog

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


Week 5 Term 2 2015

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

Last week students in Years 7 and 9 undertook the NAPLAN tests over three days. All students approached the tests with diligence and commitment and should be praised for the mature manner in which they completed each test. 

With the accumulation of NAPLAN data over recent years, teachers have continued to focus on improving literacy and numeracy as a means to improve learning at Magdalene. Ms Maher has been introducing literacy strategies across the school to ensure the areas of deficit are addressed and the students are extended in their learning. We look forward to the NAPLAN results later in the year as a means of adding to the data we already possess and as a means of setting directions for the future. 

This week students in Years 9 and 10 have been undertaking their Half Yearly Examinations. These examinations provide an opportunity for students to display what they know and to also assess what they need to further develop. The skills gained by being involved in examinations will also prepare students for external examinations in the future. I encourage all parents and students to see the examinations as a learning opportunity, which can be built upon in the coming semester.

Next Wednesday the school will conduct the Year 11, 2016 Information Evening. This evening provides insights into senior school. I remind all members of the community of the challenging nature of senior school and the need to be fully prepared for the demands of senior study. I also stress that the journey to the Higher School Certificate does not begin with Year 11. In fact it begins in Year 7 with the habits and skills learned and developed along the journey to Year 12. I encourage all students to recognise the need for that commitment in all stages in the lead up to the HSC. This will ensure that students have the skills necessary to meet the demands of their ongoing education. The impact of commitment and self belief is always positive where learning is concerned.

Since our last newsletter students have reverted from summer uniform to winter uniforms. The majority of students have certainly presented in a commendable manner and I thank parents for their support in this area. I believe that the uniform reflects not only a student’s respect for their school but also respect for themselves and in a way, their education. It is essential that students set the highest possible uniform standards. I continue to seek and rely on parental support in this area. 

The following students were presented with the awards below at the recent assembly. Congratulations and well done for your effort.

JackScettro7Improved learning and assisting others

Marcus Cabrera9Assisting others with their learning

Vivienne Kaiser10Improvement and application in her studies

Teegan White11Consistent application in her studies

Jessica Daniel12Overall commitment to her learning

Next Sunday is Pentecost Sunday  this is a celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Christ promised his apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them. Ten days after he left them the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and they were granted the gifts of the spirit. These gifts given to the apostles are gifts that are also available to each of us and give us the strength to live truly Christian and faithful lives.



God grant me

The Spirit of Wisdom

that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal


The Spirit of Understanding

to enlighten my mind with the Light of Your divine truth


The Spirit of Counsel

that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven 


The Spirit of Fortitude

that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose 

my salvation 


The Spirit of  Knowledge

that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints


The Spirit of  Piety

that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable


 and the Spirit of  Fear

that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease him.


God Bless 

Mr John Lo Cascio





Week 1 Term 2 2015

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

Welcome back to Term 2. I hope everyone had a Holy Easter and was able to spend some valuable time re-energising and preparing for the term ahead. This term certainly has challenges for students as we move to the second half of first semester. Students in Years 9 – 11 will undertake Half Yearly Examinations in the coming weeks and should take every opportunity to fully prepare for these examinations, with a study plan and study regime, to ensure they are familiar with all that needs to be studied. 

All students need to be fully aware that all assessment adds to their overall result and enhances their learning. With this in mind it is essential that application to all learning experiences whether, homework, class work assessment tasks or examinations is approached with the same dedication and commitment throughout the semester. This will allow students to improve their learning and gain a result that is reflective of their true potential.

I remind parents that the school will conduct two staff development days this term. The days will be conducted by experts in their field and have been subject to the availability of these persons. The first will be conducted on Friday 1 May and will be facilitated by Bronwyn MacLeod (Director of Gateways Education) from UNSW, who has done much work in the area of Gifted Education. Brownyn will be leading the staff in a day focused on Curriculum Differentiation. Participation in the day will expose staff to strategies to allow greater differentiation and enhance student learning growth.

The second staff development day will be conducted on Friday 29 May and will be facilitated by Jesuit priest, Fr Richard Leonard. Fr Richard will be working with staff on “How Catholic Education can form believers in a media saturated culture” This will allow a greater understanding of the students’ world and help us to promote their faith development.

I apologise for any inconvenience created by these dates, however, as stated the dates were dependant on the availability of presenters.

Congratulation to Miss Lauren Miller and Russell Agland who were married over the holidays. We wish them all the best for their future lives together.

Today the community came together to commemorate ANZAC Day. The ceremony was a most significant one as we reflect on 100 years since the display of such bravery and valour at Gallipoli. Mrs Phillips organised a service in which students from all year groups participated. The ceremony was both moving and memorable. We were very fortunate to have guest speaker Mr Peter Phillips who spoke to us about his experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan. The ceremony concluded with the planting of our own ‘Lone Pine’ the seedling propagated from the original ‘Lone Pine’ at Gallipoli. The significance of the ‘Lone Pine’ was explained beautifully by Caitlin Fitzgerald. (This explanation is included in this newsletter).

The ceremony was conducted at the foot of the school’s new Anzac Memorial garden. This garden was constructed by Mr Joe Trimarchi, Jo Gibbs (Bunnings Coordinator), Mr Peter Sherlock (Bunnings) and Year 12 students. The construction was made possible via a donation from Bunnings and a contribution from Year 12, 2015 as part of the Year 12 gift to the school and school funds. I thank all involved in the creation of the structure, which will be an ongoing reminder of the sacrifices of brave men and women who ensured the freedom of our country and their willingness to pursue peace.

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. This year the day commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. It is also a day when all Australians have the opportunity to recognise the enormous sacrifices made by so many but in this instance more so, Australians and New Zealanders. Due to these sacrifices we are free and safe in a country where citizens have privileges, which are protected. We also have boundless opportunities and democratic rights and a very real sense of hope in the future. In many ways our good fortune is a result of the sacrifices of those who fought for and in numerous instances died for this country. As a nation let us not forget that we are forever indebted to these selfless people.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun and in the morning 

We will remember them.


Lest we forget



God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio






Week 9 Term 1 2015

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

On Wednesday 11 March the Annual Education Mass was celebrated at the St John Vianney pro-Cathedral in Fairy Meadow. This Mass was an opportunity for staff members of Catholic Schools across the diocese to come together with Bishop Peter and the Diocesan clergy to reflect on the achievements and challenges of Catholic education in the year ahead. During the Mass the Diocesan Director, Mr Peter Turner, launched “Lighting The Way” the new vision and strategic direction statement, for the diocesan schools, now and into the future. This document challenges us as educators to meet the needs of our students in their faith, academic, social and physical development. In essence we as educators are challenged to “Be the best we can be” to meet the needs of our students. We look forward to the challenge ahead.

This week Year 12 students began their half yearly examinations. This is a challenging time for our students and provides them with an opportunity to reflect on their educational journey to date, while considering future directions. As in any assessment task in any year, examinations are not only an opportunity to consider present performance but also an opportunity to reflect on ways to improve learning. I ask all students whether in Year 7 or Year 12 to consider each task as a learning experience, which will enable further development and growth so that each student can strive to achieve personal excellence. We wish Year 12 all the best in their examinations and look forward to their results.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Year 7 Camp at Teen Ranch and the Year 9 Camp at Aussie Bush Camp at Tea Gardens. Upon arrival at each of the camps I was impressed by the sense of community and cooperation amongst both staff and students. I was also pleased to witness students, in many cases, move beyond their comfort zones and meet new challenges, which always has a positive impact on their resilience. 

As a school, Magdalene is committed to giving students these extra curricular opportunities as often as possible. We firmly believe that the sense of community and challenges, created by the experience, will add to our positive learning environment for individuals and the community. I am grateful to the students for allowing themselves to be fully engaged in the activities on the camps. I am also thankful to the teachers who spent time away from their families to ensure the students had such a worthwhile experience.

Over the past few weeks the Magdalene community has been raising funds to support Caritas projects across the world. As usual students and staff have been quite passionate about this worthy cause and are to be congratulated on their efforts. The small sacrifices made by a large number of people will certainly make a difference to the lives of many across the earth and promote a truly Christian sense of giving within our community.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and on that day we as Catholics celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday also begins the week leading to Christ’s death and resurrection. It is the beginning of Holy Week. 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 fulfil 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”.

This Easter we are challenged to be thankful for what we have been given by our God and to make a commitment to do God’s will now and into the future. 

Dear God as we walk through

Holy week toward the cross,

May we remember

The wonder of who you are.

Beyond sin 

Your love is inexhaustible,

Beyond brokenness 

Your forgiveness is incomprehensible.

Beyond betrayal your grace is poured out eternally,

Beyond death your life is unimaginable.

Beytond human understanding,

Your ways are always higher than ours.


© Christine Sine 2013

I wish everyone a holy Easter and a safe holiday break.

God Bless 


Mr John Lo Cascio