Dear Parents and Friends of St Col’s,
Art’s Final Donegal
It is funny as I thought I would be lucky to last 19 minutes as a Principal, yet 19 years later I get to thank you for allowing me to be with you over the last five years. I am so grateful. I hope you know that. So, this does really bring it to an end. My final Donegal. How am I ever going to get through the week if I do not get a chance to write to you? Maybe I will start a You Tube channel or do a start-up podcast. For me, well, I have had the best time. It has been filled with so much good stuff. My life is certainly better for being with you, there is no doubting that. How will I ever be able to really express my gratitude at how you have allowed me to be the Principal I have wanted to be. Leading people who actually get how I think and how I want the world to be is something pretty unique. No words or writings are really ever going to express how connected I have felt being here at St Col’s. I really do feel like I am with my cousins when I speak with you. I know, crazy, actually feeling like you are at work with family. Okay, well I am. I have two cousins and their kids here which is something that has probably allowed me to truly connect with you.
My life is blessed. I mean, I really do think having my cousins here has opened up the true Art to be present with you and your kids. Your kids are a gift to all of us at St Col’s. The joy they bring is something else. They just have to hop out of the car at Kiss and Drive and say ‘Good Morning’ and the world is a little brighter. Even in the pouring rain, they hop out of their cars smiling. It is a pretty unique experience. What I do love about having my cousins here is they have shared in who I am as a person as they have been with me my whole life. I know this connection is something you as parents have loved experiencing through them. This is the stuff of family, and what an honour it has been for me for you to see me as this.
I think about how many interactions I have each day and realise how these are all sprinklings of blessings. There is something pretty special about being a Principal. It comes with the greatest privilege of all, and that is the sharing of stories with those you care for in your school. For me, your willingness to share your stories with me has been the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. I have always been blessed with amazingly generous humans in my life, and nothing has changed me more. I think sometimes we forget to appreciate just what impact we have on others in those fleeting moments of connection. You have allowed connections to be formed that will be with me now for the remainder of my days. The way you have allowed me to be part of your family is something that will not be forgotten.
The quote below is one that I use at the start of each of my CVs when applying for any positions as Principal. Please just take a moment to reflect on this quote. It is what I hope we have all been able to create here at St Col’s. My hope is you know this to be true as well. It is a special gift we all have for each other. It sums up my time here with you.
‘Everyone comes with them at least one,
and probably many pieces,
to someone else’s puzzle.
Sometimes they know it, sometimes they don’t
…and when you present your piece to another,
whether they knew it or not,
whether they know it or not,
You are a messenger from the most high.’
I once attended a two day seminar on ‘Nurturing Spirituality Within Your School Community’. This quote was the underlying message that I have reflected upon for the last 15 years. Through giving a small piece of one’s self, we connect and build relationships with others. We begin to build the Kingdom of God within our school community. In Jesus’ life, he offered pieces of himself to his community and followers. Through his offerings, he touched and brought his Father’s message to all people. As leaders in Catholic schools, we need to share the gifts we have throughout our community and encourage others to do the same. Jesus’ mission was to build community. Our mission, my mission, your mission, is to continue to build these good things with all those we interact with. Seriously, this changes lives and the world. I know it does.
It is filled with acceptance, compassion and forgiveness. It brings a joy and a peace to our lives and the lives of others. In early childhood education there is a learning framework based around three key concepts. Being, Belonging, Becoming. I reckon I could do a podcast series on these three concepts and tie it directly into the quote. Imagine living a life where we can be who we are [being], feel we are connected, welcomed and belong [belonging] and are able to be who we truly are as a human [becoming]. What a world we create if we allow these three words to form the foundation on how we live. Well, to be true, this is what we have created together at St Col’s and for that I am most grateful. There is no doubt you have allowed me to be, to belong and to become. My hope is you, my staff and our kids, have also felt this sense of being.
I could write so much to you right now, but I hope I was able to express my gratitude for everything at the farewell and Edudance concert last week. The ride has been filled with excitement and energy. I cannot thank you enough for the generous gift I received from parents. It was, and continues to be, quite overwhelming. Thank you for the words of gratitude that I received as part of this gift. Your words of kindness to me will be kept in a very special place for those days when I am missing you and your kids. Your generosity and willingness to accept Art as Art is why I cannot wait to see you out there. For me, this is in no way the end, as I know I will see you around the place. I know I will. The best part will be how excited I will be to see you. I will never take for granted any of what you have given me as a human. The grass has been so green on my side of the fence. I hope you get to live ikigai.
I leave you with íkigai’, but I also leave you with the image of this OLI t-shirt that Skye’s fella was wearing the night before my farewell last week. For me, I need to know nothing more than this. That you will all take care of business when I am gone from St Col’s. You know and I know, nothing else matters. Look after each other. It is as simple as that. Do this and everything will be okay.
There are so many ways you already do this. We just need to know this of how the Pastoral Care Committee go about what they do in caring for others. It just creates something very special. They know more about what is happening in the lives of our families and staff than I do. Such an amazing group of humans that do it through selfless action and an abundance of love. Jeannie Pincus and Jen Bache leave us after many years of commitment to the pastoral care of our St Col’s people. We have named the Harmony Tree, The Jeannie Pincus Harmony Tree for her efforts, along with Mischa Cooper, in creating this piece of art work, and two years of persistence in finding someone who could encase it so as the piece could be displayed in our school grounds. Gratitude!
So as I sit here tonight, reflecting on the year that has been 2022, I find this quote from Helen Steiner Rice catching my attention. She reminds us that Christmas is all about finding some quietness, finding peace and spreading kindness. I have found these six months some of the busiest in my time as a principal. It has flown by. I know you have found the same. I have met so many of you over the last couple of weeks and everyone is feeling the same, busyness makes the days, weeks, months pass very quickly. We wonder how we will get to Christmas at times.
This is why this quote appeals to me, and hopefully for you. One of our goals is to find a quietness that allows us to enjoy the moments, enjoy the interactions we have with others. We all want to stop the rush. We all want it to slow down. There is not a person I know that does not wish for this. We all love Christmas, but funny how due to the expectations we place on ourselves around this festive time, we can miss out on what it is really about. Imagine being able to keep the focus on quietness of mind, an opportunity for patience, and a time to offer kindness to those we are with.
This is what we want for our own children. Qualities that allow them to find quiet in their life, even as little ones, we wish them this great gift. To be patient and understanding of others, but also of the demands they have and that it is okay when things are not always as we wish. As for the third gift, we would love our children to have as part of their character that they were seen as spreading kindness.
Kindness can get a bad deal and can be seen as a little bland or a little soft…like kindness, really, not that strong a word anymore. If we stop for just a minute, if someone described you as a kind person, how does it make you feel? When it is said that you treated someone with kindness, what is that kindness? It is a forgotten hero. This word transforms people and lives. Best part was when I talk to our kids. I will never forget Grace saying to me last year when she was in Year 1, ‘Mr Lombardi, you know why you are the luckiest principal? It is because us kids give out kindness’. I am not making this up, it is exactly what Grace said. This is why the life of a Principal is a blessed one. A little crazy at times, but blessings galore.
This leads me at this time of year to remember the connection of Christmas to Christ (Jesus, the J Man). Christmas allows us the time to find the Christ we have in us. It is why Christmas has such significance. Jesus was the type of bloke who always looked to serve others and looked for others happiness. This is what we all do during this time. You know how excited you get and the feelings of joy you receive by being there for others during Christmas, but also the smiles you see on the faces of your family and friends by you simply being present in their lives. You know this to be true. You know what the truth of Christmas is about. We all get the opportunity to reconnect with others. Through kindness, through quietness we make time to be with others. It is not about the presents (well maybe) it is about the relationships we have with our loved ones.
YEAR 6s and THEIR FAMILIES
Our Year 6’s and their parents move to their next phase of schooling into high school at the end of this year. We have a beautiful group of Year 6 students who have continued throughout their schooling to set high standards for others to follow. The importance of friendship, looking out for one another and being accepting of every person is what stands them apart. We thank our Year 6’s and their families, for the contribution they have made to life here at St Columba’s School and for the positive influence they have had on others that will follow their lead into the future. Our Year 6’s will be missed. May their transition around the next corner, be one that is smooth but filled with excitement. May you always find a quietness, a peacefulness and a kindness in your heart for all those who come across your path in the future.
We wish our Year 6s well as they move into high school and know that God will keep them safe, blessing them with much happiness and peace throughout their lives. To our Year 6 families who leave us at the end of the year, we wish you blessings of happiness also. For many of our families, it will be their last year here at St Columba’s, around 36 families. This is a time for all of us to be grateful for the many contributions you have made to our school and its people. Your presence here will be missed. We thank you sincerely, not only for your love of your children, but also your love for our school.
FAMILIES LEAVING END OF 2022
To other families within our school, who move on at the end of the year, thank you for what you have given to us as a community. Thank you for your support during your time here at St Columba’s School. May you be blessed with good times and much happiness. We wish you all the very best for the future. To our kids who leave us, your new teachers are going to love teaching you. You will always be St Col’s Kids. Always! We hope your handcrafted small cross finds its way to a special place in your home.
As families leave St Columba’s, we also have many new families coming to our school for the first time next year. There will be many new families in our Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and also throughout the school. We very much look forward to them joining us and the special qualities they will add to our school community.
As you know from the Edudance evening, we do have staff leaving us at the end of this year. We wish Fran Da Rui, Angela Mai, Chelsea D’Arachy and Caroline Brewer [secondment] many blessings into the future. It has been a wonderful experience having you with us on staff and we know you enter exciting times ahead in life. We are grateful for what you have brought to the lives of our children, their families and our staff.
We welcome back to our staff for 2023 Andrea Middleton [Kindergarten]. Andrea returns to St Col’s after a few years away. Madison Kirwan-Ward, who has been working within our school over the last few years in OSHC and in various teaching roles this year, including her final student teacher prac in Year 4 during Term 2, takes up a full time classroom teaching position in Year 1 for 2023. We are very excited to welcome both Andrea and Madi.
WELCOME to GINA BURNS our New Principal
A very special welcome to Gina Burns. Gina will be leading our school community in 2023 and beyond. Gina has visited St Columba’s School a few times over the last couple of months and is feeling very much a part of the community. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Gina for her positivity and excitement at being your Principal. I feel extremely grateful that Gina will be taking care of all our community over the coming years. I know you will make her feel a part of the St Columba’s family. Just to let you know Gina’s quality, on her last visit she brought me a continental roll for lunch. What more needs to be said?
PRE-PRIMARY to YEAR 6 REPORTS
Reports were available yesterday afternoon. These can be accessed through SEQTA. All our students have worked to be their best throughout a challenging and disruptive year. End of year reports give us an opportunity to celebrate the positives and acknowledge the wonderful gifts our children have.
TERM PLANNER 2023
The Term 1 Planner will be uploaded to the website before Friday 16 December. Please be aware that this may change over the coming months and that it is important to continue to check for updates in the Donegal and the website during the year. Whole year start and end of term dates are confirmed below, along with the Pupil Free Days being held during the year.
TERM DATES 2023
Term 1 Start Date Students Wednesday 1 February
Term 1 End Date Students Thursday 6 April
Term 2 Start Date Students Wednesday 26 April
Term 2 End Date Students Friday 30 June
Term 3 Start Date Students Monday 17 July
Term 3 End Date Students Friday 22 September
Term 4 Start Date Students Monday 9 October
Term 4 End Date Students Friday 8 December
Pupil Free Dates Professional Learning Days [Staff] 2023
Friday 3 March
Monday 24 April
Friday 2 June
Friday 18 August
Monday 21 August
Please note, these dates are subject to change. If these dates for Professional Learning do require amending, parents will be notified well in advance.
START OF YEAR PARENT TEACHER INFORMATION NIGHT 2023
Parent information sessions will be held on the date below. At this evening, we will welcome all our parents to the 2023 school year at 6.00 pm. This will be followed by meetings in your classrooms at 6.15 pm. There will then be a second session in the classrooms at 6.50 pm on the same evening for parents who have children in more than one of the year levels. Kindergarten meetings have already been held at the end of this year.
Wednesday 8 February Sessions at 6.20 pm and 6.50 pm
SCHOOL UNIFORM –Predominantly white sport shoes plus a couple of other items
- Brilliant work with this in 2022 by everyone. Day 1 next year there will continue to be no exemptions with this school uniform rule.
- When buying new sport shoes over the holidays, please follow this policy.
- Black school shoes for the academic uniform, not black sport shoes.
- Sport socks can be purchased from the JFE uniform shop.
- Academic socks can be purchased from retail shops. Girls, white socks and boys, grey socks.
- Thank you in advance for adhering to the rules around uniform and these expectations.
SHAKING OFF THE NERVES
- On Monday 30 January, the school will be open from 9.00 am to 10.00 am if you wish to pop in with your children to shake off the nerves. All teachers will be working in their classrooms during this time.
- This is optional if you feel like breaking the ice before Day 1 on Wednesday 1 February.
- The uniform shop will also be open during this time.
- Enrolments for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten 2024 are filling quickly. Please note interviews take place in Term 1 next year for 2024.
- Pre-Kindy 2024 – children born between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.
- Kindergarten 2024 – children born between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.
- If you have younger children in these age brackets and have not submitted an application, please ensure this is completed at your earliest convenience.
WHOLE SCHOOL START OF YEAR MASS
At our first school Mass of the year, Friday 10 February, at 9.00 am, we will present our 2023, student leaders from Year 6. Our Catholic School Advisory Council and Catholic School Parents WA Executive members will be commissioned for the year.
Okay, the last few words from me. You will all be blessed for your tremendous work as parents of your children and our school. God will shower you with many special blessings of peace this Christmas. Happiness to you all over the Christmas holidays and enjoy your children and the time you will get with them, without having to rush to get to school, make lunches and, the big one, not washing and ironing school uniforms. Again, thank you for the difference you have made to my life as a Principal. It is at times overwhelming. It is one of the things I find a very special part of my life and will always see as having been a privilege.
I look forward to seeing you out there. Thanks for the kindness. Always remember be gentle on you, be gentle on others, and it will all be okay. I am going to miss you terribly, but I also feel a sense of peace that this is my time to leave being a Principal. I so much wish it wasn’t time, but it is. It is a time to now allow someone else to be with you. After all, I cannot keep you all to myself. It has been a blast. The best of times.
Stay safe! God bless you during this special time.
In gratitude and an abundance of love
P & F News
A HUGE thank you to all the class reps this year and all the parents and friends who have volunteered this year with our various events. We simply can not do any off this without your help.
Our Tommy Sugo fundraiser raised over $1000 and the wine drive $600. Everyone seems to have stocked up for the holidays!! Thanks to all who ordered pasta and wine.
Please consider become a class rep next year or volunteering to help with our events.
Our first meeting in 2023 with be Tuesday 21st of February.
SAVE THE DATE – Welcome back event!
After the success of our Italian night this term, we are going to hold another as a Welcome back, welcome to new families and welcome to our new Principal Mrs Burns.
ITALIAN NIGHT FRIDAY 10TH MARCH 2023
Entertainment Memberships – 25% off!!
Online memberships still available. Memberships can be purchased online
Any questions or queries, I can be contacted via email email@example.com
It’s the time of the year to have a look for any library or class books that you may still have at home. Don’t give up hope yet. Here are some places you might not have looked yet. Over the years, we’ve found missing books in many of these spots.
- In a Wardrobe
- Under Beds
- Under the Couch and/or cushions
- In your car
- Under chairs
- On the bookshelf
- In a backpack
- Lost and found
Thank You to the amazing families who have helped with book covering this year. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Rita Cuthbert – Library Officer – Library - the original search engine
Happy Birthday to:
All staff and students who will be celebrating over the holidays.
MERCY AWARDS – Term 4
PP Green – Jax Fermanis
PP White – Samiya McShanag
1 Green – Isaiah Chong
1 White – Talisa Martino Da Fonseca
2 Green – Poppy Lillico
2 White – Luca Marrapodi
3 Green – Luca Maio
3 White – Amelia Yee
4 Green – Harry Lange
4 White – Maggie Ma
5 Green – Xavier Robinson
5 White – Quinn Wolters
6 Green – Natasha Juszkiewicz
6 White – Max Kryachok
Religious Education and Curriculum News
From our Year 6 Classes
The Year 6 classes have been learning about Advent and the significance of the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a way of preparing for Advent by journeying through the stories on Jesus’s family tree. The students have designed their own symbols depicting the important events that occurred before Jesus was born.
The St Columba’s Parish Christmas Carols will be held in the Church.
Enrolments are now open for VacSwim swimming lessons during the summer school holidays. VacSwim offers fun lessons at beach or pool locations. They are a great school holiday activity and they teach valuable safety skills to help keep your child safe in the water.
Enrol at education.wa.edu.au/vacswim