From the Acting Principal - Mr Robert Dullard Vol 9

From the Head of Campus Broadmeadows - Ms Erin Bonavia Vol 9

As we approach the final days of formal classes for 2023 I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our students, families and staff for their efforts throughout the year. A range of learning and social and emotional development opportunities have taken place and many memories made.

This week we welcomed the Year 8 students to the campus as they commence their journey as members of the senior campus. 40 Year 11 students will be working with the Year 8 students as Peer Leaders to assist in their transition. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to the new students and their families who join our campus this week.

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish staff who will be leaving at the end of the year all the very best for their future endeavours and thank you for their contributions to our College. In particular, best wishes to Deputy Principal Head of Glenroy Campus Mr Stuart Harrison who has supported a number of students and their families during his extended time at Penola Catholic College.

Hume Whittlesea LLEN Awards
Local Learning Employment Networks (LLENs) are designed to help school students undertaking VET as part of their VCE and VCE VM studies, including School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs), to access Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) placements in industry and business. They have contacts with employers in allied health and community services, IT and business services, building and construction, and other sectors. LLENs also advocate for career progression and engagement of al young people. I was honoured to attend a recent awards ceremony at RMIT with Mrs Jen Doan and Ms Jess Mann and see our nominated students recognised for their terrific achievements. These awards highlight and recognise the achievements of students achieving in their Vocational Major, VET, SBAT and work placement.

The school holidays provide an opportunity for students and families to identify uniform items that may need replacing or mending. When purchasing school shoes I ask families to please ensure that they meet our College uniform requirements. Please note that black runners, skate shoes, or canvas shoes are not permitted. This includes Nike air force style shoes. Students who choose to wear the winter uniform long sleeved shirt are required to wear a tie. Thank you for your support.

Support for families
I wish all students and their families a wonderful Christmas period and a safe and happy holiday period. For your reference, I have included the following support services in case you or someone you know may require some assistance.

Kid’s Help Line: 1800 551 800 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free, private and confidential telephone and online counselling service for young people aged between 5-25.

Nurse on Call: 1300 606 024 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Expert health advice from a registered nurse.

Parent Line: 13 22 89 Phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old - confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues.

Headspace: 8338 0919 with locations in Craigieburn and Glenroy, , free support for young people aged 12 to 25, their families and friends. Headspace can assist young people with a range of issues including students who are feeling down, stressed or can't stop worrying, wanting to talk about, relationships, finding it hard to deal with school, university, TAFE or work etc.

From the Acting Head of Faith & Mission - Mr Gerard Knobel Vol 9

College Theme 2024 “Do your best and God will Bless your efforts”

At Penola Catholic College we have 6 College Themes, each linked to our College values of Faith, Community and Excellence. Each theme is based on a quote or tenet from Mary MacKillop or her good friend Julian Tennison-Woods. We celebrate a different theme each year over a 6- year cycle. The 2024 Theme is “Do your best and God will bless your efforts” (Mary MacKillop 1899). It was penned by Mary MacKillop in Sydney at the end of 1899 when writing to the Sisters, encouraging those who had not been contributing to the community as well as Mary had expected during that year, to make more effort.

The “eye” in the peacock feather on the College Theme Banner symbolises the “all seeing eye of God”. The ‘eye’ of God sees not only all that we do but knows how generous and honest we are in what we do and what is costs us in proportion to how much we have. In short, God sees when we do our best. In the parable of the widows’ offering (Mark 12:41-44) Jesus emphasised that the poor widow who donated two small copper coins gave more than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything— all she had to live on.

Historically in Christianity the peacock symbolises protection, immortality, resurrection, and eternal life, which in the Catholic Faith Tradition is the eternal reward and blessing we receive from God our Father for ‘doing our best’. In 2024 and always, “Do your best and God will bless your efforts”.

Captains of Christian Service
We are delighted to announce and acknowledge our Captain”s Christian Service for 2024 Jwana S. Georgiana D. Both students have a strong capacity to give witness to their faith and we look forward to the many valuable contributions they will make to Faith and Mission initiatives in the College community.

Year 12 Graduation Mass

The Year 12 Graduation Mass took place on Tuesday 17 October at Our Lady Guardian of Plants Chaldean Catholic Parish Church. Thanks to Staff who attended the Mass and the Graduation Ceremony that followed. There are many moving parts to this celebration. Thanks to Fr. Tony, Melissa Fry, Erin Bonavia, Rosa Lucarelli, Daniele Prescot, Liviana Danielle, Jo Barton, and the homeroom teachers.

Special thanks to the Maintenance Team for helping with the ‘bump in’ and ‘bump out’, of all the equipment, to the Ministry Band M22 for playing during communion time and to Our Lady Guardian of Plants Chaldean Catholic Parish for the use of the Church and Parish Facilities.

Year 9 Reflection Days: Integral Ecology and First Nations Spirituality

The Year 9 Reflection Days are now complete and took place 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 November at Westmeadows Indigenous Community Garden. The intention and links to the RE curriculum have been explained in Memos earlier in Term 4. The photo above reflects many community partnerships that were required to make the day a success. I would like to thank and acknowledge The Hume City Council who support Jo Russell and the Westmeadows Indigenous Community Garden project and made possible the experiences of campfire cooking and gardening. To Bunnings Broadmeadows who donated $2000 worth of garden tools and supplies and to Ganga Giri of Didgeridoo Australia for sharing the First Nations cultural experiences in art, music, exploration of artefacts, meditation, and boomerang throwing. It has been a wonderful experience for so many organisations to partner with and support Penola Catholic College with this initiative to support First Nations education.

Sincere thanks to all staff who made this inaugural experience such a success: Faith and Mission Team Members: Melissa Fry, Fr. Tony, Mark Salazar, Year 9 YLCs Katherine Jones and Dyson Bell-Warren and especially to the many dedicated RE teachers; Amy Cumper, Andre Mikho, Kim Donovan, Josephine Carr, Rosa Lucarelli, Michelle Galati, Kathryn Ennor, Josephine Kengni, Connie Vindigni, Libby Corrigan, Lana Trpkoski, Olympia Kangalis and James Hajjar. Thanks to support staff Rose Branella, Jackie De Domenico.

Memorial Mass
On Thursday 10 November we celebrated our annual Memorial Mass in St. Joseph’s Chapel. It was an intimate celebration of the Eucharist on a lovely late Spring evening in Melbourne. It was great to see staff and some of their family members in attendance to commemorate the loss of those near and dear to them. Also in attendance were people who have a special connection with the space on which Penola Broadmeadow now stands and have plaques in our Memorial Garden to commemorate the loss of loved ones. We need to be aware of such history.

I would like to make special mention of Mrs Claire Pree. Claire is the daughter of George Dunn the long-term caretaker of the Babies Foundling Home that was located here on our Broadmeadows Campus. George was caretaker from about 1923 to 1975, a period of over 50 years.

The parents of two past students Mark Bradie and Stuart Godber were also in attendance. Mark Bradie attended Therry and Geoghegan Colleges from 1984-89 and sadly passed away in 1991 aged 19. Stuart Godber was a student at Therry and Geoghegan Colleges and went before us in 1989 aged 17 years.

We acknowledge the loss of loved ones of all those in our College Community, especially those in the past 12 months. Regardless of whether our loss was one day ago or 50 years ago, I often think what one would be prepared to give for just one more conversation or hug from our loved one gone before us! George Dunn, Mark Bradie and Stuart Godber are all commemorated with plaques in our Memorial Garden!

Friends from Amoonguna, Alice Springs
On Thursday 16 November we welcomed visitors from the Amoonguna Primary School and Community near Alice Springs to our Penola College Community. This is a relationship that has been shared for approximately 15 years. From December 1 - 10, 2023, nine Year 10 students, along with Robert Dullard, Melissa Fry and Gerard Knobel will be welcomed in return to their school community about 15km south of Alice Springs. We give thanks for this relationship and know all past and present Penola Catholic College staff and students who have visited Amonnguna, cherish the memories of this unique experience.

AJASS Student Leadership Day
On Monday 20 November our College Captains, Vice Captains and Port Folio leaders participated in a leadership conference at Mount St. Jospeh’s Altona with other student

leaders from Josephite Schools in the South-East AJASS Cluster titled, ‘Leading with a Josephite Heart’. The day provided further education to students about the Josephite Charism, St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop, and Fr Julian Tension Woods. This day inspired students to creatively explore ways to enhance the Josephite Charism within their school and wider community. The day was a wonderful opportunity for students and staff attending to network with fellow leaders in the AJASS Network.

A message from Fr Tony

A 4 Part Series of Reflections for Advent in Preparation for Christmas

Part 3
The Spirit always connects, reconciles, forgives, heals, and makes two into one. It moves human-made boundaries to utterly realign and renew that which is separated and alienated. The “diabolical” (from two Greek words, dia balein, that mean “to throw apart”) by contrast, always divides and separates that which could be united and at peace. Just as the Spirit always makes one out of two, so the evil one invariably makes two out of one! The evil one tears the fabric of life apart, while the Spirit comes to mend, soften, and heal.

In the prophet Isaiah, he describes the coming servant of Yahweh. It is precisely this quote that Jesus first uses to announce the exact nature of his own ministry (Luke 4.18-19). In each case Jesus describes his work as moving outside of polite and proper limits and boundaries to reunite things that have been marginalised or excluded by society: the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the downtrodden. His ministry is not to gather the so-called good into a private country club but to reach out to those on the edge and on the bottom, those who are “last” to tell them they are, in fact, first! That is almost the very job description of the Holy Spirit, and therefore of Jesus.

The more that we can put together, the more that we can “forgive” and allow, the more we can include and enjoy, the more we tend to be living in the Spirit. The more we need to reject, oppose, deny, exclude and eliminate, the more open we are to negative and destructive voices and to our own worst instincts. As always, Jesus is our model of healing, outreach and reconciliation, the ultimate man of the Spirit.

What divisions exist in your life? How can you let the Spirit mend those divisions?

Part 4
Kingdom people are history makers. They break though the small kingdoms of this world to an alternative and much larger world, God’s full creation. People who are still living in the false self are history stoppers. They use God and religion to protect their own status and the status quo of the world that sustains them. They are often fearful people, the nice proper folks of every age who think like everybody else thinks and who have no power to break through, or as Jesus’ opening words put it, “to change” (Mark 1.15, Matthew 4.17)

How can we really think that Mary, if she thought like any good Jewish girl was trained to think, could possibly be ready for this marriage? She had to let God lead her outside of her box of expectations, her comfort zone, her dutiful religion of follow the leader. She was very young and largely uneducated. Perhaps theology itself is not the necessary path but simply integrity and courage. Nothing said at the synagogue would have prepared Mary or Joseph for this situation. They both had to rely on their Angels! All we know of Joseph is that he was a “just man”. (Matthew 1.19), also young and probably uneducated. This is all an affront to our criteria and way of evaluating authenticity.

So why do we love and admire people like Mary and Joseph, and then not imitate their faith journey, their courage, their non-reassurance by the religious system? These were two laypeople who totally trusted their inner experience of God and who followed it to Bethlehem and beyond. There is no mention in the Gospels of the two checking out their inner experiences with the high priests, the synagogue or even their Jewish scripture. Mary and Joseph walked in courage and blind faith that their experience was true, with no one to reassure them they were right. Their only safety net was God’s love and mercy. A safety net they must have tried out many times, or else they would never have been able to fall into it so gracefully.

In what ways do you trust your own inner authority? Do you fear you are being rebellious if you do so? Were Mary and Joseph rebellious?

Now, taste and see the goodness of our God. (Psalm 34:8)

Are you still trying to build God a house, or can you first let God build one for you?

St Vinnies Christmas Thank You

Dear parents and guardians,

Thank you for your kind contributions to the St. Vincent Christmas drive. As in the past, this year we had an overwhelming response of students and staff donating items to the collection. We had toys, books, board games, non-perishable items and many, many more. It was so heart warming receiving all the items knowing that there will be families in our community who will be having a ‘better’ Christmas due to the generosity of our school community.

Merry Christmas to you all.
Michelle Quiriconi, Cecilia Bruzesse, Soula Argyropoulos



Science at Penola
Over the past 11 months we have had lots of highlights in the department from excursions at Year 11 and 12 to Victorian Space Science Education Centre and Ecolinc to the Year 7 classification incursion where they got a chance to interact with Australian wildlife. Science week is always the highlight of our year, and we love seeing students getting involved.

We would like to acknowledge some of our retiring staff members this year namely Pascal Roulant and Alex Roujnikov who have both dedicated their lives to educating our children. We thank them for their contribution to the students of Penola and wish them the very best as they move onto new projects and get a chance to enjoy more time with their families.

Finally, from all of the staff in the Science department, we would like to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas period and we look forward to our continued partnership into 2024.

Take care,

Leanne Attard and Rebecca Seel
Heads of Science

College Fees

The College requests that School Fee Accounts are fully paid by the end of the year annually. We would appreciate your attention to this.

To discuss your Account at anytime please email Lisa Crosbie at

Thank you.

Community News

PCC Newsletter Volume 9 - 30 Nov 2023