From the Principal - Mr Chris Caldow Vol 15

On behalf of Penola Catholic College, I extend our condolences to the Blight family (Evan 7A) on the passing of Marty Blight from COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with Evan, Rebecca and extended family.

COVID-19 Cases
I am currently aware of 13 of our families where a member of their family has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Please keep these families in your prayers. Please let me know if you or a family member has been diagnosed with COVID-19 so that we can provide the best support possible for your family.

Year 12 Priority Access to Vaccines
To help support the safe conduct of end-of-year exams, the Victorian Government has announced a vaccination blitz for final year students (all Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Units 3/4 students, final year Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and International Baccalaureate (IB) students), their teachers and exam supervisors and assessors.

From Tuesday, 7 September and until Friday, 17 September, final year students, their teachers and VCE exam supervisors and assessors will have access to priority timeslots to attend their vaccination appointment at a vaccination centre.

Dedicated appointment booking hotline
The hotline number is 1800 434 144. The hotline will operate from 8 am to 8 pm.

  • Year 12 students will be able to book from 8 am Monday 6 September.
  • Other Unit 3/4 students can book from 8 am Wednesday 8 September.

Ineligible staff and students will not be able to make a booking using this booking process. I encourage all final year students, their teachers and VCE exam supervisors and assessors to make an appointment, as this will help keep them and our community safe and support the safe conduct of the VCE examinations later this year.

Planning Permit approved for VCE Building
We received excellent news late last week that our planning permit for our new VCE Building has been approved. This building will provide 18 classrooms, Careers Area, Year 12 Common Room, and staff areas as well as a gathering space for 300 students. The next step is approval from MACS Planning, Buildings and Finance Group and hopefully going to tender in late October/ early November.

Year 12 Trial Exams
Given the extended lockdown we have made the decision to postpone Year 12 Trial Exams that were scheduled for the second week of the upcoming holidays. At this stage many staff are yet to complete Unit 4 content and it would be unfair to attempt the trial exams until all of the coursework has been taught. In all likelihood, we will utilise this time for either final assessments or additional classes depending on the conditions at the time. The trial exams will be conducted in the first few weeks of Term 4 in the current double lessons in each class when we are hopefully back to face-to-face learning.

I ave listed below the schedule for Year 12 SACs that will be conducted in the second week of the holidays.






10:00am – 12:30pm
Food Studies

1:00pm – 3:00pm
Specialist Maths

12:00pm – 1:10pm
Further Maths – Geometry SAC

3:00pm – 4:10pm
Further Maths – Matrices SAC

9:30am – 10:30am
Japanese Oral practice

1:00pm – 3:00pm
Maths Methods

10:00am – 12:30/1pm
Italian Oral practice

11:00am – 12:40pm
Business Management

1:25pm – 2:15pm
Legal Studies (Part A)

Year 12 Graduation
In light of current COVID-19 restrictions it seems quite unlikely that 1000 people are going to be able to gather collectively to celebrate our Graduation Mass and Graduation Dinner. As such we have come up with alternatives so that we can formally recognise this significant milestone for our current Year 12 students. The Graduation will take place on Thursday, 18 November once Year 12 exams have concluded. In essence we are planning to conduct some form of liturgy and graduation ceremony for each homeroom which will be livestreamed to enable peers, staff, and our wider community to be involved in the process. Obviously, it will be in line with any restrictions that are in place at that particular time to ensure the safety of all involved. We have a number of different plans depending upon the restrictions that are in place at that particular time.

Parent Teacher Student Partnership Meetings
The final round of Parent Teacher Student Partnership Meetings will take place on Thursday, 7 October via Microsoft Teams. I hope that you will find these informative and that teaching staff are able to highlight the areas where your child is doing well as well as areas for future improvement. This opportunity, scheduled at this time especially for students, reflects the key stage in the academic year for students. We hope the evening will provide an opportunity for dialogue for families that enables there to be every opportunity for success for our students between now and the end of their academic year. At this stage regardless of any proposed return to face to face teaching, this day students will be working remotely to enable staff time for these interviews to take place. The interviews will run from 3.00p.m. and conclude at 6.30p.m.

NAPLAN Results
As parents of Years 7 & 9 students would be aware, students received a printout of their NAPLAN results this week. Whilst they are only a snapshot of each student’s level of achievement and an indication of how they have performed at a particular point in time, they do provide us, as a school, with valuable comparisons against the State and National performance. One of the best measures for our school is to look at the growth from Years 7 – 9 as it gives an indication as to whether we are progressing at the same rate as the rest of the state. I have listed these results below for our community to view and make their own interpretations. A score of +4 indicates that our growth was 4 points better than the state whereas a score of -4 indicates that we were 4 points behind the state in terms of growth.




Grammar & Punctuation


As or better than State
















2016 - 2018







2015 -2017







2014 -2016







2013 - 2015







2012 - 2014







2011 - 2013







2010 - 2012







2009 - 2011







Professor John Hattie conducted some analysis of the most recent NAPLAN results which indicated that Victoria still led the nation in terms of NAPLAN results despite prolonged periods of lockdown and significant disruption to schooling. The study showed that “somewhat surprisingly our analysis found no significant differences between 2019 and 2020 in student achievement growth as measured by progressive achievement tests in mathematics or reading”, with the study also noting “these findings are a testament to the dedicated work of teachers during the 2020 pandemic to ensure that learning for most students was not compromised, despite unusually trying circumstances”. However, in what has been a common observation across the school sector, the effects were slightly more negative in lower SES schools.

Year 7 Enrolments 2023
A reminder to all of our existing families that Year 7 enrolments for 2023 closed on Friday, 20 August. A number of families applied after the close of enrolment last year and it makes it very difficult to accurately plan for the following year, so I ask that you submit your enrolment as soon as possible. Often families assume that we know that there is a younger sibling, but I would be very disappointed if one of our existing families missed out on an enrolment due to not submitting their enrolment in a timely manner.

Grade Prep enrolments in our Catholic Feeder Primary schools
One of the strengths that we have as a regional Catholic secondary school is the great relationship that we have with our feeder Primary Parish schools. We meet each term just to discuss what is happening in each of our respective schools. At our meeting last week, a number of my colleague Principals indicated that prep enrolments for 2022 had been slow and I said that I would place a reminder in our Newsletter as we share the same families. I have listed below the contact details for each of our Catholic Primary Schools:

  • Corpus Christi Primary School Glenroy – 03 9306 3062
  • Holy Child Primary School Dallas – 03 9309 1620
  • School of the Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park 03 9338 7686
  • St Carlo Borromeo, Greenvale 03 9333 2572
  • St Dominic’s Primary School, Broadmeadows 03 9309 4146
  • St Fidelis Primary School, Pascoe Vale 03 9383 3600
  • St Francis de Sales Primary School, Oak Park 03 9306 9444
  • St Matthews Primary School, Fawkner North 03 9359 5423
  • St Marks Primary School, Fawkner 03 8335 4100
  • St Thomas More Primary School, Hadfield 03 9312 8200
  • St Therese Primary School, Essendon 03 9374 6100
  • St Monicas Primary School, Moonee Ponds 03 9375 1132

On the Twentieth Anniversary of 9/11
We remember, God of history and remembrance, we remember. We remember when the towers fell and the lives were lost; we remember the dust and the smoke, the despair, and the grief. We remember that sense of vulnerability and shock. We remember the numbness that overwhelmed us as we watched our screens for hours and hours, waiting for an explanation and understanding that never came. We remember.

We remember, God of hope and presence, we remember. We remember the heroes, those who rushed to help, who guided the wounded down innumerable flights of stairs, who rose to overwhelm those who held death in their hands. We remember the hours and the days of binding wounds and healing hurts, giving comfort, drying tears. We remember words of support and compassion from nations far and wide. We remember.

We remember in part because we see the ripples of that tragic day continue to impact our world twenty years later. We grieve with allies today as our allies grieved with us twenty years ago. And together we wonder if there will ever be an end . . . to violence, to war, to hatred, to death. We remember and we grieve our world’s inability to learn the things that lead to peace.

We call to you now in our remembrance, God of justice and of peace. Give us a will to truly pray that your kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven. Amen and Amen.

On this day of solemn remembrance:
May we honour the lives that were lost in this tragic act.
May we give thanks for those who served and saved, rendered aid and assistance.
May we give comfort to those who live with loss.
May we seek justice and peace where it is within our ability,
and rely on you when the ability escapes us.

On this day of solemn remembrance:
May we build what has been torn down.
May we mend what has been broken.
May live your love when hate seems to reign.
May we bear witness to the cause of peace.

From the Acting Head of Campus Broadmeadows - Mrs Liviana Daniele Vol 15

RUOK Day and Mental Health Week 6-12 September.
There were some beautiful messages that went out during the RUOK Mental Health week to our Penola Community. The student leadership team directed by Ms Elizabeth Perkins and the Student Support and Enhancement team offered us as a community some purposeful ways we were called to be mindful of taking care of not only each other but also ourselves. The competitions, the meditation session, the quotes, and many messages all made our week somewhat special. I am sure all of us with the assistance of our Penola Student Leadership team were able to nurture our own mental health due to celebrating mental health week.

Acknowledgment for Positive Student Engagement during Remote learning
Spending most of this school term in lockdown and students having to engage in remote learning was yet another challenging time for learning, regardless of this we have had students who have risen to this challenge. As a result we have acknowledged the students who have continued to work and remain engaged during Term 3. Teachers were asked to nominate students who have shown the following during remote learning;

  • Demonstrated resilience during this challenging period
  • Maintained high attendance
  • Actively participated in Teams meetings
  • Completed all required work

Of all the nominated students, there were 5 students drawn per year level for the last three weeks of term. These students all received a $25 UberEats voucher. All of the nominated students across all the subjects will receive a certificate recognising their positive engagement for the term.

Showing Josephite Gratitude
With the assistance of Mr Chris McBrearty students from the Year 9 EAL class wrote letters for healthcare workers at St Vincent’s Hospital. They produced some lovely heartfelt messages of thanks that then were delivered to nurses at the hospital. What a great initiative from Mr McBrearty and a great experience for the students to share their gratitude with some of our frontline workers in the health care system during this pandemic.

Penola Catholic College Scholarship Student Applications for 2021
Penola Catholic College recognises and encourages students who strive for excellence in a wide range of disciplines. The College believes it important that students develop:

  • Skills of creativity
  • A spirit of enquiry
  • Self discipline
  • Critical awareness
  • A sense of community
  • Skills in leadership
  • A desire for academic excellence
  • To be a Real Life Learner

Penola Catholic College endeavours to support students through the implementation of a Scholarship Program. The Scholarship Program recognises and acknowledges students that take responsibility for and are proactive in the development of their own learning.

We are thrilled to be able to announce the provision of a number of scholarships for 2021. The scholarships are of $400 each and are categorised as Academic, Co-Curricular Involvement, Community Spirit and Personal Endeavour. Students are able to apply for one scholarship category only.

Students interested in applying for a scholarship are invited to complete an application form. Forms will be available on mypenola in the student news section.

All applications must be submitted no later than Friday 8 October, 2021. The Scholarship Selection Committee will then short list and interview suitable applicants. Recipients of scholarships will be acknowledged at the end of year College Awards Night.

Please Note: Recipients of 2020 Scholarships are not eligible to apply this year but may apply again in 2022.

As this term comes to an end, we keep in our prayers all of our Penola families who have or are currently facing difficulties during this pandemic. We pray that all members of our community stay safe and are able to find peace during the term break. May we continue to support each other in any capacity that is possible.

Best wishes for the holiday break.

From the Head of Campus Glenroy - Mr Stuart Harrison Vol 15

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

While we wait for an announcement this Sunday from the Victorian Government, to indicate when students will return to onsite learning, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the students, families and staff for what has been a difficult term. Resilience is generally understood as the capacity of an individual, family, community or environment system to return the normative functioning after exposure to an atypical stressor.

This can definitely be true of our students, who in the main, have been resilient during this unprecedented pandemic. As adults we have struggled through working from home and so this in many respects can be magnified for our youth as they grapple with a constant changing landscape.

These holidays are therefore more important than ever for our Year 7 & 8 students to have some downtime away from their screens and getting some important exercise outside. Thank you to the staff and parents that have supported them this term and hopefully we will resume face to face classes in Term 4.

Have a restful break

From the Head of Faith & Mission - Mr Robert Dullard Vol 15

There is no doubt, that this has again been quite a difficult term for many, if not all of us, due to the challenges of lockdown restrictions, remote learning, working from home, isolation, serious illness and even death, all brought about by Covid 19.

It would be easy to give up, understandable really but that gets us nowhere and only deepens our troubles. When things become tough, we need to stay positive, difficult as it may seem and trust in our faith in God to pull us through.

Therefore, I would like to draw your attention to a reflection from Fr Tony Cox, our College Chaplain. I urge you to take the time to read this as Fr Tony offers us here, real insight and food for thought in remaining true people of hope. In doing so, can I also remind everyone that Fr Tony is available to families who may need any pastoral or spiritual support. Please do not hesitate to contact the College if this be the case.

The Covid Crisis.

What do we do? How do we cope? It just seems never ending these days!

As we all know there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel though the Covid Crisis still curtails! At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work, effort and consideration that has gone into all of our lives, ministries, relationships and the like since the Pandemic began. The Pastoral Approach that Penola Catholic College has taken in all avenues of life and faith is certainly to be admired. I personally admire and thank you all. We are, however, still to be challenged. I offer a few reflections to help us further along the way.

Generally, for most of us there are times when life seems as light as a feather and as merry as the month of May. We don’t have to work at it or struggle with it. Yes, there are “ups and downs” but generally we are able to go with the flow. We can relax and enjoy. We are grateful. But then there are those other days and occasions when the long days of Summer turn into a bitter Winter, when living, personal relationships, patience, hope and health cease to be easy and everything all of a sudden becomes hard, frustrating and very confronting. Life no longer carries us! Instead, everything becomes a burden, and we end up having to carry it, sometimes by our own self but more often than not, as in the case with the Corona Virus, we carry it and share it with others and in an immediate sense, our Family and Friends.

At the moment, we are all experiencing these sorts of days. Our hearts are heavy. Life just simply feels like a load of bricks has been dumped fairly and squarely on our individual shoulders and those of Family, Friends, Community, Nation and our world in the form of the Covid Pandemic.

Times like this present us all with a very practical problem. What do we do? What to do with the burden of the Pandemic. We have and we still continue to face it and be confronted by it. Yes, we are doing much in the way we can: we are following the directives of the Government, the Doctors, the Epidemiologists and so many other Professionals. This is only natural. It is a certain necessity but I find myself asking myself again and again, how do I and am I continually facing these burdens or these challenges as they do change each and every day.

I do not want to get “too churchey” or “get up on my soap box” and preach but rather I would like to share with you three verses from the New Testament which might in some way supply somewhat of an answer to the questions we have at the moment. ( Please take this in its’s context)

In St Paul’s letter to the Galatians it is written: “For everyone has to carry their own load” (Gal. 6.5). This instruction is found in Paul’s letter to the Christians of Galatia. To some it may sound like a reprimand, as though Paul were saying, “you made your bed, now lie in it.” But this is not what his intent was at all. The apostle is simply telling us two things about life’s burdens. One, that we all have them. No one is exempt. And two, that burdens are, for the most part, inescapable and not transferable. We cannot run away from them, and we cannot push them off onto someone else.

Reading this short verse, Paul in reminding us of these truths is not being unkind to us. On the contrary, it is one of the most considerate things that anyone could do for us. We set ourselves up for needless pain and bitter disappointment, if we live with the illusion that all burdens are somehow avoidable and escapable. They are not. Maybe the pandemic is an exception. I am still trying to work this one out! But generally, sooner or later burdens and challenges come to one and all. Our first line of defence is to see them as part of real life. We are trying to do this indeed now! Paul spoke the truth when he said, “each person will have to bear their own load.”

But we have to thank God that this is not the whole story! The second thing that we can do with life’s burdens is to share them with other people. This is certainly something that the Pandemic is forcing each and everyone of us to do. In that same Letter to the Galatians (Gal 6.2), Paul earlier on wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

I cannot lift from your heart at this time the angst, the pain, the frustration, the confusion, the tyranny of distance, the isolation, the loss of income and loss of job, the death of a loved one or the sudden confinement of life, health and breath etc. But I can help you carry it. And you can do the same for me. Your pain etc can become my pain, and my pain can become yours. Paul called this a fulfillment of the law of Christ.

There is only one law that Jesus ever gave his disciples, and we find it in the Gospel of John (13.34). “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must our love be for one another.”

Especially at this time, I believe that what we all have to do is to entrust all to God. There is a verse in the Psalms that reads: “Cast your care upon the Lord, and he will support you” (Ps 55. 23).

This, naturally enough, raises the question of how. What does it mean to entrust our burdens to God? We cannot take them off, as though we are taking off a backpack, lay them down and then walk away. As we all know, life is not this simple. But we all, individually and collectively, can remind ourselves of the often-promised Biblical promise that we are not alone. We all can acknowledge our need for help, and we can ask for it. Then we can go as far as our strength will carry us and leave the rest to God. If this is not the meaning of faith, then I do not know what it means.

When Moses, the great leader of Israel, was near the end of his life, he gave one final speech to the nation. Near the conclusion of that speech, he made a statement that the people must have cherished with all their hearts. Doubtless, it sustained them in times of adversity. And across the centuries, it has sustained untold thousands and millions of struggling women and men. What he said was this: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut: 33.27).

Let us all, as Individuals, as Families, as Friends, as a Community, as a Nation, as Nations and as a World live on in hope, in promise and in love. Let us continue to be people of hope.


Fr Tony Cox
College Chaplain

Covid-19 Vaccines

The Victorian Government has announced a vaccination blitz for final year students (all Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Units 3/4 students, final year Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and International Baccalaureate (IB) students), their teachers and exam supervisors and assessors.

Until tomorrow Friday 17 September, final year students, their teachers and VCE exam supervisors and assessors will have access to priority timeslots to attend their vaccination appointment at a vaccination centre.

Dedicated appointment booking hotline
The hotline number is 1800 434 144. The hotline will operate from 8 am to 8 pm.

There is also a new vaccination site at the Broadmeadows Community Hub, 182 Widford Street, Broadmeadows. This site will be open on Monday September 13 – Friday September 17 from 9.30am. – 4.30pm. each day. The site is taking walk-ups only – no appointments need to be made.

R U Ok Day Colouring Competition

Thank you to those who took some time out last week to participate in the R U OK Day Mindfulness Colouring Competition.

There were so many great entries that if was hard to pick the winners!

Congratulations to the following worthy winners:

Student winners:

  • Nevaeh B 9A - 1st PRIZE: $50 Uber Voucher
  • Georgiana D 9A - RUNNER UP: $30 Uber Voucher
  • Sofia G 11A - RUNNER UP: $30 Uber Voucher

Staff winners:

  • Luke Lentini - 1st PRIZE: $50 Uber Voucher
  • Judy Matthews - RUNNER UP: $30 Uber Voucher
  • Melissa Fry - RUNNER UP: $30 Uber Voucher

Learning at Penola

NAPLAN Online – School Readiness Test
In 2022 all schools are required to transition from the current paper-based tests to the computer-based assessments. NAPLAN Online provides a better assessment, more precise results and is more engaging for students. The assessments can run through a real-time internet connection or onscreen without an internet connection. Watch the short clip: Understanding NAPLAN Online

At Penola Catholic College, significant planning must be carried out to make sure we are all ready to move NAPLAN online. Should we return to face to face teaching in Term 4, students in Year 7 and Year 9 will participate in a School Readiness Test (SRT) on October 5. If we are still engaged in remote learning this SRT will be rescheduled.

The School Readiness Test is a ‘practice run’ for Penola to assess our technology ahead of NAPLAN Online. The readiness test is not an assessment of student ability. The readiness test allows Penola to:

  • Become familiar with the NAPLAN Online test format and processes
  • Check whether we have the technical capacity to administer NAPLAN Online
  • Provide students in NAPLAN Years 7 and 9 with the opportunity to experience the online test question types and format by completing a practice NAPLAN online test

Your child will not need any academic preparation for the school readiness test. This is not a test of their literacy and numeracy skills, but an opportunity for them to experience the online test format and for Penola to assess its online testing capability. The School Readiness Test is expected to include two assessments: a writing assessment and a combined numeracy/literacy assessment. The duration of each assessment will be approximately 40 minutes. Students with additional learning needs will be supported by the learning enhancement team.

There will be feedback to schools about the technical information gained from the readiness testing. There will be no reporting of student test results from the readiness test as this is a practice and readiness test only.

The assessment is delivered inside a locked-down browser. This ensures students cannot access the internet or spellcheckers while completing the test. The lock-down browser has, in most cases, been installed on your child’s device. Students with BYOD laptops (non school issued laptops) need to download and install the NAPLAN Browser in order to do the NAPLAN Test. Please see the links below to download the most appropriate NAPLAN Browser for your Operating System. For information about the NAPLAN Locked Down Browser please click here.

In advance of taking NAPLAN Online, students, teachers and parents are invited to use the public demonstration tests to familiarise themselves with the type of questions and related functionalities available in the NAPLAN Online assessment.

Some of the key features include a range of question types, onscreen tools, timers and interactive navigation. Students are encouraged to try all the tests for their year level to practice the complete range of question formats available in the online assessment.

For more information

What does my child need for the School Readiness Test on October 5?

  • Headphones are required for some questions that include sound in the spelling, writing and numeracy tests. Please ensure that your child brings plug in headphones on October 5. Bluetooth headphones may not work during the test.
  • A fully charged laptop
  • Pens

Year 12 School Assessed Coursework
Parents, as you would be aware a numbers of Unit 4 SACS were postponed due to the extended lockdown. Consequently, a number of SACS have been scheduled for Week 2 of the forthcoming term break. These will occur via MS TEAMs meetings. All VCAA and Penola Catholic College regulations apply. Please ensure that your son/daughter is familiar with the schedule posted in the Principal’s report and on the Year 12 page on MyPenola. The remaining SACS will be scheduled early in Term 4. Further details will be shared once we know more regarding the resumption of classes on campus. In addition, a reminder that the trial exams will now occur during double lessons during Term 4 classes.

I wish students and families all the best as we take the opportunity to take some time away from screens during the holidays. Stay safe and know that we are doing all that we can to mitigate any learning loss during this current situation.


Remote Languages Competition - Term 3 Broadmeadows Campus
In order to give the Year 9 Italian and Japanese students a break from screen time, last week the Italian and Japanese teachers harnessed the students’ creative talents. Participants were asked to recreate a famous monument or icon, using any material they wished. Those students who were not feeling as creative were able to participate in a Scavenger Hunt – go around their homes and take photos of the items on the Japanese/Italian list.

Needless to say, we were most impressed by the variety and calibre of the entries. I am very pleased to announce the winners here and include their creation. Prizes will be distributed on our return to school next term.

A huge well done to all the participants!


  • 1st - Luca D 9I
  • 2nd - Sophie W 9I
  • 3rd - Lara M 9L
  • Scavenger Hunt – Paul H 9C


  • 1st - Zak G 9A
  • 2nd - Sahara K 9K
  • 3rd - Matthew E 9H
  • Scavenger Hunt - Alison N 9B

"Cheat Treats" Cooking Session

Co-curricular Activity “Cheats Treats” Cooking Session

On Tuesday 31 August and Monday 6 September, Mrs Tania Mateski and 4 Year 10 students, Chloe K (10I), Siala M (10J), Kelly Maree G (10B) and Tara O (10I) embarked on the first ever “Cheats Treats” online co-curricular session. Mrs Mateski (an amazing baker) guided the students during a Teams Meeting in making the following food items:

  • Session 1: Rolled Pavlova
  • Session 2: Cheat’s Vanilla Slice and Pin wheels

The students thoroughly enjoyed the sessions (as did their families who sampled the delicious food). A special thank you to Mrs Mateski for taking the time to run these engaging sessions, Mr John Paul for ordering the ingredients and the Maintenance staff, Vinnie and John for delivering the ingredients to the students.

Term 4 Fees

Please arrange payment of your Term 4 School Fees by Friday 8 October 2021.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your account please contact Lisa Crosbie or email

PCC Newsletter Volume 15 - 16 Sep 2021