From the Principal - Mr Chris Caldow Vol 16

Student Free Days this Term

Monday 31 October is a Student-Free Day to allow staff time for planning, preparation, assessment of student learning, collaboration, curriculum planning and professional learning. This day will be student free for both campuses. I recognise that this creates an imposition on families and thank you in advance for your ongoing support as we strive to improve student outcomes.

Friday 25 November is a Student-Free Day for all our students. This will allow our Senior students (Years 9 - 11) a small break between finishing exams and commencing their Headstart program and allow our staff to have a correction day to finalise grades. It also allows all our Junior Campus staff time for correction and report writing of the end of year reports.

Our current Years 8-11 students will be involved in their 2023 Headstart program at the Senior Campus from Monday 28 November to Thursday 1 December. Our current Year 7 students will remain at the Glenroy Campus but will commence their 2023 Headstart program from Monday 28 November to Thursday 1 December.

Year 12 Graduation Dinner
The Year 12 Graduation Dinner will occur on Monday 21 November, 2022. There has been some confusion regarding the date, but this is definitely the confirmed date. I look forward to seeing as many Year 12 students and their parents/guardians at the Dinner to celebrate the Class of 2022.

Written Examinations for VCE Unit 3&4 subjects commenced on Wednesday 26 October and will finish on Wednesday 16 November. Year 11 exams start on Wednesday 16 November and will conclude on Wednesday 23 November. Year 10 exams start on Thursday 17 November and will conclude on Thursday 24 November. Year 9 exams start on Monday 21 November and finish on Thursday 24 November.

We begin our Headstart program on Monday 28 November which will run for four days. This will literally be the start of our 2023 school year for these students and will provide students with a better understanding of their subjects, assessment and holiday homework to be completed. It should also reduce the number of subject changes for students at the beginning of the 2023 school year.

Year 10 Ball – Friday 21 October
The Year 10 Ball is one of my favourite events in our Calendar as it provides an opportunity for our parents to see their sons and daughters interacting with others and enjoying themselves. It also allows us as staff members to see some of our students in a different light as they present themselves in a different way to the way in which they may present in the classroom. My thanks to the staff who attended on the night, our Year 10 PE staff who assisted in teaching the dancing, Ms Rosa Lucarelli, Mr Deveraj Kumar and Ms Michelle Galati for their assistance with the dancing and, in particular, to Mr Steve Woodburn and Ms Emily Hastie for all of their organisation of the event. My favourite part of the night is always the Father-Daughter and Mother-Son dance where all enjoy the experience!

Student Leadership Camp
Fortunately, this year we were able to take away over 55 students for a Student Leadership Camp which was held at Don Bosco camp in Dromana on Friday 7 October – Sunday 9 October. This gave our 2023 Student Leaders an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and give some thought about initiatives and changes that they would like to implement in 2023. Thanks to Miss Elizabeth Perkins for her organisation of the camp and to Erin Bonavia, Dennis Alberto, Kate Chislett, Dyson Bell-Warren, Maria Mancuso, Letesha Ruberto and Natalie Presutti for accompanying our leaders on this camp.

Year 7 Enrolments 2024
A reminder to all our existing families that Year 7 enrolments for 2024 closed on Friday 19 August. Letters of offer have been sent to those families who have completed the enrolment process last week. Several of our 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.

VCE Building Update
Significant progress is being made with the VCE building with 95% of all concreting completed, 60% construction of structural steel, roofing is ready to commence on the southern first floor and wall framing commenced on the northern side ground and first floors. Lock up is scheduled for 15 February 2023 and an estimated completion date in May 2023 at this stage. All very exciting!

Farewell to Year 12 students
As our Year 12 students completed their formal classes with us last week and begin their written exams this week it is fitting that we pay tribute to them in this, their final newsletter, before their final exams finish. For all of our Year 12 students, their behavior was impeccable throughout the final week where they completed a range of activities included a College Assembly where they were farewelled by all staff and students, their Year 12 breakfast and dress up morning and the Graduation Mass. We take this time to reflect on their contribution and achievements over the past six years and celebrate the conclusion of their secondary education.

I take this opportunity of firstly thanking our two College Captains, Angus Drenen and Jordan Gioskos for their leadership of the student body over 2022. Both of these young people have worked very hard and have made a wonderful contribution this year. I also thank all of the other Year 12 students who have held positions of leadership for their contribution to our Penola community.

I have recently spoken at a Year 12 assembly to highlight to the students the importance of remaining focused on study in the coming weeks as they approach their examinations. I also highlighted the importance of safety in the post examination celebratory period and to look out for each other during this time to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous incidents. I encourage parents and guardians to discuss this with their children if they are going away with others to celebrate.

I encourage the Year 12 students to become active in the Penola Collegians Association next year so that they may maintain strong links with the College community into the future. I wish all the Year 12 students every grace and blessing for their future and wish them well in the upcoming examination period.

I am sure that all members of our community will keep our Year 12 students in their prayers over the next few weeks. I have included below an excerpt from my speech at the Graduation Mass

“As parents, family members and staff members there are, no doubt, many things that we would like to say to you, our graduating students, as you prepare to leave the college and embark on the journey of adulthood. Our hearts are filled with hopes and prayers for you, and indeed some fears and anxieties as well. I would like to share several of those hopes with you.

We hope that you will be people filled with joy. Life is full of many wonderful gifts. May you recognise in these gifts the spirit of our gracious and loving God. With great joy, may you be able to place your trust and hope in God.

We hope that you will be people filled with love. May you be able to share the gift of yourself with others and as you do so, be able to grow in self-understanding and acceptance. Out most basic human need is to love and to be loved in return. It is difficult to love those who are selfish and totally self-centered. As parents I thank you tonight for the privilege of educating your sons and daughters and congratulate you on your insight in working with the College to promote Christian values.

We hope that you will be people filled with peace and that you will be peacemakers. Our world is crying out desperately for peace. Peacemakers seek to transform the world. May you use your energy, talents, skills and most of all, your imagination, to create such a world.

We hope that you will be people filled with courage. To be courageous is to be true to yourself. We pray that in all situations in your lives you will be true to your human dignity as people created in the image and likeness of a loving God. We pray that you will be true to the ideals and values of the Christian faith, the faith in which you have been nurtured within your family, your schools and parishes.

We hope that you will be people filled with compassion. To be compassionate is to journey with those who suffer or who are in need. Like Saint Mary MacKillop, our College patron, may you never see a need without doing something about it. May you recognise the great injustices in our world and be fired with a burning zeal to make the world a better place.”

I know this is an exciting time, but it is also a scary one. The future can be uncertain. Your story has not yet been written, so embrace the uncertainty. University or TAFE is great but trust me, it's not for everyone. One of the benefits of uncertainty and change is the myriad of opportunities it provides. Who would have thought when I left school that there would be web designers, social media editors or mobile phone sellers!

To parents and family members, I say thank you for the privilege of allowing us to share in the lives of these young women and young men. We thank you for the trust you have placed in us. I congratulate you for the work that you have done as parents and care-givers in raising such wonderful young people. To those families of Year 12 students who this year will conclude their association with Penola, I thank you for your commitment to Catholic Education and for your support of Penola Catholic College over many years. May you continue to be blessed in the important role than you play as parents and guardians.

Finally, to the students I would like to finish by reminding you who you are. You are Penola people and you have been educated at a College which has respected you. You have come from families that have loved you unconditionally. As you move into the next stage of your life travel the journey with confidence in the spirit of Jesus Christ and Saint Mary MacKillop.

For me Term 4 is the beginning of something wonderful: Spring, new journeys and for all those who love Christmas it is the beginning of the countdown to Advent. As the end of the year approaches for the students, it is important to savour the experiences of these final few weeks at school. Taking the time to laugh with friends, enjoy the warmth of the approaching summer sun, the fragrance of the blooming blossoms and to remember how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful city. This term we will be focusing on offering thanks and goodwill to not just God within prayer, but amongst the teachers and the students as a focus within religion classes. We hope that you have the opportunity, to stop in a beautiful park or on a sandy beach, and to lie down and look up at the wonderful sky that encompasses us. To take in its grandeur and simply say, ‘Thank you God for this wonderful gift of life and nature, I am eternally grateful’.

Spring Awakening by Lily Baker

Spring is the magical time

When the rainbow lorikeets hum and the honey suckles Blossom,

When I actively bounce down the sand dunes

And onto the pea green grass,

The waratahs and the wattles bloom,

And my heart opens to the riot of spring.

I love this time when everything comes to life,

Nature triumphs in the trees, swaying freely in the wind,

Stealing my train of thought

And making my imagination run wild.

I am inspired by this heavenly kingdom,

The tranquility of dew droplets falling,


The mastery of the rain.

I feel connected.

Tree sap trickles down the bark of native gum trees

I examine this, calmly, curiously.

Sometimes the wind whispers to me at dusk

Giving me confidence within my body

I promise

I will always make the most of springtime.

From the Head of Campus Broadmeadows - Ms Erin Bonavia Vol 16

I have been thrilled to see the return of our traditional events this term. I have really enjoyed seeing families over the past fortnight engage with the following events and it has been lovely to see you all. My sincere thanks for your support of the College.

  • Celebration of Year 12 students’ achievements with a range of different events including Farewell Assembly and the Graduation Mass sharing the eucharist. Our thanks to Our Lady Guardian of the Plants Chaldean Church for providing a beautiful and special venue for the occasion.
  • Congratulations to all Year 12 students on their exemplary behaviour at the traditional Dress Up Day. The students enjoyed a cooked breakfast, paraded their creative costumes to the College, raised the Year 12 flag and then enjoyed water-based activities on the oval. My thanks to all students in Years 9 to 11 for their cooperation in following school expectations on the day and to the Year 12 staff who made the events memorable for the students. We wish all Year 12 students the very best for their future.
  • Congratulations to our Year 9 students who presented their Eco Challenge presentations to parents and staff on Thursday 20 October. I really enjoyed the thoughtful and insightful work presented.
  • The much anticipated Year 10 Ball took place at Melrose Reception on Friday 21 October. The students are to be congratulated for their efforts in learning the ballroom dances over many lessons, they were all fantastic to watch on the night. Thank you to the staff who have supported the Year 10 students in their preparations for the Ball.
  • The Sports Awards Night was a terrific event celebrating the efforts of teams and individuals in a variety of sport events this year. Thank you to Mr Griffin our Sports Coordinator, Ms Ennor for her work as Sport Assistant and to all the staff who have coached teams this year.

Students are now approaching final assessment tasks and soon will be preparing for examinations. Year Level Coordinators will provide details via a letter and on MyPenola regarding exam arrangements for year level and special events. I urge all students to remain focused in their learning keep striving for their personal best.

From the Head of Faith & Mission - Mr Robert Dullard Vol 16

Memorial Mass 2022

On Thursday 10 November at 7.30 pm in the evening, we will celebrate our annual Memorial Mass, where we remember all those who have passed from our extended Penola Catholic College community. This will be held in our beautiful St Joseph’s Chapel on the Broadmeadows Campus at 29 Gibson Street, Broadmeadows. This occasion provides an opportunity to come together to pray for and share memories of our deceased loved ones and our faith in God’s continuing providence. All families and friends of the College are very welcome to attend or if you choose, you will be able to view the Mass from home via livestream on the night. A link for the livestream can be forwarded to you if you send an email request to Mrs Melissa Fry on

As a dedication to those we remember at our Mass, each family is asked to email / send us a photo of their loved one. These will all be placed in front of the alter and utilised during the Mass in our special memorial tribute. Please send your loved one’s photo to Melissa Fry by Friday 4 November (using the above email address) so that we have enough time to print and frame it in time for the Mass.

Year 12 Graduation Mass

On 18 October, we celebrated our Year 12 Graduation Mass and Award Ceremony. It was truly a beautiful occasion with the majority of Year 12s, their Parents and well-wishers present. There is no better way to conclude our Year 12 students’ time here at Penola Catholic College than by sharing in the Eucharist together as a community. The Mass was an opportunity to stop, reflect and to thank and praise God for the wonderful gift that we have in each of our Year 12s and for the growth, the achievements and many success stories that they all represent. I don’t think we could ask God for a greater gift than that and therefore, this really was a Mass of much thanksgiving.

We have a tradition at the College whereby at the commencement of each year every Year 7 student’s name and any new staff member’s name is placed into our Sacred Penola Catholic College Community Chest symbolising that we each belong to and are very significant members of our Penola Catholic College Community. Thus, for our Year 12 students, their names were placed into the Sacred Chest in 2017 and have remained remain there ever since. During Mass, the Sacred Chest was placed near the Altar symbolising that each of us within the Penola community are also a part of our Lord’s family and are always welcomed at His table. Although, our Year 12 students are now in the process of formally finishing with us at Penola, their names will remain in our Sacred Chest, symbolising that although they are departing, they always remain members of our community and will always be welcome back.

Congratulations M22
Congratulations to M22, our wonderful Ministry Band, who have just entered the Christian Music Chart’s Top 30, with their latest recording, “Footsteps.” What an absolutely an amazing achievement by these students. It is probably a first for any school ministry band - to write and record a song which is so good that it has broken into the music charts at such a high level. The song is currently being aired on Christian radio stations such as 96.3 and Light Mix FM. The song is available on Spotify and Youtube and you can also follow M22 on Instagram and TikTok. If you haven’t checked them out as yet, what are you waiting for?

Year 9 Reflection Days
The Year 9 Reflection Days have taken place over the past few weeks at the Hope Centre in Glenroy. These have again provided our students with an opportunity to stop and reflect on their lives and the benefits that faith offers by looking through the lens of the Snakes and Ladders in life and the building of resilience. The days were facilitated by Paul Salmon, assisted by our RE staff, who all provided the energy and enthusiasm needed to ensure the days were a wonderful success and of great benefit to our students.

Year 10 Ball

On Friday 21 October we were finally able to host the Year 10 Ball. This much-loved College event hasn’t been able to run for the past 2 years due to Covid-19.

The Ball is such a highlight for our Year 10 students. After weeks of hard work and practice to perfect their dances, they were able to get dressed up and perform for family and friends.

It was great to see families, teachers and students all dressed up, dancing and enjoying themselves. We were so proud of the students that participated as they were a joy to work with and embraced the opportunity to be a part of the special evening.

Thank you to all College staff for helping bring the event together, and to our fantastic dance instructors Mark and Sheryl for coaching the students, we couldn’t have done it without you.

St Vincent De Paul Christmas Appeal

Performing Arts

College Fees

The College prefers all School Fee Accounts be finalised by 30 November annually. We appreciate your attention to this.

If you would like to discuss your account please contact Lisa Crosbie by emailing or calling 99089041.


Important Dates


Monday 31: Student Free Day


Tuesday 1: Melbourne Cup Day

Monday 21: Year 12 Graduation Dinner

Monday 28: Headstart commences


Thursday 1: Term 4 Concludes

Community News

PCC Newsletter Volume 16 - 27 Oct 2022