Ash Wednesday 

This week marks the start of Lent with our Ash Wednesday Service. 

The forty days of Lent leads into Holy Week, the most important period in the Church’s calendar celebrating Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. To commence this period, we are asked to be mindful, repent, and give service to our neighbour and community, and always exhibit the character strengths of love and kindness. We should not be expecting in return, but rather unobtrusively give service to others. 

Mr Sam Johnstone, Director of Mission and Faith, will have a more comprehensive outline of this Lenten period in his column in this week’s Marist Star. 

GEM: Gratitude, Empathy, Meditation
GEM is part of the Pastoral Care program the school offers as part of its Pastoral Care Framework. Clearly, at the heart of our framework is our Catholic faith and that we live life according to Christ’s teachings. 

These teachings are delivered in various forms in your child’s Religious Education lessons, Year 7-12. In its simplest forms and in his greatest commandment, Christ said, “Love one another as I love you”. This is not an overly profound statement and simple enough to adhere. But apparently the human race has difficulty in taking on board this simple message. Nothing could be more obvious than the lunacy of the current invasion of Ukraine by President Putin (not Russia).  

To complement our core faith, the College is developing a whole school program and approach called GEM which is one facet of a larger program called, “The Resilience Project”. At this stage of development, we are looking at one phase – GEM (E). 


To be grateful for small, medium and large aspects of our life. To take the time to reflect on, “What we are grateful for in life”.  Gratitude helps develop a more positive growth mindset and helps heal our own inner qualms. 

Being grateful for the small things (or big things) in life is very helpful and is one of the tools to help guide us to a happier life. 

Gratitude boosts your concentration levels and helps block off negative energy. Many of us can be consumed by negativity. Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience. People who take the time to list things they are grateful for are healthier and happier. 


Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of one another, to be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, to know and understand how someone else feels. To try and understand another’s situation and to empathise and be compassionate with and for them. Empathy and compassion are key indicators to peace, happiness, kindness and love. 


Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present and aware of where we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us. 

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it is more readily available to us when we practice it on a daily basis.  

Whenever you’re being aware of what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. 

“The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional and physical processes”. 

There are many forms of mindfulness – meditation, yoga, relaxation, and prayer are just a few. 

The fourth of the GEM program is a silent (E). GEM (E) – Emotional Literacy refers to a person’s ability to understand emotions, use them productively and manage them effectively. People with high emotional literacy and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) create and manage relationships more effectively. Emotional Literacy is also the ability to understand, show and articulate your emotions. 

Emotional Intelligence is understanding why and how people react, can read personal space, social queues, and can read the state of social play. This is really important in social settings such as schools. 

Thus, it’s easy to see from these basic GEM (E) outlines, how they complement our current Pastoral Care program. 

Students and staff have already been introduced to GEM. Staff have all been given a copy of and have been asked to read, “The Resilience Project” by Hugh van Cuylenburg, Also, they have been given a daily Gratitude and Mindfulness diary as part of their own personal journey. As well, all staff receive Professional Learning on GEM at whole school staff meetings. For any program to be fully and successful implemented requires ‘buy in’ from all stake holders. 

Students in Years 7-9 have included in their diary, daily Gratitude and Mindfulness activities to explore. These are carried out on a daily basis in their Pastoral Care classes. Time is set aside for discussion in these classes, which is very valuable. There are also specific GEM lessons in the diary that teachers conduct within Pastoral Care groups and Year level assemblies. Year 10-12 teachers are currently in the throes of producing a program for senior students. We are looking at a suitable diary for seniors for 2023. 

There will be much more information rolled out regarding the GEM project. Please don’t hesitate to talk to your child about this over time. 

In Term 2, we hope to conduct a parent information event regarding GEM. More information will be provided in due course. 

Swimming Carnival 

Again, Mr Alex Johnstone, Learning Area Leader for Health and Physical Education will provide a full outline of the Junior (Years 7/8) and Senior (Years 9-12) Swimming Carnivals held last week. 

I commend our students who competed, especially Year 7 and 8 students, where the House Spirit was excellent. Participation rate could have been better with 78% attendance for Year 7 and 8, and 66% in Years 9-12. 

Congratulations to Frayne House who were the overall House Swimming Champions and House Spirit Shield Awardees for 2022. 

House Spirit 

Currently, the College lacks depth with its House Spirit. It’s something that has not been given enough attention over the last few years. The 3 carnivals – Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics are the only activities that are aligned to a House system. For those who aren’t runners or swimmers, there seems to be little else to look forward to. 

We are exploring a revamp of the current House model, one which is far more inclusive for all. Apart from an aggregate (Winning House) Cup at each carnival, there will be a House Spirit Shield up for grabs at the conclusion of each carnival and at the end of the year as well. 

House Spirit points are awarded to each carnival for: Most Enthusiastic House, Best War Crys, Most Encouraging, Neatest House Areas, Most Organised, Greatest Participation, as well as other criteria. 

Also, we will broaden our horizons to inter-house tournaments for chess, debating, House sports (eg. Feast Days), Battle of the Bands, theatre sports, academic, and many others. To belong to one of the four Houses – Chanel, McAuley, Frayne, and Colin is a real honour. To strive to win the coveted House Spirit Award at years end will be a true highlight. To really cement the notion of belonging, I will also endeavour to bring in coloured House shirts for both staff and students. 

Uniform and Personal Appearance Policy 

Recently, I read and slightly amended the College’s Uniform and Personal Appearance Policy. Most of the policy is current and appropriate. I would like to draw your attention to two areas in particular. 

Girls Skirt/Dress Length
The current policy suggests a hand width above the knee. This is subject to a range of interpretations depending on whose hand we are talking about. This current statement has been removed and replaced with no more than 12cm above the top of the knee. We will be asking our students, parents and guardians to be diligent with this. 

The length and tidiness of hair, I would like to see addressed. As per our Uniform and Hair Policy, it states mullet styled hair for boys at shoulder length. I am appreciative of the fact that long hair for boys is in trend at present. However, I do ask that it complements our very distinctive uniform. Hair MUST be off the face, and I will have no hesitation in asking boys to get a haircut and/or have their hair tied back. Girls also are required to have their hair tied back in many subjects for safety, health, and hygiene reasons. Again, I ask parents and guardians for your support in this arena. 

50th Anniversary 

This year, Marist Regional College (1972-2022) celebrates its 50th Anniversary. 

A date has now been officially calendarised for this event. Term 3, 19-20 August, which coincides with the Feast of the Assumption of Mary (on Friday 19 August). 

A weekend of festivities – Friday and Saturday is in order for such as auspicious occasion. We will need a team of helpers to prepare for this event. Any person within the College community who would like to be on the MRC 50th Anniversary Organising Committee, please contact Mrs Jennine Williams on 6432 7612 or email I propose to convene our first meeting in Term 1. One of the biggest initial jobs will simply be, “spreading the word” to all concerned. A huge task given 50 years of old scholars, staff and parents. 

Once the date is confirmed, please spread the word far and wide. Lots more to come in this space. 

Year 12 Mothers Morning Tea – Friday, 6 May (Prior to Mother’s Day on Sunday) 

Please be on the lookout for this wonderful event and make space in your calendar. (Mothers of Year 12 students only). 

COVID Update – Week 4 

The College continues to do an excellent job in dealing with the COVID-19 situation. Parents/guardians have been diligent in keeping students home with symptoms which helps alleviate spread. 

Full sanitisation, daily cleaning, mask wearing and good class ventilation are still the order of the day. 

Any family who would like another RAT pack, please contact Mrs Jan Scott directly on 6432 7679 or students can see Mrs Scott in Room 906 (near IT) in the Marian Centre, and we will happily supply these for you. 


Mr Noel Nethery 

Acting Principal