It is hard to believe that we are halfway through Term 1! As you read through the contents of this newsletter, you will see that there has been a lot happening around the College during the last two weeks. Our academic programs are progressing well and as I have been walking around the College it has been pleasing to see such productivity and positive engagement taking place in our classrooms. Academic learning extends beyond the classroom at MSM. Many clubs have recommenced for the year for example History Club and the dedicated members of the Writers Club who meet from 3.15-5.15pm on Friday afternoons. Breakfast Club Tutoring for students in Years 7-9 is available in the Innovation Centre on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings commencing at 8.00am.  

Our cultural programs are well underway with the first Music Soiree for the year occurring last Tuesday night. There have also been lunchtime concerts performed by students on Tuesday and Friday this week.  The various Dance Ensembles, including Liturgy Dancers have commenced their rehearsals. Urban Sketchers and Yarn Club have also commenced their lunchtime meetings. 

Our sporting program is also well underway, although the wet weather over the last couple of days has delayed some activities. The modified swimming carnival at the Valley Pool was an event filled with MSM Spirit. Congratulations to our Age Champions!

The above list is not exhaustive, but there are so many opportunities for MSM students to get involved. 


Year 12 Theme Launch

Congratulations to the Year 12 students on their successful theme launch at Assembly on Tuesday. They have selected a fantastic theme for 2022 “Take a Chance”. 

MSM exists because Mary Aikenhead took a chance that was inspired by her deep faith and strong belief in Divine Providence. The publication “Ministry of Love. The Story of the Sisters of Charity”, tells the story of how the sisters arrived in Australia. 

During a visit to Ireland in 1836, Australian based Bishop Polding had spoken to Mary Aikenhead about the work that she and her sisters were doing to alleviate poverty in Ireland. Conscious of the ever-increasing needs of those in the penal colony of New South Wales, Bishop Polding approached Mary Aikenhead requesting that some of her sisters come to Australia and help women convicts. With the support of Dublin’s Archbishop Murray, Mary Aikenhead asked for volunteers and the first five Sisters of Charity arrived on the ship Francis Spaight, in Sydney on New Year’s Eve 1838. 

These pioneering sisters started works in health, education and social services. Resourcefulness, persistence and collaboration were key. Many of the sites and facilities that they worked tirelessly to fundraise, maintain and expand remain open under the care of others.  Healthcare for people who were sick and poor and education as part of social reform were an intrinsic foundation of their work. (Achikian 2018: 18-19)

We have inherited an incredible legacy here at MSM that has been built on a pioneering spirit inspired by role models of strong, resourceful women. We need to embrace our heritage and continue to evolve our story. I challenge our students during 2022 to “Take a Chance” and respond to opportunities that come your way this year. 

In faith and love
Sharon Volp

Upcoming Term 1 Events
Limited tickets remaining for the 2022 MSM Foundation International Women's Day High Tea. Ticket sales are closing soon - book your seat or table today! Bookings are essential
The Welcome to MSM Event is a great way for parents and caregivers of our Year 7 students to meet and get to know each other.
Bookings are essential
It’s back...and it's ONLINE!

Tickets are on sale now for our 2022 International Women's Day High Tea Raffle where all proceeds raised are directed towards our Mt St Michael’s College Sisters of Charity Scholarship Fund which provides financial support to young women from a disadvantaged background for her secondary education at MSM.

Our lucky Raffle winners will be announced at the International Women's Day High Tea on Friday 11 March.
Ticket purchases are available via Rafflelink and are open to our entire MSM community - you don't even have to be present at the event to collect your prize.

We have some fantastic prizes up for grabs! 

With your generous support, together we can continue the tradition of providing Sisters of Charity Scholarships to young women who may not otherwise be able to attain a MSM education.

*Raffle winners not in attendance at our High Tea will be notified on Monday 14 March and arrangements will be made for prizes to be collected from the College Administration.
* Pre-purchase your raffle tickets before the event - no cash or EFTPOS sales are available at this year's High Tea event.

RAFFLE DONATIONS WELCOME: Should your current business circumstances allow and you can contribute a raffle prize, please contact Ms Danielle Ferris, Director of Marketing, Communications and Development at Mt St Michael’s College via email or by phoning 3858 4249.
College Leadership Team
During Term 4 of 2021, we were fortunate to have chosen for 85 students from Years 9 and 10 to participate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We recently received a report comparing our performance to that of other Australian schools and more than 80 other countries.
This meaningful and reliable data demonstrates our students' preparation for life and work, as well as their capacity to not just replicate taught material, but also to extrapolate and creatively apply their knowledge in unforeseen situations.
The evaluation assessed reading, mathematics, and science abilities. We are proud to share our results as summarised below:
Above: Statistics showing the average performance of Mt St Michael's College
The proficiency levels for our students are outstanding. All three domains are positive and statistically significant in comparison to Australian and International participating schools. The Reading domain measures the active, purposeful, and functional application of reading in a range of situations and for various purposes. The mathematics part of the assessment measures capacity to formulate, employ and interpret mathematics in a variety of contexts. The Science domain measures the ability to explain phenomena scientifically, evaluate and design scientific inquiry and interpret data and evidence scientifically. The trends in our data also indicate significant confidence to perform in all three domains. Additionally, our students' motivation and attitudes towards learning were assessed, as well as their self-efficacy. 
A snapshot of the outcomes is listed below:
  • Studying my school science subject is worthwhile for me because what I learn will improve my career prospects > 80% students concur
  • There is a statistically significant positive link between the index of classroom disciplinary environment and students' social and emotional abilities at MSM, as well as a very high optimism score
  • The correlation between students' social and emotional abilities and total life satisfaction also rated very high. 
As we continue to review our data, we will be able to develop a more comprehensive plan that promotes cognitive, social, and emotional development for our MSM students to reach their full potential.
The season of Lent opens next week with the marking of Ash Wednesday. Traditionally a day of fasting and abstinence, people wore sackcloth and painted their faces with ash to acknowledge their sinfulness and humility. 
Today, we still commit to living simply on Ash Wednesday: we fast, we pray and we reflect on the ways that we interact with one another, committing to living more simply by serving others and making life-affirming choices. This Lenten season let’s give ourselves time to heal and to grow, time to seek forgiveness and time to begin again.  

Project Compassion 
MSM’s annual fundraiser for Caritas Project Compassion has commenced. In previous years, the College has used money boxes in homerooms to collect for Project Compassion. This year we are going digital! I invite your family to consider making a donation to Project Compassion using the link below. All money collected via this site will count towards our school’s total fundraising effort
Every donation helps to make a difference for marginalised communities:
  • $6 can provide soap & a tap to protect against COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • $25 can provide a duck to a rural training school in the Solomon Islands
  • $85 can help to form a farmer support group in India
  • $148 can provide a toilet for a family in Mozambique.
Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday Fundraisers at the Kaf
On Tuesday 1 March, MSM will host our annual Pancake Day fundraiser for Project Compassion. Pikelets with Nutella or Jam will be on sale at the Kaf (2 pikelets for $3). Students may purchase these via the usual electronic methods at the Kaf. 
On Wednesday 2 March, MSM will hold its first ever Rice Day. As Ash Wednesday is traditionally a day of fasting, the Kaf will be selling a simple rice meal with a bottle of water for $4. We encourage all members of our community to purchase a rice meal on Ash Wednesday in solidarity with the 2.3 billion people in our world who do not have enough to eat, and who do not have the luxury to choose what they eat. 

To demonstrate the importance of walking in solidarity with the poor, our Mission Captains Millie and Imogen recently showed our community what a person living in a Jordanian Refugee Camp receives as weekly rations:
  • 380ml olive oil
  • 420g rice
  • 85g dried chickpeas
  • 120g red lentils
  • 1 tin sardines
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
Micah Projects Valentine’s Dress Up Day
It was wonderful to see the generous hearts of justice of our MSM family on display at the recent Valentine’s Day Dress Up event. Together, our MSM family raised $774.60. This money will fund the purchase of more than 2500 nappies for the Micah Projects Wellspring Young Mother’s program.
To assist students, parents and caregivers, I will be highlighting a variety of different study techniques that may be beneficial in coming newsletters. In the last edition, I discussed how Spaced Practice could assist students to make connections between ideas and concepts so knowledge can be built upon and easily recalled. This week I am going to focus on a technique known as Retrieval Practice. 

This skill will assist all students with their internal and external assessment tasks, particularly in subjects that have an external examination worth 50% of their final result (Mathematics and Science subjects).

Undoubtedly the single biggest change the QCE system has brought about is the way that students are now assessed. While the new assessment regime prioritises quality over quantity, the reduction in the number of assessment items comes with an extended period between each assessment item. The impact for students is that they must remain familiar with concepts and understandings over a longer period. When external examinations take place at the end of Year 12, some subjects will assess content from Units 3 and 4, meaning students will need to be able to retrieve content learnt more than 12 months earlier.

Retrieval Practice is a study technique described as a ‘memory recall challenge’ for the brain and tests what students can easily retrieve from their long-term memory when asked to write down what they can remember about a particular topic. An example of how a student can put Retrieval Practice into action may look something like the below:


  • Students choose to focus on one of their subjects – one that requires memorisation of facts and concepts.
  • Students are to write down everything they can remember about the subject or topic without accessing their textbook or class notes.
  • After students have ‘retrieved’ the information (written down everything that they can remember), the next step is to ensure that they understand the facts and concepts by putting it in their own words or explaining their meaning to another person (like a parent or guardian)
  • Students then go back and check their information for accuracy against their class notes.

Retrieval Practice works best when it forms part of a larger study program involving regular spaced practice, where students consistently go back to check their class materials and familiarise themselves with previous learning. There is no doubt Retrieval Practice is difficult, however, research indicates that the brain learns best when it is forced into discomfort and the work is not too easy. Retrieval Practice allows students to easily identify the concepts that are not yet in their long-term memory, and they can then target their attention to learning that material.

One of the benefits of the QCE system is the reduced quantity of assessment for students, however, this does bring the additional challenge of having more content to retrieve. I encourage all students to be building up their study notes as they learn across the term, rather than play catch up when the examinations get closer.


Attendance at School

Regular attendance at school is critical for your daughter’s learning and development. If your daughter is going to be absent during the term, parents need to request approval for this absence in writing from Ms Volp. While the value of a family vacation is accepted, as is the occasional need for attendance at events in term time, priority must be given to regular school attendance. This is particularly the case if your daughter’s absence will involve missing end-of-term assessment

Extension requests

There are circumstances that arise where your daughter can apply for an extension to an assessment deadline. Please note that, as per QCAA guidelines, family holidays during term time are not valid reasons for an extension. If your daughter falls behind in her studies, generally through illness or misadventure, then she is entitled to apply to modify her assessment deadlines. If your daughter feels that she may need to negotiate her deadlines, then I strongly encourage her to have a conversation with either Ms Lilley, Program Leader Middle School, for students in Years 7 – 9 or Ms Howe, Program Leader Senior School, for students in Years 10 - 12. Ms Lilley and Ms Howe are in the best position to ascertain whether your daughter will meet the requirements for adjustments to be made.  Please note that any request must be made at least 48 hours before the due date. 

Absences when assessment is due

If your daughter is absent on a day when she has an assignment due, your daughter is still expected to submit her assessment digitally using the process required for the specific subject. If your daughter is absent on the day that she is scheduled to sit an examination, please note that she will be required to complete the examination when she is back at the College either in a catch- up session during the school day or at a curriculum catch up on Thursday afternoon. Students will be expected to complete their missed examination as soon as practicable. 

The MSM Brand

I addressed our students on Tuesday regarding their uniform and presentation, which by and large I have observed to be wonderful. I unpacked the ultimate reason why wearing the Mt St Michael’s College uniform with pride is imperative. 

The MSM community has long been held in high regard for the education it provides and the calibre of principled young women who make up the alumni. When a product, such as education becomes recognised by characteristics, colours and style it is ostensibly a brand. The appeal, value and longevity of that brand is contingent on the protection of its image and integrity. The MSM brand has been built and strengthened by nearly 100 years of young women. It is a brand that offers appeal to employers, tertiary institutions and future families. In essence, the Mt St Michael’s brand offers success and standing by association. Despite not always recognising this, our students are deeply privileged to be granted an MSM education and a lifelong membership to the community. As with all privileges, responsibilities are in accompaniment. I have challenged our students to remember both their opportunity and ability to protect and strengthen our brand. I look forward to a reenergised approach from our students in wearing the uniform that sets them apart as a Mt St Michael’s girl with pride, from Panama hat to perfectly polished shoe. To our parents and caregivers, thank you for being inspired enough by the decades of MSM tradition to make your daughter a part of it. We appreciate your support in ensuring the continued legacy of our brand is nothing short of exceptional.

Key Dates:
Friday 4 March - Photo Day
Friday 24 March - Year 7 Immunisation

Around The College
Swimming Carnival

On Monday 21 February MSM was able to run a modified swimming carnival that saw our finest sporty spices battling it out in the pool. While it was a different carnival that sadly could not involve all students this year, the day was still a fantastic display of house spirit and swimming talents.

Thank you to all the staff that attended the day, and all of the fantastic students that participated and made it the special day it was. We look forward to the “second part” of the swimming carnival, our house spirit swimming day which will see each year level spend a period of class vying for house points at the MSM pool.  

2022 Age Champions
Congratulations to our Age Champions and Champion of Champions.
Under 12 Age Champions
🥇 Ana - 🥈Lola - 🥉Olivia
Under 13 Age Champions
🥇 Siana - 🥈Halle - 🥉Freya
Under 14 Age Champions
🥇 Abigail - 🥈Kate & Tara - 🥉Kate 
Under 15 Age Champions
🥇 Annabelle - 🥈Audrey - 🥉Chiara 
Under 16 Age Champions
🥇 Hannah - 🥈Emily - 🥉Mia 
Under 19 Age Champions
🥇 Tilli - 🥈Emily & Jessica  - 🥉Tabatha 
Open Age Champions
🥇 Bridget - 🥈Hannah - 🥉Audrey 
2022 Champions of Champions
🏆 Hannah  
Valentine's Day Activites
Spreading the Love
As part of the College’s celebration of Valentine’s Day, Year 10 students carried on the tradition of decorating the school with love hearts, putting a cute note on the locker of every student and handing out lollipops as students arrived at school. It was great to see our Year 10 students giving their time to make others smile. Well done, girls!
MSM Reads
To celebrate the start of Queensland School Library Week and Library Lovers’ Day on Monday 14 February, Homeroom time was extended for MSM READS. It was an opportunity for our community to disengage from their devices and to immerse themselves in the written word, by reading for pleasure. The students enjoyed being able to bring in a book from home that they love or borrowing one from our extensive library collection beforehand. 
Year 7 Crazy Sock Day

Our wonderful Year 7 students spent the day in crazy socks, the first of their fundraising challenges to support Project Compassion. There were unicorns, bananas and magnificent mismatches! Thank you, Year 7, for your generosity!
Year 7 Religious Education

7D spent their RE lesson exploring the Chapel and completing a short meditation on justice, our focus at MSM this year. This was followed by mindful painting in the Arts room where watercolour was used to brighten up scripture quotes such as, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).  
2022 Music Soiree 1

The Music Soiree 1 Livestream was a varied and exciting program presented by Year 12 Music and Music Extension IA1 Performances for their “Innovations” unit. They have been studying how “music traditions have been challenged, further developed or reconceptualised to represent, reflect and even shape cultural, societal and technological change”. Repertoire ranged through music theatre and popular song to flute, violin and piano solos. Many pieces were reimagined by the addition of unusual timbres, most especially the famous “1+1” piece by Philip Glass for amplified table. With the addition of a flanger pedal, the performer Isobel, made a truly extraordinary range of sounds with only hands and fingernails on what was basically just a plasterboard box.  

Thanks to Mr Adam Watson for the extensive audio support and management of the livestream, and to Mrs Linda Statham for photos and assistance on the evening. Thanks to music staff Mrs Kaitlin Littlewood, Mr Joel Woods and Dr Michal Rosiak who were also in attendance accompanying some of the students. Many staff and parents have emailed in to say how much they like the livestream format due to the convenience of viewing in the comfort of their own living room. But as performers, we think that the ambience of a live performance event is hard to beat, and so we hope that for future Soirees in 2022, that we are able to welcome the community back to form a live and no doubt very appreciative audience. 

Exploring The Nervous System in Science
This week Year 9 students began their exploration into the nervous system. They modelled the structure of neurons with pipe cleaners to demonstrate that the structure of a neuron is related to their function. They also dissected brains to observe the complex anatomy.
Plant Biology
Year 10 Preparatory Biology students have been studying plant biology, observing and appreciating the variety of shapes, textures and colours of leaves, learning about the inner structure of the leaf and how leaves are adapted for photosynthesis. They are preparing for their student experiment task by setting up an experiment to investigate how the level of humidity in the air around leaves affects the amount of water lost from a plant. They will be modifying and designing their own experiment around factors that affect the rate of plant water loss in coming weeks.
Year 12 Physics Incursion

On Wednesday, Year 12 Physics students participated in an incursion where students completed a variety of experiments in the topics of Gravity and Motion. Students swung rubber stoppers to investigate the effects of radius on centripetal force, launched projectiles to see the impact of launch angles on distance, and measured the forces acting on objects on inclined planes. Students then investigated potential refinements with many groups using data logging equipment and video analysis to increase the precision of their measurements. The incursion was held in place of the annual Physics Camp which was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Whilst not all of the camp activities could be conducted during the incursion, the students still enjoyed working with their peers and having a whole day of Physics fun!
'Future Visions' with Visual Arts

The Visual Arts in Practice students have installed their artwork for the IA1 Future Visions unit. These works explore the concept of ‘Future Visions’ through various focus areas such as sustainable architecture, extinction, consumerism, social media and economics. In addition, the design process explored photography, photoshop and stencil spray painting techniques, informed by contemporary public art.

To view more of these amazing artworks - click here
Hip Hop with Dance

Year 9 Dance travelled back to the 80’s this week. Embracing the fluorescent energy of the 1980’s, the students got physical with 80’s Jazz, moonwalked their way through some old school hip-hop moves and figured out breakdancing is trickyyy. Well done Year 9 Dance!
Getting 'Back to Basics' with Food and Technology

Year 10 students are currently investigating the Back to Basics unit, identifying different levels of food processing and which food additives can be found when reading food labels. Students prepared a Raspberry Mousse Cheesecake followed by a taste comparison of plant based nuggets and hotdogs to their meat counterparts. Students were pleasantly surprised that meat alternatives were not always the healthiest option.
Taste Testing with Food and Fashion

Year 9 Food and Fashion students are required, as part of their program, to make a healthy pizza showing food variety and that appeals to their family.  As part of deciding what ingredients to use, students taste test a range of cheeses and pizza base sauces.  As a class, we discuss the sensory aspects of these standard pizza elements to expand their sensory vocabulary.
Maths Bunting by Environment Group

This fabric bunting number line was made from upcycled uniforms that were destined for landfill, collected during our uniform drive at the end of last year. This week Year 7 students used the bunting in a hands-on exploration of the addition and subtraction of integers. Next week, Year 8 students will also use the bunting to explore the addition and subtraction of negative fractions. Congratulations to the Mathematics Department and the Environment Group for this wonderful collaboration!
Bienvenue à French Club

My name is Olivia Cavanagh, and on Valentine’s Day this year, Tilly Hockey and I launched French Club – a new initiative to the college open to all year levels. Our goal for the club is to inspire MSM students to have fun in French, and especially to encourage younger year levels like the 7s and 8s to choose French as they move into the older grades. Our first meeting was an enormous success with about 50 attendees, all keen to get involved (and probably because of the promised treats as well). We started with a couple of French games and quizzes (related to Valentine’s Day of course) and then wrapped it up by sending everyone off with a French macaron, some baguette and cheese, or maybe a bit of both. French Club will be running fortnightly on every Day 6 (Mondays), and for the next meetings to come, we aim to offer help with French homework, some fun French games and perhaps a French movie in the background. None of this would be possible without the support and involvement of Ms Swanson, and especially Ms Wiseman, so thank you both so much. À bientôt! 
Business Club

Mt St Michael’s College students have registered and are currently preparing for the BlueShift High school business case competition for 2022.  They are meeting once a week to initially planning their time in preparation for the case release on March 1. Good Luck Team!
Emily wins Gold in Diving

Congratulations to MSM Year 9 student, Emily who represented QLD in the Junior Elite Diving Nationals in December 2021. Emily placed overall 1st in 3 Metre Springboard (13 years) and 2nd in Platform (13 years). A fantastic achievement for Emily.
Employment Opportunity at MSM
The Kaf is hiring!

Casual Paid Position – Two days a week
8.30am – 1.30pm Thursday & Friday
Commencing Term 2

Expressions of interest are welcome.
Please email
MSM College Community Groups
Please keep up-to-date with changes to meeting formats.
 P&F Meetings: Please check the Mt St Michael's College App for meeting update notifications.
Alumni Meetings: Please visit the MSM Alumni Association Facebook page for updates.
Parents and Friends Association

Next Meeting - Monday 14 March, 6pm
Please click here  for information on 2022 meeting dates and to find out more about the MSM Parents and Friends Association.

Follow the P&F on Facebook
Alumni Association

Next Meeting & AGM - Monday 21 March, 6pm
Please click here for information on 2022 meeting dates and to find out more about the 
MSM Alumni Association.

Follow our Alumni on Facebook
P&F Association
2022 Committee Executive
Vacant Position

The P&F Association needs your help. If you are interested and have the capacity to volunteer as Secretary of the Association in 2022, we would love to hear from you. This role is well supported by the other members of the Executive and the College.

For more information please visit the College website - or email  
2022 Term Dates

Term 1
Monday 31 January – Friday 1 April

Term 2
Wednesday 20 April – Friday 17 June

Term 3
Tuesday 12 July – Friday 16 September

Term 4
Tuesday 4 October – Friday 18 November (Year 12)
Tuesday 4 October – Friday 25 November (Years 7-11)

Help Support the MSM Environment Group

Support the MSM Environment Group by donating your eligible containers! Bring your containers to school or use our scheme ID when returning to your local depot. Your donations will go towards funding our current and future environmental initiatives.

Mt St Michael's College scheme ID: C10333591
Now available on the College APP!
Mt St Michael’s College is pleased to bring to you the MSM Business Directory. Accessed through our website and APP, this online portal, profiles businesses and provides opportunities to connect with the wider MSM community to promote your services, sales and special offers. 

Many business owners profiled in the MSM Business Directory are long-term friends of the College. They include current and past parents, local businesses and alumni who, together show a commitment to Mt St Michael’s College and support for MSM events, fundraisers and initiatives. 

If you would like to be included in the online MSM Business Directory, simply email

For more information please click here
Slow down!

The Brisbane City Council, in coordination with The Gap Ward Office, recently erected an additional 40 km/h school zone limit and traffic signs facing incoming traffic along Elimatta Drive and Aloomba Road following a request from Mt St Michael’s College to investigate the traffic management in the school vicinity. A safety project endorsed by Mt St Michael’s College’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Committee.
Parents are reminded, for the safety of everyone, to DROP students off in the LOADING ZONE area outside the Ionian Centre and avoid areas marked with yellow lines which is against road safety rules. This is dangerous as it blocks other driver’s visibility and obstructs cars from moving around.
Onsite parking in the College grounds; Grantuly, undercover in the Ionian Centre and within the campus near the Sophia Centre is only permitted for staff. In consideration of our neighbours, please refrain from parking across driveways, adhere to the 40 km speed limit and be considerate of those living around the College when dropping and picking up students. Please do not drop off or pick up students within the College grounds.

In consideration for our neighbours, where possible please avoid leaving your motor running, especially when parked outside a home.
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