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In this issue

Message Stick Term 3, Week 10, 2021
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Dates for your calendar
Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards
Library news
Sports news
Parenting tips
Debating for Years 4-6
University of Sydney - Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize
TheirCare pupil free days
StartUp Finale
P&F Presents Talking Heads
Academic success in the Middle School Parent Evening
Gala Dinner Hats Off to Dr Collier
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 3, Week 10, 2021


I would like to thank everyone for your persistence with remote learning during Term 3 this year. The good news is that there is only 3 days to go. The final day of school for this term will be this Wednesday 15 September. This coming Thursday 16 September will be Parent Teacher Interviews and although there will be some catch up and fun activities available, there will be no student conferences with staff as teachers will be involved in interviews throughout the day. Their Care (our before and after school care provider) will be open on Thursday and Friday.

This coming Wednesday will be our End of Term 3 Awards (usually held in the cathedral) but this time will only be available online. A link has been sent out to the parents of award winners for you to access the short 30 mins event.

The Dymocks Book Orders that you placed for your child should be arriving in the next week or so. I believe there are some short delays with Australia Post deliveries at the moment but rest assured they will be delivered.

We continue to think of and pray for our First Nations families during this time of Covid and in particular our most vulnerable communities in remote regions of NSW and the rest of Australia.

Please see information below re covid testing centres and just a reminder that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 12 years and over are eligible to receive their covid vaccinations.. The Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern are offering vaccinations as well as local GP’s and there is also a hub at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital located just a few streets back from the main entrance in Mallet St, Camperdown. Please press this link for current information.

Just in the past week a new vaccination clinic has been set up (with the help of some of our own Gawura parents themselves) at the NCIE in George St, Redfern. There is also a new Covid Testing Centre located at the Redfern Neighbourhood Centre in Hugo St. Please see attached inserts for full information details.

Please take care, stay safe and we look forward to having all the students return to our school in a phased plan when we are able to do so from Week 4 in Term 4 for Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12. Further exact details about this return will be provided early in term 4.

Have a safe and peaceful holiday ahead. School will return in remote learning mode from Wednesday 6 October for our final term of the year.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


It's holidays! Yay!!

After a long and challenging term, a time to rest and refresh is very welcome. However, during this time of lockdown some families can feel daunted about what holidays may be like with primary school aged children.

To support our families, we have collated some great ideas largely from the Australian Childhood Foundation and other activities which you may find lots of fun trying together. The ideas are suggested for students across the primary years so please choose those that are best suited to the specific age and development of your child/ren.

We hope that these ideas help you to create some wonderful memories with your child/ren from this unique time. Happy Holidays!

Mrs Robson, Mrs Wake & the SACS JSGS wellbeing staff

CLICK HERE for A-Z Holiday Activities Booklet


Dates for your calendar


Tuesday 14 September: JSGS Farewell to Yr 12 (ONLINE)

Wednesday 15 September: End of Term Virtual Award Ceremonies (ONLINE)

Wednesday 15 September: Last day of Term 3 for all students

Thursday 16 September: JS Parent Teacher Interviews (ONLINE)

Thursday 16 & Friday 17 September: Pupil Free Day (TheirCare available)

Friday 17 September: Staff Professional Training Day

Monday 4 October: Public Holiday

Tuesday 5 October: Staff Professional Training Day

Wednesday 6 October: Term 4 commences (K-Year 6) (Remote Learning)

Tuesday 12 October, 6pm: Start Up Finale (ONLINE)

Tuesday 19 October, 6pm: P&F Presents Talking Heads (ONLINE)

Thursday 28 October, 5.30pm: Academic success in the Middle School Parent Evening (ONLINE)

School Return Dates for Face to Face Learning

Monday 25 October: Kindergarten and Year 1 return to School

Monday 1 November: Year 2 and Year 6 return to School

Monday 8 November: Years 3, 4 & 5 return to School


Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards



Please click here for this weeks awardees.


Library news


As we look back on a whole term of remote learning, there is much to be thankful for and to celebrate. We have been reading LOTS of books! Whether eBooks, storytime reading of books, dusty books that have been re-discovered at the back of the bookshelf at home or digital books on platforms such as Epic!, our minds have expanded and our hearts have been uplifted as we’ve dreamed, imagined and soared our way through the pages of our books.

More of us have completed the Premier’s Reading Challenge than ever before! At the beginning of the year, we set a goal that every student in our school might be able to complete the challenge this year. Despite the significant limitation of not being onsite to borrow physical books (our much preferred option), 100% of us will be getting a certificate from the Premier this year!


CBCA Book Week 2021 highlights videos


For Book Week 2021, we managed to create small worlds, LEGO worlds and postcards from other worlds, to do some shadow judging of CBCA finalists, to parade in fabulous costumes and to be taught and entertained by some wonderful visiting authors. It was another example of the warm and generous community that is SACS. If you still haven’t seen our Book Week highlights video, set up the big TV, click here or scan the QR code and enjoy an injection of fun.


Indigenous Literacy Day

We celebrated Indigenous Literacy Day and although we were unable to host our usual Great Book Swap, we still took time to engage with the work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and even read some books in Kriol. We will be rounding out the term by voting for our favourite books of the last year with KOALA (Kids Own Australian Literacture Awards).

Very grateful to have so much to celebrate.

Nicole Cotter
Coordinator Information and Digital Literacy – JS & GS


Sports news



Wow! We’ve had an amazing response to our movement skills competition over the past week. Students in years K-6 showcased their impressive talents, ranging from hula hooping to handstands and Soccer skills to somersaults! We always knew students in the Junior School and Gawura had a wide range of talents, but the submissions we received were far beyond expectations. Well done to all students who submitted a video and in particular those who have been named as winners below:

K-Year 3 Competition
1st Place: Millan Wang (3H)
2nd Place: Georgiana Beynon (KS)
3rd Place: Yiming Pan (1R)

Year 4-6 Competition
1st Place: Emma Doenicke (6M)
2nd Place: Isla Keeton (4N)
3rd Place: Leroy Melki (5O)

Rebel sport vouchers will be sent out to all winners – well done!

Tony​ Dunseath
PDHPE Teacher, Head of Cocurricular K‑6

Click HERE to view Emma's winning performance!


Parenting tips


Simple solutions to stop screens sabotaging sleep


Dr Kristy Goodwin wrote an excellent blog a few years ago now and I think it is well worth a revisit. Dr Goodwin is an Australian digital wellbeing & productivity researcher, speaker and author. She has spoken at SACS on Digital Wellbeing.

There is so much debate on this issue and so much research telling us about what is right and what is harmful. It is hard sometimes to determine the right solution. However, Dr Goodwin’s advice is excellent, particularly in these times where students are far more involved with screen time than previously.

Sleep is vital for kids’ and teens’ optimal health, wellbeing, learning and development. They need both good quality sleep and an adequate amount of sleep. Yet research tells us that many kids and teens aren’t getting a sufficient amount of sleep and/or good quality of sleep. And of the chief reasons why (but certainly not the only reason) is because of their technology habits.


Why kids and teens need sleep?

Sleep promotes kids’ and teens’
• Physical health– poor sleep is associated with lower immunity, increased weight and obesity rates, poorer reaction times and increased clumsiness;
• Mental and emotional wellbeing– poor sleep is associated with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and overall mood;
• Learning– poor sleep impacts kids’ capacity to learn, concentration and memory formation. Memory consolidation occurs in the latter two stages of sleep. Yet many kids aren’t getting to these final stages of sleep because of digital interruptions. Sleep is vital before and after learning. Studies have shown that even 30 minutes of missed sleep can result in an IQ difference of ten points.


How digital devices can compromise sleep

Digital devices can have a negative impact on kids’ and teens’ circadian rhythms, thereby directly impacting the volume and quality of sleep they accumulate each night. However, it’s important to note that screens aren’t the sole causal factor of poor sleep in kids and teens. The demands of homework and assignments, study pressure, extra-curricular activities, work demands and mental health issues such as anxiety are some other factors that are also contributing to waning sleep habits in kids and adolescents.

Here are some of the ways digital devices compromise sleep
•  Blue light impact –The blue light emitted from screens (especially small hand-held devices such as smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles) impact children’s and teen’s circadian rhythms. The blue light prevents the pineal gland from producing melatonin the sleep hormone the brain needs to secrete to make kids/teens sleepy. Inadequate production of melatonin prevents kids/teens from feeling tired and can delay the onset of sleep.
• Arousal effect– rapid-fire, fast-paced screen action can hyper-arouse the brain making delaying the onset of sleep. Playing video games, watching fast-paced TV programs, or engaging in group messages, or viewing social media can all arouse the brain and delay the onset of sleep. These sleep delays can accumulate into a sleep deficit over time.
•  Scary or upsetting content– can psychologically distress our kids and teens, especially if they’re consuming it just before they fall asleep. Viewing distressing content can cause nightmares, particularly amongst younger children under 10 years of age.
•  Premature waking – many parents are reporting that their children are waking at earlier and earlier times to get their daily ‘dose of digital’ (often before their parents wake up).
•  Interrupted sleep cycles– the presence of digital devices in bedrooms can interfere with completed sleep cycles. Each night kids/teens should go through five stages of sleep and repeat that cycle 4-6 times each night. If they have a device in their bedroom the alerts and notifications can interrupt the sleep cycles.

Simple & realistic solutions
• Keep devices OUT of bedrooms– the presence of digital devices in bedrooms can increase the likelihood of sleep delays and children and teens using devices (unsupervised) throughout the night.
• Establish a digital bedtime – ideally screens should be switched off 60-90 minutes before kids/teens fall asleep. This helps to calm the brain and prevent the adverse impact of blue light.
• Do a tech-swap before bed– for some families screens are part of the evening routine. So instead of using a smartphone or tablet (which are interactive and emit blue light) before bed allow children to watch TV (they don’t typically emit as much blue light and hopefully your kids don’t sit as close to TVs as they do handheld devices), listen to an audiobook or podcast
• Use tech tools– use Night Shift mode on iOS devices, or Blue Light Filter or Twilight on Android devices and f.lux on laptops and desktop computers.
• Establish a landing zone– nominate a specific place in your home where all digital devices go at night. It may be the kitchen counter, the sideboard, a laundry bench.
• Preserve green time– kids need time in natural sunlight each day to help regulate their circadian rhythms (and ward off myopia, near-sightedness). Ideally, kids should be exposed to natural sunlight between 8am-12pm each day.”

Hope you found this helpful, informative advice and certainly a reminder for us during remote learning and lockdown.

Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


Debating for Years 4-6


Interested in Debating?

Debating Skills workshops will be offered in Term 4, pending COVID-19 restrictions, and will likely take place online. Students will learn and refine public speaking skills, debating etiquette, rebuttal techniques and work in a team with other like-minded peers.

Register your interest here - it will take you 30 seconds.

Email for any other enquiries. Details about workshops will be shared in Term 4, sent to students and parents who have registered their interest.

Emily​ Sze
Acting Grade Leader ‑ Year 4/Debating Convenor


University of Sydney - Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize



We are thrilled to share that Leon Hoerr was nominated as a finalist for the University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize. The competition is for students who are passionate about science and communicating ideas through video. The purpose is to communicate a scientific concept in a way that is entertaining and accessible to viewers. The audience should ‘learn without noticing’. The theme for 2021 was ‘Big’ and films had to be 2 minutes long. Student entries had to focus on a scientific concept, discovery, invention or scientific hypothesis. Below is an interview with Leon that was published on the Australian Museum blog. Click here to view Leon’s finalist film.

Why did you decide to enter the Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize?
I thought it would be a great opportunity to investigate a topic that fascinates me and delve into an area of Science that isn’t what I learn at school. I’m also inspired by Science presenters like David Attenborough and was keen to try my hand at presenting on camera.

Your short film is filled with so many creative demonstrations! How did you come up with them all?
I tried to think of examples of centripetal force in everyday life, like my toy car track, a tennis ball on a string and spinning round with a friend. I don’t have a computer graphics program at home, but one of my favourite hobbies is drawing, so I decided to explain centripetal force with my own illustrations drawn with a pen on a white board. Then I thought about the Moon rotating around the Earth and how I could represent that. I like to dance, so decided it would be a fun to perform with costumes and music!

What was the best part about making your film?
It was great to learn more about one of my favourite subjects, Physics!

What was the most difficult part?
I wasn’t always a ‘one-take-wonder’! Sometimes it took many times to record my presentations on camera without any mistakes!

What was the most interesting thing that you learnt?
I found it fascinating how the Law of Inertia related to centripetal force.

Anyone who’s watched Tour de Force will know that you love cars. Tell us about your collection.
I have been collecting diecast cars since I was about 2 years old. I now have around 300 models of historical and modern vehicles. After I memorised all the model name and specifications, I became interested in the Physics of how they work. When I grow up, I want to be a car designer or work in the electric vehicle industry.

Emma Clemens
Gifted and Talented Learning Coordinator ‑ JS & GS


SACS Family Trivia Night

Last Saturday night, 156 households joined in the SACS Family Trivia with 25 teams participating under different family themes such as the Kardashians, the Flintstones and the Munsters.

There were some excellent student demonstrations of “flossing”, lots of bopping to the music questions especially to the 80s tunes and healthy team rivalry in the chat. Many of the teams dressed up with the best dressed award going to dad Paul Foster who was dressed up as Alice complete with an apron from the Brady Bunch, and the Simpsons team (Community Engagement staff and friends) winning the best dressed family. After two rounds, it was tied between the Royals (Year 12 parents) and the Addams Family (Old Andreans) with a tie breaker eventually declaring the Addams family the winners.

A huge thank you to the P&F for organising such a fun and engaging activity for our families in lockdown, and to Rachel Raschke, not only for organising this hilarious evening, but for six years volunteering for the P&F and bringing so many memorable events to fruition in her time as a parent at SACS.

Lyn Jarvis
Director of Community Engagement


TheirCare pupil free days


CLICK HERE for Information and bookings


StartUp Finale


Tuesday 12 October, 6pm live

Due to the change in the exam timetable, StartUp has moved to Tuesday 12 October at 6pm. Although a slightly different format, StartUp will continue to be full of nail-biting excitement as we view the pitches of our student innovators, problem solvers and entrepreneurial thinkers of the future. In this live event, our three finalist teams pitch their ideas in the ‘shark tank’ to expert judges.

Students and their industry mentors from Years 5 to 11 have worked for four months to create their businesses. You can help decide the People’s Choice Award on the night as each team presents an elevator pitch on their business idea.. It’s a great night of entertainment – put the date in your diary.

To view video click here.


P&F Presents Talking Heads


Prepare your cheese platter, your beverage of choice, your favourite chair and settle in to enjoy an evening chatting with Dr Collier and Dr McGonigle. This informal evening is less about pedagogy and more about personality.

Are they cat or dog people? What was their first impression of SACS? Favourite subject at school? Favourite thing to do on a rainy day? What has been their best/worst experience of lockdown/quarantine? What is the first thing they want to do when lockdown is over?

What would you ask if you bumped into them? You can ask in the chat on the night, or email questions in advance to P& or

Event details:
Date: Tuesday 19 October
Time: 6pm
Join via this link:


Academic success in the Middle School Parent Evening


Online event

St Andrew’s Cathedral School provides specialised educational programs and opportunities that build academic rigour in students. We invite you to come and find out how best to support your student in Middle School.

Keynote Speaker Andrew Fuller will empower you to guide your child towards academic success. Andrew is a clinical psychologist, family therapist, author, speaker and creator of Learning Strengths™. He has helped over 3,500 schools and 500,000 young people in Australia, NZ, Asia and the UK.
He will cover a range of topics that are increasingly relevant to gifted and talented children including:
• Increasing engagement & motivation
• Building on Learning strengths
• Neuroscience of young adults’ learning
• The key skills that predict academic success (and how parents can develop these)
• One easy way to increase marks by 45 percentile points.

We encourage all current and prospective Middle School parents to join in.

The session will be followed by a Q&A panel, which will answer questions on the academic and gifted education program and wellbeing program at St Andrew’s Cathedral School.

Event details:
Date: Thursday 28 October
Time: 5.30pm
To register: click here


Gala Dinner Hats Off to Dr Collier


Save the Date – Friday 19 November

Get ready to step out in style at the SACS event of the year. Enjoy an evening of elegance and opulence as we join together to honour and farewell Dr Collier at the Hats off Gala Dinner.

The Term 4 extravaganza provides a rare opportunity to dress up and socialise, eat, drink and be merry with other SACS parents and friends as we raise a glass – or two – to cheer Dr Collier on to his next adventure. So dust off your best dress, find your finest tux and prepare to be delighted in an evening of entertainment and festivities.

More information on this much anticipated event will be available soon.


Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao


Wednesday and Friday appointments available

I would like to advise you that we have secured the services of a very generous doctor in the city who is willing to see our Gawura students and their families free of charge (he will bulk bill through Medicare) if the need arises.

Dr Shuo (Shore) Zhao is located at Level 1, 70 Pitt St, Sydney. You can book an appointment with him on any Wednesday and Friday morning between 8.00am – 12.00pm. The number of the practice is Ph: 02 9233 3399. We understand that many parents already have their own doctor that they use, possibly even through the Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) in Redfern but this is just another option for you to use if you choose to do so and one that is located in the city, near our school.


Resources for COVID-19


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