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In this issue

Message Stick Term 4, Week 8, 2021
Dates for your calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards
Library news
Music news
Parenting tips
Annual Evening of Celebration and Prize-Giving
Maths Games and Maths Olympiad
A guest visit to Year 6 Science
Gawura face masks for sale
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 4, Week 8, 2021


Just recently I had the pleasure of attending a new short animated film called ‘Jarli’ at the Sydney Film Festival. Jarli is an Aboriginal girl who, buoyed by her ancestors and fuelled by her smarts, achieves her dream of getting to space. Jarli stars in an animation created through a University of Technology (UTS) Academy and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) collaboration. The blurb about Jarlis states ‘We need the best and brightest minds of tomorrow to help build Australia’s space future. Jarli has been created to energise children (particularly girls and especially Indigenous kids) to reach for the stars and widen their eyes to possibilities opened through Science’. Wiradjuri woman and astrophysicist Kirsten Banks was the MC at this event and we have invited Kirsten to come into our school next year to present her knowledge about the Emu in the Sky and we plan to show the short 12 mins Jarli film to all of our students then as well. 

A big congratulations to all of the Gawura students who participated in the annual JSGS Public Speaking Competition and to those Gawura students who have also made the Public Speaking Finals which will be held across the various Year Groups this week. Good luck to you all. 

You will be receiving your child’s Semester 2 Report before the end of term. Can I encourage you to read through the report with your child and to also acknowledge the recommendations that the teachers have written. I have read the reports and I am very pleased with the work the children have done throughout this unique year which saw 14 weeks of online remote learning during term 3 and a bit of term 4, happening from home for most of our students. 

We have had a number of children present themselves for breakfast before school each day and although this is not a problem staff have requested if parents could provide some additional snacks particularly on a Monday morning for when the students are hungry before their usual crunch n sip time.

This will be our last Message Stick for the year. Our final day of school for the students will be Thursday 2 December. Once again, a really big thank to all of our parents for their assistance during the Sydney lockdown this year. This again shows that for success to occur for our students there must be a positive collaboration between school and home. We thank you for your efforts during this unique time.

We wish Djillirra, Balan and Kailan all the very best as they leave Gawura at the end of Year 6 this year and commence high school in our St Andrew’s Cathedral Middle School next year. I wish you all a safe and wonderful Christmas and a restful holiday over December and January and we look forward to seeing all the students return in 2022.


John Ralph 
Head of Gawura


Dates for your calendar


Monday 22 November: Public Speaking Grand Final Years 3-4

Tuesday 23 November: Public Speaking Grand Final Years 5-6

Wednesday 24 November: End of Year Award Assembly (Recorded) (students only)

Thursday 25 November, 7pm: 2021 Showcase Viewing Party (ONLINE)

Friday 26 November: Year 6 Graduation Assembly & Celebration Dinner (Year 6 students only)

Monday 29 November: Evening of Celebration and Prize-Giving (IN PERSON)

Tuesday 30 November: Anglicare Toys n' Tucker Mufti Day (gold coin donation)

Wednesday 1 December: Picnic Day (students and Staff only) (Sport Uniform)

Thursday 2 December: Christmas Carol Service Online (School Uniform)

Thursday 2 December: End of Term 4 (all students)


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


Respectful Language

Today, it is common to hear socially offensive language on the streets, on social media channels, streaming services and in some forms of modern music. While swearing is becoming more common and less taboo, the use of derogatory language or the act of swearing at someone, or about someone, is a form of verbal violence. It transgresses the usual rules of social interaction by impinging on an individual’s self-image and sense of dignity.

It is becoming apparent that some children are being influenced by the language they hear. Proliferating the use of swear words can sometimes normalise, glamorise and desensitise their impact for kids who may misunderstand the true meaning of some derogatory terms. Whilst some students may use swearing or derogatory terms as a misguided attempt at belonging, others may use it simply because they are still learning how to moderate their language and are not accustomed to making adjustments to suit different situations.

Parents and carers can be proactive in monitoring what their children are viewing or being exposed to. Discussing the use of words or the origin of some derogatory terms and gaining insight into the reason behind their child’s use of such language can help prevent inappropriate or disrespectful language filtering into the classroom or the school yard, which in turn helps to build more tolerant, safe and connected communities.

This SchoolTV special Report offers a number of guidelines to help manage a suitable approach when discussing the importance of respectful language. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, if this raises any concerns please contact us.

Here is the link to the SchoolTv special report

SchoolTV is a SACS P&F funded parent resource.

Bronwyn​ Wake 
JS and GS School Counsellor and Well Being Coordinator


Heart Mind Life Uniform Awards



Please click here for this weeks awardees.


Library news


The Bibliophiles among us will know that when holidays are approaching, the hoarding begins in earnest. To support the reading addictions of the youngest of us, holiday borrowing limits will be applied for the summer break. Nothing makes us happier than students leaving the library with arms loaded and backs bent with books for the holidays. Wonderfully, in these holidays, our books might finally make it into suitcases, on planes and in the backseats of cars to enjoy a holiday of their own.

Season’s greetings and happy holidays from us in the library.

Nicole Cotter 
Coordinator Information and Digital Literacy – JS & GS


Music news


Viewing Party - Thursday 25 November, 7pm online

Join us to watch our 2021 Showcase concert for the first time, or to re-watch this fantastic musical feast. Student performers will also be able to watch themselves on stage, with professionally recorded sound and video!

The link to this event will be made available on the day. Visit the website for more information.

Ben​ Milis
JS Music Teacher and Chapel Music Coordinator


Parenting tips


Top 4 parenting tips


As the year draws to a close, it can be helpful to look back and see what things worked and what things weren’t so successful with our parenting. By doing that we can then look forward to 2022 with positivity of moving forward.

Michael Grose has written these tips for us to think through in his blog from a few years ago that are still helpful for this year.

1. Switch on your kids’ strengths
Most of us have been conditioned to focus on what kids can’t do. It’s not your fault. You were trained by teachers and parents who were adept at picking up your poor behaviours, highlighting errors and encouraging you to eliminate your faults.

There is a better way. The Positive Psychology movement lead by US-based psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman showed that when we can unearth kids’ strengths we are, in effect, unlocking their true potential for success and happiness. Three elements come together to make a strength, and parents need to be mindful of all three: performance (being good at something); energy (feeling good doing it); and high use (choosing to do it). Rather than locking on to your child’s weaknesses, set your antennae to your child’s strengths.

2. Balance kids’ extra-curricular activities
Alongside social media and news events, being busy is now recognised as a major stress for many children and young people. Over-scheduling kids’ lives is a relatively new phenomenon. Go back a couple of generations and a few sports, music lessons and things like scouting movements were the mainstays of after school life for most kids. Now the choice of activities to keep kids busy after school hours is mind-boggling.

Having so many options is wonderful but it does place a new set of pressures on parents. Many complain that family life is like now living in a hamster wheel, always in constant motion, with hardly a time to catch their breath. The cost of loading kids up with scheduled activities is that many don’t get the chance for free play, or simply ‘vegging out’ on the couch. The benefits of all this activity in terms of kids’ skill development, personal growth and broadening social horizons is well-founded. However, finding a balance is tricky as every child, like every family is different.

3. Focus on friendships
Friendships are an important part of the road to adulthood for a child or young person. With families shrinking in size peer relationships are now fundamental in providing kids with a sense of belonging, a place to hone their identity and a group upon which they can develop their future relationship skills such as tolerance, empathy and forgiveness.

Friendships can be problematic. Not every child is naturally outgoing and makes friends easily. If your child is like this, but generally seems happy, then there may be no need to do anything. If your child has difficulty forming friendships and is worried by that, then there are many ways to approach this including: encouraging kids to spend one-on-one time with others, making extra-curricular activities fit their interests, and coaching kids to develop friendly behaviours.

4. Give kids tools to manage anxious moments
Let’s just say it upfront. We don’t have a childhood resilience problem as many teachers and professionals say, but we do have a childhood anxiety problem. A big one! And it’s mostly undetected as community understanding of anxiety is low. It’s our experience at Parenting Ideas that many parents are anxious and they don’t know it, and many children routinely experience anxiety, which goes unrecognised.

Everyone feels worried from time to time, but these feelings pass when the stressful situation has passed. Anxiety occurs when these anxious feelings don’t pass, and happen for no obvious reason. It’s a serious condition that can be managed and minimised with their right tools.

Will anything be different this year?
Change and improvement in anything worthwhile generally comes incrementally rather than in one giant leap. We pointed you in the direction that we feel is important for you and your kids to take kids next year. It’s you who has to implement changes and do the work.

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year. It can only get better! 😊

Look forward to sharing new ideas and suggestions with you next year.

Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


Annual Evening of Celebration and Prize-Giving


Monday 29 November - Bookings required

Our Annual Evening of Celebration and Prize-Giving will be held on Monday 29 November in the Sydney Town Hall, commencing at 6.30pm. Doors will be open from 5.30pm to allow for the additional time it will take for ticket and proof of vaccination checks. Please come early so we can be ready to start on time. There will be entertainment provided from 5.30pm.

All parents/carers/guests will need to book a ticket. The tickets state entry door and seat number.

Everyone (including students) over the age of 16 will need to show proof of double vaccination at the door to Town Hall staff. Everyone under the age of 16 (including students) who are not double vaccinated must also have a parent/carer in attendance who is double vaccinated. Everyone will need to wear a mask.

There is compulsory attendance for ALL students in Years 7-11 and any students from K-12 who are PRIZE-WINNERS. IT IS NOT REQUIRED FOR YOU TO BOOK TICKETS for these students, as their seats have already been allocated by the school.

K-6 students who are NOT prize-winners have optional attendance. If you wish for them to attend, you must also book tickets for them (along with their parents/carers).

Tickets are free and will be available to book through the booking link below.

Event details:
Date: Monday 29 November
Time: 5.30pm for 6.30pm
For bookings: click here (bookings open Monday 22 November at 9am)


Maths Games and Maths Olympiad



Two congruent isosceles triangles, ABC and DEF, overlap so that their bases are parallel and the vertex of each is the midpoint of the base of the other as shown. If the area of the overlap is 12 square centimetres, how many square centimetres are in the area of the triangle ABC?

Maths Games and Maths Olympiad are mathematical competitions run by the Australasian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads. The program focuses on students’ ability to solve mathematical problems in a creative manner, as opposed to simply following a prescribed method to find a solution. The competition introduces students to new mathematical concepts and teaches flexibility in problem solving. At St Andrew’s Maths Games is offered to selected students in Years 3-4 and Maths Olympiad is offered to selected students in Year 5-6. Over the last few weeks, students have completed papers 4 and 5 of the competition. Congratulations to the following students:

Maths Games: Solved 4 or 5/5 problems correctly in Paper 4 or 5

• Joshua Ahn
• Audrey Ash
• Violet Bloxsom
• Clementine Collier
• Kai Dobosz
• Lachlan Goddard
• Lucy Lin
• James Ni
• Oscar Xu

Maths Olympiad: Solved 5/5 problems correctly in Paper 4 or 5:

• Amy Jung
• David Kim
• Cen Rui Lay
• Oliver Seeho
• Ethan Yu

Congratulations to Joshua Ahn and Ethan Yu who were the highest scoring participants across all five papers. Below are some reflections from students as well as a sample Maths Olympiad question.

Lucy Lin Year 4

What is Maths Games?
Maths Games is a competition with some hard problem-solving questions. It makes your brain think a lot.

What did you enjoy about Maths Games?
I really like maths questions, so it was fun being able to do more. I really enjoyed a question about the surface area of cubes arranged in a square with a hole in the middle. Initially I was quite confused because wasn’t sure if the base was included in the surface area. But then I thought more about the question and was able to find the answer.

What did you find challenging about Maths Games?
The questions challenge your brain, you really must think a lot. The last question was about squares with diagonals. You were given the diagonal but then had to find the area of the square. You had to use knowledge about triangles to then find the total area of the square.

Is there anything that you’ve learnt from doing Maths Olympiad?
Some questions were very challenging. But if you can’t find the answer don’t worry about it and go to the next question. The teachers want us to focus on doing our best. If you relax you will have a better chance of finding the answer. If you panic, then you just get anxious and it is hard to think clearly.

Chen Rui Lay Year 6

What is Maths Olympiad?
Maths Olympiad is a competition for mathematical problem solving. You get five questions for each paper and there are five papers across the year. The problems are quite complicated and require a range of strategies to solve.

What did you enjoy about Maths Olympiad?
I enjoyed the challenge of doing complex maths questions. I find harder maths problems fun to solve.

What did you find challenging about Maths Olympiad?
You must read the question carefully because the wording can be quite specific. So, you have to take your time to understand what the question is asking. One of the problems asked you to find a total number of combinations for arranging a variety of cups. This question took a long time to solve because you had to make sure you had found all the right combinations.

Is there anything that you’ve learnt from doing Maths Olympiad?
Even with complex problem solving you must pay attention to silly mistakes as these can be your downfall. Also, it was unusual to use algebra to solve some of the problems, but this was a good strategy for finding some answers.

Emma​ Clemens
Gifted and Talented Learning Coordinator ‑ JS & GS


A guest visit to Year 6 Science


A Guest Visit to Year 6 Science – an award winning Volcanologist

In Week 7, Dr Andrew McGonigle came to speak to all Year 6 classes.

Year 6 have been looking at natural disasters and volcanoes. Dr McGonigle informed the Year 6 students of his work in providing the application of technology to detect whether a volcano will erupt according to its gas production. He showed the class a power pointand answered some very good questions from the students.

Dr McGonigle is an award-winning Scientist who combines his understanding of physics to solve problems. At present he is working with NASA to develop technology that is small, light-weight and can be used on the moon.

Dr McGonigle is St Andrew’s Scientist in Residence next year. The work of Dr McGonigle also demonstrates how Science can be used to care for others in developing countries.

Caring is one of the SACS Character Strengths which the school would like to embed in our students.

Jim Boddy
Junior School Science Specialist Teacher


Gawura face masks for sale


On sale now at the Uniform Shop

All funds raised from the sale of these beautiful masks will support Gawura School. Designed by Gawura staff, each ‘meeting place’ is a Gawura class group.

The face mask are available with a black or white background and can be purchased through the Uniform Shop online.

Adults - $10.95 each
Two for $20 (promotional code: 2 for 18)

Chidrens (aged 9 and under) - $9.95 each
Two for $18 (promotional code: 2 for 20)

For bulk orders please email


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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