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In this issue

Message Stick Term 2, Week 7, 2021
Reconciliation Week
Dates for your calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Happy 70th Birthday Dr Collier
Showcase Concert 2021
Library news
Sports news
Music news
Parenting tips
da Vinci Decathlon 2021
Year 1 Day Camp
Giving Day 2021 – Dr John Gawura Scholarship
Take Love Collection - Anglicare Sydney
ICAS 2021 – Dates for the diary
2021 Junior Andrean Awards
Start Up
P&F General Meeting
TheirCare Winter holiday program
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 2, Week 7, 2021


We are in the middle of Reconciliation Week this week and our students have been involved in a number of activities. Last Friday we took a dozen students to the Indigenous Veteran’s Commemoration Service at Hyde Park where our students ushered people to their seats and laid a special floating wreath in the Pool of Remembrance. The Governor General Mrs Margaret Beazley had a special conversation with just our Gawura students where Joylara stated to Her Excellency that she would like to be Australia’s first ever Aboriginal Prime Minister! The Governor General was suitably impressed and offered advice to Joylara on how to make this a reality.

Last Saturday 29th May our Gawura students performed the Aboriginal Welcome Dance that they have been learning this term in front of over 20,000 spectators at the NRL Indigenous Round game of Rabbitohs vs Eels. Our students rehearsed on field at midday and then did the main performance as part of the pre game entertainment. Our students were superb and their behaviour across the entire day was exemplary. Just a reminder that all of our Indigenous students can attend Aboriginal Dance in the Dance Studio on Level 5 in SAH from 8am every Wednesday morning.

Finally next Thursday 10th June we will hold our next GPAC Meeting here at school and online. As part of our preparation for this year’s On Country Tour to the Indigenous Homelands of Cape York, Red Earth will also be holding a pre departure meeting straight after GPAC so parents and students can ask any questions of what the tour will look like.

Students will be required to attend this meeting as well from 3:15-4:15pm.

One of the requirements before departing Sydney is that all students and staff will require to take a COVID test on Thursday 8th July and show to Red Earth staff their Negative test result on Sunday morning 11th July before departure. Unfortunately any student who cannot produce evidence of a Negative Result will not be able to fly out on that Sunday morning.

This is to keep the Indigenous Elders who we will spending our time with in Cape York safe from any possible spread of COVID. Coffee and tea will be available so please come along and find out more on what your children will be up to on this unique immersion on Thursday 10th June.

Have a wonderful and safe fortnight ahead.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Reconciliation Week


For Reconciliation Week this year (Thursday 27 May – Thursday 3 June) all students in Kindergarten to Year 6 will be exploring the theme: “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.”

Each grade will discuss steps they can take towards reconciliation and contributing an element to the whole school reconciliation display. We celebrate Reconciliation Week as it is an important week that contributes to healing our nation’s history, while showing respect for our First Nations cultures, traditions and the contributions First Nations’ Peoples continue to make to Australia.

Anastasia McGrath
Gawura School Teacher


Dates for your calendar


Thursday 27 May - Thursday 3 June: Reconciliation Week

Tuesday 1 June, 6.00pm: P&F General Meeting

Friday 4 June: IPSHA Debating Round 3

Wednesday 9 June: JSGS End Of Term Awards Assembly

Thursday 10 June, 7.00pm: Showcase Concert

Monday 14 June: Queens Birthday Public Holiday

Monday 14 June - Friday 18 June: NAIDOC Week

Wednesday 16 June: Maths Olympiad & Games

Thursday 17 June: Gawura NAIDOC Celebrations

Thursday 17 June - Friday 18 June: Giving Day

Friday 18 June: GALA DAY! Term 2 concludes

Sunday 11 July - Saturday 18 July: On Country Tour – Indigenous Homelands of Cape York

Wednesday 14 July: Term 3 commences


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


The BASICS: Aspirations

This term through our newsletter, we will be focusing on building the BASICS in our childrens’ wellbeing with BASICS referring to Belonging, Aspirations, Safety, Identity, Challenges & Success.

This week we are focusing on Aspirations:
Aspirations are thoughts about what is possible. As both parents and educators we seek for our children to believe that learning to read, write, count, draw, score a goal, be a friend, travel the world, be a parent, be prime minister; is possible.

We can help to develop this in many ways:

- There is strong research to support the idea that having high, but achievable, expectations results in achieving great results.  Within the classroom we know that he best learning occurs when students are in the “stretch zone” rather than the comfortable (too easy) or panic zone (too hard).

- Be positive when they give things a go, even if they make mistakes. At school we encourage the use of the word ‘YET’. So instead of a student saying “I can’t do my 7 times tables” we challenge them to instead say “ I can’t do my 7 times tables YET”, you might like to also try this at home.

- Help your child to break a big goal into small achievable steps. Celebrate as these small steps are achieved and highlight how they have moved towards the bigger goal.

- Share the things that you are working towards and how it takes you time and persistence to get there.

“Attempt great things for God; Expect great things from God” William Carey.

If you would like to learn more about raising great kids please visit our SACS SchoolTV website which provides up to date, evidence based parenting support.

SchoolTV is a SACS P&F funded initiative to support the parents and caregivers of our students.

Bronwyn Wake
Wellbeing Coordinator & Counsellor


Happy 70th Birthday Dr Collier


Showcase Concert 2021


Tickets are selling out fast! Visit the website for more details and to book your tickets.

For those who are new to SACS, Showcase is our flagship annual music concert in Sydney Town Hall, an exciting night of student performances that provides the SACS community with the opportunity to share in the breadth and excellence of our music program.

This year will be an extra special concert to celebrate Dr John Collier and his love of Jazz, during his final year as Head of School. It is also with great excitement that we look forward to welcoming special guest James Morrison, Australian Jazz virtuoso, who will be spending the entire day on Thursday 10 June with our students, rehearsing in Town Hall, before performing in several items at the concert. All students in Senior Music ensembles, Year 7, Stage 3 and Junior Choir will be performing. Students now have added reason to be on time to rehearsals and practice their parts at home! Your personal video invitation to attend the concert is from James Morrison – please view it here.

If you’d like to see the incredible versatility of Mr Morrison, watch this video of him playing every wind instrument, double bass and piano in a jazz big band..

Dr Christian Watson
Director of Performing Arts


Library news


National Simultaneous Storytime from space

Joining together with over 1.9 million other children across Australia for National Simultaneous Storytime from space was an unforgettable experience. Most of the school stopped to watch the live feed together in our open areas. Year 2 was able to participate in the event hosted by the State Library where the Governor General, David Hurley, and her Excellency, Mrs Hurley, were guests. The instant that astronaut Shannon Walker spun Philip Bunting’s book as it floated in front of the camera and the audience drew a gasp, we were all hooked. Seeing some of the background workings of the space station and the NASA Control Centre was also enlightening. The week was rounded out perfectly with space-themed activities and experiences each day in the library, from making aliens, to taking space selfies and puzzling in astronaut gloves. Altogether an astronomical week at SACS.

Nicole Cotter
Coordinator of Information and Digital Literacy – Junior School & Gawura School


Sports news



Well done Olivia, literally following in the footsteps of Georgia Wansey! Our first JS Female Rugby Player

On Thursday 20 May we sent a 51 student team to the annual ASISSA Cross Country at Queens Park. This huge team is testament to the outstanding performances we had on show at our own school carnival. The students did themselves and the school proud competing on a very challenging course against the best runners in our association. Congratulations to all competitors and in particular Felicity Black, Leann Bray, Manning Gavagna and Zachary Rigler who have all qualified for the CIS Cross Country Carnival on Thursday 10 June.

Throughout Term 2, some of our top sporting talent has been competing on a weekly basis in rugby and netball. This is a great opportunity for these students to develop a range of skills and play alongside their classmates. Olivia Desillas is part of our Rugby team and will be attending the CIS Rugby trials on Tuesday 1 June. This is the first time these trials have ever been held and she is paving the way for all girls in the sport – good luck!

Tony Dunseath
PDHPE Teacher, Head of Cocurricular K-6


Music news


Ensembles performing at end of term Awards Assembly - Wednesday 9 June
Students in Junior Choir, Junior String Orchestra, Intermediate Strings Ensemble & Junior Chamber Ensemble will be performing at our End of Term Awards Assembly on Wednesday 9 June. Mr Milis will be sending an e-mail out with more details soon.

Cancelled : Junior Training Strings - Wednesday 9 June
Junior Training Strings will not be rehearsing on Wednesday 9 June (afternoon).

Showcase Concert - Thursday 10 June
All students in Stage 3 (Years 5 & 6) as well as all students who are part of Junior Choir, will be performing at our Showcase concert on the evening of Thursday 10 June. We are looking forward to hearing their amazing performances!

Ben Milis
Junor School Music Teacher and Chapel Music Coordinator


Parenting tips


How to give kids feedback for improvement by Michael Grose

I enjoy reading these articles from Michael Grose as I think he explains his ideas clearly and he is well informed on educational issues. One of my interests is feedback  - in all areas - peer, teacher to student and teacher to teacher. This month, Michael Grose has written this article on Feedback. I hope you find it helpful.

“It can be tempting to allow children to continue to behave badly or to perform chores, homework or sports practice poorly when they argue or resist feedback. Parents (teachers) need to be part coach, teacher and counsellor so that kids learn how to behave well, develop healthy attitudes to learning and know how to get the best out of themselves. Feedback is one of the most effective tools we have to achieve this. Give it poorly and it will at best be ignored and at worst, rupture relationships and damage self-worth. If you provide feedback effectively, you’ll see improvement in behaviour, attitudes and learning, even among feedback resistant teens.

Here’s how to deliver feedback to make sure it sticks:

1. Make it specific
It’s absolutely essential to give feedback about one behaviour, skill or attitude at a time, if you want improvement. “Jai, if you make eye contact with your brother when you talk to him, he’s more likely to listen to you.” The feedback needs to be specific rather generalised so that a child or teen knows exactly how to do better. It also needs to be delivered in a non-judgemental way.

2. Ensure it is descriptive
“That’s not the way to behave inside” doesn’t help much. “Use your quiet voice when you play inside the house” cues a child into how to behave. Use phrases and terms that have real meaning for kids rather than vague, non-descriptive language such as ‘be a good girl’, so kids not only know what’s expected but they understand how to meet your expectations.

3. It’s got to be timely
Providing feedback to a toddler half an hour after they’ve thrown a tantrum in public will ensure there’s no impact. On the other hand, providing behavioural feedback when a teenager is angry will ensure one thing – you’ll have an argument on your hands. Feedback needs to be fairly immediate for young children and if possible, provided before an event or activity. “When you set the table put the fork on this side and the knife on the other.” Choose the time and place to provide feedback to older children, remembering that angry tweens and teens generally don’t listen.

4. Give from a place of calm
Angry parents generally deliver feedback poorly to kids. Regardless of how well you choose your words and how accurate your feedback may be, feedback delivered angrily will prompt the flight/fight response from a child or young person. They will ignore you or start an argument, but they won’t take your message on board when you’re mad at them.

5. Give sparingly
When children require approval for every scribble, homework problem and picture they draw, it’s probably because they have always been offered feedback on every scribble, homework problem and picture they draw. It’s vital that children develop their own internal sense of validation and honest self-assessment, because as they grow up and face hardship, they need to be able to look to themselves for strength and approval. If they can’t, they will be much more vulnerable to superficial external approval that comes their way in the form of peer pressure, bullying and the usual social jostling. As you wean them off your feedback, turn their “Mummy, is this picture good?” or “Dad, did I do a good job?” back on them, and ask them how they feel about their work.

Feedback is a wonderful parenting/teacher tool that requires attention to detail, sensitivity and a willingness to respect the dignity of the child or young person who is receiving it. It’s also most effective when given sparingly, rather than like a nervous tic, which keeps kids anchored to you for approval.”

Joy Rohrlach
Year 5 Leader


da Vinci Decathlon 2021


The da Vinci Decathlon is a highly complex competition across ten academic disciplines. It requires exceptional creativity, tenacity and innovation. In the Junior School St Andrew’s had two teams compete in this state competition on Thursday 6 May. The teams had been training weekly, practising each of the ten disciplines engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy. The team training was not only about the specific knowledge and skills required in each discipline, but also how to collaborate and work effectively as a team.

The competition is named after Leonardo da Vinci, one of the world’s greatest thinkers and scholars. da Vinci was renown for his aptitude connecting nature and knowledge and a commitment to lifelong learning. The da Vinci Decathlon competition drew on the expertise of da Vinci such as higher order thinking, problem solving and creativity.

Due to COVID considerations, the competition was held online. Students had a day to complete the ten challenges. Teachers supervised the teams, but students had to work entirely independently to complete the tasks. Unfortunately due to an unforseen evacuation, our Junior School teams were only able to complete half of the disciplines. The students are to be commended for their flexibility on the day, particularly given the significant amount of training throughout Semester 1. Both teams performed superbly in the challenges they were able to complete and were each awarded fourth place in the Cartography paper.

Below is a list of the Years 5 and 6 teams as well as reflections from students.

Year 5 Reflections
I thought that the da Vinci Decathlon was very enjoyable because of the teamwork. I also liked to be able to challenge my mind. For example the science paper required me to design an experiment involving chance. – Emily Wang.

I found da Vinci Decathlon very challenging. I worked on the ideation paper where I had to innovate a solution. The question was about a law to help the environment. I really enjoyed it because I could innovate and show my ideas. I also found it hard because I had limited time and had to find a creative solution.Bridie Hansen.

Year 6 Reflections
da Vinci decathlon encouraged me to think outside of the box with problems that I had never faced before. In the competition we collaborated well and had to be flexible about the disciplines. I worked on ideation and English. The ideation problem was a different way of thinking, I hadn’t considered making a law. Our law was focused on how to get cows to eat food that would mean they produce less methane and therefore have less of an impact on climate change. –  Ethan Yu.

The competition was very enjoyable because you could move from subject from subject instead of just stying on one topic. If you got stuck on a topic you could move and help another group. This freedom helped us to collaborate.  – Alex Lane.

Year 5
• Bridie Hansen
• Amy Jung
• David Kim
• Siddhan Krishna
• Lucas Shi
• Mycroft Stewart
• Emily Wang
• Mahé Ward

Year 6
• Theo Chow
• Mira Forstner
• Miah Graves
• Lily Isenegger
• Alexander Lane
• Jeremy Reaidi
• Max Watson
• Ethan Yu

Emma Clemens
Junior School Gifted and Talented Teacher


Year 1 Day Camp


On Friday 21 May, Year 1 had their day camp at Oatley Park. The rain held off and everyone was delighted, it was perfect conditions for running around and enjoying the outdoors with friends. The students took part in three different activities for the morning: Bush Bingo, Oval Games and Imaginative Play in the bushland. The afternoon was filled with excitement as the students enjoyed free play on the incredible equipment there. The flying fox and giant slide were a hit with all, even the teachers had a go. It was a fun day and one that will be remembered for a long time.

Mrs Lynn Reddy
Year 1 Grade Leader


Giving Day 2021 – Dr John Gawura Scholarship


This year our Giving Day is the most ambitious yet, with a target of $240,000. This amount will provide one of our Year 6 Gawura graduates with a full Year 7-12 scholarship at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, covering education, co-curricular, excursions, uniforms and additional necessities as required. We offer all our Gawura students high school scholarships here at St Andrew’s where they can remain in a familiar environment and complete their education where they feel culturally safe. Government support drops to 5% when they move to high school so we need the support of our wonderful community.

In honour of Dr Collier’s last year, and because of the fondness our Gawura parents have towards him, this is going to be called the Dr John Gawura Scholarship (our Gawura parents call him Dr John).

We are raising this money in a 24-hour Giving Day at the end of Term 2. From 3pm on Thursday 17 June, we will be seeking our community’s support. Every donation will be doubled on the day, thanks to the generosity of matching donors. Every donation is tax-deductible.

The last day of Term 2 at SACS is always immensely exciting and fun. The school celebrates its birthday (with cake for everyone), the students compete in Gala Day, the P&F provide a BBQ, and volunteers rally together on Level 4 SAH where we run a phone-a-thon in our operations room with parents, staff, Old Andreans and Hessians who will all work together this year to raise $240,000.

Join us in creating a future where our First Nations students face the world with hope, courage and determination.

For more information, or if you think you could help, please contact Catherine Gunning or Lyn Jarvis at


Take Love Collection - Anglicare Sydney


Please donate non-perishable food items


Every six minutes, someone comes to Anglicare looking for immediate assistance. One in every three of these people will have children under the age of sixteen.

This term, the SRC are collecting food donations for Take Love Collection. The Take Love Collection is a youth initiative by Anglicare Sydney, aimed at providing young people with a way to support their community.

We will be collecting non-perishable food items that will be donated to those in need at the end of term. Collections can be dropped off at the Junior School reception or Mrs. O’Donnell’s classroom - S636.

Harriet O'Donnell
Junior School Teacher


ICAS 2021 – Dates for the diary



The ICAS series is a competition designed to assess students' ability to apply classroom learning in new contexts, using higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills.

This year all ICAS assessments will be sat in Term 3 during August. An email will go out to parents and carers before the end of Term 2 with details on how to register your child for one or more tests. In the meantime, please save the below dates.

Students who perform exceptionally well on the ICAS assessments will be recognised in a school assembly in Term 4.

Lucy Birts
Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Junior School & Gawura School


2021 Junior Andrean Awards


It’s that time again! The Andrean Writer, Artist and Composer of the Year for 2021 has begun. This year’s theme is a choice between four character strengths (Hopeful, Thinking, Persistent and Caring) – to celebrate our new Character Strength images around the school. Please click the SACSConnect link here for more details. Students have been communicated this through their classes and on Schoology. Competition closes 11 October.


Start Up


Semi-finals and Finale - important updates

Semi Finals - compulsory for all teams

Part 1: Student pitches

- Wednesday 9 June, 4.30pm - 7.30pm. (Students can come later if they have other co-curricular commitments). Students must wear full school winter uniform (no sports uniforms).

Part 2: Judging results and feedback

- Wednesday 16 June, 4.30pm - 6.30pm. Students must wear full school winter uniform (no sports uniforms).

Finale - compulsory for all teams
-Tuesday 20 July - students must be present from 3.30pm. Please make necessary arrangements for other co-curricular commitments (end time TBC). Students must wear full school winter uniform (no sports uniforms)

Pip Currey
Head of Innovation and Enterprise


P&F General Meeting


Parents are welcome to join the P&F Executive at the P&F General Meeting.

General meetings are your opportunity to discuss current school activities, school focuses, upcoming school events and future plans with Dr John Collier and the P&F Executive. You will also hear about P&F fundraising initiatives and ways that parents and friends can support the school.

Attending P&F meetings is also a fabulous way of getting to know other parents from the school and to get involved in various events and endeavours.

Event details:
Date:   Tuesday 1 June
Time:   6pm
Venue: The Hub
Bookings: or join online.

For more information and to see  the agenda and previous minutes, visit our website.If you are attending in person please check in using the QR code in the foyer at St Andrew’s House before making your way to Level 4.To comply with COVID-19 restrictions we can welcome a maximum of 50 people in person. If you are unable to attend in person then you can attend online. 




TheirCare Winter holiday program


TheirCare have released their Winter Holiday Program "Full Speed Ahead".

Date: Monday 21 June - Tuesday 13 July

To find out more, click here:


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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