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In this issue

Message Stick Term 1 Week 3 2021
Message from our Deputy Head
Dates for your Calendar
Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Library News
Music News
Sports News
Parenting Tips
Gawura Doctor - Dr Shuo Zhao
Resources for COVID-19

Message Stick Term 1 Week 3 2021


Welcome to our very first Message Stick for 2021. I hope you all had a very well deserved break. A very big welcome back to all of our returning families and a few brand new ones as well. We would like to especially acknowledge our 6 new Kindergarten students for 2021 who are Gianni, Leila, Jaelee, Lisarli, Leroy and Teancum. We welcome you all to our Gawura family in what could be 13 years of schooling for you all. Graduating class of 2033 just to make the rest of us feel a bit old.

The Gawura students have settled in beautifully over the past week and a half and are currently working really well. The whole JSGS are doing initial assessments to begin with along with curriculum course work also starting as well.
We employed a second Wiradjuri teacher this year Mrs Tanya McEwen who will be helping deliver Wiradjuri language and culture lessons across both Gawura and Junior Schools. Tanya is another Indigenous staff member we can add to our growing list.
Thank you to all the parents who attended our Meet The Teacher Afternoon last week and our first GPAC Meeting last Thursday. It was lovely to see you all.

School photographs will be occurring this Friday 12th February. Please send back your order forms to your child’s class teacher before this day. Once again we are pleased to offer this service free of charge or for just a small fee you can increase the size of your photo pack. Sibling photos will be taken on the same day. A note outlining all of this has been sent home in your child’s bag as well as emailed.

Can I encourage you to look at the Music News in the following section of this Message Stick and ask you to speak to your child about learning a musical instrument. It is a wonderful skill to have and the hire of instruments and the cost of tuition is covered by the Gawura Scholarship. We just ask that if your child does take this offer up that they stay committed to learning that instrument for at least two terms. Some students have maintained their music tuition for over two years and are quite accomplished.

Once again thank you for entrusting us with your child this year. Whether this is your 7th year at Gawura or your first we welcome you and look forward to working with you and your children throughout 2021.

Have a wonderful and safe fortnight ahead.

John Ralph
Head of Gawura


Message from our Deputy Head



I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell to my home away from home, to the place that has been right beside me while I got married, had 3 children, furthered my study, advanced from classroom teacher to Deputy Head of Junior School, embarked upon international tours, study and opportunities to China, Singapore, the U.S,  the Top End, Red Centre, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Queensland. Farewell to the place that has given me the opportunity to lecture internationally, direct musicals, become a Harvard Graduate, Lead the Gifted and Talented program and achieve my Masters. Farewell to the place that has given me comfort, purpose and unwavering faith through the tough times of losing my brother and my parents and the ups and downs of a life of service and love.

I feel blessed to have been a part of this amazing school community and to have worked alongside so many outstanding professionals and leaders. The students, the parents, so many ex-students who make the effort and always take the time to say hello (it’s flattering they still recognise me!)  and mean the world to me. Twenty brilliant years have passed by in the blink of an eye, but my fond memories and lifelong friendships will continue. Some of you may be wondering where I am off to and what I am going to be doing with myself, you may be wondering if finally after searching for a better school to work in for 20 years I’d found it…well this is just not the case. The truth is that you couldn’t find a better school!

I am embarking on a career change. I am going into the family business. The rag trade none the less! We make children’s clothes right here in Australia from Australian made fabrics. We use the softest organic cotton and the purest merino wool to make underwear, sleepwear and outerwear for children newborn to 16 years! We are G’day Bay & Kids, online now, but you are welcome to visit me in our soon to be flagship store right here in Oxford Street Paddington, I would love to keep connecting with the greater school community and perhaps supplying kids and baby clothes to the families of our Alumni for generations to come.

I am so very excited by this opportunity to go into the family business and know SACS will hold a special spot in my heart always. Farewell and thank you, thank you all, my heart is full and my new email is if you would ever like to reach out.

Kindest regards
Emily Edwards
Deputy Head of Junior School


Dates for your Calendar


Monday 8 February: CoCurricular & SEW Commences

Friday 12 February: JSGS School Photographs

Tuesday 16 February: STEPS Kindergarten Screening

Friday 19 February: JSGS Swimming Carnval - Drummoyne

Wednesday 3 March: Year 6 Canberra / Year 5 Kirrikee camps

Monday 8 March: Science Week


Message from our Wellbeing Co-ordinator


Character Strengths @SACS

As students have returned to school they have been surrounded with beautiful murals of our SACS Character Strengths come to life.

At St Andrew’s Cathedral School character education is at the core of what we do. By teaching ‘character in action’ we create an environment for students to grow morally, spiritually and intellectually, so they can flourish individually, in community and in society.

As Deputy Principal Mr Brad Swibel explains “Character education equips young people to grow in wisdom and hope, so they can use their developing knowledge and expertise in ways that positively impact society. The development of character is fundamental to our pursuit of academic excellence and is at the heart of our teaching and pastoral care, taught both explicitly and implicitly through habits and routines, role-modelling, service opportunities, leadership and relationships.”

Our Character Strengths are divided into Heart, Mind, Life. As a Christian school we want our students to learn to 'love and care for one another and the world (1 John 4:19—Heart), to be ‘transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12.2—Mind), and to be prepared for life in all its fullness (John 10—Life). Students will continue to engage with these strengths through their Social & Emotional Wellbeing (SEW) lessons, chapel, assemblies, classroom discussions and learning activities. They are an integrated part of all we do.

Tip: Perhaps you may see your child come home with a strength spotting sticker, which student receive when they are “spotted” living out one of the character strengths within the school day.  Why not ask them what they were “spotted” doing?

Bronwyn Wake
Junior School Wellbeing Co-ordinator


Library News


We’ve had a great start to the year already in the library. A special thanks to all of the people who remembered to take a photo of themselves reading over the summer. We have some great shots of people reading in spectacular locations or amazing poses. If you still want to send in a selfie, we will accept them for another week and add them to our display.
Each class in our Junior School will be visiting the library for Browsing and Borrowing every week. Books may be borrowed for 2 weeks.

• Kindergarten can borrow 1 book (for Term 1)
• Years 1 and 2 can borrow up to 3 books
• Years 3 and 4 can borrow up to 4 books
• Years 5 and 6 can borrow up to 5 books

This year, we will be adding book chats to Browse and Borrow. Ask your child which books they have been introduced to already this year.

Book Clubs for Stage 2 and Stage 3
On Thursday and Friday mornings, we will be hosting Book Clubs for Stage 2 and Stage 3 students. Unfortunately spaces are limited, so if your child missed out for this term, please keep your eye out for when the sign up is released for Term 2.

Research and information skills development @SACSLibrary
Our Research and Information Skills program links with history and geography syllabi and equips students to solve problems or make decisions by using information. Students will learn to identify goals, seek, use, and assemble relevant, credible information, then reflect—is the final product effective and was my process efficient? As students gain confidence,they grow in independence as capable learner-researchers.

Library monitors in 2021
It is wonderful to have responsible and helpful Stage 2 and Stage 3 student leaders in the library as Library Monitors. If your child would like to be considered for the role, they should write an application (one paragraph which includes your child’s name and class) explaining why they would like to be a Library Monitor and submit it to Mrs Cotter by Monday of Week 3. This year, Library Monitors will be inducted for one semester only (i.e., we will have a second cohort of monitors in the second half of the year). Students who are responsible, committed, willing to learn, able to help others, have a good attitude and (of course) who LOVE BOOKS are welcome to apply.

The year ahead
2021 looks to be another library calendar jam-packed with fabulous events. We are looking forward to once again hosting the Premier’s Reading Challenge, National Simultaneous Storytime, Australian Reading Hour, Book Week, International Games Week, NAIDOC celebrations and much more, starting with “Love Your Library” in Week 3.

Looking forward to sharing in your child’s love of reading, books and learning with great anticipation,

Nicole Cotter
JS & GS Coordinator of Information and Digital Literacy


Music News


Welcome Back

I was encouraged by the number of students continuing their music lessons throughout the challenging year of 2020 and thank students, tutors and parents for their diligence in persisting during this time in particular.

Last year, I read The Music Advantage by Dr Anita Collins, and this solidified my belief, and the belief of SACS, that music is an important part of every child’s education. It is why we value it here. Research has proven the link between learning Music and increased executive function, as well as links to benefits in all other learning areas. Language is one such example. One fact I learned from reading this book which I found fascinating is that if a child is unable to keep a steady beat at 3 years of age, this is an indicator that they are likely to struggle with reading down the track! Musical interventions can actually assist in connecting some of the neural pathways which can assist in improving this area. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading the latest research in neuromusical research. Dr Anita Collins is at the forefront of this research and the case for inclusion of music education continues to grow.

It is an enjoyable read and is a great reminder to parents, teachers and the general community on the benefits of learning and making music.

Many students are continuing their private lessons in 2021. In fact, the majority of our K-6 students do learn an instrument, whether it be with a tutor at SACS, or an external tutor. If you wish to sign up for lessons at school, please use this link SACS Instrumental and Vocal Music Tuition Application Form 2021 and where there are tutors available we will do our best to accommodate. Please note that some instruments currently have a wait list.

Once enrolled in lessons (either at SACS or externally), students are eligible to participate in our instrumental ensembles, with the details regarding these in the cocurricular booklets which have been sent to you separately. Please remember that no trybooking is required for ensembles, and also that ensembles are an annual commitment. If you wish to discuss ensemble placement for your child further, please email Mr Ben Milis

At present, choirs in an indoor setting are still not allowed, therefore we are unable to commence our choral programme as yet. We will advise when restrictions are lifted and when we can recommence. We hope for this to be sooner rather than later, however this is beyond our control. Watch this space!

Congratulations to the following students on their AMEB results from the end of last year:

James Yeung – High Distinction in Grade 3 Piano
Zeveriah Mann – Honours in Grade 2 Trumpet Video Repertoire
Oliver Seeho – Honours in Grade 1 Clarinet Video Repertoire
Oliver Seeho – Credit in Grade 3 Piano for Leisure Video Repertoire
Isaac Yeow – Honours in Grade 4 Violin
Taali Paku – High Distinction in Music Craft Preliminary
Yusheng Mao - High Distinction in Grade 3 Piano Repertoire
Rebecca Cranes – Honours in Grade 1 Recorder Repertoire
Arthur Eidel - High Distinction in Grade 3 Recorder Repertoire

A reminder that if your child completes a music examination and you would like their award presented and written up in the newsletter, please forward it to Ben Milis

Music staffing
Welcome to Miss Sophia Lee ( (pictured above) who has joined our Music Department for 2021. Miss Lee will cover my Music classes whilst I am on maternity leave and will teach Drama in the Junior School as well. She comes to us from Santa Sabina College and we look forward to her contributions.

Mr Ben Milis will be acting in my role as Head of Music (K-6) for 2021 and is the main point of contact for any musical enquiries you might have ( Ms Alison Matthews is our Music Administrator and assisted by Ms Ashley Son, is also able to assist with music questions. You can contact them at:

Ms Son is also working at SACS as a Music Therapist from this year and we are excited to be able to offer this service in conjunction with our Specialised Learning Department. There is more information about this in the Parent Information 2021 link.

Rock Band

Auditions will take place on Friday 5th Feb after school from 3.15-4.45pm.

Interested students in Stage 3 only who undertake tuition in voice, guitar, keyboard, bass guitar or drums may apply. Please let Mr Milis know if your child will be attending the audition.

Chapel Band auditions are for Stage 3 students learning voice, guitar, keyboard, bass guitar or drums and will have rehearsals every Tuesday morning before school at 7.40am. The audition will take place at the SAME TIME as the Rock Band auditions with Mr Milis on Friday 5th Feb from 3.15-4.15pm. Please email to register for the audition.

Ensembles start in Week 3, which is the week commencing Monday 8 February.

I look forward to returning to SACS in January 2022 after my period of maternity leave and look forward to visiting with the newest member of the SACS Music team for a visit! I will be at school and available until Friday 19 February.

William Wheeler – JS Drama Captain from 2020
Congratulations to William Wheeler, our immediate past Drama Captain, who has recently concluded performing in the professional season of Pippin.

William is also a Cathedral Chorister and will next be appearing in the upcoming season of Tosca.

These accomplishments are outstanding on their own, however we have also recently learned of William’s award in his local area, where he was named “Young Citizen of the Year 2020” by Canada Bay Council.

He was nominated by a council member as a result of the charity drive of Pokémon cards for bushfire affected communities which he organised in collaboration with a local toy shop, as well as teachers and students at SACS. Canada Bay council also recognised William’s contribution to the performing arts through his involvement in Pippin and Tosca. The Pokémon card drive also attracted the attention of The Project and can be watched via the SACS facebook page here:

Well done to William – a true shining example of an exemplary SACS student who demonstrates attributes of heart, mind and life in every sense.

Kate Roberston
Head of Music (K-6)


Sports News


Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone to 2021, where we’re hoping for an uninterrupted year of sport! We’ve begun our Thursday sport program, with gymnastics, touch footy and AFL all the highlights for Term 1. Our Saturday sport teams have begun training in preparation for their first round of games and the swimming carnival is in the coming weeks. There’s plenty on the sporting calendar for 2021 and I’m sure the students will take up all the opportunities on offer.

Tony Dunseath
Assistant Year 8 Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator, JS Teacher


Parenting Tips


Welcome to the first edition for 2021 of Parenting Tips

I am Joy Rohrlach and I teach Year 5 at SACS. I am a parent of two children, Michael and Jackie and a grandmother of three gorgeous children, Jonathan, Lucia and Zara. Every two weeks I write an article in the newsletter about situations, articles I’ve read or seen or fascinating ideas that have captured my interest and maybe even share some of my conspiracy theories for you to think about - The full moon’s effects being my favourite!! I offer ideas to try when bringing up your children, interesting strategies to use in your home or thoughtful scenarios that may get you thinking. Not for one minute am I suggesting I am an expert nor that I know all the answers. I certainly don’t and I have made many mistakes in my journey as a parent and grandparent…that I may occasionally share!! What I am hoping though, is to present ideas for you to think about, discuss with me or others and hopefully we may help each other along this road called parenting.

I look forward to meeting you and sharing ideas and helpful hints.

Joy Rohrlach
Stage 5 Leader


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 8am – 12pm. The number of the practice is 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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