My name is Iain Robertson and I am the Coordinator for the Health and Physical Education Faculty. A fundamental key and overarching objective for our team of dedicated Health and Physical Education teachers is to help young people at St John Paul II College develop a strong sense of personal identity. This outcome is no more apparent in any of the units than that of the current Year 10 Health unit; “Identity – What makes you, you”?


Witnessing change or transition in your child is a perplexing period for both parties and, in my experience, it is during the latter years of secondary education that these challenges are perhaps most prevalent. Some parents may feel that they no longer recognise their own child and therefore ask the question, “what happened to the child I used to know”? The answer is multifaceted, but what we do know is that adolescence is highly influential.


The current unit is my favourite health unit that we teach. Establishing an identity is not an easy process. There are difficult and confusing choices at every step of the way. However, it is during the teenage years that young people begin their quests for identity. Not only does the content of this unit explore identity formation, it encourages our students to consciously investigate areas of their own being and ego that many of them take for granted or are simply not even aware of. Furthermore, the unit culminates all of their learning from their first four years of Health Education at St John Paul II College. As the final compulsory health-based unit that students ever have to study it is both pertinent and vital to ask the big philosophical question; “What makes you, you”? Our aim for the unit is to help our young people develop self-reflection skills and become more in tune with who they are as a person as they embark on the next stage of their journey.  


Students have explored a number of factors that might impact on their identity such as personality, gender, sexuality, culture, ethnicity, heritage, socio-economic status, environments and values. Perhaps of even more importance, we want our students to reflect on how these factors not only influence who they are as people but also to recognise how self-awareness and understanding your own personal identity might influence your overall health and wellbeing. As influential adults in the lives of these young impressionable people, it is paramount to recognise that adolescents find themselves under strong peer pressure to engage in various behaviours, some of which are high risk and unhealthy. 


So, what can you do? We recently discussed the theory ‘Nature vs Nurutre’. As families, we find ourselves busier than ever before, dinner tends to be rushed, especially by children and then they can't wait to get back to their computers and mobile phones. Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and the world of multimedia. But how much of this life is reflective of their true identities? And perhaps more importantly, are these behaviours nurtured by us all? The answer is of course different for all of our young people; however, one thing is certain, young people will stick around if the conversation is interesting. If you see yourself and your life as a crashing bore, your children are likely to see and experience the same thing. But if you see your life as an endless succession of miraculous and fascinating events, then perhaps your children will be transformed by it.


My main appeal to all parents is to bridge the cracks that might be appearing. Your relationship with your teenager is ever-changing and as parents it is crucial to embrace their uniqueness, accept their differences and encourage them to express who they really are. This unit delivers evidence of the level at which our young people are operating – they’re deep! But nurturing them is still so important. Today I asked the question to our students, “Do your parents know the real you?” the response was overwhelming with the majority of the class responding negatively. When I asked why the most popular response was the fear of being lectured or judged.


As a teacher of Health and Physical Education I am grateful for having the opportunity to role model and influence the young people I teach in a positive way. As parents, I implore you to engage with your teenagers at the same level. Afford them the opportunity to express themselves, encourage positive thinking and create an environment that nurtures your children’s beliefs, values and their talents and abilities.


Iain Robertson

World of Maths

On Monday the Year 7 students at St John Paul II College were lucky enough to experience the World of Maths roadshow. The World of Maths is a travelling showcase of mathematic and science stations targeted towards getting students to inquire and problem solve. The students worked in small groups on many of the challenging stations and asked to answer questions on the real-world problems. Students had a fantastic time and we as a school were very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience this awesome presentation.

Education Perfect Lunch

On Wednesday 30 August, a special lunch was held for the top students studying French in Year 8. These students were selected by their teachers of French for continually displaying an excellent work ethic, commendable behaviour and for producing some outstanding results. They were rewarded by a delicious lunch prepared by Mrs Kelly and her professional team in the canteen.

All language students in Year 8 enjoy using an excellent language learning app called Education Perfect and it was the creators of this app who initially wanted to reward our students for their high online usage. They had proposed a pizza lunch supplied by a fast food chain, but as per the policies of JPC, we had this redirected.

Well done to the following Year 8 students: C. Cortes, M. Woodman, M. Jadeer, E. Braham, T. Grocott, A. Revell, N. Bebek, C. Cambridge, C. Ellison, S. Henssen, N. Crowther, B. Nieuwendyk, E. Clauser, H. Collis, R. Goodwin, D. Guzairov, I. Redman, H. Donnellan, J. Robinson, C. Dale, M. Fisher, A. Ngai, G. Johnstone, T. Tran, C. Richards & B. Shelley.


Messieurs Battaglia et Schlomka

Arts Showcase Evening

On Monday night, JPC had their third performing arts night of the year. Dancers, singers, actors and artists participated in this event to showcase their hard work in the arts.

The whole night was student driven. Teachers were there to guide the process along although students were the main people to pull the showcase along. Throughout the night students art and choreographed pieces were presented to the audience.

The opening performance in the showcase, was a snippet of JPC's dancefest routine. This performance was vital in the year 11's eyes, as it is a major assignment in their dance unit. The year 11 team has been working extremely hard to put together a polished piece. A big congratulations to the hard work and determination shown by these senior students.

In comparison to past showcases, there was a huge outcome in the audience. It was filled with encouraging and smiling faces. Thank you audience for giving everyone an opportunity to shine, but also providing us with support. 

Also an important thank you to all of the teachers who gave up their time to help organise the event. I would like to thank Ms Robinson and Ms Keane for their continued support in organising performances for the night. A special thank you to Mrs Robertson for her final performing arts night of the year. As some of you may know she is about to go onto maternity leave. We all say a big thank you for all your support in performing arts throughout the year.

- Danijela Bodo

Northern Territory Immersion Experience – Part Two

Welcome back to the second installment of my journey to the Northern Territory during Week 6. As previously discussed, we spent three days at St John’s Catholic College in Darwin, working with the students of all year groups and sharing with them the messages of God, at the same time as exploring the importance of encountering a relationship with faith.

The days ahead consisted of three particular words – Challenge, Connect and Change. We set off towards the south, driving 2.5 hours out of Darwin to the small, remote community of Nauiyu, situated along the Daly River. At this point, I didn’t know what to expect. I was excited, anxious and very worried about the crocodiles that live all through these habitats. We arrived in Nauiyu and began this part of the immersion experience by meeting the most respected Aboriginal woman in the entire Territory, Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. Miriam-Rose is an Aboriginal activist, educator and artist, and she shared with us the significance of Aboriginal Spirituality and the challenges faced by all individuals living in remote Indigenous communities. Miriam-Rose taught us how to live in whatever environment we may find ourselves in, and how to approach the expectations of the wider community. We yarned about ‘Dadirri’ – the deep, inner-listening and awareness of being still and silent, understanding the spring within us. This is often used as a prayer, feeling the presence of the great creator.

During this time, we were immersed in Aboriginal culture as we travelled with Miriam’s nieces and relatives to areas of significance within Daly River that taught us traditional ways of living and enabled us to increase our understanding. We learnt the rich culture of the land directly from the Elders. A stand-out moment of mine was the Welcome to Country when we were taken to the river-crossing and the women put water on our heads and our belly. The drops that returned to the river are a way of notifying the Elders past and present that we are on their land and the water to the belly indicated we are on the Mother land. We spent a day eating turtle, fishing for the ever-popular barramundi and simply sharing stories about our world and theirs, the similarities and differences and what lies between.

Miriam-Rose spoke at length about learning to ‘live in two worlds’. She told us about teaching students ways to stay strong in who they are. The importance of this resonated with me as an Aboriginal Contact Teacher, and highlighted the importance of interacting with our students at JPC and connecting with their culture. The main message I will take away from this experience of cultural immersion was that, the bush prepared us for Jesus. As a Catholic woman, I am more aware of the significant parallels that Aboriginal Spirituality and Christianity share.


Elle Boller

Defence News…….

Last week was Legacy Week and one of Defence Students, Jason joined up with three Defence Students from Holy Spirit and headed to Gungahlin Shopping Centre.  The students were there for just under two hours and joined with Legatees to raise money for Legacy.  The kids were very enthusiastic recommending the merchandise and hopefully helped to make a difference in the total raised.  It was also lovely to watch them listening to stories from people about their Mum or Dad who had served in the past.  An interesting fact for you… Legacy currently supports over 1,100 widows in Canberra alone!  A wonderful was job done by our Defence Students promoting a very important cause and we were happy to support Legacy.


This year commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Battle for Australia, which acknowledges the series of battles in the Pacific during World War II.   On Wednesday, a small group of JPC Defence Students, joined with Holy Spirit Defence Students and headed to the Australian War Memorial to participate in the Battle for Australia Commemorative Wreathlaying Ceremony.  This Ceremony commemorated the service and sacrifice of all those who served in the defence of Australia during 1942 and 1943.  Our students helped to create a wreath made of wattle and then listened to Dr Brendon Nelson pay tribute to what he called “the best generation this country ever produced”.  These Ceremonies provide a valuable opportunity for our young to meet with our brave Veterans and have the occasion to speak with them about the courage and sacrifices they made to keep our country “young and free”.


Lest We Forget.


Vicki Walsh

Senior Band Showcase

A huge congratulations to all the students who performed at the senior bands show case last Tuesday night. Also congratulations to Aron Lyon for organising such a wonderful event. There were a range of songs with a variety of bands. Aron expressed how proud he was of the students he has been teaching for the past 4 years and how they have grown and developed musically. The positive and enthusiastic performance spread through the audience as they cheered after every song and demanded more. It gave some of the students the opportunity to experience their own ‘Rock Concert’ which the students thoroughly enjoyed.

Positive Community Connections

JPC year 9/10 Food Technology students were lucky enough to begin their research assignment this week with a visit from 2 local police officers and a dietician, who came to talk to them about ‘foods for stress’. Next term our students will be hosting a lunch here in the JPC restaurant for a range of professionals who work in stressful environments, including emergency workers and police officers (and possibly some teachers!). The visit gave our students a real insight into the day to day lives of police officers, Senior Constable Brent Gall and Constable Bec Williams, from their duties to the foods they eat. Then Sarah Cooper from Nutrition Australia delivered expert nutritional advice and foods for stress. We look forward to preparing delicious nutritious foods for our guests at our luncheon next term as a thank you for their time and their efforts in protecting our community.


Annie Daley
Food Technology Teacher

Sports Wrap...

Years 9 & 10 Boys’ Soccer Gala Day Thursday 7 September

Well, what a day! I feel very proud & happy to have been a part of it, whilst sad for Mr Iain Robertson who did so much coming into the tournament but whose school commitments resulted in him missing out on leading a wonderful team.


It was an overcast day at the Dickson District Playing Fields where the cold, blustery winds did their best but failed to take the fire out of a talented group of boys! Our first game was against Campbell High School. We beat them 2-0 courtesy of classy goals from Pat Shore and Zac O’Brien. Our second opponent was Harrison School, who played courageously but were ultimately demolished 6-1. In this game, the main destroyer was Alex Walsh, who scored a hat-trick. Other scorers were Domenic Torcorsio, Liam Smith and Pat Shore. Our third adversary was the highly-revered Canberra High School. It was a tough nil all draw and the highlight was seeing Anthony Despotoski dribble past four defenders, which impressed many and surprised all but himself. Yes, all you non-believers out there…

Fitness Club

On Thursday mornings this term, the ‘Fitness Club’ have been running a variety of exercise sessions to start our day off healthy and happy. Next week, Fitness Club is having a ‘bring a friend’ day. Thursday morning at 8am feel free to come along and join in fun and build up a sweat. Tim Rees will be running a smashing session of weights for us.

Bus Service Changes

Changes to the Transport Canberra Bus Network, Saturday 7 October 2017

On Saturday 7 October 2017, Transport Canberra will be introducing a revised network and timetable. This change is the first of a series of improvements towards an integrated public transport system in 2018 with the introduction of light rail to the nation’s capital.

This information including new timetables and maps are now available for parents and students to view on the Transport Canberra website –

Calling all Musicians

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a professional musician, travelling the world, performing your music to thousands of people?

The first step is right in front of you! Sign up to be a part of our school band program. We cover all musical genres and want to give you the pathway to succeed in music! Whether you have a group of friends or it’s just yourself, sign up and get started! Applications can be found at the Student office. Any further information please email Aron Lyon at

Instrumental Music

Learning music can help students’ self-confidence, self-discipline and team work. Music helps students progress in other important learning areas such as Maths and English. Indeed, countries with a strong focus on music education tend to have higher scores in literacy and numeracy. Engaging music programs have been shown to help with attendance and can be particularly beneficial for students who are not achieving well in school.

All of this evidence for music’s extrinsic benefits make a strong case for music education, but should not overshadow the sheer joy people experience making music, nor the value of the artform itself.


Positions are currently available in our Instrumental Music Program. We offer Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Strings, Woodwind and Piano. Applications can be collected at the Student Office. If you have any other questions please email me at


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