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Each year, students studying VCAL undertake a major project as part of their ‘Personal Development Skills’ topic. In 2018, the VCAL students at Marymede Catholic College have worked toward leaving a legacy that lasts long beyond their graduation date in 4 months time through the conception of their ‘Garden Makeover Project’.

The Garden Makeover Project was designed as a means to transform the Wetlands Garden Area behind House 7 at the College into a sustainable food garden which can be used by future cohorts for a range of causes, predominately charity based.

The VCAL students reflect on their experience below:

What Was Required From Your Class as Part of the Garden Makeover Project?
At the conclusion of our planning, and upon approval from Mr Kenny, the first task we worked on was to refresh and repaint each of the garden beds in the area. We chose to paint these in the six House colours of Marymede Catholic College. We then removed the old chicken coop to allow for more mulching space. We relocated the existing shed to make room for a new water tank which will be used regularly to care for the plants and finally we undertook a large amount of gardening work, including the removal of old plants and weeds and planting of new ones.

One of the final aspects of the garden to be completed was the installation of artwork produced by one of our fellow VCAL students. 

At the conclusion of the project we were extremely excited to invite our Year 4 Buddies down for a commemorative BBQ and followed this up with a group cooking session using a range of different ingredients found in the garden. It was a great opportunity to reach out to our younger students and show them just how the garden could be used long term as a means of sustainability.

How Did You Go About the Brainstorming Process for Ideas? 

The first component of this project was to come together as a group and brainstorm different ideas. Once we decided that we wanted to work in the Wetlands Garden Area, we explored different design concepts for example, the inclusion of a Barbecue and Seating Area. During this process we were able to learn about additional new development plans for Marymede Catholic College which impacted some of our initial designs but this led to us being able to include different design elements which were not in our original plans such as the Water Tank.

What Was the Most Difficult Element of the Garden Makeover Project?

The most difficult part of the project was initially sourcing the funding and discounts that we needed to stay within our budget. We received a lot of assistance from Bunnings which we were extremely grateful for and we were also lucky enough to have access to a Community Grant given to our School which we used for works on the project. 

Another difficult element was learning how to work together as a team. We needed to learn how to build strong, dynamic communication skills and learn how to distribute workload evenly. 

What Are Your Long Term Goals for the Garden? 

Long term, we hope that our plants continue grow and that regular harvesting can occur so that items can be donated to those less fortunate. We also hope that future cohorts will continue to provide maintenance in the garden area to ensure that the Garden Beds remain in great condition for the foreseeable future. We hope that this project will work to create a long lasting tradition between the VCAL students and Year 4 Team – working together in the garden. 

Why Did You Choose to Include Year 4 Students in This Process? 

We chose to work with the Year 4 students because we wanted to see the garden from a younger person's point of view and we worked with them previously in some of our Literacy tasks. We tried to design a garden that would benefit the whole School community so it was great to get the perspective of some of our younger students in addition to our own ideas.

They were great to work with - kind, respectful and a lot of fun. We would love to work with them again.

What Advice Would You Give to Young Students in Year 10 or Below Who Might Be Considering VCAL as a Pathway in 2019 or Beyond?

Well for starters, VCAL offers opportunities that VCE does not. VCAL is not just for students who do not want to learn academically or do not ‘like’ school; VCAL is a great option for all students who find it better to learn in a hands-on environment. We would recommend that anyone who is considering VCAL as a pathway contact the College to discuss further because it is a great alternative.



We are extremely excited to annouce that Marymede Early Learning Centre is now open and running 3 and 4 Year Old Kindergarten programs located on the gorunds of Marymede Catholic College.

Limited spaces still available for Semester 2, 2018. Applications for 3 and 4 Year Old Kindergarten in 2019 will close on Friday June 29, 2018.

To find out more about Marymede Early Learning Centre CLICK HERE.




In this edition of 'Meet the Teacher' we speak with Ms. Julia Wake, our Campus Co-ordinator and a member of our Secondary Teaching Team.

Name: Julia Wake – Campus Co-ordinator/Secondary Teacher – julia.wake@marymede.vic.edu.au 

What is your role at the College?

I am currently in my third year as Campus Co-ordinator P-12, previously Head of Secondary School for 3 years. I teach young people in the subjects of Religious Education and VET Sport and Recreation at the moment, and have taught Science, Humanities and Chemistry previously.

I am supportive of students and staff engaging in our broad co-curricular program and co-ordinate pre-service teacher placements across P-12. I work closely with our Property and Administration Teams, Teaching Staff and the Parents and Friends Committee and also co-ordinate the event life of Marymede, which is vast and diverse!

My children, Grace and Jimi are students in Year 9 and Year 6, so I sometimes have my parent hat on too!

Tell us about an interesting project or topic that you are currently working on with one of your classes?

I am currently working with some Media and Visual Communication & Design students on two projects:

1.    Child and parent friendly signage for our Primary play areas. Our Visual Communication and Design students created designs for us to choose from and turned the brief into an in-class competition!

2.    A group of our Media students have created a ‘radio podcast’ of interviews with students around the issue of litter. This was used to launch a ‘Keep Marymede Tidy’ campaign to reduce litter being dropped on the ground and caught up in our gardens.

I also keep in close contact with Mernda Rail and distribute the communications we have regarding closures, opening and progress on the nearby ‘Middle Gorge’ Train Station.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

As a teacher and leader, I work in the most diverse, satisfying and challenging industry. In 20 years of teaching, not one day has been the same as another! I love kids and community – creating platforms for them to achieve and develop their strengths and talents. The wider community will be rewarded by our children experiencing many opportunities, developing resilience and the capacity to contribute to the best of their ability, particularly here at Marymede!

It is a privileged profession and particularly in the Catholic system where we have the mandate to explain to our students that they are loved by God.

Alongside parents, teachers contribute to developing the amazing creativity and skill base of children, a role of which we can be very proud.

Fast Five:

Favourite Food: Tomatoes – I grow them and make sauce!

Favourite Movie/TV Show: Tombstone, and am really enjoying the series ‘Lost in Space’ at the moment.

Hidden Talent or Something We May Not Know About You: I love watching and supporting local footy – I’ve bumped into many Marymede families around the grounds on a Sunday!

Favourite Sporting Team: Most people know that I am a Richmond Tigers fan! I also follow Renegades in BBL and WBBL and Cricket at an international level.

If You Could Pick Any 3 People as Dinner Guests, Who Would They Be and Why?:

1.    Celia Pacquola – A great local Comedian;

2.    Chyloe Kurdas – Mentor, Coach and Commentator for AFLW at local and state level. Believes that the right process achieves the desired outcome.

3.    Malala Yousafzai – Amazing, hopeful and resilient young woman.



In this edition of 'Meet the Teacher' we speak with Astro, the College's new Therapy Dog and member of the Psychology Team.

Name: Astro - Therapy Dog

What is your role at the College?

Astro is an almost 3-year-old purebred Border Collie who is a certified Therapy Dog trained through K9 Support. He will be working with our Student Wellbeing/Psychology Team as the College’s official Therapy Dog. Astro will always be under the supervision of his handler, Jaclyn Freeman (College Psychologist), or a designated second handler. 

Tell us about an interesting project or topic that you are currently working on with one of your classes?

Astro will soon begin assisting students to develop communication and social skills, increase empathy, lower anxiety, and reduce aggression. Therapy dogs offer comfort and non-judgmental support with studies showing that even a short time with a dog can lower stress and improve mood.

Is Astro safe around children?

Yes, Astro has been around children all his life and during his training, which includes extensive temperament testing to ensure he is suitable for work in a school. Astro will always be under the supervision and control of his handler.

How healthy is Astro?

Astro is fully vaccinated and up to date with all flea/worm treatments, which will be maintained for his lifetime. He has a certificate from his vet stating he is fit and healthy to be working in schools. If Astro is unwell, he will remain at home.

What if my child is allergic to dogs?

Astro will always be well groomed and regularly bathed. However, we ask parents that if your child is allergic to dogs you encourage them not to have contact with Astro. Astro will always be on a lead when moving around the college and no student will be forced to interact with him.

What if my child is scared of dogs?

We ask parents to please reassure your child that Astro will always be on a lead and they can choose to stay away from him.

Will Astro disrupt the classroom?

No, Astro will be with his handler at all times and not permitted to freely wander around the school. If he visits a classroom, he will be remain calm and settled on his mat in a down stay, unless otherwise directed.

We are looking forward to the opportunities that Astro will provide the Psychology Team and strongly encourage students and families to welcome Astro into the Marymede Community with open arms!

Fast Five:

Favourite Food: Chicken

Favourite Movie/TV Show: Lassie Come Home

Hidden Talent or Something We May Not Know About You: Helping students calm down!

Hobbies: Tug of War, Going for Walks and most of all, chasing Swallows!

If You Could Pick Any 3 People as Dinner Guests, Who Would They Be and Why?:

Cesar Milan: The Dog Whisperer;


My handler, Jaclyn.



Over the past 18 months, VCE English Teacher Ms. Richardson has been pioneering after-School English Extension classes for all Year 12 students, designed to provide them with an opportunity to work more closely with Year 12 English Teachers on areas of assessment that they have found particularly tricky.

Student feedback to these extra opportunities has been overwhelmingly positive with classes moving out of our smaller study areas in the Resource Centre into larger classrooms to cater for high demand/attendance.

“I felt that we needed to have more time to help students reach for higher-end responses in their essays” recalls Ms. Richardson, who currently teaches VCE English along with Year 9 Literature and Year 8 Humanities. “I first invited my own students to come along, which some of them did, and then they brought their friends and it just kept growing!”

The extension classes primarily focus on essay topics and assessment tasks, planning responses and exploring ways in which students can produce higher-range pieces. Ms. Richardson has longer term goals for the program however, with a view to introducing Year 11 classes and rolling out extra content online in an attempt to reach more students. “I recently started filming and streaming the classes online as a way to also allow busy students to benefit from the sessions and we’ve found this to be extremely popular also.”

Year 12 student Libby has found the classes particularly beneficial: “The classes help us focus on areas of study in greater detail than we are able to in our normal class time, unpacking concepts with a deeper understanding. They’ve allowed me personally to ask more questions and give me more ideas to work with when it comes to assessment time.” 

Our Year 12 English Extension class takes place every Wednesday from 3.30pm – 4.30pm and is available via YouTube with direct links sent to all Year 12 students following the session.

VCE English Teachers Ms. Richardson, Ms. Smith and just some of the students who attend our English Extension Classes in large numbers.



Marymede Catholic College would like to congratulate James Manoussakis (Year 12) on recently being announced as one of only 4 students from Australia and approximately 20 students across the world to be invited to the the XLAB International Science Camp held at the George August University in Gottingen, Germany. 

James will head over to Germany this August and recieves this opportunity via winning a place at the National Youth Science Forum this past January. 

The National Youth Science Forum Year 12 Program is a 12-day residential program designed to expose students to the diverse study and career options available in STEM fields. The Program includes lectures, workshops and labs run by established scientists, facility tours, social events, skills building activities and so much more. The Program took place in January this year in Canberra (Australian National University) and Brisbane (University of Queensland).

We wish James all the very best in his future scientific endevaours.

Currently completing his Year 12 studies, James will head over to Germany this August.



In this edition of 'Meet the Teacher' we speak with Miss. Carla Esposito, our Romero House Co-ordinator and a member of our Secondary Teaching Team.

Name: Carla Esposito – Romero House Co-ordinator and Secondary Teacher – carla.esposito@marymede.vic.edu.au

What is your role at the College?

I am the Romero House Coordinator; I oversee the pastoral care of students in Romero House, work closely with Student Leaders to promote the House in consultation with House Tutor Staff members. I also teach Year 7 Humanities, Year 10 Careers and Years 11 & 12 Legal Studies. 

Tell us about an interesting project or topic that you are currently working on with one of your classes?

Our Romero Year 12 House Leaders Jordan Gualano and Panashe Mutusva are currently working together with me on bringing to life the ‘Winter Sock Appeal’ for 2018 in support of St Mary’s House of Welcome our Romero House Charity.  

I am so proud of the work our Romero leaders are doing in continuing to grow tradition and a positive culture in Romero House. This program is all in the hope of helping our house charity St Mary's House of Welcome. They are located in Fitzroy and in conjunction with many volunteers they open their doors to over 200 people living in poverty daily. They are a wonderful organisation living out the theme of Oscar Romero (our House Patron) ‘Aspire not to have more but to be more’.

I am also loving the new VCE Legal Studies VCAA study design. The best thing about teaching Legal Studies is seeing my students gain a new perspective about how the Government, courts, and laws can influence our society, and the expectations of the community and themselves as individuals. We also have an upcoming prison and courts excursion to enhance and consolidate the Legal Studies course which I am looking forward to.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of being a teacher is building positive relationships and working with our wonderful students at the various stages of their development whilst providing them with meaningful opportunities to grow spiritually, academically, emotionally, and socially.

Additionally, working with an amazing team who share the same vision, passion and values makes every day an enjoyable experience at Marymede Catholic College.

Fast Five:

Favourite Food: Poached Eggs and Salmon

Favourite Movie/TV Show: Titanic

Hidden Talent or Something We May Not Know About You: 3 years ago I started a fitness journey by taking part in a 10-week challenge. I didn’t have any expectations and didn’t realise I could make a lifestyle change. As hard as it was to get motivated I started to train hard, began eating right and it changed my life. I realised that it is never too late to make a positive change and transform yourself to a better, stronger, confident and healthy version of yourself.

Every day is an opportunity to believe, achieve and succeed.

Favourite Sporting Team: Collingwood Football Club (GO PIES!)

If You Could Pick Any 3 People as Dinner Guests, Who Would They Be and Why?:

My Zia (Aunty) from Abruzzo, Italy – It has been years since I have seen her. I miss her!

Pope Francis - I really like his teachings and the way he lives out his faith.

Nathan Buckley – Collingwood Football Club Coach to discuss the mighty magpies.

Miss. Esposito celebrating Romero's 2018 Swimming Carnival victory.



Recently, our Year 6 team have been learning about Visual Literacy through abstract drawings. Visual literacy can be defined as the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Students set out to create an abstract image which would represent an emotion, with a specific focus on the use of colours and shapes representing feelings indirectly.

Students were then asked to interpret the creations of their peers in order to seek out the hidden message behind the image.

The result was a greater understanding of the visual literacy concept and some outstanding pieces of artwork.

Alka and Jack from Year 6.2 reflected on their task saying “Learning about Visual Literacy was a challenging and interesting way to appreciate the messages of others through art and find the meaning behind their creations”.

Great job Year 6!

Year 6.2 and their Visual Literacy creations.


Our upcoming Mother’s Day Movie Night is being arranged by our Parents’ & Friends Committee for Tuesday May 15, 2018.

This evening will provide a great opportunity to spend a night together in celebration and acknowledgement of the special Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts and friends in your life.

For more information please refer to the attached flyer or alternatively contact our Parents’ & Friends Committee via paf@marymede.vic.edu.au 



We are looking forward to our upcoming inaugural Colour Run this Friday April 20 with great excitement!

Thanks to the support of the Marymede Community, our Parents’ & Friends Committee have successfully raised over $20,000 over the past 2 months.


We recommend that those taking part wear comfortable attire with suitable running shoes both of which you would not mind being stained with coloured powder. White T-Shirts/Tops are great as they will show more colour during the run.  You may also wish to bring a towel and a change of clothes.


Did you know we will also be holding a 2km parent race at 4.40pm? This will be a great opportunity to parents and/or extended family members to get involved and have some fun on the day! No registration required – simply bring a white top and get coloured!


Please refer to the attached FAQ document or contact the P&F Committee via paf@marymede.vic.edu.au


The Parents’ & Friends Committee are still seeking an additional 10-15 volunteers who would be willing to assist in a range of tasks on Friday afternoon. Your support is greatly appreciated – if you are interested in assisting please contact the Parents & Friends Committee via email or phone.