Student life at the College continues to be filled with many opportunities to grow, model and celebrate each of our gifts. So many students have participated in the co-curricula life of the College; this was so evident with our recent Variety Night where students showcased their dancing, singing and interpretations of the world. I was particularly impressed by our Year 9 students who provided a dramatic interpretation of a family fleeing war and persecution.

Last week, we farewelled our sisters from Seirei Holy Spirit High School in Japan. The College is continually grateful for the support of our families who kindly host a Japanese student for two weeks. This gesture of welcome and hospitality is so important for us, as adults, to model to our children, especially in a time where there is so much conflict and misunderstanding in the world. Our Seirei Sisters were in the country, whilst our Gospel readings at Church told the story of the Good Samaritan. The story of the Good Samaritan always reminds me of how we need to behave as neighbour, citizen and colleague. The parable reminds us of how we need to respond as people of faith towards one another.

In our Wellbeing Program this week, the students explored more concepts surrounding bullying. Employing materials from Respectful Relationships, students delved in bullying and what is known as being a bystander. Students were challenged to ‘call out’ inappropriate behaviours or actions.

Recently the College participated in a national research with Australian Catholic University (ACU) Institute of Child Protection Studies to understand young people’s perception of safety. This data will be collected nationally and will help inform future practices in Child Safety. Importantly, this will provide the College with important data to support and innovate wellbeing at MSJ. Thank you to the many families who agreed to participate in the survey.

I urge you to read the following article by Paul Dillon, “5 things parents should discuss with their teen before they leave for a sleepover, party or gathering”. This article empowers both the parent and the child to make the right choices when faced with a situation at a party or gathering where they feel uncomfortable or need to call for help.

5 things parents should discuss with their teen before they leave home for a sleepover

At the beginning of this term, we welcomed our two Social Work students from RMIT University – Myah and Maddie who will be with us until the end of the school year. Myah and Maddie will support our Wellbeing Team and our College Psychologist and Social Worker in the Chill Out Space. This term, Jacinta and the students will continue to offer a variety of support programs to both our parents and students. Tuning into Teens is again on offer for our parents, whilst our students can access a variety of empowering programs designed to continue to build confidence, resilience and a sense of self-worth.

The College continues to use PAM to communicate with our family, thus if family details or arrangements have changed, it is important that families inform the College via email or directly at Reception.

Steven Mifsud, Deputy Principal - Student Wellbeing

Meet Our Wellbeing Team

Jacinta McMahon is a Social Worker with a Bachelor of Social Work. Jacinta has experience working with children, adolescents and families with complex needs. Jacinta supervises the social work placement students and offers counselling, intake assessment and group programs such as Tuning into Teens (for parents), M Power Girls, and Confidence in the Classroom.

Jessica Driscoll is a psychologist with a Masters of Educational Psychology. Jessica has experience working with young people from diverse cultural backgrounds across a range of mental health, social-emotional, behavioural and learning issues. Jessica offers counselling, psychological assessments and group programs such as Study without Stress, Social Club, and Best of Coping.

Clare Duong Thai has a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) from RMIT University. She has worked in community, school and mental health settings with a diverse range of people, with a particular interest in working with young people and their families. Clare provides support for students in VCAL/VCE

Each semester the College hosts two RMIT students, studying either a Masters of Social Work or a Bachelor of Social Work, to undertake placement within the school. The students work alongside the rest of the Wellbeing Team, helping them meet the wellbeing needs of the students and College. The students are available to help facilitate groups, programs and lunch-time activities; as well as being generally available for student support and engagement.

Referrals to the student wellbeing services team can be made by contacting your child’s Wellbeing Leader or Learning Mentor. Counselling referrals can be submitted directly via this Google form.

Group programs running this semester:

Study Without Stress

A group program that helps senior school students recognize and manage study related stresses.

Test Anxiety

An adaptable program that provides methods for coping with test specific anxieties, ultimately helping with students’ successful completion of courses.

The Best of Coping

A 6-week program that teaches students coping skills for times when life might be stressful or emotions might be difficult.

Tuning Into Teens (for parents)

This program is for parents of all year levels and runs over a period of 6-weeks. It has been designed to help parents facilitate emotionally intelligent and engaged relationships with their teenager/s.