A Message from the Principal

Welcome parents, carers and friends of St Mary’s College to our Issue 01, 2024 newsletter.

Term 1 has started with a burst of energy across all our campuses with students enthusiastically joining in excursions, camps, swimming and athletics as well as the many classroom activities that their partner school and St Mary’s teachers planned for them. A big welcome to our preps at the South Morang and Wantirna South campuses and our year 7 students at Ringwood, South Morang, Dandenong and Sunbury campuses. I am looking forward to getting around to all the campuses next term and talking to each student about how their start to school life with St Mary's has been.

Opening assembly

The much anticipated annual event of the St Mary’s Opening Assembly, saw all students and staff came together to recoginse our award winners, acknowledge our student campus leaders and provide organised opportunities for students to connect and build friendships with deaf or hard of hearing students from other campuses. It was particularly wonderful for our prep and year 7 students from across the campuses to have an opportunity to meet each other as they commence their journey together at St Mary's. Our staff and student leaders put a lot of work into planning the day which I’m sure all in attendance would agree was a great success and a highly enjoyable day. It is always wonderful to see some of our parents join us at the event. Each year we hold the assembly at a different partner school, giving parents living locally a better opportunity to attend an learn more about our whole school.

Holy Week

Holy Week is the week before Easter Sunday, beginning seven days before with Palm Sunday. As a significant time in our Catholic tradition, students and staff at all campuses spend the last week of term 1 exploring and thinking about Holy Week’s message of hope and being loving and forgiving through liturgies, classroom activities and acts of compassion such as through the work of Caritas Australia. These messages are universal and it is wonderful to see all students regardless of their own faith background reflecting on how these simple acts can have such a positive impact on the lives of others.

Staff Leave Changes

I will be undertaking Enrichment Leave from 22nd April to 16th May 2024. During that time, I will be involved in a study tour of schools and provisions for deaf and hard of hearing students in the UK and Ireland where I hope to learn first hand of new ideas, as well as practices to avoid, in designing the best educational approach we can at St Mary’s College. During that time, Ms Narelle Stone will undertake the role of Acting Principal.

From 22nd April to 10th August, Ms Nicole Barrow will be undertaking the role of Deputy Principal and Head of Campus of the South Morang and Sunbury campuses. She will be replacing Ms Narelle Stone while she acts in the role of Principal as mentioned above and then commences 10 weeks of Long Service Leave.

Medical Management Policy

To ensure the safety and care of all students, MACS has introduced new policies and procedures for the recording and management of any diagnosed personal, health or medical conditions. When a student enrols at St Mary’s College with an existing diagnosed condition (including hearing impairment), parents/guardians are required to provide St Mary’s with a completed Medical Management Plan signed by the student’s usual doctor. The plan is used to guide the school in documenting a student health support plan (SHSP) for responding to anything that may arise during the course of the student’s education. This could include things relating to hearing loss such as swimming without devices, implants such as knocks to the head causing movement of the magnet or other medical conditions such as responding to incidents of a migraine or asthma.

The Medical Management Plan will then only need to be updated throughout the students time at school if there has been a change in any diagnosed conditions. The documented plan (SHSP) will be reviewed at PSG meetings and updated if a new activity or subject might mean a new response the school needs to consider.

All documents will be shared by St Mary’s Administration office with our partner school so you can be assured both schools have all the necessary information. There is no need to update the partner school directly. However, it is important that you help us in getting these new documents in place.

If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Lexie at the Administration office on 9800 2733 or myself. More information on our Medical Management Policy can be found here.

School Advisory Council

Our School Advisory Council will meet for the first time this year on Monday 15th April at 6:30pm. All our meetings are held online over Zoom to make it easier for people to attend. The work of the council is very important in ensuring parent voice and community perspective influence and support decisions of the school. If you have an interest in joining our School Advisory Council, we would welcome your involvement. Please contact Lexie Cull at our Administration office on 9800 2733 or admin@smdeaf.vic.edu.au for more information. She can also put you in contact with one of our parent council members if you would like to get a bit more information before making a decision.


Enrolments are currently open for:

Prep 2025 (closing Wednesday 24 May 2024)

Year 7 2026 (closing Friday 16 August 2024)

I hope you enjoy scrolling through the photos and reading more about the great events and activities that have occurred across our college over term 1. Wishing everyone a blessed, safe and enjoyable Easter break.

Amanda Purcell


New Student Absence Notice

From Term 2, we are asking all parents/guardians of St Mary's College students at all campuses to follow the new Student Absence Notification process. This is designed to ensure we have a timely and responsive approach to the care and wellbeing for our students.

Student Absence Notice

Student Leadership News

Our Student Leadership team have made a great start to the 2024 school year...

The St Mary’s College for the Deaf student leaders have worked diligently this term to make strong connections with other students from their campus, lead our school in prayer during our whole school opening assembly, participate in a leadership excursion and run a fundraising event for Hearing Awareness week.

Rosetta, Jack, Cleyara, Tanisha, Ira and Lianna will represent their campus in a variety of ways throughout the year, including organising social events for their campuses, delivering speeches at our St Mary’s assemblies and organising fundraising events to support partner organisations. Our student leaders will endeavour to promote student voice and agency within our college.

Setting the stage for an awesome year...

On Thursday 8th February our Tarneit Campus hosted the St Mary’s College for the Deaf opening assembly. The staff and students at St Mary’s formally welcomed the student leaders of 2024. Lianna, Rosetta, Ira, Tanisha and Jack also lead our school in prayer.

Hearing Awareness Week

Hearing Awareness Week is an annual event in Australia that highlights the challenges affecting people living with hearing loss. It aims to improve the social inclusion of 1 in 6 Australians who are deaf, have a hearing loss, or have a chronic ear infection. Hearing Awareness Week is also about encouraging the general public, especially employers, to offer more support and provide a more inclusive workplace for Australians with hearing loss.

Our South Morang, Ringwood, Dandenong, Tarneit and Wantirna South campuses ran a fundraising event this term to raise money and awareness for Hearing Awareness Week. Our student leaders worked diligently to promote the event for one whole week at their partner school. They sold butterfly badges, pens and keyrings to their peers.

Paving the Way to Greatness

On Friday 16th February, our student leaders travelled to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to participate in the National Young Leaders Day. This day provided a unique opportunity for students to gather and listen to some of Australia’s most high profile people share insights into their own leadership journey. The guest speakers included Anastasia Woolmer, Jane Bunn and Bryson Klein.

Let's hear from some of the students...

Student Reflections



Tanisha's Presentation

Wantirna South Campus News

Check out what's been happening at our Wantirna South Campus during term one...

Making a Splash!

During our swimming program, students in Years 1 & 2 participated in Water Safety Week activities. Children have had the opportunity to swim without goggles or swimming caps and wear some old clothes over their bathers. It is a fantastic way for the children to learn safety and survival skills in a controlled and safe environment.


The year 5 and 6 students have been taking part in rich collaboration activities during EXP sessions. Through teamwork, they develop confidence in expressing ideas, gain exposure to varied perspectives, and cultivate a supportive community, ultimately enriching their educational experience and preparing for success in diverse settings.

Alicia and Bailee are analysing a NAPLAN writing prompt together, identifying the key words and sentences to determine if it is a persuasive or narrative writing prompt,

The 5, 6 students are working together to brainstorm Abstract nouns

Wellbeing Project

As part of the students Inquiry unit, ‘Health and Wellbieng’ the students have worked with their HT peers to collaborate on a project to educate others of strategies they can use to maintain and support their health and wellbeing.

Students needed to research their topic and create a presentation of the health benefits to educate their class. They then needed to present their project to the class. The students did a magnificent job speaking in front of their peers.

Deafness Awareness Week

Our students have been busy prompting and raising money for a cause close to our hearts - the Deafness Foundation.

Students gave up their eating time to sell butterfly merchandise, prompting the event in the HT newsletter, making announcements over the loudspeaker and speaking at assembly.

The Holy Trinity community generously got behind the fundraiser raising $96.85

Dandenong Campus News

Find out what has been happening at the Dandenong Campus in Term 1...

Starting the New Year

Students returned to school with enthusiasm and excitement as they entered a new year level with new teachers and the challenge of different subjects. The year 12’s received the long awaited jackets and displayed them proudly and Year 7’s were all smiles.

Year 7 Camp

Term 1 has seen the students involved in the year 7 camp. With many activities and the opportunities to meet new people they participated in all the challenging tasks.

The Lantern Cafe

On Fridays our VM students proudly serve people in the Lantern Cafe.

Their dedication and skills light up the cafe, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. Staff and Students alike have enjoyed the barista made coffees and tasty treats!

We are blessed to be partnered with St John's Regional College, with whom together we provide a supportive environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Year 10 Electronics

Year 10 students are learning how to use 3-Digit Counters in Electronics. Students were given a task whereby they needed to create their own 3-Digit Counter. The counter needed to be activated with a push button switch and then converted to operate with a sensor. Thomas decided to test his cochlear implant’s ability to be a sensor. He connected it to the circuit board and it was a success!

Aquatics Carnival

The swimming carnival involved the whole school enjoying the activities in the pool and mixing with peers. We congratulate the great successes for St Mary’s students. One of the great sights of the carnival was witnessing our students actively encouraging each other!

Extending Skills Through Specific Learning Tasks

Our students are very talented.

With incredible determination and perseverance, Shannyn is mastering the art of learning Braille! This is a wonderful achievement and a great example of how our students can thrive in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Exhibiting Creativeness

At the Pakenham Show on March 16th, Thomas entered two of his creations that were made at school in the previous years into a competition.

He received First Prize for his Floating Table design and construction and Second Prize for his Wooden Dice. Overall, a very good achievement.

Ringwood Campus News

Check out the amazing things our students at our Ringwood campus have been up to...

Exciting Times Ahead

Wednesday the 31st January marked the first day of secondary school for our amazing Year 7 students! Welcome to a new chapter filled with friendships, knowledge, and unforgettable experiences.

Embrace the adventures ahead, make new friends, and remember that each day is a chance to learn and grow.

February 28th saw our newest members to secondary school take their first adventure to Camp Adanac, YFC, at Yarra Junction. Memories from this camp will be forged in their minds from the challenges, fun, bonding with their peers.

Year 7 Swimming Carnival

It was a great day in the to jump in the pool to cool off! Mid February, our Year 7 students joined in the annual Aquatics Carnival Day with Aquinas College. Students demonstrated their swimming ability by: floating, treading water, and continuous strokes for survival situations. To top off the day the students enjoyed some fun aquatic games!

Congratulations to all the participants for their outstanding efforts and sportsmanship.

Making Slime

Our new year 7's, Yumika, James and Amy did their first Science prac where they made Slime. They had to don their PPE while mixing the red concoction, mixing and squashing it until it formed the slime.

Team Building

Kaylee and Ryan not only embraced the challenges of a team-building activity but also demonstrated the power of unity, resilience, and the joy of working together. The challenge? Build the tallest tower you can with straws and tape.

The activity was a great way for them to collaborate and strengthen bonds as they begin their last year of secondary school!

Year 7 Camp

February 28th saw our newest members to secondary school take their first adventure to Camp Adanac, YFC, at Yarra Junction for 3 days. Memories from this camp will be forged in their minds from the challenges, fun, bonding with their peers.

Hard at Work

The year 8’s are fully involved with St Mary's classroom activities.

Year 9 Cafe Program

Year 9s were very lucky to be given the opportunity to develop their skills in Hospitality in the Aquinas run Cafe Program.

This program is truly wonderful as it guides students with the help of teaching staff and also ex Year 12s who have returned to work in the program.

They were shown the ropes in meal preparation, waiting tables, making coffees, cleaning and maintaining a cafe, even when it becomes really busy!! St Mary’s student Keira and Ethan both fully embraced this opportunity and really enjoyed their time in the cafe program.

Athletics Carnival

The Year 7s, 8s, and 9s had a fun day enjoying the 2024 Athletics Carnival.

With all the houses dressed in their colours, adorned with paint and glitter, it was truly a day of friendly competition to see who ended with bragging rights as House champions at the end of the day.

Ryan's Cafe Work Experience

Ryan has begun his work placement with enthusiasm at a local cafe. He was able to complete many tasks, navigate and continue to develop his techniques in the kitchen. He has helped prepare lots of delicious food for the cafe to sell. He seems to have enjoyed the experience so far, and will continue in term two.

Year 9 Students Navigate Through Melbourne

At the end of term, the year 9 students travelled into the city each day and had to navigate through Melbourne's busy cityscape to various locations in order to complete tasks in their small groups. It was a fabulous opportunity for them to demonstrate their independence, responsibility, time management, and autonomy.

South Morang Campus News

Here's the latest from the South Morang campus...

Year 6 Camp

Our Year 6 students had an amazing time at Lord Somers Camp on the Mornington Peninsula!

They enjoyed exciting water activities like raft building, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. They showed growing independence by managing their devices each day, ensuring they were charged and water-sealed for the water activities.

Working in pairs, they learned how to navigate their equipment, promoting teamwork and problem-solving skills. In the evenings, they danced at a disco and played beach games while watching the beautiful sunset over the Peninsula.

On the last day, students explored the Coolart wetlands and Homestead reserve, learning about traditional Indigenous bush foods and visited a historically listed 1907 Mansion.

As a special memento of their time at camp, students designed and voted on a logo before making screen-printed t-shirts they could keep. It was the perfect location for our students during these hot days.

Year 7 Camp

Our Year 7 students recently embarked on an unforgettable adventure during their annual camp to Campaspe Downs in Kyneton. From challenging themselves on the leap of faith, and the giant swing, they pushed their limits and embraced new experiences with bravery and determination.

Amidst all the excitement, students fostered new skills in independence and established new friendships and connections. A great time had by all!

A Warm Welcome

We welcomed two new Preps and two new Year 7s to our community this year. The Preps in particular were so excited to be here they keep jumping for joy!

Swimming Splendour

It was a great day to enjoy the swimming carnival and pick up some ribbons along the way!

Positive Behaviours for Learning

Progress this year will be tracked through our leaves! Students add their acknowledgments to the branches when they show positive behaviours for learning. We want a very full tree by the end of the year!

Not Your Typical Class Pet

Some unusual creepy crawlies are in the Year 5 classroom!

Celebrating Diversity

On Harmony Day, students at Marymede wore cultural attire and raised funds for Project Compassion. During lunch they played cultural music and students were invited to participate in a ‘Fashions on the Field’ competition.

Thank you to the students for actively participating and making the event a success. It was a great way to celebrate diversity and cultural understanding within our school community.

Sunbury Campus News

Find out what's been happening at the Sunbury Campus during Term One...

Welcome to Our New Year 7's

Our new Year 7 students have thrown themselves into life at the school - attending swimming carnival, Year 7 camp and our opening assembly.

Year 12 Retreat

Discovering the Salesian Strenna: The dream That Makes You Dream.

Yr 12 spent the day participating in activities, mass and sharing their dreams. The theme was relations and dreams, and students were reminded to “encourage one another and build up each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

How to Save the Planet

Out and about exploring our wonderful school grounds in the hope of finding some insects and creepy crawlies!

Opening Assembly

Our students enjoyed meeting other St Mary’s students and having some time together as a campus - beating Mrs Stone convincingly at Uno!

Fun at the Australian Open

Jagan was lucky enough to meet former Australian of the year, Dylan Alcott and have a hit with him on the tennis court at this year’s Australian Open.

Rite of Passage for Year 12

As our year 12 students are well into their final year of secondary school life, they were thrilled to receive their Year 12 jumpers!

New STEM Learning Space

The new STEM space has opened and every space has been fitted with soundfields, thanks to the generosity of our partner school.

The space boasts high-end computers for computer aided design along with a green room and pod casting booth. A state of the art resource for budding young minds.

Tarneit Campus News

Tarniet Campus' happenings during term 1...

Athletics Day

Fun and games and some friendly competition at the annual Athletics Day with Thomas Carr College.

Year 10 Mock Interviews

The year 10's have been practicing their interview skills, readying themselves for life after school.

Australian Hearing Visit

Students receive their regular hearing checks, with the friendly staff from Australian Hearing, and also an opportunity to have their listening devices checked.

Year 12 Retreat

As the year 12 students enter their final year of secondary schooling, Lianna attended to the year 12 retreat as part of the St Mary's and Thomas Carr College combined community. This was a time of reflection and prayer as they prepare for their journeys ahead.

Staff News

Term one news from the St Mary's staff...

Introducing Our Newest Staff Members

We are delighted to welcome 4 new staff to the College this year.

Ms Jasmin Mathews joins us at our Tarneit campus as a Teacher, Ms Sherryn Jones as a teacher at our South Morang campus, Ms Rhiannon Ward as a teacher at our Wantirna South campus and Mr Gavin Doyle-Bates as an Educational Interpreter at our Ringwood campus.

We welcome them to our team and look forward to their contribution this year.

International Women’s Day Breakfast

Our Principal, Ms Amanda Purcell and Deputy Principal, Mrs Narelle Stone attended a breakfast at the Catholic Leadership Centre hosted by Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools. The findings of a study into the factors contributing to success and inhibiting women in the leadership space were released and it was a great opportunity to meet with leadership teams across our partner schools.

SILC Network

Members of the St Mary's Leadership Team attended the launch of the Vision for Learning which will guide our practice in teaching and learning over the coming years. St Mary's, along with our partner schools, are embracing evidence-based practice and cognitive sciences in how to teach most effectively. Knowing about how learning and working memory can be impacted by other things deaf and hard of hearing students need to process at the same time in the classroom such as making sense of spoken language and piecing together missed information, can give our students the best chance to flourish in their learning.

Community News

Other news, upcoming events, and important announcements...

School Holiday Activities

Are you and your family looking for something to do these school holidays? Deaf Children Australia have organised some fun family activity days for you to get involved in. See the flyers below for more information our check out their socials.

Street Orienteering: 4th April
Parklands Orienteering: 2nd April

Regional Family Fun Day: 13th April

Scavenger Hunt: 6th April
Tasmania Zoo: 28th April

Easter Message

Wishing everyone a safe and happy easter holiday time...

Happy Easter from St Mary's College

As we celebrate this joyous season of renewal and hope, we extend our warmest blessings to you, our St Mary's community, family and friends, and extended community. May your Easter be filled with peace, love, and countless blessings.

We are immensely proud of the growth and achievements our students have displayed throughout Term One. The dedication to their studies, prayer and service, has been truly remarkable, and we commend each and every one of them.

As we enjoy a well-deserved holiday break, may it be filled with joyous moments and cherished memories. Above all, may it be safe and rejuvenating for all.

We hope all students will be eager to commence Term Two to continue their journey of learning, growth, and discovery together.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter,

From the St Mary's Staff