Reflecting on the Month of August

August is often considered the transitional month in our seasonal calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time of the year people begin to wind-down from their summer travels and vacations and prepare for Autumn — back to school, fall festivals, harvest time, etc. In our Hemisphere, we are experiencing the harshness of winter and look forward to the Spring. In our school calendar, the year takes on special seriousness for Year 12 as they prepare for their HSC and also for Year 11 as they transition into Year 12 during Term 4. The Church in her holy wisdom has provided a cycle of events in its liturgical year which allow the faithful to celebrate the major feasts in the life of Christ and Mary. Most notably, during August, we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration (August 6) and the feast of the Assumption (August 15).

The other main feasts of this month are St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1), St. John Mary Vianney (August 4), Dedication of St. Mary Major (August 5), Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), St. Sixtus II and Companions and St. Cajetan (August 7), St. Dominic (August 8), St. Lawrence (August 10), St. Clare (August 11), Jane Frances de Chantal (August 12), Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus (August 13), St. Maximilian Kolbe (August 14), St. John Eudes (August 19), St. Bernard (August 20), St. Pius X (August 21), the Queenship of Mary (August 22), St. Bartholomew (August 24), St. Louis of France (August 25), St. Monica (August 27), St. Augustine (August 28) and the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (August 29).

The feasts of St. Teresa Benedicta (August 9), St. Stephen of Hungary (August 16) and St. Rose of Lima (August 23) fall on a Sunday so they are superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

A Time to Persevere

As if to re-ignite us, the Church offers us in the plethora of August feasts vivid examples of the virtue of perseverance: six martyrs — two who are named in Canon I of the Mass and two who were martyred during World War II; seven founders of religious congregations, as well as three popes and two kings; the apostle, St. Bartholomew; the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine and St. Monica, his mother; the humble patron saint of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and the patron of deacons, St. Lawrence, who joked with his executioners while being roasted alive.

It is never too late to begin — as the life of the reformed sinner, St. Augustine teaches us — nor too difficult to begin again, as demonstrated by the conversion of the martyr, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein). We present-day members of the Mystical Body are certain of the reward to which we are called, for Christ’s Transfigured body (August 6) is a preview of that glory. Moreover, in the Assumption of his Mother (August 15), Our Lord has demonstrated his fidelity to his promise. Her privilege is “the highest fruit of the Redemption” and “our consoling assurance of the coming of our final hope — the glorification which is Christ’s” .

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most perfect example of Christian perseverance, but she is also our advocate in heaven where she is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth (August 22). Mary is the “Mother of Perpetual Help”, the patroness of the Congregation founded by St. Alphonsus Ligouri (August 1). “No one who has fled to her protection is left unaided” is the claim of the Memorarae of St. Bernard (August 20). Heretics have returned to the faith by the prayers of her Rosary, first preached by St. Dominic (August 8) in the twelfth Century, and hearts have been converted by the graces received while wearing her Miraculous Medal, promoted by St. Maximillian Kolbe (August 14) and adopted as the “badge” for the Pious Union he founded. Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

Students who need to work on their perseverance are urged to include the following prayer in their daily reflections:


pic1Hail, Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope!

To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.

To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears!

Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this,

our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray.

O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the

rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy

Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain, and obtain what they promise,

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.


Understanding our Parents Research

With demand for placsurvey 1es in our Catholic schools at an all-time high, CEO Sydney is keen to better understand what you expect and want from your Catholic school. Our Executive Director, Dan White, is keen to hear from as many parents as possible from Kindy to Year 12. Your contribution to this important survey will ensure that Sydney Catholic Schools continues to ‘raise the bar’ in any ever-changing education environment. Simply go to and have your say today.





Local Traffic and Observances around Bethany College


stopYou are all aware of the traffic congestion around our educational precinct. I recently read about the issues facing Hurstville Public School and the problems being caused by parents and carers who refuse to obey the local traffic measures.

I write to you today to remind all parents that the St Michael’s Church driveway IS NOT A DESIGNATED DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP AREA for our students. I am so disappointed that some of our parents have challenged staff from the parish and the primary school about this matter. This area is parish area; not ours. Unequivocally, our girls are not to be dropped off or picked up from the Parish driveway area. Let me reiterate our traffic congestion and safety measures:


  • Drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon is in WARATAH STREET only. The best time for drop off that avoids the primary school rush is from 8 to 8:15am.
  • You could even consider a drop-off/pick-up spot in Botany Street where the girls can easily cross at the lights.

I have asked the parish staff and teachers from St Mary’s to take down licence plates of parents who are breaching our shared understanding of local traffic zones. If needs be, I will take steps to put in measures with our students themselves that will prevent them leaving or arriving from the front of the College.

I appreciate that there is inconvenience at times but it is better to run a little late than to cause the kind of congestion that will result in student injuries or fatalities.




National Assessment Program- Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2015

naplanIn the next fortnight, NAPLAN reports will be sent home to parents of Year 7 and Year 9 who undertook the National Testing program in May this year.  At Bethany College, we firmly believe that solid literacy and numeracy skills form the basis of a sound education. The College has performed solidly in aspects of literacy and numeracy. We are proud of our students’ achievements and it is a tribute to the skills of our students and the dedication of our teaching staff and in the case of Year 7, to the teaching staff of the primary schools from which we draw. These results build upon the strong academic tradition at Bethany College and give us rich data on which to plan our teaching programs and target appropriate education plans.

We will continue to work on building the confidence and outcomes of our girls in Numeracy, an area that girls across the state generally underperform in comparison to males of their age group. Further, we continue to target Reading, the domain necessary to read and understand the many texts that the girls need to process across each Key Learning Area and Writing. The following table shows a comparison of our school’s results compared with the State in the top and bottom two bands.



NAPLAN results 2015 % students in the top 2 bands % students in the bottom 2 bands
Bethany State Bethany State
Year 7 Reading 32 32 5 16
Writing 28 19 7 32
Spelling 60 40 1 15
Grammar & Punctuation 43 34 6 18
Numeracy 32 29 7 18
Year 9 Reading  35 25 12 25
Writing 18 14 18 40
Spelling 32 28 5 19
Grammar & Punctuation 22 19 16 32
Numeracy 33 29 7 17


We are especially proud of the improvement to our Student Growth Rates in Year 9 Reading, Writing and Numeracy which measure students’ growth from May 2013. The figures and very encouraging for us and inspire us to keep on track with our learning initiatives in those areas. Year 10 (2016) will continue to find itself targeted to assist in improving Writing responses. Our figures this year in Writing have seen a marked improvement as a result of a targeted writing program in HSIE and RE and other KLAs across the College. Whilst the program has generated much additional marking on the part of teaching staff, it has yielded a marked improvement in student writing.


Year 9 Expected Growth – Reading

Growth Percentage of students 2015 Percentage of students 2014 Percentage of students 2013
Less than expected growth 29.4% 27.4% 34.8%
Greater than or equal to expected growth 70.6% 72.6% 65.2%



Year 9 Expected Growth – Writing  
Growth Percentage of students 2015 Percentage of students 2014 Percentage of students 2013
Less than expected growth 35.6% 42.4%



Greater than or equal to expected growth 64.4% 57.6%





Year 9 Expected Growth – Numeracy  
Growth Percentage of students 2015 Percentage of students 2014 Percentage of students 2013
Less than expected growth 17.7% 16.7%



Greater than or equal to expected growth 82.3% 83.3%





Art and Design Showcase

On Wednesday 12 August, we were treated a wonderful exhibition of student work in Visual Arts and the Key Learning Area of Technology and Applied Studies (TAS). HSC Major works in Visual Arts and Textiles and Design were on display for all to see before being shipped off to the examiners. The students’ work was of a high standard and I thank Mr McLean (Visual Arts) and Mrs Rowland (TAS) for leading these successful faculties in creating such innovative and creative work.

Parents were able to view Visual Arts and TAS major works in Years 9-10 Visual Arts, Textiles Technology, Food Technology, Information Software Technology, Design and Technology and also works of students in Years 7 and 8 Visual Arts and Technology Mandatory. Our special VIP guest, Nina Cuava, who owns a jewellery studio at the top of the Strand Arcade, gave our students great advice on working hard and pursuing their design dreams. One of the highlights of the evening was the fashion parade of garments made by our students from Year 7-11, opened by our Year 7 students modelling their pyjama creations. It was a fun night with the students having the enjoyment of their parents’ presence during the parade. Learning is fun and we certainly were witness to that last Wednesday night!




Sydney Catholic Colleges (SCC) Athletics

For the first time in many, many years, Bethany was victorious in being ranked as the First Overall School in SCC Athletics. The students who participated have given their all for their school and recorded some wonderful personal bests. The entire team will be credited elsewhere for their achievements but pictured here is our Sports Captain, Jade Hennessy with the winning trophy and our three Age Champions, from left to right, Kelly Wilson (Year 9), Grace Robinson (Year 11) and Eva Kostopoulos (Year 7).





Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato