Catholic Education Foundation

Mufti-Day 22 June 2016

 You will have recently received a note from me giving details about our upcoming mufti-day to raise money for the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF). 

We rarely have mufti-days at Bethany College, so what was so important about the CEF that we are raising money for it? It comes down to the fact that we work hard at being an authentically Catholic school that draws on Catholic social teachings to help form and guide its students.

There are two principles of Catholic social teaching I would like to draw you attention to.

  1. Justice for the poor. Caring for the poor is everyone’s responsibility. Preferential care should be shown to poor and vulnerable people, whose needs and rights are given special attention in God’s eyes.
  2. Dignity of the human person. The dignity of every person, independent of ethnicity, creed, gender, sexuality, age or ability, is the foundation of CST. No human being should have their dignity or freedom compromised. Poverty, hunger, oppression and injustice make it impossible to live a life commensurate with this dignity. 

When we think of the poor, we think of images of children in faraway lands, with flies around their faces and swollen bellies.  They are tragic images and they propel us each year to raise money for Project Compassion.

But what of the poor who dwell amongst us? Even here at Bethany? Single parent families struggling to make ends meet. Families who suffer unexpected bereavement of their breadwinners. Families where parents have lost their jobs or have had serious workplace injuries. How do we support the dignity of each girl in our school and ensure they get a sound education? We do this with the support of bursaries from the Catholic Education Foundation.

What is the Catholic Education Foundation?

The Catholic Education Foundation aims to provide financial support to Catholic families to ensure that their children receive the Catholic education they deserve.

Catholic schools have provided students with outstanding educational experiences from the time that the first schools opened to the community in the early 19th century. While classrooms have changed, our commitment to ensuring that as many Catholic children as possible are able to access a Catholic education remains as strong as ever!

Why is the foundation needed?

The Catholic Education Foundation has been established to honour our commitment that no Catholic child should be denied a Catholic education due to financial hardship.

Catholic schools are more popular now than they have ever been. They are safe, welcoming communities where Jesus’ message to “love one another as I have loved you” is lived out daily. Excellent results from State and national testing programs like NAPLAN and the HSC speak for themselves!

How can Bethany students support the CEF?

  • Mufti Day, 22 June 2016
  • Students in mufti must wear blue (yes- even nail polish) so that we can en-masse, demonstrate our support for those in Sydney who could benefit from our assistance.
  • Minimum $2 gold coin donation; we will accept folding money too if you wish!





A Prayer for the Catholic Education Foundation

Good and gracious God,

we recognize all life is a gift and a blessing.

We thank you for your most generous love.

Encourage us to be persons of honesty and integrity,

worthy of proclaiming the Gospel,

in this sacred ministry of fundraising.


Help us to always reverence the sacred space

where our donors and our missions meet.

Give us openness to listen to the needs of our donors.

Give us joyful spirits, and an eagerness to engage others.

Give us hopeful imagination and creative vision,

recognizing generosity in even the smallest gift.

Give us strong, steadfast hearts in times of discouragement.

Give us trusting hearts, knowing that the fruits of labours

will be realized

long after we are gone.


Give us faithful hearts, deeply committed to Your realm.

Let us feel Your Presence

so that we know we are never truly alone.

Remind us always that what we do for the least of

our brothers and sisters,

we do for you.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, and in unity of the Holy Spirit.



Community Prayers

We keep the following people in our prayers:

  • Georgia Konstas (Yr 10) who recently underwent emergency surgery and is now on the road to a slow recuperation
  • Natalia Hachem (Yr 10) whose father passed away last week after a short battle with a serious illness
  • Tahlia (Yr 7), Elise (Yr 8) and Madelyn (Yr 10) Wise who lost their grandmother late last week
  • Isabel (Yr 8) and Celia (Yr 10) Finch whose grandfather passed away last week; and
  • Alexia and Deanna Haralambedis (Yr 7) who lost their grandfather last week.


Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God, rest in peace.





Tired child sleeping while studying in the primary school classroom.

  Tired child sleeping while studying in the primary school classroom.


 Why effective learning starts with a good night’s sleep

Sleep is an active phase of the learning process, which is why as parents the single most important thing we can do to help our kids be more effective learners is to ensure they get enough sleep.

During sleep the brain is very busy replaying the day’s activities extremely fast, picking out the key items it believes are most relevant for long-term storage in our memory banks, and tossing out the rest.

The amount of sleep children require varies with age and they require more sleep than adults. In primary school the recommendation is between 10 and 11 hours per night. High school students need around 9 hours to function at their best. The challenge is how to fit everything into the school day along with homework and extra-curricular studies such as sport, music and drama, have enough down time to chill and relax and get enough sleep.

The best way to learn anything is to study the topic hard for a period of time and then go so sleep for 8 hours. While this may not be practical in our everyday lives, the principle is pay attention to what needs to be learned and then use sleep to consolidate memory and deepen the understanding of the subject.

Talking with your child can help them understand why sleep is so important, not just to help with their studies but also to manage their emotions more easily. Anxiety or worry about academic performance, friendship issues and generally keeping up with everything can interfere with sleep, as can receiving text messages or snap chats during the night.

Our children spend many hours engaged with technology to help them study and for social connection. All these gadgets emit a blue light that fools the brain into thinking it is still daytime. Because the brain needs 2-3 hours to wind down and prepare for sleep, switching off the laptop or tablet late at night and then hopping into bed means it will be much harder for your teen to then fall asleep.

The most effective way to study for a test is to space the learning. This requires studying the subject for a period of time and then putting it to one side to do something else. Later that day test recall of the subject by jotting down just the key points. Those that have been forgotten can be quickly revised. Repeating this process with increasing lengths of time between self-testing is an excellent way to strengthen memory because it makes the brain work harder to recall the information. This method has been shown to be far more effective than rewriting or highlighting notes.

Getting sufficient sleep ensures the brain is fully rested and refreshed to study more effectively. A tired brain finds it harder to concentrate, focus, remember or learn. Feeling grumpy or irritable doesn’t help either!

The temptation to stay up late and cram for a test or exam can be strong, especially if others are doing it. Encouraging your child to get a good night’s sleep instead means their brain will be far better prepared to enable them to deliver their best the next day. Trying to stuff more facts into a tired brain just leads to feeling stuffed, which isn’t helpful to anyone and not worth the one or two extra marks they might have been hoping to gain.

Helpful tips to assist your young person to get enough sleep

  1. Keep to a regular sleep schedule for both going to bed and getting up. It can be tempting to sleep in over the weekend, but while getting an additional hour or so can be helpful to pay off some sleep debt, spending longer than that is counterproductive as it further disrupts the normal sleep pattern.
  1. If they are tired, suggest kids start going to bed 10 – 20 minutes earlier each night. It may not seem like much but can quickly start to make a difference to daytime alertness and wellbeing in just a few weeks.
  1. Encourage daily physical activity. Some kids are naturally sporty but if your child dislikes exercise, suggest they go for a daily walk for 20-30 minutes or engage in an activity such as dancing. Movement primes the brain for better learning, reduces stress hormones, enhances mood and wellbeing and helps us all sleep better.
  1. Many young people use their mobile phones as an alarm clock. If so, they can switch it to silent so messages from friends won’t wake them during the night. Or buy them a clock so they don’t need their phone at all.
  1. There are a number of apps such as f.lux that will change the display light on computer screens to yellow, which doesn’t impact the brain disrupting sleep patterns.

Sleep is essential to better brain health and performance, which is why getting enough sleep is never negotiable.

by Dr. Jenny Brockis is the Brain Fitness Doctor. She speaks and writes about brain health and performance. Her new book Future Brain: The 12 Keys to a High Performance Brain is available online and at all good bookstores.




Our mantra:

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