Middle School Thursday, 09 Sept 2021

Yr 9 Applied Science and Engineering Projects

In Applied Science and Engineering this term we have been focusing on the design process and creation of a device involving an ultrasonic sensor. We first learnt about the main steps of design: defining a problem, gathering information, generating alternatives, analysing and selecting the best alternative, designing and building the prototype, and testing and evaluating. With this knowledge, we were able to plan and begin designing our prototypes. A large majority chose to create sensors that would help people park their cars, but others chose more creative designs such as sensors that helped blind people complete certain tasks.

Throughout the term, we had to make a written report which outlined in more detail the design process and how it related to the problem we decided to solve. Then came building the prototype. We were able to use any material we wanted, but most chose cardboard or plastic as they were easy materials to find. We then had to code our MicroBit with the ultrasonic sensor code and build the circuit wiring that was necessary for the sensor to function. Some students added LED’s or speakers to help users when the sensor detected a certain distance. Finally, students tested and evaluated how their sensor worked to fix their problem. In total, this project offered students an insight into the process of design, allowed us to learn more about ultrasonic sensors and their potential uses throughout society.

Read More
Senior School Friday, 30 July 2021

Why a school for boys?

While young men and boys can and do excel in many types of educational institutions, schools for boys focus with intention on learning that addresses not only how to excel in academics but also how to grow into a young man of integrity and empathy.

In engaging and supportive single-sex environments, students explore their values and establish a foundation for making responsible decisions; they explore their own definitions of self, who they are and who they want to become; they learn to forge healthy relationships; they step out of their comfort zone to explore their full potential.

They are preparing for their roles in a globally connected world.

Here’s how that happens.

Read More
Senior School Wednesday, 07 July 2021

Old Boys For Young Boys

Thank you to the following Old Aquinians who have chosen to sponsor subject prizes for students who have demonstrated academic excellence in Year 12 in the Class of 2021.

Quentin Lau (Class of 1992)

Quentin attended Aquinas College from 1985 to 1992. In 1997, he graduated with a degree in architecture and returned to Hong Kong to commence his career. He now specialises in and provides consultancy advice on residential property development at the Summit Homes Group. Quentin is known to be one of the most experienced development architects within Perth. Married with children, Quentin's eldest daughter attends Santa Maria College while his son attends Aquinas College. Quentin has kindly sponsored a monetary prize for the Year 12 Subject Dux for Economics ATAR as well as Human Biology ATAR.

Hilary Lau (Class of 1993)

Hilary studied at Aquinas from Year 5 until his graduation in Year 12. He went on to study for a double degree in Law and Commerce at the University of Western Australia. Currently, Hilary is a partner at leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Hilary’s practice is focused on the energy and resource sector and he has earned the position of Head of the Energy Practice, Asia within his firm. Ranked as one of the best energy lawyers in Asia, Hilary is married with a son. Hilary has kindly sponsored a monetary prize for the Year 12 Subject Dux for Politics & Law ATAR as well as Marine & Maritime Science General.

Read More
Senior School Tuesday, 06 July 2021

Kickstarting Careers

Kickstart has been a great success this term with students gaining introductions to bricklaying, tiling, wall and ceiling, plumbing, painting, plastering and stonemasonry.

In bricklaying, students learned the basic skills of mixing cement, safe handling, trowel, laying bricks and the 3-4-5 rule to measure off house plans and layout a work area. The professionalism of our students allowed them to go one step further and they were given a task to build a mini house from plans. They have to measure out, level and build to specifications, including adding windows and a door. A fantastic experience and, my advice, don't underestimate the skills of bricklaying, it has a lot of practical math applications!

Stonemasonry is a niche profession and was brought back into popular demand by engineered stone and kitchen benchtops. Stonemasonry is unique and precise and requires excellent hand skills. Students used basic hand tools to carve out their names on marble. Students gained an understanding of the different types of stone, precious rocks from Western Australia and where this profession is in popular demand.

Students tested their skills with tiling, completing the famous rocket ship task. They did exceptionally well, with many completing the task and adding their own finishing touches. The following week students were given a very challenging measuring task where they had to cut tiles to a map of Australia. A task that is used in the Australian World Skills competitions. The tiling experience taught students to measure and cut tile, apply grout/cement to the tiles, levelling and how to correctly lay to job specifications.

Boys were treated to one of our best try-a-trade experiences to date at the Master Plumbers Association in Jandakot. Students completed a range of welding tasks and joined copper using a range of various pipe fittings. Students completed the famous cricket-wicket task and were treated to a drainage activity for the ages. Levelling, trenching, digging and connecting various pipes to job specifications within a given timeframe gave the boys a real day in the life experience, showing how important communication skills are to completing jobs and meeting deadlines.

For wall and ceiling, students learned how to bevel gyprock and create bulkheads. A bulkhead is a typical addition in bedrooms, laundries and custom applications to lift the interior of a house. Unfortunately, COVID -19 locked us down for the final project this term - to sheet gyprock to walls and ceiling on a timber frame.

Kickstart provides a fantastic opportunity for Year 10 students to participate in a practical hands-on program weekly. A creative outlet for students looking at vocational pathways, and apprenticeships provides an opportunity for students to excel and develop work-ready skills far beyond the classroom.

For further information please contact Peter.Gellin@aquinas.wa.edu.au

Read More
Middle School Thursday, 01 July 2021

Reflections from Finland

When I started at Aquinas College, I didn't know many people, only two people that were my cousins. I felt like the school was very big and scary at first but I got friends easily and everybody was very nice. I have to give a special thanks to the staff of Aquinas College for accepting me into the school.

Until Week 2 in Term 1, 2021, I had only done Finnish schooling in Finland. When I switched, the whole school and school system was totally different. I’ll mention some differences:

  • We don’t have all-boy schools in Finland at all.
  • The length of the school days vary every day.
  • In Finland, I go to a small school building with no boarders. The Aquinas College is a big campus with boarders and day boys, I didn’t even know such exists. Schools don’t offer boarding in Finland.
  • In Finland, 500 students is a lot for one school.
  • The strictness is much higher in Australian schools in general.
  • In Finland, we do not get break A detentions or after school detentions.
  • Our curriculum is totally different in Finland.
  • We do not have school uniforms, so we can use any clothes that we want. Also, we don't have a specific hairstyle or length requirement.
  • Our schools don't have as much sport in Finland compared to Australia. We do not verse other schools in sports or academics.
  • The schools are free in Finland in all grades, including university. We get all our exercise books and school books from the school itself for free. We also get a free lunch and it is served to everyone, you cannot bring your own food, but you can have a snack for recess.
  • We practically get no homework in Finland. We do work in class and if you don’t get it done you have to do the rest at home, but it isn't a lot at all.
  • We also have more recesses: two breaks of 15 minutes, one of 30 minutes and one of 50 minutes.
  • At Aquinas, there are service hours, but in Finland, we don’t have such.

The school in Finland might sound easier but it is somehow harder. Students need to be a lot more independent with the studies: I can be given the main topic to study and need to come up with which specific topic I want to research, where to find information, how to present my findings. I have to be so independent and take initiative and it is sometimes very difficult.

My experience at Aquinas College has been amazing. Everything I have learned has been learned in a way that I will remember for a long time. The staff of the school have been very helpful and kind, thank you for that. I hope to come back one day.

After a 6-week summer holiday in Finland, the academic year starts and I’m starting Year 8. I must be the only Year 8 student who has already studied two terms in Year 8. Enjoy the rest of the school year!

Read More
Junior School Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Humpty Dumpty’s Revenge

Humpty Dumpty went on a stroll
When he found an extremely tall wall
He noticed that he had some spare time
So he started to climb and climb

He sat down and noticed how high
He was very worried and started to cry
He wailed and wailed and started to tip
And suddenly… trip!

He fell and fell at a dangerous speed
He started to pray and plead
Then he went splat on the ground
And waited ‘til he could be found

All these weird businessmen
Couldn’t make him better again
They grabbed some clay and flex tape
And they started to reshape

He didn’t look like an egg anymore
He looked like a drawer plus a door
He got a wrecking ball
To get revenge on that very tall wall

His enemy came down to the floor
It doesn’t stand anymore
He grabbed all the bricks to make a house
Which he sold to a person named Jouse

Read More
Middle School Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Academics Scholars Program T2

After a long term, ASP has come to an end – a lot has been accomplished and much has been learnt and experienced by all involved in the units. A HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to all the teachers and external presenters this term, without you, ASP could not happen and would not have the depth nor the richness that it does.

We were once again graced by Dr David Keatley from Murdoch University and Leigh and Sean from Huntstock Games. And many thanks to Ms Ramsay, especially for taking a group to Curtin Uni to show them Content Creation in action, and to Miss Smith for stepping in when Ms Xouris had to leave us. Also farewell to Mr Deakin who leaves us after only one Term, the boys have learnt much from you, we hope to see you in Term 3 for relief and then we wish you well in your new adventures in Term 4 and beyond.

Before I delve into the term that was a short review on a few of the competitions that we entered this term:

AMAZINGLY Aquinas took out 1st and 2nd in the state-wide Maths Have Sum Fun Online Competition. WELL DONE to Johnathan Vinci and Nishok Nimalan for their respective achievements. 12 Year 9 students competed in the international Ethics Olympiad (they were actually entered into the Senior School competition) and finished 6th out of 18 teams. Teams were from various schools around the state and international locations such as Hong Kong. Aquinas was the top-performing PSA school.

Around mid-term we had approximately 30 ASP students take part in a Model United Nations Workshop in preparation for the EVATT competition later this term, the workshop was an AWESOME experience with the UN Youth who presented it commenting on the excellent participation of all the boys! For EVATT, pairs/delegates are assigned a country and one resolution a week prior to the competition. They will then develop their stance on the prepared resolution from the perspective of their assigned country. On the day of their round, they will debate, amend and finally vote on the prepared resolution, and one impromptu resolution. The boys need to act as if they are the country, their own personal views and values do not matter – it is a test of not only their preparation but also their negotiating skills and interpersonal skills. This year we took 8 students (Year 9, 10 and 12) out to John Paul College in Kalgoorlie to compete in a regional round. This was an AMAZING opportunity. We do not find out if teams progress until all qualifying results are completed in August but our team representing Kenya were very strong having nearly all their amendments read out and passed on the day.

Two units which I ran had boys working with their hands to build a variety of things - Creative and Critical Thinking (Mousetrap Racers) and Bridge Building. Both units challenged the boys in multiple ways as the boys had to design, build, trial, test and then redesign things - they often did not go according to plan. It was interesting as the term progressed as the individuals and teams who started strong lost motivation while others who started slowly gained momentum.

Below are a few short reflections of term 3 from some of the boys:

Read More
Junior School Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Books and Boys

Dads Reading Morning

A big thank you to the many dads who came along and shared stories and books with the boys at our Dads Reading Morning in Week 7 this term. This event is a favourite for our community each year. The enjoyment we see in the boys as they so happily welcome their dads and meet up with the dads of their friends and classmates is something we all very much look forward to. We are fortunate to have a strong reading culture in the Junior School, and we are grateful to all the wonderful role models the boys have to learn from.

Speak Up Challenge

A huge congratulations to the 58 boys who participated in the Junior School Speak Up Challenge this year. Your dedication and commitment to the process was outstanding. You should each feel very proud of yourselves for your achievement. Our volunteer judges, Mr Brian Tonkin and Mr Michael Hanrahan enjoyed the experience very much and loved the variety of speeches and the speaking skills of the boys.

Thank you also to Matteo Conte and Matthew Vinci (Year 10) who came down to the Junior School and gave us some excellent advice and answered many questions we had.

Five students have or will be participating in various interschool competitions. Congratulations and all the very best to Christopher Chan (6W), Joey Lee (6R), Alexander Peca (6B), Mitchell Rae (6W), Nathan Veitch (6B), Ollie Baumwol (Y3), and Ashton Rae (Y3).



Speech Title

Julian Arevalo Ballestas


The light and dark stones

Ollie Baumwol


My special family

Maxime Blackadder


Sport is the best!

Elijah Fitzgerald


To stop in space

Rohan Jenkins


Modern battle wars

Lennox Marston


Secret sharks

Daniel Mitten


Interesting facts about dinosaurs

Hunter Neesham


I have a wish

Ashton Rae


Are you ready for some fun?

Fionn Sao


The war against plastic

Jordan Trueman


Things that go bump in the dark

Ash Antonas


Tricks and more

Enrico De Santis


Is our world spinning out of control?

Riley Faulkner


The amazing NFL

Lincoln Mathanda


Covid through my 9-year-old eyes

Travis Vinac


English, Italian, are there any other languages?

Max Woods


Bearly bearable

Cristian Bianchini


My brotastic life

Alexander Chan


To pineapple or not

Aramis Landrigan


The deep planet

Thomas Van Dyk


The next earth, colonising Mars

Hugh Franklyn


The world of fantasy

Duy Pham


Cats versus dogs

Olaf Rijks


Nat Fyfe’s eye

Finlay Bower


Playing sport equals fit, happy, healthy kids

Tate Capararo


Dribble hard

Owen Hales



Benjamin Hartnett


Ballers are better

Grayson Marston


Books versus movies

Lucas Pilatti


Australia’s most popular sport

Thomas Swingler


The Golden Kookaburra

Pascoe Durtanovich


To be healthy as a whole, mental wellness plays a role

Marcello Goria


Friendship is real

Lachlan Harney


Graffiti should not be considered art

Brendon Karczub


Save the stress

Kale Thong


Education matters

Matthew Trueman


Women are expensive

Aiden Chan


Video games, the new teachers

Luke Dimasi


Our grandparents, our future

Jake Golding


World War 2, a sad war

Kai Jordan


Screenless gaming

Dylan Kildare


A hard time

Noah Myers


Berms, bumps, bruises but brilliant!

Alexander Peca


Peace out brussel sprout

Nathan Veitch


Global warming, what the world needs to know

Oskar Bromberger


Homework is history

Evan Hawke


The Rosy-lipped Batfish and friends

Eli Hickman


Seeing into the future

Joey Lee


Did you remember your mask?

Ari Malyniak


The man in the red bandana

Kha Pham


The national sport of Japan

Christopher Chan


Why first borns are the best

Eamon Franklyn


Vehicles through the ages

Jericho Landrigan


The graveyard of the Atlantic

Christian O’Neill


Is gaming really that bad for you?

Mitchell Rae


Such a waste of time

Artin Taghavi Adviehchi


The future era of Elhybrid cars

Troy Warner


Think twice about plastic

Chess Club and Tournament

Chess Club has begun in the Junior School Library on Mondays at lunchtime. If you are interested in signing up to take part in the Chess tournament next term, please register your interest with Mrs Bevan before Friday of Week One Term Three.

Read More