Middle School Tuesday, 20 Dec 2022

Year 9 Odyssey

The Year 9 Odyssey is a transformative Rite of Passage program for adolescent boys with the objective of teaching life skills, building positive character traits and providing opportunities for boys to practice and develop these in challenging yet safe environments. It is built upon the blueprint of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” which uses metaphors and symbolism to chart the transformation and psychological growth of people. The Odyssey program is structured so boys undertake their own Hero’s Journey with personalised opportunities to battle inner demons, confront their fears and pass through the tunnel of self-discovery to come out the other side ready to meet their next adventure. At the end of the Odyssey experience boys will be well equipped with the character traits and skills to confront the many transitional experiences they will encounter throughout their life. They will understand to achieve in life, you must have perseverance and resilience, be able to work with others, use initiative to change course when needed and have the ability to problem solve.

What did this year’s group of Year 9 boys say about their Odyssey experience?

I was quite nervous when I found out I was going to be participating in the Odyssey program because I did not know much about it or what it was. After doing it, I realised how fun it was and how it truly challenged me to become a better person. My most memorable part of the Odyssey was climbing up the mast of the Leeuwin because it was great fun, and I really liked the view. A challenge I overcame was also climbing to the top of the mast because I was very nervous, and I was quite scared. My biggest area of growth was becoming more appreciative and grateful for the amazing opportunities that I get at this school.
Samuel Cartwright

When I was notified about the Odyssey Program at the start of the year, I was excited but nervous. It is a big journey in which boys must face their fears whilst also developing important independence skills. Now I have completed the Odyssey, I am satisfied and feel that I now understand both myself and others better. Throughout the Odyssey I learned important social and leadership skills. I now think that I can collaborate better and help others to be their best in all aspects of their life. The caving on the Margaret River Camp is something which is memorable as I was forced to face my fears when manoeuvring through the tight places and I now feel that I could do more in the future. I faced a challenge when setting up my tent, but I eventually set it up and helped others to set theirs up too. In terms of character development, I believe that my leadership and collaboration skills have been my biggest area of growth this year and was helped very much by the Odyssey Program. For Year 8s going into Year 9 in 2023, I suggest that you take up all activities wholeheartedly. Even if you don’t like them, or fear them, or your friends aren’t there, they are all opportunities to learn and have fun.
Dylan Atkins-Walters

Upon hearing of the Odyssey program in Term 1 I was interested in most of the opportunities, although the 23km hike stood out. The Leeuwin sounded like the most interesting as well. After completing the Odyssey Program, the massive hike that I was worried about thinking it was going to be terrible wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. The Leeuwin, due to the bad weather during my groups voyage, turned out to be the most challenging activity. I found that probably the greatest part of Odyssey was getting to spend time with people I don’t usually spend time with due to the assigned groups, which at first seemed bad, but turned out well as it helped me to get to know more people. I think my social skills have improved a lot over the program, I learnt to talk/socialise with more people. A piece of advice I would give boys starting the program would be to try everything, you’ll never know what it was like if you didn’t do it and, in the future, when you look back on it, you’ll see how good it really was.
Harrison Ganza

At the beginning of the year, I felt excited for the Odyssey Adventure in Term 4. Now having completed it I feel it was very beneficial and fulfilling. One positive that I took away from the experience was the new friends that I made or the people I got to know a lot better. The most memorable experience for me was the camp in Margaret River that my group went on. The Dance night that every Year 9 took part in was a challenge mentally and physically, but it taught us a good lesson about the importance of leaving the man box. My biggest area of growth that occurred from the Odyssey was learning about the man box behaviours and how to stop them, this helped me develop as a person. For future Year 9s I would recommend you give the Odyssey Program your full effort so you can benefit the most from it.
Peter Green

At the start of the year I was quite excited to undertake the Odyssey Program and participate in the Term 4 Odyssey Adventure because I had heard from older boys that it was a great experience. Now I have completed it I feel more confident in doing things and a lot closer to boys that I hadn’t really had much to do with prior to this program. Some of the more memorable experiences from the program would be sailing on the Leeuwin and embarking on the 23 kilometre walk at Bolgart where I felt a lot more at home being on a farm. Regarding growth in my character, I’d say I’ve grown a lot in self-confidence and resilience and believe that I can accomplish more now. Some advice I’d give to boys that are yet to participate in this program would be to not think about how hard something might be, like the walk, but on how much you’ll get out of it.
Harrison Heal

Originally, I thought the Odyssey would be boring but now that I’ve finished the program, a bit of me says I wish it would’ve lasted a bit longer. A positive I took away from it was that it put me outside my comfort zone and stretched my limits, so although I instinctively wanted to stop, it helped me realise I can push myself more than I do. My most memorable experience was when my group was going around Fremantle to do the Scavenger Hunt, it was fun and chaotic at the same time, and my group really testing me and my friend’s patience. In terms of character development, the biggest area of growth is my confidence and perseverance. My advice for future Year 9s doing the Odyssey is to apply themselves, do everything they can, and of course have a good time.
Joshua Wijaya

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Senior School Friday, 09 Dec 2022

What makes our Student Leadership Program so successful?

Leadership isn’t about being the best. It’s about making others better.

This year the Student Leadership Program has seen exponential growth in the participation of students from both the Middle and Senior Schools.

Successful Completion of Student Leadership Program


College Prefects

Middle School Leaders







Feedback from staff, students and families suggests the increase in participation of the Student Leadership Program is because of the impact it has on a boy’s personal growth and development, plus the ability to add value to a boy’s character is becoming more evident throughout the school and wider community. So, what makes the Student Leadership Program at Aquinas so good?

The Leadership Program provides an authentic way to educate and develop leadership ability in boys by working around two key aspects. The first aspect is encouraging boys to become more self-aware as research into leadership has this as a common trait amongst great leaders. People who are self-aware have higher emotional intelligence, are more adaptive, resilient, and readily take on feedback, they are also more capable of effective communication.

Starting in Year 8, all students are involved in a workshop to launch the Middle School Leadership Program. This workshop focusses on teaching students to become more self-aware through activities examining their past, and goal setting for the future. Looking back at the past builds a stronger sense of gratitude and with this enhances a boy’s ability to be empathetic and show kindness. Building self-awareness continues in the Senior School with boys completing activities in the Skills of Leadership workbook by examining the importance of leaders showing initiative, being collaborative, having strong self-awareness and being resilient.

The second aspect of our Leadership Program recognises ‘great leaders are servants first’ as role modelled by Edmund Rice and Jesus. Our Leadership Program is centred around active participation of boys in the Service-Learning program at Aquinas. Service is so highly valued in our Student Leaders, that boys who fail to complete any aspect of the Middle or Senior School Service-Learning Program cannot become a Year 9 Leader or College Prefect. This philosophy is also behind the structure of the 16 Student Councils, whereby the Council shares the power amongst its members, helping students to grow under the mentorship of older boys whilst also having the primary focus of improving/serving the community of Aquinas or broader society. Promoting the importance of service throughout the Student Leadership Program reinforces the idea that great leaders put the wellbeing of others and needs of their community first.

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Middle School Wednesday, 30 Nov 2022

Morris Gleitzman Visit

Morris Gleitzman is one of Australia's funniest and best-loved authors for young people. Recently he visited Aquinas College to speak to our Year 7 students. Morris talked to the boys about using imagination, creating characters, and playing with language. It was a great opportunity to learn from an award-winning writer and former Australian Children's Laureate.

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Senior School Wednesday, 23 Nov 2022

Art Exhibition 2022

Aquinas Art, Media, Design & Technology Exhibition 2022

Thank you to everyone who participated in and visited this year's exhibition. We saw a wide range of work from Year 7 - 12 students in Visual arts, Media, Design, Woodwork and Metalwork. The graduating Year 12 students were able to see their work exhibited alongside their peers. Congratulations to all the students who won awards and to all the students who put in the time and effort to create some amazing and engaging work. We have some truly talented students!

The winner of the people choice award this year goes to Ben King in Year 11.5 for his Semester One work. Congratulations Ben!

A huge thank you to all staff and students who helped make this year's exhibition possible. It is a huge undertaking and we appreciate all the support in making such a fun night possible.

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Middle School Thursday, 10 Nov 2022

School Sport WA 2022 All Schools Triathlon Championship

On Thursday the 3rd of November, Aquinas College entered twelve of our top placed triathletes from the recent middle school triathlon into the School Sport WA 2022 All Schools Triathlon Championship held at Champion Lakes. Barton Mincham (Yr 10) also raced in the event. The goal of the day was simply to expose a number of students to the sport of triathlon and hope that they enjoyed the experience and potentially to see if some may be interested in pursuing future events/races.

I was incredibly impressed with the attitude of the boys. It was a late decision to enter and with only several day’s notice, the boys jumped at the opportunity despite little to no experience in the sport. The distances (junior = 300m swim/ 11km bike/ 2km run & intermediate 600m swim/ 16km bike/ 4km run) were significantly longer than the house carnival where they qualified. This didn’t deter the boys nor did the fact that most of our students had mountain bikes and were racing in tee shirts, coming up against others on $5k time trial bikes in Australian race suits. I was incredibly proud of the boys efforts. They could have easily said no to the challenge but they approached the challenge with a positive attitude and mindset. I was thrilled to hear them all say that they enjoyed the race and would happily do another triathlon. They well and truly deserved the McDonalds feed on the way home!

Thanks to the parents who came down to support along with Mr Bryan Johnson, who gave up his morning to assist with the morning. Special thanks to David and Marrnie Mincham for the shared use of the tent and quality photos. Hopefully, next year we can organise a bigger team exposing more students to the sport of triathlon. Congratulations to the following boys for entering and racing a foreign sport to the very best of their ability.

Jett Abbott
Jake Arena
Thomas Backhouse
Xavier Bianchini
Christopher Chan (20th)
Oscar Coutts
Daniel Delic
Harrison Ganza
Kye Inferrera
Barton Mincham (6th)
Callum Redelinghuys
Bruce Weston
Hugh Wilkinson


Race Calendar

Written by James O'Neill
Director of Nunan Residence

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Middle School Thursday, 03 Nov 2022

Year 7 Indigenous Ecology Day

1 November 2022 was the Year 7 Indigenous Ecology Day. We broke up into our science classes and had an Indigenous student mentor (Years 9-11) to help us for the day. We did things like traditional dancing, eating bush food and evening spear throwing. The day was all about indigenous culture, what they did, what they used and how they did it. The first activity my group did was eating bush tucker, we ate things like kangaroo, emu and even buffalo which all tasted AMAZING. Next, we moved on to my favourite, the dancing, we did the spirit, emu and kangaroo dance, then did the lost boys and ended with a celebration dance. Third, was spear throwing. This is what Indigenous people used to hunt for food. We did two throws each, one with a spear thrower and one without, the trick is that it is all about technique. Next, we learnt about when the British settled in Australia, which was very unsettling to the Indigenous people. We then had two external presenters talk to us about how women used to hold babies and collect food, the use of kangaroo skin and saw different weapons like spears and boomerangs. We also tried to make a fire which sadly didn’t work. Finally, we had a go at the didgeridoo. We made the sound of the kangaroo, the dingo and the emu. Overall, today was an amazing experience and can’t be more grateful to have such an amazing culture.

Marcus Quartermaine Year 7

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Senior School Thursday, 13 Oct 2022

2022 Philosothon

On 20th September 2022, six Aquinas boys from the Middle and Senior School were selected to represent Aquinas at the 2022 Perth Philosothon Competition at UWA. Overall, there were 120 students attending across the state representing their schools. The event consisted of four rounds. The first two rounds were year level Philosothon discussions, followed by two open rounds with mixed year groups. The four topics were, “What is the value of art?”, “Is it fair to split sports into female and male divisions?”, “Is a hole something or nothing?” and “Should we welcome our cyborg future, and what is the difference between humans and cyborgs?”. Lively discussions and questioning took place on each of these topics between students and schools, coordinated and marked by facilitators and judges for each group based on three key criteria; creative, critical and collaborative thinking. After 2 and a half hours of philosophical discussions presentations took place. There were places for each year level, the most promising speaker awards and the overall winning school of the night. This went to PLC, but the Aquinas boys battled it out well in all year groups and discussions. I was fortunate enough to be presented with the Most Promising Philosopher’s Award! Well done to all the boys and a big thank you to Mrs Monks for organising the event, getting us there and supporting us throughout. It was a really fun and rewarding experience, and we will be back next year to try and take out the winning school award!

Hudson Woods-Smith
Year 7

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Middle School Tuesday, 11 Oct 2022

Year 7 Mother & Son Evening

Last Sunday evening, prior to the start of Term 4, the Middle School Pastoral Care Team hosted a mother and son evening for the Year 7's. The night began in the College Chapel with a reflection on the heavenly Mother and Son, Mary and Jesus. The focus was on two prominent artworks at the College; the Teenage Christ statue, which sits in the heart of the Year 7 quad, and the magnificent mosaic icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which overlooks the Year 7 quad. We take comfort from knowing that the Holy Family experienced the same sorts of worries and joys as the rest of us. We then heard from two very brave Aquinas mums, Stephanie Clarke and Trinita Suckling, who shared some of their experiences of “letting go” with their older sons.

Time was then spent in group discussions chaired by Year 10 mentors before one-to-one time with mothers and sons. The evening concluded with a prayer of thanksgiving and a reflection by Mr Dempsey. We were thoroughly delighted with the format of the evening and the large turnout given the busyness of our modern lives. A special thanks to Fiona McAlister, Adele Baker and Michael Dempsey for their assistance and to the Year 10 mentors whose maturity and wisdom was a big factor in the success of the evening.

Maree Brennan
Head of Edmund House

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Middle School Tuesday, 04 Oct 2022

Middle School Winter Sports Carnival

The Middle School Winter Sports carnival took place on 16 September 2022. Students could play to their strengths by choosing to participate in either Triathlon, Ultimate Vortex or Theatre Sports. The day provided a wonderful opportunity for a brain break after a busy CAT schedule and was action packed. Treacy House proved too strong and took out the overall gold medal for the day.


The 2022 Aquinas Middle School Triathlon occurred in Week 9. This event consisted of a 100 metre swim, a 2000 metre bike ride and a 1000 metre run. In each year group, there were individual participants from each tutor group who courageously completed the whole course by themselves. Additionally there were also team triathlon groups from each tutor group which consisted of a swimmer, biker and runner. This gave all boys an opportunity to participate and specialise in an area where they could show off their skills to the rest of the Middle School. With Mr Dempsey on the microphone commentating, the atmosphere at this event was great, with all boys who had/were yet to complete their race, cheering on their peers to try and steal some extra points for their house. There was great camaraderie and house spirit shown throughout the day as boys rallied behind their peers and supported them in an amazing show of sportsmanship and respect for one another. There were some amazing efforts by boys such as Christopher Chan who won the individual year 7 triathlon and Daniel Delic who’s incredible running ability saw him overtake the lead and win the year 8 individual triathlon. The triathlon was only one event of the Winter Sports Carnival as there was also ultimate vortex and theatre sports. Once the last competition was completed, it was the mighty Treacy House that walked away with the win. (Year 9 individual winner – Xavier Bianchini)

Theatre Sports
Theatre is a medium for expression for many boys at the College. It cannot be understated how Aquinas excels in its drama department, with various productions and dramatical opportunities cementing the school’s place as a college for the arts. The recent introduction of theatre sports to the Winter Sports Carnival not only solidifies the position of arts at Aquinas, but opens the door to many opportunities in the future. Theatre sports is a relatively simple concept; teams (generally of 3 to 5 participants) compete in improvisation-based drama games, being assessed based on their narrative, technique, and entertainment. Technique is a focal point for assessment; teams must demonstrate that they understand the rules of the game. For example, in the game 'Alphabet', teams create a story based on the given prompt by the adjudicator. The catch, however, is that each new sentence begins with the next letter of the alphabet. The three points of assessment can create engaging, entertaining and technical scenes.

The day ran like this; we began by compiling into our house teams and choosing our team names. Teams consisted of 8 to 10 members. Following this, we had a briefing from Mrs Vaswani about how to play theatre sports correctly, with the rules for each game being expounded. Finally, we got into action; through the help of Mrs Vaswani and Ms Cocks, along with the assistance of year 10 students Charles Mavrick, Cooper Allen and Noah Linaker, the competition ran smoothly. The three judges; Mr Bowyer, Ms Wilson and Mr McAndrew; for entertainment, narrative and technique respectively; produced a fair competition. In the end, Bryan house came first, creating a fantastic end to Aquinas’ first annual theatre sports competition. (Samuel Johnston - Year 9 student)

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