Middle School Thursday, 29 Sept 2022

Year 8 Advocacy Night


Once Mr Dempsey told us we had to present our Advocacy Presentation to family and friends I started to freak out a little bit because I have never really done public speaking before and we had to create a PowerPoint. Once we had started creating the PowerPoint, I found it way easier and because Mr Dempsey guided us on what to do it made it easier. On the night I was very nervous and anxious because my mates would be watching and so would my parents, the only reason I was nervous was because I didn’t want to do a bad job. After the presentation I was so relieved and felt way better because it was over and done with. A positive from the night was that I got to listen to my mates advocating for different things and they were all just as nervous as I was. Overall, it was a great experience with Mr Dempsey guiding the way to improve our presentation skills and will help me in the future with advocating and creating PowerPoints if we ever have to do one.
Jett Abbott

When Mr Valentine told us about the Advocacy Presentation, I was pretty excited. This was because I was going to be working with my mates and I was going to present in front of friends and family. After all the work we did, Lachlan, Jonathan and I thought were ready for the night. When the night rolled around, we were all a bit nervous as we hadn’t presented in front of friends and family before. Although we were nervous, we got up anyway and presented. Looking back on it we shouldn’t have been nervous at all, as we all spoke well. Overall, it was a fun night and it was a great learning experience.
Matthew Trainor

At first, when I was told to create an Advocacy presentation to present in front of parents, teachers and students I wasn’t feeling overly excited. When we picked our group members, I felt a bit better because I had Daniel and Clancy. On the night of the presentation, before we started I was nervous seeing everyone enter the school and that they would be watching. Our group also went first which put a lot more pressure on us. After the presentation I was feeling a lot better because it was over, and I could watch everyone else’s without worrying. A positive I took out of the advocacy night was seeing all the bad things people have done to the earth and that our earth could be much better if we didn’t do those little things. I think overall our group did pretty well on our presentation and we all spoke fairly well.
Max Johnson

When I was told I was going to be doing the advocacy presentation I was annoyed because it sounded serious and that stinks, it was not that it scared me or anything, but I knew I had to do a serious thing with my presentation which I never do. I always add in funny aspects all over the place in my PowerPoints, my speech and even my actions so I’m soooo used to doing that and I have got pretty good at it so having to do a serious one threw me off completely. Alas on the night of the presentation I was feeling ready to get this over with also a bit tired but my highlight on the night was not even in my presentation funny enough it was actually on Aidan’s presentation he called for people to come up and stand over there if you think it’s bad or it’s good I don’t remember what it was something about farming but yeh I went up and I put on my funny socks and made people laugh which I love, doing it really made my night. Working with Mathew and Jono was a good experience they both are good friends of mine and it was fun working with them Mathew definitely helped Jono and I with a lot of things which helped our presentation but overall a fine experience.
Oscar West

Once I was told we were going to make a presentation I felt annoyed and like I didn’t want to do it and thought I would be really nervous on the night. After the presentation I felt like I did really well but before the presentation night I thought my parents would make fun of me. On the night of the presentation, I felt really nervous but excited at the same time because there were all my friends with me and it was going to be a good night. A positive that I took from the advocacy presentation night was that I am a good speaker and good at making presentations and working in a group with others. Another positive is that I want to tell you is that I love creating presentations and making them how I like to design them in my liking, I also like working in groups because you get to enjoy the fun and hanging out with your mates.
Aidan Zammit

When I first heard about the advocacy night I was really worried and stressed. After getting put into a group with some friends we worked on it during class and we rehearsed it multiple times. As the day crept closer the presentation slipped out of my mind until the veritas lesson the day before I was really worried until we went to the library before the night where we rehearsed it around 5 times. The moment arrived and the presentation went swimmingly. Overall this was a good opportunity to voice some of my concerns and I really enjoyed making the presentation it also helped with my collaboration skills helping me work better with my friends it also improved my public speaking and also improved in my design skills in making most of the presentation, I learnt how to make it look good.
Felix Kurmann

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Senior School Tuesday, 06 Sept 2022

World's Greatest Shave

On Monday 5th September 43 Middle School and 37 Senior School students shaved their head in support of the Leukaemia Foundation’s mission to shave the world from Blood Cancer. The idea to bring this event to the College was instigated by Year 11 Students Thomas Eade, Luke Porteous and Conor Nolan who need to be commended for their efforts and organisation. The current total money raised is $43,850 eclipsing the original goal of $20,000 set by the boys.

The event could not have happened without the generosity of the Aquinas Community in their donations as well as the commitment of a dozen Hairdressers who offered their time to shave the students head. A huge thank you goes to the following Hairdressers: Rebbeca Richardson, Jaimi Frase, Lea Hugget and Taaj Arden from Barbershop Express Booragoon, Zeleha McAdam and Tanesha Dougan from Hair at the Zoo in Leeming Forum, Samnatha Urquhart, Kelly Chinnery, Ros Borgomastro, Roby Eade, Carla Peca and Melissa Burych.

Well done to the following students who committed to the cause, without their efforts we would not have been able to run such a successful event.

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Middle School Thursday, 01 Sept 2022

CPAF Dance Crew

For the first time in history, Aquinas had a group of of boys compete at the Catholic Performing Arts Festival in the Secondary Dance Category against 21 other schools. The boys put on a tremendous routine with the adjudicators’ comments reinforcing how well the boys did.

“What a flashback! Great musicality and unison work. Love the theatrical commitment and moments of lip sync. Good use of levels and play with time.”

Our amazing instructor Katrina Coopes overcame difficult circumstances of having only 6 weeks to teach the boys the dance, plus she dealt with the impact of COVID and illness taking away boys from rehearsals, making it difficult to finalise formations. Katrina did an amazing job in choreographing the routine and leading the boys and all the boys are thankful for her efforts.

At the end of the competition our performance was awarded a Merit Certificate. To give some context to this achievement, at the end of each section of the festival, the adjudicators reflect on all the performances and whilst it is at their discretion to make the awards, generally the top one or two are awarded an Outstanding, the next 2 an Excellence award, and perhaps the next 2 or 3 (depending on overall numbers) a Merit. Given this is our first Middle School dance group to enter the competition, this is an excellent result.

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Senior School Thursday, 25 Aug 2022

Da Vinci Decathlon

The Da Vinci Decathlon is an academic competition designed to challenge and stimulate students. This term, the Year 7-10 boys competed in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, ideation, creative producers, cartography and legacy.

Fantastic results:

Year 7s = 1st place Creative Producers

Year 8s = 3rd place Code Breaking

Year 9s = 2nd place Code Breaking

Year 10s = 1st place Creative Producers + Science, 3rd Place Ideation which earned them 3rd place Overall in the competition!

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Middle School Monday, 15 Aug 2022

Winter Sleepout 2022

Making a difference.

After two months of preparation and anticipation, ninety boys from Year 8 and 9 braved a cold winter night by ‘sleeping rough’ on campus. The skies were clear and the wind was light but luckily, we did not get the freezing temperatures that we had last year and earlier in the week.

The boys arrived on campus by 6.00pm and gathered at the Heritage Room for the first part of the evening. Mr Richards gave a brief welcome and briefing which was followed by a workshop run by the Salvation Army. It was during this part of the night that boys learned about the causes, conditions and experiences of homelessness which gave them a better idea of how their donations would be spent.

After the workshop, the Doorways Street Van arrived to serve a simple dinner which consisted of a hot pie, sandwich, fruit and milo. The food was prepared at the Doorways Depot by Lisa Kennedy with the help of two students, James Bergin and Alex Kennedy and two other Doorways volunteers. Mrs Kennedy is one of the team leaders for the Aquinas Breakfast Patrols. After dinner, the boys had a short break and regrouped again for a final reflection. At 9.45pm they were divided into four groups to go to their sleeping areas. It was lights out by 10pm but the usual chatter took a while to subside and then it was time to sleep. The boys were woken at 6.00am the next morning and then made their way to the Heritage Room to pick up a light snack and say a final farewell.

There are many people to thank for this event. In addition to the Doorways team and workshop presenters, we thank Browne’s Dairy (under the direction of Marie Ainsworth) for donating choc milks, yoghurts and milk for the morning snack. Browne’s also gave extra product for the weekend’s Breakfast Patrols which fed about 80 people. This massive donation kept the operating expenses for the sleepout to an absolute minimum, which meant that more money could go to where it was really needed.

We also thank Mr Stephen Spiteri, Mr Brian Tonkin, Mr John Van Dyk and Mr Duncan Warlters for supervising the boys overnight. Finally, a big thank you to Mr Paul Rich and a small group of Service Council volunteers led by Jonah Smith (Captain of Service) for all their help.

This year’s sleepout raised a staggering amount of approximately $24,000!! With the addition of the Aquinas Online Store this year, it allowed students to attract sponsorship from far and wide. More importantly, this money will go directly to agencies that help those who are sleeping rough, provide emergency shelters and support families who are struggling to buy food.

Well done boys!

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Senior School Thursday, 04 Aug 2022

NAIDOC Week 2022

The commencement of Week Two in Term Three heralded the start of the annual Aquinas NAIDOC celebrations. The week-long celebration is a time within the Aquinas calendar for all Aquinians to celebrate and recognise history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the Aquinas community and wider Australian community.

Monday always brings excitement and anticipation of the sporting clash that sees Indigenous students from year 10 to 12 take on the much-hyped staff team in a game of basketball. The staff team burst on to the court and began to build a lead based upon a sound game plan, however things unravelled fast when Mr Hamer limped from the court. The students seized on Mr Bell’s inability as Coach to reshuffle his team with a series of three pointers and alley-oop dunks that quickly got the crowd support. In the end the boys ran out easy winners for a third consecutive year.

The Indigenous Middle School students started the sporting dominance at recess on Monday over the staff team easily in the first Didj-ball (dodge ball) game we have enjoyed at the College. The action was ferocious with staff and students exchanging heavy body shots. At the siren to end time the boys had won two games to one to claim the first Didj-ball title. We hope this can be a regular fixture of NAIDOC week each year.

‘What does racism look like for you?’ was the topic for an open microphone panel discussion that all students in the Senior School had the privilege to attend, whilst a group of invited guests shared stories and insight around the central question. All students were affirmed and challenged by the speakers to embrace the National NAIDOC theme to ‘get-up,’ ‘stand-up’ and ‘show-up’ to address racism of all kinds in our community.

In addition to the panel all Senior School students were invited during breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday to try their hand at Indigenous craft activities. An invitation that saw many students create beautiful dot art pieces, as well as elaborate friendship bands and key-chains. Wednesday Break A also saw the Indigenous Team make available 400 servings of ‘roo-stew’ as prepared by the College catering staff, who followed a ‘secret recipe’ sourced and supplied by Mr Bell. The recipe is obviously a winner as the 400 serves were gone in under 10 minutes. Suffice to say we will have to double the recipe for next year!

The annual NAIDOC assembly has become a ‘crowd favourite’ for staff, students, parents and community members alike. This year the audience was treated to outstanding dance performances from an Indigenous girls’ dance group from Penhros, in addition to the Aquinas College Indigenous dancers. Year 12 student Xavier Cox sang two special songs in language, while Year 10 student Tremane Baxter-Edwards shared a truly inspirational speech centred on why Australia should apologise for the ‘Stolen Generation.’ Key-note speaker Mr Andrew Beck once again centred his thoughts and challenges to all in attendance around this year’s National NAIDOC theme. Following the assembly all invited guests, students and staff were invited to enjoy a beautiful morning tea that showcased Indigenous ingredients, flavours and tastes.

The week was a wonderful showcase of Indigenous culture at Aquinas College and we congratulate the Indigenous Team and all the students involved.

Mr Michael Bell

Director of Indigenous Education

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Middle School Thursday, 04 Aug 2022

Year 8 Drama - Catholic Performing Arts Festival

Please take the time to read the article by Dashiell van Ingen about the Year 8 students who performed at the recent Catholic Performing Arts festival. To have a play written with great depth and a powerful message by one of our Year 8 students is outstanding. Well done to all the boys involved.

Michael Dempsey
Head of Middle School

Performing is not only a way to express yourself, but make known a message; something you are passionate about and wish to change; and this was a driving force for the creation of our short play, based on the song ‘Wayfaring stranger’, by Jos Slovick.

As part of year eight drama, we have been exploring the topic of World War One, and the atrocities that occurred, as well as the hardships people had to face. We were tasked to create a short play about the war, and as a small group, we wrote about a small family, with only their father with them. His two sons had to be sent to the war, and experience the hardships and trauma the war brought. After a year of fighting, only one of the sons returned.

As for the whole experience, it was truly a gift to be able to perform at the Catholic Performing Arts Festival, but what made it truly special was to be able to perform your own creation, as well as inform people of the injustices in the world and how we can make a change. It was an amazing journey to work with the teachers for the drama unit, Mr Mark McAndrew, Mrs Emma Leopardi, and especially Mrs Sonja Vaswani, who helped all the actors put together a play in the short amount of time we had. And it was amazing to share this experience with amazing actors also in year eight. Although this wasn’t our first time performing in front of an audience, it was as exhilarating as any other performance we’ve ever been in.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. To be able to choreograph and act in a play with such amazing actors truly was a gift, and an experience we’ll never forget.

Dashiell van Ingen and Thomas O’Neill

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Middle School Monday, 11 July 2022

Silversmiths in the Making!

Check out these amazing creations made by our students in the Middle School co-curricular silversmith course! There is a lot of skill required for silversmithing and these rings were good enough for the local jewellery shop.

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Senior School Thursday, 23 June 2022

Collective Shout Presentations

On Tuesday 21st June, the Aquinas P and F sponsored four presentations from Collective Shout. The first two were during the day for Year 9 and Year 10 students and given by Daniel Principe, a 2005 graduate from Trinity College, and now a health professional, with a background in PR, marketing and media. Melinda Tankard Reist ran the presentations for teachers and parents. She is an author of six books, media commentator and advocate for young people and is world renowned for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women.

Both Daniel and Melinda spoke to the question “How does pop culture shape your attitudes towards gender, sex & sexuality, social media, body image, ideas of manhood, mental health, violence etc?” They dissected the impacts of harmful messaging from media, advertising, pop culture and the global porn industry and discussed how cultural forces fuel distorted ideas and attitudes about bodies, relationships and sex. Daniel’s message empowered boys to navigate these cultural challenges and step outside the ‘Man Box’ resisting the harmful masculine stereotypes. He encouraged boys to be courageous and resist these harmful messages as they aspire to become good men.


“During the presentation I thought that the speaker (Daniel) was really good and he kept me entertained in the topic. After the presentation I realised how bad pornography is and how women really feel about us men, and it also made me think that I need to make a change as well by being more respectful towards women and to not be tempted to watch pornography. I learnt from the presentation how badly women are portrayed by the media almost as if they are objects. Daniel showed us advertisements from real world shopping malls and posters, and it was very bad how women were always half naked and men were always dressed. A positive action that we can take to step outside the “Man Box” was to stop thinking of women as objects and to stop thinking of women only in a sexual way.”
Lucas Ali

“Before the presentation I was feeling a bit awkward about the whole thing and didn’t know what to expect. The presentation made me feel sad and shocked about the things that people do as jokes about women and how some people only look at women like objects. What I learnt from the presentation was that pornography is bad for your body and your mental health, it can affect the way you approach women and the relationships that you have throughout your life. I also learnt that we shouldn’t look at women as objects but for who they are as a person. What Daniel said was to be yourself and not get pressured by anyone to do stuff that you don’t want to do and to try to do the right things and make the right choices.”
Mitchell Pentony

“I honestly was not sure what to expect from the presentation, but during the presentation I was shocked to see all this info about just how women are sexualised to sell goods. After it made me feel educated and aware of what people do to women and how they feel themselves about this. I learnt how women are exploited and what girls my age feel about boys doing things like making sexual moaning sounds, or just inappropriate things in general.”
Jack Lee Steere

“From the presentation I learnt many things including: women are expected to live up to expectations that surround them every day, women are advertised as sex objects. I also learnt that many women are pressured into doing things that they don’t want to do such as sending nudes. We also got stories and quotes from young girls about how boys want to sexualise everything and that they can’t have a normal conversation. A positive action I can take, is to respect women for who they are.”
Brady Gardiner

“Before the presentation, I did not know that the world compares men and women differently. I learnt that women are usually treated poorly by men and the world is targeting underaged children towards pornography which makes them go down to the wrong path. The main thing I learnt from the presentation is to treat women with respect, as nowadays men tend to treat women as an object. Daniel said a couple of positive actions that we could take to step outside the ‘Man Box’ was to understand better what the actual problem is and be more educated about this for us to snap out of the cycle. We could also educate others on the danger of pornography and how it could affect our mental health.”
Jason Sutisna

“Before the talk I felt this is going to be so boring spending over an hour listening to some guy talking about pornography and I didn’t want to go because I thought I wouldn’t relate to it or not have any idea about what he’s talking about. When he started talking and doing his presentation it was good and related to me and wasn’t what I was expecting, he sounded like he really knew what he was talking about and did lots of research and everything in the PowerPoint was related to my kind of age. While he was doing his presentation, I was taking it in and going woah with all the facts that were stated. I realized that watching porn online can cause things like erectile dysfunction and bad relationships between you and your partner. I learnt the pornography industry is messed up and they force young women into doing porn and they don’t care about what it does to your brain they only care about how much money is going into their bank account.”
Luca Capararo

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