A Parent’s Voice (Useful insights and tips for parents by parents)

Presently, we are all having to cope with the difficulties of the Covid-19 lockdown and remote learning. In a recent discussion between a Year 9 parent and one of our College Family Liaison Officers, this parent informed us of how she had learnt a few lessons from the first remote learning period and so has changed some of her behaviours in order to create a more positive experience for both, her children and herself, during this second phase of remote learning. We believe Kylie’s insights were fantastic and that it would be extremely powerful to share her experiences and thoughts with all parents, who are having to cope with similar challenges. Likewise, we are asking and encouraging all parents to share their experiences, insights or tips with the wider Penola parent community, regarding how you too are surviving the challenges of Covid-19 lockdown and remote learning.

If you are wishing to share your thoughts or any tips that you think might be helpful for other parents, please email them into me at rdullard@penola.vic.edu.au and I will have them published in future newsletters.

It is with much appreciation and huge thanks to Kylie for providing the first of our A Parent’s Voice articles.

‘Remote learning is not easy as a parent’

Remote Learning Version 1 started with me being a helicopter parent.  I would check what schoolwork was to be done for the day, when classes were on, check if my help were needed, constantly, and even reviewed work before it was sent in.  I contributed to the ideas think tank and worked on storyboards.  My working schedule was rearranged to fit in with remote learning.  I would work weekends instead of the weekdays, just to be available for my children.

A few weeks into this routine saw a lot of unhappy family members and I was mentally exhausted.  I reached out to other parents to see what they were facing.  I spoke to the schools.  The best advice I was given was ‘that they just want you to be their Mum.’

Remote Learning Version 2 started similar to Version 1, however this time I decided not to work weekends and keep all my work within weekdays, just like pre-lockdown.  I have worked towards asking the kids how’s it all going?  What’s on for today?  Let me know if you need me to help.

I realized that I had put too much work onto myself.  The onus was put back onto them to approach me for assistance.  I have returned to my original role in their lives, their Mum.

 Kylie, parent of 2.


Feast Day 2020

Recently, on Friday, 7th August 2020, our College community celebrated the charism and Feast of our Patron Saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Due to the restrictions around Covid-19 and with the fact that the students are remote learning from home, our celebration was conducted virtually, through a combination of livestream and some pre-recorded vodcasts.

We were blessed to be able to have the Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, begin our morning in a conversation with our College leaders, exchanging thoughts and views regarding St Mary, our 2020 College theme, its relevance especially during this period of Covid-19 lockdown and his vision for engaging youth within the Catholic Church. It was great discussion, providing very valuable insight for us all. This was then followed by our Feast Day Mass, celebrated by Fr Tony Cox, our College Chaplain.

It was a beautiful liturgy and the most perfect way to honour Mary MacKillop, who was devoted to God and lived out her faith in every way possible. We concluded our morning with Sr Rita Malavisi, a Josephite nun and College associate, interviewing our candidates for College Captains 2020. Our candidates offered their thoughts around Mary’s charism and leadership and all clearly demonstrated their worthiness and potential for the position of College Captains next year, if voted in.

This Feast Day was a very unique and different experience to any other Feast Day that we have had before. Yet, although celebrated remotely, we were still able to capture the sense of unity and community that Feast day represents. It was a great morning and hopefully, we may still be able to take part in some of the more festive activities, later in Term 4, if and when the restrictions become less stringent.

Many thanks to the Faith and Mission and IT teams for their hours of preparation in order to ensure our feast Day could still take place.


Faith and Mission at Home Series

Throughout the Covid-19 Restrictions period, we have been uploading our Faith and Mission at Home Series each week on MyPenola. This has included various Masses, Reflections and Prayers for our extended community to utilise in the absence of being able to attend Mass in our local Parishes at present. This week, we will again upload a Reflection Session based upon this Sunday’s Gospel. Please feel free to view them each week and share them with friends and family.

As always, we would love students and parents to participate each week, by reading a prayer or a part of our reflection so as to keep building our spirit of community and togetherness throughout this challenging period of Covid-19. If you would like to volunteer to participate in one of our reflections, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Year 11 Reflection Session

This Friday morning, 21st August, all Year 11 students will participate in an abridged version of their scheduled Reflection Day. Students will gain understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and the importance of social and ethical action in our world, along with the opportunity to experience an expression of faith through music. Our Keynote presenters will be singer / performer and Youth Engagement Program organiser, Gen Bryant, followed by the founder of Christmas on the Streets (our Year 11 Charity), Roseanne Rofaeel. It promises to be an extremely entertaining but worthwhile experience for all Year 11 students.

Some Good News

Our Youth Ministers, Gilbert and James Mein have commenced a very funny weekly vodcast series called ‘Some Good News” on MyPenola. This series aims to promote a sense of togetherness in our College Community, while providing a platform for both students and staff to share some of their stories of how they are staying positive during Lockdown and win some awesome prizes! The first two editions have been proven extremely popular, so if you have not taken the opportunity to view them as yet, you are definitely missing out!! Keep your eyes posted for the next edition and prepare yourself for a few laughs.


Robert Dullard

Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission