03 December 2020

From the Principal

Article by Mr Michael Exton

From the Principal

Dear Saint Ignatius College community members,

This is the final newsletter for 2020. Years 7-11 students have their last day of classes tomorrow before commencing summer holidays. 

Parents will be able to access the Semester Two Statement of Results for these students via the parent portal from Monday 14th December 2020.

The exam period for Year 12 VCE students finished this week. Students undertaking Unit 3/4 VCE exams will receive their results on Wednesday 30th December 2020.

I hope our students’ results are reflective of solid gains in their learning for another year, taking into account the impact of the pandemic, and affirm their determined efforts and positive attitude to their subject courses.

An overview of some key dates on the College calendar over the holiday period:

• Orientation Day for next year’s Year 7 students will be held next Tuesday 8th December.

• The College office will close on Friday 18th December and re-open on Monday 18th January 2021. Book collection and Years 7 and 10 laptop collection will be on Thursday 21st January.

• The first day of classes for all students next year will be Monday 1st February.

With the academic year nearly finished, and the number of COVID-19 cases at zero for a month, we can look forward to celebrating Christmas and enjoying the summer break after what has been a very challenging year for everyone in our community. We could not have anticipated the year ahead when we finished up last year. 

Despite the uncertainties and difficulties, there have been many examples of care, compassion and resilience. I commend our school community for the way we have together managed during the States of Emergency and Disaster declared by the Victorian Government. As we look back on 2020, may we take strength from the knowledge of what we have accomplished from working together, persisting and supporting each other and that this will put us in good stead for managing future challenges.

Mosaic video

I hope you can view the 2020 Mosaic video that celebrates many of our students’ achievements and highlights from this year. You can access the video through this link:


There are five staff members leaving the College at the end of this year. On behalf of our school community, I thank them for their contribution and wish them all the best for their futures.

Ms Penny King will be retiring after 38 years of teaching. Ms King has been a dedicated, diligent and well-respected teacher at our College for 18 years and has mainly taught English. 

She has taken on a number of leadership roles, including: Head of Middle School, Years 8 and 10 Coordinators and recently Assistant Student Leadership Development Coordinator.

Ms Freda Gray has been associated with the College for 32 years, commencing at Goold College. Ms Gray has supported many hundreds of students to access the College’s programs. 

Her professional, caring and dedicated approach has helped so many students over the years. Her leadership roles over the years include: Integration Coordination, Literacy Coordinator and NAPLAN Coordinator.

Ms Norma Ellis will be finishing her teacher career after 40 years, the last nine being here at Saint Ignatius teaching Indonesian. 

Ms Ellis is well-known for her enthusiasm, energy and passionate language teaching.

Our final retiree, is Deputy Principal (Teaching & Learning) Mrs Annette Chidzey. Mrs Chidzey has been teaching for over 40 years with the last six as Deputy Principal here at Saint Ignatius. Mrs Chidzey has mainly taught English and Humanities over the years. 

As an Executive member, Mrs Chidzey has significantly contributed to the senior leadership of the College. Her dedicated commitment to education and the students she taught has been so beneficial to the development of our College. On a personal note, I acknowledge with gratitude Mrs Chidzey’s generous hard work and support.

Although he is not retiring, I express our gratitude to and best wishes to our Digital Technology Learning Area Leader, Mr Brenton Reid. Mr Reid will be leaving to move interstate. Mr Reid has enthusiastically worked to develop this new learning area at our College.

Governance changes imminent

On behalf of our College community, I express my appreciation of and gratitude to the Parish Priests of the Geelong Region who have served as Canonical Administrators of the College and in particular, the President of the Canonical Administrators, our local Parish Priest, Fr James Puppady, for their support over many years. From January 1, the current governance and operational arrangements will change. Our College, along with 292 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne will be governed and operated by Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools Ltd (MACS). All staff will be employed by MACS and there will be adjustments to the role and function of the College Board. While the role of the Priests will be different, they will still have a welcome and significant involvement in the life of the College community as faith leaders.

Sad news

I provide the following from a letter I circulated on Wednesday.

Our school community has been deeply saddened by the death of Ms Maree Maurer on Tuesday. Ms Maurer was a long-serving staff member who worked as a dedicated librarian and library technician supporting the education of thousands of students over more than forty years.

Maree commenced work at Goold College Geelong in 1976. When Goold College closed in 1991, she joined our former College, Catholic Regional College Geelong as the Yarra St Campus Librarian. She then moved to the Drysdale campus when Yarra Street was closed in 2004. Since that time, Maree continued to be a dedicated and valued member of the Information Learning Centre at Saint Ignatius College. Maree commenced long service leave at the beginning of this year. However, unfortunately, she became ill with cancer and passed away on Tuesday, 1st December 2020.

We extend our prayerful sympathy and support to Maree’s family, loved ones and friends and in particular her father, Cyril and sister, Karen.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

May Maree Rest in Peace.

Thank you and best wishes

As the academic year draws to a close, I want to express my gratitude to all parents for your support of the College community throughout what has indeed been a challenging and uncertain year. Through maintaining a strong parent-school partnership, we have been able to support our student’s learning continuity through the ups and downs, twists and turns and restrictions due to the impact of the pandemic on our society. 

I am aware of the challenges on many different levels that families have faced maintaining health and wellbeing, coping with the restrictions and in some cases, loss of employment or reduction in income. I hope there have been some positives in this as you reflect on the year. I know it has reinforced for me that the little things are really the big things in life. I hope family relations have strengthened and resilience has been built. I hope Christmas will be a wonderful celebration and filled with peace and joy.

With the school year coming to a close it is a very busy time and we are eagerly looking forward to the summer break. In this end of year busyness it is easy to forget that we are in the Advent season that prepares us for the Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus and calls us to reflect on God’s entering into the human story by becoming one of us.

As partners in the Christian education of our Saint Ignatius College students, it is a challenge for us all to ensure that we keep “Christ in Christmas.” At the final day year level assemblies tomorrow that I will be able to attend, I will encourage the students to ensure that Christmas will be more than just receiving gifts, although this will be an enjoyable part of the celebration, by attending their church service and/or attending a carols event or including an act of giving or service for someone in need – some way of helping them to reflect on and more deeply enter into our faith story.

As this is the last newsletter of the year, on behalf of the College may I wish all families a very happy and holy Christmas and safe and restful holiday break

Michael Exton  Principal