Need to know 

Congratulations to Rachel Aden, who was recognised on Wednesday night at the Pauline Toner Prize as a nominee.  Nicole was nominated for fostering inclusivity and promoting Indigenous culture within our community, particularly through her role in establishing and advancing the St Helena Koorie Club.   Among her notable accomplishments are the redesign of the school logo with an indigenous theme, drafting our Acknowledgment of Country, and establishing the Koorie Club section of our newsletter.  Her efforts have not only culturally enriched our school, they have played a vital role in advancing reconciliation efforts within the broader community.  Congratulations Rachel, we are very proud of you.

Rachel Aden with 2023 Pauline Toner Prize Winner and Vice Captain Martina Charalambour and Captain Mike Locke
Rachel Aden with 2023 Pauline Toner Prize Winner and Vice Captain Martina Charalambour and Captain Mike Locke


I would also like to congratulate one past and one present student who won awards for their contributions to their communities at the Nillumbik International Women's Day event.  Niamh Coffee (current Captain) and Zoe Draper both spoke passionately about their community work and how they will continue to represent others in the roles that they are so passionate about.  


I am also very proud of our students who represented the College at the Athletics Victoria State Championships.  Well done to you all - three gold and two silver medals and some excellent performances.  


Female Open Age

Javelin: Vanessa Smith 35.40m (4th); Tara Smith 27.74m (10th); 

Female 20

400m Hurdles: Charlee Dickson 64.92 (2nd);Javelin: Tara Smith 35.77m (2nd);

Female 18

Javelin: Vanessa Smith 38.14m (1st);

Female 16

3000m Walk: Lucy Johns 16:28.21 (1st);3000m: Lucy Johns 12:56.52 (11th); 

Male 15

Javelin: Toby Hamilton 36.18m (1st);Triple Jump: Toby Hamilton 10.93m (2.2) (6th);


Here's a link to one of Toby's impressive javelin throws:


This week has commenced the period of Naplan testing.  Apart from a few technical hitches at the start, the testing period has been very smooth and I commend Year 7 and Year 9 students for approaching the tests confidently and respectfully.  


We have become aware of a handful of students coming to school under the influence of "edibles" - these are cannabis (THC infused) food products such as gummy bears, brownies, hard candies, biscuits and drinks.  

The effects of cannabis on the body and brain can be different based on whether it is inhaled or eaten Typically, when  cannabis is consumed as an edible, the effects take longer to start but last longer than inhaling it. 

The risks should be obvious, especially on the developing brain of an adolescent.  It is easy to take too much, has highly intoxicating effects, lasts up to 8 hours, and is likely to interact with other medication.  

If you suspect that your child is using edibles, look for delayed onset of effects, red/puffy eyes, changes in behaviour/mood, unusual smell, difficulty with coordination or movement and extreme sleepiness.  

It is dangerous for young people to consume cannabis laden edibles.    Edibles are not legal in Australia, and marijuana for personal use is still illegal.   Edibles are not legally available for medical use.  

I encourage you to have this discussion with your child, and perhaps do some research together on the effects.  

First Aid Centre

St Helena has a small first aid centre which is primarily for the purpose of tending to medical emergencies, and triaging students who are unwell.  We do not have space for students to "rest".


If your child presents to First Aid unwell, our nurse Claire Waites will triage them and either "patch them up" (bandaid etc) and return them to class, return them to class without any medical intervention (well enough to stay at school) or call you to collect them (too unwell to stay at school).   


We are also required by law to ask you to collect your child if they have had any kind of head bump and the Concussion Recognition Tool administered by our staff suggests there may potentially be a concussion.   If the CRT does not indicate a concussion, you will still be notified that your child has had a bump to the head and you have the option of collecting them. 


It is important that parents ensure an emergency contact is on our records who is able to pick up an unwell child if you are unable to do so.  Please contact the general office if you need to update yours.


Please note that we are unable to administer any medication (panadol/nurofen etc) unless it has been provided by you, in original packaging, and with written consent.  If your child has a condition (eg migraine) that may necessitate them accessing medication fairly often, please contact the Claire Waites for a medication administration consent form.  


Please contact Claire on to notify us of any chronic or serious illness your child suffers from so that we can update our records.   In the rare occasion that we need to call an ambulance, we need to be able to print out information of existing medical conditions and medications for the paramedics.  


Every day matters!  Of course your child needs to stay home if they are genuinely unwell, but there are a significant number of students missing a day or more per week.  Your child can't learn if they're not present, and regular absences have other impacts as well.   Your child becomes disconnected from their peers and social network.  Their learning becomes disjointed - if they are missing one or more lessons per week of a subject, they don't know what's going on when they return and often the response is to stay away again to avoid the discomfort.  This spirals, until they experience genuine distress at the thought of going to school.


I encourage you to only allow your child to stay home if genuinely unwell or unable to attend school (eg bereavement).   Other reasons - birthdays, holidays, getting ready for a social event, sibling birthday, hot weather, cold weather .... are not legitimate and in the long run make school life difficult for your child.  Even attendance at alternative school days such as swimming or athletic sports is important in terms of building connection to peers and to the school.


We have a range of in-house resources as well as external programs and agencies  to support families having genuine difficulty getting their child to school.  Please email for further information.    


I will be emailing families where your child has attendance of under 80% towards the end of term.  Less than 80% of attendance in Term 1 means at least one day a week of school missed - over the year this equates to 40 days, or 8 weeks.   

Report conferences

Report conferences or "parent/teacher" interviews will be held at the end of this term.  It is expected that the student attends with their parent.   The conferences are an opportunity to unpack the Progress Report for Term 1 (published on March 8), so please ensure you access it on Compass and read it before the interviews.


Wednesday  27 March interviews will be held face to face from 1.40 pm to 4.20 pm (students dismissed at 1.40 pm).

Thursday 28 March interviews will be held online between 8.30 am and 2.30 pm, and students are not required at school.


Bookings are open now via Compass.

Cool for School Update

Thank you to all the parents and students who have offered to be part of organising our huge fund raising effort for air conditioners.   A meeting will be held in Week 2 of Term 2 to kick things off, so those who register will get an invitation to the meeting.  You don't have to attend to support the effort, and there will be requests for prize donations etc following the meeting.  If you would still like to register your assistance, please fill this form out:


The great news is that we already have $2625 towards our $55000 goal. This money was raised at the first debutante ball on the 8th of March.   


Disappointingly, retailers at the St Helena shopping complex have been in touch over the last few weeks to complain about our students shoplifting after school.  This is unacceptable behaviour at any time, but it is particuarly disappointing that these students are bringing the college name into disrepute by conducting this criminal behaviour in school uniform.


Any students identified can and will be suspended.   I have also encouraged the retailers to call the police directly and provide them with CCTV footage.  If police provide us with the footage, we will identify the offenders and the rest will be in the hands of the retailers as to whether they press charges.


If your child frequents the St Helena shops, perhaps have a chat with them about ensuring they are not with other students who may be engaging in shoplifting.  


St Helena Secondary College is pleased to be partnering with United Minds Community Services to increase access to Psychological services for our young people.

Provisional Psychologists from United Minds are now available to attend on site at St Helena Secondary College to complete (privately billed) Psychological Assessments. 

Provisional Psychologists are able to complete assessments at a reduced cost making this option a lot more cost effective for our families. There is currently no waiting list, and referrals are now being accepted. 

United Minds offer a comprehensive child, adolescent and adult assessment service.  This includes:

  • Cognitive/Giftedness assessments
  • Educational Assessments
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments
  • ADHD Assessments

You can learn more about their service here 

To self-refer, please complete the form This is to give United Minds an idea what assessments are needed, and so that they can provide accurate information. An estimate of the fees can be found here

United Minds will then liaise with families and the school to coordinate appointments.


Counselling and therapeutic support: United Minds also have Provisional Psychologists available at their consulting rooms, available with very short wait times, for counselling support. No referral is required. These appointments are billed at $85 per hour (no Medicare rebate available). 

Missed Photos 

Bookings Open for "Our Home" - our 2024 Play

The classic Thornton Wilder play 'Our Town'  is a masterpiece in focusing a lense on the simple, precious moments in life that come then go, and the endless questions that lie beyond the grave for us all.  The Simple Design concept explores the poetic beauty of life's defining moments, and how we navigate the cycles of life and death and the notion we are constantly propelled forward,  arriving at the next moment. Set in the fictional town of Grover's Corners in 1909,  the play is placed in a theatre,  but to a modern audience this could be perceived as a virtual dissection of a moment in time. A stage manager, narrates and leads us on the journey, characters step in and out of character to answer questions, discovering and gathering information on this town, its characters and stories we recognise in ourselves.