Author Archive

Student Spotlight – Molly Topham

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Featured News, Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about Chinese?

I really enjoy learning the language, but I really love experiencing and learning more about their culture.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to learning Chinese?

I started in Year 7 when I first came to St Mary’s College. I didn’t enjoy it much then, but after doing the Chinese Speaking Competition and winning in Year 8, I felt like learning the language would be an amazing and fun challenge. I was also encouraged by others and saw it as a beneficial subject to take.

What’s your favourite part about learning Chinese?

I enjoy the way the language is taught, as it is very different from the way we learn other subjects, like maths for example. I enjoy learning and writing characters, as each one is like a little art piece, intricately drawn in order for it to be read. It is also quite funny when you miss out a line or dot because then the character means something completely different than what you intended it to mean.

How has learning Chinese been different this year?

We are learning more about information and communication, in general, this year, rather than learning about basic communication. We learn a lot about their culture through learning the language too. This year, we have learnt more about identifying characters in writing, how to write characters and understanding longer and more everyday conversations.

Learning at home due to COVID-19 the content wasn’t any different, but it was interesting as I found myself more confident to practise the language around the home.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in Chinese that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning Chinese?

Well, something I will always remember fondly is the food we cooked with Li Li Laoshi in Year 9. We cooked spring rolls, dumplings, beefcakes and mooncakes. There was only four of us, and we each got to learn how to make them so we could try it at home. It was a lot of fun and we would always look forward to it!

A key part of my learning in Chinese is learning about the culture, seeing how vastly different their culture is in comparison to Australia. and the history of their culture and how it has changed over time, including all the beautiful cultural celebrations that we have learnt about like the celebration of Chinese New Year and the importance of the Chinese Zodiac.

What is your favourite Chinese item e.g. food, drink, a place, historical location?

Dumplings and tea! We recently went on an excursion to our former teacher’s tea rooms, it was amazing! We learnt a lot about the history of tea, tea etiquette and different types of tea. We tried quite a few and really enjoyed it!

In Year 9, we had our first cooking lesson where we made dumplings! It was really fun, and I remember they tasted so good! I had never had dumplings before and I now officially love them!

Do you want to study Chinese further and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

I would like to study it in Year 11, and hopefully keep it as a skill for my future. It is extremely beneficial as Chinese has a strong presence globally and in Australia. It would be beneficial towards the career path I wish to go down which is politics and law. The background knowledge and understanding of the language will be beneficial and stay with me throughout my life.

What would be your dream Chinese experience or job?

My dream Chinese experience would be visiting China, experiencing the little towns, visiting the Fuzhou province, walking along the Great Wall, immersing myself in their culture and trying some of their food!

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome while studying Chinese?

Speaking and fully understanding what has been said and also interpreting it into my everyday life. Listening is the biggest challenge as we all tend to speak fast in the language we are fluent in, which means it is hard to understand listening tasks and videos we watch. But I have found that if a few keywords are understood, you can still have a conversation.

What advice would you give to other aspiring language students?

If you are interested or curious about any area of a country’s language or its culture, I encourage you to try and learn it! It is a great tool for communication with other countries and you will learn and meet amazing and interesting people along the way. Various opportunities for future careers, holidays, competitions, prizes and more become available to you once you begin to learn! If you are keen or even slightly curious, it is a tremendous opportunity and heaps of fun!

Visual Arts student profile – Nandhini Ramanathan

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

How did you get started with visual arts?

I got started with visual art very quickly at a young age. Visual art is a way that I can communicate my thoughts with an innovative perspective. Feelings overflow me, and art allows me to unload my heart and soul and help my mind to process my emotions. Art can be used to help spread a message of inspiration, making people achieve great things in life. It brings awareness to people, especially about common issues for the betterment of humankind. The only limit to art is my imagination. All these factors that art brings to my life are what got me started with visual art.

How long have you been creating art?

I have been creating art since I was very young. I used to do a lot of artwork at school in the Philippines. I used to do very simple drawings when I was little, and as I grew up, I just got very interested in it. I used to watch YouTube videos and go to art lessons to develop my knowledge about art. I never gave up even if I failed, I just kept trying to achieve success.

What’s your favourite art medium?

My favourite art medium is watercolours. I learned how to paint with watercolours during art lessons I went to over the summer in the Philippines. Before I took lessons, I hated using watercolour paints, because I could never get the results to look right. Either the paper looked very bent, I did not use the colours right, or the paints spread where I did not want them to. After I learnt how to use them properly, mixing colors became a large advantage while using it. Painting with watercolours is very fun and enjoyable.

What’s your favourite canvas and type to create on?

Watercolour paper is my favourite type to create on. I really like the thickness of the paper, it does not bend and become damp. It really complements the use of watercolors on the paper. I also like the material of watercolour paper; it is different from other paper. The paper is made up of cotton intertwined in its fibers. This makes the paper become more absorbent. I also like the grainy texture of the paper.

What do you like to paint/draw/create the most? E.g. portraits, landscape settings, etc.

I really like to draw mandalas. It helps me get rid of stress, meditate, and heal. I really like to draw mandalas because they bring peace and a feeling of calmness. It really helps me concentrate, focus, let my creativity flow, and brings a feeling of balance because it is mostly symmetrical.

What’s your all-time favourite piece of art and why?

My all-time favourite piece of art is The Royal Bengal Tiger by Thierry Bisch. I really like this painting because I love animals, especially tigers. I love how they look so majestic. Another reason why I like this artwork is that I really like the artist. His intention is to draw or paint endangered animals to bring awareness to people. I also like this painting because it is the Bengal tiger, which is the national animal of India.

How do you see yourself as an artist? How do you feel when you create/how would you describe it?

I see myself as an artist since I feel that art is a part of my identity. The most important thing is that I enjoy doing art. I believe pictures are worth a thousand words and even more. When I create art, I feel like it clears my head. It helps me make sense of my emotions. And somehow it makes me feel calmer and more relaxed. Creativity in itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and with others. I think that art is like doing a regular workout, after making art, you feel tired, but happy and healthy.

What is your ultimate artistic goal?

My ultimate artistic goal is not that big and extreme, I do know that art will always be my hobby. But I have small, day-to-day artistic goals. Some of them include learning a new creative skill to open my creativity and have a go at new things. I would always like to do art better today than yesterday and make art better tomorrow than I did today. I will always aim to progress and develop my artistic skills.

Do you have to be in a creative mood to make art? Or can you do it anytime?

I have to be in a creative mood to make art because it really depends on my mood and what I feel like doing. If I am not in a creative mood, I feel very tired and blank on what I should do. I would not put much effort into what I am doing when I do not have the feeling or mood to make art and be creative.

Who is your artist idol?

My artist idol is Thierry Bisch who is 67 and comes from France. Thierry Bisch worked on his large paintings using mixed techniques, the basis was the use of dry pigments rubbed with foam sponges and hard brushes. He is my artist idol mainly because of his intentions and the message he wants to convey through his art. When he discovered the reality of the sixth extinction, he no longer painted simple animals, he began to paint those who are threatened with disappearance. He is trying to alert us to the damage to ecosystems.

Book Week Parade 2020

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in News, Newsletter

St Mary’s College had a lot of fun at the Book Week Parade with students and staff dressed as their favourite book characters to celebrate their love of books and the wonderful worlds they unlock in our imaginations.

Thank you to everyone for your amazing and inventive costume creations! There were so many wonderful outfits and shared stories about much loved and treasured books.

While this year we couldn’t have all our parents and carers on-site due to COVID-19 restrictions, we were happy to be able to share lots of lovely photos from the day.

You are welcome to view these on our Facebook album here, plus we’ve included a few below:


Additionally, we did record some video footage on the day and are able to share a few short clips below:

Prep Possums Book Week Parade 2020

Year 1 Echidnas Book Week Parade 2020

Year 3 Gumnuts Book Week Parade 2020

Always keep an eye out for school photos and stories on our Facebook, Instagram, website and in our newsletter.  

Meet you at Murphy’s!

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

We are excited to announce that the new name of our College canteen is, drum roll please…da, da, da, da…Murphy’s

The name was inspired by Mother Murphy who was the first Principal of St Mary’s College.

In 1866, perceiving a great need in the fledgling colony for spiritual guidance, Bishop Daniel Murphy arranged for the Mother Superior of the Presentation Order (who happened to be his own sister), to travel from Ireland to bring Nano Nagle’s mission to far-off Hobart Town.

On 3 February 1868, the little school of Mount St Mary’s (as we were then known) received its first pupils. 

This name was nominated by our Director of Curriculum (Secondary), Wendy Forsyth. Great idea, Wendy! 

Have you heard the other exciting news about our canteen? While celebrating the naming of Murphy’s, we are also very pleased to share the Junior School has been awarded gold level standard for its canteen menu by the Tasmanian School Canteen Association. 

The Senior School is currently awarded silver by the Tasmanian School Canteen Association and is working towards gold accreditation.

The new name is now proudly on display at the location of all the yummy things made at St Mary’s…Murphy’s!

See you at Murphy’s! ‘Meet you at Murphy’s for a hot choc’, that sure has a nice ring to it!

Science student profile – Emily Walter

Written by Michaela Brighella. Posted in Newsletter

What do you enjoy most about science?

I like learning new things, and it also helps me understand the world around me. Science provides logic and sense to what otherwise can seem chaotic in the world. Not only does it answer questions, but with every question answered more questions arise to explore, solve and discover.

When did you first start enjoying and feeling connected to science?

I’ve always loved science, but I think I began really enjoying it in Year 7 when I did the UTAS Science Investigation Competition for the first time – I really liked coming up with an idea for an experiment and then doing it, and talking to scientists about what you found.

What’s your favourite area of science?

That’s a really hard question! But if I had to pick, I’d say biology and environmental science.

What’s been your favourite science experiment or discovery so far?

Last year, I made compost out of old fish remains (it smelt great!) and grew plants in it. I wanted to see if fish waste could have a practical use in agriculture, as it’s currently a major environmental problem in the marine industry, with 10 million tonnes of fish waste being dumped into the ocean every year, which can be harmful to aquatic life. I found that some plants, including snow peas grew twice as fast in the fish compost compared to normal soil.

What’s the thing you’ve learnt in science that has always stayed with you? What’s been a key part of your learning in science?

Earlier this year, we did a unit on genetics and the nature versus nurture debate. I really liked finding out why we look how we look and act how we act.

Which scientist inspires you and why?

Elizabeth Blackburn. She’s the first Australian and Tasmanian women to win a Nobel prize for discovering the enzyme telomerase.

Do you want to study science and explore this as a career path? If yes, what will be your main focus?

I’m not quite sure what I want to do when I’m older, but definitely something involving science! I am considering veterinary science or medical research.

What would be your dream science experience or job?

I love animals, so being a veterinarian would be amazing. I’m also into neuroscience, so I would also be interested in doing something involving the brain.

What advice would you give to other aspiring science students?

My advice would be to enter the UTAS Science investigations. It’s a really good opportunity to plan and research an experiment that interests you, make a board and then talk to scientists about what you found out. There’s also a lot of other really good competitions and experiences available to enter throughout the year.

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