Newsletter - Edition 1-2017

News from the Principal

Dear members of the Genazzano FCJ College community,

It is a delight to welcome you to the 2017 school year. I hope our families enjoyed the Christmas time and summer holidays, relishing the opportunity for family time and a change of routine. With this in mind, I am sure our prayers and thoughts are with those who have experienced many challenges and sadness over the last month, particularly those who have lost loved family members and the victims of the terrible events in the City of Melbourne, Bourke Street. May they experience God’s love and blessings as they grieve their loss.

The sadness and tragedy we can experience in life is so often complemented by the love and presence of others. We witnessed generous support and care by many people who came to the aid of strangers; a sign of God’s grace in our world and something to inspire us as we begin the new year.

The atmosphere on the first student days, Wednesday 1 February and Thursday 2 February, was fabulous. Our Gen girls were genuinely pleased to be back at school amongst friends, or for our new students, excited about being in a new environment and beginning a different learning journey. There were many happy and refreshed faces walking through the gates for their first day of this school year.

Although a little nervous, our new students were warmly welcomed by staff and student leaders as they arrived. They all looked fantastic in their new school uniforms and they were ready to learn more about their new school.

The Genazzano Mothers’ Association continued their tradition with a warm welcome to new and returning parents/guardians with some hospitality in the Circular Drive garden on both Wednesday and Thursday. As you are aware, via the email invitations, the Genazzano Fathers’ Association Welcome BBQ occurs tonight at the College from 6.00pm. I hope to see many of you there.

Today, Friday 3 February, all students and staff gathered for our Commencement Eucharist in the Centenary Hall led by our College Chaplain, Rev Brendan Reed. With the launch of our College theme for 2017, ‘In Unity we Serve’, the next newsletter will share some reflections and photos of this important College gathering to start the school year.

Our Parent’s Information Evening has been scheduled for Wednesday 22 February at 7.00pm starting in the Centenary Hall, and then breaking into year level groups. This information night is for parents/guardians of daughters in Prep to Year 12. The information night is a significant gathering that will provide you with important College information for 2017, an understanding of our whole school strategy plan and give you a chance to meet your daughter’s Team Leader, Homeroom Teacher and other parents/guardians.

As with the commencement of any new school year, we welcome the following new leaders to the College. Mrs Mary Jones has taken on the new role of Head of Junior School, Prep to Year 6. She will teach Religious Education to a Year 6 class and assist with some team teaching at other levels.

We also welcome, Mr Brett Bastian to the College as Director of ICT. He comes to us with much experience in the area of technology and communications and will lead us in implementing our eLearning and ICT strategic plan.

We welcome the following teachers to the College: Ms Sarah Gale, Year 8 Homeroom and IT teacher; Ms Alli Lehmann, Year 12 Homeroom and Psychology teacher; Ms Rebecca Cusmano, Year 8 Homeroom, French and Italian teacher; Miss Rachel Power, Year 7 Homeroom, English and Religious Education teacher; Mrs Brooke Adams, Year 11 Homeroom and English teacher; Mrs Myra Morris, Year 10 Homeroom and French teacher; Mrs Anna Moore, Year 3 teacher; and Miss Ruan Bimrose – Prep teacher.

Joining the Early Learning Centre team, as the teacher of the 4 year old room, is Ms Deborah Bennett, and to assist in the 4 year old room are Mrs Liz Lockwood and Ms Sara Lanza.                                                  

We also welcome two members of staff joining our Administration team: Mrs Samantha Carter-Dams in a new role as Daily Organisation Officer and Mrs Kathy Byrne as College Registrar.                                                            

We welcome back from Maternity Leave, Mrs Amanda Presta, returning part-time to the Alumnae Office.

We welcome Mrs Nicole Gibson, History and Humanities teacher, for Term 1. She will teach some History and Humanities classes, while Mr Robert Tassoni takes long service leave and Mrs Debra Everitt takes on the acting role of Deputy Principal, Curriculum Standards and Innovation.

During the past weeks, while students and teachers have been on summer holidays, the Property, Gardening, Finance and ICT Team have been busy completing a number of jobs, such as installing safety bollards outside student reception on Mont Victor Road, replacing ceilings in the Year 7 classrooms, installing interactive whiteboard walls and projectors, creating a silent study area in our library for senior students and paving a walkway to the Madeleine Centre. Many parts of the College have received a fresh coat of paint and a number of other areas throughout the College have benefited from maintenance work over the holiday break. All these works assist in maintaining a wonderful learning environment for our students.

I hope to see many parents/guardians at our annual GenWelcomes evening on Saturday 11 February.

I look forward to working with all students and their parents/guardians throughout the coming year and may God’s blessings be with you.

Karen Jebb

Outstanding VCE Results for 2016

Once again, our Year 12 Class of 2016 performed exceptionally well in their final examinations and therefore received outstanding results.

A total of 6% of students attainted an ATAR score greater than 99, placing them in the top 1% of the state. 11% gained an ATAR greater than 98, placing them in the top 2% of the state and 36% of our students gained an ATAR greater that 90 placing them in the top 10%. Overall our Median ATAR was 85.5.

Eight students achieved perfect study scores of 50 and 23% of students achieved study scores over 40. The Median Study Score was 35. Our Duces were Amy Catanzariti and Jacinta Ryan with ATAR scores of 99.85. Further details about our 2016 VCE results are displayed on the College website.

We have recently heard the wonderful news that 98% of our students received University first-round offers and 1.26% received a first-round TAFE offer. Over 70% received their first preference and 96% receiving one of their top four preferences. More details about student destinations will be provided at the Parent Information Evening.

I extend my congratulations to our Class of 2016 for their hard work, dedication and commitment to their studies. They should be very proud of their achievements and I wish them much success for their future. I also offer my congratulations to their teachers who provided them with exceptional tuition, support and guidance throughout this year and previous years. Their dedication and commitment to our students is truly wonderful.

Karen Jebb


Faith and Mission News

Each year our College develops a theme for the coming year. There are many reasons for a Catholic school to have an annual theme, most importantly, it allows us to focus on the things that are really important to us as a faith-filled and faithful Catholic community.

Our theme for 2017 is titled 'In Unity we Serve'. We will spend the year breaking that apart and use it to inspire our gatherings and our view of the world. There is no doubt that when the students and staff of Genazzano work in unity, we can achieve great things. Our Catholic faith is centred around community – anyone who has ever been involved in a World Youth Day will know how communitarian our faith is!

When we serve others, we live our faith and ultimately serve God. Our role model for this is Pope Francis, who has been a powerful advocate for the poor and disenfranchised in our world. He is in many ways the embodiment of the call of Jesus, to be servant leaders.

As we begin 2017 we hope all our students and staff embrace our theme and all that it calls them to do. As a community, our theme calls us to serve one another, serve our College and serve God. Let’s hope that at the end of 2017 we can look back on our year and say that we were inspired and enlivened to be people of unity and service.

We pray for the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus in their various ministries throughout the world.

Bill Fitzsimons
Deputy Principal, Faith and Mission

Prayer for the Start of the Year

We offer to you the year ahead.

We ask for your blessing on all those whom we meet for the first time, that we will be people of welcome.

We ask for your blessing on old friends, that their closeness and love will remind us of your presence in our lives.

We ask for your blessing on all those who are outcast or poor, that we will be people of charity.

May you bless all the students of Genazzano FCJ College, as they learn from their teachers, and from one another. May you bless all the staff of Genazzano as they learn from one another, and from their students.

May you inspire everyone in the Genazzano community to be people of Unity and Service throughout the coming year.

We ask this through Jesus, who calls us to service and love.



Junior School News

A warm welcome back to the 2017 school year for our students and families in Prep to Year 6. We hope you have had a restful and relaxing holiday and are ready to commence another exciting and challenging year of learning. We welcome many new students across the Junior School and look forward to getting to know each of them as the weeks unfold. We are also pleased to welcome two new staff members to the Prep to Year 6 team. Miss Ruan Bimrose joins us all the way from Townsville as our Prep teacher, and Mrs Anna Moore, also from Queensland, joins us in Year 3.

Each family would have received a welcome letter from the College, containing all the contact details for the staff and important dates for Term 1. We value the partnership we have with our families as we all work together to create the best learning environment possible for our students. Please know that we are here to work with you and are happy to address any questions or concerns as they arise. We look forward to our Learning Conversations next Monday 6 February as a great way to hear more about your daughters and their learning needs.

Mary Jones
Head of the Junior School


Drama News

The Drama Department warmly welcomes all members of the College community to the 2017 school year! Many exciting productions are planned and opportunities abound for students to become involved in curricular and co-curricular productions this year.

Year 7 and 8 Co-curricular Musical

Auditions will commence on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February for the Year 7 and 8 Co-curricular Musical, Mulan Jr. The performances will be held on 27 and 28 July. Information will be distributed to the students about the audition process this week.


Friends of the Performing Arts

The Drama Department welcomes Alumnae and parents/guardians to join the Friends of the Performing Arts (FOPA) group. Past students and community members can become involved in supporting productions in many roles, such as direction, design and costuming. Some positions are remunerated and offer the opportunity for continued involvement in the College artistic life! If you have a talent or interest in this area, please email the production assistant or

Speech and Drama Classes

Individual and group Speech and Drama tuition is available at the College, much like instrumental music classes. Many students participate in these classes to improve their confidence in public speaking and presentations, and to hone their performance skills. Brochures are available and information can be accessed via the College website. Please contact or our Speech and Drama coach Mrs Tanya Salinas Byrne via email:

Gabrielle Quin
Curriculum Leader: Drama

VCE Drama Top Class 2017

Congratulations to our 2016 graduate Chloe Hunt, who has been invited to perform her Drama Solo Performance as part of the VCAA Season of Excellence: Top Class Concert. Top Class Concerts showcase a selection of performers from across the state that have achieved excellence in an area of study. Chloe’s performance of the ‘Monopoly Board Game Character’ was devised around the themes of contemporary monopolies, individuals’ strategies for success, and the moral considerations involved. Chloe will be performing at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Thursday 2 March, 10.30am.

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Alison Heard
VCE Drama Teacher


Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences News

The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences

This year, the College is launching the Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences. ‘Learning Sciences’ are interdisciplinary fields focused on the advancement of knowledge and innovation in learning and teaching. Research and development in the areas of learning and brain function, plasticity and health are rapidly advancing fields with critical implications for our students’ development and futures.  

This progressive educational initiative embodies the FCJ commitment to encourage a true ‘love of learning’ for Genazzano students. The aim of The Genazzano Institute is to promote a better understanding of optimal learning and brain function for students, educators and the wider community. Collaborations with leading researchers and practitioners from education and industry will provide students with exceptional learning opportunities. We are delighted that Deakin University will continue to work with Genazzano in supporting the development of advanced research skills and sponsoring the Deakin Research Awards at Year 9.

Upcoming Events

  • Year 10 students are invited to compete in the 2017 Brain Bee Competition.  Round 1 will be held at the College in early March. Register your interest with Ms Catherine Brandon as soon as possible to obtain the Neuroscience fact booklet.  
  • Year 10 students are also invited to apply to participate in the 2017 BrainSTEM Innovation Challenge to work with University mentors on a real world project. Genazzano will submit a team of four students from Year 10. Applications close 15 February 2017.

Isabelle Zupan and Emily Harman (Year 12) are the Captains of Learning and Brain Sciences. The Captains will visit Year 10 Homerooms to discuss the above opportunities and application process early in the year.

We look forward to announcing more about The Genazzano Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences and upcoming events soon.

Catherine Brandon
Director of Research: Programs and Performance


Library News

Nine Great ‘Starting School’ Picture Books

Stories help us make sense of our world. In particular, they support young learners in negotiating new situations and help us to safely explore possibilities. Reading about beginning school, and using a story to prompt discussion about what has happened or what may happen, are valuable learning activities to be shared. 

The following nine picture books are all in the Grange Hill Library collection:

  • Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
  • First Day by Andrew Daddo and Jonathan Bentley
  • The Terrible Suitcase by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood
  • I Am Too Absolutely Small for School by Lauren Child
  • The Playground is Like a Jungle by Shona Innes and Irisz Anocs
  • Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Jessica’s Box by Peter Carnavas
  • Birdie’s First Day of School by Sujean Rim
  • Puddle’s New School by Amber Stewart and Layn Marlow

Please seek assistance from any member of our library services team in finding any of these picture books or a book on any other subject.  We will do our very best to find a title to suit your needs.

Happy reading!

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Susan La Marca
Head of Library and Information Services


Rowing News

Our rowers have been busy over the summer break, with camps held in Nagambie and Paynesville, providing students with excellent training conditions. Crews are now mostly confirmed with the race season peaking through February and March. The Head of the School Girls Regatta will be held on 17 - 19 March 2017.


Jane Robinson​
Rowing Coordinator


College Dates for the Next Fortnight

Saturday 4 February

Year 9 & 10 Morongo Regatta (Barwon River, Geelong)

Saturday 4 February

Wendouree Regatta (Ballarat)

Monday 6 February

Classes conclude at 1.30pm

ELC to Year 12 Learning and Wellbeing Conversations, 2.00pm - 8.00pm

Tuesday 7 February

Year 9 Immersion Day

Wednesday 8 February

No Prep classes

Thursday 9 to Friday 10 February

School photos

Friday 10 to Saturday 11 February

Boarding House Closed Weekend

Saturday 11 February

Firbank Regatta (Barwon River, Geelong)

Saturday 11 February

GenWelcomes, begins at 5.30pm

Monday 13 to Wednesday 15 February

Year 12 Retreat

Year 11 Companionship

Wednesday 15 February

No Prep classes

Thursday 16 February

ELC Family Picnic at 6.00pm

Friday 17 February

Centenary Swim Meet at 4.00pm

Please visit our website for a full list of 2017 Term Dates or our College calendar.


GMA News

Welcome back, everyone.

We hope you all had a relaxing holiday and are ready to embrace another year full of exciting events. We have an assortment of activities in store and we hope you can join in as many as possible.

If you’re a new mum to Gen, you may not realise you are now part of the GMA! We welcome your involvement as a Year Level Representative or just come along to our events and meet mothers from your year level. We’d love you to be part of our inclusive, sharing and supportive network.

We are looking for a coordinator for Senior Years (Years 7-12). Please contact Jacqui Pirone for information if you are interested.

Our first GMA Year Level Rep meeting is on Monday 27 February at 7.00pm in the Cafeteria. Everyone is welcome to attend. Come along and participate, or just get a better understanding of what we do!


Year 12 Welcome Night

We had a great start to 2017 with the Year 12 parents and daughter Welcome Night held on the eve of their first day back. This has become a valued tradition, with around 150 parents, girls and members of staff enjoying the delicious food provided by Paul Le Noury of Yum Catering.

A big thank you to Sonya Morrissey and all the Year 12 Year Level Reps who set up, greeted, served, cleaned and packed away. A wonderful night was had by all. Everyone worked together to ensure the first event for Year 12 was a huge success.

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Welcome Morning Teas

It was great to see so many parents gather for morning tea after drop off on the first two days of school. A lot of ‘happy to be back’ conversation took place, and it was lovely to see our Principal, Ms Karen Jebb, together with staff mingle and meet with some of us. A big thank you to Jean Losinno who coordinated both morning teas, and a special thank you to the mums who baked or served on the day.

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Gen Welcomes - Saturday 11 February

What a wonderful way to start the new year! Have you booked your tickets yet? Get the conversation started and organise your year level tables. A beautiful night of music and dining under the stars awaits you. For new families, it is a wonderful way to meet other parents and enjoy the beautiful gardens and surrounds on offer. Don’t delay, it’s only a week away. Book online now!

Second Hand Book Sale for 2016

The GMA Second Hand Book Sale was coordinated by Mrs Maddy Galgano and Mrs Marisa De Maria, with the help of Mrs Gilda Riccio. We raised a total of $5,491, which was a magnificent result for both the students and the College.

We congratulate and thank Gilda for managing a very successful fundraiser over many years.

A big thank you also goes to the volunteers who gave up their time so generously to assist. We had 28 helpers over the three days of the sale. A fabulous effort!

Finally, to those who used the Second Hand Book Sale to sell and buy books, thank you for your support!

Save the Date

Monday 13 February

GMA Committee Meeting at 8.40am in the Boardroom

Thursday 16 February

Year 4 Morning Tea at 8.45am

Thursday 23 February

Year 8 Morning Tea from 9.00am - 11.00am

Monday 27 February

GMA Year Level Reps Meeting at 7.00pm in the Cafeteria

 Friday 24 February

Year 7 Welcome Family Night at 6.00pm in Circular Drive

Sunday 5 March

Year 4 Family Picnic, Beckett Park Balwyn

Friday 24 March

GMA Ladies Lunch, from 11.30am - 3.00pm at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club

Monday 27 March

GMA Committee Meeting at 8.45am in the Boardroom

Jacqui Pirone
President, Genazzano Mothers’ Association


GFA News

Welcome back for 2017. With Australia Day having gone, I can confirm the summer break is finally over, and within a short time, we will be at Easter. Remember your New Year’s resolution. No? Well, I’ve forgotten mine too, so it is an opportunity to make a new one for the start of the school year.

“This year, I will get involved in my daughter’s life and do at least one thing with her.” Write it down and you will be 50% more likely to do it. Tell your daughter and you will be almost guaranteed you will do it. Make a commitment. Get involved.

Even if last year you were building a house, working long hours, doing the garden or another activity that takes up our time, this year, make a commitment to do just one thing with your daughter. Email me and I will send you the event diary, or have a look in the 2017 College 

But what do we do together? What does she enjoy now? I don’t know her as well as I used too. She will still enjoy your attention because it demonstrates she is special to you. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, doing activities and eating. The great thing is that it is all organised already by the GFA. All you have to do is commit to one and turn up. In fact, it will be fun and you will both wonder why you don’t do it more often.

We also have events just for Genazzano fathers. It’s a good way to do something for you and meet other dads. As a bonus, we cater, you have fun, and you're always welcome.

Unfortunately, our events don’t organise themselves, they rely on our valued volunteers. Why don’t you come along to an event, and if you decide you want to be more involved, email me? No volunteer is asked to do more than one event. Please note, we do need volunteers to set up for GenWelcomes on Saturday 11 February.

I'm looking forward to seeing you this year. If you have any questions, email me at or you can meet me at this year’s GFA Welcome BBQ, to be held at the College today, Friday 3 February starting at 6.00pm. Our GFA meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month. The first one is scheduled for Wednesday 15 February at 7.30pm in the College Boardroom, and all are welcome.

Remember the GFA motto, ‘Love, Laugh and Make a Difference’ and for this year, ‘Get Involved’. Best wishes for the year ahead. If you have any questions, email me and I will respond.

Bruce MacIsaac
President, Genazzano Fathers’ Association





Date: Saturday 11 February 2017
Time: 5.30pm Mass followed by dinner at 6.30pm
Mass venue: Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
Dinner venue: Circular Drive, Genazzano FCJ College​
Book online

Open Morning

Date: Wednesday 22 February 2017
Time: 9.30am - 11.00am
Venue: Madeleine Centre for Music and the Performing Arts
Register online

GMA Ladies Luncheon

Ladies Lunch

Date: Friday 24 March 2017
Time: 11.30am - 3.00pm
Venue: Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong​
Book online


Community News

Sacrament of Reconciliation at St Anne’s and St Bede’s

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated at St Anne’s (55 Windella Avenue, Kew East) on Thursday 30 March at 7.30pm & St Bede’s (1 Severn Street, Balwyn North) on Wednesday 29 March at 7.30pm.

Catechist classes for children not attending either parish school will commence on Monday 27 February. Classes commence at 4.00pm and are held at St Anne’s in the Multi-Purpose Hall and at St Bede’s in the Jarrow Room.

Commitment Masses for this Sacrament, and the Sacrament of First Eucharist, will be held over the weekend of 18 - 19 March. A parent evening is scheduled for Tuesday 7 March at both St Anne’s and St Bede’s commencing at 7.30pm.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation must be completed before the Sacrament of First Eucharist. Both Sacraments are usually celebrated in Year 3.

Children in Year 3 and Year 4 will celebrate First Eucharist at St Anne's in 2017, to unify Parish process. Enrolments can be made through the Parish Office.

Other Dates for 2017

St Anne's

St Bede's

First Eucharist

All Mass times over the weekends of 27 - 28 May, 3 - 4 June, 10 - 11 June and 17 - 18 June.

Classes commence 1 May.

First Eucharist

All Mass times over the weekends of 27 - 28 May and 3 - 4 June.

Classes commence May 1.


Saturday 19 August at 5.00pm.

Classes commence 17 July.


Sunday 20 August at 11.00am or 2.30pm.

Classes commence 17 July.


Sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and First Eucharist at St Joseph’s Church

The Sacraments of Confirmation, Reconciliation and First Eucharist will all be celebrated at St Joseph’s Church, Malvern in 2017.

Enrolments for all Sacraments are now open. Registrations can be made via the Parish website.

Key Dates

Confirmation: 24 May
Reconciliation: 13 June
First Eucharist: 20 August, 27 August, 3 September, 10 September and 17 September.

There are limited places available for all Sacraments.

Dance Fitness at Genazzano in 2017

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Dance Fitness conducts exciting and fun jazz classes at Genazzano after school! No extra picking up and dropping off required!

Students will experience everything dance has to offer in a familiar, fun and friendly environment.

ELC and Prep Jazz Class: Mondays, 3.15pm - 4.00pm
Year 1 – Year 4 Jazz/Funk Class: Wednesdays, 3.45pm - 4.30pm
Year 5 – Year 7 Jazz/Funk Class: Wednesdays, 3.45pm - 4.30pm

Enrolments are now open! You can enrol online via the Dance Fitness website. Just follow the links to the Surrey Hills Studio.

Please contact Ash on 0403 135 850, or email if you have any questions.

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