St Matthew's, Mudgee


St Matt’s bids farewell to the Class of Year 12, 2017

The school community of St Matthews Catholic School said “Congratulations and good luck” to our Year 12 students on 22nd September, at a Graduation Assembly with the entire school.

Formally completing their schooling at St Matthew's, that evening a Graduation Mass was celebrated at St Mary’s Church, Mudgee, with the students and their families being the special guests.

A highlight of the Assembly was the beautiful blessing sung to Year 12 by our Kindergarten students, which is sure to be a favourite parting memory of our Year 12 students.

We are so proud of you all and wish you well for the future. Goodbye and much love from the St Matthews community.

Eliza Biddle 

Students travel to Italy in the name of science!

Three St Matthews Catholic School students - Jessica Lynch, Callan Double and Hayden Munro - were part of a transformative learning experience in term three, when they travelled to Trieste in Italy, to undertake an experiment examining the efficiency of Italian radiologists in detecting breast cancer. This was part of the University of Sydney’s Research Mentor Program that is offered at St Matthew's. The aim of this program is to augment the science skills of students through close mentorship by Professor Patrick Brennan, his research team of PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows from the University of Sydney.

Jessica, Callan, and Hayden worked collaboratively with Professor Brennan, Kriscia Tapia and Dr Yun Trieu to design an experiment which investigated the effectiveness of Italian radiologists to detect breast cancer on mammograms. Prior to leaving for Italy, the students were familiarised with the computer software on which the data from the experiment would be recorded. Upon arrival in Trieste, the team visited Cattinara Hospital to gain an in-depth understanding of the type of hardware and software to be used in the experiment. The following day, the students worked hard developing protocols and procedures for the experiment, as well as trying to quickly learn some Italian to help with communication with the radiologists.

The day of the experiment, as with all scientific experiments, was not without its challenges. However, the trio handled these with a calm and logical approach. The radiologists were impressed by the conscientious and mature approach Hayden, Jessica and Callan displayed throughout the 12-hour long day at the hospital. There were many lessons learnt but witnessing the expertise of the radiologists, and problem-solving with them throughout the day, were the biggest highlights for our students, not to mention a tour of Cattinara Hospital’s medical physics facilities.

As part of the trip, the students were also treated a tour of Trieste's Elettra Sincrotrone, where they could see physics techniques they had learnt about in the classroom being applied to real-world problems such as root-soil interactions, as well as being able to observe first-hand the intersection of engineering and science.

This research trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity for these three students. It provided them with the opportunity to not only develop and build upon their science skills but to undertake first-hand, scientific research that will impact women’s health across the world. The cultural opportunities were also endless, with the students being able to appreciate the enormity of the Catholic faith and see the real wonder of God’s work in another context. They were also able to experience art dating back to 1300s, not to mention the delicious Italian cuisine.

This trip would not have been possible without the generous support of the St Matthews School Community, the Breast Unit team from Cattinara Hospital and the inspirational radiologists who save people’s lives every day. Stay tuned for updates on the results of this international research and more from this dynamic and productive research collaboration between the University of Sydney and St Matthews Catholic School.

Dr Louise Puslednik
Science Co-ordinator, St Matthews


Diocesan launch of World Mission Month 2017

The O’Donovan Gymnasium at St Matthew’s Catholic School, Mudgee was filled to capacity when Bishop Michael launched World Mission Month (WMM) on 7th September.

Principal, Jason Hanrahan, welcomed all in attendance, especially student and teacher representatives from almost every Catholic school and college from across the Diocese. Invited guests included the Mayor of the Mid-West Regional Council, Des Kennedy; Parish Priest, Fr Tony Hennessy; Executive Director of Schools, Mrs Jenny Allen and Mr Michael Deasy, Diocesan Director of Catholic Mission. The event was also well supported by parishioners and parents from the school community.

A beautifully crafted Liturgy of the Word included scripture, prayer, music, song, movement and technology. An item by the Kindergarten classes from St Matthew’s entitled “Blessing Song with Actions”, accompanied by a single guitarist, was a highlight.

For the first time, the launch of WMM shared centre stage with the Bishop’s Annual Christmas Art Exhibition and Awards Ceremony for Catholic Primary Schools. A report on the Primary Schools’ Christmas Art Exhibition will be provided in the next issue of the Catholic Observer.

The combined event had a common message: “Hope”. It resonated with the Holy Father’s Message for World Mission Sunday, to be celebrated internationally by all Catholic churches on 22nd October 2017. Pope Francis reaffirmed that “young people are the hope for the furthering of the Church’s apostolic mission”.

The audience saw a Catholic Mission film on the needs of the missionary Church in Uganda, Central Africa. It featured the work of a Ugandan religious congregation, the Daughters of Mary, at the St Luke Bujuni Rural Health Centre. The film will be shown in all Catholic schools in the Diocese during WMM. However, the missionary church in Vietnam will be the special focus of parish appeals in all churches in the Diocese of Bathurst this World Mission Sunday.

Fiona Lewis


St Matthews First Year 12 HSC Success

The community of St Matthews Catholic School is celebrating the wonderful success of its inaugural Y12 cohort who, in 2016, received outstanding results in the Higher School Certificate.

With 13 Band 6 (greater than 90) results from six of the 24 full-time and two part-time students, 25 per cent of the Y12 cohort achieved a Band 6 or equivalent result in one or more of their courses. The stand out performer was Alexandra Robson, who achieved 90 or above in five of her courses, an outstanding achievement. Of all results, 44 per cent of all examinations the students attempted achieved at a Band 5 or higher (80 or above), while 80 per cent of all results achieved were a Band 4, 5 or 6 (70 or above).

The class results were also exceptional, with 15 of the 22 courses achieving results above the state average, with 30 per cent of the courses recording a result more than 5 per cent above the state average. 13 of the 22 courses achieved a higher percentage of Band 5 and 6 results combined than the state, with 19 of the 22 courses achieving a higher percentage of Bands 4-6 than the state.

Of the ATAR results, three students achieved above 90, with Alexandra Robson receiving an ATAR of 94.3, Annabel Grant-Frost 93.3 and Emily Lynch ATAR of 91.6.

The great success of the cohort is the fact that, of the 24 students that left St Matthews at the conclusion of 2016, 20 of those students have been accepted into university, while the other 4 have been accepted into TAFE courses.

Justin McCarney


St Matthew's Inaugural Year 12 Graduate

On 22nd September, the inaugural Y12 at St Matthew’s Catholic School celebrated their graduation from school with an assembly with the entire school and families during the day and a Mass with the year group and families in the evening.

The graduating students were led into school assembly by our Kindergarten students, symbolising the journey these students have been on over the past 13 years of education. The 2016 School Captains, Emily Lynch and Will Parker, referred to this journey in their speech to the school community.

“There is a 13 year difference between the Y12 students and the Kindergartens, who hardly reach the height of our knees. That means that there are 13 years for you, as students, to utilise and apply yourselves with the resources and opportunities available at St Matthews”, Emily said.

Prinicpal Jason Hanrahan said, “We are very proud of this group of young men and women. They have been able to navigate the demands of the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate Courses for the first time at our school without role modeling from year groups above, while doing so with great commitment and passion. These young people have also been active in our community for many years, giving of their time, talents and treasures in numerous ways to assist our school and local community. We believe our students are well-placed for success in the HSC and for life. They have shown us the behaviours and independence required for life-long learning.”

In the evening, the students and their families concluded their formal graduation celebrations with Mass at St Mary’s Church. Here, the students were presented with their portfolio from the School and a gift from the Parish of a small wooden cross, made with local timber by Mr Michael Orth. 

Kristy Isbester

Indigenous Immersion 2016 - Kununurra

From Thursday 28th July to Monday 8th August, several of our Y10 students, accompanied by four staff members, participated in an Indigenous Immersion experience between St Matthew’s Catholic School, Mudgee and St Joseph’s Primary School, Kununurra. The opportunity for the experience to the East Kimberley region of far north Western Australia was coordinated by Catholic Mission.

Our Catholic Mission Immersion Experience was a three phase experience. Phase one being a two and a half day workshop, which also included information to parents and participants from our Catholic Mission Facilitator, Fran. Phase two was the Immersion in Kununurra and phase three was a debrief session and preparation for the School Assembly where we could share only a fraction of our experience. Read all about the Immersion Experience HERE>

St Matts enters research partnership with University of Sydney

St Matthew’s Catholic School is entering into a collaboration with University of Sydney, which will involve a group of Y10, 11 and 12 students being part of a research mentor program, working with a research team on breast cancer detection techniques.

The objectives of this program are to further develop students’ enthusiasm for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects through both role modelling, as well as providing students with the opportunity to undertake research that will have a significant impact on the wider community.

Science teacher at St Matthews Catholic School, Dr Louise Puslednik, said that the School is excited about this collaboration and the opportunities this program presents to the students.

“They’re going to be working on a project with Professor Brennan and they’re going to have data to analyse and eventually write up a scientific paper”, she said.

“So for them, it’s all about using all of those critical thinking and problem solving skills to be able to do that. The best part is that it’s not just science that you can’t see, it has that real world application and it fits in with our ethos here at St Matthew’s where it’s about service to the community and helping others”.

“They’re also going to be mentored by a Ph.D. who’s a part of Professor Brennan’s team. The idea behind that is that they’ll help our students, not only with their skills, but also provide an insight into what university is like. It’s ultimately about providing these students from a rural community with the opportunity to see that university is possible”, said Dr Puslednik.   

Professor Patrick Brennan described the partnership as a “win-win” as there are many benefits to the university as well.

“The University of Sydney has a huge emphasis on outreach activities with secondary schools because we know that the future of science relies on people from schools such as St Matthew’s engaging with science in universities,” he said.

“We can demonstrate to students the real-life scientific objects of issues of global importance such as breast cancer. And for us we’re gaining really bright students helping us analyse real data and engaging in real projects, having students like this is really gold dust. The BREAST team at the university is extremely committed and excited about project”.

“We’re very thankful to St Matthew’s principal, Jason Hanrahan and Dr Puslednik for their engagement with this project because there’s no way this would’ve worked without their enthusiasm and that of the students”.

Professor Brennan added that the students will add new knowledge in breast cancer diagnosis, which will be published in medical journals. 

Courtesy of Sam Potts
Mudgee Guardian

 History in the making at St. Matt’s, Mudgee

It was a historic moment on Friday 10th February, when St Matthews Catholic School, Mudgee celebrated the start of Lent as well as the beginning of the 2016 school year with Mass celebrated by Father Tony Hennessy and attended by all students from Kindergarten to Y12! This is the first time St Matt’s can boast a Y12 class, with the Year of 2016 being the inaugural Y12, given the school extended to offer years 11 and 12 in 2015. 

It was a great start to the Season of Lent, as together we were reminded to pray, fast and give. Thanks to Father Tony and all the students who helped to make it a time to remember.

Brigid Carrigan


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