The Auracle – Volume 10, July 2016


Vol. 10, July 2016

In this issue:

Aurora College

3B Smalls Road
Ryde NSW 2112

Phone: 1300 287 629
Fax: 02 9886 7525

From the Principal’s desk

Big data is a relatively new term that describes the increasing volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data that is collected and analysed in the ‘information age’. Having its roots in the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things, big data is expected to be one of the key drivers of future competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth and innovation in world economies.

Rising alongside the new technologies of big data is a new job title, data scientist. IBM describes the role of the data scientist as follows:

Data scientists are inquisitive: exploring, asking questions, doing “what if” analysis, questioning existing assumptions and processes. Armed with data and analytical results, a top-tier data scientist will then communicate informed conclusions and recommendations across an organisation’s leadership structure.

In 2012, the respected Harvard Business Review named data scientist the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” Reflecting this sentiment is the growing number of data science degrees now on offer in universities in Australia and around the world.

In a rapidly changing world, many of the careers that were once available to Aurora parents and grandparents no longer exist. In fact, recent research commissioned by the Foundation for Young Australians stated that 58% of students and 71% of vocational education students are “on a career path that may disappear or be fundamentally rerouted.” The good news is that a great many new career options, including data science, have emerged to take the place of obsolete careers and industries. Remember, for bright kids like yourselves, the world is full of amazing opportunities!

Of course, students rightly expect that schools will assist them to make informed choices about further study and possible careers. With the Masterclass and Mentor programs, we seek to give our students access to people and organisations who are leaders in a wide variety of fields. (One of the early masterclasses of 2016 was The Internet of Things). Our Mentor program continues to grow via an on-going pilot and the development of a customised program with the assistance of a leading consultant in this area.

To all our students, I offer the following advice:

  • Make the most of the programs available at our school to explore post-school choices and opportunities.
  • Do your own research into areas that interest you and don’t be shy to provide feedback and make suggestions for future masterclass and mentoring opportunities at Aurora.
  • Get to know your strengths, values, personality, and skills.
  • Know your post-school study options and learn about each one.
  • Visit the Department’s Careers Advisory Service and the Good Careers Guide

Early in the development of big data, Gartner, a world leading information technology research and advisory company, published the results of a study into raising customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. In a wide-ranging study of organisations across the globe, Gartner found that:

  • 95% collect feedback from their customers, however
  • only 45% share the feedback with their own staff
  • only 35% analyse the feedback and gain insights from it
  • only 10% deploy policies based on these insights and improve their product and/or service delivery, and
  • only 5% tell their customers about the changes they have implemented

Recently, as part of our ongoing work with our State Reference Group (SRG), we again sought feedback from students, teachers, parents, Aurora College Coordinators and Science Practical Teachers. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to our surveys. With deference to best practice big data principles, I invite you to view the summary of the feedback in the Community Liaisons section below. We have also begun the process of addressing specific individual concerns via telephone calls and/or emails.

Feedback from all groups has been invaluable in the ongoing refinement of the Aurora College model. With the endorsement of the SRG, the Aurora College timetable matrix for 2017 was distributed to all current and potential partner schools on Monday 20 June. The matrix includes a number of well-researched changes to assist the process of timetable alignment. Over the next two terms, Aurora staff will be working with all partner schools to ensure the best possible outcome for all students. The matrix and all associated documents can be viewed on the partner school information page of our website

Big data was also evident at the recent Executive Planning Conference held at Aurora’s coordinating office on 20 and 21 June. On this occasion, the senior executive was joined by all Head Teachers, representatives from each faculty, our Teacher-librarian and our Learning and Support Teacher. Over the two days, we engaged with the School Excellence Framework, reviewed feedback from the SRG surveys, took a ‘deep dive’ into NAPLAN results and looked very closely at our operation in a range of areas. As always, the needs of our students were front-of-mind in all our deliberations.  As our plans continue to develop, we will communicate these through various means, including via The Auracle.

Finally, on behalf of the entire Aurora College community, I would like to congratulate Kate Thompson (Head Teacher Secondary Studies) on the birth of her daughter, Hedi Jane Thompson and Ben Hillsley (Learning Technologies Support Officer) on the birth of his daughter, Parker Jean Hillsley. Our very best wishes to you both and your families.

Enjoy the school holidays!

Chris Robertson


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Deputy’s report

We have had a very busy few weeks as staff completed reports and conducted parent interviews. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents who made appointments to speak with teachers about their child’s progress this semester. If you missed out on this opportunity, please feel free to arrange an interview by contacting the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email

Coordinator of the term

Mrs Helen Vere has been identified as a ‘star Aurora College Coordinator’ this term. Helen is the coordinator at Parkes High School and each day she supports 11 students in Years 7 to 9. Helen is proactive in supporting our students by meeting with parents, home school teachers and Aurora staff. Along with her duties in completing timetable plans and forwarding relevant documentation, Helen can always be relied upon to respond in a timely manner. Thank you for doing a great job, Helen!

Mental Health

Mental health affects all aspects of the life of a school – from student engagement and academic achievement, to social adjustment and student and staff morale. Schools that promote a positive environment perform better, attract and retain more students and build a strong reputation in the community. Wellbeing strategies at Aurora set out to enable students to be healthy, happy, engaged and successful.

Our Wellbeing Action Team was formed this year with the goal of helping our students to build a strong foundation to succeed, connect and thrive in life during and beyond their school years. This team will be responsible for helping Aurora staff to understand the importance of positive mental health and to provide staff and parent professional learning. We are also developing an orientation program that will support our Year 7 students’ transition to high school.

The team is currently developing our Wellbeing policy in line with the Department’s Wellbeing Framework. The policy will provide opportunities for growth that are meaningful, dignified and in the context of individual and shared responsibility. It will be underpinned by productive relationships that support student learning.

MindMatters is a mental health initiative for secondary schools that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people. The initiative provides structure, guidance and support while enabling schools to build their own mental health strategy to suit their unique circumstances. In Term 3, staff at Aurora will participate in the MindMatters program by completing blended professional learning that includes online resources, face-to-face events and webinars. This will equip our teachers with strategies to better support our students.

Brains can have a mind of their own. Beyond Blue is an organisation which offers resources to support parents and students. Why not visit the website or undertake the brain quiz which measures your mental health in the past four weeks?’s-going-on/the-brain-quiz

What’s coming up next term?

  • Outcome advice for Year 7 applicants for 2017 will be sent early Term 3 by the High Performing Students Unit.
  • Applications for enrolment in Years 8 to 10 (2017) opened 27 June 2016 and close 22 July 2016.
  • Applications for enrolment in Year 11 (2017) open 25 July 2016 and close 28 October 2016.
  • Applications for enrolment in Year 12 (commencing Term 4, 2016) open 19 July 2016 and close 26 August 2016.

For further information, please visit

Kathy Klados

Deputy Principal

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Tip from a techie

Image by Yuri Samollov, licensed under CC-BY-2.0

Image by Yuri Samollov, licensed under CC-BY-2.0

Viruses can strike at any time, so you must always be careful. I’ve included some tips below to help prevent being infected, but if you find you do have a virus, please seek help immediately!

  • Always ensure you have more than one backup of your files in disconnected systems. This could be a flash drive that you keep unplugged at home, as well as a copy of your files on the school server or OneDrive service provided by the Department.
  • Update your anti-virus software at least once a week. Windows Defender is a free anti-virus program included with both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. It can provide protection and updates automatically with Windows Update. Another good quality free virus software is AVG Free. Whatever you choose to use, make sure that you have it correctly installed, turned on, and up-to-date.
  • Don’t run applications you aren’t sure about and be careful from where you download files.

Are you trying to download a Microsoft product but it’s not downloading from Microsoft? Could be a virus! Did you receive an email from someone you don’t know? Could be a virus! More tips from Microsoft on how to protect yourself against viruses are available here.

All of these precautions will help to protect you, but they will not make you invulnerable. Everyone will get a virus eventually. Generally, just use your common sense and you shouldn’t have too many problems. If you do get a virus, you need to be extra careful that you don’t accidentally spread it to other computers, either at home or at school.

Help desk

A reminder about our help desk application. We have been using this to assist in monitoring, recording, tracking and reporting on all the issues and questions that students, staff, coordinators and parents have relating to technology in Aurora College.

A number of students and parents have already used the new Live Chat feature, which is linked from both the help desk and the website (you should see it to the left now!). Did you know that when there’s no one to answer your questions live, you can leave a message?

There is also a knowledgebase which allows us to create self-help materials so you can try to solve your problem fast! More documents are always being added, so remember to check back each time you encounter a new problem.

Feel free to check out the site ( and log a call whenever you need some help.


Did you know you can download a copy of your child’s reports from the Sentral Parent Portal? When you log in, simply click on the picture of your child, select ‘Reporting’ from the Dashboard menu in the top left, and then select ‘Published Reports’. You will see a link to each Report that has been published so far. The Report can be displayed in your browser and then printed, or you can download the Report as a PDF file.

If you need help logging into the Sentral Parent Portal, please call us on 1300 610 733 or email

Ben Hillsley

Learning Technologies Support Officer

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Connect locally, learn globally

Aurora’s first Student Representative Council (SRC) was formed in Term 2 following a self-nomination process. Students and schools have been notified and advised to issue badges at their next important assembly in their home school. Aurora will hold an assembly at the next residential to officially welcome the SRC students. Students will hold this position until the end of 2017.

We asked each representative to introduce themselves to you here.

Murphy, Katana My name is Madaline Murphy, but most people know me as Katana. I live in Orange, NSW, but go to Blayney High School where I complete all but one subject through Aurora College! My interests include Karate and Muay Thai, as well as drawing and helping others to learn. I hope to contribute positively to this new SRC!
Hi, my name is Aiden Hegarty and i am a member of Aurora College SRC. I am currently in Year 7 at Coonamble High School in, you guessed it- Coonamble! Coonamble is 2 hours North of Dubbo City and is re-knowned for its rodeo and campdraft. I am a book-worm who enjoys detective, fantasy, magic, mythical and action genres. I love long distance running, tennis, football and follow the St George- Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.
Caldwell, Roshan My name is Roshan Caldwell and I am one of two people from my school in the SRC. I like reading, history and writing and my favourite subjects are English at Aurora and History at my home school.
Jenkins, Zoe My name is Zoe Jenkins and my home school is Tenterfield High School. I am extremely grateful for being enrolled at Aurora and think it is a really wonderful program. When I am not doing school activities I take part in community activities such as netball and tennis. I also take guitar and keyboard lessons, and am starting to play in a band. In my spare time I love reading fiction. I don’t really mind what I read, but I need a lot of books on hand as I finish them very quickly. I also love writing my own stories when I am inspired by what I read. I wanted to be an SRC member as I want to make a difference and be the person that allows Year 7 student voices to be heard. I am very glad to be a member of the SRC and I look forward to working with students and staff to make Aurora even better.
Bottero, Harry My full name is Harry Frank Bottero and my home school is the Tumut High School. I joined the Aurora SRC because I want to make a difference to this school. I also want to spread my love for learning. I was born on the 21st of December, in 2003. I went to preschool in Tumut, (where my dad was a teacher) and then Primary school at Tumut Public School (where my mum is a teacher). I was on the SRC in Year 6 at my primary school and I thoroughly enjoyed the extra responsibilities. I was told in Year 5 that I was eligible to join this “selective school” and I eagerly pounced on the idea. I enjoy mountain biking, reading and playing my trumpet with the Tumut and District Concert Band.
Lawson, Neve Hi Aurora. My name’s Neve and I’m in Year 7. I attend Ulladulla High School and I love going to the beach, dancing and writing stories. I can’t wait for everyone to get to know me as I continue my education at Aurora and through my work on the SRC each year.
Fisher, Lauren

Hi, I’m Lauren Fisher. I attend Willyama High School in Broken Hill, all the way over on the SA border, and I’m currently in Year 9. I have been in Aurora for the past 2 years and also attended xsel in Year 7, where I met some of my best friends through the online environment. I am a part of both the Aurora and Willyama Representative councils and I hope to be able to provide as much support to both of my schooling communities as possible.

At home I enjoy playing sport (primarily Basketball and Netball) and I have represented Broken Hill and the Barrier region in both of these sports. Most recently, I have represented the Far West NSW Academy of Sport at the Academy Games for netball on the East Coast and I found that it was an amazing experience. I also play the guitar and the flute but I’ve only ever performed outside of my bedroom on a few occasions at school concerts. I hope to see everyone at res in Term 4.

de Haan, Daniel Hi, my name is Daniel Dehaan. I am in Year 7 at Aurora College and I am a member of the SRC. I live in a small town called Coolamon, which has a population of around 4,000. Coolamon is about halfway between Junee and Narrandera. At Aurora my favourite subject is science and at my home school it is art. I am the only person in my school who does Aurora. when I’m at home I love to draw, read and play guitar and piano.
Auer, Anna

Salutations. I am Anna Auer (Year 10) and am currently attending Eden Marine High School. My favourite pastimes are reading and theatre.

I look forward to working with you all this semester!

Oquist, Molly My name is Molly Oquist and I am in Year 7 at Aurora College. I am interested in doing my part to improve the virtual high school.  I love to read, write and act. I also have a commitment to social justice, so I always want to try and do the best thing for our world and our school. I am easily approachable and always prepared to listen to the opinions of my fellow students.
Tynan, Maria I am Maria Tynan in Year 7. I play three instruments – the piano, the clarinet and the ukulele!  I play clarinet in the Leeton Town Band. I love writing and art. I also enjoy playing netball and basketball, and I also do a bit of swimming. I look forward to working with you all this year!
Matthews, Tynan Hi my name is Tynan Matthews and I attend Aurora College from Parkes High School. I have lived in Parkes for almost 5 years, previously living in Narrandera and Cooma. I play cricket for Parkes and occasionally Soccer too. I love playing around on computers and the xbox with my other Aurora friends. I love the chances and opportunities I get with Aurora and meeting all these great people. All of my close friends are in Aurora College and so are my favourite teachers. 😉
Lickess, Archie Hi, my name is Archie Lickess and I attend Parkes High School as my home school. I like music … a lot and science as well. I think Aurora is a pretty good school, but all schools can be improved, which is why I joined the SRC.
Hoyle, Libby  My name is Elizabeth Hoyle, but mostly I’m just called Libby. I live with my mum, dad, my brother Lachlan and my new little puppy who we called Ellie the Election Dog, because we bought her on election day. I attend Parkes High School and my favourite subjects are English, Music, Language and History. In my spare time I read, dance (a lot) and bake.


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Community liaisons

In the second half of Term 2, my focus as the Community Liaison Officer and as a member of the State Reference Group has been on ‘community voice’.


Early in the term we invited each parent, student, teacher, Aurora College Coordinator and Science Practical Teacher to complete a short online survey. We asked each group a series of very similar questions to allow comparisons to be made. The summary presentation above has been presented to the SRG, the Executive of Aurora College and staff. We plan to conduct a very similar survey in Term 4 to continue to evaluate our progress.

Richmond River High School during the flooding in June 2016

Richmond River High School during the flooding in June 2016

Many of our students and partner schools were affected by severe weather over the past few weeks. Thunderstorms and heavy rains resulted in flooding in many areas and coastal erosion. We hope the recovery process is well underway. To the right is an image of one of our partner schools, Richmond River High School, during the flooding.

This term, I visited students at Dubbo College South Campus and Coolah Central School. When I travel to a school, I love to meet with the students, the Aurora College Coordinator and the Science Practical Teacher, but I am also very happy to meet with parents and the wider community. I am happy to travel to primary schools, high schools and/or parent meetings to let the community know what Aurora College is all about. If your school or community would like to know more or experience an Aurora College lesson, please let me know and I will try and visit soon.

This term I was also privileged to attend the Edutech conference in Brisbane, which is a national showcase of educational technology. This has provided us with an array of technology solutions we can now evaluate and consider. These have the potential to add value to our online learning spaces, communication tools and learning management systems.

Virginia Cluff

Head Teacher Science | Community Liaison Officer

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Bright lights of Aurora

Congratulations also to the following students:

Emma Hocking of Year 8 (Broken Hill high School) attended the State soccer championships in South Australia over the long weekend in June.

Maria Tynan of Year 7 (Leeton High School) recently competed in a debating competition at her home school. The following was written by Ms Peta Newsam, Aurora College Coordinator and Debating Team teacher at Leeton High School.

“Leeton High School’s Maria Tynan has the audience convinced, but did she also win over the adjudicator?

For the three round robin debates in the Premier’s Debating Challenge for Stage 4, Maria was third speaker in the school’s Year 7 team. Her ability to think on her feet (in order to rebut well), her general knowledge, and, her persuasive use of voice and actions helped her team to win against two other schools. Unfortunately, they lost the debate against the Leeton High School Year 8 team, and consequently they are not the zone winners for Stage 4.

Having learnt many lessons from observing more experienced teams, and listening carefully to the adjudicator’s comments, Maria set as her goal to speak for the full amount of time she was allowed. In the third debate she managed to do that, so well done. With continued exposure to talented debaters, Maria (and the team she is in) will do well in future years, and I look forward to watching their debating skills grow.”  Well done, Maria!

Lily Callaghan  of Year 7 (Wilcannia Central School) has been part of a traditional song writing group. They have used traditional Paarkintji language and local stories to write 3 songs that have since had dances added. She has also had great success with Heaps Decent in creating some original compositions of electronic music.

Ari Landstra and Jackson Winter  of Year 7 (Nowra High School) were invited to attend the Nowra High School Year 7 Rewards Excursion to our local Roxy Cinema. Jackson was also selected to attend the Tap Athletes Program that meets each Thursday during Sport.

Mackewin Strachan and Darcy Hopkins  of Year 8 (Nowra High School) are preparing for the Premiers Debating Challenge as part of the Nowra High School junior team. Darcy was also a member of the team who came first at the Coondoo Classic, an inter-school mountain bike competition. Unfortunately Darcy had to withdraw Day 2 due to illness.

Bronwyn Opferkuch, Aurora College Coordinator from Nowra High School has contributed the following message regarding Ritesh Baral of Year 8:

“We are all going to miss Ritesh Baral who leaves our school as his family is moving to the Hunter region. Ritesh is polite, dedicated and enthusiastic student who makes everyone laugh with his funny sense of humour. He is reliable, thoughtful and always willing to assist others. Ritesh will be very much missed from DR3 and Nowra HS and his Aurora College peers Aiden, Mackewin and Darcy. All the best for the future, Ritesh.”

We will all miss you, Ritesh!

What have you been doing in your home school recently? Ask your Aurora College Coordinator to send a brief report for the next edition of The Auracle. All contributions gratefully accepted by email to

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Opportunities to shine

Last Chance to enter the Australian Mathematics Competition to be held online on Thursday 28 July.
Online competition.

Closing date for entries: 19 July 2016

Please email your name and year to if you would like to enter.

The cost of entry will be covered by Aurora College.

Students who have already entered have received an email with the code for the GETSET preparation course.

Renee Dawson

Head Teacher Mathematics

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Masterclass program

As part of our Masterclass program, students have been able to attend sessions as part of the English Video Conference Series and the Women in Science Video Conference Series run by Macquarie University. On 8 June, students attended the “Slam! The Power of Poetry” session presented by Dr Sarah-Jane Burton, and “Talking Characters” with Dr Jane Messer.

On 15 June, students attended “The Life of a Woman Astronomer” session with Tui Britton. Tui discussed the different research areas in astronomy, the obstacles she has faced and important decisions she made in her career. Students stated that they really enjoyed the topics covered. Below are two quotes from the student surveys. Students were asked to identify the best part of the masterclass.

“Getting to learn how stars are formed and what happens to them and also what it is like to be an astronomer. I wanted to be an astronomer before the masterclass now I really want to be an astronomer.” – Nina

“It was so interesting listening and being able to talk to someone with so much experience in the topic of astrophysics… A brilliant session overall.” – Maria

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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HSC Study Days

Screenshot from one of the recent HSC Study Days, hosted by Aurora College

Screenshot from one of the recent HSC Study Days, hosted by Aurora College

This term, Aurora College hosted HSC Study Days for English, Physics, Economics and Mathematics 2 Unit and Extension 2. These sessions were open to Aurora students, but were also available to students in all rural and remote Department of Education schools in NSW. Several of the Aurora College staff presented sessions, however, we also brought in the expertise of a range of HSC markers and experienced teachers from outside the school to broaden the experience and further enhance our students’ knowledge. We also wanted to share this expertise with schools in rural and remote areas.

The HSC Study Days were well received. 100% of survey participants for the Physics HSC Study Day indicated that they were provided with information and ideas that will support their HSC study and revision, and 100% of those surveyed indicated that the study day provided them with access to resources that they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. We are still collating feedback from the sessions, and will use this feedback to inform the structure of our next Study Days.

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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Spotlight on … Ms Louise Swanson

Where do you normally teach?

Epping Boys High School.

IMG_0188What is your local community like?

Epping is north-west of the Sydney CBD. It is a leafy suburban, middle class area less than 20km from the city.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?


What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

I am attracted to being able to explore and implement innovative practices to enhance teaching, and I am looking forward to being able to implement some new strategies when I return to the classroom.

What are your other interests?

Swimming, snorkeling, bushwalking and watching movies.

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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Library report

Book Week Competition

There is a fabulous Book Week competition running at Aurora College! To help celebrate the CBCA Book of the Year, Aurora College is holding a competition for all students. Simply read the books on the Older Reader short list, and let us know which book you think will win! One student in each Stage will receive a $50 iTunes voucher. Get reading, and enter your selection here:

Ex Libris Aurora

Two editions of Ex Libris Aurora have been emailed to students for the month of June.

New non-fiction resources this month include resources by Dr Karl, information on self-defence techniques, a companion to Divergent, Waleed Aly’s “People like us” and the story of a female solider taken hostage, to highlight a few.

Also this month, there are a number of new and complete series to check out: The Phoenix Files (Chris Morphew); The Ellie Chronicles (John Marsden); and The Mediator Series (Meg Cabot). I’ve also added a few new Halo titles and the latest story from the Treehouse!

New fiction titles covered a wide range of topics, including: a lost library; some rules for scientific living; a soldier’s dog and another title from Markus Zusak – When Dogs Cry.

There are so many new titles available for loan this month, so start planning your holiday reading now!

World Book Online

Students at Aurora College have access to World Book online. Currently, there are a number of videos featured that may interest students:

  • Ever wanted to sky dive? You can try accuracy sky diving or relative work skydiving – watch the video to find out the difference.
  • Fancy bronco riding? All it takes is 8 seconds!
  • Need to know how to nail a shoe on a horse? World Book has that covered with a short video too.

To access World Book Online, log in to your portal account and follow the links from the OLIVER homepage.

Text Books

Students were sent an email earlier in the year, providing them with access details to Learning Field, our current digital text book provider. Textbooks can be accessed on desktop machines and personal devices. If you would like the email to be resent explaining access to Learning Field, contact Ben Hillsley or myself to resend.

Typing sites

With our increased time in front of screens, it is important that students care for their growing bodies. A number of visual resources will be sent out to Aurora College Coordinators, to be displayed in student work spaces.

There are also a number of sites that provide support to improve typing skills. Below are links to some of the many sites that students may like to access:

Master classes

A new masterclass slideshow is in OLIVER. Students can access websites and digital resources that have been recommended during masterclasses. Currently there are links to the follow topics: Understanding and engaging with Generation Z; SLAM! The power of poetry; The power of language; Talking characters; Science sharks; Hypnotic illusions and clinical delusions; and The life of a woman astronomer.


Please visit and ‘like’ our Aurora College Facebook page. I am regularly using the Facebook page to share information about new resources, competitions, subscriptions, and all things ‘library’ related.

New Resources

If students would like a resource to be made available digitally, please send me an email ( ) with the subject, book title or author’s name. Student and staff contributions are always welcome.

Happy reading!

Kaylene Taylor

Teacher Librarian

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Storytelling with Year 7 English

In the second instalment of stunning Yearr 7 narratives, sit back and enjoy ‘The Saumon Fume’, by Zoe Jenkins and ‘The Muster’, by Kate Currans.


Penny Boucher & Daisy Little

Teachers, English

‘The Saumon Fume’ by Zoe Jenkins of Year 7 (Tenterfield High School)

Lucette quickened her pace as she entered the Leon market, excited for her father’s birthday, she was making lunch, Lucette didn’t know what it was going to be as that is not the French way; she would create her dish with the best complimentary produce available.

She could smell the lovely warm fresh bread, the salty tang of seafood and the delicious smell of warm pastries as she passed quickly between the stalls. All around her children laughed, women chatting gaily about one thing or another and the stall owners calling out their wares while holding out samples.

Lucette listened carefully to what the stall owners said as she passed, ears pricked for the all important source of inspiration, the first ingredient. They were saying things like “Try some of these delicious olives, they go beautifully with pastas.” Or “Why don’t you try some of my paella Monsieur, marinated fish and freshly cooked seafood, it melts on your tongue.” Soon she heard something that made her stop and look for the owner of the voice. Further down the row of stalls a man selling seafood caught her eye “That is him.” she thought and hurried towards the stall. As she drew closer the man started his cry again, “Try some of my saumon fumé, caught locally and smoked to perfection.” Lucette’s dad loved smoked salmon so it would be perfect for the lunch.

Upon reaching the stall Lucette asked if she could try the salmon. “Of course Mademoiselle,” the man said, cutting a sliver of salmon for her. “Smell it, it is good.” He said encouragingly, so Lucette did. It smelt beautifully of the ocean with a hint of cherry wood and made her mouth water, she looked at it and the flesh was a delicate and enticing rosy pink. Slowly she put the sliver in her mouth. She rolled it around in her mouth with her tongue, savouring the flavour, it was amazing.

If you had been watching you would have seen her open her eyes in surprise as the stunning flavours washed through her mouth and you would have seen her look in wonder at the stall holder. “How did you make this?” She said as she bought the fish. “It’s delicious.” The shop keeper winked. ”It is a secret family recipe, I am glad you like it.”

“Merci beaucoup.” Said Lucette and the man smiled replying “You’re welcome,” and wrapped the fish. Lucette was about to put it in her basket when a thought struck her. “Excuse me, would you be able to hold on to this for me, it will get hot if I carry it around while I shop?” She asked. “Of course,” said the man and he placed the fish in a secure spot. “Be sure to come back for it though, au revoir.”

“I will.” Said Lucette. “Au revoir.” Then she moved on.

Keeping the taste of the au saumon in mind she bought some cheeses, bread, French melons that were grown in the Basque region and some olives, all of which complimented the au saumon’s taste. Lucette excitedly started home, keen to begin preparing the meal, it was going to be delicious and she couldn’t wait to start.

When she arrived she unloaded her basket and got straight to work. First she prepared some puff pastry, then she cut the melon into generous portions and arranged it on an ornate serving plate. After that she placed the bread along with the cheese and cheese knives on a platter. Lucette was picking a lemon from her father’s garden to make a delicate sauce for the au saumon, when she realised with horror, she had left the most important ingredient at the market.

She dashed back to the market as fast as possible. Arriving breathlessly at the stall she panted, “Do you still have my saumon fume?” In answer the man gave her the poisson. “Enjoy your lau saumon Mademoiselle, au revoir.” He said and Lucette still out of breath put the fish in her basket then with a grateful “Au revoir” dashed home again.

Lucette carefully unwrapped the fish and arranged it on the pastry. Then she deftly made the sauce, excitement bubbling inside her, and drizzled it carefully over the saumon fume and the puff pastry, then she was done.

Lucette’s father, filled with emotion cried with happiness as he looked over everything that had been prepared for him. Now the plates were empty of their delicious food and he was filled with the beautiful meal. He was happy and when he heard the story behind the au saumon Lucette’s father laughed heartily and hugged her. “Perhaps together we should write a guide to market shopping, including a section on how not to forget things” he joked. “You could find it very useful. Thank you for this meal Lucette I love you deeply.”

‘The Muster’ by Kate Currans of Year 7 (Nyngan High School)

Beep beep, beep, rang her alarm clock. Claire rubbed the sleep from her eyes and slowly awakened to another day. She rolled over, looking out of the window. She watched sleepily as the sun was rising up through the bare, spindly trees. The sky was a beautiful pinkish colour with mauve streaks warming the landscape. Claire loved living in the outback, waking up to pure silence, apart from the lovely sound of birds chirping. She breathed in the fresh, crisp air, knowing this is where she belonged.

Claire threw back the blankets and hopped out of bed. She dug her toes into the carpet, taking a moment to enjoy the softness massaging her toes. She changed into work clothes and walked to the kitchen. She kissed her mum good morning and started pouring milk onto her breakfast. “Eat up quickly darling; it’s a busy day today.” Claire’s mother reminded her. It was the big cattle muster today. They were to round up all the cattle and bring them back to the yards. The weather forecast had said that they were expecting a storm during the next couple of days so they were moving the cattle to higher ground. Claire’s favourite part of the muster was crossing the creek on her horse and she hoped that the rain wouldn’t spoil this.

After breakfast Claire briskly walked down to the stables to give the workers a hand to saddle up. When they were finished Claire jumped up onto her horse, Magic. She rubbed his soft coat lovingly as she clicked her tongue, requesting him to move. Magic walked forward, happy to be out of the stables. Claire eased Magic into a trot, followed by a slow canter. Claire’s black hair flowed down her back in the strong wind, her blue eyes concentrating on the road ahead. As she looked up she could see the clouds building. Claire was worried that the storm may come early. Carefully, she turned around to see where the others were. They weren’t far behind, so she slowed into a trot. She signalled to the clouds and her father nodded. Catching up to her he told her the plan. They were to quickly round up all the cattle before the rain hit, herding them safely over the creek and in the yards.

They eventually got to the paddock, the clouds looking menacing. The wind was howling and Claire felt grateful for the warmth and comfort of Magic. She was given her position for the muster which was on the far side of the mob. She skirted around the edge of the herd and hunted up the cattle. The cows bellowed to their calves as if reminding them to stay by their side. Claire could now smell the rain and was becoming rather nervous.

The mob was nearly to the creek when the rain started pelting down. Large droplets stung Claire’s face partly obscuring her vision. Claire urged the reluctant cows until they hesitatingly crossed the creek, followed by their calves. The heads of the calves were just above the water level, which was beginning to rise threateningly. The calves mooed to their mothers in distress. Most of them managed to cross the creek and scramble up the bank to the safety of their mother’s side. But one calf was too weak. With a feeling of dread Claire realised that he wasn’t going to make it across. The current was too strong. She quickly grabbed her rope and flicked the lasso through the air, over the calf’s head. As the rope pulled taught, she urged Magic forward through the current. Claire could feel the clenching of his powerful muscles as she gripped with her legs and they edged towards the other side, towing the calf in their wake. The calf’s mother bellowed frantically as Claire lunged from the horse’s back and scrambled up the muddy bank. The calf was now so weak and cold it was shivering. Quickly removing the rope she watched the unharmed calf totter shakily back to its mother who nuzzled her comfortingly then turned to join the herd.

Claire remounted and trailed the drenched figures to the main mob. Claire shivered uncontrollably, her clothes wet and the icy wind lashing at her face. With a rush of relief Claire recognized her father’s face through the relentless rain. “Well done mate.” her father’s words warmed her numbness. “Let’s call it a day.” Feeling a sense of pride, Claire sat up straight in her saddle and smiled as she headed home by her father’s side. The horses lengthened their strides in anticipation. The rain eased and a rainbow formed in the distance. Claire drew a deep breath, savouring the smell of wet earth, her earth, her home. Claire knew in her heart this is where she belonged.

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From the engine room

The Good Careers Guide is a free digital e-book and website ( which offers detailed analysis of a broad spectrum of occupations and the skills and qualifications required to pursue those occupations, focusing in particular on STEM related career pathways.

Parent Portal

If you have not set up a Parent Portal account with Aurora College then please email The Parent Portal is an important access point to look up your student’s reports, to arrange parent teacher interviews at scheduled times and to view the current school calendar.

We wish our students and families a relaxing holiday and look forward to a very busy Term 3.

Denise Deaves

School Administrative Manager

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Aurora College; 3b Smalls Road, Ryde, NSW 2112
Phone: 02 9886 7560; Fax: 02 9886 7525; Email:
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