The Auracle – Volume 11, August 2016


Vol. 11, August 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

Locations of the home schools of new Stage 4 and 5 students in 2017

Locations of the home schools of new Stage 4 and 5 students in 2017

This edition of The Auracle comes with a big ‘well done and welcome’ to the new students who will be joining our school in 2017. The NSW selective high school placement process for this year has concluded and I am pleased to report that our Year 7 cohort will comprise 72 students from 44 schools across the state. A further 18 students from 11 schools were successful in gaining vacant places in Years 8 to 10. The students and staff look forward to working with you in the years to come.

The map to the right shows the locations of our new 2017 students. News of the great work being done by our students and staff is obviously reaching into areas of the state not previously touched by Aurora College. In 2017, our school will share Stage 4 and 5 students with 13 schools that have not previously partnered with us. I would like to thank our parent representative in this process, Angela Robbers, mother of Jack in Year 10 at Bega High School.

Education Week is an opportunity to showcase the great talents of 790,000 public school students and to celebrate the valuable contribution that public education makes to our communities. This year, the theme for Education Week was ‘Shared stories, better learning, stronger communities’.

Our school was chosen by the Department of Education to feature at the official launch for Education Week 2016 held on Monday 1 August at Georges River Secondary College Peakhurst Campus. Several weeks earlier, the Department’s media unit spent some time at Aurora’s coordinating office filming interviews with myself, Dr Geoff Goldrick and students from his Year 7 science class: Aiden Hegarty (Coonamble High School); Libby Hoyle (Parkes High School); and Jaimee Soo (Ulladulla High School).

The resulting video (below) was one of four stories to be played at the launch attended by Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli and Minister for Early Childhood Education Leslie Williams. The video is also currently featuring on the home page of the Department of Education website

Of course, the creation of Aurora College was a key deliverable of the Department’s Rural and Remote Education – A blueprint for action. An important goal of the blueprint is to give Stage 6 students in rural and remote communities the opportunity “to study specialist subjects they cannot access in their home school.”

In 2017, Aurora is offering the following Stage 6 subjects:

Year 11 Year 12

English Advanced

English Extension 1




Mathematics (2 unit)

Mathematics Extension 1

Italian Beginners


Software Design and Development

English Advanced

English Extension 1

English Extension 2



Mathematics (2 unit)

Mathematics Extension 1

Mathematics Extension 2

Italian Beginners


All Principals in rural and remote government secondary schools have received information regarding the Stage 6 application process at Aurora College. Applications for entry into Year 11 (2017) close on close Friday 28 October 2016. Applications for entry into Year 12 (commencing Term 4, 2016) close on Friday 26 August 2016. Current Year 11 Aurora students do not need to apply for entry into Year 12. For further information, visit our website

Secondary Principals in rural and remote areas of the state who wish to learn more about partnering with Aurora College to provide a broader Stage 6 curriculum at their school should contact Aurora College on 02 9886 7560.

Enjoy another ‘bumper’ edition of The Auracle.

Chris Robertson


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Deputy’s report

Trial HSC examinations and the HSC

We are now in Term 3 and for Year 12 the finish-line is in sight. Later there will be plenty of time to celebrate, however, now is the time to consolidate learning and focus on improving examination results. Students and their parents should note that an enormous amount of growth can happen following the Trial HSC examinations and how important this growth will be for HSC examination results. We are currently finalising a masterclass with Elevate Education which all Year 12 students will be able to attend. This masterclass will aim to improve study techniques, increase motivation, build confidence and lift final exam performances. I wish all Year 12 students the best of luck with their examinations.

Please note: Preliminary Yearly Examinations begin in Week 7.  These examinations will be an opportunity for Year 11 students to further develop the necessary skills in preparation for their 2017 HSC year.

Canberra residential

The next Residential School program will be held from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November with some exciting activities being planned for all students. It will be held in Canberra and details regarding transport have been e-mailed to all parents. Further information will be sent next week relating to permission notes, activities and payments. These will need to be finalised by Week 9 of this term.

Student Assistance Scheme

Aurora College’s Student Assistance Scheme (SAS) is a limited annual allocation of funds to support eligible students attending the college. The scheme provides financial assistance to families for school curriculum related expenses. Financial assistance may be sought to participate in the Residential School program. If you require more information please contact our office on 1300 287 629 or email at

Subject selection process

The process of selecting subjects and developing timetables for 2017 is now in full swing in most schools. Students in Year 10 will be making subject selection choices for Years 11 and 12. If your child would like to study a subject in Year 11 or 12 that is not currently being offered at their home school, they may be able to study this through Aurora College. For further information, please visit

Communicating with Aurora

If any of our students are in need of support, their first point of contact is usually his/her Aurora College Coordinator. If students are absent for an assessment, not understanding assessment guidelines or not understanding class work, they are encouraged to communicate directly with their teachers. Parents who would like to contact your child’s teacher to discuss any concerns can do so by contacting the coordinating office by phone on 1300 287 629 or email at

Finally, a reminder that parents are able to access their child’s attendance records via the Sentral portal. Please contact the office if there is a discrepancy that needs to be corrected.

Building resilience

Everyone faces tough times and life isn’t always smooth sailing. It is how we cope with tough times that shows us how resilient and mentally fit we are. It is normal for students to feel slightly unsettled in friendship groups and classes at different times throughout the school year. It is important that students have coping strategies to deal with changes and tough situations. If a student is facing a troubling situation it is important they have support in the form of contact with a teacher, parent or counsellor, but it is equally important that we teach our students everyday coping strategies to enhance wellbeing and resilience.

At the following link you will find a document with 9 tips to improve your wellbeing:

The following video was produced by and features young people talking about how they cope with feeling stressed, anxious, worried or down.

ReachOut has recently produced a website for parents and a live forum to help you support your child through everyday issues and tough times. On this site you will find fact sheets, stories, practical tips and tools covering a range of topics, issues and experiences that are relevant to teenagers. For more information please visit

School counsellor

I would like to welcome our new counsellor to Aurora College, Jennifer Whitington. Jennifer will be with us each Wednesday until the end of the term. Elizabeth McDonald will then continue in this role, beginning Term 4. If your child wishes to speak to the counsellor, you can contact the office and we can arrange an appointment for them.

What’s coming up?

  • Applications for enrolment in Year 12 (commencing Term 4, 2016) close on Friday 26 August 2016
  • Applications for enrolment in Year 11 2017 close Friday 28 October 2016
  • Preliminary HSC examinations Week 7
  • The next Residential School will be held from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November in Canberra. All Years 7 to 10 students must attend. Year 11 Physics and Chemistry students must also attend to complete compulsory practical components of the course.

Kathy Klados

Deputy Principal

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Tip from a techie

Windows 10

The Windows 10 free upgrade has now ended, but did you know that students can still get a free copy? Students can log into the OnTheHub website and get one free copy of Windows 10 to use on any computer they wish. You can also use this site to download a free copy of the Adobe Creative Suite, including applications such as Photoshop and Premiere!

Read the following document (OnTheHub software download instructions) for instructions on how to log in and add software to your cart.

On the horizon

There are a number of exciting new technologies that we are reviewing, testing, and hoping to implement soon. These include:

  • the ClickView digital content library, filled with educational video resources for teachers to use in class
  • a new LearningField eTextbook application, from VitalSource. This application is easier to use, and more robust, meaning less issues for students and teachers! The new platform also allows students to read their textbooks directly in the browser without needing the application.
  • iSee virtual environment testing is still underway. We are completing the final testing now, and hope to start allowing students to play in the virtual playground before the end of term.
  • a new updated Helpdesk, with better self-help features. The new version of our helpdesk should be ready to rollout by the end of term. New features include a better knowledgebase section, allowing us to create how-to documents that you can find at any time of the day or night.

Ben Hillsley

Learning Technologies Support Officer

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Connect locally, learn globally

My hockey team "Cowra Glass" at the finals

My hockey team “Cowra Glass” at the finals

I am Maddy Mulligan in Year 7. I absolutely love Harry Potter and Maths! I play 2 instruments – the alto saxophone in my school band and the violin privately (at the moment I am doing 4th grade). On Saturdays I play the best sport, which is obviously hockey. I also do a bit of athletics, swimming and a variety of other sports, but hockey is my absolute favourite. I have quite an average sized family – two younger, annoying sisters, my Mum and my Dad. We also have one cute dog, a golden retriever by the name of Ollie and two cats, Squid and Prawns.

I live in a reasonably small country town called Cowra, which is about 400 km south west of Sydney. The population is 9,730 people. Cowra is in the middle of the Lachlan Valley and we farm a lot of things. We produce heaps of canola, wheat, livestock and also have a few vineyards. Cowra is famous for the ‘Cowra P.O.W Breakout’ which happened during the second world war. Ever since the Japanese prisoners broke out, Cowra has had a strong connection with Japan. As a memorial, we have our beautiful Japanese Gardens which has many visitors.

I live on a farm about 10 minutes from my home school so I catch the bus to and from school on most days. On our farm we have a range of items. We used to have a winery/vineyard, so we still have lots of grapes as well as cattle, sheep, canola, wheat and Lucerne hay. Now, we also use our farm for events and functions as we have an Italian styled area with a large Tuscan tower and under-ground bunker with a movie screen. We have held weddings, fashion parades, etc.

My family's farm with the vineyard and tower

My family’s farm with the vineyard and tower

My home school is Cowra High School (CHS), which is one of two high schools in Cowra. CHS has about 600-700 students and there are about 100 people in my year. CHS is a great home school. The people and teachers are great and there are a lot of opportunities. As I said before, I play the alto saxophone in the school band and I am also part of the junior debating team (first speaker, for all people who enjoy debating).

I am so glad I was accepted into Aurora because I get to meet amazing people that are really similar to me. I have made heaps of great friends with a lot of other kids. All the teachers are fabulous and are very supportive of me and my work. Everyone is really nice! All the teachers are experts in their field, helping me learn more and more. I also absolutely love the masterclasses! One of the other reasons I love Aurora is having to think every single day, without fail. I love using my brain to solve, puzzle and write.

My favourite subject is definitely Maths, because I love numbers! They are incredible and they all have secret abilities that we just need to find and then solve. When I finish school, I would like to get a doctorate in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and maybe electronic engineering. I haven’t completely decided yet, but something in the STEM area would be great. I know it is a lot of time to spend at university, but if I do it gradually it won’t be that bad and I am sure I will love university as well. I also love science because science has a lot to do with maths.

Maddy Mulligan

Year 7, Cowra High School

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Community liaisons

Quilla Brodie, Coolah Central School

Quilla Brodie, Coolah Central School

I recently attended and was a guest presenter at the Mudgee small schools staff development day. During the day I met with teachers, Principals and SASS staff and informed them about Aurora College and the opportunities it offers gifted and talented students. I also delivered two professional development sessions on the Department of Education cloud computing platforms, Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps.

Another great recent school visit was to Coolah Central School. Here I had the opportunity to catch-up with Quilla Brodie.

In Week 2, Ms Swanson and myself traveled to Canberra to investigate some opportunities for the Residential School in Term 4. We toured a range of facilities and have made a big start on scheduling an amazing program for all students.

Harry Bottero and Jess Larter from Tumut High School

Harry Bottero and Jess Larter from Tumut High School

In preparation for the Residential School, I will be scheduling some meetings with Year 10 to initiate plans for the Thursday night activities. An emerging tradition at Aurora College is that this particular night of the second Residential School is planned and coordinated by our Year 10 students.

During my time in the Canberra region I was also able to go out and visit Tumut High where I spent some time with Harry Bottero and Jess Larter. I then made my way to Yass High School and met with Bronwyn Kemp and an array of students curious about what Aurora College is and how the application process works.

I am looking forward to further road trips this term to see as many of our Aurora College students as possible and to meet with anyone else who is curious about our school and what we can offer. These trips will include primary schools as well as high schools, so if you would like me to visit your school to speak about Aurora please call the Aurora office.

Virginia Cluff

Head Teacher Science | Community Liaison Officer

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Italian for beginners

James, our Italian Beginners student from Dunedoo.

James, our Italian Beginners student from Dunedoo Central School.

Benvenuti a italiano!

The Italian Beginners class has spent Term 1 and 2 talking about their Personal World, describing themselves, their families and their communities.

James from Dunedoo Central School studies Year 11 Italian beginners. Here he will introduce himself in Italian. James has learnt to make connections between languages, so see how much you understand.

Buon giorno

Mi chiamo James e studio italiano beginners ad Aurora College.

Frequento Dunedoo High School

Il mio passatempo preferito e giocare a squash

Mi piace molto parlare in italiano

We will give you the rest in English.

Why did you choose to study Italian?

It all stemmed from my plan of wanting to do a student exchange at the end of the Year. I saw that Aurora was offering the study of languages. Because I was already studying Physics through Aurora, I thought I would also choose Italian Beginners.

Do you think studying a language will help you in the future?

Studying Italian has actually made me think about the English language and patterns that I can use to learn a second language. I also have a better understanding of different cultures and am looking forward to spending time in Italy at the end of the year.

In future newsletters we will keep you posted on James’ exchange and his experience in the beautiful Italia!

Teresa Naso

Teacher Italian

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Mathematics report

Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians – Challenge Stage

This term, 28 students from Years 7, 8 and 9 completed the Australian Mathematics Competition online. Many of our students also completed the paper version through their home schools. Congratulations to all students for participating in these prestigious competitions. It is important for students to have a go and to stretch their knowledge beyond what they see every day and apply this knowledge to different contexts. I look forward to receiving the results and seeing an even greater level of participation in 2017.

Certificates from the Australian Mathematics Trust recently arrived at the Aurora coordinating office. These certificates recognise the efforts of our Year 7 and 8 students who attempted the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MYCA). The MYCA Challenge Stage is entered by students from Australia, New Zealand and some Southeast Asian countries. There are six difficult problems to attempt over a period of just three weeks. This term, 4 students in Year 7 and 8 are completing the Enrichment stage of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians.

Congratulations to the following students:

Zoe Jenkins (Year 7, Tenterfield High School) gained a High Distinction in the Years 7 and 8 division. This placed her in the top 6% of Year 7 students who entered!

Liam Wymer (Year 8, Young High School) gained a Distinction, whilst Djer Kenny (Year 7, Mudgee High School) and Jaimee Soo (Year 7, Ulladulla High School) were each awarded a Credit.

Participation certificates were awarded to Tynan Matthews (Year 8, Parkes High School), Jonah Menzies (Year 7, Maclean High School), Kahli Henley (Year 7, Jindabyne Central School), Maddison Gay (Year 7, Jindabyne Central School), Madeleine Mulligan (Year 7, Cowra High School), and Emily Adamson (Year 7, Wade High School).

Zoe, Jaimee, Djer and Jonah have now moved up to the next stage of the Challenge, tackling the Dirichlet Enrichment Program, which is designed for Year 6 and 7 students. Liam and Tynan are going even higher by completing the Euler level.

Thank you to the Aurora College Coordinators around the state who helped these budding mathematicians submit their work for marking. A big thank you must also go to Mr Ian Whiteway for his support in running the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians at Aurora College. Great job, Mr Whiteway!

It is hoped that Aurora’s participation in the 2017 Maths Challenge will expand.

Mrs Renee Dawson

Head Teacher Mathematics

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Science report

In Term 3 Week 1, the science faculty held the Australian National Chemistry Quiz (ANCQ) for interested students. This competition was voluntary and students were asked to sign up to enter, with the fee being paid by Aurora. The competition was held on Thursday 21 July and students had to answer 30 multiple choice questions in 60 minutes. The ANCQ aims to promote interest in chemistry and the role of chemists in our society. The competition is an international one and we eagerly await the results to see how our students faired against the rest of the world.

Image copyright The ConocoPhillips Science Experience. Used with permission.

Image copyright: The ConocoPhillips Science Experience. Used with permission.

In other Science news, there is a summer program called Science Experience. This is open to Year 9 and 10 students. It is a residential science program held at a number of universities in Australia during the summer holidays. The program is designed to provide students who have an interest in science, with an opportunity to engage in a wide range of fascinating activities under the guidance of scientists who love their work.

Please visit for entry information and further details on the dates and programs in your area, or download the Science Experience NSW brochure. Please note that the UNSW program has been moved to 5 – 7 October 2016.

Years 8 and 9 competition

In October 2016, applications will open to sit the Sydney University Science Outreach Program Qualifying exam. If successful, students are invited to participate in the Gifted and Talented Discovery program in July 2017. For more information, please visit

Years 7 and 8 competition

The Origin Energy Little Big Idea Competition is an amazingly easy competition to enter and prizes include a trip to the USA for each of the Major Prize winners. Visit for further information. If you need any help with your application, please let your science teacher know. Entries for this one close on 30 September 2016. Just one little idea could lead you to amazing places!

National Science Week 2016

Aurora College is planning to celebrate National Science Week virtually in 2016. All students in Years 7 to 10 are encouraged to enter the UNSW Bragg Student Prize for Science Writing.

Copyright Refraction Media. Used with permission.

Copyright Refraction Media. Used with permission.

Did you know that wi-fi, penicillin, ultrasound scanners and Google Maps are all Australian inventions? What do you think are the most important discoveries that have been made by Australian scientists, engineers and inventors? Choose a great Australian invention or discovery, enter the competition and in 800 words or less, describe how the discovery came about, explain what it does, and discuss its importance. What does it mean for the world today and into the future? For competition details, visit

Finally, the science faculty is planning a 3D modelling competition where students can design a small piece that we will 3D print and present to them at residential. Details will be sent to students next week.

Virginia Cluff

Head Teacher Science | Community Liaison Officer

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Residential school program

Planning for the Term 4 Residential School program is currently being finalised. Among the planned activities, students will be involved in hands-on STEM activities at the Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre and will visit the Australian Mint and Questacon. Groups of students will also visit the National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, Interview to Impress and the Australian Institute of Sport.

Year 11 students will be undertaking some mandatory Physics and Chemistry Practicals as well as having some face-to-face lessons with their teachers.

Permission notes will be sent out shortly and will need to be returned by the end of Week 9.

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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Student Representative Council

At meetings of the Aurora College Student Representative Council (SRC) we have made some important decisions and have taken action to ensure the continuing wellbeing and progress of our school. The following things have been achieved:

  • We are pushing for the iSee program to be ready for next term. A change to the Department’s Secure Proxy Authentication (SPA) has caused iSee to temporarily stop working, however, Aurora has its finest technology people working on it.*
  • We have decided on a roster for our meetings. Because we are not a typical SRC at a school that is hardly ordinary, we have decided that the jobs ‘Chairperson’ and ’Minute taker’ will be shared by all of our members.
  • This year, Aurora College will have a year book. A year book is where photos of everyone are included, with comments from our fellow students. It also highlights everyone’s achievements. The SRC will assist Mr Henzler with the development of this year book.
  • On the final night of the second residential, Year 10 have (in the past last residential of the year) hosted a celebration. Year 10 (2015) hosted a trivia night, but Year 10 (2016) would like to do something different. Year 10 welcomes ideas from everyone for this activity. The SRC will help Year 10 and Mrs Cluff with the running of the activity on the final night of the next residential.

Harry Bottero

Year 7, Tumut High School

*Note from the Editor: The latest version of iSee is now running successfully in a number of schools and we are very confident that all students and staff will have full access before the end of this term 🙂

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Bright lights of Aurora

Curious Minds Camp 2016

During the school holidays, Madison Bland and Julia Williams (Year 9, Parkes High School) traveled to Canberra, where they spent three days at the University of Canberra for the second and final camp of Curious Minds.

Curious Minds is a new program, run by Australian Science Innovations (ASI) and the Australian Mathematics Trust (AMT), encouraging girls all over Australia to enter careers within the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

At the first camp, the girls were assigned mentors to help them get experience in areas of STEM. Recently when they attended the final camp where they were re-united with their mentors and they presented what they had researched over the 6 months in-between camps.

Madison’s presentation was on an alarm clock she had made using Arduino equipment, which the girls were introduced to at the first camp. The alarm clock used a photo-resistor among other gadgets, and was coded to make a rooster noise when the first rays of sun were detected.

Julia’s presentation informed the group about fire-tornadoes, how they are created and their relative dangers. She also gave a ‘raging’ report on the fire tornadoes during the 2003 Canberra bush fires.

For Madi and Julia, the Curious Minds program has literally been a life changing experience. They have been exposed to university lectures of different sciences and have met many amazing women who have been successful in STEM fields.

The girls agree that the highlights of the camps were the incredible friends they have made, visiting the workshop where the Questacon exhibitions are made and the final karaoke/disco night to end the program. They have both enrolled in the Science Olympiads and will continue to pursue STEM fields in their learning.

Maria Tynan’s adventures

Maria Tynan (Year 7, Leeton High School) has been busy improving her music skills as well as extending her brain.

Recently, Maria travelled to Sydney for a week-long Music Camp held at Narrabeen. She applied for and was chosen by musical merit for the NSW State Junior Music Camp (Years 5 – 8) run by the NSW Education Arts Unit. About 250 students were selected and although Maria plays three instruments, her main instrument was piano.

The six-day camp allows skilled musicians to receive expert tutelage and develop their performance skills. Participants work on instrumentals, rehearse, and perform high quality repertoire culminating in a concert for families and friends on the final night of the camp. At the concert, Maria performed for an audience of about five hundred people. Maria was excited when she told me that one of the tutors was James Morrison’s brother, John.

In the following week, Maria represented Leeton High School in a Tournament of the Minds (TOM) study skills day. This day included an introduction to TOM, as well as some advanced thinking skills. The workshop was held at Griffith and later this month, the Leeton High School team will face their first tournament. Maria said the day was very beneficial and she will be able to use a lot of the information she acquired.

Last week Maria had to turn her attention back to debating, and she attended 2 days of workshops at Leeton High School with a flying squad from the NSW Arts Unit in Sydney. She also helped in the Stage 5 Regional finals of the Premier’s Debating Challenge by acting as timekeeper for one of the semi-finals. Later, Maria was third speaker for a team in a practice debate and she received great feedback from the adjudicators.

Congratulations also to the following students:

Jackson came 3rd in Javelin at the NSW South Coast Regional Athletics Carnival

Jackson finished 3rd in Javelin at the NSW South Coast Regional Athletics Carnival

Jackson Winter (Year 7, Nowra HS) competed at NSW South Coast Regional Athletics Carnival held in Canberra. Jackson came 3rd in javelin.

Tynan Matthews (Year 8, Parkes High School) was awarded a Distinction in the ICAS Writing, a Distinction in the ICAS Science, a Distinction in the ICAS Digital Technologies, and a High Distinction in the Categorical and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competitions.

Madison Bland (Year 9, Parkes High School) received a Credit in the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA), and a Credit in the Categorical and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competitions.

Julia Williams (Year 9, Parkes High School) was awarded a Distinction in the ICAS Science and a Credit in the Categorical and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competitions.

Trefor Robinson (Year 9, Parkes High School) was awarded a Distinction in the ICAS Science, a Credit in the ICAS Writing, a Credit in the Digital Technologies, and a Credit in the Categorical and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competitions.

Alex Williams (Year 7, Parkes High School) received a Distinction in the ICAS Writing, a Distinction in the ICAS Science and a Distinction in the Categorical and Algorithmic Thinking (CAT) competitions.

Libby Hoyle (Year 7, Parkes High School) was awarded a Distinction in the ICAS Writing and a Credit in the ICAS Science competitions.

Alleyne Gaut (Year 7, Parkes High School) received a Credit in the ICAS Writing competition and a Credit in Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians.

Jordyn Chapple (Year 8, Parkes High School) and Alex Williams (Year 7, Parkes High School) played in the Parkes High School Junior netball team which finished 4th in the Western Competition.

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

Writers Prize 2016


Apollo – The Aurora College Creative Writing Group

This group provides opportunities for students of all year levels and writing abilities to write, share ideas, and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Email Miss Little if you are interested in joining.

The Harding Miller Foundation Scholarships

The Harding Miller Foundation has 75 new scholarships available in 2017. Girls entering Year 9 next year and studying in an Australian Public School are eligible to apply. The scholarships are awarded for 2 years with an opportunity to extend upon application. Applications are due 30 October 2016. Visit the Harding Miller Foundation website for more information

Scientia Challenge: Years 7 – 10

The Scientia Challenge Program is designed for gifted and talented high school students in Years 7-10. The program features a range of workshops taught over three days. The courses are developed and presented by academics at the University of New South Wales. For further details, visit

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Masterclass program

The Masterclass program for this term is taking shape. Our partnership with Macquarie University and their Leap Links program has enabled us to present sessions on The Value of 3D Printing and Everyday Engineering on 9 August and two upcoming sessions on 16 August on Accessible Automation and Creative Robotics. In September, we will be accessing masterclass sessions on Careers in Health and Helping in association with Macquarie University. These have been valuable sessions which enable students to learn from experts in their fields, including professionals and academics.

In collaboration with the Australian Communication and Media Authority and the Office of Children’s E-safety Commissioner, we hosted sessions on The Internet and the Law on 18 August. These were held to engage students in learning about responsibilities and rights related to digital behaviour.

A Parent Study Skills masterclass will be held on the afternoon of September 21 at 4:30 pm. This session is designed to help parents support their child in managing their time, staying motivated and prioritising work. To register your interest in attending, please contact me at or contact the Aurora College office.

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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Mentoring program

The Aurora College mentoring program provides an opportunity for students to be mentored by professionals from a number of organisations. The mentors guide students in areas such as careers, wellbeing, stress management and enhancing student performance. The aim of this program is to enhance students’ awareness of career options and provide insights into different occupations.

A series of quality resources to support the mentoring program have recently been developed specifically for Aurora College students. In the future, these will be used to support and facilitate conversations between the mentors and mentees.

There are currently opportunities for more students to be involved in the mentoring program. Please contact me at if you would like to participate.

Louise Swanson

R/Head Teacher Secondary Studies

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Spotlight on … Miss Daisy Little

At what other school do you teach?

I am one of four teachers who are based at the Aurora College site in Ryde. This is my first year at Aurora College and prior to this I taught at Marrickville High School which is in the Inner West of Sydney. I was born in England but I grew up in Sydney.

Daisy Little, English Teacher at Aurora College

Daisy Little, English Teacher at Aurora College

What is your local community like?

I work in Ryde but I have lived in Marrickville and the Inner West of Sydney since I started University in 1997. Marrickville is a really vibrant and ethnically diverse area. There is lots of Street Art, cafes and restaurants, live music venues and parks. The beach is about a 40 minute drive away.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?

I am an English and Visual Arts teacher but in the last 9 years I have taught everything from ICT to Commerce to Organic Gardening. English was my favourite subject at school because I have always loved reading and watching films and the way that you can ‘lose yourself’ in an imaginary world. I really enjoy the way that English has changed since I was at school. We studied Shakespeare and To Kill a Mockingbird (and we still do) but we also learn about blogs, podcasts, zines, virtual worlds, advertising and community activism. I really enjoy reading my students work as they are extremely knowledgeable about world events and passionate about social justice. I feel that the future is in safe hands.

What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

I really enjoy teaching English at Aurora College. I enjoy logging on and talking to my students all over New South Wales about what’s going on in their part of the world and I feel that the students’ lives are enriched by the connections that they make with the other students. The technology that we are using and the skills that our students are learning is preparing them for a world that is constantly changing. Working out ways to teach a lesson that I might have taught last year in a bricks and mortar school and transpose it to the online learning environment means that I am continually learning new skills myself and thinking of ways to create engaging lessons for my students.

What are your other interests?

In my spare time I enjoy practising yoga and meditation. I also like riding my bike around the Inner West, taking photos and visiting friends. I love to travel and I visited New York in the last school holidays.

Daisy Little

Teacher English

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Library report

Mrs Taylor, Teacher Librarian

Mrs Taylor, Teacher Librarian

The biggest news so far this year!

J. K. Rowling has released the next book in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Harry Potter is now 37 years old and his middle child, Albus Severus Potter, is about to start his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This, the 8th book, is a script novel and a number of copies are available for loan from our digital school library.

Borrowing stars

Well done to the following students who have been awarded Astra’s for their fantastic borrowing efforts in Term Two: Aiden Hegarty (Year 7, Coonamble High School); Susannah Curnuck (Year 9, Oberon High School); Chanse McLean (Year 9, Canowindra High School); Maggie Zanon (Year 7, Broken Hill High School); Emily Adamson (Year 7, Wade High School); Maddison Gay (Year 7, Jindabyne Central School); Emily Henby (Year 9, Oberon High School); Nigella Stevenson (Year 7, Canowindra High School); and Vivian Tosetti (Year 9, Parkes High School).

Book Week 2016

I’m excited to announce the winners of our fabulous Book Week competition. The Stage 4 winner is Neve Lawson (Year 7, Ulladulla High School) and the Stage 5 winner is Anna Auer (Year 10, Eden Marine High School). Congratulations, Neve and Anna! An iTunes voucher is on its way to you.

The Book of the Year winners for 2016, will be announced on Friday, August 19.

The reading hour

Sharing a book with a child for 10 minutes a day, about, an hour a week, is the aim for “The Reading Hour” to be held on 16 August 2016. The Reading Hour is normally 6 pm to 7 pm on 16 August, but you can participate at any time on the day. Click on the link The Reading Hour 2016 to see a number of ways that you can get involved. The most creative entries will receive an Astra and a mystery prize! Entries close at 5 pm on 31 August, 2016.

Featured staff reader: Mrs Dawson

Staff at Aurora College have been making the most of our digital library resources. Our Head Teacher Mathematics, Mrs Dawson, recommends reading the following.

  • The Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton: Like crazy, fun humour? Then the Treehouse series is for you. There are crazy inventions, an ever expanding treehouse and amazing adventures that will have you in fits of laughter and leave you wondering what else they could possibly build on the treehouse next!
  • Paper Towns by John Green: Young and shy Quentin is in for the night of his life when Margo, the most popular student in high school, recruits him to help her play mischievous pranks on the friends who betrayed her. The next day, however, the mysterious Margo is nowhere to be found. With help from a few buddies and some cryptic clues that she left behind, Quentin embarks on an obsessive mission to find the girl who stole his heart and made him feel truly alive. I loved this book. This book is suitable for students in Year 7 and above.
  • The Rosie project by Graeme Simsion: The art of love is never a science. Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner. Suitable for students in Year 9 and above.


What causes an AURORA over the poles? The current issue of Cosmos Magazine, explores nature’s spectacular light show. Read all about it and more interesting articles in this month’s edition by logging into OLIVER through the Student Portal, and clicking the link to Cosmos Magazine Online.

World Book Online

World Book Online features a set of articles titled Behind the Headlines. In this series, a group of editors highlight breaking news stories and provide links to related background information. Currently featured are articles on Sunny Solar Impulse 2, Olympic August- Jesse Owens, and the funnel web spider. Students can access World Book Online by logging into OLIVER via their Student Portal.

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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A message from our technology sponsor, Microsoft


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Storytelling with Year 7 English

In the third instalment of stunning Year 7 narratives, sit back and enjoy ‘Daisy and the Depression’, by Neve Lawson and ‘Sailing for Green and Gold’, by Reif Oliver.


Penny Boucher & Daisy Little

Teachers, English

‘Daisy and the Depression’ by Neve Lawson (Year 7, Ulladulla High School)

I run on the cool golden sand, the dappled shimmery sun blinding my eyes. I look up to see the soft orangey pink sunset filling the sky like soft feathers. My long, lithe legs propel me forward in front of Hazel and Bobby, my seven year old twin siblings.

They laugh as they try to catch up to me. Giggling too, I collapse on the soft sand and they fall down next to me in a tumble of smiles and grubby, ragged clothes and identical freckles.

They look so happy and playful right now, silhouetted against the sunset. They remind me of Daisy, our Border Collie dog, when she was a puppy. Lately she has been quiet and withdrawn, and I don’t know what’s wrong. Right now I wish more than anything that I could take her to the veterinarian, but that would cost many pounds we don’t have.

Our money must be spent on cotton to make our clothes, grain to make our bread, and soap and the like. But even food nowadays is hard to come by. When my mother goes to the market there are many tired looking men and women lining up for rations. No matter how many bracelets we sell or how many farms we help out on, there isn’t enough food to go around the town. Once when I was at the markets, I found a newspaper on the ground which spoke of the Great Depression, and how the stock market is crashing.

The sunset blurs as we run back to our small caravan. I put all my worries out of my head as my mother taught me to do back when I was very small.

My mother greets us at the door and as we tuck into freshly baked bread and homegrown vegies, Daisy sits morosely under the table, not begging for scraps as she usually does. She reminds me of Mum when Dad first left. I was so small and didn’t understand why her eyes were so empty, not even a shadow of a smile left on her lips.

“Daisy girl,” I call to her in a desperate attempt to cheer her up. She glances at me with sadness in her eyes. Hazel and Bobby notice this, and Hazel mentions in a sad little voice, “Mummy, Daisy’s not well.”

“Oh honey, I think she’ll be fine,” Mum says comfortably. I’m not so sure, and the delicious warm bread goes limp and tasteless in my mouth.

The morning dew glistens on the leaves, the peaceful silence only interrupted by the occasional bird call. I sit quietly on the old swing that my dad and I made when I was small, before my dad left, when Daisy was just a bouncy puppy, when everything was perfect.

Around the corner is the border of McKelvie’s farm. He has many sheep, cows and horses, and sets poisoned traps to kill feral cats, foxes and rabbits.
My old boot scuffs the soft grass below me, and stops on something soft and stiff. I look down to see a dead rabbit, mangled almost to the point of being unrecognizable. My heart sinks to the bottom of my shoes as I realise that it was shredded apart by sharp teeth.


I dash back to our campsite on the beach. As I open the door, my eyes fill with tears as I see Daisy whimpering on the colourful bed. What killed the rabbit before is killing Daisy now, and it’s killing me to see her like this. I rush to her and cradle her in my arms. Her body is shaking like an autumn leaf being blown away by the cruel winter wind. Yet her fur is as soft and comforting as ever.

I sing to her gentle lullabies that I used to calm Hazel and Bobby when they were babies. After a while, my mother, Hazel and Bobby join me, sit down around Daisy and me and start to sing along.

Soon tears are streaming down our faces but we don’t bother to wipe them away. Not now. My long hair falls in my face and tears drip from my eyes, dampening my eyelashes and clouding my vision.

After what seems like hours of cradling Daisy softly in my arms, quietly, soundlessly, she falls still.

Sailing for Green and Gold by Reif Oliver (Year 7 , Eden Marine High School)

“191603!” Relief washed over me. Overall I was currently sitting fourth; still not a podium finish. There was still one race left for the 2020 Olympics. Despite the fact that Australia had a strong team, our contingent were yet to secure a medal on the tally board. I wanted to change that.

10:30am the next day and no wind. The last race for the Olympics was looking questionable. If I couldn’t race, there would be no chance of making the podium. By 12 noon, a strong southerly was visible on the horizon. Seeing this I launched into action, moving my dingy from the boat yard to the beach. I stood anxiously waiting for the postponement flag to drop, which looks a lot like a ‘Where’s Wally’s?’ hat.

The wind hit the beach like a mini tornado. Those who hadn’t stowed their towels or clothes away securely found themselves running after bundles of strewn clothing. Everyone was whipped by the sand rising and falling. The sand felt like a snake striking.

“That’s gusting at 30 knots, almost too strong!” exclaimed another sailor. “I’m not going out; this is the front everyone has been talking about. On the course the wind will be double strength compared to what we can feel here on the beach.”

“I’d prefer to go home with broken pride than to not return to the beach.”

This comment rattled me because it came from the number one ranked sailor. If he didn’t go out he could lose his position, but I’d be third!

But really, I was scared. There was a very thin line between bravery and just plain stupidity.

As the postponement flag dropped, a sound signal bellowed although the noise was swept away by the wind. I stood knowing the race committee was going ahead with the race. The first of the competitors to move was the number one ranked sailor. I realised he had been bluffing before, trying to psych out the opposition. Knowing this, I followed close behind. The sails flapped as the boats launched facing into the wind.

Sailing out to the course, I struggled to keep the boat from capsizing. I’m sure this was felt by all the others on the water. I reached the committee boat. I started my count-down on my watch as they hoisted the Class flag signifying five minutes to start. I sailed back and forth along the start line; this race would be raced with speed, no time to think, its all down to intuition. As my watch beeped at the four minute mark, the blue peter, the preparatory flag, was raised. My watch was synced; I was perfectly set. The count-down went fast. The blue peter had dropped showing I had less than a minute before the start, my last chance to secure a medal.

Finding a starting position a quarter the way down the start line, I deliberately stalled, holding everyone up above me. This created a large gap to leeward, the bottom side. Fifteen seconds to start. I bear away putting on the speed, now only five seconds left to the start of this exhilarating race. I tighten up, pointing as high as I can into the wind. Crossing the line second perfect at top speed, I have no one to windward.

Tacking upwind, I reach the top mark with the cluster of sailors, letting the others behind us to fight for first in the second tier. Rounding the mark I have an overlap on the boat on the outside of the mark. “Buoy room!” I yell with conviction. I now have right away to round the mark without a problem. Reaching down to the wing mark, many capsize. Seeing this, I inch my sail out to make it easier for myself incase the boat does try to tip. I sail towards another boat that has capsized. There is no visible sign of the sailor. Momentarily the sailor is trapped under his boat. A head pops up next to the boat. He’s alright. A boat ahead of me rounds the wing mark, misjudging the current, and knocks the mark. “720 protest!” I shout. He looks at me with a look of annoyance at the fact of having to do a 720 degree penalty turn is to my benefit. I round the buoy and begin to sail downwind. Surfing down the face of the swell, I make ground on the sailors ahead of me.

Gybing around the bottom mark I come close to capsizing; the wind is strong but gusting. I begin the upwind beat to finish line. In two tacks I’m pointing to where I want to finish, just above the pin. My sail number flashes. “191603.” The satisfaction of finishing the race in such harsh condition is overwhelming. I’ve done it! The world will finally hear the Australian national anthem at the presentations!

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From the engine room

We welcome Jane Taranto to our team.  Jane has been appointed our permanent School Administrative Officer. Jane, along with her reception duties, will be monitoring student attendance.  Jane has experience working in schools and looks forward to getting to know our parents and teachers.  You can contact the office on freecall 1300 287 629.

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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