The Auracle – Volume 45, November 2020

From the Principal’s desk

As 2020 rapidly draws to a close, we all look forward to the promise of better times in the New Year. Drought, floods, bushfires and the worst pandemic in 100 years, have had an impact in varying degrees on every member of our community. The economic and social disruption of these events has been without precedence in modern times; testing our resilience, our resolve and our adaptability.

For one of our families, 2020 will be remembered for one further devastating event. On Monday 9 November, the family home of Blake Gray (Year 8) and Seth Gray (Year 7, 2021) was destroyed by fire. In the early morning, Blake was awoken by the sound of a fire alarm. As the fire began to take hold, Blake quickly located its source, raised his family from their sleep, and ensured they were all safely out of the building. Blake’s mother, Saskia, assures me it was Blake’s quick thinking and swift actions that prevented loss of life.

Blake (centre) and Seth (right) with their siblings.

Unfortunately, the Gray family home and most of their possessions were lost in the fire. A friend of the family has commenced a fundraising drive via the crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe. If you are in a position to help Blake and Seth and their family to recover from this unfortunate event, you may make a monetary donation at

On your behalf, I want to thank Connor Boyko, Virginia Cluff and Carolyn McMurtrie for their work in planning and delivering an outstanding iRes 2020 program. Of course, we would have all preferred to spend the week together in Canberra as planned, but as the many favourable comments I have received attest, the virtual event certainly had its share of truly memorable experiences. Going forward, the concept of the virtual school disco will almost certainly be a regular feature of life at Aurora!

In 2021, we will once again welcome a record number of new students and their families to our school. Throughout this term, we have hosted a number of livestreamed ‘meet and greets’, providing important information and insights into how our school operates. In the coming weeks, our new students will also have the opportunity to meet some of their future classmates and teachers as they explore the virtual learning environment. Advice has been provided via email to all new Aurora families. Please contact the coordinating office on 1300 287 629 if you have any questions or concerns.

At each of the livestreams, we have spoken of the strong connections Aurora students form with their Aurora peers and teachers. We have also shared data which supports a widely held view that the Aurora experience for students is characterised by an engaging and challenging curriculum, a strong sense of belonging, and an environment where students feel comfortable to be themselves. At the livestreamed iRes2020 presentation assembly, Poppy Gillespie (Year 10) spoke about her Aurora experience. If any of our new students or their families are in doubt about the importance of ‘finding your tribe’, don’t take my word for it, listen to Poppy.



In 2021, Aurora College will welcome our first intake of Year 5 students through the Department’s Opportunity Class Placement Test. To be COVID-19 compliant and to reduce the interaction of students from different schools, the Department made the decision that applicants will sit for the test in their current school, instead of at a test centre. To facilitate this, the test is being held much later this year. Key dates in this process are as follows:

  • 18 November 2020: Opportunity Class Placement Test
  • Late December 2020: Selection process by the Department’s High Performing Students Team (HPST) occurs
  • Mid-January 2021: Placement outcome information is sent by HPST to parents
  • From mid-January 2021: Parents accept or decline offers
  • Early February 2021: Online orientation meeting for virtual opportunity class students and their parents, hosted by Aurora College.

If your son or daughter has applied to sit for the Opportunity Class Placement Test and you have questions of concerns about the process, please contact the Department’s High Performing Students Team on 1300 880 367. We wish all applicants the best of luck with the test.

A public meeting of interested parents and citizens was held via Zoom on Wednesday 21 October 2020. We were joined by the President, General Manager and Projects Officer of the NSW Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, who provided the meeting with information about the functions of a ‘P and C’ and the necessary steps in forming an association. I am very pleased to report that the meeting voted to form an Aurora College Parents and Citizens Association.

A Working Group with six members and convened by David Dubois, was also established to explore options in preparation for a foundation meeting to be held in the near future. David and the Working Group would like to hear from anyone who may be interested in running for office at the foundation meeting. As a potential office bearer, you don’t need to be involved in the Working Group, but you are welcome to contribute if you wish.

If you think you have the relevant skills, ideas and enthusiasm to contribute, please email marked ‘Attn: P and C Working Group’. Remember, you don’t have to volunteer for a long stretch – perhaps just long enough to help guide the P and C through its first six months?

Enjoy another great edition of The Auracle.

Chris Robertson | Principal

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Deputy Principal’s report

iRes 2020

Term 4 residential was a little different this year when it had to go online due to Covid-19 restrictions. While we were unable to meet in person, we were still able to have a lot of activities and fun during an iRes. Activities ranged from guest speakers such as Adam Spencer, Melina Marchetta, Norman Swan to a science fair in the iSee platform to digital breakout rooms and the penultimate ‘crazy hat’ online disco where staff, students and family were able to dress up and dance to some great tunes in the comfort of their own lounge rooms. A big thank you to Connor Boyko, Virginia Cluff and all staff involved as well as student participation in making this very different residential such a success.

Coordinator of the term

The coordinator of the term is Ngaire Booth from Nyngan High School. Thank you Ngaire for always being proactive in supporting the Aurora students at Nyngan High School and keeping us up-to-date with necessary information and any potential issues which may arise. We look forward to continuing the strong relationship between our schools in the coming years.

Student attendance

Students need to attend school regularly to meet the course requirements of the ROSA, Preliminary HSC and HSC. Student attendance is recorded in each lesson at Aurora.

Student absences

The parents/caregivers are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College within seven days if the student is sick, or:

  • has an unavoidable medical or dental appointment
  • is required to attend a recognised religious holiday
  • is required to attend an exceptional or urgent family circumstance.

The Aurora College Coordinators are required to inform the coordinating office of Aurora College if the student:

  • has a home school commitment including school excursions, school carnivals etc.
  • arrives late or leaves early from an Aurora lesson at a time that has not been negotiated and does not appear on his/her timetable.

Dr Norman Swan delivered a fascinating masterclass during iRes 2020

Attendance of students in Term 4

The NSW Department of Education requires all students to attend school until Wednesday 16 December, the last day of teaching for Term 4 2020. Prior to this date, students in all year groups will be engaged in meaningful work based on the curriculum and syllabus requirements.

If parents are seeking permission for their child to be absent from school for a period of time, then the Exemption from School – Procedures should be followed and permission sought from your home school. A copy of this documentation should then be forwarded to Aurora College.

Preparations for 2021

We continue to work with our partner schools in preparation for 2021. With our support, this term our partners will:

  • appoint a science teacher to deliver the science practical program in 2021
  • appoint a teacher to undertake the role of Aurora College Coordinator in 2021
  • construct their school timetable to ensure each:
    • Year 7 to 10 student is timetabled to attend all Aurora lessons in English, mathematics, and science; have one timetabled science practical period per fortnight per Stage; is able to attend all partner school lessons; and have the allocated recess and lunch breaks at the home school
    • Year 11 and 12 student is timetabled to attend all their Aurora lessons; is able to attend all partner school lessons; and have the allocated recess and lunch breaks at the home school
  • ‘room’ each student in a suitable area of the school where they are able to connect to Aurora’s virtual learning environment on a department computer (connected to the network via an ethernet cable) and connect to the department’s wi-fi network on their Aurora-supplied personal device
  • ‘room’ science practical periods for each stage in a laboratory
  • complete each students’ integrated timetable showing clearly when each student is attending Aurora College lessons and lessons at their ‘home’ school.

Further information can be viewed by all community members on the Partner School Information page of our website.

What’s coming up this term?

  • Year 11 reports issued Friday 13 November 2020
  • Year 6-10 reports issued Monday 14 December 2020
  • New Year 7 Orientation Program Wednesday 18 November, 2-3 pm (AEDT)
  • New Year 8-11 Orientation Program Thursday 19 November, 2-3 pm (AEDT)
  • New Year 7 Orientation Program Friday 20 November, 2-3 pm (AEDT)
  • Stage 3 Presentation Day Thursday 3 December, 12-1 pm (AEDT)

Save the date 2021

  • The residential next year will be held in Term 1 from Monday 8 March 2020 to Friday 12 March 2021. All Years 7 to 10 students must attend.

Carolyn McMurtrie | Deputy Principal

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Opportunity class

Earlier this term we had a masterclass with Gillian Smithan archaeologist from Macquarie University.

This interactive seminar provided students with a first-hand account of a current Macquarie University archaeological excavation. Gillian held us all captive with her behind-the-scenes photos and videos of the daily life and work of archaeologists.

Students learnt to translate ancient hieroglyphs, and have the opportunity to speak with an archaeologist! The programfocused on the Theban Tombs Project which excavated New Kingdom Theban noble tombs in the modern-day Luxor area. Students and teachers were thoroughly engaged and inspired.

We thank Gillian for generously sharing her knowledge and time with us.

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What is the internet speed in your local area?

Throughout Term 3, Year 6 have been learning about how the internet works by incorporating our knowledge of energy and networks.

Students analysed the average fixed and mobile speeds of the Australian internet compared to other countries and looked at how our local areas compared to the national average. Year 6 then demonstrated their findings by creating a ‘pitch’ to make their local town a regional hub with superfast internet. They used a combination of animation, video and voiceover to create an engaging presentation to sell their town to NBN executives.

Do you think our students have a reasonable case?  Check out the videos below:


Concluding the pilot program 

The conclusion of our pilot OC program will be in Week 8 with a formal graduation assembly. 

Students will have an opportunity to showcase their work throughout the week and invite parents to see what they have achieved this year.

We will conclude the week with an assembly to recognise the achievements of students and thank our classroom teachers. As we finalise the finer details we will be sure to send through communication regarding the week.  

Serena McLean | Assistant Principal

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Faculty news – English, HSIE and Languages

Years 7, 8, and 9

In Term 4, Years 7, 8 and 9 have all been working to complete their final English assessment task for the year.

Students were asked to compile a portfolio of work, comprised of their own selection of their best writing this year. The Reading and Writing Portfolio must contain a reading task, which is a piece of writing inspired by a text they have read; a writing task, which can be a creative piece of any description; and a reflection task, which prompts students to reflect upon their own development and skills as writers.

This was a valuable exercise as it allowed students to utilise teacher feedback to refine their work and even offered the chance for some students to resubmit parts of previous assessment tasks to demonstrate their ability to take on board critical feedback and allow themselves to develop their skills in reading, writing and reflecting. By focusing on the cultivation of these skills in Stages 4 and 5, our students can be better prepared for the requirements of Stage 6 English.

Year 7

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Year 8

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Year 9

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Year 10

Stories are a crucial part of how we understand each other and the world we live in. Stories offer us wisdom, teach us values and help us process emotions that may be tricky to manage.

Year 10 have studied the classic William Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth for their last assessment. They have looked at why we read the writing of a 415 year old text, whether it still has lessons to be learned from it, and why Shakespeare’s language is still considered some of the most evocative and creative that any human has committed to paper.

Students have grappled with the prompt: “Time goes by and contexts change but great texts continue to hold relevant messages for their audiences” to frame their discussion of language and literary value in Macbeth. There have been many class discussions around blind ambition, power and manipulation- and we’re not talking about the news! Here is a sample of some of our student’s essays on Macbeth.

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Year 11 Advanced English

What makes us human?

There are many definitions that can be drawn on to answer this question, whether philosophical, biological, evolutionary, historical, ethical or psychological. English Advanced students are grappling with this exact question, while looking at George Orwell’s classic warning for the future in the novel 1984. 

The texts you are about to read are draft discussion pieces that students have composed to examine the concept of what makes us human. This task was created to support student understanding of the course descriptor as well as practising discursive writing for the Craft of Writing section of the HSC. You’ll read some wonderfully considered responses that have tried to answer the most difficult question of what does it mean to be human? 

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2020 Writer’s Competition

This year, to celebrate iRes 2020 and Melina Marchetta speaking to us, the theme was a quote from Saving Fransesca, “I think it’s about time I saved myself”.

We had a lot of entries covering topics ranging from Witch Trials to Bushfires. It was very difficult to select winners due to the high quality of the pieces submitted, but in the end our panel decided on Adibah Tasnim as our Stage 4 winner and Emily Pearce as our stage five winner. You can read their entries below:

Adibah’s untitled story explores survival in a post-apocalyptic world. What caught our attention was the minimalistic allusions to The Blackout and the war, leaving the focus instead on the survival of the unnamed protagonist.

Blank. Hopeless. Lost. It was all I could see in the miserable girl looking back at me. Tangles of unkept ebony curls framed the porcelain face with bleak, soulless eyes. The ripples distorted my image from my harsh breaths. The ground scraped my knees as I punched my reflection with shaking hands. Then I drank. Gulping down handfuls of murky water with only the sound of splashing to accompany me.

Despite my unsatisfied thirst, I stood and continued my endless path through the abandoned ruins of what remained of London. As I trudged through broken parts of drones and buildings, my only hope was to find any signal or evidence of other people.

I was alone and isolated with practically nothing for the last eight years after The Blackout, and without a single trace of other people. We were at war. I knew that much from the crusty musty newspaper I used as a blanket. After decades of creating tremendous numbers of nuclear weapons, every country and continent was diminishing at alarmingly fast rates. All from an influential yet deceiving company. One that I was a part of and had failed at recognising its intentions.

Now it has cost us the world. And my social skills.

I was obviously much too isolated to seek for any human communication which lead to plenty of mental breakdowns. Like right now.

“UUURHHHH!!” my bloodcurdling shriek had startled the crows. My screams filled with hopelessness and frustration.

At this point I didn’t even know if it would’ve been a blessing if I died like the rest of my country…

Dejectedly, I kicked a broken part of a drone across the dirt, watching as it clattered down towards a signage post in a bush. The harsh wind swept away the dust and plants covering the sign, long enough for me to get a glimpse of the words. I stalked towards it and knelt, brushed away the thick layers of dirt and dust with my hands.

“019 Radio Station Piccadilly” I uttered. A sliver of hope bloomed inside me. Then I glanced at the faint red flashes beeping from among the bush. Ignoring the thorns and pricks, I dived towards the light and grasped at the smooth object; a hologram chip. Desperately looking around, I spotted some wires amongst the dirt and used whatever knowledge I had left to connect them. Nothing happened. Again, I tried a different combination. Only cold silence to greet me.

After several hopelessly miserable tries, I was stuck, with nowhere and nothing – while people were dying on the other side – and probably about to be driven to the brink of insanity. My eyes fluttered closed in defeat.

Until I heard a weak noise and vibration. The chip illuminated in my palm as a distorted silhouette appeared, its light reflecting on my face.

“Hello?” it crackled, as I felt tears tumbling down my aching cheeks and the dawning realisation washed over me.

I’m not alone.


Emily’s entry, Falling, explores the themes of loneliness, depression and self-harm – painfully relevant themes for today’s youth. What caught our attention was the delicate metaphors and well-crafted descriptive language. Every word feels intentional, poignant and appropriately weighted.


Alone in a crowd of thousands. I feel myself falling, with misery chasing after me every direction I turn. “Are you ok?” No. I’m falling into despair and dragging the world down around me. I’m locked up in a cage, within this life – with nobody to save me, from myself. I trace the red lines that ladder up my forearm remembering the easing pain they brought me, they were my escape from reality. Is the pain in my life really worth living for? I think it’s about time I save myself. Nobody loves little teenage me, nobody cares about my issues and how hard I’m finding life. I’ve struggled for years with accepting who I am and that I’m just not good enough for anyone or anything. What is the point of living a loveless, broken life? Everything around me is just crumbling to the ground – the high walls of confidence I built turn to rubble under my feet. I’m slipping on ice in slow motion waiting for the thud, the final shock of pain before the calm – before finally ridding myself from this pain.

It’s the middle of the Autumn holidays, bandages wrap tightly around my forearms and thighs, a plain white long-sleeved shirt hugs my torso and long denim jeans cover the bandages hiding my scars. I usually spend the entire break by myself watching Netflix and eat ice-cream, but today, I leave for some fresh air, to get a break from the suffocation of my small city apartment. I sit on a stone cold metal seat, curling up in a ball, my consciousness floats towards ending the pain forever, in the quickest way possible. My life as a happy teenager flashes before my eyes as streams of tears flood down my cheeks and drip down onto the uneven stone pathway. Passer-bys stop and stare then turn the opposite direction and walk away whispering.

Therapy. The solution, the medicine, to my busy brain. If only it was easy to tell them how I feel. I attend a session, Tuesday every week, in secret, my parents would feel so disappointed in themselves if they ever found out I went to therapy, and they would feel as though they have spent their money on the wrong things and not helped me as much as they possibly could. Nothing seems to come out when I try to speak, I just can’t seem to find the right words, or be in the right mood to seek the help I need. Talking to people has become a waste of effort, energy and time, after all ‘I’m just seeking attention by faking depression’. Long, lonely nights, crying on the bathroom floor wishing I was someone else have become a daily routine. “You’re perfectly fine, stop being dramatic”, well why don’t I feel fine? Why is the only way to ease my pain to cut into my fragile, paper thin skin?

Congratulations to our two winners who will be receiving a $20 book voucher in the mail. A big thank you to all who contributed – we were extremely impressed with every entry we read. Have a look at some of the other amazing entries below:

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Keep up the great writing,

Ms Hooper, English Faculty

Luisa McDiarmid (Simeonidis) | Relieving Head Teacher English, HSIE, and Languages

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Faculty news – Mathematics and Software Design and Development

Maths enrichment competition

Five Aurora students completed and submitted solutions for this year’s Australian Maths Trust’s Enrichment program. This required students to solve a series of challenging problems over several weeks. Students developed their mathematical skills, as well as their resilience, which will help them in their future studies. The enrichment levels are named after famous mathematicians.

At the Dirichlet level, Emily Caughey (Year 6, Hay Public School) reached the 56th percentile and was rewarded with a CREDIT. Congratulations also go to Ryan Mitchell (Year 7, MRSH-Griffith) who attempted five of the problems.  A big “thank you” to Dr Gaut, who marked all of the Dirichlet responses.

At the Euler level, Bailey Caughey (Year 8, Hay War Memorial High School) led the way. Just like Emily, he reached the 56th percentile and gained a CREDIT.  Hayley Fraser (Year 8, Wauchope High School) is also congratulated for submitting solutions to ten of the problems.


Scott New | Relieving Head Teacher Mathematics and Software Design and Development

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Science and Agriculture

Year 8 Science fair

This year, the Year 8 Science Fair was a little different … we went virtual!  Hosted in the Aurora College iSee environment, we were able to have the students present their Science fair final posters to their teachers and classmates.

The environment may have been different but the scientific research and subsequent presentations presented by year 8 were still outstanding.

We would like to announce the AWARDS from the 2020 Science fair.

1st Place – Hollie Mason 8Sci2 “How does multitasking while driving affect reaction time?”

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2nd Place – Leanne Adams 8Sci5 “5 Second Rule”

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3rd Place – Hayley Fraser 8Sci1 “Does increasing the percentage of alcohol in hand sanitiser increase its ability to reduce bacterial growth?”

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Cluff Commendation – Ellie Fitzpatrick 8sci7 “Do energy drinks contain more electrolytes that orange juice or tap water in half a cup?”

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Robertson Prize – Lucas McDonald 8Sci7 “Human Behaviour Experiment – Swap or Stay?”

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A wide and varied selection of topics were once again investigated by our year 8 cohort and their professional and detailed presentations were of superior quality. Congratulations Year 8 for all your hard work.

Year 10 Science Symposium

Year 10 completed their final assessment task recently, in the form of a science symposium literature review.

Students selected 3 scientific articles on a topic of their choice. They then developed an inquiry question related to their selected articles and prepared a review to answer their question.  The main focus of their investigation was to assess the impact of science on society and future directions in their chosen field.

Students summarised their main points in a presentation of no more than 4 minutes length. These were then presented to the year group in a range of topic streams.

  • Biological sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Psychology/genetics

We would like to announce the AWARDS from the Year 10 2020 Science Symposium.

1st Place – A 3-way tie

Renee Apap – Inside the world of gene psychology and environmental factors

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Vincent Ward – Plastic, Recycling and What the world does with it’s recyclable trash.

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Lily Davies- the evolution of the atomic model

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Highly Commended

Amy Maher – The role of Radiotherapy in Cancer Treatment

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Joseph Wilson – The Effects of Dopamine on Plants

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The teachers were extremely impressed with the range of topics, and with the quality of submissions and presentations. The skills students developed while undertaking this task enhanced their research and investigation skills and will hold students in good stead as they progress into stage 6 science study.

Virginia Cluff | Head Teacher Science and Agriculture

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iRes 2020

The long awaited iRes finally took place on 26 and 27 October. It was a tremendous success with fantastic activities, insightful presenters, entertaining iSee interactions and an energetic trivia session hosted by our graduating Year 10 class.

Adam Spencer – Mathematics guru

Our presenters over the two days were Adam Spencer, Dr Norman Swan and author Melina Marchetta. The students gained some valuable knowledge in each of the presenters chosen fields and many students were lucky enough to engage with the presenters on a personal level, having their questions answered. Students attempted to stump the mathematician Adam Spencer with complex questions in regards to prime numbers but much to their disappointment, Adam had a great response every time. Students were enthralled by Dr Swan’s extensive knowledge on viruses and his discussions on plagues and pandemics saw students understanding the connections between history and science. Melina discussed her writing process as the author of many great stories including ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ and gave our aspiring writers advice on the publishing process.

The activities students presented in included Illuminate Education, which saw students work collaboratively to work through social issues, employing and entrepreneurial mindset. Other students worked closely with the STEM centred T4L group to code games and create vivid animations.

Year 10 are to be congratulated on an entertaining and informative trivia session. Using Kahoot, Year 10 used their charismatic charm to keep their audience engaged for the full 1 hour trivia session. Many laughs were had and Year 10 impressed the rest of the Aurora student body with their excellent variety of questions and topics.

To conclude the main iRes program, a ZOOM disco, the first of its kind was held on the Tuesday night. Students came in their craziest hats and performed some hilarious dance moves as well as scavenger challenges all to the tune of some fantastic music. All who attended had a great night and despite some initial hesitation to dance on camera, this soon disappeared as students couldn’t get enough!

Finally, the graduating Year 10 class competed in groups on the Wednesday and Thursday to see who could complete a virtual bank heist in the fastest time. It was entertaining, challenging yet inspiring to see the students work together to solve some difficult puzzles.

Thank you to all the Aurora College Coordinators, parents, carers and teachers for their support and assistance in making iRes 2020 a great success. It was a great couple of days and we hope the students enjoyed it as much the teachers did!

Connor Boyko | Relieving HT Teaching and Learning

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Learning and support

Wellbeing initiative Term 4 2020

This term, we have introduced 5-minute wellbeing lessons into English, maths, science and the Stage 3 opportunity class once a week. These support student wellbeing and some come from Reach Out’s Wellbeing Fives. As October was Mental Health Month with the theme Tune In, the first 3 weeks covered:

Tune In to Yourself:

Tune In to Others:

  • English – Two Truths and a Lie
  • Maths/ OC – Random Acts of Kindness
  • Science – 5 things in Common

Tune In to Community:

  • English – Gaining Confidence to Connect
  • Maths – Mind Dump
  • Science/OC –Acrostic Puzzle – Community

In the upcoming weeks we will be covering the following topics:

  • Brain Breaks
  • Mindfulness
  • Keep Learning
  • Giving

Resource links:

Cathy Groth | Wellbeing Coordinator

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Library news

Aurora College Reads

Australians are being encouraged to read between November 1 and 12 as part of the Australia Reads campaign. Students (and staff) are asked to share the details of a book they are reading between those dates.  Bonus Astras awarded for listing the details (or a photo) in the student team!

Curiosity sparked for the publishing world

During iRes 2020, Aurora College students and staff were treated to a masterclass by award winning author, Melina Marchetta, in which she shared details of her publishing success.

Students pre-submitted questions to Melina, that she answered as part of her session. Melina encouraged students to:

  • read widely
  • write every day
  • keep asking the “what if” questions when developing a story
  • believe that their greatest success can come from failure.

We very much appreciated Melina sharing her experiences and expertise with Aurora College as part of iRes2020.

Our Top Reads

It is wonderful to see students reading ebooks and listening to audiobooks from our digital library. Students can access the library via their student portal for the entire collection of resources.

Here’s what we’ve been reading lately:

August Top 5


September Top 5

October Top 5

Book Week 2020

Book Week was celebrated at Aurora College each day between October 19 and 23. The theme of Currious Creatures, Wild minds saw students and staff find books and creatures in curious and wild places.

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Recommending resources

Students are encouraged to make requests for new additions to our digital school library. It is as easy as sending me an email (, with a subject, book title or author’s name. Here are some recent new additions:

Kaylene Taylor | Teacher Librarian

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So far in term 4 we have had 2 amazing masterclasses focussed on design and illustration. We also have an upcoming presentation by Dr Dorian Mode who is presenting part 2 of the writers course on 20 November 2020.

Astred Hicks – Design Cherry

Students were able to engage with a professional designer who specialises in the design and illustration of book covers.  Astred was able to explain the process, and purpose of creating meaningful book cover designs.

Why is a cover so important? Because of the impact a cover can have on a reader and the connection the cover of a book generates with a consumer. Year 7 undertook this Masterclass as it ties in with their unit of work, Creating Visuals.

Susan Brawn – State Library of NSW

Susan is an Education Officer at the State Library of NSW. She has created, updated and developed many of the State Library’s English educational resources, including HSC learning activities, virtual excursions and onsite experiences for students who visit the library.

Susan is an experienced secondary English teacher, having spent ten years working in two comprehensive high schools in Western Sydney. She has extensive experience teaching English to students in Years 7 – 12, including Advanced and Extension 1 English.

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Bright lights

Neve Lawson: Country to Canberra 2020 finalist

Congratulations to Neve lawson for making the top 40 finalists Australia wide for the Country to Canberra program- a fantastic achievement and effort on her part.

Have a read of her piece on the question: LIFTING US UP – How can women and girls empower each other and their communities in times of uncertainty and change?

Empowerment can be done through giving teenage girls an authentic voice, empty of rhetoric or dismissal based on our age and apparent subsequent lack of knowledge. It can be achieved through supporting one’s community, friends and businesses that have faced constant blows through power outages, bushfire blazes, flooding and COVID-19, as well as the often-forgotten frustration, isolation, and depression that can come with this legion of external stressors.

I believe in these actions wholeheartedly. I am relentless in my spreading of the message that every person in the world deserves the right to voice what they feel. I also believe, though, that change can be made most powerfully when we feel healthy and loved. We, as women and girls, can build this positive basis for change, through broadcasting and radiating the ethos of pride for all we’ve overcome this year, and the abandonment of self-criticism in favour of supportive, accessible and eloquent leadership and self-acceptance.

It is human nature to overcompensate for stresses or uncertainty in our lives through living in a hyper-vigilant and chaotic state, constantly wanting more from ourselves and berating ourselves when our mental, physical and emotional function ceases to stretch further. Do you ever find that, in a constant mindset of panic and perfectionist standards, attempts to unwind are no longer effective, and nothing you attempt seems to go right? I’ve learnt these past few months that this is a sign of trying to do too much. It happens to all of us because we’re all passionate and want to create active change.

The greatest sense of empowerment is the subtlest kind. The realisation from yourself or a friend that you are allowed to feel what you feel, that you will make that deadline, and that things will eventually feel better. That you are allowed to sleep in late, be unsure of things, say no to things, take up space, have unproductive days, to feel exhausted, and to forgive yourself. To tell yourself that everybody has struggles, and that everybody deserves an extra piece of love – including yourself.

This year has been overwhelming, painful, exhausting, and confusing; but I believe leadership, in its essence, is the process of recognising the fault in a system and building positivity from it. Leadership is encompassed by seizing an opportunity to initiate a wave of positivity and reassurance. It’s having the courage to sit down at a computer, or stand up in front of an audience, not being completely sure what you’re about to say or how you’ll put into words that powerful inner passion to create change, and doing it anyway.

If this year has taught me anything, it’s to not take anything for granted. Things change so much every few days that time has lost all meaning – each day feels like a month, but months go by in what feels like a day. We can’t seem to count on anything, because each new reality we construct and adjust to could all shift without warning. Thus, we are presented with the opportunity to build a strong, constant ground in our community, one we can rely on and hold faith in. The implementation of wholehearted and dedicated leadership starts with us, as women and girls. It is through this structure that change can be created, and it is through the spreading of this message that we can feel empowered.

If your child has a passion outside of our virtual classrooms, please feel free to email us a few words and an image. It is always lovely to celebrate what our students are up to in their local communities! Please email:, marked: attention The Auracle.

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Connect locally, learn globally

Girl Guides leader recognised

Congratulations to Luisa McDiarmid, Relieving Head Teacher English, HSIE, and Languages who last month received a special award from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Luisa was awarded the Asia Pacific Region Leadership Award for a leader who stands out as a role model and acquiring a high level of self-development to provide quality girl guiding to young women.

Congratulations and well deserved!

Young Achiever of the Year

Congratulations to Raymond Happ, our resident Geography Teacher at Aurora College, who last Saturday was awarded Young Achiever of the Year through the Country Education Foundation of Australia.

As an alumni scholarship recipient, he has been recognised for his ongoing support and teaching of students in his local town of Coonamble.

Congratulations, Raymond!



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Spotlight on … Scott New

Where was your previous teaching appointment?

Head Teacher Administration – Belmont High School

What is your local community like?

With bush, beach and lake all nearby, the Lake Macquarie area is spoilt for things to do and see, plenty of places (restaurants and cafe’s) to relax at and everything at our fingertips.

What’s your favourite subject to teach?


What do you like about teaching at Aurora?

I love working with rural and remote communities. My schooling was in the Central West and I taught the first half of my career in rural and remote schools. I missed it and Aurora has given me the opportunity to work with those students again without leaving my local area.

What are your other interests?

In winter everything is based around hockey – I play (badly), umpire (used to be a national level umpire) and coach (travelled Australia and been overseas with State and Aussie teams). In summer I am slowly doing things around the house (very slowly).

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From the engine room

As we wind down from a very unusual year with lots of highs and lows, please be aware that all absences of students must be reported to Administration either by email, or telephone, 1300 287 629.  This ensures your student’s absence is recorded on our attendance system.

If your son or daughter is absent from their Aurora class without explanation, you will receive a text message or email asking for a reason for their absence.  You can either click the link in the text or email to explain the absence or contact the school directly.

Any absence unexplained after 7 days becomes ‘unjustified’.  Please refer to the Department of Education Attendance Policy for a full explanation.

Denise Deaves | School Administrative Manager

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