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McLaren Vale: dove i vigneti incontrano il mare
Article by “Ashtonio Bandierino” e “Ricardo Torpedini”

Like this magnifico red capsicum pictured here, our Italian skills flourished over the two days at the meraviglioso Serafino winery, and like a fine wine, or a De Lorenzian beard, our skills got better with age and by the end of the camp we were speaking Italian better than Dante Alighieri himself!

A variety of carefully designed activities (by il nostro magico mago di SMC, Prof De Lorenzis and la bibliotecaria brillante, Prof Pepe-Micholos) allowed us to expand our vocabulary and further our understanding of la lingua italiana, within the context of current topics of study, such as Italian cuisine, and stereotypes, with a key focus on expanding and consolidating our speaking skills.

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On Wednesday morning, the Year 11 cohort heard from firefighter, Jarred, who presented the Metropolitan Fire Service’s Road Awareness Program (RAP). The presentation is a hard-hitting road safety session designed specifically for Year 11 students. It is delivered to young drivers across South Australia and aims to provide an insight into the experience of firefighters working in road crash rescue. RAP seeks to actively engage and empower all road users, including drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians, while communicating their core message: “you get to choose the risk; but you don’t get to choose the consequences!”

During the 100-minute presentation, our students were given a confronting insight into road crash trauma including vision of real crashes and crash survivors. Guest speaker, Michael Tillbrook, shared about the emotional loss of his son, who was a passenger in a speeding car, which resulted in a fatal crash.

“The RAP presentation was an insightful talk about the responsibilities we as young adults have as drivers, pedestrians and passengers on the road. We discussed the main causes of fatalities and injuries on the road, along with a real insight to the long-term effects of careless driving, not only to yourself but the lives around you. Michael, our guest speaker, shared with us his personal story and how one small decision changed his life forever. Jared also shared preventative measures that we can take to save lives on the road. Overall, we gained valuable lessons to keep safe on the roads and to be aware of the lives that we may impact”. – Vy Le, Claudia Sherratt, Ella Gunter (Year 11 students)

The Year 11s gained an understanding of the consequences of their choices on the road.

Ms Anna Porcelli, Year 11 Director


Susan McLean from CyberSafety Solutions spoke to Year 7 to 9 and Year 10 to 11 students in two separate sessions on Friday, 28 May. The focus of the presentation was on safe internet use. Mrs McLean said two problems are prevalent—cyberbullying and premature use of social media.

The most common social media platforms for young people are Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp and TikTok.  Mrs McLean said, “If there is an ability to communicate through it, it will be misused.” She also added, “There is no such thing as a safe platform, only safe use practices”.

The problem with cyberbullying is that the abuse often happens outside the school environment. A key part of the presentation to students and staff was that users need to be kind, respectful, feel part of a team, be brave, and understand the implications of one’s reputation when entering any cyber or social media platform.

Other points included:

  • Nothing is deleted from the internet – it is there forever.
  • One is never anonymous online due to digital footprints or digital tattoos.
  • Posts and comments can be found years after first placed online.
  • Do not share passwords.
  • When creating and naming an email address, be conscious of the impression created to others, such as future employers.

Cyberbullying or technology misuse are issues dealt with by all schools. It is often the misuse of technology outside of school hours that is time-consuming and confronting for school leaders and teachers. At St Michael’s College, we have a duty of care to our students and families to acknowledge and take action on any online issues. In partnership with parents/caregivers, our role is to educate, help prevent and investigate alleged misuse of technology. As a community, we remain steadfast and transparent in our commitment to being proactive in all areas that help us ensure we have a safe community for each student to flourish. By working together, we can embrace technology and provide the necessary education while keeping students safe. All students are encouraged to approach any staff member to report problems or breaches of the Mobile Device Policy or online technology misuse. The community can rest assured that investigations will be conducted efficiently while considering the sensitivities that may come into play.

Mr Matthew Williams, Deputy Principal – Pastoral


Week 6: Bravery

This week’s strength is a big one! Bravery. At times we all wish we had more of it. When I asked one of the Year 12 classes I work with for words they associate with bravery this week, their immediate responses included: Superman, Wonder Woman, courage, strength, and selflessness.

Bravery is about doing the right thing even when it’s hard and we are afraid. It’s not avoiding challenges or difficult circumstances and speaking up for what is right, even if we feel that others may disagree (Institute of Positive Education Cultivating Character Strengths). This definition tells us it isn’t just a trait of superbeings; it’s a strength we all have at our disposal, though at times it takes fortitude.

Susan McLean, a renowned expert in cyber safety and the digital footprint, spoke to our students last week imploring them to be kind, use teamwork and be brave to protect their digital reputation and personal safety. Over the course of their education at St Michael’s, our students hear from many outstanding guest speakers who showcase this strength. Sonya Ryan is another strong example, as you may remember.

While we all wish we had more of it, as strengths go, we can continue to build on bravery, so we don’t “fight, fly or freeze” as much! This innate response to stressors is almost a part of our DNA; it’s a survival instinct intended to protect us from harm. It also means, however, that our brains aren’t geared to formulate creative solutions when we are in this state of alarm, so it isn’t always the most helpful response!

In truth, if we don’t face some of our fears, they can limit our progress, as I emailed students this week. Some of us have a fear of heights for example, others have a fear of confined spaces, many of us fear public speaking. I tick all these boxes! Those things that make us feel uncomfortable could be stopping us from doing things and whilst the response is intended to keep us safe, it really could be limiting our potential too!

In each family or amongst our friends, or colleagues, we can reflect on many examples of bravery. I can think of many colleagues, students, friends and family members who have faced enormous challenges. They somehow manage the challenge, whatever it is, head on and come out the other side stronger and more resourceful.

Whilst bravery is not one of my strongest strengths, personally I find that I can draw on it more successfully with a combination of curiosity, wonder, and hope. A bit like a strengths cocktail! I know that as toddlers, my own kids were fearless!  When I reflect on this, I really believe it’s the sense of curiosity and wonder that overrides any potential fear! I find that when I wonder about things that otherwise I find confronting, I manage to freeze less and discover options more; it enhances my creativity and my ability to find solutions, rather than direct me to run and hide.  The hope that I draw on tells me it will be ok and inspires me to stick to my goals!

As we remember the brave people in our lives, in our workplaces and in films or society, let’s be inspired by their strength this week. Together with bravery, we can draw on the curiosity of little children and hope, always, to support us when we face challenge.

Have an inspiring week!

Mrs Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Learning and Wellbeing Initiatives Leader