CSIRO Urban Living Labs

St Clare’s College Year 9 iSTEM class is participating in the Sydney Science Park CSIRO Urban Living Lab Schools Challenge; an authentic, real Project Based Learning project that will have a visible effect on the planning of Sydney Science Park. Developed by Celestino, Sydney Science Park will be a $5bn mixed-use smart city that will create an internationally recognised epicentre for research, development, commercialisation and innovation. The Living Lab Schools Challenge has been designed to enable students to collaborate and develop concepts and innovations for sustainable, resilient, liveable towns and cities.

Last week our students headed to Western Sydney to experience the Sydney Science Park site first hand. During the full-day event, students participated in workshops focusing on the sustainable city core pillars:

  • water systems
  • transportation & mobility
  • renewable energy
  • urban development & agriculture
  • health & heat
  • the circular economy

The girls also had the opportunity to participate in several hands-on learning experiences including VR (Virtual reality), and AR (Augmented reality).

Committing to this authentic, real life and problem-based learning, gives our students the opportunity to work collaboratively with other schools, learn communication and critical thinking skills across different disciplines, connect with industry experts, researchers and scientists, whilst developing innovative solutions to complex infrastructure challenges. We look forward to seeing the solutions our students come up with.


Food Styling experts

Our Year 10 Food Technology class were exposed to the food styling expertise of Dana Sims from Stone and Twine this week. Learning from industry professionals who specialise in subject knowledge deepens the students understanding and heightens real world relevance and engagement. Dana gave the girls an overview of her career and how to break into the industry, before involving the girls in practical food demonstrations.

The students are currently studying food trends, food styling and food photography, so to have Dana demonstrate various techniques and give the girls the opportunity to practice these skills has provided our students with the most contemporary trends in the industry.  

Community Intergenerational Program

To strengthen our local connections and give back to our community, St Clare’s has partnered with Waverley Council and the Department of Education to run a Community Intergenerational Program. During the program, our Year 10 students meet with seniors in our community at Waverley Library. Over sandwiches, biscuits and tea, the older and younger members of our society share perspectives and talk about their lives. It is an authentic opportunity for our girls to learn from people in our community with such a wealth of knowledge and experience. Similarly, our students provide connections and purpose for these seniors.

We were fortunate to have Diana Olsberg, Waverley Seniors Centre participant and star of the ABC TV series, Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds, and Nicole Hoste, CEO of Care Bootcamp join us for an induction into the program. Diana spoke of the isolation faced by many seniors in the community and joy and purpose that building connections with young people brings. Nicole discussed many of the myths associated with seniors and gave our students strategies to start conversations and strengthen their interpersonal skills.

Our final session in Term 1 ended with an Easter themed Bingo game. It’s been wonderful to see the strong connections being made between the different generations and the advice being shared. Not only have our students felt a stronger sense of purpose from giving back to the community, but they have also developed a great respect for the seniors, who have broadened their perceptions of the world.

Science and Engineering Challenge

Our Year 9 iSTEM class participated in the annual Australian Science and Engineering challenge at Sydney Olympic Park last week, hosted by the University of Newcastle. The students engaged in a series of eight challenges that focused on their ability to work in a team, problem-solve and adapt their knowledge and understanding of:

  • civil engineering
  • electrotechnology
  • project management
  • coding
  • aviation
  • robotics

Our St Clare’s girls outperformed many of the other schools competing at the event, despite being up against Year 10 students from NSW’s top selective schools. A special mention goes to Hannah Kerr and Ruby Colgan who designed a balsa glider which travelled the greatest distance out of all the schools. Also, congratulations to Grace Haugh and Keeli Sampson who took home 2nd place at the bridge challenge, only losing to the Year 10 students from James Ruse Agricultural High. Overall, our girls ranked in the top 5 out of all the schools that participated.

FACE UP! Young Archie Portrait Painting

The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes and probably the most well-known. In creating a portrait, artists not only reveal something about their subject, but they also reveal aspects of themselves. To engage our students in this creative process, St Clare’s has developed a new elective called FACE UP! Young Archie Portrait Painting.

In this highly practical, studio-based elective, students are challenged to produce a highly accomplished portrait painting that reveals more about the sitter than just a physical appearance. To support them in this challenge, the students were fortunate to have practicing multi-discipline artist, Abdul Abdullah, spend the day with them last week. Abdul worked with the students, sharing his journey, as well as providing guidance and professional advice on their technique, colour mixing and perspective.

At the end of this course, select works will be entered into the official Young Archie competition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Lights, Camera, Change in Action!

Our Year 8 cohort have been cultivating their film making skills by engaging with their cross-curricular project – “Lights, Camera, Change in Action!”. Through the project, students combine skills built in English, Religion and Music classes to create a short film focused on positive social change. Year 8 have had visits from industry experts including Marisa Brattoni from the Edmund Rice Centre, who spoke to the students about the arts being a vehicle for change and a way to shed light on important social issues in our communities.

The students have also participated in a series of workshops run by StarTime Entertainment to learn how to use professional film, sound enhancing and editing equipment. Along with the new film making capabilities the students have developed, the girls are also building on their collaboration, communication, and creativity skills, which are all essential for the future of work. The students films will be debuted at our St Clare’s Film Festival later this term. We can’t wait to see what they have achieved!

WE Design

St Clare’s College is excited to launch our new Year 10 electives for 2023. These electives have been designed to not only maintain but heighten students’ engagement in their learning during Stage 5. This is a period where schools see a trend of students losing commitment to their learning in the years prior to starting their HSC journey. One of these unique electives exclusive to St Clare’s College is WE Design. This elective aims to provide students with the skills to develop and implement a successful design-focused small business.

To make this learning authentic, the founder and CEO of Vine Apparel, Shelley Duflou, joined the class this week. Shelley shared her journey to becoming an entrepreneur, including the challenges she has faced. Shelley started Vine Apparel in her bedroom, and has worked tirelessly to turn it into the multimillion-dollar success it is today. Her advice to the students was to be authentic to their vision. As her business has grown, she has been tempted to follow the trends of other similar businesses; however, she has realised that she knows her customers, she knows her product, and her business is a success because of her core purpose and passion. Shelley also spoke about the need for hard work and taking measured risks. Asking for help, is also important…. the worst that can happen, is someone says no.

Shelley generously gave the students her contact details and offered them access to her warehouse if they ever wanted to learn more about the fashion industry. We are planning to get Shelley back to provide feedback to our students on their business ideas.

GameChanger Girls Esports Championship

A huge congratulations to our two GameChanger Esports teams who have built their own Minecraft games and competed in the GameChanger Girls Esports Championship this week. It has been over a year’s worth of hard work designing, building, and creating, which culminated in the Global Championship this last week. Both the Rabid Racoons and SAZAM, comprised of Year 8 and 9 girls, not only submitted their completed worlds, but also had the chance to play and provide feedback to the other teams on their games. I am proud to announce that Sazam Arcade, the game created by our Year 8 students, Zara, Aislinn, Sophie, Alex and Mahli, was voted best game! It will form part of the 2023 Esport Championship next year.

Throughout this competition, the girls have had the chance to meet other students across the Asia Pacific region and receive guidance from Dr. Bronwyn Stuckey, Director at Innovative Education Idea’s. This program aims to develop STEM skills in young girls using the Minecraft platform whilst also strengthening their creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills.

Music Video collaborations

Collaboration, communication, and customer focus are key capabilities that we know will be demanded by employers in the future workforce. Developing these skills in our students enhances their overall employability and gives them the best chance to be identified as high performing individuals with the talent to succeed across industries.

We gave our Design and Technology and Music students a chance to foster these capabilities this semester. The Year 9 and 10 Music students collaborated to compose and produce a song which responded to the theme ‘Fairy Tales for the Modern Princess’. The songs needed feature a non-musical woman from history or contemporary times who has made a significant contribution to society. The girls came up with great heroines to focus their music pieces on; Amelia Earhart, Ann Makosinski, Nancy Wake and Jane Goodall to name a few.

These Year 9 and 10 Music students then became the clients, as our Design and Technology students were challenged to design and produce a motion graphic animation to visually communicate and compliment the music composition. The students had to communicate with their clients to gain a greater sense of the compositions and their meaning. They then set to work to produce their animations. The results were amazing and were highlighted at our St Clare’s Learning Symposium this term. The QR code below allows you to view their work.

What a great way for our students to work collaboratively across departments and year groups to produce truly spectacular products.

Entrepreneurship and AI: Collaborative Project

St Clare’s has led an exciting collaborative project called ‘Entrepreneurship and Artificial Intelligence’ involving students from St Francis of Assisi Paddington and Galilee Bondi. On Friday the 29th October, Year 5 and 6 students visited St Clare’s for a project launch day led by our Year 9 iSTEM class. Students learned about current uses of artificial intelligence and participated in a mini hackathon to create an invention that would solve a problem in the world. Our Year 9 students then became mentors to the young inventors, meeting with them to provide guidance and feedback on their ideas. Our primary school students returned to St Clare’s to present their innovations at a showcase event this week, attended by students, staff, and parents. The innovations they developed were inspired; text blocking AI to combat online bullying, content moderating AI to keep children safe online and employment scanning AI to find people jobs were just a few. What a great way for our students to share their knowledge while developing mentorship skills and giving back to the local community.