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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
MUSIC TEACHING SPANS HUNTER
Melissa Wattus of St Francis Xavier’s
College repor ts on an exciting initiative
making advanced music studies accessible
to secondary students across the diocese.
An innovative approach is being
pioneered for the teaching of music
for 2015 and 2016. Students from all
eleven diocesan secondar y schools will
now be able to select Music 2 as one of
their HSC subjec ts. In the diocese and
indeed across the state, the number of
students choosing this challenging course
has been considerably lower than the
number choosing Music 1. Consequently,
the Music 2 course has not been
previously offered in all diocesan schools.
So it is exciting that the teaching of
Music 2 is now structured in a way that
enables students from throughout the
region to belong to one class. Six Music
2 students will begin Year 11 in 2015.
Three will attend St Francis Xavier’s
College Hamilton, one will attend St
Joseph’s Aberdeen and two will be at St
A variety of teaching and content
deliver y modes will be employed to
ensure that students from the three
schools will receive the same input. As
I teach at St Francis Xavier’s College,
video conferencing equipment is being
installed as one of the main tools for
teaching. This will enable students from
Taree and Aberdeen to communicate
‘live’ with me as the teacher and with
the other students in lessons. Students
will see and hear each other, enabling
engagement and live interaction. For
traditional ‘teacher-talk’ lessons, this
video conferencing technology will be
invaluable. Use of technology to send
and receive students’ work will be
essential. Students will submit completed
work electronically and each will have
computer sof tware as a tool for notating
Some aspects of the course will be
available to the students in video format,
with the videos being accessible to
the students via a private link. These
videos will be able to be accessed on
demand throughout the course and
will be a resource for examinations and
Friendships formed in Music 2 classes
can be quite special as the students are
of ten like-minded and academically-
driven high achievers. To ensure that
these students support each other and
enjoy each other’s ‘musical company’, travel
to workshops and seminars will be an
opportunity for the students to be together.
Students will prepare performances for
Year 11 and HSC Examinations and I will
travel to the schools to work with each
student. Students will perform in concerts
and per formance work shops in the three
schools as well as transfer their performance
Assistant Director of Schools, Craig Wattam,
is enthusiastic about the plan, “ This diocesan
initiative is not only suppor ting talented
students in the performing arts, but also
exploiting the technology we already have
in our high schools. We can offer distance
learning through video conferencing as well
as embracing oppor tunities for technology
to be utilised in clever ways to facilitate
Offering Music 2 as an HSC subject choice
for our s tudents ensures that capable and
eligible music students feel that they can
achieve at the highest level in a subject they
love. It is this passion and commitment to
music excellence that I have always seen
driving Music 2 students as they complete
their senior schooling in music. Ex tension
Music will be offered to students completing
Year 11 with excellent results and a desire to
further their study of music in Year 12.
Marlene, Gerald, Peter, Nicholas and Zac Hughes.
BY MELISSA WATTUS
This year is a special one for the parish
of St Brigid's as it celebrates 165 years
of education in Raymond Terrace.
For the ex tended Hughes family, it’s
ex tra special as Zac Hughes begins his
schooling at St Brigid’s Primar y, the fif th
generation to be educated there.
It began with Edmund Feeney,
known as Ned or simply “Pop”, who
commenced school in 1916 at the age
of five. His daughter Marlene Hughes
(nee Feeney) began her schooling
in 1940. In 1957 Marlene married
Gerald Hughes, who had also attended
St Brigid's, making Zac the four th
generation to attend on his side. Their
eldest son Peter began school in 1964,
at St Brigid’s of course. Fast forward
a couple of decades and Peter’s son
Nicholas, a teacher at St Patrick's
Primar y, Lochinvar, commenced his
education in 1986.
Following in the footsteps of his
father, grandfather, great grandmother
and great, great grandfather, Zac
commences Kindergarten in 2015.
Time has seen the development
of many new and exciting learning
oppor tunities at St Brigid's. Ned began
his schooling in what is known as the
‘old hall’, where the room was divided
in the middle. The 'little room' housed
years 1, 2 and 3 and in the 'big room'
were years 4, 5 and 6, with one Sister
teaching in each room.
Marlene vividly recalls from her 1940s
schooldays the clay trenches dug
around the trunks of the fig trees.
Whilst the kids played hide and seek in
these trenches, they were told to lie in
them should a bombing occur – a very
real threat at the time.
The Hughes family has had a long and
close affiliation with St Brigid’s . It was
Marlene and Gerald, with the help of
their youngest son Brian, who created the
school motto of “Truth & Trust Always"
when principal Sr Teresa Curran rsm ran
a competition in search of a motto. It was
shor tened slightly to “Truth & Trust” which
still stands today and won the Hughes
family a lot ter y ticket!
As Zac begins his journey at St Brigid's , he
is most excited about, " Learning to read
and buying ice blocks at the school shop! "
If you have a St Brigid’s story or photos
to share, please E St Brigid’s Primary,
au, P 4987 2625 or E kristen_jones@
bigpond.com before the end of Februar y.
BY ANNA HUGHES
5 GENERATIONS AT ST BRIGID'S
Year 11 student from St Joseph’s High School,Aberdeen, Chris Greentree, is
enrolled in the Music 2 course.
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