MAC News 2 2021

Principal’s Report

Dear MAC Community

It has been a great term and I have thoroughly enjoyed the return of school events that we missed this time last year. The Swimming and Athletics Carnivals were a huge success with high rates of student participation and engagement. The house spirit was at its best with students designing elaborate costumes and cheering their house, singing and dancing.

We had a successful online VCE information evening that was well attended and comprised of a video that was viewed prior to the event and an opportunity for parents to ask questions of the Michael Buckingham, Megan Rawlins and myself. A number of videos have been produced on a range of topics including assessment and reporting and using Compass. We will continue to produce more videos on more topics throughout the year. Feedback for parents has been very positive.

I had the pleasure of attending the Student Leadership Planning Day and listening to the ideas students have for various fundraising activities and events that will continue to improve our school and enrich our community. Some ideas included organising activities for the Luna Eclipse, Youth Day, Active April and organising House Mascots and songs, just to mention a few. Once again, I was impressed with the calibre of ideas and the confidence and conviction in which they were presented. I am really looking forward to the year ahead.

Thank you to the parents and students who attending the working bee on Saturday 27 March. The rain did not stop the enthusiasm and willingness of the team who attended to everything from pressure washing, weeding, pruning, sweeping, cleaning and removing cobwebs.

A big thank to Stephen McMaster for his coordination and work on the day. Thank you also to Megan Rawlins who assisted on the day.  The PFA will be planning another working bee in Term 2, they would love to see many more people come along and help.

Thanks to the following parents and students who helped:

  • Jo Lomasney
  • Paul Gillard
  • Peter Hormann
  • Andrew Chia
  • Aprilia Vellacott
  • Troy Runge
  • David Clunn
  • Jutta Dreier
  • Nadine Schnabel
  • Holger Schnabel
  • Keira Schnabel
  • Zoe Schnabel
  • Ayden Schnabel
  • Krysia Birman
  • Melissa Martin
  • Richard Frazer
  • Matt Hammond
  • Bronwen Jefferson

As you may know, our school has been working closely over the past few years with Flemington Primary School, Ascot Vale Heights School, and Debney Meadows Primary School to develop the Flemington Education Plan (the Plan). The Plan was officially launched during 2020 and is a collaborative approach ensuring that all of our students receive the same access to a high-quality seamless education. It aims to provide students with positive health and wellbeing, a sense of belonging and community, and the ability to succeed from early childhood into adult pathways beyond secondary school.

This year our schools will come together to begin work on a project to support students transitioning into secondary school and to develop a wider precinct health and wellbeing strategy.

As part of the capital components of the Plan, we also received $24.7 million to commence a major modernisation and expansion of the school. Our school community worked with Kosloff Architecture to finalise our masterplan in 2019, and I’m really pleased that we’re now in the process of finalising the concept designs with them for a new 5 story building which will built on the existing G Block. We will share these designs with you as soon as they are available. We will hold an information evening sometime in term 2, make sure you look out for the invitation.

We will continue to engage the local community along the journey as we work towards the Plan’s vision – for every child and young person to experience opportunities and pathways that promote educational excellence, health and wellbeing, and a sense of belonging and community.

I would like to welcome the following new members to School Council:

Student Members

  • Marcella Martin
  • Luke Vella

Parent Members

  • Suzie Bensen
  • Ahemed Faid
  • Peter Hormann
  • Melanie Hunter

Community Members

  • Bernadette De Courte
  • Nasteha Mohamud

School Council met this week and I am pleased to announce the following appointments:

  • School Council President Angelica Inserra
  • Vice President Peter Hormann
  • Treasurer Melanie Hunter

I am looking forward to working closely with the newly formed council and continuing to build on the successes of the school.

To conclude I would like to thank the staff for their hard work this term, it has been an extremely busy term and staff have well and truly earned their break. I want to congratulate our students on their efforts this term, for their enthusiasm and positive attitude. It has been great to see may students signing up for the coursework catch up afterschool sessions and students taking advantage of the additional support form tutors in the classroom.

I would like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday and look forward to an equally successful Term 2.

Kind regards,

Ms Dani Angelico, Principal

Inside this issue

VCE Information Evening

If repeated lockdowns taught us anything, it’s that there are a millions ways for us to reach out to our community.  Given the uncertainty around venue density limits, this years VCE Information night on 16 March ran a little differently.
Members of the Leadership and Wellbeing teams produced a range of instructional videos, covering Assessment and Reporting, VCE processes, Compass parent portal and Wellbeing supports at MAC.  These videos are now available to the entire school community, under the link “Parent instructional videos” under Compass School Favourites.  A big thanks you to Julie Stephens for her extensive work in editing these videos.
Parents were then invited to attend a live Q&A session via Zoom from 6pm – 8pm with myself, the principal Dani Angelico and Assistant Principal Meg Rawlins. While many of us were able to still eat our dinner in the background, the use of the live chat greatly helped in generating discussion topics.  We discussed a range of issues round managing screen time, Special Examination Arrangements and the role of feedback in learning.  Parent feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and as such, we are hoping to build on our library of instructional videos.
Later in the year there will be another Senior School specific information night, covering the structure of the VCAL and VCE certificates, ATAR and Study Score calculation, statistical moderation and the proposed changes to the VCAL certificate for 2023.

Michael Buckingham, Senior School Academic Advisor

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Friday night fever at Kensington Town Hall 

MAC students past and present (Alex Langley, Ella Klassen, Jacinta Klassen and Inis Ahmed) supported the Rotary Club Arts Show on 26 March for the opening night. Ella Klassen is to be nominated for the Young Leader Award 2019-2021.
Ching Chan, Teacher of Chinese and Japanese
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Student Leadership 

Student Leadership Workshop

On March 10 the Student Leadership team undertook our whole day workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to set goals the team would like to achieve across 2021. Students worked in Houses and planned a wide range of House and Whole School activities with the main focus being on building House spirit and school pride. The end of the day culminated in each House presenting their long and short term goals to Ms Angelico. With a wide range of proposals across the year, the student leadership team are excited about creating opportunities for the whole student body to get involved in activities across the year.

Gnurad Gundidj CLP Presentation

On Friday March 26 I had the privilege of going to visit our five students who have been attending Gnurad Gundidj School for Student Leadership this term. It was great to catch up with Ambrose, Alex, Hannah, Maya and Lucas and hear their highlights from their experience so far. Mostly they all agreed that the Expos were the best and being able to participate in new experiences like surfing. 

It was also awesome to see the presentation of their proposal for their Community Learning Project that the team will see to fruition when they return. Alex and Ambrose were also part of the entertainment during the CLP presentation with their musical contributions. We look forward to seeing the Gnurad Gundidj 2021 team return to school next term and hear more about their experience. 

Kate Stevanovic, Leading Teacher Student Leadership & Empowerment

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Tinkering with Technology

Dear MAC community going into Term 2, the Tinkering with Technology classes will be looking at ways of upcycling and reusing e-waste in line with sustainability goals to create and design projects. If anyone has old broken electronics sitting in draws or garages at home these may be useful to salvage components for new products. As we don’t have endless space at MAC we are only looking for small items like broken laptops, old multimedia speakers or speaker cabs and 12V DC wall chargers, which could help create new products such as Bluetooth speakers or provide power for various lighting projects. A box will be left outside the Makerspace/General Office for any donations. 

Mr Grocott

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Athletics Carnival

This year’s Athletics Carnival was a load of fun. The weather was perfect and the house spirit was strong.

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Teach your teenager to be independent

The teenage years are when young people begin to master the skills that will enable them to be fully independent in adulthood. As parents, we need to encourage independence in our teenagers, while keeping them safe and supported. We look at ways to encourage your child to be confident, independent and responsible.

Different kinds of independence

While some teenagers are craving freedom and independence from a young age, others need a little push to become confident and self-motivated. No matter which end of the spectrum your child sits at, there are a whole range of skills that teenagers need to learn in order to become independent. Some things to consider are:

·       being independent on the domestic front – cooking, cleaning and processing laundry

·       managing their time, study and responsibilities themselves

·       being confident in the outside world with different types of people and situations

·       looking out for themselves and their friends when out and about.

Young people mature at different rates, so what their friends are doing may not necessarily be right for your child at the same time. It’s important to have ongoing discussions with your child about their developing independence and to find a common ground where there is a balance between independence and safety.

Setting boundaries

When encouraging independence with your child, it’s important to discuss and set boundaries around behaviour. By setting firm and clear boundaries, both of you know what’s expected and allowed.

When the expectations are clear, your child has the chance to explore things for themselves within them. Clear boundaries also help your child feel safe and cared for. As independence develops, it’s important to sit down with your child to discuss what the boundaries will be around different situations. Some examples to consider:

  • What are the rules about going out with friends?
  • What are the rules about contacting you while they’re out?
  • What are the rules about social media and technology use?

Earning trust

If your child wants more independence than you feel comfortable with, or you feel they’ve been untrustworthy in the past, consider creating some activities that could earn trust. Things like small outings or being left at home alone for brief periods of time will provide the building blocks for more independence. By building up trust in small increments you’ll both feel safe and supported as mutual trust develops. And there’s a balance struck between freedom and responsibility.

Effective decision-making

Teaching your child effective decision-making is a big step in preparing them for independence. By allowing them to work things out for themselves they develop an ability to identify and solve problems. They’ll also gain skills in rational thinking, listening and develop an ability to prioritise and compromise. Some ways to help your child develop decision-making skills:

  • encourage them to stay calm, listen, and think
  • get them to brainstorm a wide range of possible outcomes
  • get them to write a list of positives and negatives
  • encourage them to listen to their instincts

Managing money

As teenagers want to exercise their independence and go out more, money takes a greater role in their lives. You can help by:

  • modelling responsible money management in your own life
  • encourage them to earn their own money
  • help them set savings goals for things that they want
  • allow them to spend their money how they want, even if it means making mistakes
  • include them in making family financial decisions such as planning holidays or excursions

Encourage responsibility

The level of responsibility you expect from your child should grow as they do. It’s important not to expect too much too soon. Remember that a teenager’s brain is still developing and that they’ll have poorer impulse control than adults.
As part of becoming responsible, young people learn to take ownership for the positive and negative consequences of their actions. When you encourage responsibility you have to be prepared to let your child fail and make their own mistakes, and to be prepared to allow them to do things their own way.
Teaching responsibility means you need to stand back and let them do things on their own. This will sometimes mean dealing with negative consequences in order for them to learn and develop. This is a really good life lesson.

Time management

Encouraging your child to become responsible for their time management is an important part of independence. Some things you can do:

  • Sit down with them and plot down all of their activities and responsibilities and create a weekly schedule
  • When scheduling the week, make sure that there is a balance between work or study time and free time
  • Consider introducing time management apps if they’re better with their phone or computer than written lists
  • Encourage them to realistically identify how long things take

Let go

It can be difficult and worrying to facilitate your child’s growing independence. Concerns about safety, responsibilities and wanting them to enjoy their lives without too many worries, can all make it difficult to let go and allow them to develop independence. When we progressively “let go” to allow our child to become independent we not only have to learn to trust them as young people, but we also have to trust ourselves and believe that we have laid a good foundation from which they will grow. Do your best, that’s all you can do.

References and further information:

Michelle Hynson, Health Promotion Nurse, Monday & Tuesday

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News from the Resource Centre

Hopefully most students have familiarised themselves with the books, the Library Catalogue and the Eplatform by now. I have some Library Catalogue Orientation Booklets for students who would like to learn how to use the Library Catalogue. Come into the Resource Centre to pick one up or download one here

Overdue books

Students will have begun to receive reminders that they have an overdue book. They can renew it themselves in the Library Catalogue, return it into the Book Returns box in the Resource Centre or see me during the Borrowing Hours to renew it.

Some students still need to return books from 2020. It is essential that these books are returned this week or a charge for a replacement book will be placed on the school fees. Please log into the Library Catalogue to see which books are outstanding and return them or let us know if they have been lost.

Borrowing hours

There is a slight change to the hours that you can borrow books this year. Please see below for the current borrowing hours. The most important thing is that the is no capacity at the moment to borrow books during lunch time.


  • Recess
  • After school – 3.20-3.50


  • Before school – 8.30-8.55
  • Recess
  • After school – 3.20-3.50

Don’t forget to reserve books through the Library Catalogue. Once the book is located, it should be available to borrow the next day. You will receive an email telling you when your book is ready for you to borrow.


The Eplatform has over 2500 ebooks and audiobooks that you can read or listen to. You can access it by downloading the app on your device and signing in with your school details in the Single Sign On (SSO). It’s a great way to access books if you are going away these holidays. Find out more here:

Meg Dunley, Resource Centre, Communications and Marketing Manager

English Language Class

Throughout this Language Studies interview project, MAC students had the great opportunity to find out more about the lives of our staff. We interviewed twelve staff in total. This semester we will publish our responses in the newsletter. I would like to thank the staff involved on behalf of the class for their contributions. Thank you for reading.

Ms Balaburov interviewed by Phu Trieu (Grad 2022)

‘My role as Head of House means I chat with students when they need life lessons’

I recently interviewed Ms Balaburov. She has been teaching at MAC since 2016. She also went to England for a period of time to teach. She is currently teaching Food Science, Marine Biology and VCE Biology. Her other role is Head of Artemis House. Ms Balaburov was asked to describe MAC in one word and her answer was ‘diverse’.

What would you do if you became the Prime Minister of Australia?

Ms Balaburov would firstly think about how to reduce the workload of teachers. This is what she feels is the biggest stress about being a teacher. Additionally, she would lower university fees so it will be a lot more achievable for all people to attend. In addition, she would decrease housing prices, so more people could afford their own homes as she stated ‘even though there are lots of incentives to help people with that, it’s still really hard to get in the market’. Furthermore, she would create more public housing.

If you could choose another career, what would you choose?

Ms Balaburov would love to be a full-time mother and looks forward to having a baby one day. She added ‘I don’t know if I will get bored from not teaching and I may go a little gaga!’ On the contrary, the other job that she always wanted to do was to be a coroner. The reason was she finds the human body fascinating and likes doing dissections. However, she also thought she’d like to be a doctor but she became stressed out because of the thought of medical malpractice which she could accidentally kill a patient.

Why did you want to be a teacher?

Ms Balaburov’s dream job was to be a physio and work at Royal Children’s Hospital. However, she discovered that there were limited opportunities as only two physios work at the RCH. ‘Not many children need a physio, they need more doctors.’ This job didn’t create lots of employment opportunities for her and she realised she didn’t ‘want to touch people on their muscles’. She preferred working directly with kids and therefore this led her to become a teacher.

What makes you feel better when you are upset?

Ms Balaburov loves food and admitted she is ‘a comfort eater’. She also added that she eats when she is bored and happy. She likes dumpling, noodles and pasta and especially desserts. She also likes cooking. Her favourite dumpling restaurant is Din Tai Fung, Mexican restaurant Fonda, Laksa King, and Thai 29. Furthermore, she likes hanging out with her friends, particularly her family who always makes her happy.

Phu Trieu (Grad 2022)

Mr Stephanou interview by Uyen Thu (Winter) Dinh (AE10)

‘MAC is awesome!’ said Mr Stephanou in a recent interview organized by the Language Studies students. The purpose of the interviews is to find out more about the teachers’ lives. During the interview, Mr Stephanou gladly shared his strategies and perspectives on different aspects of teaching and learning gained from the past four years working at MAC as a Maths teacher.

Mr Stephanou has observed many changes including an increase in the passion for maths by his many students. He teaches Entry Maths, Academic 9 Maths and Unit 3 & 4 Further Mathematics. Additionally, Mr Stephanou is happy to help and join in discussions about science as well.

What are your hidden talents?

Do you know Mr. Stephanou’s hidden talents? Mr Stephanou’s response to this question may give you a surprise. He is a maths teacher who majored in chemistry, yet he is more interested in physics. However, there seems to be much evidence to show that he is more of an arts person as during his free time he has a fascination with drawing. Additionally, Mr. Stephanou has significant interest in doing woodwork and working on cars which is built on his joy of learning new things. Moreover, Mr. Stephanou also shared that he plays the guitar but not very well! Through this information, we have a much clearer understanding about his hidden talents which contribute to his joy during his free time.

How do you remember all the names of your students’?

For Mr Stephanou, building rapport with students is one of the most important things in teaching. He shared that Compass is a great tool which helps him to get to know students by providing sufficient pieces of information about the students. In addition, Mr Stephanou also puts effort into observing students’ personal interests. Have you ever been instructed to make origami in Math class? It may seem to be just some kind of game, yet Mr Stephanou is teaching student to actually perform maths in a different way.

Why do you think Maths is interesting?

‘Maths is interesting because it can be used everywhere, for everything.’ said Mr Stephanou.  Moreover, he also stated Maths doesn’t require a master of any language to do it. For every student who is interested in Maths, don’t hesitate to take a step closer to the world of numbers, shapes and patterns as Mr Stephanou’s states, ‘It is universal, and we can communicate through it.’

Uyen Thu (Winter) Dinh (AE10)

Ms Aydin interviewed by Muna Osman (AE10)

Guess what I found out about Ms Aydin?

I interviewed Ms Aydin to find out about her life. She started teaching here fifteen years ago when the school was called Debney Park Secondary College. She stayed home for eight years because she had two children. Miss Didem has a second choice for a career, she would love to be a graphic designer. Also, she describes MAC as “empowering”. Miss Aydin is not into a lot of sports but if she was going to play something it would be basketball.

What advice do you give student to improve their learning?

Ms Aydin said she expects students to concentrate in order to understand lesson expectations. She explained students need to feel safe in the environment they are in as this will definitely help in their learning. Also, perhaps the biggest advice is to make sure students seek help or assistance when they need it and not just remain silent.

How would you describe your school life?

School life for Ms Aydin was entertaining and it had many challenges. The thing she hated the most about school was she had to do some subjects that she wasn’t interested in.

What makes MAC different from other schools?

Ms Aydin said that MAC is different from other schools because of the vertical learning. Students have a lot more opportunities to choose different subjects. Also, because we have different levels within a class.

Muna Osman (AE10)

Ms Angelico interviewed by Kieu (Aubrie) Pham (Grad 2022)

‘Love it, love it, love it!’

I recently interviewed Ms Angelico and found out more about her life. She has been the Principal at MAC for almost two years. She described the inspiration for her job and her desires if she was the Prime Minister. Ms Angelico feels happy being the Principal at MAC. Additionally, she never stops improving herself to be the best version of herself.

Do you love your job?

Ms Angelico stated she ‘loves it, loves it, loves it’. Although being a principal is hard, Ms Angelico feels it a lot easier when she’s feels part of a community. This school makes her feel like she belongs to a big family. When Ms Angelico worked in other schools as a teacher she didn’t have really strong relationship with the principal’s. However, she feels very lucky because she has strong connections with staff at MAC.

What would I do if I became Prime Minister? 

Ms Angelico feels really passionate about equal access to healthcare. She compares the healthcare system between the US and Australia and although she realises Australia is much better than the US, she still doesn’t think it’s good enough. She would want to see that ‘every Australian every person who lives in our country has equal access to healthcare because healthcare is the most important thing in our life’. Secondly, she wants ‘everyone to have equal access to education’. Therefore, she would get rid of all private schools as she thinks everyone deserves the best teachers and the best curriculum. It shouldn’t depend on your postcode or how much money your parents earn. Lastly, Ms Angelico would think about the tax system. She wants the low income workers to pay no tax at all and high income workers to pay more taxes.

Kieu (Aubrie) Pham (Grad 2022)

Meg Rawlins, Assistant Principal and Language Studies Teacher

International Women’s Day Breakfast

The annual celebration of International Women’s Day highlights the ongoing march for women’s rights. This day globally acknowledges the continuous and ongoing efforts women have contributed all around the world. Women and men come together in recognition to embrace the unique identities, ethnicity, disability, faith and race of all those around us. The annual event was held in Moonee Ponds at the Clocktower with key guest speakers that included 5 panelists all with different backgrounds of which discussed gender, youth as strengths and cultural diversity. The guest speakers’ inspiring stories allowed self-reflection on the experiences that create a great leader. This event highly impacts the women and youth of our future to come together as one and ignite equal opportunities. 

The IWD Breakfast panelists

Bilhah Ryan, Student Leader

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Interschool Sports



Lots of blue ribbons at the Division Swimming


Intermediate boys tennis runners up in the grand final

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MAC Parents & Friends

The Parents & Friends Association’s next meeting is Monday 1 May at 6.00 pm in the Resource Centre. All parents are welcome to attend.

Join the conversation over on the PFA Facebook Group


Community News and Advertising

We advertise and support local organisations that reside in our catchment area. These suburbs include Flemington, Kensington, Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds, Maribyrnong, West Brunswick, North Melbourne and Parkville. 

MAC News Deadlines

The MAC News is published twice a term.

Please see the below dates for MAC News submissions deadlines for articles and advertising. Any advertising requests must be sent to

Term 2 2023

  • MAC News 4 - Wednesday 23 June

Term 3 2023

  • MAC News 5 - Wednesday 9 August
  • MAC News 6 - Wednesday 13 September

Term 4 2023

  • MAC News 7 - Wednesday 1 November
  • MAC News 8 - Wednesday 13 December

Upcoming Events

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Mount Alexander College is located where Flemington National School was established in 1858. The school, which has undergone many changes, has always served the community.

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