Principal's Welcome

Finally, after almost 12 months, countless meetings and site visits, the major building work for the new St Thomas of Villanova Learning Centre is complete. Over the next few weeks the building will be commissioned for occupation by our staff and students.

The classroom spaces are excellent, and the quality of the finish is extremely high. I am confident the students, parents and staff will be very excited to see the new facilities once the building is open for business. What is more exciting is the fantastic learning opportunities that can be provided by our dedicated staff. We now have the spaces to explore new ways of engaging with young men to ensure learning continues to be exciting and meaningful.

Returning to the Classroom
What a journey it has been for all of us as we have worked through the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education. Our staff are all very excited to welcome the students back to the College on Monday 25 May.

Below are a few reminders as students return to the College:

  1. Driving and Parking: Please remember all areas around the College are 40 km/h School Zones and ensure you drive carefully. Drop-off Zones are clearly marked by the green and white striped poles. Please drop-off quickly and move on. Please do not double park as this puts young lives at risk and will block other drivers. Please be respectful of our neighbours and do not park over driveways.
  2. Winter Uniform: During Term Two, the winter uniform is to be worn and all students are expected to be in the College tie. The College jumper and blazer (Senior School students only) are the only warm items to be worn. Sports jackets are not part of the formal uniform and can only be worn with the sports uniform.
  3. Visiting the College: During the remainder of this term, parents are requested to minimise visits to the College where possible. It is a requirement to sign in when visiting the College via the College Reception.
  4. Sick Children: If your child is displaying cold or flu-like symptoms, please do not send them to school. Students with these symptoms must stay at home until the symptoms have abated.

Our staff will welcome the students on Monday, and we will assist the young men to settle back into their study routines as quickly as possible. It is understandable all returning students will be very excited to see their friends again in the school yard and classrooms in these first few days.

Sport in Term Three
Thank you to the Directors of Sports from the AIC Colleges for the many hours of planning that has gone into devising the arrangements for sport in Terms Three and Four in 2020. There are just a few minor details to be finalised and once these details are completed our families will be advised of the new arrangements for sport in 2020.

Staff News
Congratulations to Mr Blake McLauchlan and his wife Tara following the birth of a beautiful baby girl, Alba Sage McLauchlan. We wish the McLauchlan family every blessing at this time.

You have made us for Yourself O Lord
And our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

God bless
Mr Mark Stower, Principal

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Junior School

Excited, does not even begin to explain how I feel at the thought of the Junior School boys returning to School Based Learning.  I am looking forward to slowing those students who can’t help but race around corners to get to the Tuckshop.  I am eager to greet and farewell young men on the Fifth  Avenue stairs each day, to make sure they start and finish the day strong.  A playground filled with yells of enthusiasm and delight means more to me than any void of silence (who would have thought?).  Staff are relishing the idea of having learning take place in person – we have passionate educators who know only too well that it takes a professional to know what parents have managed with Learning@Home over the past five weeks.  We salute every ounce of patience, effort, and time you have invested – thank you for doing your absolute best to help your son/s.

So, what does Week 6 look like?  Well, on Monday and Tuesday we find common ground – establish baseline summaries and ensure that boys are on equal footing across Curriculum areas. Content pages need to be shared, expectations reaffirmed, and in-between there needs to be time to connect relationships and common ground.  It has been several weeks since the boys have been together!  But boys can confidently walk by themselves or with a mate through the school gates knowing they have done this before. This is not like the first day of school where every item was jammed into their boxes and school bags were full to the brim. Teachers will need to ensure Online Checklists of work tasks correlate with the boys sharing their ideas verbally, and amongst a class that has a great deal to share about the past 5 weeks Learning@Home.  Our relationships need a re-boot, and it is crucial to have the space to do this.  Transitioning from home to school needs our attention, a little flexibility, and some common sense.

As adults, we need to keep working on our mindset.  How many times have we said “I’m not sure yet” in the past two months?  I realise now, more than ever, how much comfort there is in a definitive answer. Yet, I must find a new sense of acceptance with “I don’t know at this time”.  A pandemic means we simply must work with a shorter time of figuring out our plans.  We are not use to this.  So much of our school lives is built around ritual, routine, and robust expectations.  Kindness is needed.  Compassion is necessary.  Attention is paramount.  Every family is experiencing something unique, so we are looking for acceptance, reassurance, and comfort in doing our best.  To every parent in the Junior School, and I include every staff member who has a child in education at this moment. I tell you this – you are incredible for all that you manage, meeting the expectations when you can and appreciated for the efforts you have made.  It is enough.

So how do we move forward?  We take it one week at a time.  I have made it clear to Junior School Staff that we have many things on the horizon – our boys as human beings, take priority.  Their Well Being is crucial, their sense of belonging and value as a Villanovan takes precedence to anything else.  We are thrilled to have them back.  We will embrace their presence above anything else.  I have asked staff to ensure “Checking In” is the next priority.  I want to know who needs a helping hand, and who needs our support to bridge Learning@Home with Learning Based at School.  We are ready and willing to ensure your son has an equitable platform for future learning and assessment.  As parents, and my sons are currently Year 11 and Year 9 students at Villanova, we keep our reality check in place.  It has not been a normal academic year, that is true.  However, we can make the best out of an alternative learning situation.  A grounded, flexible, and realistic approach will stand us all in good stead.  There is a student involved who is accountable, hardworking, and doing his best.  There are parents who manage their work and family lives to the best of their ability.  There are staff who have given there complete “all” in Learning@Home with Zoom/email/Collaboration Spaces.  We have navigated unchartered realms of teaching and learning, and I am proud of us all.  This is the best we could do, with the time, place, space, and abilities we had to work with.  So, let’s keep marching forward and build upon the foundations of Learning@Home.  Boys, your potential awaits!

Mr Stephen Rouhliadeff, Head of Junior School

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Middle School

This week’s podcast episode discusses the return to school of students on Monday. My thanks to Mr Ben Lynam and Mr Adrian Hellwig for their involvement.

Mr Greg O’Neill, Head of Middle School

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Senior School

St Thomas of Villanova Learning Centre
There has been great excitement in the Senior School precinct throughout this week as our Year 11 and 12 students have witnessed the nearing of completion of the St Thomas of Villanova Learning Centre.

In my conversations with students in the yard, I have answered many questions about the new Senior School level which occupies the top floor of the building – affording our students spectacular panoramic views of the Brisbane cityscape. The new space includes a variety of learning modalities including six classrooms, an auditorium, a study centre as well as an outdoor kitchenette. This presents our students with a pseudo-tertiary environment and in speaking with Curriculum Area Leaders earlier this week, there will be opportunities to shift aspects of pedagogy to accommodate lecture and tutorial styles of curriculum delivery, especially in preparing for external examinations next semester.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon our Year 12 students to set the example of how they transition into the new space in terms of their respect for and pride in their new learning facilities. I look forward to sharing further information about the Senior School extension in the weeks ahead and providing our students with a tour of the floor later in the term.

Return of Year 10 Students
We look forward to welcoming back our Year 10 students next week after five weeks Learning@Home. During this period, the Year 10 cohort has also commenced the journey towards the completion of their Senior Education and Training (SET) Plan during their Formation Program lesson time. Confirming their learning pathway and subject selections for Year 11 and 12 is one of the most important processes our young men will engage in and as such, it is vital that they purposefully participate in the prescribed activities.

Tomorrow, Year 10 Pastoral Area Leader Mr Sean O’Neill and I will conduct House Meetings via Zoom to brief students on our expectations for their return – these protocols will be emailed to parents as well. Furthermore, given our Year 10 students will be wearing the Senior School winter academic uniform for the first time, I expect that our young men will be appropriately dressed and groomed.

Is He Hearing You?
I would like to return this week to Dr Adam J Cox’s thought-provoking book Cracking the Boy Code and focus on his exploration of the listening skills of teenage boys. According to Cox, two main considerations are that boys do not always hear enough of what we say and what they do hear is often partially inaccurate. We are now challenged to communicate with boys whose minds have been shaped by a stream of electronic interference – video games, television, social media etc… Cox contends that the overstimulation of boys as a result of significant exposure to screen time can have a detrimental impact upon both the concentration and ability of students to listen and absorb our communication. Given the increase in the amount of screen time due to forced isolation in our homes and online learning in recent months, perhaps our young men could benefit from a digital detox as outlined in the following article-

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” – Steven Covey

Mr Matt Levander, Head of Senior School

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Ministry News

The Villa Man Podcast
In this week’s podcast about the ‘Villa Man’, three Seniors of 2019 share their memories and discuss what they see as the key qualities of the ‘Villa Man’. I spoke to: Matt Rolls, College Captain, 2019; Will Barwick, College Vice-Captain, and Will Stevens, recipient of one of the Fr Michael Morahan osa silver medallions for distinguished service. To listen to the podcast, please click on the icon below.

Feast of St Rita Service and rose garden
The Feast of St Rita of Cascia falls tomorrow, Friday May 22, and it was to have been marked by a whole College Mass. Instead, we will be making a short service available to all students and families. Included in the service are the story of St Rita, a special homily by Prior Provincial Fr Peter Jones OSA, a “covideo” of community members performing Ancient Words, and some special prayers for the community.

St Rita is renowned for Christian forgiveness. When her husband was murdered, she prevailed on her sons not to take vengeance. The Cascia building at the College is named after her.

On Wednesday, we also “turned the sod” for a new red rose garden in honour of St Rita. This will be a shared project between staff members and students in the Green Team. This is a special project for 2020, signalling reconciliation with this beautiful planet, our common home. Theodore Day, Captain of the Green Team, turned over the soil, while Isaak Collie laid a display of roses in the space where our own will grow.

Brothers in Arms Day – Solidarity
The Year 12 students are invited to wear their Senior jersey/ hoody tomorrow with Villanova sports attire. We won’t collect a gold coin on this occasion, but we encourage families to make a small donation online to the Romero Centre in Dutton Park. This cause has been decided and recommended by the Ministry students. The Romero Centre have been offering much needed supplies to both families of refugee background, and to International university students. We know this because Campus Minister Fr Saldie Resolado OSA delivered urgently needed supplies to the Romero Centre last week.

The students would like to advertise that when brothers link arms, they face outwards. In particular, we wish to stand in solidarity with the many international students in Brisbane currently struggling to make ends meet. Here is the link:

If Year 11 students would like also to stand in solidarity with international students, please wear funky/ happy socks tomorrow.

Free Offer of The Catholic Leader
I would like to draw your attention to a special offer which has been made to the families of the Villanova community which gives free digital subscription to The Catholic Leader – the most widely selling Catholic newspaper in the country. The offer has been made to enhance the connection between Catholic schools and the good work being done in the wider Catholic community.

You can sign up to receive your weekly digital newspaper here.

Laudato Si Week
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the great letter by Pope Francis urging that we take seriously our role as stewards for “our beautiful planet.”

Green Team Captain Theo Day, Year 12, writes:

“This Sunday marks the 5th year since Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ on care for our common home. As the ‘Green Team,’ we are committed to following this call to action by the Pope throughout the Villanova community and abroad. The positive affect our ministry has had on the stretch of Norman Creek down at Langlands is immediate. With the continued support of the ministry leaders, we are looking further to expand our influence on other parks and creeks. Former parents of the college have already got in contact with the Green Team and have suggested new areas we could work in. This Pandemic will not stop the Green Team from acting out Pope Francis’s encyclical. In the words of Pope Francis: “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”

Let us pray:

“Praise to you, Lord, God of all creation. For through your goodness, you endowed creation with your divine goodness, which in turn reveals and speaks of your power and love.  Direct our thoughts to know you more through your manifold creation.  Direct our actions to see you in everyone and every living being we encounter.  Direct our words to shape our minds and hearts in embracing our role as stewards of Earth.  We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord, Amen.”

Mr John Holroyd, Dean of Mission and Identity

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Earlier this week the AIC Management Committee released a statement regarding the commencement of AIC Sport in light of the ‘Roadmap to Easing Queensland’s Restrictions’ document released by the Queensland Government.

AIC Press Release

Roadmap to Easing Queensland’s Restrictions

The roadmap outlines a staged approach to giving Queenslanders more freedom to travel, participate in more activities and hold more gatherings.

The Queensland Government has announced the commencement of three stages for the easing of restrictions on gatherings and non-essential activities. Stage 1 commenced 15 May 2020. Stage 2 and Stage 3 are currently planned to commence on 12 June 2020 and 10 July 2020, respectively. Progression to Stages 2 and 3 remains subject to confirmation by authorities based on health advice after a review of the impact of Stage 1. Authorities will confirm the position for Stages 2 and 3 ahead of their planned commencement.

Currently, the easing of restrictions will proceed as follows:

Stage 1: From 15 May (4 weeks)

  • No indoor activity permitted (except for pools which can operate for up to 10 people).
  • 1.5 metres between people.
  • Non-contact informal activity permitted for up to 10 people (including coaches).
  • Communal swimming pools are open for recreation, training, and rehabilitation purposes, with strict guidelines including the closure of change rooms.

Stage 2: From 12 June (4 weeks)

  • 1.5 metres between people.
  • Non-contact activity permitted for up to 20 people (indoor and outdoor)
  • Pools can operate for up to 20 people.

Stage 3: From 10 July

  • 1.5 metres between people.
  • Sport permitted to occur for up to 100 people (indoor and outdoor).

As you may be aware, all community sport organisations (including local rugby and football clubs) are set to return by Stage 2 (12 June) at the earliest.

Schools, however, may commence training in small groups before this time as outlined in stage 1. Given the groups can only be a maximum of 10 including the coach, with no contact, no sharing of equipment, no use of showers and no indoor activities, this does limit who we can train and what we can do. The type of training which occurs during this stage will be fitness based only.

The Sports Office has met with the First XV Rugby, First XI Football, First V Basketball, and Cross-Country coaches to formulate a ‘return to play’ training schedule based on the roadmap and stages released by the government.

We hope to publish the ‘return to play’ training schedule for all Cross-Country runners from Years 5 – 12, Open tennis squad, First XI and Second XI Football squad members, First XV and Second XV Rugby squad members and First V Basketball, Cubs and Sabres squad members by next Monday 25 May, if not earlier. This schedule will contain dates and times of all training.

We hope to commence fitness sessions for all Cross Country, Open tennis squad, First XV  Rugby, First IV Tennis and First V Basketball on the week beginning Monday 1 June.

Furthermore, we hope to commence training sessions (from Stage 2) for First and Second XI Football, Second XV Rugby, Cubs and Sabres Basketball squads from the week commencing Monday 15 June.

Students involved in these groups above will be contacted by the coaches or Sports Office. This will be done by sometime next week so that the program can commence the week afterwards for those groups who are due to start.

Note – as we are restricted to a maximum limit of 10 in each group during Stage 1 (and a maximum of 20 in a group in Stage 2), not all students can be involved. Students who are not involved in these squads will not commence their training/trials until Stage 3, July 10 when the limit is lifted to 100.

If the government reviews its health advice and enforces further restrictions, we will have to change our plans.

Term 3 AIC Sport – Ready, set……. hopefully, it will go!

After much debate, a Term 3 AIC sport model has been decided upon by the AIC Management Committee. This model allows for all Term 2 and Term 3 AIC sports and activities to be played but over a shortened season so as they all fit into Term 3. The exact draw (including the opponents) will be provided at a later stage.

I have listed below the proposed commencement dates. However, please be mindful this information is subject to change based on the government’s health advice.

If the situation in our community worsens, this will have an impact on the AIC season which has been planned. At this stage, the information supplied provided below will act as our guide and may provide families with some forward planning.

Basketball and Tennis will be played as a half season consisting of four rounds only. Rounds 1 – 4 will be played during the first four weekends of Term 3.  As we play Round 1 the first weekend back in Term 3, we must commence our Basketball and Tennis trials on Saturday 11 July. We cannot trial earlier as Stage 3 restrictions allowing 100 people to gather open from 10 July.

AIC Tennis and Basketball Season Dates (subject to change based on government health advice)

Basketball and Tennis Trial weekend – Saturday 11 July (first day of Stage 3 restrictions where training/trials can occur, last weekend of the school holidays, all coaches and players must be available, only chance boys can make a team)

Round 1 – Saturday 18 July
Round 2 – Saturday 25 July
Round 3 – Saturday 1 August
Round 4 – Saturday 8 August

Note – Year 5 and Year 6 basketball games will be played on Friday afternoons.

AIC Cross Country Championship – Tuesday 11 August at Curlew Park (tentative date and venue, subject to change)

AIC Rugby, Football and Chess Season Dates (subject to change based on government health advice)

Rugby, Football and Chess Trial Week – commencing Monday 10 – Thursday 13 August

Ekka Public Holiday (now Friday 14 August) – Full School Year 5 – 12 Rugby and Football Trial at Villa Park

Round 1 – Saturday 22 August
Round 2 – Saturday 29 August
Round 3 – Saturday 5 September
Round 4 – Saturday 12 September


  • Year 5 – 12 Chess will be played on the Friday afternoon/evenings.
  • The Sports Office may well add another day of internal rugby and football trials during the 1 and/or 8 August, which is during the basketball/tennis season. These trials will be held at Villanova Park. Those involved in basketball and tennis cannot be involved – to be confirmed).

AIC Rugby League – to be confirmed (possible September holiday tournament over three days or played in Term 4 on Saturday)

AIC Track and Field Championships – Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October

Fingers crossed the plans above do not change and our boys can enjoy the benefits of playing sport again.

 Mr Craig Stariha, Director of Sport

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Tuned In Podcast – Episode 5
We released the fifth episode from our Tuned In podcast this afternoon. Production Co-Captain Isaac Langford, Percussion Co-Captain Eoin Hartley, and Spirit Captain Joseph Cross host this week’s episode where the boys discuss their experiences around ensemble rehearsals, remote learning, and their views on returning to school.  They have also managed an exclusive interview with Director of Music, Mr Michael Jones where they hit him with the big questions!  Listen in and hear it straight from the source.

We really hope you enjoy this week’s episode. Click the image to begin listening.

Message from the Director of Music
As we proceed through this challenge, people are starting to tire.  I certainly know that I am finding it challenging at times to maintain the positive outlook or mindset required to face each new day.  Upon reflection, it helps to know that we are not alone in experiencing this; that regardless of our own individual experience, as a race or broader community, we are all in this together.

This week I wanted to share a little more of the discussion I had with my mate Dr Arau from Wisconsin.  We talk about how different generations have faced major calamities or defining moments in history; unique challenges that have influenced the trajectory of the human race.  This is your generation’s defining moment.  How you respond now and in the immediate future will dictate the trajectory of our community.  What will your mindset be?

Hope you enjoy this quick video – looking forward to seeing you all back onsite next week.

Ensemble lessons and rehearsals from Week 6
Correspondence will be communicated to all families tomorrow regarding the roll out of activities in the Instrumental Music Department for the commencement of next week.  We have had some information distributed to schools very recently that we are digesting and determining how to implement within our context.  Please keep an eye on emails over the coming week.

Stay in Touch
We will be maintaining contact via email, through the Villanova Music Facebook page, and through your son’s OneNote music diaries.  Should you require assistance or consumables for your son’s instrument, please don’t hesitate to contact Music Office on 3394 5691.  Please leave a voicemail if it is unattended – we will get back to you!

Thank you all for your continued support of Villanova Music.  We are glad to continue to be of service to you and your son as we navigate this challenging time together.

Mr Michael Jones, Director of Music

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Parent Information

Uniform Shop
The Shop will return to normal trading hours next week:

Monday: 7.45 – 10.00am
Thursday: 7.45am – 10.00am
Friday: 7.45am – 10.00am

Students may collect pre-ordered items daily between 11.30am and 12noon.

The Second Hand Uniform Shop will be open from 8.00am to 9.30am on Thursday.

2020 AFAS Elder’s Exchange – Kinatarcan Island
In 2020, a group of seven Villanova College staff, Old Boys and parents known as AFAS Elders were scheduled to visit Kinatarcan Island to undertake their third project to assist in improving the life of the whole island, not individuals. Unfortunately, with the current travel restrictions in place due to COVID 19, this will not occur.

We would however, still like to put something back into the community to maintain the connection and continue to try and improve the daily life for the residents. The AFAS Elders would like to source a steriliser for the midwifery clinics on the island.

Please click here to see the Elders and the midwife story on Kinatarcan Island.

If you know of anyone or any business (locally or in the Philippines) that might be able to assist the Elders in obtaining a steriliser for these midwifery clinics, please contact Tony Hindmarsh on

Tuckshop Roster (Monday 25 – Friday 29 May)
All volunteers rostered on this week will be contacted directly by the Tuckshop.


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Archive Anecdotes

Villanova House System: John A. HEAVEY – the first Bishop of Cairns
(This is the fourth and last story about the Villanova House System)

John Heavey was born in County Wicklow, Ireland in 1868.  After his ordination in Rome (1891) he returned to Ireland to teach at a small Augustinian boarding school.  When Bishop Murray died in 1914, John Heavey was appointed as his replacement as the Bishop of the Vicariate of Cairns.

Due to an influx of Italian migrants, the Catholic population in the Cooktown area increased by 43% during the time of Heavey’s administration.  Heavey had the challenge of providing for the pastoral needs of immigrant Catholics and turned to three Italian speaking Spaniard Augustinians to support this work.  Over the next eight years, English and Italian speaking Maltese Augustinians provided a special ministry for the migrant population.

Bishop Heavey was criticised for not reconciling the apparent differences between Irish-Catholic worship and the Italian Roman Catholic tradition.  It was claimed that he was unable to achieve an integrated Catholic community.  However, the number of Catholic schools increased as did the number of church districts during his administration.

Bishop John Heavey passed away on June 12, 1948 at the age of 79 years.  He was known to be a scholarly and retiring person, with a dedication to routines.  Villanova College celebrates his contribution to education and Augustinian ways, naming the fourth House: Heavey.

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