Reflections - Stella Maris

Everyone loves sharing great memories of school days so if you’d like to share a memory or two please email Donna or post a comment on the Stella Maris Ex-students’ Association (SMESA) Facebook page.

Favourite Memories

I was and still am amazed that the girls all got along so well. I never heard bullying or witnessed anyone being nasty to each other. Most of the teachers truly empowered us and I think that really helped create harmony. Great times! (Samantha ’98)

There were no real ‘groups’ by Year 11 and 12. The whole Year was warm and supportive of one another. We were one big fat group! (Anna, ’87)

I remember being the first singer to use the new Star of the Sea Theatre. I still get chills from that memory. (Becky ’06)

The Teachers

Mr Regan was the best teacher I ever had. He is the reason I’m doing engineering now. (Daisy ’09)

I was there from 1967-1969. Best times were Science lessons with Miss Mills and Sister Marie Therese and of course just spending time with my friends. (Margaret ’69)

I loved Geography. Mrs Coyte, Miss Fonti and Mr Bunyan had a lot to do with that. But it wasn’t just what happened in class that proved to be of value: Mrs Coyte also taught me how to short sheet a bed as a prank on retreat once, while Mr Bunyan taught me how to play ‘500’ during down time on our Hunter Valley excursion! But mostly they all taught me how to be a better person. I have great memories of them. (Donna ’79)

The Nuns

Noela encouraged us to be passionate intelligent and well informed. I think she really believed in education for women and was secretly a feminist hoping for our success. I do believe Sister Gerard and Sister Helen were some of the first feminists we came across. Both encouraged us to be good at what we did and to expect great things of ourselves. A nun teaching science and teaching it well was not the expectation in the ’70s. (Martina, ’79)

Sr Maureen Patricia had a really kind heart. (Judy O.)

The nuns were very caring, especially Sister Colette. They were hard working and dedicated. (Lyn ’56)

I remember when Sister Pauline said to me that I may not fit in with everyone else but as long as I do everything I want to do with love then fitting in doesn’t matter after all. Jesus was known as a bit of a nutter in His time too. She really made my day and even years on I still believe what she said. (Becky ’06)

Sr Gerard really knew her stuff! I’ll never forget the Chemistry lesson where we produced esters: banana essence and vanilla essence! Magic! (Lia ’79)

Sr Helen was such a beautiful, loving person. (Claire ’78)

Sr Helen was a warm woman with a great sense of belief in young people. Always willing to answer those tough questions in religion class. (Liz ’79)

Swimming in the ocean pool at Queenscliff with Sister Helen as teacher – in her special swimming habit! (Michelle ’80)

They were brilliant women and wonderful teachers. They dedicated their lives to us students. We were blessed to have had them as teachers. (Amanda D)

Sr Colette

Sr Colette taught my Mum, then my cousin and then me (we all thought she was 100 when she taught us)! Whatever age, she was a good English teacher! (Joanne ’79)

Sister Colette also taught my Mum, her sister (my aunt) and then me, my sister and my cousin. What a lovely timeline! (Claire ’79)

Sr Colette was the only teacher I ever had that, in 1976, seemed to have taught not only my classmate’s mothers but also some of their grandmothers. (Cathy ’76)

Sr Colette also taught Latin, Maths, History…she was a very well educated woman. (Wendy)

When I was doing Year 12 in 1984 my mum was battling cancer and having intense chemotherapy. Sister Colette took me to the convent kitchen and taught me how to cook pumpkin soup as mum could not swallow solid food. I will be forever thankful to Sister Colette as she helped me get through a very difficult year. (Karen ’84)

I loved Sister Colette. What an amazing woman and teacher. (Mary F.)

I loved Sr Colette. We had a rather strange relationship. She tried to teach me English and we used to have a ding dong battle on my interpretation of Hamlet. Somehow it never seemed to match hers but she always won. She had an amazing memory and never forgot my name no matter how long it had been since I had seen her. I worked at Manly Hospital and she would come in to visit people and I always got a hug. (Mary ’51)

Almost fifty years on and I think of Sr Colette when I remember The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. The intensity of her face was indeed scary but what a brilliant woman and teacher. (Kerry ’68)

Sr Colette taught me English and Maths in Years 11 and 12. She challenged me at every turn, but it was the demands she made of me that taught me to achieve so much more than I dreamed I was capable of. (Cathy ’76)

What values do you think you learned at Stella? What kind of person did Stella teach you to be?

Stella taught me to be compassionate, to always be kind to yourself and to love one another no matter what. (Becky ’06)

Honesty, integrity and moral courage. (Barbara ’76)

Other Recollections

I thought the pants (bottle green of course) we were able to wear as senior uniform in Years 11 and 12 and the winter beige polo neck jumpers with our school blazers was extremely forward thinking and much warmer than the skirt/blazer combination. (Patricia ’78)