Our Stories




"There is no other place like St Mary's College - enjoy every minute of it because it doesn't last forever and the memories are very special." Rosa Baldino attended St Mary's College from Year 5 to Year 12, repeating Year 12. Many special memories were made during her time at the school and she valued all the good times that were shared over the years. St Mary's College helped shape Rosa's future by introducing her to Accounting - now her profession.

She was awarded a perfect score in Accounting and a great opportunity arose to be invited to the Governor's House. She completed her degree and her career began! Along the way she was taught that you are stronger when you work well with others rather than individually and achieve much more. Rosa's daughters now attend St Mary's College and will be able to value the same experience as Rosa.

Written by Silvie Devereux (student)




Yvonne was a student at SMC and attended for Year 2 to Year 12. She graduated in 1995. Yvonne mentioned how important it is to help others. She often talks about how proud she was. She's even prouder that her girls are going to the same school, in a second generation. She's proud that she was on good terms with everyone and wasn't unhappy with anyone. Year 12 was very sentimental. She learnt about Catholic and Christian values. This may have been part of the reason that Yvonne became a teacher for Primary school students.

Her message to current SMC students is that we should appreciate being at a wonderful school. High school is overwhelming, but you'll wish you were back there once you're at University. Yvonne is very grateful for her mother, who made sacrifices for her to attend. She describes St Mary's College in three words as 'stability, values, and memories.'

Written by Liliana Kranixfeld (student and daughter)




In 1984 Cate O'Leary walked into the St Mary's community. This young Catholic woman was seeking to make a difference. The Year 5 classroom was to be where she first made an impression on young minds. The kids wrote letters that would then be buried in the school, a time capsule! To this very day, this time capsule remains hidden. What a treasure it would be today!  

St Mary's College remains firmly imprinted in the memory of Cate O'Leary. She has been shaped by those whom she has travelled the St Mary's College journey with. This formation at the college had such an impact on her life that to this day she has remained as an educator in an all-girls, Catholic school in the Dominican tradition. Like a player in the orchestra Cate O'Leary shaped the symphony of music that is life which has for 150 years empowered young women.

Written by Taylor Burrows (student)




Carol Jones attended St Mary's College during 1992 to 1997. She was a past student during the 125th anniversary of SMC. She has a strong memory of St Dominic's Day and the Eucharistic Celebrations. Carol mentioned her strongest memories were the friendships formed and the support she encountered along the way. Year 12 was an emotional time for Carol, as she was unwell and spent more time in hospital than at school. However, with the teachers' support, flexibility and their commitment and time, which they gave up for her, she was able to complete Year 12 over two years.

During her time at SMC, Carol gained the ability to be confident, independent, have a growth mindset and can work in collaboration with others. Her advice to current SMC students is, "Cherish the time you have at school, appreciate friendships, opportunities and put in your best effort, because the results will reflect this."

Co-written by Sophie Green and Melinda O'Hara (students)




Claire Saies is an Old Scholar of St Mary's College, beginning her journey in Year 6 and graduating Year 12. She mentioned how she enjoyed school so much that she struggled to understand how others couldn't. "I had a happy time at school" she highlights.

She always remembers her Religion lessons, stating that even though she wasn't a religious person it helped her to develop respect for other cultures and traditions. Claire talked about not coming from a religious family but as her mother's family was Catholic it aided in her parent's decision for her to attend St Mary's College.

"I found learning about world religions very helpful in developing respect for others and understanding why they believe in what they do." Claire's fondest memory at the College was understanding faith and the importance of speech. Acknowledging that people should be able to practice their beliefs without fear of persecution.

Co-Written by Alicia Robb and Zara Tyner (student)




Extracurricular activities and electives were the best parts of schooling for Silvia. Things like the trip to Canberra, Sport and Drama performances were stand out moments. One of her most vivid memories was a Drama performance. The Drama performance brought her audience to tears and she received an A for her work.

School taught Silvia many things. Getting taught Food Tech and Needlework have been a big help at home. Other things like Legal Studies, excursions to the court and school debating has helped her in work. She learnt simple but useful things like how to get along with a variety of people. St. Mary's College has helped shape Silvia's opinions and personality.

Without St. Mary's College the many memories that she often reminisces about would never have existed. She said that everything that she has learnt at school has been helpful, even if she doesn't use it regularly.

Written by Victoria Xia (student)




Empowerment is the key to success. Mr Des Waigth, was a teacher at St Mary's for 17 years. He came into the school at a time where it was all about empowerment. During his time at SMC his strongest memory was around change. The nuns were becoming less involved in the school with the first lay Principal, Mrs Dorrington, starting in 1982. Students were encouraged to take pride in themselves and recognise their personal value.

He was a Deputy Principal, but he decided he wanted less to do, so he started teaching Year 11 Geography, Maths and English. He also taught Year 10 English.

In the mid 1980s emphasis was given to empowering students, increasing their self- belief and realising their potential. All staff were involved in this. The motto Veritas was emphasised, and the wider meaning explained. Empowerment was the key to success then and it still is now.

Written by Mia Porter-Westphalen (student)




Several of Emily's family attend the college, including her sisters, mum Pam and aunts Kathryn and Ursula May. Emily had a great experience at St Mary's College as she learnt many life lessons and enjoyed memorable experiences. She said that her strongest memory was becoming Deputy College Captain in Year Twelve. This role gave her many opportunities that set her up for later life. Sport and Music were both passions for her; she was a part of Chamber group and a Sports Day trophy was named after her family - 'The Thompson Trophy'.

Emily expressed that St Mary's was a supportive school environment and when she left, she learnt to venture out for herself. However, the support from the school gave her the confidence and guidance to face the real world. Emily believes that the best way to learn is to make mistakes and to not be afraid of failure.

Written by Madeleine Morris (student)




Penny treasures her schooling experience and learnt many valuable life lessons during her time at the college. A fond memory Penny has of the school was the opening of the Kavanagh building in 1987. "The opening of the new building was marked with a big ceremony and it was an important time for the school." She loved the safe, friendly and engaging environment surrounding St Marys which gave her the ability to explore and try new things, without being judged.

The school taught her important values and morals, to be strong, independent, resilient, to persist in everything you do and at all times exert your best effort. One of Penny's favourite pastimes is reading. Her love for reading began early at school and she was first introduced to historical Australian fiction in Middle School and remembers reading Harp in the South. Her love for books still continues to this day.

Written by Charlotte Southam-Clark (student and daughter)




Emma Skondras remembers friendships which still exist today. She recalls many opportunities and amazing environments. Social Justice was her strength. Emma also learnt about mateship and sisterhood, which made her a good person.

'Out and About' was Emma's best school moment. Similar to school camp, her class did many activities. During this time, she found it easy making friends. Coming from a school with 180 students, the college seemed frightening, but she discovered creating friendships wasn't difficult. Another great experience was being chosen to play a Samaritan in the school play. Students from all years auditioned. Today, her memories about Sports Day are fond, as she was House Captain for St Dominic's. Emma has positive memories about school. She learnt the importance of friendship and social justice. Many students were from different backgrounds so embracing diversity was important. Emma believes the teachings here gave her the opportunity for future education.

Written by Dionysia Skondras (student)




Heidi Brook currently works as a social worker and attributes her strong sense of social justice to St Mary's College. From Year 4 to Year 12, Heidi was taught that 'being a girl was not a barrier' and was encouraged to be curious and seek out new knowledge.

From sliding down a banister with her friend, to squirting CBC boys with gherkin juice on the last day of Year 12, Heidi has some fun memories of the shenanigans she and others got up to. Another of her greatest memories was centred around the 125 year celebration, in which a dust storm threatened the whole school photo. With her two daughters, Maya and Matilda currently at St Marys, the opportunities given to her, are now extended to both her girls. Heidi is confident that the sense of belief and knowledge that was instilled during her time here, is at the core of who she is.

Co-Written by Ada Skalonja (student)




Rebecca Taffe made life-long friends at St Mary's and though she now lives in Perth, whenever she comes 'home' they catch up and reminisce about their school days. Rebecca competed in netball, swimming and rowing, and took on leadership in athletics. Though Mathematics wasn't her strength, her teachers encouraged her to persevere. At that age, she would never have believed that instead of becoming the air hostess she dreamed of, she would eventually be the owner of a successful bookkeeping business.

Rebecca credits her teachers and friends at St Mary's for giving her the confidence to explore her talents and succeed in life. While she admits she didn't always follow the rules, which includes sneaking into the Convent with her friends to satisfy her curiosity, Rebecca values her St Mary's education and would have loved for her daughter to follow in her footsteps if her family had lived in Adelaide.

Written by Rosie Kerin (Consultant)




Joanne's focus at school was a mixed of study and fun. Passionate about Art she remembers her Art teacher pushing her to reach her full potential. She learnt a lot from her teacher and is now teaching Art in Adelaide. Joanne is most proud of her school reports and for her parents for choosing a dedicated school for her to excel in.

At the end of Year 12, herself and a group of friends went roller skating around Victoria Square. Each wearing a nun's habit. Missing the end of year celebration, she and her friends received a detention for the expedition. Joanne thinks of her time at St Mary's as a place to learn respect and courage. Her advice for the girls at St Mary's is to never overlook an opportunity and to try everything presented.

Written by Madelyn Moffatt (student)




Joylene Meli, a student at SMC continues to be involved with the school as a Council member, Director on the Board and now a parent. One of her strongest memories during her school days was the first week of school, she saw how unique St Mary's was compared to her primary school. She learnt the significance of supportive friends and academics.

Studying for exams and preparing for Year 11 Formal, were anxious and exciting moments. Muck-up Day, before exams, by throwing flour and eggs at students was one of the craziest moments. Her passion for Legal Studies grew during her last years at school. Her College Captainship and Board of Directorship were some of her proudest achievements. St Mary's has certainly built her resilience and confidence to persevere through tough times and has influenced her to stay connected to the community, friends and empowered her to become who she is.

Written by Shriya Kumararaja (student)




Rita De lseo Predonzani reminisced on the support of the teachers at St Mary's explaining that they were all very encouraging of the students. Rita's time at the college started in 1986 and finished in 1991. The friendships established at the college continue to this day. Today Rita works as a teacher at a local school in Adelaide, South Australia. Rita really enjoyed her time at the college, especially muck up day. She remembers the morning breakfast with all her fellow Year 12 classmates. Rita and her friends later made a mess of the school inviting students from Christian Brothers College, a school located on Wakefield Street. After the damage had been done the boys were asked to leave. The friendships made while she was a student continue to flourish. Rita to this day still keeps close contact with her friends and catches up with them on a regular basis.

Written by Sophia Musci (student)




Michelle Innes was at St Mary's College from Year 10 to 12 after transferring because she was getting bullied at her old school; also her aunts were students here. Her strongest memory of St Mary's were the nuns. Michelle learnt a lot about social justice, and it shaped her life and beliefs.

Most the time she wouldn't do anything silly but on one occasion her friend realised that she missed a page on her test. They asked where the teacher was, and they got told that he was in the pub so they went to the pub.

In Year 12 at the End of Year Mass she remembers that it was beautiful when walking down the aisle and she knew she would miss the school. Michelle enjoyed St Mary's College, especially the all-girl environment. St Mary's prepared Michelle for life with social justice and empowering females.

Written by Scarlett Innes (student)





House Captain and Old Scholar Award recipient, Rebecca Footner, attended St Mary's from 1994 to 1998, she started in Year 8 and remained to Year 12. Participating in Physical Education developed her passion for sport, which led her to becoming a Physical Education teacher at Mount Carmel College which she values very dearly.

If there was a piece of advice she would give to any students it would be to live in the moment and to turn mistakes into motivation, to persevere through the tough and hard moments of our lives. Rebecca proudly stated that overall, she is grateful for every opportunity St Mary's has given her, especially the Sports program and the teachers who influenced who she is, and she is extremely grateful! St Mary's has not only shaped her but the way she teaches, summing it up with three words, it would be live, laugh and learn.

Written by Amelia Isabella Scully (student)




Patricia attended St Mary's College from 1984 to 1990, completing Years 6 to 12. St Mary's College taught Patricia many life lessons that she still uses today. She learnt to be tolerant and respectful towards other people's religions and developed a passion for science, history and music. One of her strongest memories included her Year 6 Camp. It was her first proper school camp where she made many friends. When Patricia thinks of what she is very proud of, she thinks of the friendships that she made people she's still friends with today.

Patricia's greatest achievements include winning the Year 11 History Award and, as a Year 12 Athletics Team Captain, helping bring the team to division A. The craziest moment was on Patricia's last day of Year 12. She and her friends dressed up as insane asylum patients and ran around the city. Patricia's time at SMC was unforgettable.

Written by Cleo Durward




Kathy Stavrou found that the move from Primary to High School was overwhelming at first. Meeting new people and making friends helped her to focus more on her work and become more disciplined whilst adjusting to High School. She still remembers swapping school bags or dancing corridors with old friends. Caught off guard with homework she quickly learnt tricks to staying focused and organised. St Mary's College taught Kathy to remain diligent and resilient in life throughout life. Remaining proud of a school that instills quality values without distraction of boys was one thing Kathy said the students of St Mary's College should do.

Now a lawyer at Women's Legal Service SA and a mother Kathy recalls the nurturing, embracing environment and teachers at the College who sparked her confidence. St Mary's shaped Kathy to become a resilient woman now with a family of her own and memories to cherish.

Written by Madison Knighton

We acknowledge that we live, learn and work on the traditional land of the Kaurna people.

We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land.

We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.


St Mary's College Ltd
253 Franklin Street Adelaide,
SA 5000

PHONE+61 8 8216 5700