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Learning Diversity - Individual Needs Department: Semester Two Extension Activities

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Learning Diversity - Individual Needs Department: Semester Two Extension Activities
by Andrew Bryson - Wednesday, 31 October 2018, 10:46 AM

The Individual Needs Department provides various enrichment activities that students participate in throughout each semester. Each of these activities celebrates the diversity of learners within our community and are opportunities for our students to further apply their learning in and outside of the classroom.

This semester students have had the opportunity to undertake any one of the following activities. Images from these events are also available to view in The Gallery section of our College website.


This co-curricular opportunity continued in Semester Two for any student interested in learning the strategies of playing Chess. International Chess Master from Chess Australia, Leonid Sandler has continued to work with these students and has brought great knowledge and excitement to the College’s Chess program.

On 6 August 2018, Marcellin hosted its annual inter-school Chess Tournament with 150 students from 10 local schools participating. Forty Marcellin students participated in this event.

On 10 September 2018, 35 Marcellin students participated in another inter-school Chess Tournament at St Catherine’s College.

Congratulations to Stephen Catsamas, Michael Zuccala, Riccy Salata, Andy Pham, Jack Bastasin and Marcus Abajas, who qualified to represent the school to compete in the State Chess Finals Competition on Monday 15 October. The school came 18th out of 35 participating Victorian schools, comprising 350 students in total.


On 24 July, thirty Years 7, 8 and 9 students accepted the extension opportunity to participate in the 2018 Junior Gifted and Talented Student Conference Day facilitated by Academy Conferences called ‘Big Questions for Bright Minds’.

Topics included:

  • Does a snail have consciousness?

  • Is self-sacrifice ever reasonable?    

  • An introduction to the science of nanotechnology.

  • An Ethical debate – This house believes that science has replaced God. 

This year’s conference was held at Siena College. Over 300 students from a variety of schools attended. This intensive one day program of short lectures and debates, gave students the opportunity to experience very high quality learning with expert lecturers. The content was fast paced and differentiated to meet the needs of highly able learners aiming to take students well beyond the content covered in their regular subjects.

Other topics included:

  • Justice, Truth, Beauty & Mathematics,

  • Do Animals Feel Pain and have the right not to be eaten?

  • Science: What comes First, Observation or Inspiration?

  • This House Believes that it is never right to kill a person.

Students who participated in this conference were:

  • Year 7: Alessio Teoh, Luca Andricgetto, Jakson Hall, Alexander Sarmas, Logan Wells, Lennox Williams, Luka Graham, Jason Yim, Cayleb Wilson, Joel Napoleone, Thomas Blasiol and Connor Whyte.

  • Year 8: Marcus Abajas, Joshua Chadwick, Zachary Sammut, Alexander Chung, Ryan Ohanian, Ethan Hunt, Asher Sassano, Ben Richings, Declan Braniff, Ethan Youssef and Oscar Brazzale.

  • Year 9: Christian Kairouz, Dean Kontos, Alexander De Desaris and Valentino Vargetto.

Below are students’ comments from this conference:

I enjoyed the way it made us think and challenge previous held ideas and thoughts. I enjoyed the way we could   contribute to the overall group discussion as it gave us a say and a way to input our ideas into the path of the argument. ‘

I really enjoyed this event because it gave me a little lesson on basic philosophy which isn’t offered at the school so it was really great to experience that. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy to be honest, it was all really fantastic.’

Thanks to the Individual Needs staff, Ms. Suzie Abud and Ms. Sandra Hanson for supporting these students on the day.


The winning team of our internal Bridge Building Competition, Year 9 students Alex Di Cesaris, Xander Gammaldi and Daniel Perinetti represented Marcellin at the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition at Scienceworks on 18 August, 2018.

Their challenge was to design and construct a bridge to transport goods across a chasm.  The specifications included using a kit of specific balsa wood sticks, some string, a cardboard tube and PVA glue. Each bridge was then tested. The bridge that could hold the heaviest load was the winner.

Thanks to the Individual Needs teachers, Ms. Suzie Abud and Ms. Rachel O’Shea as well as our Technology staff, Mr. Matthew Collins.



On Saturday 25 August 2018, seven creative Years 7, 8 and 9 students attended La Trobe University, Bundoora to participate in the Tournament of Minds (TOM) Challenge Day. TOM is an international problem-solving program for multi-aged teams of students who work together to solve a demanding, open-ended Long Term Challenge over six weeks. The team must also participate in an unseen Spontaneous Challenge on Tournament Day. 

Congratulations to these 2018 TOM students:

  • Year 7: Riley Galea, Andreas Christanthopoulas, Connor Whyte, Callum Stewart, Jason Hall

  • Year 8: Marcus Abajas

  • Year 9:  Valentino Vargetto

Thank you to TOM Facilitators Ms. Margie Mutimer and Ms. Mana Kamalinia for their support thoughtout this year.


On 15 October, thirty Years 9 and 10 students participated in an Extension opportunity at the Gene Technology Access Centre, in Parkville, called ‘Zooming in on a Forensic & DNA Science Program’.

The program actively engaged the students in a range of discovery and learning experiences in the life sciences. Students worked side by side with scientists to explore scientific scenarios, undertaking innovative activities while using research grade equipment.Congratulations to the following Year 9 and 10 participants, for participating in this opportunity; Nicholas Bozinekis, Jack Delaney, Ryan Justice, Thomas Balasopolous, Oskar Molini, Hamish Stewart, Sebastian Warrilow, Anthony Lori, Damian Maccarone, Luca Bacon, Ben Gangi, Dylan Rofoo, Thomas Papagrigoriou, Ross Cucuzza, Alec McKeree, Bradley Bin, Mitchell Ramsay, Lucas Simopoulos, Milton Tzolakis, James Geary, William Kennedy, Dominic Brown, Finn Alex De Cesaris, Matthew O’Connell, Xander Gammaldi, Valentino Vargetto, Oscar Brazzale, Matthew Bokan, Aiden Colfer and Callum Corbally.

Below are students’ comments from this event:

‘I enjoyed the blood type and DNA testing the most as it was engaging and gave me an insight on what Forensic Scientists do in in their everyday life.’

‘I enjoyed the team work and the gene work as I have never done anything like that before.’

Thanks to the Individual Needs and Science staff, Mr. Phil Viola and Ms. Sophie Day for supporting these students on the day.


I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the staff within the Learning Diversity (Individual Needs) Department; in particular Ms. Rachel O’Shea and Ms. Sandra Hanson for their work and commitment in providing opportunities for our students that support and extend their learning at Marcellin.