25 August 2017
Issue Thirteen
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
Sport Report
College Events
Information for Parents
Ag News
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents

Our Twilight Professional Learning for staff last Wednesday night focused on Mental Health. Our school based counsellor from Centacare, Darren Moss shared some insights into anxiety, depression and self harm. Darren started his presentation with the following quote from Elyn Saks:

‘No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness’.


Our Pastoral Academic Care (PAC) Program is based on positive psychology and aims to build students wellbeing and resilience. Every week we have a different PAC focus that works to develop key character strengths and presents information in regards to building resilience. This helps many students to identify key areas of strength and areas for development in building a strong sense of self and resilience. By approaching mental health in a proactive way, we hope to help students overcome many of the trials they face as teenagers.


For some students, mental health issues affect their lives in many ways: they could be suffering from it, their friend might be or a family member. We work hard at O’Connor to help students with this. It is important that we support all students who experience mental health illnesses and, together, students, parents and teachers work to help each other with these illnesses. Below are some of the ways these might present and an explanation of some of the links and myths associated with these illnesses. This information has been adapted from the workshop presented by Darren.


Anxiety can affect many people. It is more than just worry and people can’t just ‘get over it’. It is an over activation of the sympathetic nervous system and can present as irrational thoughts about an uncertain outcome, event or threat, an inability to think properly and/or physiological responses such as shaking, sweating, loss of concentration, memory, voice shakes, heart rate increases and/or stomach aches.

How can we manage anxiety?

  • The Brave Program 


  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Distraction
  • Deep breathing
  • Try not to engage in logical discussion if they are in a panic or highly distressed
  • Referral for counselling

Depression can be a debilitating disease and is not just a normal feeling of being sad or down. It can present as poor concentration, emotionally expressive or withdrawn, anger, decreased self-esteem and feelings of self-worth, irritability, negative perceptions of student's past and present and/or a lack of interest and involvement in previously enjoyed activities. Many of these are also normal emotions of a teenager so it can be hard to diagnose. Depression can affect sleeping patterns, diet/weight and result in missing of school and poor relationships.


Self harm can be linked to anxiety, depression and anger but not always. It doesn’t always mean that the person is looking for attention, being manipulative or wants to commit suicide. It is a way of coping with emotions and feelings. Self harm can be a way of dealing with feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, fear, shame and numbness. If you are worried about someone close to you self harming, it is important that you; don’t take it personal, are supportive and calm, and seek support through a health professional.


All students, parents and staff can access support for managing these, and other mental health issues, through Centacare. Darren Moss (our counsellor from Centacare) is at O’Connor on Mondays and Wednesdays. The referral process is easy and the forms can be accessed by contacting the school office. Centacare also offer many programs, such as ‘Surviving your Adolescents’, which can be accessed through their website http://centacarenenw.com.au/. If you or a family member are in need of support please do not hesitate to contact us. Contact details for other support networks are:

Lifeline Australia phone 13 11 14

Kids Helpline phone 1800 551800 or webchat https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/

Beyond Blue phone 1300 22 4636

Or your GP or the emergency department of the hospital.

Are you OK?

Regina Menz

School Satisfaction Surveys

Satisfaction surveys of parents, students and staff will be conducted on behalf of all Catholic schools in the Diocese this term. The surveys are designed to gather feedback from parents, staff and students about their school and will be used to inform school improvement. Responses are confidential and individuals can not be identified. 

The surveys will be launched via email on August 28 and close on September 9, 2017 using the email addresses supplied to the school. If you do not receive an email with a link to the survey on August 28, you can access and complete the survey at the following link.


Assistant Principal's Report

Year 8 Information Night

We had a very successful Year 8 Information Night August 14, focusing on entry into Stage 5. An information booklet was provided to families that covered the mandatory curriculum requirements as well as information on the various electives offered for Year 9, 2018. In the next two weeks students will receive added information on the courses and will be required to submit a course preference survey. The booklet also contains important information on the RoSA or (Record of Student Achievement). The booklet, course preference survey and powerpoint presentation on the RoSA are all available on the school’s web site.


Ms Menz also spoke about the hysterics surrounding NAPLAN as reported in the media. The media sensationalised the outcomes, sparking a fresh round of uncertainty. The College has provided valuable feedback to parents in years 8 and 9 to counter the media reports. A copy of Ms Menz presentation is also available on the web site.



Year 10 Subject Selections

We are now up to Draft 2 of the subject lines and nearing a point where almost all students are able to work toward their best 10 units for an HSC pattern of study. There is still a way to go and many students will be interviewed to ensure that they understand the implications of the pattern they have selected. Once this is finalised all students will receive a record of chosen subjects for 2018.

Year 11

As students in Year 11 are entering the final weeks of the Preliminary course, there needs to be a focus on preparation for the exams in week 9. We are currently in week 6 of term so this preparation should be well and truly under way. Students also need to have a developed study pattern outside of school.

Special Consideration

The Flu has had a significant impact on many students and families. Students can apply for Special Consideration in Years 11 and 12 if they have independent evidence that they have been adversely affected with the undertaking of an assessment task. The likely outcomes if a student has applied for Special Consideration include provision to accept the first mark (but  consideration if given when calculating the final mark), an alternate task is provided (an estimate mark is given), or an extension of time is granted. A Special Consideration enables us to ensure that a student’s overall rank is in line with other tasks completed under normal circumstances.

Uniform and Lateness

I hate having to harp on the subject but uniforms is one that I won’t let go. We pride ourselves on the uniform and at this stage of winter some students are pushing the boundaries. Wearing the correct uniform demonstrates pride in oneself and the college. I ask that parents support this by ensuring students wear the correct uniform to school each day. Full winter uniform needs to be worn on those days that a student does not have sport. While we have seen an improvement in students' arrival times at school, this is an area that still requires your assistance.


Thank you for your support.

Simon Fleming

Curriculum Coordinator/ A.P


Australian Catholic Youth Festival

ACYF is fast approaching. It will be an unforgettable experience for our year 11 students. To find out more about it go to http://youthfestival.catholic.org.au/

Feast of the Assumption of Mary and the Centenary of Fatima

Thanks to Father Sabu for presiding over mass on this day of obligation. The whole school was in attendance and were treated to a homily by Father Ryan who was co-celebrating describing the significance of the events at Fatima. A statue commemorating the event and on tour around Australia was on display adding to the celebration. Father Ryan later addressed year 10 students about the message of Mary at Fatima.


Saint Mary of the Cross

Year 7 and 8 students enjoyed a touring professional production of St Mary of the Cross, recounting the life of Mary MacKillop. Not long after the feast day of Mary MacKillop, Australia's first and only saint, it was a great opportunity for students to engage in her story and enjoy an excellent production.

Year 9 Retreat

The Year 9 Retreat is fast approaching. It will be held at the Army Depot at UNE on October 12. This retreat is facilitated by the Lasallian Youth Ministry Team from Sydney. The cost of the retreat is $25 which includes presenters costs, transport, morning tea and lunch.

Year 10 Leadership Day

Year 10 will have a leadership day on October 13. From this leadership day many of our students elect to become Lasallian Youth Leaders (LYLs). These leaders are recognised around the school by their service to the community especially at retreat days for students in years 7 and 8. It will be held at the Army Depot at UNE on October 13. This retreat is facilitated by the Lasallian Youth Ministry Team from Sydney. The cost of the retreat is $25 which includes presenters costs, transport, morning tea and lunch.

Youth Mass

The O'Connor community is encouraged to attend mass every Sunday and at each service you will see some of our students. There are 2 parish youth masses held each term in the Cathedral and where many of O'Connor's students assume ministries such reading, welcoming, serving and music. Many parishioners have commented on how much they enjoy the energy provided by our students. Thanks to Ms Roach and Ms Moore who are working on this project. Mass at the Cathedral is at 6.00pm on Saturday night (vigil mass), 8.00am, 10.00am and 5.30pm each Sunday. The next youth Mass is 5.30pm September 17.






Damian Roff


Sport Report

Diocesan Athletics Sports Report


On Friday the 11th of August O’Connor Catholic College hosted the Armidale Diocesan Athletics Carnival. Each college from the Diocese was in attendance including Holy Trinity Inverell, St Mary’s College Gunnedah, McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth and St Philomena’s Moree. The day bared witness to a number of excellent athletic achievements. 

A huge congratulations to all athletes on their performances during the day. Many thanks to the O’Connor groundsmen Mr Terry McMillian and Mr Pat Rogers for preparing an excellent athletic facility. Thanks also to the O’Connor Student Canteen and Wholly Bean Cafe for servicing staff and students throughout the day. Thanks to the supervising teachers on the day Mr Simon Fleming, Miss Camilla Clydsdale, Mr James Russell and Mr Mark Honeysett. 

Below is list of Age Champions from the day, these students will receive a champion medallion at the next assembly. A list of qualifying students for NSWCCC Athletics has also been included (32 OCCC students!!!). Successful athletes are reminded they need to register and pay the school bursar promptly please (these instructions are included below). Athletes that wish to withdraw from event need to inform Miss Clydsdale ASAP please. All this information and a full list of qualifying events for each student can be found in their school email account inbox. 

Congratulations to all and best of luck to the students competing at the NSWCCC Athletics Championships at the Sydney International Athletics Centre on Friday the 15th of September. 

Individual Age Champions
12 Girl Champion Emma Gray [O'Connor]
12 Boys Champion Joey Fowler [St Mary's] & Edward Montgomery [St Phillies]
13 Girls Champion Georgia Simm [McCarthy]
13 Boy Champion Emerson Fittler [O'Connor]
14 Girls Champion Yasmin Thomas [St Mary's]
14 Boys Champion Jock Brazel [St Phillies]
15 Girls Champion Clariese Ryman [St Mary's]
15 Boys Champion Daniel Brwon [St Philles]
16 Girls Champion Meg Lye [O'Connor]
16 Boy Champion Samuel Ellicott [McCarthy]
17+ Girls Champion Samantha Archer [O'Connor]
17+ Boys Champion Micah Scholes -Robertson [O'Connor] & Lachlan Jones [St Mary's]







 2017 NSWCCC Athletics Sydney International Athletics Centre Friday 15th September Registration and Payment Instructions

Congratulations on being eligible for the Armidale Diocese team for this event. Please check the CSSS website for further information before registering for this event. All students MUST be properly registered by Monday 11th September or they could be removed from all events. Details on how to register are available from your School Sport Coordinator. If you do not register properly you will NOT receive all the up to date information.


Team Managers

Matt Feltrin [McCarthy College Tamworth]

Camilla Clydsdale [O'Connor College Armidale]

Robert Carlyon [St Mary's College Gunnedah]
All enquiries to your School Sport Coordinator or Tim Kennedy 0416295269

Transport and accommodation is the responsibility of Parents/Guardians.


Team Uniform

All competitors must wear a Diocesan singlet available at a cost of $20. 

An optional Diocesan polo shirt is available at a cost of $30.
Uniform items may be ordered here - http://bit.ly/Athletics_Uniform



All students must pay the Diocesan Levy of $60 plus any additional costs for uniform.

All payments are to be made to your school by Tuesday 12th September 2017. 


Further information

Please check the CSSS website for specific information about the event which includes a draft program with approximate timings. Students should arrive at least an hour before their event to allow time to check in with Team Managers, obtain uniform items and their competitor number. Students must also check out with Team Managers before they depart.



This year our relay teams are diocesan based rather than school based consisting of the four fastest 100m runners in each division attending the event. If you are not willing to compete in the Armidale Diocesan relay team please advise your School Sport Coordinator ASAP so that either a replacement runner can be found [if possible] or the other members of the relay team advised that they will no longer be competing in the relay.


Thank you for your continued support of Armidale Diocesan Sport.

National Health & PE Day

National Health & PDHPE Day Competition (wk 8)

As part of this year’s National Health and PDHPE Day September 6th, the PDHPE Department is running a competition! The competition requires entrants to design a unique and original game or activity. The game or activity needs to be emailed to cclydsdale@oconnor.nsw.edu.au and must include:Game/activity nameDescription/overview of gameRules/scoringA diagram of the playing space/field/court Even a recording of you playing your new game if you so wish!

Winners will be announced on Friday September 8th and will win a $30 Coles and Myer Group Gift Voucher.

Each student can only enter once! The competition closes on Wednesday September 6th at 3pm.


Get Creative 

Best of luck!


Camilla Clydsdale

Sports Coordinator

PE News

PE classes have moved into their new units of work. All students are reminded to wear their PE sports hat and correct PE uniform. The O'Connor Trackpants are now available in all sizes from the clothing shop.

Year 7 - Soccer, Year 8 - Hockey, Year 9 - Golf and Netball and Year 10 De -stress through movement with a variety of activities. 


Child Studies

Year 10 Child studies class had a visitor last week, Jess and Audrey (3 1/2 months old). Discussion revolved around caring for a newborn and the challenges parents face with screen time for children.

Ruth Patrick

PDHPE Coordinator


Women's State Football

Congratulations to Year 10 student Taryn Ramage who has been selected in the Northern Inland Women's State Cup football team which will play in the next school holidays.


College Events

Variety Scholarships

Variety provides scholarships to children (aged between 6 to 18 years) with an existing talent living with disabilities, chronic illness, geographic isolation and/or financial hardship, to achieve their full potential and to follow their dreams. Scholarships are awarded in areas of Education, Sports and the Arts.

Scholarships can be used for fees, training, competition entry, equipment, uniforms, travel (air fares, bus fares, train fares) and accommodation to attend competitions.


Please check eligibility and criteria which includes a household income limit, submissions close 27 August 2017.


Margot Zaska 
Sport Development Group 
6B Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127 | Locked Bag 1422, Silverwater 2128
sport.nsw.gov.au www.facebook.com/OOSNSW 





Ms Clydsdale

OCCC Sports Coordinator



Year 12 Breakfast

Year 12 came together as a cohort last Friday for a breakfast held in the Food Tech rooms. They shared the informal gathering with Year 12 pastoral academic care teachers. It allowed students a chance to socialise as a group before the commencement of the HSC Trial examinations. The students are almost through the first week of the examination period. We wish them all the best for next week also.


Year 12 Textiles & Design

Year 12 Textiles & Design students with their completed HSC Major Textiles Projects at the recent O'Connor Catholic College showcase, held at the Old Teachers College. The students have worked really hard for the last 3 terms to develop some wonderful and unique textile pieces. The projects have been sent away to Sydney for marking and on their return, will be set up on display at the college. Further details to follow. Students include Lauren Czinner and her lotus inspired Textile Art project - a dream catcher, Grace Murray and her 1950's inspired 2 piece hand printed skirt and bustier, Tess Browne and her 2 piece garment in ivory, inspired by the iconic Melbourne Cup, and Georgia Cullen who used the Australian Wool Fashion Awards and the theme of over the rainbow to inspire a Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume. We wish the students all the best.


Z Club

Z club President Samantha Archer and member Amica Riley proudly displaying the new banner that Zonta Club of Armidale purchased for us. Thank you. The Z club meet every month on the last Thursday in the library.

Members of Z club assembling care packages for Vinnies and Women's Shelter. This is an ongoing project that we are committed to. Donations of new toothbrushes and face cloths would be really appreciated so that these items can be added to the packages. Thanks so much.



7 TC 3

7 TC 3 displaying their great practical sewing skills with the completion of boxer shorts.


7 RE 2

Some of 7RE2 presenting their Prayer Reflections on a theme of their choosing. Sam Johnson and Hayden Schumacher on Prayer for Soldiers, Sam Walker used families as his theme, Hope was Millie Edwards and Bess Johnstone's chosen theme. More to come today.


Mrs Channon

Year 12 Coordinator

High School Musical

It's coming...today the O'Connor musical for 2018 was announced...and it's HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL!!! Auditions will be held at the end of term 3 with rehearsals commencing in the first week of term 4. Additional audition and rehearsal information will be made available by week 7. Students who wish to register for auditions or who would like to be considered for a role in the production team should email hsm@oconnor.nsw.edu.au 
Click on the link below to see the fabulous promo video :-)


Information for Parents

Canteen News

Qkr Update:

Qkr is a simple way to order and pay for Kinfolk Student Café orders in advance. All it takes is a few simply taps on your smartphone, and voilà lunch is sorted.

Simply, download the Qkr app from the App Store or Google Play and create an account. Parents and carers can place orders for multiple students, up to two weeks in advance and settle the balance in one simple online payment.

Powered by Masterpass, Qkr accounts are protected by multiple layers of security so it’s guarded from fraudulent use, and there when you need it. For information on how Qkr works visit :



Uniform Shop Hours

Monday 8am - 12pm

Wednesday 12pm- 4pm

Friday  10am- 2pm

Extended Trading

The Uniform Shop will be operating on Friday 6th October from 9.00 until 2.00pm. The last Friday of the School Holidays. Students are required to wear their summer uniform when Term 4 commences.

Sports Hoodies

New Sports Hoodies are Now Available 

New hoodies are available in the uniform shop. These can be worn with sports uniform and on sporting trips. The hoodies cost $60. Photos - Nick Graham (Yr 10) 


Workshops for Parents


NAPLAN Schedule & Information for Parents


School Shoes


Cancer Awareness


Mobile Phones


Information for Parents of Year 10


Walk-a-thon Fundraiser


Change Details

Please advise the office about any change of details from last year, such as change in family situation, address, workplace, email addresses, phone numbers – mobile and landline for home and work.

Armidale Youth Awards


ADIG yr 12 Award



Variety provides scholarships to children (aged between 6 to 18 years) with an existing talent living with disabilities, chronic illness, geographic isolation and/or financial hardship, to achieve their full potential and to follow their dreams. Scholarships are awarded in areas of Education, Sports and the Arts.

Scholarships can be used for fees, training, competition entry, equipment, uniforms, travel (air fares, bus fares, train fares) and accommodation to attend competitions.


Please check eligibility and criteria which includes a household income limit, submissions close 27 August 2017.


Margot Zaska 
Sport Development Group 
6B Figtree Drive, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127 | Locked Bag 1422, Silverwater 2128
sport.nsw.gov.au www.facebook.com/OOSNSW 





UAC Guide

The UAC Guide outlines general information, application procedures and closing dates for semester 1 courses offered by UAC's participating institutions. Details of courses starting in semester 2 will be published on their website as they become available. The UAC Guides for 2017/18 are now available in the library. 

Skills Roadshow

As part of our commitment to help students prepare for the workplace, we have developed a new resource available free to all participants of the Skillsroad Show.
The Skillsroad Show Flourish at Work (Work Readiness) Course is a fun and interactive course, full of cartoons, graffiti walls and brief exercises to improve well-being, get young adults ready to work and give them the tools to not only survive at work but thrive. By completing this work readiness course, young adults will discover career goals, explore strengths, learn how to be resilient and mentally tough, as well as identify strategies to think positively.  

By finishing the course and filling out both surveys before and after, participants will be eligible for a "Work Readiness Course" certificate, perfect for any resume, ready to impress employers! 


Mrs Lemon

Careers Adviser

Good Luck



Ag News

New England Farming Futures

Students from O’Connor attended the University of New England Farming Futures Careers Fair in July. This day is presented for university and school students to network with prospective employers and with university staff to discuss future career paths.

Students were introduced to wool science by Dr Emma Doyle and were given advice on patterns of study for senior school and prospective courses at Tocal as well as getting a tour of the new university facilities.

After a BBQ lunch students spent time discussing prospective careers with industry representatives. Several students learned about a program run by Sun pork who are successfully employing Autistic young people in their business. 

Students were judged the most engaged school and presented with a poultry teaching resource  - which proved a challenge in the classroom!

Our thanks to the UNE students and staff for their support.


Brisbane EKKA


Year 9 student Chloe Gray (yr 9) spent 8 days caring for and exhibiting the animal on behalf of the school. The heifer was one of 1700 head of livestock on exhibition in Brisbane’s CBD through out the EKKA.  We were awarded second in our class and the heifer performed very well all week. 


Chloe also competed in the Young Judges and Junior handler competitions as well as assisting other stud exhibitors throughout the week. Congratulations on an outstanding effort Chloe.

 Past student and farm assistant Tim Light had a very successful show exhibiting the Champion Red Poll Bull and Cow as well as winning reserve champion junior steer. Congratulations Tim.

Ekka Success

William Wood (yr 9) was the youngest heavy horse handler, rider and driver at EKKA and his horses were calm and focussed in all forms of competition. Congratulations Will.


Poultry Judging

Sam Bible (yr 9) competed in the Queensland Novice Poultry Judging at EKKA. He scored 94/100 and was placed 4th overall. A very commendable effort in adult competition.

Congratulations Sam.


Ag Quip

Students had a great day at Ag Quip on Wednesday with several students winning the property planning competition.

The bull was the Champion Devon Bull at Ekka Recently. Vix Lodestone


O'Connor takes prize for Farm Project. 

For more than 20 years students from O’Connor Catholic College have been working with local farmers … and winning awards along the way.

This year the Year 10 team of Charlotte Wade, Lachlan Patricks, Brody Hoffman and Mitchell Jones have taken out the Northern Tablelands Schools Property Planning Competition, announced at Agquip. 

High school agriculture students from across the Northern Tablelands were given the guidelines for the competition at a field day at “Waratah”, Guyra, in late March and had less than two months to come up with a plan for delivering sustainable change for the property. 

O’Connor agriculture teacher, Janet Price, said the competition was “so crucial for kids” as it gave them an opportunity to be innovative, creative and was “something they can really get a hold of”.

Ms Price said the students tapped into the experience of local landcare services, including biosecurity, to come up with ways to improve farm productivity. 

“They had to collect data, including maps, and get input from the owner,” she said.

“They then had to look at what to do to improve output and what funding was available.”

Ms Price said the competition was a great opportunity for students to learn more about agriculture and to look for careers in the field.

As for the future of this talented quartet, Charlotte is looking at a career as a stock and station agent, Mitchell is looking at the science side of agriculture, Brody is looking to put his electrical skills to good use and Lachlan is eyeing up a career in the army. 

The story Armidale school takes prize for farm project first appeared in The Northern Daily Leader and  than The Armidale Express .

kinfolk_menu_OConnor Term 3.pdf
Keep Calm They're Just Kids Armidale August 2017.jpg
Armidale FRC Aug to Dec 2017.pdf
Love Isn't All You Need Armidale August 2017.jpg
Practical Parenting Armidale September 2017.jpg
Toolkit for Dads Armidale September 2017.jpg
Letter to parents NAPLAN online 2017.docx
Letter to parents NAPLAN online 2017.pdf
Cancer Support.pdf
Mobile Phone Poster.pdf
Armidale Regional Youth Awards Information Package 2017.pdf
ADIG Yr 12 award.jpg
Parents of Year 10.pdf
Copy of Walkathon Letter.docx.pdf