O'Connor Newsletter

26 September 2016
Issue Four
R.E News
 Message from Mr Allen
Assistant Principal Report
O'Connor Activities
Career Corner
College Events 
Information for Parents
College News
Sports News
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

R.E News

Year 11 Retreat

More details of the Year 11 retreat will be in the next newsletter.

Year 12 Mass

A truly beautiful Year 12 Mass this evening. Thank you Father Francis for reminding our students that with faith they can become who they are meant to be and that with God all things are possible.


 Message from Mr Allen



Yr 12. 2016 Graduation Speech. 

Mr Charlie Allen- Retiring Principal, O’Connor Catholic College.  Friday, 23rd September 2016

Graduating class of 2016, families and friends of Year 12, students of O’Connor and members of staff,

Today is a great day of celebration for our graduating class, their families and the staff of O’Connor Catholic College. There is joy because you’ve done it and we are proud of you.

On your journey to this significant milestone you have not only upheld the ideals of O’Connor but you have raised the bar to a new standard in so many ways.

As you leave today you take with you the very best that Catholic Education has to offer. It is my hope that you will call on the values at the core of your Catholic Education, to help you through the many decisions that you will be called upon to make throughout your life. These times of decision-making will require you to be strong and courageous. However, always remember ‘He will not leave you. He will be with you, wherever you go’. These are the words God spoke to Joshua as he stood on the threshold of a new beginning, having farewelled all he had known. (Joshua was Moses’ apprentice, who took over from Moses and led the Israelites into the Promised Land). In your case, as we farewell you and ask you to be strong and courageous, we remind you that the Holy Spirit, at the centre of our College motto, will always be with you as you face good times and bad, and that you can always call on the love of the Holy Spirit to assist and guide you.

We wish you every success in the next stage at your life. In doing this, I would like you to consider what it means to succeed and what that will mean for you.

Today, success is that you have graduated after 13 years of formal schooling. Success in the coming months may be measured by your HSC or the ATAR that gets you into your preferred University or TAFE course. It may be by gaining employment, being able to travel or beginning a GAP year, whether it is as a volunteer or as an opportunity to work in a different environment or culture.

Regardless of what your goals may be, the future is yours to take advantage of, to make a difference in the world and to understand what great opportunities there are for the taking.

I would like to share with you some interpretations of what it means to succeed OR what is not success.


  • Success isn’t about being rich and famous. It is the fulfilment and happiness of being surrounded by loving family and friends, of being satisfied in your career pathway and especially in being joyful of how you serve others.
  • Success is achieving a goal that you know you have personally persevered at and you can stand back and be proud of what you have accomplished.
  • In measuring your success, measure it in terms of what you haven’t attempted, rather than the result of something you did attempt.
  • The measure of your success will be about the difference you make in the lives of the people you meet, work and celebrate with.

To the parents of these fine young people, I don’t want you to think that we believe your role in getting these young people to where they are has been all sweetness and honey. Being a parent is not an easy task.  Even Joseph and Mary had difficulties with Jesus: He went missing for three days. So today is almost as much a celebration for you as it is for your sons and daughters. We congratulate you on your achievements thus far. But remember, being a parent is a life-long occupation. Trust me; I am speaking from experience here. No matter what path your children embark on from here, delight and disappointment will be part and parcel in varying amounts of their journey. And remember, it is the journey that is the goal and not the end-point. The achievements will come and go but relationships last forever, so remember that there is a person behind both the success and the failures and our love for them never changes.

Year 12, as you age gracefully with wisdom and humour, I am sure you will look back on your school days with many good memories and I hope, only a few regrets.

When you reminisce, I am sure what you will remember most, will be the times when you were treated with care and compassion. At the same time, others’ memories of you will be the care and compassion offered to them by yourself. In case you missed it, this is what your teachers and parents have been placing before you throughout your catholic education.

As you experience more and different aspects of life, you will be better equipped to understand life from other people’s perspective. Some people call this growing in knowledge and wisdom; others will name this as a fruit of education. Either way, growing in wisdom and knowledge has been and will continue to be part of our prayers and wishes for you.

I mentioned earlier that becoming rich and famous is not a true measure of success. I hope you didn’t interpret that to mean that we don’t want you to become rich and famous, because we do. We want you to experience all of God’s gifts. We want you to be ambitious, to travel, be innovative, lead, and most importantly to fall in love. I can assure you there is nothing else on earth quite like it.

We want you to attempt those things that lead you toward the big questions in life and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial and self-centred. That shining part of you that exists beyond your personality – that is, your soul, needs its share of exposure to be nurtured and to grow. And your soul is as bright as any that has ever been. Clear anything and everything that keeps you separate from your soul. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it and share its fruits all day, every day.


Year 12 2016 I would like to finish by wishing you:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to make you appreciate the sun.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough sadness that you appreciate the simplest joys of life.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your ambition.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough love so that you know how special you are.

I wish you enough hurt to make you love even sweeter.

I wish you enough dreams to make your imagination soar.

I wish you enough reality to keep your feet on the ground.

I wish to encourage success to make you proud.

I wish you enough failure to make you humble.

I wish you enough independence to accomplish your goals.

I wish you enough dependence on others to keep your goals from being selfish.


And finally

I wish you enough dependence on God so that you can come to understand that who you are and all the talents you have are a gift from God.


Staff News


Mr Chris Smidt will finish at the end of this term so that he can care for his parents on the NSW North Coast. This I am sure you will agree is a most honourable thing to do.

I just hope one of my children will do the same for me when I reach that time in life. We wish Chris well and thank him for his contribution to the teaching and learning in the Science Faculty.

I am pleased to announce that Mrs Kerrie Jenkins will take over Mr Smidt’s classes from October 20th.

To fill in the gap from the 10th to the 20th of October we have engaged Mrs Kath Kimmorley, one of our capable and experienced casual teachers to cover Mr Smidt’s classes.


Mr Scott Mudge is taking Long Service Leave for the first five weeks of Term 4. Scott will be following one of the passions by joining an archaeological dig in Cyprus.

During his absence Mrs Elisabeth Simpson will take over the English Co-ordinator duties, and Miss Amanda Bell will take on Mr Mudge’s classroom duties.

I wish everyone a well-earned break and hope that the two weeks holiday allows time to rest and catch up with family and friends.


Assistant Principal Report

Dear Parents 

What an amazing, busy term. I can honestly say that teachers and school staff are exhausted from their efforts this term. I have no doubt that students are feeling the same way and are looking forward to a well-deserved break.


The school audit was a success and affirmed the quality work taking place at O’Connor . KLA Coordinators and their staff should be congratulated on what has occurred in their departments. Having said this, The auditors did leave us with some recommendations for improvement, which we will be discussing at Coordinator meetings next term.


The HSC Trial Examinations and Preliminary Exam week went well. Year 12 students would have learnt a great deal from the experience especially about the timing of the exam. Three hours can go very quickly.

Students in Year 11  will have the opportunity to offer their pattern of study for the HSC next term. All students need to remain in their preliminary classes until they have completed a change in subject form. These will be available from the front office or myself if students feel they need advice. Parents or Guardians need to sign the form agreeing to any change.


At this point Year 10 are near completion of their chores for the Preliminary HSC year in 2017 and Year 8 students have chosen their Stage 5 elective subjects. Any student in Year 9 who wishes to change an elective for 2017 must see myself to collect a change of subject form.


HSC Examinations begin on the Thursday 13th October during the Week 1 of term 4.

The iPad 2017 program information evening will be held on October 18th. This is for our current Year 7 students and parents. Other notable events in Term 4 include the Exam weeks for Year 9 & 10. There will be no Examination period for Stage 4. As a staff we decided an going formative assessment would be more benefical. The Year 12, 2017 Assessment information session will be held on Monday 31st October.


Students are reminded that summer uniform is worn from the beginning of Term 4.

Students in Year 11 have nominated for student leadership positions for 2017. The elections will takes place early Term 4.


School Zones

A reminder to all our parents that school zones remain in place for the safety of our children and families.

School zones operate on all gazetted school days, which are all days the school is open, even pupil free days.


 For Catholic College, school zones operate as normal until (and include) Friday, 23 September 2016 and resume on Tuesday 4 October 2016, whether students are present or not.


Happy Holidays!


Thank you

Mr Simon Fleming

O'Connor Activities

Cadet Firefighters

Media Release

 New England cadet firefighters celebrate graduation

19 September 2016

17 students from O’Connor Catholic College were congratulated last Friday for their successful completion of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Secondary School Cadet Program.

NSW RFS New England Zone Manager, Superintendent Steve Mepham said the program is the ideal way to introduce young people to the important role volunteer firefighters play within communities.

"These cadets have completed a 10 week course that has given them skills which will last a lifetime.

As well as examining fire behaviour, the students have been taught essential fire safety techniques and gained an appreciation of the work our emergency services do every day in this State.

The cadet program also offers students the opportunity to experience firsthand the commitment and camaraderie that comes with volunteering.

Superintendent Mepham said this is the first year that O’Connor Catholic College has offered the NSW RFS Secondary School Cadet Program to its students.

It’s great to see genuine enthusiasm for this important community based program.

In addition to our NSW RFS members, I would also like to extend a special thanks to the Principal, teachers and staff from O’Connor for helping to make this program such a success.

Superintendent Mepham also thanked the staff and volunteers from the New England Zone team who facilitated the course.

NSW RFS members thoroughly enjoy working closely with schools and communities to ensure that everyone is as well prepared as possible for the very real threat of fire. Our firefighters cannot do it alone.

The Service is proud to pass on the ideals of community service, dedication and teamwork to the next generation.”


Career Corner

Year 12 Textbooks

When you finish your relevant HSC exams, it's time to return your text books, as the HSC year begins for Yr 11 in Term 4 and they need the texts. 

Could you leave your texts in the mobile crates at the back of your examination room for Mrs Lemon or Mrs Fleming to collect? If you prefer you may drop them on the Library/ circulation desk at any time convenient to you after your examination.














Career News

The Defence Force Recruiting team (DFR) is planning to hold a day of psychometric testing and information in Inverell, 10/12/16. They are seeking an expression of interest on whether you may be interested to travel for the testing. The session will run from 4-6 hours and involve a briefing, aptitude test and one-on-one discussion with an ADF councillor.

If you are interested: speak to your parents and if that meets with approval let Mrs Lemon know and I'll contact the ADF. You will have to be able to get yourself to and from Inverell as this is not a College excursion.

The cut off time to inform Mrs Lemon is the end of Week 1 Term 4-14/10/16.

Thanking you

Glenda Lemon

Careers Adviser/ Librarian

[email protected]

Uniform Shop

Uniform Shop Hours

Monday - 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday - 2pm to 4pm

Friday - 9am to 2pm


The uniform shop will be opened for your convenience on Friday 7th October 9am to 2pm. (the last day of the school holidays). Summer Uniform is a requirement for Term 4, which commences Monday October 10th for all students.

College Events 

Speaking & Drama


The Catholic Schools Office was a proud supporter of Speaking 4 the Planet, a public speaking and drama competition for high school students. The focus of the talks and performances is on preventing the illegal trade in wildlife which is the UN’s World Environment Day theme for 2016.

O’Connor Catholic College, Guyra Central School and The Armidale School delivered well-researched and passionate talks on the impacts of trading species illegally. Students also prepared and delivered impromptu talks and dramatic performances on the topic, Go Wild for Life - It’s all Connected.

Congrats to O'Connor Catholic College for winning the Impromptu Drama!




Photo-Winners of Impromptu Drama (L-R) Director of Catholic Schools- Chris Smyth, Frederich Nutt, Georgia MacMahon, Jayden Goodchild, Sophie Troon, Anne-Maree Swanson (O’Connor Catholic College) and Catherine McBride (Toastmaster Guest Judge)

Stars in the Making

Some talented students from O’Connor competed in the Battle of the Bands at PCYC. Each band had a 30 minute time slot and students from all secondary schools performed. Ella Thomas and Grace Toakley won the overall competition receiving a $200 prize and will now get to perform at a Triple J event later on in the year.

Tom Frazier also performed with his band and played very, very well. Such talent at O'Connor please congratulate them when you see them.

Year 9 Camp

A peak at a few Year Camp Photo's.


Year 7 DT

Some of our Year 7 DT students with their finished bird boxes and aren't they amazing?


Information for Parents

Basketball Camp in the holidays

“Armidale Basketball is hosting 2 one-day camps for juniors on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th September.  We would like to invite any student to experience the coaching of American import, Jonny Miller, currently playing in Brisbane.

The Monday camp is aimed at the novice player and Jonny will teach all players fundamental skills and drills. This camp is open to students of all abilities. The Tuesday camp is aimed at players who would like to improve their game and will cover drills and moves that will challenge players to improve.


I appreciate any assistance that you can give to me in this area.

Thank you.

Judy Monaghan

Armidale Basketball Association Inc

02 6772 7771

0417 622859





Are you someone who is passionate about developing their potential both on and off the field? Are you looking for your opportunity on the pre-elite sporting pathway? The Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) will open applications for our 2017 Programs from 1st September. Sports for 2017 include:

Basketball (boys and girls)
Football (boys)
Hockey (boys and girls)
Lonestar (Individual sports)
Mountain Biking
Rugby League
Rugby Union U14s - 15 a side
Rugby 7s U17s - boys and girls 


All NIAS athletes are provided with specialist coaching and support, holistic athlete development, clothing pack, touring opportunities beyond our region and the annual Academy Awards. For more information please visit  www.nias.org.au or phone 67 66 25 26.


The camp cost is $50 per day and runs from 9am to 4pm at ‘The Den’ located at the Armidale High School.Nomination forms and information can be obtained by contacting Judy on 0417622859 or at [email protected] or via the

College News

'Speak off'

CONGRATULATIONS to our three students who competed in a ‘speak off’ to decide the Rotary District 9650 representative. It was a very difficult decision for the judges to make as all three students spoke so confidently and eloquently, however at the end of the speak off Year 10 student Grace Toakley was announced as the overall winner. Grace will now go on to represent O'Connor and District 9650 at the Cluster competition next term.


Charlie Allen, Sophie Wicks, Nick Troon and Grace Toakley.


Chess the final rounds

Today the chess team travelled to Tamworth to play the final rounds of the losers draws of the NSW schools junior chess tournament.  With only three teams left in the competition O’ Connor, St Mary’s Gunnedah and Coonabarabran High it was decided to meet at McCarthy College to play out the semi final and final matches.

We had to play St Mary’s Gunnedah first to see who would meet Coonanbarbran in the final.

On Board one Tim Hanrahan again proved what an accomplished performer he is dispatching his opponent in a methodical manner.

On Board three Cameron Roan deftly won his match ensuring the teams progression into finals Match.

Elisabeth Lee on board two secured a hard fought draw after over an hour of play.

Jacob Minehan won board four after similar long game.

Going into the final all four players had not been beaten in the last two rounds so momentum was with us.  A quick walk around McCarthy College (what a big school) to clear our heads and then it was back to the library to take on Coonabarbran.

While we were out the opposition had arrived, set up their boards and they looked very imposing.

We began the finals only to hear within a minute Tim Hanrahan say “I’m sorry”.  Worried we all stared to see what had happened.  Tim had checkmated his opponent in 5 moves and unbelievable feat on board one.

Things looked good, we only had to win either board 2 or 3 and victory was ours.  Both Cameron and Elisabeth were locked in dour struggles with their opponents when Cameron went apiece down. 

Trouble loomed as Elizabeth was losing position, her opponent had pinned her queen.  If either of them could secure a draw it would mean that Jacob Minehans on board four would come into play.  It was becoming tense.

Cameron fought on bravely but a rook down meant that any exchange was a disaster and he just fell further behind.  Eventually he succumbed to the inevitable defeat.

Jacob Minehan got to an end game with his opponent, promoted his pawn and did a classic king queen mate.

So again it all fell on the shoulders of Elizabeth Lee.  A draw would win it for us but that is a highly unlikely outcome at this level and Elizabeth was in poor position. 

The pressure was immense as all eyes where drawn to this one game.  Imagine how it must have been with all games finished and everyone watching the one game in silence.

Elizabeth’s opponent had good position and then went a rook up.  He was confident and looked poised to take victory when Elizabeth sprung her trap and checked his king on the back rank, protected by her rook. 

He had only one move to retreat, and then she drove home her advantage CHECKMATE. He was stunned. 

One more move and he had her but Elizabeth was having none of it and pulled an amazing checkmate out of the bag.

So O’Connor wins the second chance round, meaning we were second in the competition overall first was TAS (whom we never actually played). 

Congratulations to St Mary’s Gunnedah and Coonabarbran and all the players.  When you see the team give them give them a rousing “well done” as they played magnificently.


Ian Tonkin

Chess Coordinator

'Chess Club where all the cool kids hang'

Year 8  R.E Unit

"Disciple, Martyrs and Witnesses to the Faith"

The following was written by Courtney Reeves.


10th July, 64 A.D

I tremble with fear as I try to find my footing in this hell hole. The sound of moans and cries pierce my ears, with horrible memories of the past.

I try not to look at the bruises and sores all over my body, and the puddles of blood covering the cell floor.

The stench of death lurks in the cells, with a sea of bodies, covering most of the floor. The chains pull tightly around my wrist, engraving cuts into my skin. Are they the only things keeping standing upright?

I wonder when I'm next! The next one to be fed to the gruelling, hungry growling, fierce lions.

Yesterday the poor lady just beside was the next victim, her screams and force against the horrible Roman soldiers brought tears to my bloodshot eyes.

Well I think it was yesterday. My mind is starting to hallucinate. It's so dark, that I haven't seen light for so long.

I miss feeling the warm sun on my olive skin and smelling my Mother's freshly baked bread.


By Courtney Reeves.

Year 8

Sports News


All 5 O'Connor ACSC netball teams qualified for the finals series in the Armidale Association Netball competition, with 4 progressing into the grand finals. They were held on Saturday in the glorious sunshine, for a nice change. 3 out of the 4 teams were victorious!  This is a wonderful result for the girls from O'Connor. A special mention should go to our senior team, La Belle, who have played together from Yr 7 to Yr 12 a fantastic way to end their schoolgirl netball.



A successful night of basketball grand finals for O'Connor this evening. 
7/8 Boys won 59-36 against TAS playing great basketball ; 7/8 Girls lost 20-12 to Mystics in a close match; and 9/10 Girls defeated PLC 31-19 in a very exciting game.
The winners each received an $80 voucher from Intersport. Many thanks to Lara Wright for her support of Armidale basketball, as well as O'Connor students such as Kaige MacLauchlin who have mentored and coached our junior players.
Also a HUGE thank you to Mr Roff who coaches our O'Connor teams every Tuesday night, every term, every year!


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