O'Connor Newsletter

07 June 2017
Issue Eight
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
College News
Information for Parents
Career Information
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers,

Last week, I attended the Australian Catholic Schools Principals conference hosted by the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese. Over 400 Principals from across NSW attended allowing for great collaboration about how to improve learning outcomes for all. It provided strong reinforcement of the key ideas that have formed our Annual Improvement Plan ‘Founded on Faith, focused on Learning’:

  • Everyone can learn;

  • Learning is the work of everyone;

  • Learning includes - faith, academic and wellbeing.

One of the keynote addresses and masterclasses was given by Pak Tee Ng. Pak Tee Ng is Associate Dean, Leadership Learning at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He teaches in executive programmes for school leaders including Principalship.


Pak Tee discussed some of the changes occurring in the Singapore Education system. I am often sceptical about what Australian schools can learn from countries such as Finland and Singapore which have a very different culture; however, Pak Tee discussed how Singapore is changing from a focus in quality instead of quantity. This point is very relevant in NSW where our syllabuses are so large that the actual time prescribed allows at best superficial learning and very little time to deep learning.


Pak Tee discussed the concept of ‘teach less’ so that students ‘learn more’. His main message was that often we focus too much on the teaching and getting through the desired content without students actually learning. The idea of deep learning is not a new one at O’Connor. Staff have been working collaboratively to prioritise the curriculum to ensure that students have the time to develop their understanding of key concepts.


Students need to be ready to learn and take on responsibility for developing their understanding. We are working in PAC time and in the classroom to develop a growth mindset in everyone and to enhance the learning culture of our school. When people display a growth mindset, they take risks with their learning, they learn from the mistakes, they know that with effort they can learn and they know they can learn to be ‘smart’. It is based on the research of Carol Dweck and is illustrated further in this graphic:


Parents and carers can help with developing a growth mindset by

  • Praising the effort not the result

  • Encouraging their daughter/son to ‘have a go’ and learn from the mistakes

  • Discussing the areas they are finding hard and why

The student diary has a wealth of information on developing a positive approach to learning that is a useful resource.


The issue of funding schools continues to be debated in Federal Parliament. A media release from Chris Smyth, Director, Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Armidale, is included below to further explain the viewpoint of Catholic systemic schools and the issues associated for our schools with the funding model Gonski 2.0.


Pastoral Academic Care Update

Wellbeing Focus for Week 4 - Ethical Living  and Living Ethically (from Junior and Senior Diaries)


The Key Character Strength - Spirituality

To quote Howard Gardner from his book Five Minds, ‘I have nothing against excellence, but at the end of the day, the world doesn’t need more of the brightest and the best, but more of those of good character.’

The five minds he goes onto describe are the creative, the critical, the synthesising, the respectful and the ethical. It is fitting after completing a week of NAPLAN tests for Years 7 & 9 that we also should also look at the effect this has had on the social-emotional resilience, wellbeing and respectful and ethical growth mindsets of our students.

Teaching students about what living ethically looks like, sounds like and feels like will sow the seeds to strengthen their characters. These include acting in ways which they know will benefit their and others’ well being because they matter; making choices based on what their minds tell them is the right thing to for them to do, not doing something for personal, material or prestige gain, using their signature and top supporting strengths in their every thought, word and action and being grateful for good things that happen.

“I’m a great believer in luck. I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”   

Woodrow Wilson


Spirituality falls under the virtue category of Transcendence. Transcendence describes strengths that provide a broad sense of connection to something higher in meaning and purpose than ourselves. Spirituality is believed to describe both the private, intimate relationship between humans and the divine, and the range of virtues that result from the relationships. Spirituality is universal. Although the specific content  of spiritual beliefs varies, all cultures have a concept of an ultimate, transcendent, sacred force. 




Thank you

 Regina Menz


Assistant Principal's Report

Year 10 News

The next few weeks will involve students from Year 10 making some very important decisions about their future schooling at O’Connor. Students will be asked to make subject selections for Stage 6, beginning in 2018.

During week 8 this term all year 10 students should be involved in the work experience program.


Year 10 student/ teacher interviews will take place on Tuesday 27th June. This will provide good information as to the level of achievement students are currently presenting, which can be a guide to course selection in stage 6.


During weeks 9 and 10 of term 2, students will receive information from the Key Learning Areas about the subjects and courses offered. They will also be given Subject Information booklet.

At the start of week 9 students will be asked to fill in an intentions survey for 2018 as well as an application to seek enrolment into Years 11 and 12.


Students are urged to delay making  decisions about course preferences until they have heard from subject teachers, or they have spoken with the various KLA coordinators.


Students should also seek careers information by making a time to see Mrs Lemon.





Information Night

An information night will be held at school for students and parents on Monday 24th July commencing at 6 pm in AG4/5. The purpose of the evening is to ensure that parents are involved in the process and informed of the rules that apply to the Preliminary and HSC years.


The development and meaning of 'line structures' will be explained at the information session.

After the information session KLA coordinators and subject teachers will be available to provide further information on specific subjects and courses. This would be an excellent time for parents to discuss possible choices with the coordinator or teacher.

Year 12 Study

All students need to prepare as well as they can for exams. Often though we hear that when students get into an exam they just have a 'blank' and cannot recall information. This identifies a problem with study technique.


It is all about 'storage and retrieval'. The problem students have is retrieving information they have already stored. Two techniques have been proven to enhance our recall ability.


Firstly, self- testing or taking practice tests over material already learned. In other words Pre and Post testing of material. Students also should be marking their own tests during study. We learn best from mistakes, and identifying our errors improves our learning.


The second and best form of study is what we call 'distributive practice'. That is, implementing a schedule of practice that spreads out study activities over a set time. In other words, study a concept or theme or formulae a week after you have done it in class and then again a week or so later.


Year 12 students should be continually testing themselves on work from term 4 2016, and term 1 this year. This will help to sharpen recall rather than relying totally on studying at the time of an exam.


                        Dates to Remember






Thank you

Simon Fleming



Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday June 4

At the Last Supper, Holy Thursday, Jesus promised a “helper” would come; 


"And I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you".. John 14:16–18 


This promise was fulfilled when the Apostles and disciples, in Jerusalem for the Jewish feast of Pentecost, were given purpose and courage by the Holy Spirit. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1– 4 Pentecost Sunday occurs 10 days after the Ascension. It is considered the birthday of the Church.


Mass in  De La Salle Chapel

On a Wednesday a Parish Mass is celebrated at De La Salle Chapel. It begins at 9.20am. It is usually attended by a year group but sometimes it is a Stage or even the whole school. Last week the whole school celebrated the Feast of Mary Help of Christians. Thank you to Father Francis for presiding over this Mass. Parishioners and parents are always welcome. Remaining Masses this term are:

Year 10 Mass June 7

Year 11 and 8 Mass June 14

Year 7 Mass June 21

Founders day Mass June 30 (10am).

Lasallian Youth Gathering (LYG)

15 students will be attending LYG in Sydney in the school holidays. There will be opportunities for workshops, community service, games and much more. It is a great chance to understand the Lasallian story in greater depth and to be a part of a movement working for good in the world.





Founders Day

Founders Day is on June 30. The day is a mufti day and and is always a great way to end the term. The day consists of an assembly, mass, concert and capture the flag. We will have visiting students from St Ursula's Kingsgrove and some Ursuline sisters to give us some insight into the life of Angela Merici.


Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF)

 Year 11 will be attending the ACYF in December as part of their retreat to Sydney.

There will be workshops, concerts, guest speakers, Mass in the Domain and a pilgrimage walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Over 15000 young people will attend this festival and it will be an experience that our students will remember for the rest of their lives.



Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator

College News

Year 9 CFS Class

Guest speakers from Uralla neighbourhood centre, Jo Fletcher and Katherine Gallagher spoke about the difficulties of caring for babies with special needs. Year 9 students heard the journey of a premature baby.


Year 9 Child Studies

Students have been studying “The Newborn”. During this unit we have had a number of visitors to the school. Uralla Neighbourhood Centre showed the class a number of baby dolls. Babies that suffered from Alcohol Foetal Syndrome, a drug addicted baby and one that showed the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Students learnt the importance of caring for babies with special needs.


Year 10 Strive to Survive

Each year O’Connor organises a ‘Strive to Survive’ program to ensure students are informed on issues that young people may face. This program has been running for over 25 years.

On Monday, students in Year 10 had the opportunity to hear from a number of experts in their field. Guest speakers; Patrick Crick, Bruce Winter, Ashryn Oestler, Grant Le Brock and Nicki Scholes Robertson spoke to students on;

  • Standard drinks and the Law
  • Mental Health
  • Organ donation
  • Party Drugs

After these informative sessions, students had a recreational afternoon at Sport UNE.


O'Connor Z Club

Birthing Kit Day

The UNWHO estimates about 385,000 women die annually in childbirth, with developing countries accounting for 99% of these deaths. For every women who dies, another 30 suffer injuries and infections, which are often painful, debilitating and lifelong.

What can we do?

At O'Connor Saturday May 13th, fittingly the day before Mother's Day, members of the Z Club, Zonta Armidale and the community gathered to help reduce this devastating figure with our annual 'Birthing Kit' Project.

Students had done a lot of work the previous week to prepare for the day which allowed for a speedy assembling process. On the Saturday, students, parents, teachers and others worked hard to pack the 400 kits. The kit is small and basic but contains the essentials needed for women to give birth in a clean environment and to help reduce the risk of infection. Included is a thick plastic sheet, a small portion of soap, 3 pieces of string, 5 swatches of gauze and a new scalpel. It cost $3 for the club to purchase each kit.

This is the fifth year our Z Club has been involved in this project and we feel proud and humble that we are supporting and empowering women through service and advocacy.

We thank everyone who helped in any way. To Zonta Armidale for their generous $500 donation. Anyone who helped towards the $688 the club made in a Thursday fundraiser and especially, to anyone who helped on the day or in the week leading up to the Saturday.


Glenda Lemon & Vicki Channon


Sporting Dates

 Term Two 2017

  • 31st May North West 7's Rugby UNE Armidale
  • 7th June Diocesan Soccer Inverell
  • 9th June O'Connor Athletics Carnival Armidale
  • 15th, 16th June NSWCCC Cross Country Eastern Creek
  • 22nd June Cochrane Cup Armidale
  • 23rd June St Mary's Athletics Carnival O'Connor


For further information regarding NSWCCC Pathway sports please visit: https://www.csss.nsw.edu.au/nswccc-home.aspx the help section of this website is also useful for the registration process: https://www.csss.nsw.edu.au/help.aspx


Diocesan Carnival

Last Friday the 26th of May 43 O'Connor students traveled to Gunnedah for Diocesan Cross Country and Tennis. Many thanks to Miss Camilla Clydsdale, Mr James Russell and Mr Mark Honeysett for accompanying the team. Well done to all students who completed the course. All students were extremely well behaved and are commended on their behaviour, attitude and presentation. Congratulations to the following students who have made the Armidale Diocese Cross Country Team. Please let your Sports Coordinator Miss Clydsdale know whether or not you intend on competing at NSWCCC Cross Country on the 16th of June. Best of luck :)

Dio Cross Country Age Champions

Lawson Fittler 16 boys

Micah Scholes Robertson 17 boys

Meg Lye 16 girls

Isabella Hosking 15 girls

Ella Russell 12 girls

NSWCCC Cross Country 2017

Congratulations on being selected to compete at the 2017 NSWCCC Cross Country Championships. Your next step is to register for this event. You MUST register by Wednesday June 7th or you will be ineligible to compete. Your School Sport Coordinator should have given you information on how to register.

Date: Friday 16th June 2017

Time: 7.30am - 3.00pm

Venue: Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek

Any enquiries should be made initially to your School Sport Coordinator until Monday 22nd May. After this date all enquiries should be made to Tim Kennedy [details below].

Team Managers:Tim Kennedy [St Mary's College Gunnedah] Matt Feltrin [McCarthy College Tamworth]

Phone: 0416295269 [Tim Kennedy]

Email: [email protected]


Travel and accommodation are the responsibility of Parents/Guardians.


All competitors must wear the Diocesan singlet available at a cost of $20. This is the same singlet as previous years and is also used for athletics. An optional Diocesan Polo Shirt is also available at a cost of $30.

Uniform orders can be made by following this link http://bit.ly/Cross_Country_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 Wednesday 14th June 2017.


Please check the CSSS website for specific information about the event -



All students MUST be registered by Wednesday 7th June otherwise students will not be allowed to compete in this event. Once registered parents will need to consent to their child attending the NSWCCC Selection otherwise they will not receive all the required information.



Camilla Clydsdale

Sports Coordinator


On Friday, the O'Connor tennis squad consisting of; the Dennehy's, the Maurer lads, Kareena Dawson, Noah L'Hostis, Sam Walker and Sam Davis travelled to Gunnedah to compete in the Diocesan Tennis.
All played well, with Sahra (2 from 2 in singles), Connor and Sam Davis (2 from 3 in singles) being the pick of the crop. The younger boys improved with each game and all should be proud of their efforts.

Information for Parents

What's on !


Uniform Shop

Uniform Shop Trading Hours

Monday 8am - 12pm   

Wednesday 12pm - 4pm

 Friday 10am - 2pm


Lost Property

Please ensure all school clothes, books and personal property are clearly labelled with the student’s name. Many items are not returned to their rightful owners because they are not labelled correctly or clearly.

USBs should include a folder with the student’s name and form to assist in returning it to the correct person. If you have lost anything please check at the front office. 


Career Information

7 Habits of a Self- Confident Person

Self-confidence is all about believing in yourself, your self-worth, your power and abilities, regardless of the situation you find yourself in. Highly self-confident people focus on the needs of others and take attention away from themselves. They are usually people of service and the more they contribute to the world, the more they are rewarded with personal recognition and success.


The Habits:

1. Keep your word- to yourself and others

2. Choose positive self-talk

3. Focus on your strengths

4. Be Courageous

5. Act & feel important

6. Be grateful

7. Focus on contributing to others


 Tricks To Be More Confident For A JobInterview.

  1.  Listen to upbeat music/ watch motivational 'You Tube' videos (TED): this helps to pump you up and put you in a mood to win. In an interview you need to sound enthusiastic and excited about the position.
  2.  Smile!- smiles make people relax and look more attractive. Smile as you walk into the room and one will be returned. That's a good start!
  3.  Body Language- Stand and walk proudly even if you are shaking inside. If you slouch, slump, shuffle, fidget, cross your arms, etc, you will project a negative image.
  4.  Think Positively: This will help you to have faith in yourself, which will affect your body language.
  5.  Practise your interview at home by speaking answers out aloud, using correct enunciation. Try to hear your voice, correct any nervous intonations, pitch problems etc. Do this in front of a mirror so you can see your facial gestures also.
  6.  Look Good and Appropriate: It's hard to give a good impression when you are uncomfortable. If you look good and are appropriately dressed then you'll FEEL good. Be well dressed, have neat hair, be polished, clean and well groomed. This will boost your confidence in the opening minutes.
  7.  Do one extroverted act before your interview: Smile at a stranger, chat with the receptionist, talk to the cafe manager etc. Small talk often starts an interview in order to relax you. Interviewers are really looking for someone who can fit the team dynamic. Employers want to create a motivated, friendly environment, so you want to come across as friendly and personable. Show your personality!
  8.  Practise to have the best possible answer to the question: “Why do you want this job?" It's often the most important question of the interview and can make or break your chances and it often sets the tone for the remainder of the interview. Show you know about the company, its mission statement and how it ties with your career values and desires. 

If the interviewer doesn't ask the specific question, answer it anyway, when you have a chance to ask questions or add anything extra. State why you were excited to be granted an interview and why you feel passionate about the work they do. This is your chance to impress!

Career's Festival

On behalf of Duval High School I would like to extend a warm invitation to you, your  Year 10, 11 and 12 students, their parents and teachers to attend our local Community Careers Festival.


Date and Venue

DATE:                        Wednesday 26th July 2017

TIME:                        4.30pm  -  7.30pm.

VENUE:                     Duval High School


The festival is scheduled to run from 4:30-7:30 in order to provide an opportunity for parents, carers and businesses to attend without disrupting their working day.



The Careers Festival is an engaging event aimed at providing our young people and the community with an opportunity to explore career options and identify future career pathways.


Duval High School will host over 70 representatives from various businesses/industries, training providers, government departments and educational providers to highlight some examples of what is currently available to our students beyond secondary school within our local community.


The Careers Festival will be an interactive event where students’ parents and the community can engage in activities and discuss career opportunities with local businesses in a fun and educational environment.


The Festival aims to provide students with sound career information and knowledge prior to subject selection. Students can use this experience to choose courses that reflect their career planning. The interactive Festival is specifically designed to stimulate student interest and provide an opportunity for us all to celebrate our careers, share knowledge and guide our youth towards a happy and successful life after high school.


Student Engagement

To ensure student engagement and traffic throughout the exhibit hall, a Passport Program has been initiated to encourage students to visit multiple exhibitors and gather as much information as they can so that they can make informed choices about their future.  Each Exhibitor/Stall holder will be issued with an individual stamp. A student must engage with a stall holder and gain relevant information before receiving a stamp that authenticates their interaction. Completed passports will go into a draw to win prizes such as a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, 32 inch TV, iTunes vouchers, movie tickets, gift cards……………..and more.


The more stalls students visit, the more stamps they collect, the more chances they have in WINNING !!!!


We will also be running a video completion on the evening. Students will be encouraged to interview exhibitors and create a one minute careers video documentary.


Food & Entertainment

Throughout the evening there will be live entertainment, Easy As coffee, complimentary sausage sizzle and refreshments, fairy floss, PRIZES and a SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS FINALE!


Information & RSVP

Please visit  www.duvalcareersfestival.com for more information and encourage your students, parents and teachers to register for catering purposes.


Please feel free to email the attached flyer to you school community and share the attached Facebook post to your school Facebook community. I will also be delivering printed invitations within the next week.


As an educational leader, you are very influential in young people’s career decisions. Could you please take the time to encourage your students, parents and carers to attend, and support our local community.


Please click on the YouTube link to view our 2012 / 2014 Video Clip.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zz9VYWNkQDA&t=2s


Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions.

Thank you for your support.


Warm regards,

Lana Hardman

Careers Adviser / TVET Coordinator / SBAT Coordinator / VET Coordinator / NESA Coordinator - Duval High School



Early Entry NSW Universities

The University of New England (UNE) has opened their Early Entry program early this year, from the 8th of February and closes on the 29th of September. UNE http://www.une.edu.au/study/study-on-campus/get-early-entry/apply-online


La Trobe University Aspire 
Opens on the 1st of June 

The University of Sydney

E12 Program
Opens around mid-July and closes around mid-August.  (they have not yet finalised their dates) (it will tell you that applications for the 2017 E 12 program have closed…. This relates to students going to University of Sydney this year)
Australian Catholic University

Early Achievers Program http://www.acu.edu.au/study_at_acu/pathways_And_entry_schemes/year_12_student_entry/early_entry
Opened 26th April and closes 17th July
Macquarie University

Global Leadership Program and SRS (Early Entry Refer to UAC point) Open 8th May closes 28th August (students can apply any time within these dates, and will be notified of their result within 4-6 weeks after application)
Charles Sturt University

Principals Report Entry Program (information not available on CSU website at present time) (Early Entry Refer to UAC point) 
Southern Cross University

STAR Entry Scheme 
Student Registrations Open 12th of July and closes 8th of September 
University of Western Sydney

Guaranteed Entry GE Program (This is not open yet; however, I have been advised this is open at the times of UAC application dates, between the 2nd of August and the 29th of September)
University of Western Sydney also have an Apply Direct option for most courses via their website and only if the UWS is the only university a student wish to apply for, which is accessed using the Student UAC Pin (sent to each individual student by mail before UAC entry opens on the 2nd of August)   

University of Wollongong

Early Admission
Opens August 1st and closes August 25th 


University of NSW Guaranteed Entry
This is not an early entry scheme, Guaranteed Entry allows the UNSW to tell students today what selection rank (ATAR + Bonus Points) will guarantee students a place in a particular degree at the UNSW.

University Admissions Centre (UAC)

Many Universities in NSW have an Early Entry Program offered through the UAC school Recommendation Scheme (SRS) which opens on the 2nd of August and closes on the 29th of September. http://www.uac.edu.au/undergraduate/
Australian National University
Charles Sturt University 
Griffith University 
Macquarie University 
University of Canberra
University of New England 
University of Newcastle 
University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
University of Western Sydney 




Glenda Lemon

Librarian/ Careers Advisor


Armidale Eisteddfod

Over the past few weeks we have had a number of students performing at the Eisteddfod in choral, string, wind and composition sections. Congratulations to all O’Connor students who have competed. Special mention to some of our major award recipients:


The O’Connor Choir conducted by Miss Melanie Sampson for receiving second place in their section.


Rianna Feenstra - 2nd place for her HSC composition ‘The Merri-Go-Round’ for solo piano. She has been developing her composition over the past 6 months as part of her major works for Music 2. Rianna also received 1st place for her piano solo 18 years and under.


Simon Di Luzio, Year 10 - 1st place in the Recorder Solo 18 years and under and was awarded places for a number of other performances.


Thomas Frazier, Year 12 - 1st place for his Double Bass Solo 18 years and under of his HSC work ‘Can’t Stop Running’.


Nicholas Troon, Year 11 - 1st Place in Vocal Solo Musical Theatre 18 Years and Under.


Lily Baber, Year 10 - 1st place Wind Solo (Romantic) 18 Years and Under.

The Eisteddfod is now in its final stages with Speech and Drama sections this week and Band Night on Tuesday 6th June, in which the O’Connor Jazz Band and Orchestra will be competing.
Best of luck to all.



























Melita Roache


O'Connor Newsletter
Australia Needs Low Fee Paying School Systems Media Release (1) (2).pdf
5th June.docx
5th June.docx
Funding letter parents.docx.pdf
Australia Needs Low Fee Paying School Systems Media Release (1) (2).pdf
Toolkit for Dads Armidale June 2017.pdf
SYA GI June 2017.jpg