O'Connor Newsletter

08 September 2017
Issue Fourteen
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
Sport Report
College Events
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents

We enter the season of Spring, a time of renewal and hope. It is a great time to give thanks to God for all we have and the joy of each day. Our Grounds staff, Terry McMillan and Pat Rogers do an amazing job at keeping our grounds looking spectacular in every season but in Spring this work comes to fruition. We are very blessed at O’Connor to have such wonderful outdoor spaces to help with our learning, whether that be our academic learning, our faith learning or simply taking time out in quiet reflection to help our wellbeing .


At O’Connor we celebrated National Health and PE Day this week. Numerous studies have shown the link between a healthy lifestyle and strong positive wellbeing. A recent book by Kohl, Cook and Cook (2013) ‘Educating the Student Body’ discussed the evidence supporting the link between health and learning in teenagers. The idea that healthy students learn better is supported and well accepted, and many studies have confirmed that health benefits are associated with physical activity, including cardiovascular and muscular fitness, bone health, psychosocial outcomes, and cognitive and brain health.


This highlights the need for students (and everyone!) to participate in some physical activity every week (DAY!) to help their wellbeing and learning outcomes. Our Year 12 students ran activities every lunchtime this week to encourage students to get active. As part of our Pastoral Academic Care Program one of the elements of wellbeing is ‘Exercise and Health’. In the student diary there are some great ideas to build this element. Exercise enables us to

  • Experience positive emotions from endorphins

  • Reduce tension and anxiety

  • Improve sleeping patterns

  • Find calmness


This doesn’t mean we all need to run a marathon but it does mean that we should take the time to move more. This is especially important for our Year 11 and 12s as they prepare and complete their final exams. Turn off your devices and go for a walk.


We also celebrated Literacy and Numeracy Week. Literacy and numeracy underpin our learning and building students capacity in these areas is essential. As part of our Pastoral Academic Care Program, literacy activities are the focus every Wednesday. This might include silent reading, journalling or word games. This week there were many different activities that both staff and students entered into including word games and number puzzles.


Our Year 12 have just completed their trial exams and are entering an important time in terms of consolidation of their learning. Vicki Channon (Year 12 Leader), Kerry Steller (Presiding Officer, NSW Education Standards Authority) and I met with all Year 12 on Monday after their trial to discuss a number of important points in relation to the HSC and where to next with their learning. The Year 12s set learning goals for the next three weeks and these are hanging in the staffroom for teachers to know each student and their particular focus for the next part of the learning. We all have a responsibility for all students and their learning and we will work collaboratively to support students in achieving their goals.


In staffing news, Mrs Alicia Pringle, Leader of Pedagogy, has been offered a job at the University of New England as Learning Designer. Alicia’s capacity to drive our learning focus and work with teachers and students alike has been outstanding. Alicia’s work at O’Connor over the past 8 years has benefitted many students and staff. As a Senior English teacher she has mentored students to achieving great learning growth and as a Pastoral Academic Care teacher she has built and sustained positive relationships with students and parents. We wish Alicia the very best in her new position and look forward to working with her in this new capacity.  


Thankyou to everyone who has completed the surveys about our College. These provide valuable feedback to us about how we are going and what we need to do next. We will look at the survey responses to help with our Annual Improvement Plan for 2018.


What will you learn today?

Regina Menz


Assistant Principal's Report

NESA Requirements

re: Warning Letters
NSW Education Standard Authority (NESA) has produced a criteria for the satisfactory completion of a course; 
A student is considered to have satisfactorily completed a course if, in the principal’s view, there is sufficient evidence that the student has:
  1. followed the course developed or endorsed by the NESA;
  2. applied themselves with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the course by the school; and
  3. achieved some or all of the course outcomes.

NESA does not set a minimum attendance for the satisfactory completion of a course. The principal may determine that, as a result of absence, the above course completion criteria might not be met. 

If a student is in danger of not meeting these minimum requirements,  a 'N' determination can be made. The ‘N’ determinations provide warnings of non-completion of course requirements.

If at any time it appears that a student is at risk of receiving a ‘N’ determination (non-completion of course requirements) in any course, the principal must:

  1.  advise the student of the tasks or actions to be undertaken in time for the problem to be corrected and alert the student to the possible consequences of a ‘N’ determination;
  2.  advise the parent or guardian in writing (if the student is under the age of 18);
  3. request from the student/parent/guardian a written acknowledgement of the warning;
  4.  issue at least one follow-up warning letter if the first letter is not effective; and
  5.  retain copies of all relevant documents

Students who have not complied with the course completion criteria and who have received at least two written warnings can be regarded as not having satisfactorily completed the course at the time of finalising grades. The principal may then apply the ‘N’ determination. If this is the case for a Year 11 course this would place in jeopardy the transition to Year 12 and if this happens in Year 12 the HSC could be in danger of not being issued.


Final Weeks of Year 12

This is a crucial period for Year 12. Whilst their individual assessment marks have been set and sent to NESA, as a cohort of students they can influence what the moderated assessment mark will look like with a strong performance in the HSC exam.

All students should be reviewing their efforts in the Trial HSC and deepening their knowledge. All students should be completing practice questions and looking to improve the language that they use to express arguments and ideas.

The last day of classes will be Wednesday 20th September. The Year 12 final Mass will be Tuesday 19th and the Graduation ceremony will be at 12:00 on the 22nd September in the school Gym.

Year 11

Year 11 exams will commence on Friday 8th with English. Exams will continue throughout week 9. Students are to wear their uniform to school and may leave once their exam has concluded. A genuine effort needs to be made for each task. For many students this will be the final assessment task used to determine a final grade which will appear on students record of achievement. 

Year 10

The Year 11 lines for 2018 have been set and we are currently in the process of discussing patterns of study with individual students. Of importance at this stage is to finalise expressions of interest for TVET courses and this should be done through Mrs Moar. 

Year 9

Year 9 will be on camp next week from Monday to Wednesday and we certainly hope they experience fine weather. Any student who for whatever reason cannot attend the camp should be at school.

Year 8

Year 8 have been provided with a draft elective subject form which needs to be submitted to the school by Friday 8th September. Not all subjects appearing on these lines will run and the lines could change depending on subject clashes. 



Thank you for your support.


Simon Fleming

Curriculum Coordinator/ A.P


Year 9 Retreat

Week 1 of next term, Year 9 students will travel to the Army Depot at UNE for a retreat day. The day will be facilitated by Lasallian Youth Ministry Team from Sydney. It is a day of prayer, reflection, games, role plays and much more. The cost is $25 and that is now due. This includes all transport, food and facilitators expenses.

Year 10 Leadership Day

The following day, Year 10 will have a leadership day at UNE also facilitated by the Lasallian Youth Ministry Team. All year 10 will learn about Christian leadership within the context of team building and a fun filled day. From this day students can self select to become Lasallian Youth Leaders at O'Connor. This entails further training in year 11 to enable students to lead at junior retreats and to facilitate student led community building. The cost of this day is also $25 and this is now due.


Australian Catholic Youth Festival 

(Year 11 Retreat)

Excitement is building for the retreat to Sydney where our students will be part of the largest Christian youth gathering in Australia since World Youth Day in 2008. ACYF will host 15000 pilgrims from all over Australia in a festival of music, prayer, workshops and fun. There will even be some time to explore Sydney. Our students will depart on December 6 and return December 10. This includes a weekend so students have been asked to make arrangements in regards to their sporting and work commitments. There is a schedule of payments for this trip. Please keep up to date with these. Check out this ACYF minute to keep up to date. 


Year 7 Religious Education

Year 7 students have just completed the unit "Ways of Praying". Their task was to compose and set out a mini prayer service for their classmates complete with a prayer focus. The efforts of our Year 7 students were outstanding providing a prayerful atmosphere with a range of prayer experiences.

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.





God Bless


Damian Roff


Sport Report

Twilight Soccer Competition


Armidale Little Athletics

Welcome to the 2017/2018 Little Athletics Season

Registration - Register online at http://www.lansw.com.au/Participate/How-to-Register


*New Registrations: Register & Pay online, print out your confirmation, bring to Little A’s Club house with your child’s proof of identification (birth certificate, passport, bluebook) on 14th or 21st of September to receive your numbers & purchase uniforms.

*Existing Members: Register & pay online, print out your confirmation, bring to Little A’s Club house on 14th or 21st September to receive your numbers.

A parent or guardian must stay at Harris Park at all times while their child is participating.

Important Dates for the calendar:

14th September: Come and try/ sign up day (between 4 pm and 6pm)

21st September: Come and try / sign up day (between 4 pm and 6pm)

12th October: Start of the Season - Skills sessions and introductory night for children and parents (no points)

19th October: First competition night (points commence)


For more information check out: Little Athletics NSW website: www.lansw.com.au

Armidale Little Athletics website www.armidalelac.org.au

Armidale Little Athletics Club House – 160 Kirkwood Street Armidale NSW 2350



College Events

Rotary Public Speaking

Congratulations to our O'Connor participants in the Rotary youth public speaking competition. Year 10 students Maria Alkhouri, Sophie Meehan and Izaac Quaife, and Year 11 student Nick Troon all spoke extremely well on a variety of topics, but in the end Nick was announced as the winner and will go on to represent Armidale Central Rotary Club in the next stage of the competition. A huge thank you to Kristyn Currie and the other Rotarians who adjudicated and mentored our students.


Students Awarded

Great celebrations at assembly! Artists of the month Lauren Fenton (yr 7) and Courtney Reeves (yr 9) and some Diocesan Athletics Champions Ella Russell (yr 7), Micah Scholes-Robertson (yr 11) and Sam Archer (yr 11). Well done!

Principal Award winners Katherine Hosking (yr 11),  Phoebe Biddle (yr 11), Ella Thomas (yr 11) and Chloe Gray (yr 9) . Well done everyone!


Literacy Week

This week is Literacy Week, and to celebrate we held a book launch and pizza lunch on Friday to acknowledge the creativity of over 50 students who attended the Writing 4 Sustainability workshop last term. A link will be posted soon so that you can read the students' stories. Students also made bookmarks for Literacy Week.


High School Musical

The O'Connor Musical for 2018 has been 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 [email protected] 
Click on the link below to see the fabulous promo video :-)





STEM teachers Mr Chapman, Mr Hawthorne and Mr Fittler are providing amazing learning opportunities for our students at O'Connor.


Jenny Roff

Creative Arts


Year 9 and Year 11 Textiles excursions to NERAM to view the amazing "Plain, Satin & Twill" exhibition which includes highlights from the Tamworth Regional Gallery National Textile Collection, followed by some tasty treats. 
The exhibition includes work from some of Australia’s most innovate and acclaimed textile artists.

Vicki Channon



Year 12 Hospitality

Year 12 Hospitality Class..last prac with these beautiful people. It's been a fun 2 years and I'm proud of your achievements and growth.

Mrs Healey



Da Vinci Decathlon

Year 10 WON the da Vinci Decathlon...AWESOME WORK!!! Thank you to Catherine Boydell, TAS and Knox Grammar for organising such a wonderful event!

Jenny Roff

Creative Arts


Legacy Week


A wonderful turn out from O'Connor students to sell badges for Legacy Week in Armidale today. 
Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering after the injury or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service. They currently care for around 65,000 widow(er)s and 1,800 children and disabled dependants throughout Australia.
O'Connor is proud to support the good works of Legacy.



On Thursday September 21st, O’Connor’s SRC is running a whole school walk-a-thon. We plan to bus everyone out to the pine forest before all walking back into school together during the day. It is a day to dress up with friends in teams for best dressed and fastest team prizes. The day will require a $5 entry fee per person paid to the front office asap. We will also be running a sausage sizzle at lunch so please support and buy some delicious BBQ goods. We will be buying some new school furniture with a portion of the funds raised but we will also be fundraising for a special cause that has become close to each student's heart. Little Olive Russell, Mr Russell’s gorgeous daughter. We are hoping each student will contribute without us having to chase you and put in the extra effort of walking along side Olive on the day. So come along, dress up and BE involved in a *fingers crossed* sunny fun filled community event.


Tonya McQuilty



Information for Parents

Canteen News



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


Technology Education


School Shoes


Cancer Awareness


Walk-a-thon Fundraiser


Junior Cricket Rego

CSC junior cricket club online registrations are now open .
Go to "www.playcricket "
Click on " where can I play
Click on "Armidale "
Click on "CSC"
Then follow the prompts to complete your registration.

President of CSC junior cricket club.

Mark McDermott

Theatre Sports


Bowlo & Skating


Bike Week



Accounting Traineeship

For a year 12 student commencing studies in Business/ Accounting or Audit in 2018 at university and would be interested in working part time in the industry while studying. We provide study support (paid study leave for exams and exam preparation and reimbursement for textbook costs) and flexible working arrangements for our Trainee Accountant positions.

Crowe Horwath Opportunities

Chloe Smith - People and Culture Officer 

ph: 02 6776 5100 
90 Rusden Street - Armidale NSW 2350

Gap Year Opportunity

A 12 month contract working full-time in the Armidale office doing a variation of tasks including admin, reception, various accounting/finance related tasks (if interested in those areas). Ideal for someone finishing their schooling in 2017 and looking to explore the workforce or with interest in the finance industry wanting to earn some money locally before heading to university or onto other adventures.




Good Luck

Glenda Lemon

Career Advisor/Librarian

O'Connor Newsletter
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