08 March 2017
Issue Two
Message from Ms Menz
Assistant Principal Report
School Activites
Success Stories
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Message from Ms Menz

Dear Parents and Carers


We meet the mid-point of Term 1, a term with students focused on learning - faith, academic and wellbeing. There have been many events where students and teachers have been working hard to enhance the learning opportunities for all.


We joined with St Mary’s to celebrate the Beginning of the Scholastic Year Mass. Thank you to Fr Gleeson for celebrating the Mass and for his wise words to our students on the merits of hard work. It was a special time to welcome new members of our school communities and to bless all students, teachers, ancillary staff and parents for 2017. Thank you to all who attended. The students were reverent and I received many positive comments from the community about how great our students were.


On Friday 17th February, we held our Activities Fair where students could sign up for a range of extra curricula activities. Some of the many activities on offer were Vinnies, Z-Club, philosophy, music, drama, dance and many different sports including mountain biking, football and hockey. Teachers volunteer to run these many different activities to cater for a range of students’ interests. The response from the student body was overwhelming and a big thank you to Mrs Simpson and Miss Roache for organising.


Why is it important for students to join clubs and participate in school events? Research has shown that students’ sense of belonging is linked to many long-term educational benefits including school completion. When students feel a sense of belonging, students’ engagement in their learning is enhanced. This is especially true for important transition times in a student’s education, when they start secondary school, when they change school or when they move into senior school. If students have a strong sense of belonging, they will see the benefit of school even when they find the work hard. Encourage your son or daughter to make the most of the opportunities available at O’Connor to participate in extra curricula activities to build their sense of belonging.


Congratulations to the many students who nominated for Student Leadership positions recently. Many of our Year 11 Students nominated to be LaSallian Youth Leaders. Students applied by giving reasons why they wanted to become a LYL and they were then interviewed by Mr May and Olivia Moore. It was great to present the LYLs with their badges following the Family Mass at the Cathedral on the 26th February. The Mass was a wonderful celebration of our faith. The next Family Mass where O'Connor Students will be assisting will be on Sunday 26th March at 5.30 pm.


Congratulations also to the students from Year 7 -11 who nominated to be part of the SRC and to the students successful in becoming part of our SRC. It is important for students to have a voice in enhancing the learning environment of our school and I thank Miss McQuilty for her work with the SRC and organising the nomination and voting process.


The Swimming Carnival was an outstanding success thanks to the great organisation by Miss Clydesdale, the fantastic participation of students and the work of our staff. Special mention to our Year 12s on 100% attendance and great participation. Congratulations to the students who qualified to attend the Diocesan Swimming Carnival and we wished them all the best at this event.


Well done to Eliza Clark (Year 12) who will be representing NSW at United Nations Youth Australia’s Pacific Project, held in July 2017. Each year, UN Youth selects 12 high school students to attend the Pacific Project. Eliza will take part in a two week immersion in East Timor to learn about sustainable development and the challenges of International Aid. The theme of the tour is “Development and Reconstructing Society”. In East Timor the delegation will engage with the partner organisation Encouragement House, helping out on projects that are driven by them with local communities. What an amazing opportunity and we know Eliza will be a great ambassador.


 Wednesday 1st March, was Ash Wednesday and we entered the season of Lent, a time of prayer, fasting and giving in preparation for Easter. Mass was held in our Chapel for students from Year 7-9 and 11 and 12 while our Year 10s joined the parish Mass in the Cathedral. In the Sunday Bulletin of our Cathedral Parish there were a number of ways we can ‘do’ Lent including:

  • Join the ‘40’ Families for Forty Days by bringing your family to attend one of the daily Masses Monday to Friday during Lent…families to commit to one Mass during the 40 days of Lent

  • By attending the Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at the Cathedral 5pm & then Holy Mass. Our school leaders led the Stations of the Cross on Friday 3rd March

  • Put something ‘violet coloured’ up at home to remind the family – 40 days of Lent.

  • By giving up something we like and putting the money toward Project Compassion (boxes have been distributed to students).

Take the time to talk to your child/children about their learning. Encourage them to participate fully in the opportunities available in our O’Connor community, a community founded on faith and focused on learning.


Regina Menz


Assistant Principal Report


It is usually at this time of the year that the gloss of new books and equipment begins to wear off. It is timely for parents to go through the school bag, not just for the routine clean out of week old lunches, but to ensure that students have the necessary equipment for class.  I have had a number of staff make comment that students in Years 8-10 are not bringing an IPAD to school and this has caused delays to the start of some lessons as students need to go elsewhere to find a device.  At this point it is an expectation that all students in years 8-10 have a fully charged IPAD available each day for school.


Ready-Set-Go Program

The Year 10 Ready-Set-Go program has been launched under the guidance of Miss Ellen Newberry, our Year 10 Coordinator. We have brought this program forward from the end of the year as we believe students really need to be thinking about future pathways at this stage.  Students will look at work experience, developing a curriculum vitae and career options.  Too often at the end of the year we find students have left it too late to look at alternate pathways to school. Traineeships and apprenticeships are not easy to find but they are available if parents and students are prepared to do the source work.

Year 12 Exams

The Year 12 Exams commence in Week 9 this term.  Students need to be already preparing for this exam week in order to give themselves the best chance of success. All students need to be submitting work for feedback and making adjustments accordingly.  A regular and consistent study pattern is essential and parents need to ensure that students have the right balance between schoolwork, paid employment and social activities.

2016 HSC Data Evaluation

Teachers have undertaken an evaluation of the 2016 HSC Data together with system coaches from the CSO.  Assessing the data is essential so that we are better placed to understand what areas of the syllabus we should focus on to improve results.

PLT (Professional Learning Time) Periods

Friday 3rd March saw the commencement of the first of our PLT (Professional Learning Time) periods for the year.  During the Assembly/Pastoral Period time, teachers will meet in in small teams to discuss their own learning plans for the year.  Using our Annual Improvement Plan and the AITSL standards for teachers, staff have identified an area of teaching and learning that they wish to further develop their expertise. Whilst teachers are attending meetings, students will be allocated a House Class that is vertically aligned from Years 7-12.  During this period, Year 11/12 students will act as mentors and students have a study period. 

Year 9 Information Night

On Monday 27th February, the school held an information evening for students in Year 9.  The HSC Minimum standards as they relate to NAPLAN results in Year 9 were discussed. We also informed students and parents about the ROSA (Records of Student Achievement) and other aspects of assessment and reporting. I would like to thank parents from Years 7, 9 and 11 for your support and engagement on these Information Nights.


Family Mass

The 5.30pm Parish Mass at the Cathedral on Sunday 26 February was a Family Mass. Parishioners enjoyed watermelon and ice blocks afterwards in the Cathedral grounds. Thanks to all students and staff from O’Connor who gave their time to help and participate in the Mass. It would be great if more families were inspired to attend regular Sunday Mass.


March 1 marked the beginning of Lent. Lent is the period of preparation before the great feast of Easter, the cornerstone of our faith. To prepare for Lent, Catholics worldwide embark on programs of prayer, abstinence and alms giving or charity. 

Project Compassion

The eldest child in each family has been given a project compassion box to take home over Lent. Project compassion is a fundraiser for the great Church charity, Caritas. These boxes need to be returned in the last week of school.


Ash Wednesday 

Our students attended a solemn Mass presided over by Father Francis in the De La Salle Chapel. Year 10 students joined our Catholic Community in the Cathedral for Mass. Both groups received the ashes of the burnt palms from Holy Week last year with the message “Repent and believe the Gospel.” 


Lenten Group

Mrs. Fittler will be leading a Lenten group in the De La Salle Chapel on Thursday mornings at 8.00am. Students, parents and parishioners are very welcome.

Catholic Schools Week Mass

Our Year 7 students will be ambassadors for the College, celebrating Mass with the Bishop.  There will be representatives from schools all over the Diocese.


Thanking You

Damian Roff

R.E. Cooridnator

School Activites

Year 12

The Year 12 cohort has had a busy start to the year.  It commenced with the amazing support and 100% participation at the swimming carnival. We have had Valentine’s Day, with roses, songs and chocolates being shared. Year 12 have certainly been living the BE theme for 2017.

The University Roadshow travelled to O’Connor on Tuesday 28th February. Representatives and a couple of students from Southern Cross and Charles Sturt Universities spoke about the experiences of university life, including accommodation, costs and social life in a rural setting. The students were then able to ask questions and receive information about the courses on offer.

Learning is the focus at O’Connor, (goes without saying for Year 12) and attendance remains a huge indicator of student success in learning. To this end, Year 12 students are expected to be at school for morning pastoral and remain until their last period. We are encouraging students to remain at school during their study periods at the end of the day also, so that maximum learning can happen. They then have access to teachers, resources, quiet… Once they are home, other stuff tends to get in the way. To cater for study periods, a study timetable has been set up. Students have been allocated rooms where they can go, under teacher supervision, for some quiet study time and to get extra tuition where needed. This is a little flexible and I thank the students who contact me and let me know of any changes to this timetable.

A mentoring program has also commenced for Year 12 students. A group of teachers have been buddied up with a small group of students. It is anticipated that they meet up on a regular basis to see how things are going in regards to school life, other issues that may be happening at the time and just keeping an eye on general well-being of the students. To assist with this, I am offering hot chip Tuesday just to chat and mix with the year group (hard to know how many chips to buy☺) This will not be every week though.

Half Yearly Exams commence on Thursday 30th March. They will conclude on Thursday 6th April. Students should now be consolidating their study notes and practicing past papers in order to do the best they can. A study plan would be a good starting point to help get them become organised and prepared for these exams. It is important for them to remember that much of the focus, results and feedback need to be based on their individual growth over the next few months.

College Leaders will be attending an afternoon tea hosted by PLC on Tuesday 21st March from 4-5pm. This will be a good opportunity to meet and collaborate with leaders from other schools.

Friday 7th April is the last day of term, and Year 12 students will be expected to attend the events organised by the College, which includes the Stations of the Cross in the morning and the Cross Country in the afternoon.

This is not an exhaustive list of the life of Year 12, but I am tired just typing it all, so it is important that the students take time out for themselves and find a healthy balance to get them through this very challenging but exciting year. ☺


Vicki Channon

Year 12 Pastoral Academic Care Leader

Caritas Visit

A huge thank you to Semiti from Fiji who spoke to the O'Connor community today about the good works of Caritas Australia. Students have been given Project Compassion boxes to raise money for Caritas projects within Australia and around the world to assist and empower those in need. 


Over Lent we encourage you and your family to "give up" something and place the money you would otherwise have spent into the Project Compassion box. For example you could give up dessert, pizza, chewing gum or even Facebook! These boxes will be collected at our Easter Mass, and Caritas Australia will use the money to fund their many projects. 
Please refer to this link where you can watch the stories of people whose lives have been changed with Caritas. 

Child Studies

Year 10 Child Studies are looking at successful weaning of a baby. Today in their lesson the girls looked at comparisons between home made food and store bought food. They taste tested all foods and did a comparison of home made VS store bought on taste, texture, nutrition, cost, convenience and wastage.

It was a great success and we are looking forward to their analysis.


International Women's Day Breakfast

Quota of Armidale hosted the annual breakfast in which 30 students from O’Connor attended last Friday morning. College Leaders and members of the Z Club, including our new executive team for 2017 enjoyed a bacon and egg breakfast. They also had the opportunity to hear inspiring words from guest speaker Head of Senior School, Mrs Anna Caldwell who spoke on the theme for International Women's Day 2017 #BeBoldForChange.

Anna spoke of the many women throughout history who have been brave and bold in their endeavours and achievements to help forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world. Sappho, Cleopatra, Mary Magdalene, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa and Coco Chanel are just to name a few. A more contemporary counterpart, Emma Watson has inspired millions with her travels and advocacy for women and equal rights.

Local Armidale woman, Gemma Sisia (a past student of NEGS) has achieved amazing things due to her courage in making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. With only a $10.00 deposit in the bank and a dream of building a school in Africa for the poorest of children, she set about achieving this goal through hard work and determination. The School of St Jude’s is now a reality with over 1600 students being given the opportunity of an education.

Gender equality and equal pay is something Anna wants to see in her lifetime. Her message was that education was the key to assisting in this, along with the support of all our male counterparts.

Z Club members meet every month, usually on the last Thursday. Our projects include making personal care packages for the Women’s Shelters, Vinnies and the hospitals, the construction of breast care cushions for women recovering from breast cancer, and we raise money to fund the assembly of birthing kits, which are sent to developing countries so that women can have access to a clean and safer birth.


Elevate Program

The very successful Elevate Programs were held on Tuesday 7th March. The presentation for Year 12 focussed on the topics of ‘Ace your Exams’ and ‘Memory Mnemonics’. Steph, the enthusiastic presenter, worked with the students on the 10 steps to exam excellence. Some discussion involved the common mistakes in exam preparation, exam room behaviour, practicing past papers, staying organised and rationing your time. The second session was a guide for the forgetful and how we can remember. Factors included attention, encoding, semantic learning techniques, memorisation, and retrieval. It was really beneficial and the students took away a lot of really helpful hints.

Senior Maths Help

All Year 11 and 12 students are invited for group work and free tutoring for all maths courses.  Every Tuesday afternoon from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm.  Room A17 and A16.  Experienced HSC maths teachers are in attendance, even a previous O'Connor Principal. Sometimes we even have a treat to eat.


Stephen Chapman

Mathematics Coordinator

Preserving Rare Poultry Breeds

AvGen Poultry is an international poultry breeder that is endeavouring to preserve some of the worlds rarest poultry genetics. During the latter half of 2016 Sam Bible answered an expression of interest for schools to become involved. He was successful in having 2 breeding pairs assigned to the school. These birds arrived in early February and are now settled in to our breeding



Glen Innes and Guyra Shows

"Not a Lot" Devon stud exhibited cattle at both Glen Innes and Guyra show. Twenty students competed in the Junior Judging events at Glen Innes including sheep, cattle grain and vegetables with great success. Winners included Karenna Dawson, Nick Graham, Megan Tisdell, Bethany Rhode, and Savanah Roberts. "Not A Lot" Haylee was champion Devon exhibit.

Guyra was the following week with O’Connor represented by forty students, again with significant success. Fifteen students were finalists with Will Schmude 1st in the Junior sheep judging, and Tom Smith winning the senior section with Nick.

Nick Graham was third, while Year 7 student, Joel Croft was a finalist in both events.

A very good effort for a first attempt.


Year 12 Primary Industries Students

Year 12 Primary industries students spent several hours assisting to set up the

animal sections of the show.

Armidale show is this weekend with the school again entering a large team.

Tree Planting

In between shows Agriculture students have been working with the Urban Landcare group to plant the Urban forest on the North side of Dumaresq creek.

Congratulations to a small band of students who spent almost two days assisting with this project.


2017 Swimming Carnival

O’Connor Catholic College held their Annual Twilight Swimming Carnival on Thursday February 9th  2017. The day commenced with the House March Past and War Cry. All houses did a great job, with Ursula being victorious. Sports Captains, House Captains and the Year 12 students were fantastic by enthusing the younger students; it was truly a war cry ceremony to remember! Congratulations to our year 12 students who were 100% in attendance for the entire day and night! Congratulations also goes to the following best dressed individual house members: Hayden Ley and Liam Stuart from Benilde, Olivia Conyngham from Ursula and Neressa Hallman from La Salle. Best dressed groups went to the signposts and the air socks! Well done to all students who embraced the House War Cry and Carnival spirit by dressing up.


This year the participation from all students was phenomenal and support from

parents was excellent! Many thanks to all the parents who came to cheer their children on.




A number of records were broken on the day including:








Age Champions:


Netball Registraions

The Armidale and District Netball Association 2017 season, is now open.  Further details on registration can be found on the ADNA website, and Facebook.
For more information please contact Rochelle on 0431533813 or Julie Gates on 0427949146.


National Series Mountain Biking Success

Katherine and Isabella Hosking recently competed in rounds 5 and 6 of the National Cross Country (Olympic Style) Mountain Biking Series which were held at Mt Taylor, Bairnsdale VIC. Katherine Hosking claimed second in the junior women in a strong field behind New Zealand’s Jessica Manchester on both days.  Katherine has enjoyed a successful start to the year as this follows on from being awarded Junior Sports Star of the Year on Australia Day last January. Isabella Hosking took out third in her age division, benefiting from a strong presence of Armidale Club competitors and supporters. 




Congratulations to Jake McCann and Nathan Czinner for their selection in the U15 State Hockey team. This will be their second year of representation in the U15 team. Well done and we wish you both well in the up and coming Australian Championships which will be held in April in Moorebank. 

Trent Low joins Lawson Fittler in qualifying for Australian Junior Track and Field Championships

Recently Trent Low competed at NSW Athletics Junior Championships at Homebush Sydney. Needing a time of 22.84 or better to qualify for the Australian Junior Championships, Trent Low snuck under the mark, running 22.83 in the heats of the  U18 200m event. Trent joins Lawson Fittler in holding a Nationals qualifier, with Lawson previously qualifying for the 800m event. Lawson took the opportunity at the State Titles to aim to lower his PB in the 400m, being successful and running an impressive time of 52.43.


NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Registrations



The UNE Volleyball Club holds regular Monday night indoor competitions in UNE Trimester 1 (February to May) and Trimester 2 (July to September) at the SportUNE halls. 
In recent years more than thirty teams have competed.  There are three divisions so that everyone from novice social players right up to experienced serious players can get a great game. Anyone from UNE or the wider Armidale community is most welcome to join.
For up-to-date information on club membership, competitions, team registration, special programs or current club activities go to our Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/ArmidaleVolleyball/

The programs will consist of a one hour training session each week held on Monday nights during UNE Trimesters 1 and 2. Directly after training, player teams will participate in matches in the UNE Volleyball Club's weekly competition also held Monday nights. Players are encouraged to join the program as part of a school team, and teams can be girls, boys or mixed. Cost to join is only $25/player/program which will include club membership and entry into the weekly competition. So come and develop your volleyball
skills and have a lot of fun!
To register your interest - simply email your details to armidalevolleyball@bigpond.com or leave a message on our Facebook Page.  https://www.facebook.com/ArmidaleVolleyball/.


East Armidale Junior Football are welcoming previous players and new players. Registration is now online www.myfootballclub.com.au and we are having registration day at the Armidale Ex Services Club on Thursday 2nd March and Thursday the 23rd March from 4pm-6pm. Any questions, please contact Jodie Kratz: 0427 007 299 or Kristy Shultz: 0402 020 505

Success Stories

Erin Smith Awarded UNE GRASS Industry Placement Scholarship 2016/17

O’Connor Catholic College Year 12 student Erin Smith has been awarded the UNE GRASS Industry Placement Scholarship for 2016/17.  Erin anticipates that the experience will help her learn more about science and agricultural careers available in the workplace.   Through the Scholarship, Erin attended an Industry Placement Camp at UNE, participating in practical activities and informative presentations.  The participants were orientated to the facilities of Campus and enjoyed presentations from the undergraduate Rural Science students.  A visit to Costa Tomato Farm was part of the program as well as the UNE SMART Farm. The final part of the Scholarship was Erin’s Industry Placement where Erin was hosted by Steph Cameron and the team at East West EnvioAg Tamworth. At placement she learnt about and experienced all the aspects of soil testing. Erin also undertook her own soil investigation, following it through to completion. Well done to Erin for making being awarded this beneficial Scholarship and making the most of the benefits it offered her.

Student Representative Council 2017

The SRC would first like to take the opportunity to thank each and every O’Connor student for their participation with this year’s Student Representative Council election. A special thank you to those students who took the chance to be a voice for your fellow classmates.

This year saw a higher number of nominations submitted and also one of the closest voting finishes meaning that we have so many students who would have achieved greatly on the Council.

However, as we know, we unfortunately could not take everyone so please welcome the 2017 SRC.

Yr 7

Riley Stewart

Angus Scrivener

Bridie Giles

Abby Jackson

Yr 8

Alex MacMahon

Felix Martin

Cyan McLauchlin

Lara Maloney

Yr 9

Ricky Nutt

Hunter Simpson

Ellen Hawthorne

Anna Jackson

Yr 10

Simon Di Luzio

Harry Simpson

Maria Alkhouri

Imogen Dagg

Yr 11

Sam Frazier

Micah Scholes-Robertson

Sam Archer

Brydie Hawthorne

Yr 12

Honey Zahoor

Georgia Mackson


As a Council we cannot wait to start hearing your voices about how we can further improve our great school.

Waterpolo Sucess

Congratulations to Year 11 student Tahlia Stuart who has been named in the NSW 16's Waterpolo squad after her efforts at state championships in Canberra earlier this month


Information for Parents

Catholic Schools Week 6-10 March 2017


Monday 6th March - Morning tea with Aboriginal families. 10:30am to 11am


Wednesday 8th March - STEP Day. 10am to 2pm The first day of our transition program for any Year 6 student looking to enrol in Year 7, 2018.


Thursday 9th March - Catholic Schools Week Mass St Mary & St Joseph’s Cathedral 11am-12 noon. All Year 7 students will be attending. Parents and friends are most welcome to join us.


Thursday 9th March – Welcome to Parents and Families, especially Year 7 and new families to the College. This event will be hosted by our P&F from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the College Quadrangle.

TIME: 5:30pm to 7:30pm WHERE: College Quadrangle. Drinks and Nibbles will be provided. For catering purposes please contact Mrs Leanne Thomas, email: leanne.thomas68@live.com OR the College Front Office on 6772 1666.


Uniform Shop

In addition to their regular hours, the Uniform Shop will be open for Winter Uniform on 24th April from 9.00 to 2.00 pm.