O'Connor Newsletter

10 April 2018
Issue Five
Principal's Message
Assistant Principal's Report
Pastoral Academic Care
Around the School
Parent Information
Armidale & Walcha Show 
Year 7 Camp
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Message

Dear Parents & Carers

This is the last newsletter for Term 1 and I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support this term. Next week we will finish the term with our Cross Country Event.


It is important at this time to reflect on our learnings from Term 1. It is a worthwhile activity for students to reflect on their work as well, to make connections between what they are learning and where they are heading; to celebrate their achievements and to plan for the next term. Recently I worked with Year 10 to reflect on their learning so far and we looked at the following questions -

  • Where am I going?

  • Where am I now?

  • What do I do next to move my learning forward?

This is a great set of reflection questions for everyone to use and worth a discussion at home in regards to this. With Year 10, we looked at their end goal for this year in terms of their grades and also where they might be heading in relation to career aspirations. This is particularly relevant with them planning their work experience. Students then reflected on where they are now in terms of their learning: Are they having ‘a go’ with their learning every day in every class? Are they concentrating in class? Are they completing work to their best standard? Are they adding to a positive learning environment? Year 10 students then mapped how they would move their learning forward from where they are to where they want to be by the end of the year using small achievable goals. It was a very valuable activity and gave me insight into the hopes and aspirations of this year group.


Our Pastoral Academic Care focus this week has been ‘Acts of Kindness’ (see more about this under Pastoral Academic Care Focus). I found it interesting that studies have shown that ‘it is the frequency of positive emotions, not their intensity, which builds students’ and our wellbeing most effectively and that this effect is multiplied when it involves doing good for others to feel good.’ Part of being human is a desire to feel wanted and loved. By helping others we feel a real sense of being valued and this leads to a positive mindset. Random acts of kindness not only make the person who is the beneficiary of the act, but also the person doing the act of kindness experience positive feelings. This sentiment is expressed beautifully in The Prayer of St Francis often called the Peace Prayer in the line ‘for it is in giving that we receive’. The whole prayer is about what we can do to make change in our world.


I wish you all a peaceful and restful holiday time and leave you with the St Francis’ ‘Peace Prayer’ -  


Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


What new learning will you undertake this week?




Regina Menz

Assistant Principal's Report

Information for Parents

In a recent pastoral class I asked a group of students how connected they feel with the school. At first there appeared some glazed looks, shakes of the head and the ‘’what are you talking about" look. Before long some students tested the waters; do you mean what we do for the school? How we are involved with the promotion of the school and finally do you mean school pride? Well the answer to all was "yes". 

It was then the students started to think about how they were able to identify individually and collectively with the school, and whether they connected in a positive sense? And, what was pleasing from a personal perspective, was the considerable support and sense of pride that most students expressed for our school.

It is widely known that students can reach their full educational potential only when they are happy, healthy and safe, and when there is a positive school culture to engage and support them in their learning. Student wellbeing and student learning outcomes are inextricably linked and as a school we strive to know each of our students not just academically but on a personal level.

One of the most important things in a young person’s life is the need to form positive, supportive relationships. As school is the place they spend much of their lives, their relationships with their teachers and peers will help to lay the foundation for the adults they will become.

Apart from the occasional hiccup school will generally be a good place, and for most of our students where a place they will find a safe and supportive environment in which they can feel happy and confident. For some students, however, school can be difficult. It is these students who feel a disconnect with the school and who then exhibit disengagement either behaviourally, emotionally or cognitively. We will always try to help these students get back on track, and intervention can take many forms as together we attempt to build social competencies through behaviour management and high expectations. At O’Connor our constant aim is a school environment in which appropriate behaviour, and learning, is the norm for all students.

Professional Development

The school in partnership with the CSO (Catholic Schools Office) has provided support to staff through planning days in order to develop programs for the new syllabi (courses of study) in Year 11 & 12 (Stage 6), as well as in Years 7-10. We invest heavily into Professional Development in order to keep our staff informed of the most up to date pedagogy (the method & practice of teaching) that is proven to have a positive impact on learning outcomes.

Already this year we have had renowned educational researchers Dr Lyn Sharrett  and Dr John Decourcy provide teachers and our leadership team with some of the latest research and evidence around effective schools.

For more information on Dr Lyn Sharrett or Dr John Decourcy,  click on the link.



Term II

Pupil Free Days to begin Term 2.

On Monday April 30th staff will engage in a Professional Development day investigating differentiation within the classroom. On Tuesday 31st,  staff will be transitioning to the one domain technology platform with support from the CSO. (Both days will be pupil free).

I would like to thank the community for your support over the term and hope you all have a restful break. We begin Term 2 with winter uniform and a week 1. 

The Uniform shop will open for your convenience on Friday 27th April, Monday 30th April & Wednesday 2nd May. 9am - 4pm



Thank  you


Simon Fleming

A.P/ Curriculum Coordinator

Dates to Remember

Week 11

April 9 - Year 12 Exams, Warraymalaya Retreat

April 10 - NSWCCC Rugby League - Smithtown, Warraymalaya Retreat, Yr 12 Exams

April 11 - NSWCCC Rugby League, Warraymalaya Retreat, Yr 12 Exams

April 12 - Year 12 Exams, Warraymalaya Retreat

April 13 - School Cross Country


Week 1 Term Two

April 30 - Pupil Free- Staff PD

May 1- Pupil Free- Staff PD

May 2 - Anzac Day Liturgy pd.4, Hospitality /Physics Excursion

May 3 - Hospo/ Physics Excursion

May 4 - Hospo/ Physics Excursion, Stroke Recovery


Let us Pray


Lord, the resurrection of Your Son
has given us new life and renewed hope.
Help us to live as new people
in pursuit of the Christian ideal.
Grant us wisdom to know what we must do,
the will to want to do it,
the courage to undertake it,
the perseverance to continue to do it,
and the strength to complete it.

Easter Time

The 50 days from the Sunday of the resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in Joy and exultation as one feast day, indeed as 'one great Sunday'. These are the days above all others in which the Alleluia is sung. The Sundays of this time of year are considered the Sundays of Easter.....(General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar 22-24)


Thanks to all those students that performed ministries during Holy Week in their parishes including the Cathedral Parish. At any mass our students could be seen singing, serving, welcoming, reading and bearing crosses (Good Friday).


Wednesday Mass

Despite being heavily involved in the busiest time of the year for the clergy (Holy Week), Father Francis still managed to find time to celebrate Mass and visit classes. The O'Connor community is very appreciative of the time Father Francis puts into our College. Wednesday Mass will resume in Term II at 9.15am in De La Salle Chapel.


Bishops Youth Forum

Bishop Kennedy recently met with all our student leaders and some young teachers over lunch to listen to their thoughts about the Church. All reports were that it was a positive experience and that there was genuine dialogue. Some of the feedback indicated that more time was needed and that it would be great to have a follow up get together. Phoebe Biddle (Faith and Service Captain) said "All in all it was a really worthwhile experience. We all felt that we were listened to by the Bishop, even on some controversial topics".


Stations of the Cross

The Vinnies students and the Creative Dance students combined on Holy Thursday to treat the College with a wonderful Stations of the Cross service. It was a truly moving service and really helped an understanding of the real meaning of Easter. Many thanks to Mrs Killen for putting a moving service together.


Vale Mr Errol Russell

Mr Russell a wonderful music teacher and great character sadly passed away before Easter. Mr Russell was a world-class musician and taught for many years at O'Connor. Fellow teachers and some students attended the funeral, which was a wonderful celebration of Mr Russell's life. The College wishes to extend our thoughts prayers to Mr Russell's family. 

Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Vinnies Camp

Thanks to Mrs Leggatt, Mr Harper and Olivia Moore for taking our students to Lake Keepit for the Annual Diocesan Schools St Vincent de Paul Conference. At this conference students network, plan, share ideas and learn to serve as a Vincentian. At the time of writing it is the eve of their departure. A detailed report will be in the next newsletter.

Project Compassion

A reminder for all families to return their project compassion boxes. Thanks to the Vinnies students for running the Paupers Banquet which raised over $500. Thanks to the those Captains for their Pizza and Ice cream initiatives which again raised over $500.


Youth Group

Great to see over 25 students attend Stations of the Cross and Mass at the Cathedral on Good Friday. These students returned to school to share a meal and watch a movie. Thanks to Mrs Leggatt for supervising this night of faith and fun.


Pastoral Academic Care


This week’s Pastoral Academic Care focus is 

 Acts of Kindness

Wellbeing Element: Meaning and Purpose
Character Strength: Kindness
Wellbeing Reflection Activity: Acts of Kindness (refer to http://learningcurve.com.au)


Parent Wellbeing: Plato and Aristotle shared the importance of developing three wills: intellectual will – mind, emotional will – spirit, physical will – body. Describe how you could develop each of them further.

Studies have shown that:

  • it is the frequency of positive emotions, not their intensity, which builds students’ and our wellbeing most effectively
  • this effect is multiplied when it involves doing good for others to feel good
  •  these actions are called acts of kindness
  •  these shows a willingness to reach out for social connectedness, a key skill of social-emotional resilience

The most important point for us to impress upon students is that acts of kindness don’t have to be big things, but rather regular little positive actions lift others’ and consequently, their wellbeing also such as, a smile, making an effort to say good morning, a wink and asking how they are feeling

We all have millions of mirror neurons which copy the expressions and moods of those around us. We all can remember being around miserable negative people who pulled us down with them. Happiness and kindness are also contagious, lifting everyone’s spirits and wellbeing

An effective strategy to develop student’s self-awareness of giving and receiving acts of kindness is for them to write down in their planners/ journals what they felt or what they did. This will also build their self-regulation to be on the lookout for opportunities to be kind

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Around the School


Wow what a whirlwind of nominations and voting for the SRC 2018!

First I would like to congratulate everyone that nominated themselves. It takes great courage and it was truly amazing to see the number of nominations. With the amount of nominations this year it created the closest polling results I have ever witnessed. Most results are still only separated by one or two votes so well done to everyone. These results would not be possible without every individuals amazing effort. A massive thank you to the teachers and students for making this happen.


 The 2018 SRC.

Representing Year 7 are:

Cody Greaves, Will Hicks, Carmela Brown and Chloe Lincoln

Representing Year 8 are:

Ethan Hinds, Angus Scrievener, Abby Jackson and Abbee Killen

Representing Year 9 are:

Joe Hedges, Alex MacMahon, Cyan McLaughlin and Analiese Wark.

Representing Year 10 are:

Hunter Simpson, Liam Smith, Ellen Hawthorne and Emily Meehan

Representing Year 11 are:

Simon Di Luzio, Harry Simpson, Maria Alkhouri and Laura Di Luzio

And last but not least representing Year 12 are:

James Durham and Laura Hooper

I personally am very excited to see what the new SRC achieves this year.




Thank you 

St Albert's College Rugby Club President Jack Biddle attended O'Connor Catholic College's School Assembly today, where Jack presented a signed Wallabies Jersey to our Principal (and long time Albies SCR member) Regina Menz. 

The jersey was successfully won at auction at the 'Do it For Tom' event held recently in support of the Hawthorne family, who have also given so much to Albies over the years. The jersey was donated for the auction by ex O'Connor student and Wallaby legend Joe Roff.

It was an honour for Jack to be able to present the Jersey to the school (it's rightful home) today on behalf of Albies.


Anzac Day 2018

Dear Parents/Carers

On behalf of O’Connor Catholic College we invite you to join us in observing ANZAC Day 2018, on Wednesday 25th April.


Dawn Service

Students will assemble in Central Park near Faulkner Street at 5:45am.  The service will commence at 6am.


Main Service

Marchers will assemble in Kmart carpark at 10:15am in sufficient time to move off at 10:30am.


The parade will proceed along Faulkner Street, past the saluting base at the Memorial Library to CENTRAL PARK.  

The Commemoration Service will commence at 11:00 am and will be followed by a wreath laying service. Those persons or organisations wishing to lay a wreath will assemble when called on the pathway to the south east of the cenotaph.

 Should the weather be inclement the service will be conducted in the auditorium of the Armidale Ex-Services Memorial Club. Such changes will be announced over the local Radio Stations.


All students are expected to wear full winter uniform. For the parade, please wear a school hat.


Thank you

Miss Tonya McQuilty


School Representative Council Coordinator


Year 12 Hospitality students prepared a 2 course meal for 4 lucky staff members this week. The meals showcased their skills in time management, methods of cookery and presentation skills. Impressive work!

Anne Healey

Food Tech/ Hospitality


Parent Information

Introducing our new interactive online safety tool for parents and carers



Uniform Shop Hours

The Uniform shop will open for your convenience on Friday 27th April, Monday 30th April & Wednesday 2nd May. 9am - 4pm

Students begin Term 2 on Wednesday 2nd May in their winter uniform.



University Submissions














Open Day CS Uni


Interested in a Police Career

The NSW Police Recruitment Team are in Tamworth on the weekend of the 14th and 15th of July.

At 10am on Sunday the 15th, following the physical testing is complete for those people who are applying for this stage of their NSW Police Recruitment Process, any interested students are being given the rare opportunity to have a Q & A session with the Police Recruiters who will be in Tamworth.

Details are as follows:


Calrossy Anglican School Cowper Campus

242 Moore Creek Road

Tamworth NSW 2340

Time: From 10am

Students can arrive a half hour earlier and witness an actual Police Physical Abilities Test in progress as a quiet spectator.

Year 12 Career Notices

1. UNE will be here to conduct a session on My Future Finder for students interested in University entrance. ( It's another opportunity to become familiar with the language of university, even if it is UNE specific)

When: Tuesday 15/5/18  Period 1. Those not attending can come to the Library or your normal teacher may wish to see you. Check with them. Location details will be advertised closer to the event.


2. Year 12 only: UNE OPEN DAY is on Friday  11/5/18. Mrs Lemon will be taking a busload there for 11am. It will be first in first served. If you wish to go give Mrs Lemon $2 for the bus and have your name recorded with her ASAP. You will do Period 1 & 5 on the day. More details closer to the event.


3. Years 10-11: Expressions of Interest. Rotary Tamworth is hosting the NorthWest Regional Careers Expo  on Wednesday 16/5/18. Mrs Lemon is willing to organise this if sufficient numbers can be  reached. (23 students) We would leave school at 7.30am and return from Tamworth at Noon so period 5 would  be on for the students. Cost $9 if using the school bus. See Mrs Lemon by Thursday 10/5/18 if keen. You can find more details of this event at www.nwrce.org.au



Outstanding Results


Mitch Hayden is now an official NSW record holder in 200m medley relay. He is currently ranked 4th in his category in Australia 50m Fly and 9th in Australia for 100m Fly.


Lawson Fittler named athlete of the year at the Armidale Combined Athletics Gala Day.



Chelsea Thornton and Tyler McCann selected in the NSW under 15 field hockey teams.


Nathan Czinner was named the Hockey NSW Junior Male Field Hockey Player of the Year


Mountain Biking

Mountain Bike National Championships were held in Armidale 23-25th February. There were many O’Connor students racing who all rode extremely well. Isabella Hosking won the Women's U17 Category. Other students:

Emily Wooster

Olive Tutt

Emily Meehan

Harry Wooster

Nick Graham

Will Schmude

Oscar Sheppard

Sam Davis



Congratulations to the O’Connor chess team who came equal third at the interschool chess tournament at PLC. Special mention to Year 7 students Bradley Lidgard and Harrison Ross who came 3rd and 6th respectively on the individual scoreboard!


Armidale & Walcha Show 

Cake Assessment

 10 students competed in the inaugural Junior Cake Assessment competition demonstrating their knowledge over 3 classes. Winners were:

Junior: Tahlia White, James Rogers, Allie Carson, Emma Gray, Analiese Wark

Intermediate: Chloe Gray, Heidi Matthews, Caitlin Honeysett, Ann- Maree Swanson

Overall Champion: Emma Gray


Livestock Assessment

Sixty Two O’Connor students attended the Armidale Youth Livestock show on Friday 2nd March, where they competed in 5 livestock assessment events. 


Will Schmude was Champion stock horse judge with placings to Isabelle Kelly and Hollie Hoade in the Juniors. 2nd Tom Craig, 3rd Allie Carson intermediate and 1st Lawson Fittler, 2nd Edward Simmons, 3rd Tom Smith, and 4th Harry Simpson in the seniors.


Merino Sheep

Junior 1st Nick Newsome, 3rd Hollie Hoade


Intermediate 2 Nick Graham, 3 Hain van Eyk

Meat Sheep

Junior  4th Isabel Kelly, 5th Ruby Mills

Intermediate 1st Nick Graham, 2nd Harry Simpson, 3rd Ben Jones, 4th Edward Simmons

Beef Cattle

Junior 4th Vanessa Simpson

Senior 4th Edward Simmons

Landmark Shield

Landmark Shield – Overall Champion Junior Judge

Edward Simmons

Herdsman Competition

Overall Champion School Herdsman Competition

O'Connor Catholic College – Not A Lot Devon Stud


Chloe Gray qualified for the U 18 state final in Sydney

Garden Produce

Aaron Coop worked very hard to enter the produce from our school gardens with outstanding success in the pavilion. We placed in all 25 classes we entered and won most successful Junior exhibitor in this section including best exhibit and Champion Junior exhibit from Daniel Van der Veer.


Several students competed over the weekend in Equestrian classes including Izabella Brownlie, Ebony Collier, Isabella Kennedy, Jacob Lynch, Charlotte and Bethany Johnstone, Sophia Carlon, Jaime Ellis- Jorden, Bonnie Woods and William Wood.

Walcha Show

Twenty Five students attended Walcha show to compete in the livestock judging and exhibit the cattle.


Tom Smith and Kareena Dawson were equal second in the British Breed sheep judging and Ryan Jones was overall second in the Cattle Judging.


A huge thank you to the Gray family for their assistance over the show season and to our truck driver Ellis Tout. Josh Tout has also donated hours of his time over the show season caring for the cattle and camping during the shows.


Year 7 Camp

Year 7 Camp

Year 7 camp was awesome! Here are some shots of group 1... more to follow of other groups. Plus you can also look on the Barrington Outdoor Adventure Camp facebook page.


O'Connor Newsletter