O'Connor Newsletter

16 June 2017
Issue Nine
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,

Founders Day - Friday 30th June

On Friday 30th June, we will hold our Founders Day. Bishop Kennedy will visit O’Connor on Founders Day celebrating Mass in the morning. We are very pleased to welcome the Bishop on a pastoral visit to our school and look forward to him speaking to our students and staff.


Founders Day is a time to celebrate our founders of the college: De La Salle Brothers and Ursuline Sisters and a very important path of our faith learning. This year, our focus will be on Angela Merici and the Ursulines. We will have two Ursuline sisters visiting, Sr Mary Talty (Principal O’Connor Catholic College 1989-1994) and Sr Kath Dwyer. We will also have 15 students and their Principal from St Ursula’s College, Kingsgrove joining us. It will be a wonderful opportunity to form connections with our Ursuline family. We are looking at a reciprocal visit later in the year to attend their celebration of Angela Merici.


O’Connor Catholic College holds a special place in both the Ursuline and De La Salle history in Australia. St Ursula’s, Armidale and De La Salle College, Armidale were the first schools set up by the orders on arriving in Australia.


Angela Merici, the founder of the Ursuline order chose St Ursula as the Patron because of the spirit of Ursula. Ursula  was

  • A woman of deep courage

  • A risk taker

  • A woman of dedication and fidelity to Jesus Christ

  • A leader of young women

  • A woman of dignity

  • An independent woman of her time.

These qualities resonate with us all today and were ones that Angela wanted for her women in the company. Angela was concerned about the wellbeing of young women who were particularly vulnerable at that time (in early 1500s). She had respect for every person and sought to improve the narrow life choices available for women of that time. The qualities of independence, dignity, and respect are ones we work strongly with our students about so that by the time they leave O’Connor they are firmly founded on faith and with qualities that help them become strong and capable people ready to make a difference in the world.


Reports Year 7 - 10

Academic and Pastoral Academic reports will be sent home over the next two weeks. These reports are a good opportunity for you to have a conversation with your daughter/son about how they are going and how they can move their learning forward.

Student/Parent/Teacher interviews will be held in Week 10 (Years 8-10 students) and in Week 2 Term 3 for Year 7 students. Please ensure that you attend these as they provide an excellent chance to build relationships and partnerships to improve the learning outcomes for all.




Thank you

Regina Menz


Assistant Principal's Report


Staff has spent a great deal of time producing student reports from Years 7-10. Year 9/10 parent/teacher interviews will take place on the Tuesday June 27 of Week 10 whilst Year 8 will be on Thursday June 29. 


We would encourage as many parents as possible to make a time to discuss students' progress with teachers. We realise that not all people can be allotted a time but the conversation could still be had outside the reporting time by phone with their teacher or by making another suitable appointment time.


Busy times ahead

There is no slowing of events towards the end of Term. Congratulations to all involved in the Athletics Carnival. There were a number of long standing records broken on the day.


Our boys' soccer teams also experienced success at the Diocesan Carnival. This week Year 10 have been on work experience. Also Years 11 and 12 have received their immunisations.


Next week our Vinnies group will be staging the Winter Appeal and they would encourage others to join them for the Winter Sleep out.


The Cochrane Cup hosted by O’Connor, will be held Thursday June 22nd. It will include the u14’s Rugby league and Years 7-10 Netball.



Year 10 News

On Monday June 19th students in Year 10 will listen to subject presentations for course selection into the Preliminary HSC. They will also each receive an intentions survey, that needs to be brought back to school by June 27 in line with subject reports. The intention survey forms will also be available on the school web site.


Thank you for the efforts this term

I am always proud of our students and the staff at O’Connor Catholic College. We are fortunate to have a community, committed to so many extra curricular activities with energy and enthusiasm. To find evidence of this we only need to reflect on the last term.


During all activities students clearly modelled respect for each other as people and learners. They showed resilience when they accepted constructive feedback, and developed incredibly collaborative practices as they came together as a team whether on the sporting field, in a band, on the farm or on the track. Well done to all and a big thank you from the leadership team!



Simon Fleming

Assistant Principal/ Curriculum Coordinator 


Solemnity of the Holy Trinity 


Bishop Michael Kennedy's Homily on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity Year A 2017

Today we celebrate the central and most profound mystery of our Christian faith: The Most Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three divine persons in one God; each person fully God yet all together one God. We call it a mystery because we can’t fully understand or comprehend it, it is beyond the ability of our human reason to grasp it. We call it a mystery because the Trinity is something we could never work out or know unless God himself revealed it to us.

And we profess this central mystery of our faith many times every day - when we make the sign of the cross. Have you ever noticed that we bless ourselves in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, not in their names? Even though names would be more grammatically correct, when we bless ourselves we are not professing our faith in good grammar, but our faith in the One True God!

It is our belief in the Trinity that really sets us apart from the other major monotheistic religions. Christians, Muslims, and Jews; we all believe in one and the same God, but only Christians accept that this God is a trinity or communion of three persons – not just one person. For them, God is primarily the creator and judge. But the truth about God, revealed in the Trinity, is that God is primarily LOVE.

In his encyclical “God is Love”, Pope Emeritus Benedict explains it like this: Love is what unites us to each other; it is love that unites me to those I love. It is love that moves a person to board a boat, train or aeroplane and travel across the country or half way around the world to be with one they love. Love moves us and unites us. Love is also what unites God to those who he loves – us! Love is what moved the Son to come to us in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our hearts. Before we or any creature ever existed, God existed and he was still love. So, who did he love? There must have been eternal “others” for God to love. Only if God was more than one person would there be mutual love, and only if there were three persons could this love be perfect, fruitful love. For love between two persons is not closed in on itself but opens to embrace another or others. This is what we see in a family when the love between husband and wife opens to embrace children. So Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, loving one another from all eternity with perfect, fruitful, love. This is who God is.

Today’s Readings are not explicitly Trinitarian but they do speak of the God who is LOVE, who turns his face toward us in love inviting us into communion with him. The First Reading from Exodus follows the apostasy of the people in worshiping the golden calf. God’s response was not to turn away in anger from those who had betrayed him, but to reveal himself to them as the “God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness”.

In the Gospel Reading from Saint John, Jesus reveals that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, … so that through him the world might be saved”. God now sends his Son, the Word made flesh so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life and enter into communion with him.

The Second Reading from Saint Paul encourages us to live the same relationship of love with each other that exists in the Trinity: “Brothers, try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Faith in the Trinity is central to our life as Christians. Made in the image and likeness of God who is a loving communion of three divine persons, we too are made for loving communion with others: loving communion with God, the three divine persons, and loving communion with one another. So, living our Trinitarian faith means a life of loving solidarity between and among persons. The person who loves does not just sit on their couch reflecting in his heart that he loves everybody and bears nobody ill will. True love moves us off our couch to go to those who need our help and unites us to them in solidarity. This is what Pope Francis keeps reminding us every opportunity he has.

We are not the creations of a distant God, but of a personal God who is Love. Today, we accept his invitation to enter into communion with him by imitating his love. I suggest that today is also a fitting day for us to bring to God in prayer those people we know who find it difficult to believe in God’s love. For the whole world takes on a new and better colour when we know we are loved by God.




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.



Winter Appeal

Prayer focus and SVDP winter appeal collection: Our prayer Focus for the remainder of the term has moved into that of Homelessness. Homelessness is an issue in our society that affects over 100,000 people every night.


Many people who find themselves homeless do so because of circumstances beyond their control. As Catholics, we are challenged to care for all. In fact, Pope Francis has called for us to ensure that we do what we can to help those who are in need. For the rest of the term, the Vinnies group will be supporting the St Vincent De Paul Winter Appeal. Families are asked to have a look at home for any warm clothing or blankets that are in good condition, but no longer used, to donate to the school collection for Vinnies.


We will donate these contributions on behalf of our community and try to make a difference to those who are in need. Teachers will be collecting clothing from their pastoral class every morning, so if families do have something to donate, just simply ask your child to take the donation to their pastoral room and place it in the baskets provided. 


Thank you

Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator

College News

Bell Shakespeare

Bell Shakespeare at O’Connor Thursday 1st June

Students in Years 9 and 10, and year 11 Advanced English were transfixed by three actors from Bell Shakespeare on Thursday afternoon as they delivered a rousing and provocative insight into the world of William Shakespeare circa 1570.


Students found the energy of the performance immediately engaging and the physical drama and rapid fire delivery of Shakespearean insults assumed a new level of clarity because of the very clever and humorous efforts of the team of actors. Students were invited to participate in the various excerpts of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and the history plays learning about the influence of Shakespeare’s context on the works he created.

Morgane Sercombe (year 11) and Corey Wilson (year 9), experienced the delight of participating in the fight scene from Romeo and Juliet currently being studied in their English classes. Year 11 was similarly treated to the barbed gibes between Katherine and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew   that they will be studying next term.


The students in the audience are commended on their concentration and mature behaviour throughout the hour-long performance and they expressed their appreciation of the efforts and talent of the actors.


Watching such performances is a wonderful opportunity for students who would not otherwise be exposed to live performances of Shakespearean plays or live theatre of any kind.


Their obvious enjoyment and engagement in the entire presentation was obvious. The performers responded to a question and answer session with the audience and also chatted with students after the presentation.

We would like to thank the performers from Bell Shakespeare for a wonderful afternoon of educational entertainment.

Ms Susan McLeod

English Coordinator


Writing Workshop

Kerrie Pridis from the Catholic Schools Office facilitated a talented writing workshop for targeted students in Year 7 to 10. There were lots of great ideas and creative juices flowing as the students collaborated and formulated their ideas to create "a book in a day "

Pastoral Care

PAC (Pastoral Academic Care) Diary News

Each week in PAC we look at a different Wellbeing Element and a different Character Strength from our Wellbeing Program.


Last Week the Wellbeing Element was ‘Relationships & Optimism’ and the Character Strength was ‘Fairness’.


21st century students crave for a sense of social connectedness from their peers seemingly above all else. Often, they are more comfortable doing what they know is not the best for them to protect their social acceptance. Unfortunately, this often means students are reluctant to leave their comfort zones to explore other ways of thinking.


Group learning is an effective way to harness and value a wide range of abilities, points of view and attitudes to issues, for students to combine their top strengths, to gather input from all students, for students to experience “peer” learning and feel valued for their views and ideas and to cultivate collaborative and interdependent habits through mindful and empathetic listening.


Keys to a well functioning group are a valuing, tolerance and acceptance of individual differences. They have two ears and one mouth and as such should listen twice as much as they talk, a clear set of agreed expectations to follow and not a group of similar thinking clones.

“Many drops fill the bucket.” Mother Teresa


Next week the Wellbeing Element is ‘Positive Engagement’ and the Character Strength is ‘Bravery’

Often the most negative messages we receive come from our own self-talk in our heads. This tends to happen when we are under pressure and have a fixed mindset that there is nothing we can do about our issues and beyond our control. Combine this with the turbulence of the adolescent brain and the recipe is there for frequent stress and anxiety attacks.


One of the best positive coping strategies we can teach students is the power of positive self-talk. In fact, it will benefit our state of wellbeing to use it often too. Positive self-talk are I can and I will statements, which we say, over and over to ourselves in our heads. Doing this contests the negatives and focuses us to start looking for what is right in what we are doing. See the Positive Education section for a list of examples of positive self-talk that we can encourage students to use often.

The key to making positive self-talk most effective in maintaining growth mindsets is to use it immediately negative thoughts enter our minds. When used well these statements act as excellent off ramps for negative thinking and xed mindsets. Positive self-talk is about believing in our internal control.


“Let he who would move the world first move himself.” Socrates



Jon Hawthorne

Pastoral Academic Care - Student Wellbeing Coordinator


Hockey Report

In Week 4 we participated in the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Hockey Championships in Newcastle. Three teams Open Boys, Open Girls, and U16 girls were involved.


U16 Girls- Played 5 games. All games were very close- ending with 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. Thank you to Mrs. Osborne who coached and guided the team.


Open Girls –were also involved in a close competition. Playing in A division the team played 4 games. Finishing with 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. The final placing for the girls was 3rd overall. Thank you to Mrs. Czinner for coaching the team.


Open Boys- played 4 games and managed 2 wins and 2 losses. Again the competition was close. We missed a place in the semi finals after an unlucky game on grass. The win we secured was against Catherine McAuley, Grafton 4-2. Grafton were the overall winners of the competition.  Thank you to Cody and Harry for coaching and leading the team. Mr. Osborne managed the team and we thank him for his support.


Overall it was a successful trip. All involved had fun and enjoyed the experience.

Other hockey news- Well done to Meg Lye who represented NSW Combined Catholic Colleges in the U16 All Schools trials. Meg played incredibly well and made it to the possible and probable stage of the selection process, which was a considerable achievement.


Lauren Czinner, Talia Constance and Cody McCann have their All Schools trials coming up in Week 9, we wish them well as they represent NSW Combined Catholic Colleges in the Open Division.


Congratulations to Jake McCann and Nathan Czinner for their selection in the NSW All Schools U16 squad. We wish them well at the final selection camp in Week 8.


O'Connor Athletics 

I would like to congratulate all staff and students on their attendance and involvement in last Friday’s athletics carnival. Despite the cool conditions, attendance, participation and positivity was high. Thank you to the House Captains and student body for creating a tremendous house spirit vibe. Many thanks to the groundsmen who prepared an excellent track and field.

War Cry Results

1st La Salle - 2nd Ursula - 3rd Merici - 4th Benilde


House Points

La Salle 1598

Ursula 1414

Merici 1007

Benilde 903


Best Dressed

Best dressed group: The Crayons (from all houses)

Best dressed individuals: Lauren Czinner (La Salle) and William Killen (Ursula)



Two records were broken this year:

  • Lawson Fittler 16yr Boy 800m New Record 2:06:50 - Old Record 2:09:73 (1996) 

  • Ella Russell 12yr Girl High Jump New Record 1.50m - Old Record 1.37m (1983)


King and Queen of the Track

The 8 fastest males and females at O’Connor over 100m.

To be held on Founder’s day on the 30th of June, parents are more than welcome to attend the race.


  1. Tori Brazer

  2. Caitlyn Lord

  3. Claudia Ley

  4. Meg Lye

  5. Lara Walters

  6. Ellen Hawthorne

  7. Brooke Rigall

  8. Emma Gray


  1. Trent Low

  2. Lawson Fittler

  3. Jacob Betts

  4. Nathan Czinner

  5. Jack Howard

  6. Lachlan Fittler

  7. Emmerson Fittler

  8. Harrison Stewart

 The age champions and runners up for each age group are below. Congratulations to all athletes.

Once again well done to all students who participated at the carnival. Best of luck at Diocesan Athletics at O’Connor in Term 3 on Friday the 11 of August.


Hot off the Press at 3pm today !!! (June 16)

Ella Russell (5th) and Daniel Murrell have both just made the NSWCCC Cross Country Team to compete at the NSW All Schools Cross Country Championships in July!!!


Go Team O'Connor!!! 






Camilla Clydsdale

Sport Coordinator

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 Uniform Shop. 


Career Information

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.




Helpful Hints

HSC Helpful Hints: English


Two (2) units of English MUST be counted in your ATAR. It's the single guaranteed factor in determining your ATAR, so commit yourself to its study over the coming weeks. "English is the subject where you're learning  how to say what you mean and mean what you say."


1. Know your descriptors/ rubric points very well. The words used to describe the concept/module/elective may actually help you to develop your own thesis/ ideas around which you write your extended response or creative composition. Also the words or synonyms usually can be found in some way within the question being asked.


2. Structure is crucial. Key Words:organisation, clarity, development of argument, evidence and connection.


3. What's needed? 

Introduction: that shows your thesis, answers the question, a summary of your ideas and references to your texts.

Body: at least 4-5 paragraphs constructed via the ideas from the introduction and loaded with detail and insightful analysis of texts.

Conclusion: with an overall statement that re-evaluates your opening statement, as well as a closing insight that recognises what you have learnt/discovered from your study of this unit.


4. Make sure your ideas move appropriately from one to the next.

Your sentences and analysis must flow and directly support your ideas. Your language connection (how you link your ideas and/or texts) should be inserted in the right places and tie together. Learn your connective words e.g. so, but, therefore, next, subsequently, finally, next etc.


5.  Identify, Support And Explain.

Identify: the point you are making that relates to your thesis and question.

Support: the point with well-chosen evidence from the text that is appropriately woven into your sentence.

Explain: how the evidence (including any techniques within it) demonstrate your point, making sure its relevance to your overall argument is clear.


6. Don't just regurgitate: but you can prepare main ideas, read models although you must be able to adapt to whatever the stimulus/question is. 

How: look at the question, pick out the key words and do some planning. You should have formulated an argument in your head before you start the response.


7.  Practise with past papers and questions for all sections of both papers: Read unseen texts, pick out the language features and practise structuring paragraph responses within time limits and STAY RELEVANT to the question or stimulus posed. 


NB in Section 1 paper 1 be guided by the marking scheme for the length of response.



Library Request

Returning Books

It is getting towards the end of term and many students still have books borrowed out earlier in the year that need to be returned. Emails have been sent out to students regarding this and the library requests that these matters be resolved. Students with outstanding loans are asked to return the book.  

Students are asked to look carefully in the bedrooms, lockers and school bags to find items.  Please find and return books to avoid inconvenience at the end of the year.  If you think you have returned a book then please come and speak to the library staff.

READING OVER THE HOLIDAYS I encourage all students to continue to read over the holidays. Come and visit us in the Library if you need a new book!


Armidale Eisteddfod

Many O'Connor students performed in a huge variety of music, dance and speech and drama Eisteddfod events in May and June. Both individuals and groups were extremely successful with many placings and highly commended awards received. 


The College would like to thank all students involved for their efforts, as well as to acknowledge the hard work by Miss Roache, Miss Sampson, Mrs Killen and Mrs Roff in preparing the students for their performances.


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
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