O'Connor Newsletter

28 March 2018
Issue Three
Principal's Message
Assistant Principal's Report
Pastoral Academic Care
O'Connor News
Parent Information
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Message

High School Musical

After months of hard work and learning it is finally HERE, High School Musical live on stage in our own O’Connor Gym. A huge thank you to Melissa Killen, Sarah Watson, Melita Roache, Anthony Carlon, Duncan Carmichael, Jenny Roff, Glenn Watson and all cast and crew for the enormous contribution you have made to this musical and the College in general.


Our focus is on learning so how can participation in an event like High School Musical move students learning forward? In the recent Focus article, I highlighted the reasons why this is so important:


The skills needed for students to flourish in this world include creativity, collaboration and teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking. Arts education plays a vital role in enhancing and embedding these skills. O’Connor is proactive in supporting these skills in a range of endeavours including our production of High School Musical. By participating in this area, students and staff work collaboratively on a production and the finished product is of a high standard that they can be proud of. The skills they learn will help them now and into the future. Not only that it is FUN! O’Connor is a community ‘Founded on Faith and Focused on Learning’ What a great way to learn!


I hope you have got your tickets for this sold out event!

National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence - Friday 16th March

One of the issues that causes concern for parents, teachers, students and the whole school community is bullying. It is an ongoing issue in schools and one if not dealt with can cause ongoing issues for everyone concerned. There is strong evidence to suggest that through a strong holistic school and community approach that bullying can be effectively addressed.


Pastoral Academic Care Leaders recently reviewed an article called Anti-bullying interventions in school - what works? Last year, I discussed this article at length in the newsletter but for people people who might like to read this, I have included the link


This article highlights four key strategies that are particularly important in a whole school approach:

1. establishing school-wide anti-bullying policies;

2. focussing on preventing bullying in key environments;

3. promoting a culture of reporting bullying;

4. partnering with parents and carers.


At O’Connor, we have adopted the following motto for National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence -

‘Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander!”

Many times, instead of intervening or reporting when bullying is occurring, students often reinforce the bullying behaviour by doing nothing. ‘The term ‘upstander’ is used to describe active bystanders who behave in ways to reduce or prevent bullying’ (CESE 2017). Our focus for this week in our Pastoral Academic Care program is to work to enhance student’s sense of self to help them build their resilience and character to stand up for what they know is right. The student diaries have valuable information to help students and parents.


Enrolments for 2019

A reminder that enrolments for 2019 are now open and I extend an invitation to students seeking enrolment to Year 7 2019 to complete and submit enrolment forms by 9th April.


What new learning will you undertake this week?



Regina Menz​

Assistant Principal's Report

Students in Years 10, 11 and 12

As part of our annual improvement plan we are examining ways to make classwork more engaging for all students. It is easy to identify students who are not engaged with their learning; unfocused, looking for a distraction, disruptive, asleep, compliantly just doing enough to keep the teacher off their backs. An essential feature of an engaged classroom often overlooked, is attention to rigour.

In a recent study a student was asked if they could change one thing in the school what would it be? The student replied 'For people who don't understand as much (they should) be in a higher class to understand more, because if they already don't know much, you don't want to teach them to not know much over and over'.

This study completed by Barbara Blackburn goes on to make the point that all students including those who are struggling, deserves to be taught at a rigorous level.

Blackburn goes on to define rigour as creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels and can demonstrate learning at high levels. Higher levels of learning include activities and tasks that require from the student critical and strategic thinking as well as extended thinking. Students need to be able to connect ideas and create their own generalisations.

Students do need the right amount of support and the classroom environment is critical to success.

It is a myth that struggling learners cannot work at higher levels. Students will not magically produce more complex work unless they are guided and provided the opportunity to do so.

What impedes students, even those who are quite able, is low self-efficiency. Students quickly look at a task and decide that they cannot do it because it is all too hard. This is closely linked to how resilient a student is in relation to accepting and responding to challenges.

As parents we play an important role in building resilience and including a degree of rigour in what we ask of our students. At times when teachers attempt to extend the thinking of students, stretch their thinking and look for higher order outcomes students resist.

There is nothing wrong with teachers having high expectations of students. I'm sure you would be disappointed with us if we didn't strive for this in our work.


Blackburn B (2013) Rigour is not a four letter word (2nd ed.) New York Routledge.

Barbara Blackburn


(Dr. Barbara Blackburn is expert in improving education. She is a keynote speaker, consultant and author on: increasing rigor, student motivation and engagement, and instruction for at-risk students.)

Progress Reports

Teachers will be compiling the 7-11 progress reports in the next week. The aim of this report is to provide you with a snapshot as to how students have started the academic year. They are not a indicator of the potential grade. These reports will be posted out during the end of week 8.

Dates to Remember

Week A

March 12 - Senior Success- Yr 12 Work Placement

March 14 - Year 7 MASS, Dio U/15 Rugby League 

March 15 - STEP Day, Stephen Foley - Uni QLD

March 16 - National Day of Action against Bullying

March 17 - Autumn Festival


Week B

March 12 - School Briefing Gym, Senior Success Yr 12,  PI Work Placement

March 13 - PI Work Placement

March 14 - Dio U15 Rugby League Tamworth, Hospitality/ Physics Excursion Gold Coast, PI Work Placement

March 16 - Hospitality / Physics Excursion, PI Work Placement


Thank you for your Support.


Simon Fleming

AP/ Curriculum Coordinator


Prayer Lent week 4

Lord grant us your grace and humility to fully recognise and own our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. 

There may we find that the redeeming and transforming cross of Christ is enough.



Paupers Banquet

March 22nd is the annual Paupers banquet. This is one of our major fundraisers for Project Compassion. Students buy a ticket from the front office ($2) to attend the lunch. This entitles them to a bowl of rice. At the Banquet 10 students are randomly drawn out to enjoy a "feast". This represents the distribution of wealth on a global basis and helps to raise awareness of social justice issues. Please encourage your child to attend this Project Compassion fundraiser.


Project Compassion

A reminder that each family at school was given a Project Compassion box to take home and contribute to. Each week during Lent Caritas highlights one of the projects that our donations go to assist. This week it is Evangeline’s story.  When Evangeline left high school she had a limited vision for her future. But the training she received while working at the Djilpin Arts Ghunmarn Culture Centre helped her develop new skills and ignited her passion for the promotion and preservation of her Aboriginal culture.Read the full story and watch the video on http://www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion/weekly-stories/week-4-evangeline


Stations of the Cross

On Holy Thursday, March 29, at 2.15 students will participate in Stations of the Cross around the grounds of O'Connor. Parents and friends are very welcome to attend this powerful preparation before Easter. We are very lucky that Mrs Killen fresh from the success of High School Musical will be using her elective dance class as part of each station.



Year 7 and 8 retreats are approaching fast. The themes for these retreats revolve around healthy relationships and building community. The De La Salle Youth Ministry Team from Sydney deliver these programs. The cost for these retreats is $22 which covers the cost of the team, and all food for the day. The retreat is conducted at the Diocesan Centre at the Cathedral. It is a mufti day. The dates for these are Year 7, May 9 and Year 8 May 11. Notes regarding this have been sent home with students.

Lasallian Youth Leaders

Year 11 students who were successful with their application to become Lasallian Youth Leaders at O'Connor will attend a leadership training day on May 9. This is a continuation of the leadership program that began for these students in Year 10. These students will develop the Christian based concept of the service model of leadership. These students will meet regularly, assist in upcoming retreats and initiate a number of projects around the school.

Chrism Mass

During Holy Week, on Tuesday March 27, the Chrism Mass is held where priests from all over the diocese congregate to celebrate mass with the Bishop. At this mass the oils that are used in sacraments across the diocese are blessed. O'Connor students have the opportunity to attend this mass on a voluntary basis. It will take place at 11.00am at the Cathedral and students will be transported by minibus. If there are any students who would like to attend, they should submit their names to Mr Roff.



Damian Roff


Pastoral Academic Care

Pastoral Academic Care (PAC) Focus -

Pastoral Academic Care

Each week, we have a different PAC focus. This comes from our PAC Diary and this resource is from Learning Curve. This week’s focus is Believing in Yourself

Wellbeing Element:  Strengths  and Emotions

Character Strength:  Zest

Wellbeing Fitness Challenge:  Gratitude Letter

Wellbeing Reflection Activity:  Self-belief (refer to http://learningcurve.com.au)


Parent Wellbeing: One component of Self Determination Theory (SDT) is competence; the feeling you can master something. Describe a time you have felt competent and how it motivated you.


A key social-emotional, resilience skill students need, to negotiate the challenges of adolescence and schooling, is a healthy sense of self-belief in their self-worth as a person. It is important for students to accept that experiencing the full range of emotions is perfectly normal. They need to mindfully focus on using their top strengths across each day.


Some effective ways to develop self-belief in themselves include:

  • every day reflecting on and writing down three good things they are grateful for that happened, why they happened and how they can make them happen again

  • every morning thinking of the three things they are most looking forward to today

  • looking for opportunities to do little positive acts of kindness which build other peoples’ state of wellbeing.


It’s funny that when we try to bring out the best in others, we can’t help but bring out the best in ourselves. Do good to feel good, in that order.


Having conversations at home, at school and in the community about these things, will enable them to develop as young citizens with spirit and confidence. While it is perfectly natural for them to experience self-doubts and have butterflies, our influence is to get the butterflies flying properly.


“As is our confidence, so is our capacity.”

William Hazlitt


O'Connor News

Armidale Show Textiles Report

Year 9 Textiles have been learning how to felt this year. They then entered some projects into the Armidale Show and came back with two 1st places. Claudia Best one a first for her felted girl fishing mobile. Elinor Summers gained a first with her cream scarf. They also gained one 2nd, Bailey Redmond with her jellyfish mobile. Two 3rds,  Eliza Boland with her sea scene wall hanging and Georgia Luchich with her fish in a bowl.

Two highly Commended were awarded to Lily Roff for her beret and Sophie Troon with her felted bowl.

Year 10 students, Molly Kratz and Chelsea Ahern received a 1st and 2nd with their sashiko cushions. Mrs Channon also gained a 1st with a red felted vase. Mia Clark and Caitlin Lord also entered two pieces, a bunny mobile and a solar system mobile. Overall it was a very successful and fun experience.

Mrs Vicki Channon

Textiles & Design

2017 HSC student and Arts Captain Georgia Cullen was selected to showcase her garment in the SHAPE exhibition of amazing D&T, IT, and Textiles & Design HSC major works....WOW what a marvellous achievement for Georgia and her textiles teacher Mrs Vicki Channon!
TEXTSTYLE is next for both Georgia and Tess Browne...amazing effort!!!


HSC Music Success

Congratulations to 2017 HSC Music 2 student Sophie Wicks for being included on the ENCORE honour roll for her musicology essay. Sophie elected to write an essay for her major work which examined traditional Jewish music that influenced composers after WWII. She focused on ‘Survivor from Warsaw’ by Arnold Schoenberg composed in 1947 which reflected the true horror inflicted on those held prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. Well done Sophie!! Congratulations also to her teacher Melita Roache!


Mountain Biking

Year 11 student Bella Hosking just WON her race at the National Mountain Bike Championships bring held at the UNE! She is now the Under 17 Australian National Champion.


Year 10 Child Studies

Year 10 Child Studies class with their "babies" and taste testing commercial and home made baby food!


Food Tech

Year 10 Food Technology...smoothie bowls, superfoods and food styling!


Year 9 French

The Year 9 French class cooked authentic French cuisine today. The menu: ratatouille to celebrate the abundance of seasonal vegetables and mousse au chocolat for dessert! Bon appetit.


Parent Information

$100 Voucher's Available

$100 Voucher for Children's Sport & Recreation Fees

Family Fishing Fun Day


High School Musical

O'Connor Catholic College proudly presents the Disney Channel's smash hit movie musical and it's coming to you, live, on stage! 

Wednesday 7th March 7.30PM
Thursday 8th March 7.30PM
Friday 9th March 7.30PM
Saturday 10th March 2PM & 7.30PM

Directed by Melissa Killen & Sarah Watson
Choreography by Melissa Killen 
Musical Direction by Melita Roache
Technical Design by Anthony Carlon
Produced by Jenny Roff & O'Connor Catholic College.


School Parking Information


School Zone Safety


Netball News


Sports for Schools



Student Exchange

There’s a whole world out there and WEP is now offering two Australian high schoolers the chance to explore it with a $2,000 discount off their student exchange program fee.

This scholarship is open to students currently in years 9 to 11. Please find attached a flyer.

A WEP student exchange provides students with the unique opportunity to live and study in a country of their choosing for a summer, semester or year. On exchange students will not only experience a new culture, they’ll become part of it.

We are looking for scholarship applicants with passion, creativity and knowledge of their chosen country.

Please note that students can apply for the scholarship before starting their student exchange application.




UAC News March 2018

2018 admissions Survey

Now that we're well into the new year, we'd like to gather feedback on the recent changes to UAC's admissions process. The survey should take no more than a couple of minutes of your time, and the results will be used to inform future improvements to our admissions process.

Take the survey


New admissions terminology 
All universities and admissions centres across Australia will adopt a standard approach when providing information to students about admissions criteria and processes.


UAC’s coming to an expo near you
View the detailed list of this year’s events on our website. If you’re in Sydney we’ll be speaking at the expos at Moore Park and Sydney Olympic Park. This is a great opportunity for your students to find out about uni first-hand.

School presentations
If you would like UAC to come to your school, check our guidelines for School presentation guidelines.


UAC information days
Our UAC Day is a free professional development day for careers advisers, year advisers and other senior secondary staff who advise students about subject selection, the ATAR and applying to uni.

UAC information days for CAA members
These inaugural events are presented by UAC and open exclusively to members of the Careers Advisers Association of NSW & ACT (CAA). They are NESA accredited.


UAC publications
Our latest publications are available at expos and ready for download from our website.

Coming soon…UAC’s new brand!
Our new brand references our rich past but also looks forward to a bright future.


School offer lists
Details of all 2018 semester 1 uni offers made to students at your school are available in the secure My School area of our Schoolink website. 


ATAR calculator 
UAC does not have an ATAR calculator, nor do we endorse any that might be in use. 


An ATAR can decrease
If NESA provides UAC with amended HSC results, the student’s ATAR will be automatically recalculated and may decrease.

DOWNLOAD the new fact sheet on special entry requirements for Medicine and Medical Sciences

DOWNLOAD this year's list of uni open days



University news

ACAP new courses Macleay College upcoming events Macquarie University upcoming events SAE Creative Media Institute information night University of Sydney new course prerequisite University of Wollongong new degree + upcoming events 

Western Sydney University new degrees

Senior Success

A reminder to all Year 12 students 'Senior Success' is on Monday 9 March at 6.30 pm in AG 4/5.

Parent/ Student Information

Please find attached two reference guides providing information on the Australian Government’s work with the Higher Education Sector to ensure prospective students, parents and schools have access to nationally consistent and comparable information on admission requirements for all undergraduate courses offered by Australian Higher Education Institutions.



Mrs Lemon

Careers Adviser

O'Connor Newsletter
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CAN Assist.pdf