25 October 2016
Issue Five
R.E News
 Message from Mr Allen
Assistant Principal Report
O'Connor News & Events
College News & Events 
College News & Events
Sports News
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

R.E News

Grace on the Green

On 20th November as part of the celebrations with the Feast of Christ the King there will be a Diocesan Pilgrimage Procession and Mass followed by ‘Grace on the Green’ picnic lunch on the lawns of O’Mahony House.

The pilgrimage starts at 9.45am followed by Mass at 10.00am then the ‘Grace on the Green’ picnic lunch. This will close the "Year of Mercy". O’Connor families are encouraged to attend this day as part of the Parish and indeed, the Diocese.

The picnic will have live music and some of our O'Connor students will show off their talents. Save the date and come along!


Year 12 Mass

Many thanks to Father Francis for presiding over our Year 12’s last Mass for 2016 in the De La Salle Chapel. It was 100% attended by year 12 students and their families. It was a beautiful liturgy and Father Francis homily affirming that God loves us for who we are, not what we achieve, was very encouraging.




October is Mission Month. During October students will be learning of the work of Catholic Missions and raising money for this worthwhile charity. Our main fundraiser is just outside October on November 1. This will be our Melbourne Cup picnic afternoon. Lunch will start a bit later and be extended for a picnic, music and activities on the college oval.

The Melbourne Cup will be on the big screen in the gym around 3.00pm. It is a mufti day with "Fashions on the Field" the theme. Students are asked to donate $5 for wearing mufti.

There will also be a Pizza Day where students can purchase a pizza for the picnic. The Vinnies group will be coordinating the Pizza Lunch and the new student leadership team will be coordinating the picnic activities.

If you are interested in the work of Catholic Missions, please check out:                   https://www.catholicmission.org.au/


October - Month of Mary.

October along with May is referred in the Catholic Church as the Month of Mary.

You will notice during Mass that many of the hymns have a Marian theme. Before each mass in the Cathedral a rosary is said. There are a number of home rosaries over this month as well. Check out the Parish Bulletin for more details.



Year 9 Retreat

On Monday October 24, Year 9 will be on retreat. The De la Salle Youth Team from Sydney conducts this retreat. Students will be transported by bus to UNE and returned for afternoon buses. The cost is $25, which covers the team from Sydney, buses, lunch and morning tea.


Year 10 Leadership Day

On Tuesday October 25 Year 10 are on a Leadership Day. This day is designed to inspire sound Christian leaders and prepare students for the responsibility of being role models as senior students. The cost is $25 and this covers transport, seminars and food.

Parish Table Tennis

Great fun was had by all who attended the Parish Family Table Tennis gathering at O'Connor. Some fine skills were displayed by Father Francis, Daniel Ramazani and the Tindale family, whilst the BBQ lunch allowed parishioners to relax and enjoy each other's company.



Thank you


Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator

 Message from Mr Allen

Welcome Back

Dear Parents, Students and Friends of O'Connor

The end of last term was a wonderful celebration for the Year 12 class of 2016. Our Mass with Father Francis was one of prayerful community with Year 12 and their parents, friends, relatives and staff.


Year of 2016

The Awards Ceremony and Final Assembly once again showcased the breadth and depth of talent and sheer hard work undertaken by these young men and women. The mixture of tears and joy almost gave the impression that they didn't really want to go. However it was also clear they were all ready to embark on the next part of their journey.


Year 12 Team

I would like to thank Mrs Denise Fittler and the Year 12 Pastoral Team for all the work they have provided in support and advice throughout the year. They have guided and cajoled them. They have also scolded them at times. However their love for them has been a constant from day one. The way the students responded is clear evidence that the love was reciprocated.


Term 4

The new term has begun with the usual frantic pace that secondary schools seem to run at all the time. The HSC written exams have begun with the usual practice of English being first cab off the rank. Comments from teachers have suggested the papers were fair and that our students were well prepared. I look forward to hearing more reports as the exam period continues.


Student Leadership

This term students from Years 11 and 12 along with staff took part in the election of student leaders for 2017. In some cases the voting was very tight, while in others there were very clear results.

It gives me great pleasure to announce the student leadership team for 2017 as the following;


Madeleine Murtagh  -  Harry Lye

Vice Captains

 Eliza Clark -  Darcy Jackson

Arts Captains

Georgia Cullen - Tom Frazier

Sports Captains

 Talia Constance  -  Drew Thomas  


I have great confidence that this will be a strong leadership team to assist Ms Menz in her first year as Principal at O’Connor.




Two cricket highlights that caught my eye in the local newspaper during the week were the selection of Kareena Dawson (Yr 8) in the NSW girl’s u/14 cricket side. This is a fantastic achievement. The second was of Hunter Simpson (Yr 8) leading the Armidale u/13 side to a comfortable victory over Tamworth. Hunter top scored for Armidale with a well made 30.



Congratulations to the actors, dancers, singers, back stage workers, along with the Directors and Producers who worked tirelessly over the holidays to have Annie almost ready for our enjoyment and entertainment next weekend. I personally am looking forward to seeing the fruits of their talent and hard work.



God Bless


Mr Charlie  Allen


Assistant Principal Report

Message for Parents

Year 11/12

Students in Year 11 have begun HSC Courses. Preliminary reports including the RoSA grade for a particular course should be sent home by the end of week 2.


Many students have made some alteration to their pattern of study as the minimum requirement for the HSC is 10 units.

Students must seek the advice of teachers before withdrawing from a course and parents must sign off that courses have been altered.


Elective Choices

Year 8 have completed elective choices for Stage 5, 2017. Subjects include: Design and Technology, Food Technology, Dance and Film, Textiles, iStem, PASS (2), Agriculture (2), Industrial Technology, Visual Arts, Music, Child Studies and Commerce. Languages are also available through Distance Education.



The HSC Commenced last Thursday with English Paper 1. Most students were fairly pleased with that paper and the exams covered so far.


Study Group

Last Friday saw our first venture into a vertically streamed study group. Students from the same House were grouped together from years 7-11.

The students were involved in study and general course work. The Leadership team reported that the period was a great success. This is only a trial at this stage and will be reviewed at the end of term.

At this time, teachers were able to meet together to organise observation lessons over the next 3 weeks. Teachers will observe and learn from each other as they continue to enhance  their pedagogical skills.


Annual Plan

Mr Allen and I reported to the CSO this week on how far we have progressed with our annual plan. This was a rewarding experience, as we looked back on our achievements this term, especially in changing some cultural practices.

Members of the CSO congratulated the school on the presentation and the strategies being implemented in supporting student outcomes.


STEM Teacher Enrichment

O’Connor has also committed to a University of Sydney, STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy, 2016-17 North Coast Program. O’Connor is one of a small group being invited to participate in this innovative program. The Academy aims to address a shortage in STEM related careers by inspiring teachers to engage, enthuse and motivate their students to participate more fully in the STEM disciplines in senior secondary school and beyond.

The Academy will provide accredited, high quality professional learning for teachers of Science, Technology and Mathematics, through a three day residential program in Coffs Harbour from 3rd to 5th November, followed by a further two-day workshop in Term 2, 2017.

Jon Hawthorne, Dan Fittler and Steve Chapman will attend.


HSC Assessment Information

The HSC Assessment Information afternoon is set down for Monday, 31st October. Students will receive assessment schedules for the 2016-2017 HSC, as well as the College’s assessment policy.

It is important that students understand the requirements of the assessment program and the difference between the Preliminary and the HSC. This will be held at 1:45pm and parents are invited to attend if they wish.


Year 9 & 10

In other events Year 9 Retreat and Year 10 Leadership days will be in week 3 on the Monday and Tuesday.

Year 9 examination week is week 6 and Year 10’s is week 7.

It is hoped we can produce a Timetable for these exams next week. Examination results are used, together with a variety of other observed and produced work, to determine a student’s grade.



Thanking  you


Simon Fleming

A.P /Curriculum Coordinator

O'Connor News & Events

Interschool Horse Sports Extravaganza

Congratulations to Skye Danieli, Keshina Blackman, Bianca Daniels, Megan Tisdell, Courtney Reeves, Jacob Lynch, William Wood, Charlie Fittler and Erin Porter who represented O’Connor over 4 days at AELEC at Tamworth in a variety of riding disciplines including Working Horse Challenge, Sporting, Show Jumping, Dressage, Hack and ODE.

A big thank you to all parents who transported students and horses to and from the event.

All riders had success and loads of fun over the weekend with William Wood aboard Cupcake, awarded reserve champion in the 1.15m height class.

Erin Porter and Boorolong As Rein finished 7/71 in the combined discipline of the One Day Event, which includes a dressage test, a show jump round and a cross-country course.

Well done to all involved.


Premier Beef Fest

Agriculture students entered 3 steers into the hoof and hook competition run by Ray White at the end of Term 3. Coles at a premium price bought all steers and all made the supermarket specifications. Tom Smith’s Murray Grey steer was judged Champion Steer on the hook and 3rd in his hoof class. Congratulations to all students.


Janet Price

Agriculture/ Primary Industries

College News & Events 


Congratulations to Miss Sampson and the following students who were a part of this most amazing and uplifting musical experience at the UNE yesterday:
Choir - Sophie Troon, Meg Lawry, Brooke McElroy, Alissa Moloney, Sophie Warner and Laura Hooper.
Orchestra: Liam Skinner, Lillian Baber, Kirrily Baber, Sophia Mackson, Olivia Rubie and Elian Cotter.

The combined secondary choir included students from all across the region from Tamworth to Ashford, with rehearsals on Saturday and two concerts on Sunday.

The secondary choirs main pieces were:
"Peace on Earth" by Christopher Gordon
"Volta Do Mar Lago" by Paul Jarman 
"Invictus" by Paul Jarman


Armidale Youth Awards

The Armidale Youth Awards were held  at the Ex-Services Club.

The following students were all nominated for awards:
Sophie Warner, Amica Riley, Ella Thomas, Grace Toakley, Liam Skinner, Sam Frazier, Laura Hooper, Morgane Sercombe, Tim Hanrahan, Nick Troon, Elysia Cristiani, Emily Selby, Micah Scholes-Robertson, Lucy Austrin-Miner, Caitlin Black, Hunter Simpson, Australian Dance Enterprises (which included several OCC students) and O'Connor Vinnies.

The following O'Connor students performed on stage: 
Tim Dodds and Nick Troon (Dukes of Fluke)
Grace Toakley and Ella Thomas (Insanity in Blue)
Dancers with Australian Dance Enterprises 
(Ella Thomas, Samantha Archer, Taryn Ramage, Georgia Mackson, Caitlyn Jubb and Jemima Davis).

The Armidale Youth Council organised and ran the night. Nick Troon, Sophie Troon and Molly Hardy are all on the Armidale Youth Council and Nick was one of the MCs for the evening.

Well done to everyone involved, you are a credit to yourselves and to the College. 


Speak 4 the Planet

YES....Congratulations to the O'Connor Speak 4 The Planet team who has been invited to attend the Youth Eco Summit (YES) in Sydney.

Year 7 students Jayden Goodchild, Annie Swanson, Sophie Troon and Year 8 student Ricky Nutt won the impromptu drama section in Armidale and have been invited to YES as part of the student media crew...what an honour!!!
YES offers the opportunity for students and providers to present their current achievements in sustainability and inspire ongoing action for change.
The students and their teacher Mrs Roff  will assist at the summit on Wednesday and Thursday! We wish you all the best on such an exciting adventure.


Food Technology

On September 6th, as part of our unit on catering, Year 9 Food Technology students visited AZKA Restaurant, part of the Quality Hotel Powerhouse. We enjoyed a delicious meal of Thai Beef Salad (which turned one of our vegetarians into a carnivore) and Chicken Caesar Salad. We were made to feel very welcome by the Food and Beverage Manager, Mr Chin and given a very informative talk by the Hotel General Manager, Ms Monty Maguire. We were even treated to a tour of the kitchen by the Head Chef, Mr David Hill. It was great to have a "behind the scenes" experience and we really appreciated the generosity of the Powerhouse staff.


Year 9 Food Tech

Year 9 Food Technology students have been learning about catering for an event. The major task was to plan and prepare a 2 course formal menu. Students were required to place food orders, plan their time effectively, cost the menu per serve and

incorporate contemporary plating / presentation trends. There was an amazing range of recipes, all cooked to perfection. I think you'll agree that even Matt Preston would be impressed!




Anne Healey


College News & Events

Mental Health Day

Mental Health Day/ Week/ Month….


Every year on October 10, the world brings awareness to mental health and wellbeing by celebrating World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day coincides with Mental Health Week and also Mental Health Month in Australia.


The aim of this week is to encourage all of us, whether we have experienced mental illness or not, to learn about and understand the importance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing.


The National Mental Health Commission (2016) views the key benefits of Mental Health Week as the promotion of “social and emotional wellbeing to the community, encouraging people to maximise their health potential, enhancing the coping capacity of communities, families, individuals and increasing mental health recovery.” Providing a cooperative platform to encourage healthy coping behaviours helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and fosters positive relationships.


In Term Three at O’Connor, in assemblies and pastoral meetings we discussed the positive outcomes of engaging in Random Acts of Kindness.


Below is a short clip that spells out the scientific benefits. It is a good way of improving our Mental Health. Students were emailed the clip and asked to discuss this in pastoral lessons during Mental Health Week.

The Science of Kindness (Life Vest Inside)


Jon Hawthorne

Pastoral Care - Student Welfare Coordinator




What is STEM @ O’Connor & why is it thriving?

The importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics knowledge to Australia’s future workforce is indisputable. In 2012, Ian Chubb, then Chief Scientist of Australia triggered a major focus on the decline in interest of studies in the STEM disciplines across the nation and its potential impact on our future.


O’Connor along with a number of schools in NSW are addressing this decline by offering a new innovative elective course in Years 9 & 10 called iSTEM. The iSTEM School Developed Board Endorsed Course covers a number of modules in the fields of technology and engineering, they include; STEM Fundamentals, Aerodynamics, Motion, Mechatronics, Surveying, Design for Space, Statistics in Action and a Project Based Learning Task.


These modules are addressed by undertaking fun practical projects in engineering electronics, robotics, aircraft design, rocket science, CO2 dragsters, CAD & 3D printing.

O’Connor is aiming to be a regional hub of STEM Education in the North West. O’Connor has also been invited to be part of the prestigious STEM Enrichment Academy in partnership with The University of Sydney. The aim of the academy is to include discipline group-based learning and cross-disciplinary work. The initiative will involve a pedagogical shift in the teaching of science, mathematics and technology in schools through the application of problem solving and inquiry-based learning.

The future of STEM@O’Connor is looking very bright!




Jon Hawthorne

Pastoral Care/ 

Student Welfare Coordinator

Z Club

The Z Club has been continuing to fulfil their role in supporting and empowering women in our local community. They have been busy finalising little care packages for those in need.

This has involved making drawstring bags at lunchtimes and then filling with all the little essentials such as soaps, shampoos, lotions,

conditioners, toothpaste, etc.

We include a card with a little bit of information about the project in the bag.

These were presented to Michael O'Kane from Vinnies, along with a representative from the Women's Shelter at our school assembly.

Z Club would like to sincerely thank all of the people who have given donations of various care products. We would greatly appreciate any donations of toothbrushes, face cloths and soaps etc. to commence making up some new bags.

The end of the year is fast approaching and we are working towards a cake stall and pizza day at O'Connor to raise funds for the purchase of birthing kits.

We would again appreciate any financial support given to the Club for this important service project that we are involved in. We are hoping to put together 600 kits by May next year.



Mrs Vicki Channon

Z Club



NSW Youth Advisory

Congratulations to Year 10 Student 

Sophie Warner


Dear Sophie, 

Thank you for your application for the 2017 NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

We are pleased to advise that your application has been shortlisted for the next stage of the recruitment process. Congratulations!

The response to the call for applications was overwhelming with over 600 applications submitted for consideration. The applications were of such a high calibre and given that there are only twelve places on the YAC it was a near impossible task to select those who will proceed to the next stage.

We have tried to ensure that the YAC is truly representative of all areas of the State and that members of the Council collectively represent the breadth of experiences, lifestyles and interests of children and young people here in NSW.

The next stage of the process will be a one day event to be held on Friday 11 November at The Strangers Dining Room, Parliament House, Macquarie Street in Sydney’s CBD from 9.15am to 4.00pm.

At this event you will participate in group exercises and discussions as part of the recruitment process. No preparation is required other than to bring your passion and commitment to making NSW a better place for children and young people with you.


Sports News

2017 U15 Indoor State Team Announcement

Congratulations to our athletes selected in the 2017 Under 15 Indoor State Team, who’ll be playing at the National Championships in Wollongong, 21st – 25th January.
O'Connor continues to prove the depth of its hockey talent with Nathan Czinner, Jake McCann, Meg Lye and Hayley Lennon (shadow) all listed in the team...well done!!!



National Girls Cricket

Congratulations to Year 8 student Kareena Dawson who has been selected in the NSW/ACT Under 15s girls cricket squad to play at the Nationals Girls Cricket Competition...more details to come.


NSW All Schools 

Lawson Fittler and Trent Low have recently competed at the NSW All Schools Athletics Championships. Both boys competed well with Trent running 2 PBs in the 100 and 200m. Lawson also ran a PB and won bronze in the 15yrs 800m. Congratulations boys!!


Showjumping Champion

Sophia Carlon has been awarded the NSW Reserve Junior Champion Showjumper for 2016. She has recently returned from Victoria where she competed at the Australian Showjumping Championships. Well Done Sophia!!


Information for Parents

Positions Vacant


HSC CAFS Surveys

Students studying Community and Family Studies will be conducting online surveys for their IRP (research projects). Topics that will be covered include: How to Choose a Career, Breastfeeding and the Public View, Screen Time for Teens, Packed Lunches and the Link to Obesity and Underage Drinking in Rural Areas. Students may be asked to complete a questionnaire during school.

If you would like more information about this or if you do not wish your child to participate in any of these surveys, please contact the school.


Ruth Patrick



Uniform Shop

Monday - 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday - 2pm to 4pm

Friday - 9am to 2pm

Correct School Shoes


Walk 4 Brain Cancer




Autism Spectrum Disorder


FACS is funding a project focused on ASD and Making Social Connections. It is being run out of UNE this term.


FACS are currently recruiting teenage students who have an autism diagnosis (or Aspergers under DSM IV). 


The project will consist of meeting weekly for 1.5-2 hours at the UNE possibly Wednesdays 2-4 pm for 6 weeks.


They will work with a senior IT UNE lecturer focusing on challenging IT topics – like building a web page etc.… The focus is social with some academic skills of high interest.


If you have a child who you think might be eligible AND interested contact Rick Matts on 02 6773 0331 (FACS).

Mental Health Day Newsletter.pdf
ThinkUKnow e-newsletter - October 2016_0.pdf
Ad for Support staff positions.docx
Armidale OCC - Uniform - Canteen - Grounds - Farm Asst (1).pdf
october ad.pdf
Cure for cancer.pdf