O'Connor Newsletter

13 September 2016
Issue Three
R.E News
Principals Message
Assistant Principal Report
O'Connor Activities
Career Corner
College Information 
Sports News
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

R.E News

Religious Education

Mother Theresa

Mother Teresa worked with the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. She said, “Being unwanted is the most terrible disease a human being can experience.”


On this day in 1997 she died. She wrote this about dying: “When you die, the Lord will not ask you how much you have done with your life, but how much love you have put into the doing.”  


Mother Teresa was canonised in Rome on the weekend. Her feast day is September 5.



God our Father, may all of life’s experiences lead us to grow as people who always put love into all that we do.

May we live in such a way that our attitude and words and actions reflect to all people their own value, dignity and self-worth, helping people to feel wanted and appreciated for who they are.


Year 12 Final Mass

On the 23rd of September at 7.00pm, year 12 will celebrate their final College Mass. Father Francis will preside over this Mass. It is a great occasion and a lovely opportunity to pray and give thanks to God for the blessings that we enjoy. There is supper afterwards supplied by year 12.





Thank you

Damian Roff

Religion Coordinator




Principals Message

Parents and Friends of O’Connor

To keep you up-to-date with the messages we are giving to students at our assemblies. In recent times we have dedicated time to emphasise the importance of ensuring that the core work of school, learning, is given the appropriate amount of time and energy. While this focus has fitted in well with Year 12 HSC Trial Exams, the message needs to be taken on board by all students.


Our assemblies have also provided us with opportunities to celebrate various achievements from Principals Awards to Excellence and Achievement in Sport, Community Service and the dedication and hard work being devoted to ANNIE rehearsals.

 I have been particularly impressed with the Year 8 R.E classes and their Teachers on their ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ projects. You can find out more about this project on the College Facebook Page.


Year 11

Apart from preparing for their end of preliminary course exams our Year 11 students have been requested to put themselves forward to became part of the students leadership team for Term IV 2016 and on into 2017. Congratulations to these students who have already nominated themselves to take on the responsibility of School Captain, Vice Captain and Sports Captains. These are privileged positions whereby students can develop their leadership skills and provide a service to their peers and all members of the student population.





Year 12 Farewell Ceremonies

As Year Twelve enter the last weeks of their formal schooling we have set aside three important ways to bid them farewell and celebrate their contributions to the life of the College, not only for these past twelve months but for a period of six years for most.


On Thursday September 22nd we will celebrate with a mass in the College Chapel.

On Friday 23rd September we have organised an assembly where we can acknowledge achievements and participation in Academic Studies, Leadership, Community Involvement, Sport and the Creative and Performing Arts. The final celebration is a formal social occasion at the Ex-Services Club.


At O’Connor we are very proud of the contribution that this Year 12 has made to the life of the College and the standards they have set for the rest of the school.

Unfortunately in some schools and/or Colleges a small minority of students think that upsetting the routine of everyone else, creating a mess for others to clean up or putting themselves at risk of serious injury is a fitting way for them to be remembered on their final day of formal schooling.

Our Year twelve students have been asked not to leave the school in a way that will tarnish their reputation. That won’t cause extra work for others or won’t put themselves unnecessarily at risk of injury. We wish them well and hope that we can remain good friends over these next few weeks.


Social Media

The various forms of social media provide us all with many exciting opportunities. However if used inappropriately, it can cause anger, frustration, embarrassment and hurt. At O’Connor it is our philosophy to assist parents and carers in educating the young people in our care what is appropriate and what is not appropriate use of technology. I encourage families to become familiar with the various sites and apps that your sons and daughters are using. It is not uncommon now for families to have a technology policy at home. Such a policy might consider that all forms of communication are locked away at 8 00pm or that Wi-Fi is disconnected at a certain hour.


Grit and Ethical Conditions

Please read the following articles. It  provides us as teachers and parents with valuable advice in helping our teenagers through some of the more difficult situations that life throws at us.



Thank you

Mr Charlie Allen


Assistant Principal Report

School Audit

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards is responsible for monitoring the compliance of non-Government schools with the registration and Accreditation requirements of the Education Act 1990. Registration is a non-Government schools licence to operate under the Act. Accreditation authorises a non-Government school to present candidates for the award of the ROSA and/or the HSC. O’Connor will be audited by the BOSTES on Wednesday, September 14th.

The final report will include an assessment of the following areas; Staff, External providers, Curriculum, Premises and Buildings, Facilities, Safe and Supportive Environment, Disciple, Attendance, Management and Operation of the School, Educational and Financial Reporting.


Year 12

Now that the trial HSC Exams has been completed Year 12 should be looking to consolidate areas that require further study. The assessment program is complete and a School Assessment Mark will be sent to BOSTES. This Assessment mark will be moderated against the HSC exam. How students perform in the exam is critical to any changes to the school Assessment mark.  Students should think of the HSC Exams as being worth 100%. In calculating the final HSC mark the board must use the students' exam marks.


Year 11

Students have received the examination timetable for Week 9. The examination period is vital for students especially considering pattern of study for the HSC. It is apparent that many students are working well at school but the amount of home study seems to be spasmodic. Study habits and revision exercises need to be consistent and balanced between subjects. A genuine attempt needs to be made for each exam in order for a course to be considered completed. At O’Connor it is our policy that students with outstanding course work from the Preliminary Year will not commence HSC studies until all work is completed and submitted.


Year 10

Years 10 are close to finalising choices for 2017. At this stage we are able to offer a broad curriculum with a variety of subjects. We have a number of students selecting a non-ATAR pathway. There is growth in English and Catholic Studies. We are also able to offer Work Studies as a Preliminary subject. Some students have elected for Distance Educational and on-line courses that are not available at O’Connor. We also have some students studying at TAFE as well as school.


Year 8

Year 8 students have been selecting elective courses for Stage 5 in 2017/2018. Students have received a Stage 5 Curriculum Booklet that outlines the Mandating Courses as well as the elective courses on offer.



The school was saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Bruce Howlett. Mr Howlett was a teacher back in the early 1990’s. He taught Industrial Arts, Agriculture and was an early adopter of computers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family for their loss.



Thank you


Simon Fleming

Assistant Principal/

Curriculum Coordinator



O'Connor Activities

Year 8 Pastoral Period: Belonging and Connected’

Year 8 came together as a whole group for the Pastoral Period on Friday 12th August. The theme for the lesson was ‘Belonging and Connected’. Some of the content that we discussed is listed below:

  • Being socially connected and feeling you belong are the most important factors in you being happy.
  • When you are happy:
  • you are healthier and experience less anxiety
  • you are more likely to achieve what you set out to do
  • your positive attitude is contagious for those around you
  • it rubs off to make YOU feel happier too
  • Neuroscience has discovered that we have mirror neurons.
  •  They copy the feelings, expressions and actions of others around us. When someone smiles at you, it is almost impossible not to smile back.
  • Unfortunately the opposite is also true; they copy negative feelings, expressions and actions.
  • We worked in small groups to discuss some things that we can start doing to help us become more socially connected and happier?

Here is the amazing list that they came up with.

  • Friendship groups
  • Smile
  • Inclusion
  • Share common interests
  • Interact through social media
  • Play games on your ipads with your friends
  • Listen
  • Humour
  • Hang out together
  • Involve yourself in sport
  • Be kind
  • Help people out when they are in need
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Accepting of others
  • Surrounding yourself with positivity
  • Club
  • School
  • Communication
  • Encourage others
  • Be yourself
  • Be happy
  • Be polite
  • Be more tolerant
  • More group activities with different people
  • Have conversations face to face
  • Avoid too much social media
  • Develop confidence in talking to people
  • Enthusiasm
  • Meet up with people that you have not seen for awhile
  • Start talking to people you usually wouldn’t talk to
  • Ring your friends
  • Ban technology throughout the day
  • Be positive
  • Don't focus on the negative
  • Respect others
  • Put yourself out there
  • Compliment others
  • Think before you say something
  • Don’t judge
  • Gatherings involving food
  • Surround yourself with family
  • Camps
  • Try new experiences
  • Go to the movies
  • Meet new people
  • Don’t exclude
  • Develop teamwork
  • Challenge yourself
  • Meditation
  • Get involved in lots of things that are going on at school
  • Have a pet
  • Volunteer time to a charity
  • Treat people, as you would like to be treated.

We then used an image of some really cute puppies to demonstrate that even though the puppies are all different, they are still cute and lovable. Students were able to recognise that we are all different in terms of appearance, opinions, background, interests, abilities but everyone matters and is important.

We finished the lesson by representing Australia as being a very small part of the world, but within our small place, we have a huge amount of diversity.


We will continue this theme in the next Pastoral Period and celebrate this diversity in our school, along with investigating the character strength of empathy and how it plays an important role in this theme. Friendship and its relationship to the well being of students is an area in which we plan to move towards also.


Thank you to the Year 11 La Sallian Youth Leaders who participated in the lesson.


Mrs Vicki Channon

Year 8 Coordinator



Career Corner

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.

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.




Best of Luck


Mrs Glenda Lemon

Careers Adviser/ Librarian



‘Make time to reconnect’


In the lead up to its eighth R U OK? Day on 8th September, R U OK? is urging all Australians to spend more time catching up with friends, chatting on the phone with family, or visiting elderly relatives.


A new national survey from R U OK? Day has revealed Australians spend an average of 46 hours of their weekly downtime looking at their TVs and digital devices, compared to an average of six hours engaging with family and friends.


The suicide prevention charity has also revealed that around half of Australians spend two hours or less of their weekly downtime connecting with the people who matter to them.


R U OK? Campaign Director Rebecca Lewis said the research has highlighted that we’re more intimately acquainted with our devices than the highs and lows of our families’ and friends’ lives.


“It’s a big wakeup call that we’re spending almost eight times the amount of hours looking at our screens compared to the time we spend engaging with the people who matter to us,” Rebecca said. “We all need to shift that balance and invest some of our screen time into our relationships and the people around us.”


The survey also revealed that while Australians want to spend more quality time connecting with family and friends, distance (38%); being too tired or lacking energy (28%); being busy with other activities (20%); catching up on housework (19%); or long work hours (18%) are the main obstacles preventing that outcome.


R U OK? Board Director and Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute, Professor Helen Christensen, said finding time in our busy schedules for relationships is critical.


“Connecting with people we care about is so important for maintaining good mental health. We know that strong and caring connections with friends and family provide a vital safety net to help people cope with the challenging moments in life,” Helen said. “Conversely, withdrawing from social engagement is often a sign of poor mental health and this is the time when loved ones need to stay connected, no matter how difficult it may be.”

All Pastoral Classes this Friday will be participating in activities to celebrate RUOK? Day

(Article sourced from https://www.ruok.org.au )



ThinkUKnow is a cyber safety program, which aims to educate and raise awareness amongst parents, teachers and carers about how young people are using technology and how to help them overcome the challenges they may face online in a safe and ethical way.

ThinkUKnow Australia is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, Microsoft Australia, Datacom and the Commonwealth Bank and is delivered in collaboration with policing partners New South Wales Police Force, Northern Territory Police, Queensland Police Service, South Australia Police, Tasmania Police, Western Australia Police as well as Neighborhood Watch Australasia.


Over Week 8 all students were sent a short video every night dealing with an issue of cyber safety. The videos are then the focus of discussion the next morning in Pastoral. The idea is to ‘start the conversation’ about the implications and dangers of inappropriate Internet use and in particular the dangers of interacting with ‘unknown’ people on the Internet through social media.


Parents can access the videos by asking their child to show them or forward them to you.

One example is Megan’s Story This video depicts a teenage girl's experience of sexting. It highlights that once something is created in a digital format and then shared, you lose control over who sees it and what they do with it.                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm5XKy3MPHU

(Article sourced from thinkuknow.org.au)




Jon Hawthorne

Pastoral Care Coordinator – Student Wellbeing

College Information 

Year 7 Wood Tech

Round 2 of the Year 7 Home Tweet Home Project. The new design brief was to create a Habitat Box which could house a variety of animals, including reptiles, tree dwelling animals such as possums and of course bird species. The 2nd year 7 group used chalk board paint and chalk to complete their paintwork for the project. Year 7/2 students have worked hard to create a habitat for their chosen animal. I think they should be proud of their finished products, ready to hang in place for their new residents. Stay tuned for the term 3 designs.







Mr Mark Fulloon.

Wood Tech

Legacy Foundation

Friday 2nd September, twenty O’Connor students from year 7 to 11 volunteered their time to support the Legacy Foundation to help raise funds for Defence Force families. Seven groups were formed to go out into the community to support the Legacy Appeals Week, selling various badges, wrist bands, pens and nurse and veteran bears. The groups had an hour to sell as many badges as they could to raise money for a worthwhile cause. Students approached stores and community members and even banks, in order to sell as many legacy badges as possible. Students were given the opportunity to connect with their fellow community, whilst helping the organization. This saw an outstanding result of support donated by the community of Armidale. In thanks to O’Connor’s support, the students were rewarded with a delicious bundle of home cooking prepared by the members of the organization. Leaving with a full tummy, students were satisfied with their contribution towards Legacy Appeals Week.






Tonya McQuilty

SRC Patron


Virtual Private Network

VPNs and there place in schools

A number of students have come to light recently having VPN apps installed on devices they have brought into the school network.


A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an excellent tool to use to remotely access a Private Network via the Internet. It has many administrative advantages for those wishing to work on internal data from any external location.


A downside to VPN use is that it is often used to attempt to by-pass the security and policies put in place by the private network. Users often attempt to access sites and services, which are restricted in some way by the policy that operates within that network.


For example, network users trying to access social media sites or Video streaming sites when clear policy and guidelines exist to restrict that access.

A very common use at present is the bypassing of geo-blocking. This falls under to the Copyright Act and in some cases is illegal and in all cases is unethical at the very least.


O’Connor supports the use of technology to enhance a student's education and as a result will take any installation of such VPN software on devices bought into the school network as a serious breach of its network policy. If a user is identified that contravenes this policy then consequences will apply.






Mr Mark Harris

ICT Coordinator


Sports News

O'Connor Water Polo

O’Connor Octopuses Take Out The UNE Mixed B-Grade Waterpolo Title


On Monday night 5th September, the O’Connor Octopuses capped off a great year of improvement to win the B-Grade Grand Final in the UNE Competition by beating Albies 12 goals to 3.

The Octopuses reformed after a few years in the watery wilderness under the enthusiasm of parent Sharon Stuart. In the first couple of games it became apparent that there was very little experience in playing water polo with only Tahlia & Liam Stuart having played regular competition.

There was no lack of enthusiasm and speed though with the Year 10 boys relay team, which took gold at the CCC swimming carnival earlier in the year regularly winning the race for the ball at the start of the game.

After two games of sitting in the grand stand Mr Hawthorne joined the team to bolster the defence particularly with a lot of the male UNE students using their strength to shoot from all angles.

It wasn’t long before the students got the hang of the game which is sometimes referred to as ‘rugby in the water’ with the Octopuses starting to string together a few wins.

The tail end of the season was all O’Connor with good wins over Albies 1 & Albies 2 in the semis and grand final.


Back: Wayne, Mr Hawthorne, Jacob Minehan, Micah Scoles-Robertson, Lachie Fittler and Jack Hendy

Middle: Tahlia Stuart, Sammy Archer, Amie Harris

Front: Will Hawthorne & Liam Stuart. Absent: Brydie Hawthorne, Phoebe Biddle

Mountain Biking

A small but dedicated group of O'Connor Mountain Bikers once again take home a win in the local Mountain Bike Australia's Junior School Series round 5 held at the UNE track on Sunday.

The event consisted of 3 different grades, C, B and A grade each riding on different tracks with the aim to complete as many laps as possible in the set time. Each race was hotly contested, no more so than A grade with 4 National riders competing for the top spots.

Riders raced as individuals but their points were combined to establish the winning school group, with schools as far  away as Sydney, Dorrigo, Tamworth and the local Armidale region represented on the day.

O'Connor's Will Schmude, Seb Hale, Charlie Smith, Harry Wooster, Harrison Sharman, Alison Billings, Isabella Hosking and Emily Wooster represented O'Connor taking out two firsts, one second and third place on the day. These scores along with all other ride scores, were combined to see O'Connor take the win despite heavy competition for the TAS school.

Well done to all riders, a great way to get out and celebrate Father's Day.




Congratulations to the O'Connor basketball teams that travelled to Tamworth for the CCC qualifying tournament. The7/8 boys, 7/8 girls and the 9/10 boys all finished second overall narrowly missing a place in the CCC finals in Sydney. The 9/10 girls team finished 3rd overall playing in all 3 pool games with a squad of only 6 players. Everyone played well and represented our College with pride but some of our standout players were Avril Lupton, Matt McGann, Abby Thomas, Ricardo Lawson and Charlie Fittler.


All the O'Connor teams playing in the Town competition are firing at present. The 9/10 girls and the 7/8 boys won their major semi- finals by a single goal to progress to the grand final. The 7 and 8 girls narrowly lost their major semi-final by a mere couple of goals but live to fight for a grand final spot in the preliminary final next week.

Rugby 7's

Rugby Teams Show Courage in Tamworth Tens Tournament


On the 1st September O’Connor sent two teams to Calrossy Anglican College in Tamworth to compete in a ‘friendly’ three-way tournament with Scone Grammar and Calrossy College. The format of the day was rugby tens, which is a lot faster than the 15 a side format but not as quick as rugby 7’s.

Unfortunately there was a bit of miscommunication as O’Connor sent Under 13’s & Under 15’s teams whereas Scone and Calrossy had 13/14’s & 15/16’s.

This meant the boys were ‘up against it’ however they ‘stepped up’ to the challenge and performed with a lot of spirit and courage being very competitive in most games.  Mr Allen received a letter from the Calrossy sports organiser the next day and below is an excerpt that summarises the effort of the boys on the day,


Good Morning Charlie


Calrossy Anglican School had the opportunity to host a Rugby 10’s fixture against O’Connor and Scone Grammar yesterday.


Just a short email to pass on my congratulations and thanks to your boys who were excellent ambassadors for your school. Both their sportsmanship and attitude were exemplary.


O’Connor has some very talented Rugby players who seemed to enjoy the opportunity to showcase their skills.


I also greatly appreciated the encouragement and assistance from your staff who accompanied the teams.


Once again thank you to O’Connor for supporting a great afternoon of Rugby.


I look forward to continuing the concept in 2017.


Mark Gallienne

Calrossy Anglican College

Information for Parents

Uniform Shop Hours

Monday - 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday - 2pm to 4pm

Friday - 9am to 2pm


The uniform shop will be opened for your convenience on Friday 7th October 9am to 2pm. (the last day of the school holidays). Summer Uniform is a requirement for Term 4, which commences Monday October 10th for all students.



School Matters




O'Connor Newsletter
37 Considerations when making ethical decisions-1.docx
Armidale Regional Youth Awards 2016 (1).pdf
School Matters T3 2016 (1).pdf