06 July 2018
Issue Ten
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal Report
R.E Report
Around the School
Career Corner
Parent Information
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers

On Tuesday 3rd of July, I had the privilege of accompanying three Year 11 Students to the opening of Headspace in Armidale. Claudia Ley, Imogen Dagg and Alanah Bowden represented O’Connor at the opening. Claudia gave a speech that was written by Alanah with help from Claudia and Imogen. In it she said:

Headspace coming to Armidale creates a wider range of programs and solutions targeting specific areas of needs for our youth, which is exactly the kind of facility Armidale has needed for sometime now. With the new instalment of this facility there will be a stronger push to the acknowledgement of the wellbeing of teenagers and their contribution to our society. This will help to ensure brighter and better pathways for the future of the youth of Armidale.


Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young people's’ wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.  Headspace Armidale is located in the Centacare building at Rusden St Armidale. Young people from 12 - 25 can self refer and they offer a range of services.


As well as the new Headspace facility, all students, parents and staff can access support for managing mental health issues, through Centacare. Darren Moss (our counsellor from Centacare) is at O’Connor on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The referral process is easy and the forms can be accessed by contacting the school office. Centacare also offer many programs, such as ‘Surviving your Adolescents’, which can be accessed through their website http://centacarenenw.com.au/.

If you or a family member are in need of support please do not hesitate to contact us. Contact details for other support networks are:

Lifeline Australia phone 13 11 14

Kids Helpline phone 1800 551800 or webchat https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/

Beyond Blue phone 1300 22 4636

Or your GP or the emergency department of the hospital.


Staff Changes for Term 3

I informed you of most of the changes last newsletter but just wanted to remind and update you -

Mrs Mellissa Bell who has gained a position working in teacher education at UNE. Mrs Bell will continue in her role at CSO two days and so will help mentor the new Student Support Teacher.


We welcome Mrs Katie Biddle to our school as Student Support Teacher. Mrs Biddle is an experienced educator and is currently the Student Support Teacher at St Mary's Catholic Primary School and a Lecturer at UNE in inclusive education. She brings to the role a wealth of understanding and knowledge of the learning needs of Students with disability and we look forward to her joining O'Connor Catholic College Community.


Mrs Ruth Patrick is taking a year’s leave to work in a school in Nepal. Miss Camilla Clydsdale will be the acting Leader of Learning (PDHPE) for the year. Mr James Russell will be the Year 11 Pastoral Academic Care Leader and will take Year 11 through Year 12 as well. Miss Yolanda Kreuzen will take on the role of Year 8 Pastoral Academic Care Leader for the remainder of the year. I thank these staff for taking on these new roles. We have appointed Mr Lloyd Honnery in the PDHPE position and we look forward to welcoming him to O’Connor in Term 3. Ms Toni Widders has accepted a full time position at Oorala Centre at UNE. I thank Ms Widders for all her work this semester and wish her well for the future.


Students and Staff return on Monday 23rd July. Please note this is NOT a Staff Development Day.


Annual Report 2017

The 2017 Annual School Report is now available on our website.


Wishing you all safe and relaxing school holidays.


What new learning will you undertake this week?


Regina Menz

Assistant Principal Report

Term 3

In this report I will focus on important dates and events for next term. Firstly, we start on Monday 23rd July. I state this because for most schools term 3 begins with a pupil free day for staff professional development but that is not the case for us. I am sure that none of our students will try to convince parents that they too have a pupil free day.

We also start the term with a new Timetable for semester 2. This is due to a number of staff changes that have occurred since the beginning of the school year. For most students this will mean a reorganisation of class times but for some they will begin term 3 with a new teacher. We believe the new Timetable will address some issues relating to student learning and we have  also strengthened some other areas. Students will begin term 3 with a PAC class so that Timetables can be issued. Students should bring appropriate equipment for class work. Students in Stage 4 will rotate from Music to Visual Arts and vice versa depending on what they did in terms 1 and 2. Likewise students in Year 10 will rotate to their next elective in line 3.

Year 12

Next term will be the final official term for Year 12. We have decided to schedule the HSC trials a week earlier than previous years to allow more time for feedback and fine-tuning performance after the Trial period. The HSC Trials will run over weeks 5 and 6 of term 3. Whilst it is important for students in Year 12 to freshen up over the break they need to consistently be revising, studying and completing work toward the trials. Those students who maintain a consistent study pattern will find the Trial exam experience less stressful than those who do little.

Year 11

Year 11 will conclude studies with the exam scheduled for week 9 followed by the senior retreat in week 10. Students will begin the HSC courses in term 4. Teachers of English, History, Science and Mathematics will be programming for the new HSC requirements next term.

Year 10

Students in Year 10 will make important decisions about future schooling. Students have been asked to complete an intentions survey, which should have been submitted at the end of term 2. On Thursday 26th July we will be having a subject information afternoon followed by NESA requirements and information on how and why subjects are grouped on lines in Years 11 and 12. Parents and students will be able to discuss subjects with teachers. Students will be provided with a subject information booklet for Years 11 and 12 and an initial course preference survey.

Winter Uniform

We continue with winter uniform in Term 3. This may be an appropriate time to remind parents that students doing elective PASS in stage 5 must change into sports uniform on those days that they have a practical lesson. All students in Years 11 and 12 must have their school uniform each day. Many students in Years 7-10 have purchased a school Hoodie. These are to be worn with the sports uniform but do not replace the school uniform of jumper and blazer. On particularly cold days students may wear the college Beanie and a navy or black scarf if necessary. Some students have a navy or black overcoat which is also acceptable.

Parent Teacher Interviews

We will conclude our parent/ student/ teacher interviews in Term 3. All students will have received their semester 1 reports. Year 8 will have interviews on Tuesday 31st July followed by Year 7 on Tuesday 7th August.

Term 3 Uniform Shop

Opening Hours :
      Monday         8:00 am to 12:00 pm
      Wednesday    12.00 pm to 4.00 pm
      Friday            10.00 am to 2.00 pm

Up Coming Events

Week 1 (A)

July 23 - Students return, Marriage & Family Week

July 25 - KLA Meeting

July 26 - Yr 11 2019 Information evening & subject extravaganza, Encounter visits

July 27 - Assembly


Week 2 (B)

July 30 - PAC

July 31 - Year 8 P/T interviews

August 1 - General Staff meeting

August 2 -Year 10 & 11 Immunisations

August 3 - Farming Futures UNE, Stoke Recovery


Term 3 will also see a number of major sporting events including CCC Hockey, Basketball and Netball as well as the Diocesan Athletics carnival hosted by O'Connor Catholic College.



Simon Fleming

A.P/ Curriculum Coordinator





R.E Report

Marriage and Family Week.

Week 1 of Term 3, O'Connor as part of the whole Armidale Diocese celebrates Marriage and Family Week. As part of the Marriage and Family Week resources provided by the CSO, the following gives some back ground information.

The family is the basic unit of society and of the Church. It is within the family that each person’s religious sensitivities are first called to life. Love, trust, wonder, reassurance, belonging, gratitude, a growing sense of responsibility and commitment – all of these set the foundations for experiencing God and growing in relationship with God and others.

We are all born into a family that has its own story. Members of a family belong to each other and are connected to each other in a special way. Understandings about ‘family’ can be related to the Catholic belief that all are part of God’s family, also connected to each other in a special way. As members of God’s family we all share in the continuing story of the people of God.

The story of the people of God begins a new chapter in the person of Jesus. Born into a Jewish family, descended from Abraham and Sarah, Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s promise. As the Son of God made human, Jesus was born into a family, into a particular society and culture, and lived in a certain geographical location, at a precise time in history. In this lesson it is important that students have opportunities to wonder about Jesus as a child and about his family, Mary and Joseph. As young children construct their images of Jesus, it is important that they identify with Jesus as someone who grew up in a family and experienced needs similar to their own.

In exploring the stories of Jesus’ childhood, foundations are laid for students to discover that God is with them in all places and at all times. God is revealed in a unique way in the person of Jesus.



As part of this program, O'Connor students will be;


1. Involved in Explore Program, where married couples will answer questions from year 11s regarding their experience of marriage.


2. Having specific prayers for marriage and families in the morning notices for PAC.


3. Using the Catholic Schools Office resources for devoted lessons to Marriage and Family Week in Religious Education classes. 


Marriage and Family Week culminates with a family mass at the Cathedral at 10.00am on  July 29. It would be terrific to see as many of O'Connors families there for mass and some morning tea after.


When I meet someone, who is getting married I say to them, “You are the ones who have courage!” Because it is not easy to form a family, not easy to commit your lives forever; it takes courage. And I am proud that you are courageous. (Pope Francis)

Founders Day

We welcome Brother Pat McCarthy, the second principal of O'Connor Catholic College to help us celebrate Founders Day on July 6. What a day it will be! In the morning our own Youth Ministers Olivia and Isaac will be educating students about history and founders in a fun interactive way, this will be followed by Mass in the chapel. Thank you Father Francis for celebrating mass with us. After Break A students will be treated to a concert performed by our talented, musicians, drama students and dancers. Finally after Break B the traditional Spiller Cup, where houses compete in a huge game of capture the flag.



Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator


Pastoral Academic Care (PAC) Focus -Healthy Eating


This week’s Pastoral Academic Care focus is Healthy Eating


Wellbeing Element: You  are What You Eat

Wellbeing  Element: Exercise  and Health

Character  Strength: Perspective

Wellbeing  Fitness Challenge: Step  It Up

Wellbeing  Reflection Activity: Nutritious  Foods (refer to http://learningcurve.com.au


Parent  Wellbeing:  Reflect on:

Reliability  – can people  depend on you?  

Openness  – can people  expect you to deliver  both good and bad news?  Competence – can people depend  on what you produce?

Compassion  – do people  feel you treat  them with consideration  and respect?


Our  students’  generation is  the most bombarded one of all time with questionable advertising about the merits of and social benefits  associated with eating processed fast foods. Unfortunately, many adults are also mesmerised by the lure of junk food.


Processed and refined  foods are more difficult for our bodies to digest and the nutritional value of them lower than that of fresh whole foods. Add the trans-fats,  extra salt and sugar and subtract vitamins, minerals and good fats and you have the precise value of these types  of foods. And this is occurring as people are exercising less, becoming more obese and the early onset of diabetes becoming more prevalent.


Our  young  people are our future and should they continue to devour large quantities of refined foods, as opposed to nutritious fresh whole foods,  then the patterns of deteriorating  physical health will continue to escalate  as is occurring with their mental health.


Eating  healthy is  easy, tasty and  very good for us.  Our bodies are machines which require quality materials to fuel our efforts; it’s little wonder many of our students lack the energy to stay focused in class.


“We  are what  we eat.” Saying

Around the School

Year 10 & 11

Kate Fitzsimmons visited O’Connor and spoke to students in Year 10 and 11.  Her message was very powerful and encouraged our students to make a choice. They can live happier, healthier, more resilient lives—no matter what!

Kate is a teen resilience specialist and youth motivational speaker, Kate Fitzsimmons has chosen to turn devastating adversity—from the crippling grief of losing a beloved sister to the self-loathing that fuelled a terrifying eating disorder—into a brawny backbone. Now, she spearheads a charitable foundation in her sister's honour and travels the country, teaching teens how to transform serious challenge into rocket fuel for a great life. For more information go to www.katefitzsimons.com


Let’s Hang It! 2018

Congratulations to Kaitlynn Turley on her selection into the 2018 University of New England Schools Acquisition Art Prize “Let’s Hang”. This is a hotly contested competition with over 530 entrants from across the area out of which only 66 are selected to form the final exhibition. The exhibition will open at NERAM on Friday July 27th  with the winner announced and prize giving ceremony starting from 6pm.

This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary talents of students of all ages. The opening night also provides opportunity for the general public to have their say selecting a people choice award on the night.

The exhibition will be on display from the 27th of July till the 12th of August. Well worth a look!

Day for Girls

Maria Alkhouri, Emily Wooster, Carmela Brown and Neve Crotty helping with the Days for Girls Assembly Day on the weekend at O’Connor. These kits are being transported to Laos by Cath Redden. We look forward to hearing about their journey soon. 


Birthing Kits

Where did our birthing kits go???

BKFA Birthing Kits packed by you and your group go to women living in and facing the most challenging of circumstances when they give birth.  One kit can mean the difference between life and death.

You'll be pleased to know that we distributed kits to the following field partners in June.

Thank you so much for your support.

Vicki Channon

Z Club

Year 11 PDHPE

Yr 11 PDHPE visited the Exercise Science Labs at UNE today to do some physiological testing related to study we had been completing at school. The students participated in a range of tests including Lawson Fittler competing a really tough VO2max, achieving an outstanding result.


No Ordinary Hero

O’Connor Catholic College’s entry No Ordinary Hero is a finalist in the NOVA Employment 2018 Focus On Ability Short Film Awards. 

Celebrating 10 years this year, the Focus on Ability (FOA) Awards is designed to encourage filmmakers to focus on the ability of people with disability.

More stories:

This year’s FOA competition hit a record number of 297 entries, including 131 school entries and 63 international films. 

Following successful screenings last year in New Zealand, New York and Zimbabwe, this year the competition received entries from a record number of countries, 26, including Pakistan, Iran, Tunisia and Hong Kong.

Eight O’Connor students who either have a disability themselves, or have a close family member with one, participated in the planning and filming of the documentary. 


Watch No Ordinary Hero:


Career Corner

University Experience


Notre Dame University

Current Year 12 students who have demonstrated academic excellence and/or are making a significant contribution to their school or community may want to consider an early offer application to Notre Dame University. Such an offer would mean that they can sit their Year 12 exams with added confidence and reduced stress.


Early Offer applications for Semester 1 2019 are due 31 July 2018. 

Find out more: https://myfuture.edu.au/partners/details?id=university-of-notre-dame#/

Visit myfuture at https://myfuture.edu.au/


Australian School Boys

Best of luck to Year 10 student Nathan Czinner who travels to South Africa this week to represent our school in the Australian U16 All Schools boys hockey team. He will embark on a cultural/sporting tour and play a test series against the South African U18 team. We wish him well.




Junior Bowls

Learn to play Bowls at the Armidale City Bowling Club, along with other local schools.

Wednesday 11th &  18th July 2018 - 10.30 start.

If interested let our Groundsman Terry know.

Parent Information

Kokoda Track

An amazing 130km trek through the wilderness of Papua New Guinea, walking where the diggers once walked before us.

Yes - the Kokoda Track! This incredible opportunity is opening up to all schools in the Armidale region lead by an incredible tour guide Aidan from ‘Our Spirit’. 

Aidan has walked the trek over 110 times and is a wealth of rich knowledge and has such a passion for the history and stories that this track holds. 


Departing from Brisbane on the 30th September 2018 (school holidays) and returning to Brisbane on the 10th October this experience is one not to be missed. 


Applications are now open for students and parents on the Our Spirit website. 

Students under the age of 18 are required to be accompanied by a parent, Guardian or older sibling for duty of care reasons. Willing adults interested may take responsibility for numerous students if needed.


Please go to https://www.ourspirit.com.au/ or email Aidan directly at aidan@ourspirit.com.au 

Westpac Rescue Ball

Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ball

Saturday 25th August, 2018

Opening Ceremony


Piano Lessons


Lasallian Volunteers


Real Talk Parent and Student Talks


In August we will have the team from Real Talk coming to work with Parents, Teachers and Year 7 and 9 Students. Here is some information about Real Talk -


Real Talk is all about getting real on the topics of sex, relationships and personal identity. Based on christian values and using personal sharing from a team of dynamic presenters, Real Talk provides presentations, programs and up-to-date resources. We want all young people to know their true value, worth and dignity and to experience love for all it was created to be.


The following link has more information on Real talk and what they will be talking to parents, teachers and students about: https://youtu.be/X1OWYuBlsMY


There will be parent night on Monday 6th August at 6 pm in AG4/5. Year 7 will have a full workshop on Tuesday 7th August and Year 9 on Wednesday 8th August.



University Experience Strathfield.pdf
University Experience Nth Sydney.pdf
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Ball.pdf