O'Connor Newsletter

20 October 2017
Issue Sixteen
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
Sport Report
College Events
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents & Carers

Welcome to Term 4, another great term of learning ahead. Our Year 12's have begun their HSC exams and are progressing well. Please keep them in your prayers during this time.


On Monday and Tuesday of the first week back, six staff including myself attended the High Reliability Schools Conference in Brisbane. This professional learning focussed on evidence based practices that improve student learning. The sessions focussed on working as a PLC (Professional Learning Community), planning for effective learning and prioritising the curriculum to ensure improved learning outcomes for all. Many of these sessions mirrored our Annual Improvement Plan for 2017.


At the Conference, there were many opportunities to reflect on the progress of our own school. We have many great things to celebrate at O’Connor that are based solidly on research and are improving learning outcomes. Our language and the way we interact with each other is focussed on learning and wellbeing. We are working in professional learning teams across the school to collaborate around learning.


One of the sessions, was based on assessing

  • How are we going (based on key indicators)?

  • How do we know (what evidence do we have)?

  • What are we going to do next?


On many of the key indicators, we were doing very well, there are other areas that we highlighted for improvement. We have been constantly reflecting this year on how we are going and where we need to improve. The School Satisfaction Survey gave us some great data to inform our practice and help hear the voices of staff, students and parents. We are using this data to help shape our focus areas for 2018.


Our Annual Improvement Plan for 2017 provides both a path for improvement as well as a tool for reflection. We have been reflecting through the year and have started the process of developing our Annual Improvement Plan for 2018. As part of this process, I would like to invite parents and carers to a feedback session during this term. The date will be advertised shortly.


On Thursday and Friday, I  travelled to St Ursula’s, Kingsgrove with Mr Chapman and a group of Year 11 students to celebrate St Ursula’s Feast Day. St Ursula’s, Kingsgrove celebrated their 60th Anniversary and unveiled a statue of St Angela Merici in their grounds. This visit builds on the connection made when students from St Ursula’s attended our Founders’ Day at the end of Term 2. We feel it is important to maintain and enhance connections with our Founders and develop connections with the Lasallian and Ursuline communities.


St Ursula, legend tells us, was the daughter of a Christian king living in the 4th Century in Britain. She was a woman of great faith, courage and a leader. She was an independent woman who was a risk taker. At the time in which Angela Merici lived the legend of St Ursula was strong and popular. Angela saw Ursula as a model of commitment to Christ and she chose Ursula as patron. The same qualities that both St Ursula and St Angela Merici displayed are ones we seek to grow in our students - courage, leadership, dedication and commitment.


I would like to congratulate our new student leaders for 2017/2018

School Captains - Samantha Archer and Micah Scholes-Robertson

Vice Captains - Brydie Hawthorne and Sam Frazier

Arts Captains - Grace Toakley and Nick Troon

Sports Captains - Katherine Hosking and Conor Dennehy


We are introducing new captains to join this leadership team this year. These captains are Faith and Service Captains. I look forward to announcing these captains as well as our House Captains next week.

What new learning will you undertake this week?


Regina Menz


Assistant Principal's Report

Message to Parents & Carers

There is a large body of research that tells us kids need three things to thrive in this modern changing world of uncertainty.

These are:
Confidence, Character & Resilience
They best develop in an environment where parents purposefully adopt principles and techniques that promote these qualities. Nor do these qualities develop independently of each other.
The development of one impacts on the others. When kids develop a greater sense of self-confidence they usually behave better and they are more likely to bounce back from setbacks, particularly social injustices.

Confident kids take more learning risks and are likely to challenge themselves more than kids who are low on confidence. They are less likely to place limits on themselves or their achievements. Confidence is so crucial today as so many kids are anxious and fear failure.


Character refers to the attitudes and behaviours a child develops that maximise his or her success. Character is about doing what’s right, not what’s easy!

Children need to be resilient. They need to be able to bounce back from life’s bigger and smaller setbacks. Resilience is linked with good mental health habits and also with a child’s success.
Building resilience means strengthening one's ability to effectively cope, adjust, or recover from stress or adversity. "Resilience reflects the ability to 'bounce back'... and move from being a victim to being a 'survivor,' and even to becoming a 'thriver.'"
As parents, we want our kids to feel confident within themselves so that even if they experience bullying, they will be able to bounce back. If we want our children to have the ability to adapt to, handle, and overcome the tough situations they will encounter in life, the effort to provide them with these skills needs to begin at home. If we allow ourselves to continually focus on others without reflecting on how we could have handled different situations then we are simply advocating for our students rather than building their capacity. 




Simon Fleming

A.P / Curriculum Coordinator


HSC exams have begun. A big thankyou to Fr Francis who blessed our students and prayed with them before their first exam.



Month of Mary

October, Month of Mary

October is a month traditionally devoted in the Catholic Church to Mary. Bishop Kennedy has specifically requested that a decade of the Rosary be said in schools each day in October. The focus of this prayer is to pray for families.

Earlier in the year The Legion of Mary donated multiple sets of Rosary beads which went home to many O'Connor families. The Rosary tells the story of the Gospels following the life of Jesus and Mary. It is a traditional and very powerful prayer. Some O'Connor families pray the Rosary together. Perhaps it is something your family may consider. Turn off the screens sit down together and pray at least a decade of the Rosary.

A decade of the Rosary looks like this;

1. Make the sign of the cross.

2. The Lords Prayer

3. 10 Hail Mary's (a decade)

4. Glory be to the Father

5. The Fatima Prayer

6. Make the sign of the Cross

For more information try



Year 9 Retreat and Year 10 Christian Leadership Day.

Year 9 and 10 enjoyed a wonderful day facilitated by the Lasallian Youth Ministry team from Sydney at the Parish centre at the Cathedral. The feedback from students and staff has been very positive indeed. Many thanks to Father Francis and Father Sabu for offering the sacrament of reconciliation on both days. This was an opportunity that many students took up. 


Multicultural Sunday

October 29 is a date to put down in your calendar. 10.00am mass will be a multicultural mass followed by food and performances from many different countries in the Parish Centre. Please support this great initiative. 


The Father Francis Table Tennis Challenge

November 5 is the date set down for the Parish Table Tennis Day at O'Connor Catholic College following 10.00am Mass. The last report was that Father Francis is still undefeated from last years challenge. BBQs are available for a picnic lunch. It is a great way to meet other parishioners and you don't even have to play table tennis.



Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator

Sport Report

NIAS Program

2018 NIAS Program Applications Closing Soon

The Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) is calling for applications for their 2018 sporting programs.  Some sport applications will close shortly.  See below or check out your sport on the website www.nias.org.au

NIAS is seeking athletes throughout the North West and New England regions who are passionate about developing their potential both on and off the field and looking for opportunities on the pre-elite sporting pathway.


Sports for 2018 include (age applicants turning in 2018):


- AFL (boys and girls) - 13 to 17 years - CLOSE 27/10
- Athletics (boys and girls) - 13 to 17 years
- Basketball (boys and girls) - 14 & 15 years
- Football (boys and girls) - 16 years
- Golf (boys and girls) - 12 to 18 years - CLOSE 31/10
- Hockey (boys and girls) - 16 to 18 years - CLOSE 20/10
- Lonestar (Individual sports) - 14 to 18 years - CLOSE 31/10
- Mountain Biking (boys and girls) – 12 to 15 years
- Netball - 14 to 16 years - CLOSE 20/10
- Rugby League - 15 years
- Rugby 7’s (boys and girls) 15 & 17 years - CLOSE 3/11
- Tennis (boys and girls) – 13 to 16 years

Sporting programs will consist of skill development sessions and camps, which will be held within the region from November 2017, with most programs running approximately six months depending on the individual sport.  The skills program follows a structured approach concentrating on a range of individual skills and development. Fitness sessions focusing on the importance of building core strength to improve balance and technique, tailored specifically for each sport. Guest coaches ensure that the program remains fresh and motivating where athletes are presented with new ideas and different perspectives to encourage their development.

In February 2018, athletes will attend the NIAS Induction/ GROWTH Day in Armidale. This program covers education sessions on Goal Setting, Resilience, Opportunities beyond sport, Wellness and Nutrition management, Testing catered for each sport and Healthy mind/healthy body.

On Saturday 4th August 2018, all athletes will attend the NIAS Academy Awards night in Tamworth which is a celebration of the achievements of all athletes, managers, coaches and volunteers achievements throughout the program year.

For more information on NIAS 2018 sporting programs, please visit  www.nias.org.au or phone 6766 2526.

NIAS; ‘Developing potential on and off the field’

Indoor Hockey

Well done to the O’Connor students who were a part of the New England under 15 girls indoor hockey team and came runners up at the NSW Championships on the weekend. Way to go Tarnie Hillard, Hayley Lennon and Lara Moloney.


NSW Indoor Hockey

Congratulations to Year 9 student Nathan Czinner who was named player of the tournament at the recent NSW under 15 indoor hockey championships.


Hockey Selections

Congratulations to year 9 students Nathan Czinner and Jake McCann who have both been selected in the Under 15 2018 NSW Indoor Hockey state team, and Kieran Wicks who has been selected in the shadow squad!!!




Camilla Clydsdale

Sports Coordinator

College Events

Champion Paraders

Well done Emma Gray (Year 7); Will Schmude, Eliza Boland, Analise Wark, Isabel Hind, Tahlia White (Year 8); Bonnie Woods, Kareena Dawson, Chloe Gray (Year 9) who all attended Cattle Camp in the school holidays. Emma picked up first place Jnr Paraders, Will came second and Chloe was second in Snr Paraders. Emma Gray then collected overall Champion Paraders... congratulations! 


Horse Extravaganza

Jacob Lynch (Year 9) and his horse CHIEF represented the O’Connor Catholic College at the Inter School Horse Extravaganza at Tamworth. 500 Riders across the State and some others from inter state competed in many events.

Jacob and Chief were credibly placed 15th from 52 starters in the Accumulator  Show Jumping and they placed 3rd in the over 15 years pairs and 4th in the Pleasure Hack events. Great results.


Year 12 Textiles

Year 12 Textiles & Design welcomed back their Major Textiles Projects last week. We were able to have an informal gathering/afternoon tea to display the culmination of 3 terms of hard work to their families and friends. We are very proud of the enthusiasm, determination and collaboration displayed by the 4 students, Georgia Cullen, Tess Browne, Lauren Czinner and Grace Murray in completing such a task. We wish you all the best for the HSC and for future endeavours.


A Big Thank you

Together we raised : $7,500 from Ellen & Brydie Hawthorne and Forget Me Not Australia.


Information for Parents

Armidale Regional Council Grandparents Day


Youth Orchestra


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

2017 Spring Soiree


Surviving Your Adolescents

Surviving Your Adolescents will provide parents with some useful skills for dealing with teenage behaviour. Find out what is normal behaviour for a teenager; how to manage risk-taking; tips to maintain and improve your relationship with your teenager; and the Four Cardinal Sins (what not to do) and what to do with your teens.

Pedro Sousa 
Facilitator - Family Support Program

Phone:02 6738 7200 - Armidale NSW


Open Gardens Guyra


O'Connor Newsletter
Thank you letter.pdf
Thank you letter.pdf
2017 grandparents day markets poster.pdf
Thank you letter.pdf