O'Connor Newsletter

25 October 2016
Issue One
Principals Message
Assistant Principal Report
Career Corner
News in Sport
College News
O'Connor Community News
Page 9
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principals Message

Parents and Friends of O'Connor

I am sure that the word has spread throughout our community regarding the appointment of Ms Regina Menz as the new and seventh principal of O’Connor. What hasn’t been reported so far is the spontaneous and enthusiastic applause from both staff and students at a special meeting and a school assembly for students on the announcement of her appointment.

At the same time I would like to add my congratulations to Regina and hope that she enjoys the same satisfaction and sense of achievement that I have experienced in this position.

For the small number in our community who don’t yet know Regina I can assure you that Regina is a very enthusiastic educator who is well respected across the diocese. She has always had student learning as the focus of her teaching and has been of great support to the staff she has worked with.

Equally Regina is well known in the Armidale Catholic Parish for her involvement and support of parish gatherings and initiatives.

I have every confidence that Regina will become an excellent Principal for O’Connor into the future.

College Master Plan

While there haven’t been any further developments on the College Master Plan, I feel it important to report that this exciting development is on track and that further information on progress will be forthcoming in the new future.

In the meantime Mr Jon Hawthorne and Mrs Alicia Pringle will be representing O’Connor on a three-day visit to the Lismore Diocese to see how that diocese is designing facilities that support collaborative teaching pedagogies (methods) that are driving the learning improvement that we are all seeking for our students.


The HSC exams for most students don’t begin until early term four. Almost ten weeks away and in that time they have their trial HSC Exams that count as their final assessment task in most subjects.

However for students studying Music, Extension II English, Visual Arts, Dance and Design and Technology, their Major Works and performances, marked by external markers will have these components of their HSC Exams completed before their trial Exams.

We wish all of our students the very best in their trial papers and pray that they are able to keep focused and in good health through what can be a stressful time for many.

Year 11

Our year eleven students are fast approaching the end of their Preliminary Year. While they will still be completing course work, they need also to spend time to prepare for their end of course exams. These exams are not only an indicator of how well students are performing in individual subjects but they also give students, teachers and parents an indication of how well students perform in preparation for the same, or even more demanding HSC.


Our second STEP Day for Year six students wanting to experience a day in the life of a High School student at O’Connor will be Wednesday 17th August. Invitations to families who have already been accepted into Year 7 for 2017 have

been sent by post. Families who are interested in enrolling their son or daughter into Year 7 at O’Connor are encouraged to contact the College at [email protected] or phone 0267 721666 to commence the enrolment process.

To date we have accepted 117 students for Year 7, 2017 and therefore have only 8 places available before starting a waiting list.



Staff News

Our part time groundsman, Mr Graham Watson will be returning to full time work and therefore will be finishing up at O’Connor in the next fortnight. Graham has helped our full time grounds and maintenance staff member Mr Terry McMillian keep the grounds and buildings in such excellent condition. We wish Graham all the best and thank him for his work at O’Connor. We will be advertising in the near future for a part-time, 2 days per week replacement for Graham.

Satisfaction Survey

This coming week marks the end of the satisfaction survey being carried out by the Mypcorp organisation. The school will use the results of this survey in its strategic improvement plan for 2017 and beyond. So far only 96 responses from a total of 341 families have been recorded. This represents a 28.2% response rate. I encourage all families to make use of this opportunity to inform the school in its direction. The survey ends Sunday 14th.







Thank you

Mr Charlie Allen


Assistant Principal Report

Year 10 Information Night

This proved to be a very successful night with 140 people in attendance. It was great to see so many parents taking the opportunity to speak with KLA Coordinators and teachers about subjects for the Preliminary HSC. The KLA expo was a first time initiative and we thank all staff for their attendance and advice. Year 10 will now have had an opportunity to listen to the various subject talks and are in a position to complete the expression of interest form which will be done on line. It is expected that students will be given a draft subject line selection next week.

Stage 5 Electives

Next week Year 8 students will begin to select electives for Stage 5. Students will receive a booklet explaining the RoSA and grade allocation for Stage 5. The booklet will contain information on the mandatory courses as well as elective options. At O’Connor we run 2 elective lines and students choose a subject on each line. To begin the process students will complete an expression of interest form on line before we set the two lines. Students will receive information on the subjects from the different KLA’s in order to be informed about each subject on offer. We will initially offer a range of subjects to gain student interest. We would love to run each subject but this will not be possible. If a student wishes to do a subject that is not offered and has the aptitude and attitude than we would look at other options.

Professional Development

Last Friday teachers met in Professional development teams. The aim was to link teachers who had developed Professional learning plans around a common standard. Later in the term teachers will be involved in observation lessons to support growth and expertise in a particular area.


Mr Stephen Chapman and Mr Peter McLeish have attended a 2 day workshop in Moree on Assessment in Mathematics. Mr Hawthorne and Mrs Pringle will be visiting schools in the Lismore Diocese with the aim of bringing back to O’Connor how other schools are modernising facilities and structuring schools in line with contemporary learning pedagogies. Next week Mr Smidt will be in Lismore attending a Science in service day.



Thank you

Simon Fleming

Assistant Principal/

Curriculum Coordinator


Feast of Assumption

On Monday August 15 we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. This year 12 will be celebrating the day with Mass at the cathedral at 10.30am. Catholics all around the world will celebrate the Assumption of Mary. It is a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church.
Students will be transported by coach. There is no cost, however students need to be dressed in full winter uniform complete with blazer.
If students normally have PE that day, they must bring their sports uniform to school to change. 
Students will return to the College at 12.00pm. All parents, carers and friends of O’Connor are most welcome to join O’Connor and St Mary’s Primary school in this celebration.


We speak of Mary’s Assumption and not her Ascension. Christ ascended to heaven by his own power and authority. Mary was taken to heaven by the power of God. The Assumption of Mary is something God did for her.


Mary’s feast reminds us that we are created for the glory of God and to be with God for all eternity. Whatever we do during this celebration must respect the dignity of every human person and our celebration must mirror this reality.

The feast is a most opportune time to learn and create a spirit of respect and common concern for our community, Australia and all people in our world. It is our hope that our actions assist in creating a community spirit, not only in August but also in every month of the year.


World Youth Day

Our WYD pilgrims are finally back in Australia safe and sound, but it has been a tough few last days for the Armidale, Wollongong, Toowoomba and Cairns pilgrims who journeyed to WYD together. The crash landing of a plane in Dubai caused havoc for the pilgrims and with hundreds of other travellers they spent two exhausting nights sleeping on the floor of Dubai airport, and were finally able to negotiate a flight to Perth which arrived at midnight....." While we all still have our last leg of the journey to go, it is great to be on Australian soil. This is where the remaining bulk of the group said our goodbyes. Thank you to all of the pilgrims that shared in the journey. I think all of our lives are richer for having met one another. God bless you all".






Thank you

Damian Roff

R.E Coordinator 

Career Corner


How can I improve my marks and eliminate careless errors?

  1. Understand the formulae and know when and where to apply it without making mistakes. This needs practice and more practice! You want your working to become second nature.
  2. Get to know your formulae sheet! Memorisation + context + practice --> to know what formulae to use and when to use it. Learn a formulae and test it with a variety of HSC questions. Try to remember how a formulae is derived. If you can see the logic behind it, hopefully it will be easier to understand and remember.
  3. Set out your work properly to:
    a) avoid making careless and therefore cheap errors
    b) give the marker a clear picture of your logic and flow of your argument. Remember, working gets marks!
    c) solve harder problems
  4. Simple steps to make your proofs clearer include:
    a) Write a series of equations down the page rather than in a single line. This should ensure enough space for each equation. NB. = signs go under each other.
    b) Explain what the variable you introduce means by either indicating clearly on a diagram or by writing at the top of your proof: Let X be the ..
    c) Generally explain the steps in your proof. In other words, talk to your marker, rather than letting them guess your logic.
    d) Practise full papers under exam conditions and aim to eliminate careless mistakes. This won’t happen if the first time you do so is in Trials and the second time is in October!
    e) Use the 5 min reading time well. Pick out the questions you know how to do and do them first. Don’t forget Yr 11 topics. Approx. 30% of the Trial and HSC will be from Prelim. topics. (not Ext2)

HSC Helpful Hints: SCIENCES

This is your opportunity to let the examiners know that you have studied science for 6 years.

  1. The key is to be able to understand and effectively answer HSC style questions. You need to be able to write clearly, articulately and concisely and not lose marks for inaccurate, unspecific responses. Eg. if a question is worth 4 marks give 4 targeted points. Break the question down even if you only know how to answer part of the whole question.
  2. The syllabus is like the Bible. Know it and live by it and your dot points.
  3. Know your verbs and answer to them. Eg. Discuss- requires you to present benefits and disadvantages. Assess requires the same + you need to give a judgement. Explain is the most common verb used.
  4. Practise, practise and practise past questions and papers. Gradually do them under exam conditions to the time and without notes. This will help you to become familiar with the format and feel more confident if you discover a curly question. Multiple choice is traditionally OCC’s weakest section.
  5. You do need to memorise e.g. formulas but you also need to understand the concepts from the first principles. Remember, work to understand why and when to apply a formulae. A formulae sheet is given for Physics and Chemistry.
  6. Show as much working as you can to scab as many marks as possible. EG. Define your variables, use terms e.g. independent, dependent, controlled, in Physics and words in Chemistry. Always put units in your final answer and round to the correct number of significant figures.
  7. Practicals, are called First Hand Investigations. Know them and the principles behind them, including the set-up, the method and the interpretation of results, as well as, suggestions of how to improve them. Also know the principles behind each practical in order to explain and discuss them.
  8. The most common 3 questions are: to evaluate the reliability (repeats), the validity (does it test the aim?), and the accuracy (equipment) of your results. Sometimes questions may involve more than one topic from the core topics, even if the question does not ask for it.

Uesful Websites

There are many websites that can be helpful to students and parents when thinking about future careers.

The following list has some that provide valuable information. It is not exhaustive.

Career Planning Websites






General Career Websites










www.uac.edu.au  for all information for year 10-12 students concerning:

YEAR 10: what is involved in the HSC, deciding on subjects, institution requirements.  

YEAR 11-12: the ATAR, preparing for Uni, applying to Uni, managing your application accepting an offer, open days for Unis and institution scholarship websites.

There is also a booklet for parents, all about UAC for Parents, which can be accessed.


Hot Jobs for the Future

The most recent SEEK Job Growth Report has revealed areas most affected by recruitment shortages will be in: education, healthcare, building trades and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT). Workers in these areas are predicted to benefit the most.

Key Points:

Shortages are particularly evident in the trades.

New generation approaches to technology are driving demand for workers with niche skills across many industries.

Universities are increasing offering double degrees with ICT as one of the components.


  1. Education and Training: Australia's population growth is higher now than it was for the Baby Boomers. This is putting pressure on the education system and driving demands for more teachers across multiple disciplines. This growth, together with an influx of parents striving to set their children up for academic success, is also impacting the tutoring industry in a positive way.
  2. Healthcare and Medical: The demand for more workers in this field is being boosted as a result of the ageing population and advanced medical treatment technologies.
  3. Building Trades: The construction industry is expected to grow 8% by the end of 2018. Building trades jobs are in demand, while technicians and trade workers make up more than half the industry.
  4. ICT: ICT professionals play a vital role in almost every industry as ICT becomes more integral to every facet of our lives. As an enabler of productivity and innovation in the economy, ICT is unmatched with an increased need for more specialist skills.
  5. Design and Architecture: Demand for architects has rocketed over the last couple of years. The changing economy continues to stimulate a building boom, which is boosting the need for these skills. Businesses are also moving towards more sophisticated online environments, growing the "new" careers, e.g., digital designers.




Good Luck

Mrs Glenda Lemon

Careers Adviser/ Librarian



News in Sport

Soccer News 

In late July the boys and girls soccer teams travelled to Coffs Harbour to compete in the second round of the CCC soccer knockout. All teams competed strongly against very good opposition from Lismore diocesan teams. The senior boys team made history in being the first Armidale diocesan team to win at this level, defeating Trinity College Lismore 1-0 in a very hard fought and tense match. It may be a cliché but the victory was a true team effort, which shocked the much more highly fancied Lismore team. Due to this victory the boys have progressed onto the quarterfinals of the CCC soccer knockout - a first for Armidale Diocese. One of the significant aspects of the senior team is that we feature three Year 10 students - our opposition consisted of all year 11 and 12 players.

The team will be playing either Marist College Kogarah or St Mary's Cathedral College Sydney here in Armidale on Thursday 18th August, commencing at 9:30 am. The game will be played at the Armidale Sportsground. Continuing this trend of firsts, it will be the first time that O'Connor have ever played a Sydney team here in Armidale, if ever.

Parents and friends are strongly encouraged to come to the game to cheer on the team as they endeavour to bravely go where no Armidale team has ever gone before - the finals of the CCC knockout.


Andrew May




 Vinnies Fundraiser

This year, 9 courageous students from Year 10 will be running in the City2Surf. Held on the 14th of August, they will run from the Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach, making tracks through the diverse urban landscape with thousands of other keen, compassionate and enthusiastic members of the Australian Community. These students won’t be running simply for the

satisfaction of completing 14kms of hard toil, mostly uphill…they will be running to raise much needed funds for the St Vincent De Paul Society.


Last year, we met our target of $700 and all of that money came back into the Armidale Community. This year, having already surpassed this, we are aiming to raise over $1000!


What a better idea for a fundraiser could we have in Armidale, than a WOOD RAFFLE!? So, the City2Surf Team members will be selling raffle tickets at recess and lunch for $2 each or you can purchase them from the front office. That’s $2 for the possibility of 2 tonnes of wood!!! The raffle has been extended and now will been drawn Friday August 19th during assembly. 


If you would like to donate directly to our supporter page, here is the link:



City To Surf Team Members above are;

(back row) Tyler Lisle, Connor McRae (middle row) Emily Wooster, Katherine Hosking, Mrs Eli Simpson, Reggie Divall, Jacob Minehan, Cameron Roan, (Front) James Wood, Samantha Archer.


Mrs Eli Simpson

City2surf Coordinator


Chess News

The O’Connor Chess team won a tense final against Inverell High School today.
Tom Frazier held his own but had a narrow loss. Highlights were a win by new kid on the block Jacob Minehan, a team saving draw by Cameron Roan and yet another outstanding victory by Tim Hanrahan...Tim has not lost a game all season. 
Well done team O'Connor...we make all the right moves!


Mr Ian Tonkin

Chess Coordinator


CCC Dio Carnival

The CCC Dio Carnival was held at O'Connor Friday 12th. A great day for all who participated. Thank you to all staff and students who assisted with the smooth running of events. Here is just a sneak peak of one of the senior boys 100 metres. All results will be in the next newsletter.


College News

Lets Hang It

NERAM 2016

Congratulations to O'Connor artists,  Chloe Flynn (Year 11) and Sophia Johnson (Year 9) for the selection of their artworks in this year's Lets Hang It Exhibition. About 60 art works were selected for exhibition from over 650 entries this year. Entries came from 46 primary and secondary schools across regional NSW. On the opening night our students received a certificate, to recognize the high quality of their works. These artworks are exhibited at NERAM in Armidale until the 14th of August.



Sumo Robo

– not for the feint hearted robot! 


After the recent success of Robo Rugby, the Year 9 iSTEM class was put to the test in the competing in the big finale of the robotics unit, ‘Sumo Robo’.

In ‘Robo Rugby’, a full contact robotic football game, the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots were controlled by remote control, which the students constructed on their iPads.

‘Sumo Robo’ involves the students programming their robots using the Lego Mindstorms software on their iPads.  This means that once the program is activated the robot uses its sensors such as light and ultrasound to not only stay in the sumo ring but also seek out objects such as other robots and push then out of the ring. This ultimately takes a lot of trying and retrying to get the robot to perform the tasks the programmer wants.  It is also a lot of fun. The task is assessed on three levels.

Assessment Criteria:

Task 1. Robot design including programming.   (30%)


Task 2. Design a robot that can compete in the ‘Sumo Robo’ Challenge.  Program your robot using as many sensors as possible to find and remove an object (large coffee cup) in the least time possible.   (30%)


Task 3. Program your robot to battle with another robot to push it out of the ring.

The initial draw will be randomly drawn and will work on a ‘knock out’ basis. (40%)

‘Sumo Robo’ robots ready for battle & a player is taken out in ‘Robo Rugby’


O'Connor Community News

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