O'Connor Newsletter

17 November 2017
Issue Eighteen
Principal's Message
Assistant Principal's Report
O'Connor News
Community Events
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Message

Dear Parents & Carers

On Monday 13th November, Mrs Mellissa Bell (Learning Support Coordinator) and I attended the Combined Secondary School Association Forum on ‘Promoting Wellbeing, Child Safe Schools and Learning Cultures. The presenters included Andrew Johnson, NSW Advocate for Children and Young People; Anita Yates, Senior Inspector, NESA and Jacqueline Van Velsen, CEO of WISA Wellbeing in Schools Australia.


Andrew Johnson presented the findings from the NSW Strategic Plan for Children and Young People (http://www.acyp.nsw.gov.au/plan). To develop this plan, the SCYP surveyed over 4000 children and young people about their lives and the lives of all children and young people in NSW. The first two questions asked were about what is working well and what is not working well for children and young people. The responses are shown below:


The fact that education is number one for both what is working well and what is not, highlights the need for educators to constantly reflect on what we are doing to enhance the learning for all our students. It also highlights the importance children and young people place on education. The main areas that children and young people identified as not working are areas that result in high levels of stress such as HSC, ATAR and tests. They also identified lack of resourcing and poor internet access.


At O’Connor, we are working with our students to support their learning to minimise the stress they feel when approaching exam situations. We say often ‘everybody can learn, not at the same time or in the same way’. By working with students to set ‘stretch’ goals for their learning we can work together so that every student achieves at least a year’s growth in their learning for every year at school.

The final session of the day was presented by Jacqueline Van Velsen, CEO WISA Wellbeing in Schools Australia. Jacqueline presented on ‘Linking Wellbeing and Learning:  the evidence’. Jacqueline presented the research in regards to role of schools and teachers in the wellbeing area. ‘Wellbeing has been identified as both an outcome and a process that facilitates children's progression towards learning and development outcomes.’ Students with high levels of wellbeing are more likely to achieve high academically and complete school, have better health, and have greater participation in the workforce.

Wellbeing is everyone’s business.


Pastoral Academic Care

O’Connor’s Pastoral Academic Care program is based on this evidence that learning and wellbeing are inextricably linked. This year our Pastoral Program has been enhanced to include learning conversations and goal setting. The PAC teacher plays a very important role in monitoring and building wellbeing. The Student Diary is based on a strengths based approach. It emphasises the strengths that people have and how they build their strengths in other areas. The key elements of the student diary are: Positive Engagement; Meaning and Purpose; Skills and Achievement; Relationship and Optimism; Strengths and Emotions; and Exercise and Health. These are the key elements needed to strive, thrive and flourish. Students often don’t bring their diaries to school and it would be great if you could help support us with this. Ask your daughter/son to look at their diary and see some of the activities we do during this time

School Advisory Council

We held our AGM for the School Advisory Council for 2018. Our new School Advisory Council consists of Vernon Crew (Chair), Tracey McLauchlin (Secretary), Amber Fernandez, Peter Lye, Jason Lincoln (Members), Simon Fleming (Staff Member), Dale Wicks, David Steller (Co-opted Members) and Fr Francis Afu and myself (ex-Officio). Wendy Warner will be standing down after 10 years work and I’d like to thank Wendy Warner for all her work on the O’Connor Board and in particular as Chair of the Board. I’d also like to thank Cathy Ible from the Catholic Schools Office who ran the School Advisory Council Training.

What new learning will you undertake this week to build your wellbeing?


Regina Menz

Assistant Principal's Report

Dear Parents & Carers

We all know the power of social media especially how this forum can be used to damage people's lives. Recently some students have recorded teachers and teacher student interactions. This act caused distress for all concerned. Students, parents and carers need to be aware that there could be legal ramifications resulting from this activity. Whilst the majority of our students have embraced the responsible use of technology we would like everyone in our school to review our mobile phone policy.

Mobile Phone Policy


Year 10

This week and onto Week 7 Year 10 students will be sitting exams in four subjects. We understand that exams and tests can be a source of anxiety for students. If any studnet feels that they are not well enough to complete an exam they should contact their teacher or subject coordinator.

Term 5

This week students should have received information for Term 5 activities. Students in year 7-9 will be making choices for activities across  the 3 days from 13th-15th December. Parents and carers are encouraged to work with students when making these choices. This is voluntary for Year 10 students. Year 11 will finish school on Tuesday December 12th.

Presentation Day

The annual Presentation Day and celebration of Student Achievement will be held Tuesday 12th December at 1.30pm in the College Gym. Please keep this afternoon free so you can attend this presentation.

Semester Two Reports

Over the next few weeks teachers will be busy compiling results and reports for semester two. Parents and carers will receive reports in the mail commencing with Year 7 in week 8 of Term, followed by Year 8, 9 and 10. If parents or carers wish to consult staff about a report you can contact the school office to arrange an interview time. 

Orientation Day

Orientation Day for the incoming Year 7 will be held Thursday November 23rd. All Year 7 students enrolled at O'Connor for 2018 should attend. For further information please contact Mr Jon Hawthorne [email protected]

Reporting Process

As part of the Diocesan strategy for school and system improvement, a review of our Reporting process will take place in 2018. We would like to hear from parents and carers about what information you would like to receive from the school at reporting time.

If you could please take 5-10 minutes to fill in the survey questions  with your honest feedback, it would be greatly appreciated. 


Dates to Remember

Week 8

27 November - Faith Music Enrichment

29 November -  Whole School Mass, Science Studies Tamworth

30 November -  UNE Grass Program

 1 December - Pastoral Period

Week 9

 4 December - Stage 4 Lifesaving

 5 December - Yr 9 Reports 

 6 December - Year 11 Retreat, Yr 10 reports 

Week 10

11 December - Driver Ed SHARP Yr 11

12 December - School Presentation 1.30 pm

13 December - Term 5 begins

14 December - Carols in the Cathedral

15 December - Last day for Students


Thank you for your support.


Simon Fleming

Curriculum Coordinator/ A.P


Save the Date 

Carols in the Cathedral December 14, 6.00pm to 7.00pm.

This is a wonderful evening where our college community gathers to sing and prepare for Christmas. Our students will join with St Mary's Primary School. and  the Cathedral choir to perform Christmas favourites as well as our Chapel Band performing their own arrangements of well known carols. It is a great opportunity for our whole Parish to come together. Looking forward to seeing you there!


Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF)

Our Year 11 pilgrims have begun formation sessions in preparation for ACYF in Sydney December 6 to December 10. The full program is available online and it looks amazing. There are so many great artists and such a great number and variety of workshops led by expert presenters. Check out the latest ACYF minute for the latest update.  ACYF Minute

One of the great international artists is Steve Agrisano. Here is a clip of the awesome "Go Make a Difference" Go Make a Difference The full program is available on the ACYF website. ACYF


November is the Month of All Souls

November is a time when we remember and pray for the faithful departed especially family and friends. The chapel is open everyday and students are welcome to pray there.


Vinnies Christmas Appeal.

The College Vinnies group is setting up a Christmas tree in the foyer. Students are invited to bring a present to place under the tree to be given to Vinnies to distribute to families in need. The gift should be unwrapped and suitable for an adolescent. The College will have a Vinnies Christmas Appeal Prayer Service on the 29th of November at 9.15 in the Chapel. The will involve the whole school. Parents, Careers and friends are very welcome.


Music Workshops

Young Lasallian Youth Minister and talented musician Damian from Brisbane will be working with music students, the choir, the Chapel band and religion classes. The aim of this program is, as a lead in to the Year of Youth, to create a contemporary scene in our own Liturgies and for Youth Mass at the Cathedral. Damian will be visiting from the 27th to the 29th of November.




God Bless

Damian Roff


O'Connor News

Year 9 Textiles & Design

The Black Gully festival was held on Saturday 11th November at NERAM. Year 9 Textiles Technology contributed to an important event on the day, known as slow fashion. 

The textiles industry is one of the greatest contributors to landfill and pollution and there are many fashion designers and companies taking this seriously by creating some amazing and innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The students were asked to upcycle an item to make it into a wearable and fashionable piece for a non competitive, relaxed style fashion parade on the day, to highlight what can be done when creativity and collaboration meet. 

Students from all schools were invited to participate. Students had a fun time and really made the event a successful one. We look forward to being able to contribute to the event next year.


Anna Jackson

When this denim skirt was first purchased from Salvos for $4, it was long and outdated. Through the process of upcycling it was simply cut to a more modern length, and the denim was distressed using sandpaper and steel wool, which is on trend for this season. The crisp white lace was added to the back pockets as an extra accessory and compliments the denim skirt nicely.  To complete this upcycled outfit,  Anna tie-dyed an old white shirt into a trendy red one.


Chloe Brown

Chloe’s unique upcycled project consists of a skirt made out of men’s neck ties. When she first got her hands on these ties, some were stained, outdated and some had sentimental value as they were preloved by her late grandfather. Facebook came to the rescue when we were a few ties short, and people generously donated old, unwanted ties. Chloe has managed to take these ties and make them into a fashionable, more feminine skirt, continually comforting her with the memories of her grandfather. Chloe inserted a centre back zipper and attached a waistband for a comfortable fit. The blue, white and grey tones in any season create a classic look. Chloe’s skirt demonstrates just how easy it is to take something unwanted and turn it into something anyone can wear!


Liv & Clancy                                                                          When Liv and Clancy first purchased their white skirt from Vinnies for $6, it was long and out of fashion, but they had a good idea as to what they wanted to achieve. After a long five weeks, they turned what was once one skirt, into two modern a-line mini skirts. The skirts are finished off on the waistband with some black and white fabric that the girls had used in a previous bag project. Good use of scraps, instead of it going to landfill. They faced a few complications and design challenges along the way but with some good problem solving the end result was pretty impressive. To finish their outfit, they have taken two second hand Men's shirts, and cropped them creating a more modern feel.


Chelsea Ahern

Chelsea purchased a pair of knee length denim shorts and a peachy pink pleated skirt, at a nifty price of $9. She deconstructed both items by chopping off the legs of the shorts to create the top of the skirt. She then unpicked the bow from the skirt to save for decoration.  The waistband from the skirt was cut off and discarded. With the pleats still in tact Chelsea pinned and stitched them onto the denim. The bow was stitched in place at the back for a fun and feminine look.



Molly and Bailey

Molly and Bailey purchased their two pairs of denim jeans and a denim skirt from Vinnies for a cheap price of $12. The girls cut out random sized pieces from the denim items. They arranged these into a patchwork pattern to the size of the front and back dress panels. They stitched them altogether using straight and zigzag stitching. The two pieces were then stitched at the side seams and the girls created a button and button loop opening at the side seam, using recycled buttons and elastic. They also purchased a small piece of broderie anglaise for 50c to make a frill along the top of the denim dress to finish the off the shoulder look, which is really popular at the moment.


Harriet Schmude

When shopping, Harriet purchased a white off the shoulder jumpsuit from Vinnies for $6. Harriet upcycled her garment by trimming the lace from around the top to create a more modern look and placing the off cuts from this around the bottom to now feature a simple decorative lace hem. To finish off the outfit she added a woven ribbon as a belt to create a contrasting color coordinating compliment to the white jumpsuit.


Lucy Fittler

Lucy first purchased her long denim skirt for $5 at Vinnies, she cut the bottom off and added lace to give it a girly look. She used a bandana from Vinnies for $3 for cross over straps and used some blue scrap fabric to make the shorts. These were then tie-dyed with marbles and rubber bands, then put in a pot of bleach to remove the colour. The end result was a cool purple and red effect.




Caitlin Jubb

Caitlin purchased her denim jacket from One of a Kind for $10. She then cut the arms off leaving an edge to be able to give the distressed denim jacket look. She added lace around the collar and added a Guipure lace design on the back for a more feminine feel The black dress underneath was purchased from Salvos for $5, and is made out of swimwear fabric, Neoprene.


Ellen Hawthorne

Ellen purchased her long sleeve men’s shirt from One of a Kind for $5 and a taupe/tan cord skirt for $3 from Vinnies. During the 5 weeks Ellen brainstormed many ideas to make her look the upcycled outfit it is today. She turned the men's shirt into a cute and girly top by cutting off the sleeves and collar and added a white lace trim to compliment the shirt’s design. Ellen then inserted elastic in a casing at the top for a better and more comfortable fit. She found white twisted rope to use as straps and adjusted the taupe/tan skirt to personally fit her body.



Emily Meehan

Emily made a fitted mini skirt from a men’s business shirt bought from one of a kind for $8. After cutting off the sleeves and removing some of the length, she then added darts for a more fitted look. The waistband was constructed from the sleeve fabric which gives a contrasting effect as the pattern runs the other way to the skirt fabric. This skirt can be teamed with many different tops depending on the look you are going for. Through the process of upcycling it was constructed into a modern and very functional design.



Mrs Channon

Textiles & Design


Student Awards

Congratulations to students who received Principal awards and to Artist of the Month Year 10 student Dee Levingston.


Community Events

Girls 6ers League


Guyra Christmas Party


Minions Dance Party


Australia Day Awards


Christmas in the Mall


Uralla Bowlo presents a  Photography Exhibition

Saturday 2nd December at 7pm.

One of our many talented staff members, James Russell has been photographing the shearing taking place in some of our local historic wool sheds. Some of these images have been curated into an exhibition called "Shearing...a New England Tradition", which will be displayed at the Uralla Bowling Club on Saturday, December 2nd at 7pm. 

The Bowlo  will be offering a special menu for the night featuring some of our outstanding local meats and fresh produce, beers and wines along with live music. All works along with other photographs James has taken will be available to purchase on the night.  It is shaping up to be a great night and will be even better with the company of the O'Connor Community and their friends. Hope to see you all there!!



O'Connor Newsletter
Daily Timetable 2018.pdf
Reporting Thoughts.docx
Improving Reporting Survey.pdf
Mobile Phone Policy.pdf
NI Girls 6ers League 2017-18 Flyer.pdf
Northern Inland Girls 6er's Cricket League Nomination Form 2017-18.docx
Australia Day Awards - Nomination Form_2018.pdf