O'Connor Newsletter

24 March 2017
Issue Three
Principal's Report
Assistant Principal's Report
Career Corner
College Activities
Information for Parents
O'Connor Catholic College
02 6772 1666
39 Kirkwood St
Armidale, NSW, 2350

Principal's Report

Dear Parents and Carers,

Our relentless focus on learning continues at O’Connor, a community founded on faith and focused on learning. Recently a number of staff attended professional learning facilitated by Dr Lyn Sharratt a renowned educator (This is a link to her website http://lynsharratt.com). Sharratt’s work (along with Michael Fullan) have been instrumental in raising the literacy and numeracy standards of students in Canada and indeed in many parts of the world.

Sharratt’s work focusses around the 14 parameters that make a difference to student learning outcomes. The first parameter is one that we have been articulating strongly at O’Connor:

Shared belief and understanding - Every student can learn to a high standard given the right time and the right support.

We like to articulate it as everyone can learn, not at the same time nor in the same way. For us at O’Connor,  we are working together to best plan the learning needs of everyone. Our teachers are meeting to discuss learning in their Professional Learning Teams. Our staff meetings have a strong focus on learning for all.

We have prototyped three rooms with agile furniture to see if this might best suit the needs of students to ensure they can collaborate to formulate creative solutions to real world problems. These are just a few of the ways we are working on this shared belief.

Another of Sharratt and Fullan’s parameters focuses on the partnership between parents and the community. Their research (and many others) show that when parents/carers are actively involved in their child’s education, the children do better at school. As parent/carer, how can you help your child achieve the best learning outcomes for them to become confident and informed citizens?

Here are a few ways;

  • Ensure they are at school every day on time. Attendance matters, unless they are sick etc they need to be here. A day here or there does make a difference to their learning
  • Be actively involved in their children’s learning - talking to them about their learning, encourage them to research, go to homework centre, or encourage them to read (and reading yourself)
  • Help them keep a balanced approach to their life. Students need a balance that includes exercise, relaxation, prayer as well as well as schoolwork. This is all part of their learning
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Know Pastoral Academic Care Teacher and Year Leader.

Our focus on our faith learning continues with our second Youth and Family Mass on Sunday 26th March at 5.30 in the Cathedral. I look forward to seeing many of you there. Students are continuing their understanding of Lent and the ways we can help other less fortunate than ourselves through Project Compassion fundraisers. Thank you to the House Captains who are organising these events.


School spirit and our sense of belonging to this wonderful Community was alive and thriving at the Autumn Festival. Congratulations to all students who participated in the canter and with the float. A big thank you to Mrs Eli Simpson for organising the Canter and Mrs Vicki Channon and Mr Jon Hawthorne for organising the float. It is wonderful to see so many students and teachers participate in these events.

I wish the Year 12 students all the best in their upcoming Half Yearly exams. These are a chance to consolidate their understanding of the key areas of study they have completed so far in their HSC studies. These exams should be seen as a chance to enhance their learning in their subjects and as much work should be done on analysing the feedback from the teachers after the exams, as is done in the preparation time. It was great to see so many parents/carers supporting their son or daughter at the first of our Senior Success nights held recently.

I ask you again to:

Take the time to talk to your daughter/s/son/s about their learning. Encourage them to participate fully in the opportunities available in our O’Connor community, a community founded on faith and focused on learning.



Thank you

Mz Regina Menz


Assistant Principal's Report

Year 7

Year 7 students are currently camping on the Barrington Tops. This is the first time we have used this facility mainly due to the increased size of the Year 7 group but also because of the range of challenging team-building opportunities. The school would like to thank Mr Russell for his organising of the camp and also Miss Clydsdale, Mrs Roff, Mr  Hawthorne, Mr Fittler and Mrs Czinner for giving up their time to support the developmental growth of the Year 7 group.


Year 12 Exams

The Year 12 half yearly Examination period begins March 30th. Mrs Channon has distributed the daily timetable and all students should be putting in many hours of study preparation. Students will be able to rest up over the Easter break. The most important aspect of achieving high marks is for students to answer the question. This might seem obvious but in reality students tend to see words and write what they know rather than answer the question. Students also need to use correct terminology and ensure that any written answer is properly structured. Practicing the writing of answers is an important preparation technique leading up to the exams.



Students from Year 7 – 11 will receive a progress report this week. The report focuses on 3 key indications of progress, that being:

  1. Focused on learning and completion of net tasks
  2. Remembering behaviour is respectful to those in the learning environment
  3. Prepared and organised for learning.

You will notice that learning lies at the care of each point. Descriptors are used against the learning criteria to describe the level to which students are performing. What is important to note is that these reports do not reflect the actual or prospective Achievement Grade. A full academic report will be available at the end of Term 2.

Upcoming Events

Week 9

28 March - Paupers Banquet

30 March - Half Yearly Exams

31 March - Pastoral Period


Week 10

3 April - Yr 12 Half Yearly Exams (all week)

4 April - Warramalaya Retreat (until the 7th)

7 April - Stations of the Cross, Cross Country

7 April - Last Day of Term



Thank you

Simon Fleming


R.E Report

Youth Mass

Youth Mass this Sunday 26th March at the Cathedral 5.30pm. See you there! 


Lenten Reflection - Prayer​

Creator God

Take our Lenten offerings and make them radical;

grow their actions; 

enable their impact.

As we prepare for tomorrow, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven



In the seasons of the year, Lent is a time of emptying. Many of us spend the days simplifying - practising Lenten rituals of restraint and moderation.

But how I yearn for a deeper preparation; one worthy of the journey to the cross, the empty tomb and the upper room. I long for a global fast from violence: a hold on discrimination; an embargo on greed. The emptying of privilege and power is the Lent that honours the cross.

Nonetheless I will fast in my own meagre way, with the expectation that in Christ's tomorrow these small moderations will indeed be the things that break the bonds of violence discrimination and greed.

(Dominique Emery, TEAR Australia).









Paupers Banquet

Next Tuesday March 28 is the Paupers banquet. This is run as a fundraiser for Caritas and to highlight the unequal distribution of wealth on a global basis. Students pay $2.00 for a bowl of rice for lunch. Ten students are randomly drawn out to participate in a feast. Thanks to the Vinnies students for organising this.


Lenten Group

The O'Connor Lenten group continues to meet at 8.00am on Thursdays in De La Salle Chapel during Lent. It is a time for reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading and for prayer. Everyone is very welcome.


Stations of the Cross

All College students will participate in in the Stations of the Cross on the last day of this term, April 21. This will take place at 11.10am and will involve reflections on the passion at various venues around the College. Family, friends and parishioners are very welcome to attend. 



All students will have the opportunity to participate in the sacrament of reconciliation on March 29. It is a great opportunity to prepare for Easter. Thanks to Father Francis for organising this great opportunity for our students.



Thank you

Damian Roff


Chaplain Chat

Dear Friends,

What a privilege for me, to be asked by our Bishop, Michael Kennedy, to work with you as a Chaplain! I feel very honoured to be your Chaplain. You are a great group of men and women from different backgrounds, unique, full of energy, and with so many gifts and talents to offer. What a privilege to be part of you becoming, your best self!

We have so much in common, and so much we can learn, build and develop together. I am so excited to be working with you, one like you, with fears and hopes, joys and struggles, and even failings. To say the least, we are all a typical body of Christ, not perfect, but good, and good enough for God to work with for the good of all.

As your priest and Chaplain, I will hope to share with you my encounter with God and how He has revealed Himself in history and left us a narrative that is the good story. A narrative that contradicts the bad news we hear daily. A narrative that inspires hope, and challenges us to live our lives to the full. Above all, a narrative that reveals who we really are. 




With great joy, 

Fr. Francis Afu

Career Corner

ACER - Improving Learning

This is needed if you wish to enroll in Medicine, Dentistry, and Clinical Sciences at various National   Universities. Check the UMAT and University sites for more details.
Registrations for UMAT2017 are opening the first week of December. Copies of the Information Booklet can be downloaded from the UMAT website at https://umat.acer.edu.au. Please note that before registering for the test students are required to carefully read the UMAT2017 Information Booklet, which is only available online from the UMAT website. www.acer.edu.au

UMAT2017 Key Dates:
Registrations open First week in December 2016
Registrations close Friday 2 June 2017-5pm 
Late rego's close Friday 16 June 2017 - 5pm 
Applications for Special Testing Conditions close    Friday 16 June 2017
UMAT test date   Wednesday 26 July 2017
Results released  late September 2017
The only Identification documents accepted for UMAT 2017 are:
•        Current passport
•       Current photo-bearing driver's licence (full,                probationary or learner's permit)
•        Current photo-bearing Australian Keypass
•       Current photo-bearing Australian Proof of                  Age Card
•        Current photo-bearing New Zealand 18+ Card
Candidates who do not possess a current passport or driver's licence are strongly recommended to apply for a Keypass or Proof of Age Card as soon as possible, as some of these documents can take up to 1 month to obtain. Please note there is a Keypass Under-18 card for candidates under 18. No other forms of ID will be accepted.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if a candidate is intending to use their driver's licence as identification and needs to renew or update their licence before the test date (for example changing from a learner's permit to a probationary licence or from a probationary licence to a full licence), they must ensure they allow adequate time to receive the new licence. A temporary licence without a photograph will not be accepted as identification at the test centre.

For further details, please refer candidates to the UMAT website. Candidates without correct identification will not be permitted to sit UMAT2017 and will be turned away from the test centre.
•    Candidates are now required to upload a passport style photograph of themselves when they register online. The photo will be printed on their Admission Ticket and Statement of Results and may be used by the universities during the interview process.
•    In addition to Facebook and Twitter, there is now a UMAT App available to download for free. The app includes some practice questions and information about the test day, and is a good resource for schools and parents as well as candidates.


Students are reminded of the following:
•    Candidates who do not complete their UMAT2017 registration by the close of late registrations will not be permitted to sit UMAT2017.

•    There are currently five practice tests available that can be completed online only. UMAT Practice Test 1 is included with the UMAT2017 registration. Additional Practice Questions 2 is a new practice test. In addition, candidates will have access to some free preparation videos once they complete their registration to sit UMAT2017.

•    Candidates must be in at least their final year of secondary schooling, or above, to be eligible to sit UMAT, i.e. they must be completing, or already have completed, Year 12 in 2017. Year 11 students or students completing Year 12 over two years are NOT permitted to sit UMAT. Candidates found to have sat UMAT in Year 11 will have their results cancelled and may not be allowed to sit UMAT again.

•    Candidates who have a disability or other health-related needs and who wish to apply for special testing conditions must do so by Friday 16 June 2017. This includes, for example, candidates who have diabetes and require food during the test.
•    Candidates registering for the Concession Registration Fee and/or unable to pay by credit card must return their proof of concession and/or money order within 2 weeks of registering or by the registration deadline (whichever comes first). Failure to do so may result in their registration being cancelled.

•    In order to assist candidates to register and prepare for the test, some tutorials and a quiz are available on the UMAT website. Candidates should watch the Registration tutorial and complete the quiz questions before registering for the test.
Best wishes
e: [email protected] 

Australian Council for Educational Research 


See Mrs Lemon if you need more information.

Performance Workshops 

O’Connor Catholic College is excited to announce a new performing arts venture in 2017! In partnership with local business Little Fish Entertainment, OCCC is now able to offer specialised Performance Workshops for our students lead by Sarah Watson. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Performance from the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art and has worked with some of Australia’s leading directors and theatre practitioners. The aim of these weekly workshops is to develop the necessary skills and techniques required by a young actor to deliver truthful and meaningful performances in a variety of genres and styles.


Term 1 and the beginning of Term 2 will focus on performing classical Shakespearian text with the opportunity to be part of the NSW Shakespeare Carnival. The regional carnival will take place in the second week of Term 2 with state finals held in Sydney later in the year. There are opportunities to perform as a duo, in a group scene or as part of a dance/movement piece. Don’t fear Shakespeare! Learn to love the Bard and dare to tread the boards!



Sporting Achievements

Diocesan Swimming

The Diocesan team from O'Connor have put in an outstanding effort this year with all swimmers contending with a barrage of events in rapid succession. This year we had enough swimmers competing in the relay  to enter two teams into the event. Those relay teams came an honourable 2nd place and a well deserved 6th place. Many of our swimmers have placed such that they have qualified for the next level including a senior boys relay and a junior girls relay.

This year the O'Connor team walked away with 4 age champions awards. They were; Lachlan Fittler in the open boys, Mitchell Hayden in the 16 years boys, Liam Stuart in the 13 years boys and Emma Gray in the 12 years girls.

We are still waiting for the result of the 14 years girls as it was an especially competitive age group.

I would like to publicly thank the parents for taking the time to drive the students out to Moree and taking shifts on time keeping, Many thanks also go to the O'Connor students for the way they conducted themselves on the day. They would look out for each other in preparation for an event and were always very encouraging and supportive of their team mates. 


Armidale Dio Rugby League

Jake Betts, Ben Murphy, Dylan Sutton, Liam Northam and Benji Marshall were all selected in the Armidale Diocesan U15's Rugby League team after trials in Tamworth .
The boys will now play at the Northern Country NSWCCC selection trials at Smithtown on the 5th of April.








Women's Rugby League  Selection

Congratulations to  Kanaya Ahoy (Yr 11) who has been selected in the  Under 17 women's north 

west rugby league team.

Awesome  Effort !



College Activities

Armidale Show Report

Fifty seven students from O’Connor competed in the stock appraisal section of Armidale show. Students assessed stock horses, cattle, British breed sheep and fleece.

Our junior students performed exceptionally well with Nick Weier winning the overall stock horse junior judge. Placings also went to Allie Carson, Vanessa Simpson, Cal Loudon and Hannah Sinnott-Nicolete.

In the Cattle Judging Cooper Johnston and Bethany Johnstone were finalists, with Bethany placing 3rd.

In the sheep Judging the results were Ben Jones 1st, Ty Davis 2nd, Joel Croft 4th Cooper Johnston 5th. Megan Tisdell was 2nd in the Intermediate Sheep judging.

In Fleece Sarah Edmonds 1st and Bethany Rohde was 2nd.

Later in the afternoon Megan Tisdall qualified for the state parading final in Sydney over Easter.

Several students tried cattle parading for the first time, with Allie Carson 3rd and Vanessa Simpson 5th in the 12 yrs section.

Several students assisted with the running of the day including leading stock for judging and preparing cattle.

On Saturday "Not A Lot" Natalie was sashed Champion British Breed Exhibit, led by Zeke Johnstone.

Congratulations to all students on their excellent behaviour and results. 

The College would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Price for all her hard work and dedication to the students of O'Connor over the extremely busy show season.

Janet Price - AG


Campus to City Canter

A fantastic turn out today from the O'Connor community for the Campus to City Canter.


St Patricks' Day

Students  from La Salle baked up a treat on St Pat's Day, fundraising to go towards Caritas. There were a great selection of  green delights .  Thanks to all students who were involved and contributed to the stall.

Year 7 Habitat Boxes

Round 1 of the Year 7 'Home Tweet Home' Wood-tech 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. This is the first round of designs produced by the year 7 group term 1 2017. They have used food dye as the 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 be hung in place for their new residents. 

Mr Mark Fulloon.

Design & Technology

Autumn Parade

School spirit is alive and well at O'Connor Catholic College. A huge shout out to all the staff and students who decorated the float and enthusiastically participated in the Autumn festival parade! Special thanks to Mrs Channon for getting everybody organised and also to Kelly's Transport.





Information for Parents

Uniform Shop

The Uniform Shop will be open for Winter Uniform purchases on 24th April from 9.00 to 2.00 pm.

Uniform Shop Trading Hours

Monday 8am - 12pm   

Wednesday 12pm - 4pm

 Friday 10am - 2pm

College Canteen

The canteen is always looking for more volunteers, so if you have a spare day once a term, once a month or more often please let us know. If you are new to the school, helping in the canteen is a great way to meet other parents and learn about the school community.

Community News


I would like to invite you (all of you) to become members of the Armidale Community Drug Action Team. Above is a brochure that tells you a bit about the Team. If you are interested in participating, please email me.

Please be advised there is a CDAT meeting on Tuesday 11th April in the Councillors Meeting Room in the main COUNCIL building (upstairs). I have arranged tea and coffee.

The focus of this meeting is the up coming training ‘The Other Talk’ and Tony Trimmingham session.

I look forward to seeing you all there on the 11th.

Sally Schofield - Youth Services Coordinator    



P 02 6770 3678  M 0400 861 734  F 02 6772 9275

[email protected] W armidaleregional.nsw.gov.au



O'Connor Newsletter
CDAT brochure.pdf
CDAT brochure.pdf