From the Pen of the Principal
Dear Parents and Caregivers
In the Catholic tradition October has been a month during which we express a special devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary was the first person to say 'YES' to God in the story of Jesus and is a role model for each one of us. Though the future was uncertain, she trusted God and became an agent for God's grace to enter the world.
As a young man I struggled to understand the importance of Mary and was a little uneasy about the many glorious holy cards depicting an almost supernatural queen. I remember in primary school making the mistake of answering a teacher's question about the trinity and placing Mary in the mix (I was pretty young at the time!). The small glow-in-the-dark statue of Mary that my parents gave to me after my first communion also freaked me out a little.
My understanding and appreciation of Mary came when I was in early 20's and studied the Michelangelo statue which the artist entitled “Pieta". The marble carving depicts Mary shortly after the crucifixion with the dead body of her son, Jesus, draped across her lap. I imagined the moment of deep grief that a mother would have at that instant. Having followed God's will at every point of her life, not fully understanding what it all meant, that moment must have been both grief-stricken and confusing. Was everything to end this way? Why would God have allowed this final act to bring an end to such great promises? Perhaps she thought with equal confusion about her “Yes" to God in agreeing to bear Jesus those many years previous.
Michelangelo gave the title to this emotional snapshot in the life of Jesus, the “Pieta". It is a word that means “faithfulness". At every stage of her life, despite confusion, despite despair, Mary was faithful to promise she had given. Her “Yes" never wavered despite the painful experience and doubt.
Since that time I have developed a much deeper appreciation for the place of Mary within our faith tradition. Mary is a model of faithfulness. She is the model of the human response to God's call. She is our role model. In life, God calls us to be agents of his peace and love in our world. In offering our “yes" to God, we will face doubt, confusion and tragedy. But Mary presents us with the ultimate model of human faithfulness to God's call. We are called to be faithful to our commitment despite the difficulties and challenges that life will throw at us.
Mary is also a role model of justice. In Mary's famous prayer the “Magnificat" she says of God: 'He has shown might with his arm, He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty'. Mary, like Jesus, wants all people to be treated with dignity, for the lowly to be raised up, and to have their basic needs met. We are challenged to have the same values.
Solidarity and justice are at the core of a Catholic School in the Ignatian Tradition. We are called to offer a different kind of education, an education that is purpose-filled with the intent of growing young people into active citizens with a social conscience, an education that will lead to advocacy for the marginalised.
It is a reality that many Catholic schools have become comfortable and attractive to those who may primarily seek our 'fruits but not our roots'. We must resist this tendency as we face a society that increasingly sees education as a commodity which can be bought. We must resist the temptation to have our schools being used principally as vehicles for socio-differentiation and creeping elitism. At times even the parents of our students need to be reminded that we are on about more than 'strong academic results', 'good discipline' and providing a 'caring environment', as important as these qualities are for any school community.
To set our priorities and define our success solely by league tables and sporting achievements betrays the foundations upon which we stand. As a Catholic School within the Brisbane Archdiocese and a Jesuit Companion School, we can model a family of schools where those who can look after those who cannot; where co-responsibility becomes the norm, and where the strong accept responsibility for those at the margins.
When we reflect on the life of Mary we see a model of faithfulness to God and to God's call to be agents of justice and solidarity in a world that is too often divided into the 'haves' and 'have nots'. It is not surprising that devotion to Our Lady was such an important part of the life of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier as they reflected on the world in which they lived and how best to bring hope to those who were oppressed by an unjust social order. Let us commit to doing the same.
Peace and Blessings
Year 3-7 (9-12yrs) Swimming Carnival
World Teachers Day
Year 10 Annual Retreat
Melbourne Cup Day
Year 5 Camp
Year 9 Annual Retreat
From the Head of School – Primary: Mr Russell Davey
The weeks are quickly passing by and we are approaching a number of key events in the P-6 calendar. As you are aware the general restrictions in relation to COVID are easing however, we are still required to adhere to a number of conditions whenever we hold events. To ensure all families have the same information I have included below an overview of the major events we have occurring throughout the remaining weeks of the school year. Unfortunately, this list does not include our P-6 Spirit Night as we are not able to run an internal event of this size outside of school hours. We are however working on an alternative production (short film) that will be shared with all families at the end of the term. As detailed below the P-6 Carols are still on the calendar and a final decision will be made closer to the date once we have up to date information regarding restrictions for events being held outdoors. Please do not hesitate to contact the College should you have any questions regarding the information shown below.
9-12 Years Swimming Carnival - Friday 30th October
Preparations are well underway for this event. Parents will be asked to adhere to the COVID restrictions in place at the Aquatic Centre. We look forward to the first of our two swimming carnivals for 2020
Year 5 Camp – Wednesday 4th November to 6th November
Our Annual Year 5 camp has been rescheduled and all in place for what should be a wonderful experience for our Year 5 cohort. As per all other events in 2020 a specific COVID plan will be in place at the campsite to ensure the wellbeing of all attending staff and students.
Prep Information Evening – Tuesday 10th November
Our Prep Information evening will occur on Tuesday 10th November from 6.30 pm – 7.30 pm. The location of this evening presentation at the school will be advised closer to the date.
Prep – Year 3 Swimming Carnival – Thursday 26th November
Preparations are again well underway for this event. Unfortunately, at this stage the venue (Elders Swim Centre) have advised that parents will not be allowed to attend due to current COVID restrictions.
Prep Orientation Day/Yr 1-6 Transition Day – Friday 27th November
We will host our new cohort of Prep students at the College on Friday 27th November from 8.50 am – 10 .30 am. This will also be the day that current students spend the morning in the year level they will be moving to in 2021.
Year 6 Final Assembly & Morning Tea – Wednesday 2nd December
We will acknowledge and celebrate our current Year 06 cohort on the 2nd December with a special assembly and morning tea. This is a special moment for our Year 6 students as they move into their secondary years at Xavier. Details regarding this event will be provided to all Year 6 parents closer to the date. Some restrictions will be in place regarding attendance due to COVID.
P-6 Carols – Wednesday 2nd December
TBC. A final decision will be made re the P-6 carols in the weeks leading up to the event. At this stage, the plan is for this event to go ahead.
Primary School - Excellence at XCC Award recipients
These awards are for students who have demonstrated one or more of the following SAIL Expectations.
We are Safe
We Act Responsibly
We Interact Respectfully
We Love to Learn
Award recipients Term 4, Week 2
Parker Batchelor & Alexx Stankovic
Tyler Brummell & Adaobi Nkire
Award recipients Term 4, Week 4
Thehas De Silva
Abigail Penman & Darby Dennis
Each Thursday we run homework club for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students for both our junior and secondary students.
Life EducationLife Education and Health Harold the Giraffe are coming to our school soon. Their mission is to empower young people to develop the skills needed to make informed decisions. They will be here from Monday 16 November until Wednesday 25 November delivering the program from Prep to Year 6.It is important to the program for parents to be involved as much as they can. There are great articles on their website for parents with up to date topics: http://www.lifeeducation.org.au/parents Continue the conversation with your children by working on the Life Education modules together at home. A parent brochure has been included in the newsletter but to view more information about the parent module, visit… http://www.lifeeducation.org.au/parents/modules
Day for Daniel
On Friday 23rd October Prep to Year 6 students celebrated Day for Daniel by wearing RED.Through fundraising, Daniel Morcombe Foundation can continue providing all teachers, parents and carers with free resources to teach children about their personal safety and support young victims of crime. The key message of the resources being to teach children to Recognise, React and Report if they ever feel unsafe. The link for the website is https://danielmorcombe.com.au/day-for-daniel/It was great to see the support and generosity of our families with not only a sea of Red clothing but also raising $345.50 which will be passed on to the Daniel Morcombe foundation this week.Well done everyone and thank you for supporting this worthy cause.From the Head of School – Secondary: Ms Tameika GristAfter several years of preparation and planning our Year 12 students are now experiencing their first external exam as a part of their assessment process for QCAA. Well done to all students and families for the work and effort that has gone in to preparing for these weeks. We know the planning, support and sacrifices all contribute to our students' preparedness and ability to do their best.We also recognise that assessments do often cause an extra dimension of stress; our Senior School Guidance Counsellor, Annie Sexton, has written some wise words of advice about this, further on in this fortnight's edition of the Newsletter.Friday 30 October is World Teachers' Day. Whilst not a new thing to have a day of appreciation and thanks for teachers, I think this year has created a greater awareness generally among the community for the work teachers do. All teachers at Xavier do an amazing job caring for, teaching, guiding and building up our students. If you do have a chance to encourage a teacher or share your thanks, I know that they will really appreciate hearing how they are making a difference for the students in their care.This week, Year 8s will be given some information about subject choices for Year 9 and we will also begin working with them regarding Year 9 Leadership positions. Further information will be sent home directly. Please have conversations with your sons and daughters about these important aspects of their schooling.As we come to the end of year arrangements, we are grateful for the way the community has supported and engaged in helping us manage our COVID Safe events. Our School Formal was a great example of this, and we were thrilled that the arrivals process went extremely smoothly and allowed parents an excellent opportunity to view their sons and daughters. We are thankful for the skills and talents of the many teachers and helpers behind the scenes that created such an amazing night, especially Ms Stacy Mills and Mrs Margie Robertson and for Matt Ninnes who enabled the video live streaming for those at home.There are some further events coming up that we will also utilise the live stream approach, as unfortunately we cannot host the numbers of parents at our alternative 7 – 11 Awards Ceremony Assembly or final Year 12 Assembly. Parents of students in these Year levels have received more specific information via email this week.Events coming up in the Senior School:Monday 2 November: The Year 10 annual retreat will be held in JPAC. Wednesday 4 November: The Year 7-11 Awards Ceremony will be held during school time. Students are to wear normal day uniforms. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, this will be a closed event for students and staff only. This event is in lieu of the traditional Middle School & Senior Celebration Evenings. A live stream of the ceremony will be available on the College's Facebook page. (9.00 - 11.00 am).Thursday 5 November: The Year 9 annual retreat will be held on school grounds. Wednesday 18 November: Year 12 Graduation Celebration and Awards PresentationsFriday 20 November: Final Assembly for Year 12 students. A live stream of the ceremony will be available on the College's Facebook page. (9.00 - 10.30 am).Friday 27 November: Final day of classes for students in Years 10 and 11.Tuesday 1 – Thursday 3 Dec.: Years 7 - 9 alternative program composed of community service projects and relationship-building activities.Thursday 3 December: Final official day of school for Year 7-9 students.
During their school years, and particularly in the secondary/middle years, students experience constant challenges. Along with academic pressures, students are beginning to seek independence and autonomy from their parents and responsibility for themselves. They feel the need to maintain acceptance from peers in a world of mixed values,and navigate changing relationships. Although we cannot eliminate all sources of stress, it is important for them to learn how to cope by employing effective strategies. As parents we can assist them in developing these strategies. Managing examination and assessment task stress is particularly relevant for students in middle and secondary school as this can produce physical and emotional symptoms that effects their ability to think clearly. Some strategies for students to control stress include:
Be well prepared for the test /task– use your study time wisely, limit interaction on social media websites
Maintain a healthy lifestyle - get enough sleep, eat healthy food
Be prepared for an exam the night before - have necessary resources ready
Be on time
Carefully read any instructions
Calm yourself by taking some slow breaths
Just do your best
When the exam/task is over, treat yourself!
As parents, you can assist your child by:
Helping your child with time management and planning
Stay calm if your child is upset
Help your child put exams/tasks into perspective, remind them of past successes
Ensure your child is taking time-out and doing something relaxing or enjoyable
Useful resources /information on stress including:
What is stress,
the effects of stress,
how to eliminate unnecessary stress,
how to cope with stress.
Guidance Counsellor (7-12)
Did you know that the average student will generate nearly half a tonne of plastic waste, just from their lunchbox, in the time they're at school? That is why, at Xavier, we are embracing the 'Nude Food' revolution. For the uninitiated, this is food that comes to school without disposable packaging – no extra plastic bags, paper bags, wrappings, plastic water bottles or cling wraps.
From Monday, the 2nd of November, we will be encouraging all students to do their bit for the planet and bring nude food for lunch. Senior students are only asked to do nude food Thursdays, while primary students will be participating every day of November. On Thursday the 12th, in honour of National Recycling Week, we will hold a competition in the primary school to see which class is the best at nude food.
Why should students participate in nude food November?
Nutrition: a third of a student's daily diet is consumed at school, so the contents of their lunchbox is crucial to their health. Creating waste free lunch days reduces the consumption of packaged, processed foods and increases the intake of fresh, whole foods. Compared to fresh foods, pre-packaged food often contains more kilojoules, fat, salt and sugar. Avoiding those quick, pre-packaged snacks like muesli bars, biscuits and processed meats, not only reduces waste at school but ensures better nutrition for your child.
Reduce landfill: A WasteNet survey conducted by the Gould League found that schools on average produce 33 tonnes of waste per year. Plastic waste can take hundreds to thousands of years to break down, and it will either end up clogging up landfill or floating in the oceans, where animals are at risk. We can have a significant impact on landfill by simply avoiding the use of cling wrap, juice boxes, plastic water bottles and all unnecessary packaging.
Save money: Avoiding pre-packaged foods and buying foods in bulk can save time and money. By making your own lunchbox snacks, you can then purchase the raw ingredients in bulk too; instead of buying a 6 pack of yoghurts, purchase 1 kilo packet and just make up individual, leak proof containers for lunch, or make popcorn from kernels and add your own toppings, instead of buying single serves of plastic.
By making a conscious decision to only include foods that leave no packaging, we can improve nutrition, reduce landfill and save money. Pop the sandwich or bread roll into a lunchbox or reusable sandwich bag and use small containers for any snack foods and of course, pack a reusable drink bottle. The only thing left at the end of the day should be an apple core, crusts or other left-over food remnants – all good fodder for the compost to enrich our soils. We acknowledge that this can be a big change and sometimes it isn't possible to move completely to nude food, but even the smallest effort is appreciated by us and our planet!
Waste to Art
Students in the Primary School have submitted entries to the Fraser Coast 'Waste To Art' competition. Artwork had to be created from recycled materials and the entries range from a massive and very impressive crocodile made by Summer McMahon, a recycled plastic artwork depicting K'Gari by Tayla Barber, to a wonderful camera made by Juniper Canning. Many enthusiastic students helped with the joint construction of our plastic bottle chandelier and we all learnt new skills and enjoyed being creative. The works will be displayed at Gatakers Artspace, Maryborough - Friday 6 November (6.00pm start)
Exhibition Opening Times: Monday – Friday 10.00am-4.00pm Saturday – Sunday 10.00am-1.00pm
Congratulations in particular to the following students for their great work:
Teacher of 'The Arts'
Year 7 Retreat
Last Monday we were able to finally hold our annual year 7 retreat themed, “You Matter". The Passionist Youth Team were the facilitators for the day and our students participated in a fantastic day. Students talked about the importance of everyone in their cohort, not just their best friends. They also discussed the importance of helping others to be a part of the grade, not being left out and working on getting to know everyone as we will be together for the next six years. Thank you to all students who so generously participated in this day. These retreat days are more than just a day off normal school classes, they are a gateway to developing good relationships with attitudes of service and excellence in all we do with and for each other. A big thank you to the Passionist Youth Team. We are looking forward to welcoming them back again in 2021.
Maths Pathway – Year 7-9 Growth Gurus
Each fortnight we will be recognising the students who have mastered six or more new mathematical concepts for the cycle. These students have achieved rocket status for their growth rate.
Taking pictures with my eyes
My family often laugh when they recall the first time, I shared this statement. Now it is a commonly used phrase around our family and one that they often acknowledge before I am even asked. It all began in 2013 when I travelled with Caritas Australia to Nepal to learn about the projects that Caritas Nepal had been undertaking and to see first hand where our donations and fundraising during project compassion had been invested. Our team underwent many hours of training and understanding Nepal's cultural history, its landscape, customs and the extreme difficulties that the Nepalese people were facing each day and for many years. One of the things that we discussed amongst many was that we were not to take photos but allow only our designated photographer to do this as it could be perceived as tourism rather than our purpose, to immerse ourselves into the lives and hearts of the Nepalese people. Theology of presence, being truly present with those who are welcoming you, sharing their lives, opening their hearts to you, right here, right now. Being in the moment, a God moment. During those weeks there was no contact with my family so upon my return, my children asked me, “So mum what was it like". It was then that I shared, “I was just taking pictures with my eyes and they were the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen." Every moment that my eyes captured, every person, story, landscape and meal shared, I took in through my eyes into my heart and soul. These moments will never leave me nor will the feelings, emotions and gratitude that I experienced in those short few weeks of my life. So appreciative of their life and all that they had worked for, so generous and proud of what they had achieved and what they could give to their world. I had never been big on taking photos during my everyday experiences. It was during this time in Nepal that I realised that I loved being in the moment, not wanting to miss an emotion, an expression, the person or experience I was engaging in.
In today's world, we constantly are using images to help convey meaning and thoughts to others. Today as I go about my every day, I am constantly taking pictures with my eyes as my heart skips a beat at the joy and beauty that God shares with me in my life. From the wonderings of a family as they walk into school together, to the sun shining through the clouds, to the simplest of flowers on the path just growing there, minding its own business, not knowing that its beauty is so profound. My eyes have also seen the passing of my father, the birth of grandchildren, families in great distress and tears of joys as students graduate after many years of hard work. My eyes have seen the gratefulness of my life and this is what we teach our children. Never take anyone or anything for granted, value all as life, a life worthy of your love and never forget to say thank you, through your words and actions. My photo album is never full, my gallery never needs to be culled and my heart will never be the same.
From the Guidance Counsellor
Supporting positive behaviour through skill-building
The time children spend at school is important, but the closeness of relationships between parent and child means that you are your child's most important and valuable teacher. Every day, both directly and indirectly, you support your child to learn new information, skills and ways of behaving.
Teaching skills to children can be a helpful strategy in supporting them to choose helpful behaviour. There are three key steps in supporting your child to learn new behaviours, from basic self care skills to more complex behaviours. These steps are:
Demonstrate desired behaviour through modelling.
Provide step by step advice and feedback to support learning.
Give instructions only when you have your child's attention. Use your child's name and encourage your child to look at you while you speak.
Get down to your child's physical level to speak.
Remove any background distractions like the TV.
Use language that your child understands. Keep your sentences short and simple.
Use a clear, calm voice.
Use gestures to emphasise things that you want your child to notice.
Gradually phase out your instructions and reminders as your child gets better at remembering how to do the task.
Modelling is usually the most efficient way to teach children a new skill. You can also use modelling to show your child skills and behaviour that involve non-verbal communication, like body language and tone of voice.
Modelling can work for social skills too. Prompting your child with phrases like
'Thank you, Mum', or 'More please, Dad' is an example of this.
How to make modelling work well
Use the following steps:
Get your child's attention and make sure they are looking at you.
Get your child to watch first, then move slowly through the steps of the skill so that your child can clearly see what you're doing.
Point out the important parts of what you're doing. For example, 'See how I am…'. You might want to do this later if you're modelling social skills like greeting a friend.
Give your child lots of opportunities to practise for themselves once they have seen you do it- and remember, skill building takes time and practise.
Tanya Gripske, Guidance Counsellor
Primary Swimming Carnivals
The Xavier Catholic College 9 to 12 years Primary Swimming Carnival will be held on Friday the 30th October at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre. All year 4, 5 and 6 students are expected to attend the carnival as well as the students in year 3 (2011) and year 7 (2008) that have nominated for Championship events.
The program below outlines the order of events with approximate times. Parents and caregivers are welcome to come and support our swimmers but are requested to follow the COVID guidelines put in place by the Aquatic Centre.
The HBD Swimming Carnival for 2020 has been cancelled.
9:20 – 9:40am
9yrs (2011) Freestyle
9:40 – 10:00am
10yrs (2010) Freestyle
10:00 – 10:20am
11yrs (2009) Freestyle
10:20 – 10:40am
12yrs (2008) Freestyle
10:40 – 11:00am
9yrs (2011) Backstroke
11:00 – 11:20am
10yrs (2010) Backstroke
11:20 – 11:40am
11yrs (2009) Backstroke
11:40 – 12.00
12yrs (2008) Backstroke
12:00 – 12:20pm
9yrs (2011) Breast stroke
12:20 – 12:40pm
10yrs (2010) Breast stroke
12:40 – 1:00pm
11yrs (2009) Breast Stroke
1:00 – 1:20pm
12yrs (2008) Breast Stroke
1:20 – 1:40pm
Butterfly Championship Events
1:40 – 1:50
9yrs (2011) 25m novelty race
1:50 – 2:00pm
10yrs (2010) 25m novelty race
2:00 – 2:10pm
11yrs (2009) 25m novelty race
2:10 – 2:20pm
12yrs (2008) 25m novelty race
2:20 – 2:30
Presentation and clean up
The Prep, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 Carnival will be held on the 26th November at Elders Swim
Centre. Unfortunately, this will be a spectator free event.
Year 7-12 Hervey Bay District Athletics Carnival
On Thursday 22nd October, Xavier sent a team of 59 students to compete at the Hervey Bay District Athletics Carnival. Due to the impact of Covid-19 on the school athletics season in 2020, this year's District carnival was a modified event. School teams were capped at 60 students with students competing in Year Levels rather than age groups. Students competed across 5 championship events including: 100m, 800m, Triple Jump, Long Jump, Shot Put and Relays. In addition, students were also able to compete in novelty events including foam discus and captain ball. Students are to be congratulated on their outstanding display of effort, sportsmanship and pride in the College by participating in a manner that epitomises Xavier Sport's foundational principle of 'striving to be our best both on and off the sporting field'. Xavier had a resounding victory on the day by claiming Overall School Champions by more than 200 points. IN addition, the following students were awarded Age Champion medallions:
Year 7 Girls: Ellie Stewart
Year 7 Boys: Xavier Dennis
Year 8 Boys: Braidan Houliston
Year 9 Girls: Sophie Barry
Year 9 Boys: Kai Prouatt
Year 10 Girls: Tayissa Richters
Year 10 Boys: Eli Smith
Year 12 Boys: Dylan Crockford
Congratulations to all students involved.
2020 Sports Awards
Once again, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 school sport calendar, students' achievements in sport this year will be acknowledged in a modified format. Rather than a stand-alone Sports Awards ceremony, students who have contributed to school sport at Xavier in 2020, will be acknowledged at our Year 7-11 Awards Assembly next Wednesday 4th November.
Regional Disability Expo
The Regional Disability Expo is coming soon to Hervey Bay.
Attendance is FREE for anyone wishing to find more information about products, services, and activities available in your region. For more information go to https://www.disabilityexposc.com.au/register-your-attendance/
When: Thursday 5th November at PCYC
Time: 9.30am – 3.30pm