Newsletter - Term 1, Week 10, 2023

​​​​​From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

He is Risen!  Alleluia!

These are the words that sum up the passion and hope of our Christian family as we celebrate the Easter mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  They are the words that inspire us to live with confidence and joy despite adversity.  They empower us to live bravely and to love openly.

It is easy to compartmentalise the Easter story to events that took place two millennia ago.  Some attempt to confine the story to that time and proclaim our world has moved on.  Certainly, our Christian family proclaims the historical reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but the story cannot be confined to ancient history.  Easter is a living reality.  It is a reality that happens every day.

How can we be sure that the first Easter is still with us?  At times it is not easy. Our hope and confidence can be challenged by a world in which so many suffer.  A review of the newspapers confronts us with reports of violence, inhumanity, greed, tragedy and death.  In such a world it can be hard to believe that Easter is still present.

Yet amid the chaos we hear voices that speak to us of Easter.  They are the voices who speak with irrepressible hope and conviction that amid the pain and suffering there is life and joy.  They are the ‘angels’ of Easter.  They are the angels who remind us that the impossible is possible and that our irrepressible hope, against all odds, is a power that can conquer all pain. It is a hope that is born in our faith in the message of Jesus, who spoke of love, forgiveness, compassion, peace and justice. At Easter we reaffirm our belief that this message was so powerful and authentic to the Spirit of God that it could not be snuffed out by evil, hatred and violence; we celebrate our conviction that this life-giving message conquered death itself. This is the Easter message that continues to ripple through history.

​I recently read the story of one such modern-day ‘angel’ of the Easter message.  You may remember the horrific picture of a small girl that appeared in many books and documentaries on the Vietnam war. There are those who argue that it was this photo that led to the end of the war as the horrific image confronted people in the Western world.  In the photo she is running naked along a war-torn road, screaming in anguish as napalm seared her body.  It was taken in 1972 after U.S. bombers had destroyed her village.  It is a picture that conveys much of the inhumanity and destruction of war.  I had always assumed the little girl had died in the war.  Another victim.

The article I read explained that this little girl survived.  The child’s name is Kim Phúc and now, after years of physical and emotional recovery, she lives in Canada with her husband and children and went on to establish Kim Foundation International, which offers medical assistance, including psychological support, to children affected by war. She is now 59 years of age. In a dramatic gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation Kim travelled to Washington in 1996 to lay a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.  In her address to the crowd of several thousand people she spoke words of forgiveness, peace and her faith in God.  Kim said to the gathering “Even if I could talk face to face with the pilot who dropped the bombs, I would tell him: “We cannot change the past, but we can do good things for the present and the future to promote peace.”

In 2008 during an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) she said ‘Forgiveness made me free from hatred. I still have many scars on my body and severe pain most days, but my heart is cleansed. Napalm is very powerful, but faith, forgiveness, and love are much more powerful. We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope, and forgiveness. If that little girl in the picture can do it, ask yourself: Can you?’

​In July 2022, Kim Phúc welcomed, in person, 236 Ukrainian refugees with children aboard a special flight from Warsaw to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The airplane used for the special flight bore an image of her iconic 1972 photo.

How do we know that Easter still happens in our world?  We listen to the voices of angels like Kim:  angels who show us that even in the worst of tragedy there can be hope and new life.  

May this Easter season be a time for each of us to speak words of forgiveness, healing, hope, reconciliation and new life.  May we be willing to be ‘angels’ of Easter in our homes and communities.  May the risen Christ be made present through our words and actions.  I wish you all a happy and holy Easter season.

Blessing and Peace,
Simon Dash

​Head of School - Primary

As the term draws to close, I wanted to touch base with all families to express my thanks for your support across what has been a busy, exciting, and most importantly successful first term at Xavier Catholic College in 2023. It is always wonderful to see the development of our students as they settle into their new classes and engage with their learning.  

On a personal note, I also want to wish all families the very best for the remainder of the school year. As Mr Dash has shared with the wider school community, I will be taking long service leave until the end of the school year and embarking on a trip around our beautiful country with my family.  I will mis the Xavier community greatly whilst travelling but I also know that the Primary School is in very good hands and that our students will continue to reach higher, see further and shine brighter as the year progresses. I also would like to wish each member of our community a happy and holy Easter and I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy this time of the year with your respective loved ones.  

Please see below some key staffing updates for Term 2 and do not hesitate to contact the College should you require any clarification:

  • As announced earlier in the term Mrs Sarah Love will take on the role of Acting Head of School (Primary Years) for the remainder of the school year.  I know Mrs Love will lead the school very well and that the Primary Years are in excellent hands moving forward into 2023. 
  • Mrs Melanie Beety will step into the role of Acting Assistant Principal (Primary Years).  We welcome Mrs Beety to the College Leadership team and look forward to her contribution across the remainder of the school year.
  • As announced earlier this week Mrs Peta Spencer will take on the role of Primary Learning Leader at the College.  We look forward to welcoming Peta to the College and are excited to have her as part of the primary years team for the remainder of 2023.
  • Mrs Kristy Jeffery will be on long service leave for Term 2, visiting her family in the Northern Territory and enjoying time with her young grandchildren.  Mrs Kim Holz will take on the role of classroom teacher in the 5.3 classroom.  We welcome Kim to the College and wish Kristy the very best for her upcoming leave
  • Mrs Libby Gaedtke has formally announced her retirement from teaching after 37 years in education. We will recognise her outstanding contribution to teaching in our local area at our Primary Years Holy Week Liturgy on the final day of the school term.

As always, I would encourage you to contact the College should you have a concern for your child.  Community is a very important part of our College and communication is key towards ensuring a strong and successful working relationship between home and school.  I look forward to catching up with all families upon my return in 2024 and wish all the very best for what remains of the year ahead.

Russell Davey​

Head of School - Secondary

There is a feeling of gratitude for the first term of 2023. It has been a busy term, with lots of events, fun and learning occurring at Xavier during this time. As we move into this time of rest and rejuvenation, could I encourage all students to set their goals for Term 2 to achieve the best academic success possible. I hope you are able to relax and enjoy this wonderful weather. 

This week at our 7 – 12 Staff Meeting, as a professional learning community, we unpacked the data from the recent bullying survey with students. A reassuring piece of information from our students was that nearly all students knew of a teacher/Head of House/member of the Leadership Team who they could talk to if they felt they were being bullied. 

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says:

Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.

Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium, and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

Behaviours that do not constitute bullying include:

  • Mutual arguments and disagreements (where there is no power imbalance)
  • Not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
  • One-off acts of meanness or spite
  • Isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation, or violence.

However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved. 

Likewise, not all online issues are bullying. (Online bullying is sometimes referred to as cyberbullying and refers to bullying that is carried out through information and communication technologies.)

I would like to wish all families a peace-filled and relaxing upcoming break. May you spend this time in the presence of loved ones.

With Blessings
Ursula Witham-Young​


Local Holy Week and Easter Mass Times

Palm Sunday 
Saturday - 1st April
St Joseph’s, Pialba, 6pm 
Sunday - 2nd April
St Joseph’s, Pialba, 7am and 9am
St Peter the Fisherman, Burrum Heads, 4pm

Holy Thursday – 6th April
Mass of the Lord’s Supper, St Joseph’s, Pialba, 6pm

Good Friday – 7th April
Outdoor Stations of the Cross, St Joseph’s, Pialba, 10.30am
The Lord’s Passion with Communion, St Joseph’s, Pialba, 3pm

Holy Saturday – 8th April
Easter Vigil, St Joseph’s, Pialba, 6pm

Easter Sunday – 9th April
Celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection
St Joseph’s, Pialba, 7am and 9am
St Patrick’s, Howard, 4pm

Term 2 Return Dates

Term 2 will begin on Monday, 17 April 2023 for the Primary School.
Secondary students will return to school on Tuesday, 18 April. Monday (17 April) is a student free day in the Secondary School to allow for staff to engage in collaborative planning sessions. As a result, there will be no supervision provided for Secondary students on this day.

School Photo Day

School photos will be taken by Academy Photos on the first Wednesday of Term 2 (19 April, 2023).
All Secondary Students must wear their full formal uniform.
Please find important photo information below:

If additional photo envelopes are required for parents living separately, please contact the school office on 4197 1177 (select option 3) and an extra envelope will be sent home with your child/ren.

If you have any questions about our Academy Photos shoot or about the ordering process, please contact the school office on 4197 1177 (select option 3).

Mother’s Day Raffle Prizes: We’re looking for donations! 

The Mother’s Day Raffle organised by staff in the Matteo Ricci Library is always a popular fundraiser.

If you’re a local business and would like to donate a prize towards the raffle this year, we would greatly appreciate your support.

All money raised will go towards buying new resources for our school library.

If you’re able to assist, please contact Mr B at

2023 Education Perfect Global Languages Championship
Congratulations to all students who competed in 2023 Education Perfect Global Languages Championship, which took place from 7-14 March.  

The year 7s and 8s independently completed Education Perfect activities in French, earning points for correct responses. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore the language in a different way. An incredible effort by all!  Félicitation!
The following students achieved an award:
Gold (top 2% of competitors from around the world)
Archer Everest
Liliana Minda
Bronze (top 10% of competitors from around the world)
Gabriella Holloway
Emily Barlogie
Credit (top 20% of competitors from around the world)
Tayla Abraham
Zoey Quinn
Emily Betts

Narwari Eggnormous Easter Raffle Winners

Thank you to everyone who supported Narwari’s Caritas Easter egg raffle this year. A big thank you to all Narwari students and parents for donating the delicious Easter egg treats and to everyone who promoted the raffle and bought tickets.

The donation could be used to help Caritas:

Buy 214 chickens for households in Zimbabwe.


Train women and men in Africa to learn how to sustain themselves (ISAL).


Plant trees in Nepal around a school and neighbourhood.


Establish a school library in Nepal. 

And so much more. Isn’t that truly wonderful?

Congratulations to our raffle winners in the Primary and Secondary schools.

1. Lucas Ferguson 
2. Amelia Slatterie 
3. Olivia Kostowski 

1. Charlie Pujol 
2. Piper Spencer 
3. Finnian McDonald

Year 3s and Year 11s get together to learn about our oceans 

Mrs Robertson’s Year 3 class and Mrs Glass’ Year 11 Aquatic Practices students recently got together for an exciting afternoon of games.

The snorkelling trail games, made by the Year 11s in their aquatic class, helped both groups of students learn more about our oceans.

How cool is it when junior and senior students can learn together – and have fun at the same time!

​2023 Lions Youth of the Year

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2023 Lions Youth of the Year Competition to support four amazing candidates from Year 12.  Georgia Mears, Lola Esposito, Lousie Drake and College Captain, Charlotte Davies were outstanding representatives of the College throughout the competition. They prepared topical, youth-centred speeches and presented with both confidence and humour. The audience were entertained and inspired and shared with me that they looked forward to a future led by youth with such compassion, authenticity and spirit. I couldn't agree more.

The Lions Youth of the Year is a rigorous program comprising of public speaking and impromptu speaking, as well as a panel interview. The interview encourages students to share their contributions to the community and school, their academic, cultural and sporting successes as well as their leadership experience. The program is internationally recognised and prestigious, as it is known to celebrate and further develop the leadership skills of high school students about to finish their senior schooling.

Georgia, Lola, Louise and Charlotte represented their families, the College and the youth of today in an exemplary manner and should be commended for their courage in taking up this challenge. Their support and encouragement of each other during the program was admirable.

I hope to see just as many senior students step up next year to take on this fantastic opportunity which fosters independence, resilience, leadership and active involvement in the community.

Jo Kliendienst
Learning Enhancement Leader (Humanities and Languages)


Primary cross-country rescheduled

K-6 Cross-country will now take place tomorrow (Friday, 31 March 2023) – starting at 09:30am with the Kindy race.

The schedule for Year 7-12 students (including 12-year-old Year 6 students) remains unchanged.

Please remember to wear your house shirt


​Hervey Bay District Swimming Carnival

Xavier Catholic College sent a team of 45 students to compete in the Hervey Bay District Swimming Carnival on Monday, 27 March. Our main goal at these district events is to send a full team so no lanes where a Xavier student is able to compete goes empty.

Once again, it was pleasing to see our students step-up in a sporting context that is often not their preferred skill set to ensure we meet this goal.

Xavier Wolves swimmers competed to the best of their ability and with an attitude of respect and fairness.

Thank you to the following staff and students for helping the day run smoothly: Ms Julie Hourigan, Mrs Dani Wright, Mrs Simone Collins, Mr Colin Wright, Mrs Gerry Glass, Mr Paul Damms, Stewart Grumley and Haylee Trembath (running our PA and music).

​​Age Champions included:
12 yrs Boys – Munro Ralph
18yrs Girls – Alana Woods

Unfortunately, there was no silverware for XCC this year after a strong decade of holding the trophy. 

But as always, sport is a great leveller and it’s not always possible to win. However, it must be noted that Xavier was just 13 points behind the overall championship winner. 

Junior Trophy (12-14yrs)
1st – FCAC – 286 points
2nd – XCC – 178 points
3rd – SJLC – 73 points

Senior Trophy (15-18yrs)
1st – USHS – 324 points
2nd – XCC – 283 points
3rd – FCAC – 188 points

1st – FCAC – 474 points
2nd – XCC – 461 points
3rd – USHS – 386 points

Percentage Trophy (calculated by number of enrolments divided number of points accrued)
1st – FCAC – 115%
2nd – BCC – 112%
3rd – XCC – 65%

You can find more photos on our Facebook page.

Sports representatives 

We’ve had a number of Xavier Catholic College students excelling in sports at a District and State level recently.
Congratulations to Summer Wilson, Cee Cee Hilton and Katelyn Relf for being selected to represent Wide Bay at netball. 

Grace Collins was selected in her 7th consecutive Queensland cricket team after a dominant performance at the Queensland School Cricket Tournament with her Wide Bay team.

Meanwhile, College Captain Charlotte Davies earned an impressive 11th place at the Australian School Triathlon Titles in Tasmania.

Hoop-A-Thon: Hoop for mental health 

You can join the Hoop-A-Thon fundraising event on 24 June and help raise money for mental health organisations, the Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue. 

For more information on the event, click here.

​To read our previous newsletter, click here.