Newsletter - Term 1, Week 4, 2023


​​​From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers,

Once again, welcome to the 2023 Academic Year. We are well and truly up and running and the enthusiasm levels remain high, as students take up the challenge to strive for their very best.

It will be a busy year with a number of key projects underway or set to commence. These include:

Some Key Projects for 2023

  • The Non-State Schools Accreditation Board Review of the College in April.
  • Promoting our Explicit Improvement Agenda based around the acronym of RUN with our focus being on Reading, Unexplained Absences and Numeracy.
  • Launching our ‘Agreed Ways of Working’ document for staff which outlines in a positive and aspirational way how we must work together to achieve optimum performance.
  • Utilising the great skills of ALEDA, a Professional Coaching and Mentoring Institute, that works with teachers to observe, feedback and coach them in new approaches. This will commence in Semester 2 this year.
  • Of critical importance has been the launching of our “Building Positive Relationships: Developing Positive Attitudes and Perceptions” document. This will be distributed in the coming weeks to all in the community outlining our core philosophy of promoting positive behaviours.

Building Projects for 2023

The Woolooga Church finally arrived at our campus last week. While it may not look that flash at the moment, once it is finished it will be a beautiful and visible sign of our faith, provide a sacred space for prayers and liturgies and be a perfect way of marking the 20th anniversary of Xavier Catholic College.

Our second phase of air-conditioning the campus has been approved and has been signed off at the highest levels of Brisbane Catholic Education because of the size of the project. Stage 1 mainly covered the Primary area of the school. Stage 2 makes inroads into most of the Secondary Campus. We are excited to get approval and they should be operational very late this year or, at worst, for the commencement of 2024.

2023 Message – The Scene, the Theme and the Dream

At the commencement of the year, before the students returned, I had the opportunity to speak to all staff about how we are tracking and where we are going. I utilised a couple of reflections to set the scene. First was the notion of what ‘triggers’ a person to want to give their best? One thing that Catholics often get wrong is putting the ‘imperative’ before the ‘indicative’ - that is, ‘You must do these things (imperative)’ and if you do ‘you will be saved/loved by God (indicative).’ In fact, it is the other way round – God loves you unconditionally (indicative) therefore you feel liberated to want to do good things for others (imperative).

(Being an English teacher, I might have confused some (including myself) – my apologies).

Let me put it another way. Love is not blind; it is super-sighted. Jesus saw beyond the labels, some self-imposed and some externally imposed, and saw the beauty of God’s creation. This unconditional embrace liberated people to want to help others. It was love, not fear, it was acceptance rather than judgement, that triggered the response.

I asked staff to reflect on their own triggers – what makes them want to give their best? They agreed that positive energy and encouragement lifts them to a higher performance. Then the kicker - I asked them to see the world through the eyes of a student. What are the triggers that make them strive to be the best versions of themselves? I posed the following questions:

What about our Students?

  • What triggers them to want to give their best?
  • Will they perform better when we focus on building positive relationships?
  • Will it always happen? (NO – kids will test boundaries for lots of reasons)
  • Do we understand that what we do in that moment can shape a child’s future?
  • Do we stop believing in the beauty and potential of the child? 
  • Do we maintain our focus on their ‘greatness’ while they learn from their missteps? 
  • Do we love them without conditions? 
  • Do we listen for their cries for help, even if it comes out in a strange way? 
  • Do we forgive and promote growth?

It was a good way to start the year by focusing on the special mission every educator possesses to liberate the minds and hearts of our students. Of course this means at times ‘loving the ones who are hard to love’ but over the long haul it is worth it. In 20 years in the Principal’s hotseat, I am proud of so many graduates and what they have gone on to achieve. But the moment when that student, the one who has had so many mishaps and mistakes, the one who has left you tearing your hair out but has gradually turned themselves around and embraced love and trust - when that student walks across the graduation stage, tears form in my eyes and my heart swells with pride. God doesn’t make junk.

School TV – A Great Resource for Parents

Xavier Catholic College formed a relationship with School TV around 4 years ago. School TV brings together some of the best minds in the area of youth wellbeing to explore different issues that confront or challenge parents.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is the flagship leader but is ably supported by an excellent group of professionals. The site includes articles and video presentations on a wide range of topics including: Bullying, Online Gaming, Friendship and Belonging, School Refusal, Resilience and Youth Anxiety to name but a few.

It is a wonderful resource that already has 33 Published Reports along with 38 Special Reports. As new material comes out, I will update the site and provide a heads-up about the new content.

(I suggest you open it and bookmark it to your favourites).

I encourage parents and carers to have a look at the site and check out its content. It is another way the College seeks to partner with parents in order to assist our young people to grow into happy, well-rounded and resilient adults.

Parents and Carers Student Protection Information Video and Resources

Student Protection is one of the most critical tasks a School Leader must oversee.

While staff receive annual training in this area, Brisbane Catholic Education has now incorporated a Student Protection Information Session for parents and carers.

To enable the broadest reach, rather than having an Information Night or a set time for an online meeting, I have pre-recorded the session so you can watch the 35 minute presentation at a time that suits you.

The video has been placed on the Parent Portal and can be accessed by using the following link: 

I encourage every parent and carer to take the time to watch the video and follow-up with any questions that may arise.

Also, BCE has produced a toolkit for parents and carers regarding Student Protection which is also available via the Parent Portal. 

Other Key Documents on the Xavier Website

As a system school under the administration of Brisbane Catholic Education, the following Brisbane Catholic Education policies and processes are implemented by the school and available on the school website:

Student protection and wellbeing are paramount in Catholic Schools. Our commitment to the protection of students is based in our belief that each person is made in the image of God, and our ethos is to provide a safe and supportive environment for all. All students have the right to expect that the school will always act to protect them from any kind of harm.

These processes have been developed to ensure that appropriate responses are made whenever student protection concerns come to the attention of staff.

Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) is committed to ensuring that all staff comply with their responsibilities as detailed in the Student Protection Processes Catholic Education Archdiocese of Brisbane (BCE Student Protection Processes).

This complaints procedure is to address allegations of non-compliance with BCE Student Protection Processes in accordance with the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Regulation 2017. BCE takes all allegations of non-compliance with BCE Student Protection Processes seriously.

The purpose of this form is to capture the details of a complaint regarding non-compliance with BCE Student Protection Processes. Complaints about other matters must be made following the Student, Parent and Guardian Complaints Management process.

BCE is committed to supporting and training our volunteers and other personnel who deliver services in our schools. The online training and registration form must be completed, and the registration form supplied to the Principal of each school in which volunteering is undertaken.

The purpose of this Policy is to outline the requirements for regulating acceptable use of Brisbane Catholic Education’s information systems and resources.

The Privacy Policy applies to all schools administered by BCE and BCE Offices (BCEO), and sets out how each school and BCEO collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information.

The Policy includes information about how to address any concerns regarding compliance with the policy.

The purpose of this policy is to outline the principles Brisbane Catholic Education employees will follow when managing a complaint from a student, parent or guardian.

Student Safeguarding Resources

Student Protection processes are available under the BCE Policies tab.

Blessings and Peace,
Simon Dash

Xavier Catholic College

Head of School – Primary – Russell Davey

As we enter the Lenten period, we take some time to recognise and reflect on Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent is the time for Christians to prepare for Easter and beyond. It is a time to renew and deepen our faith through reflection and prayer, and to sacrifice something to learn what it means to rely on God and put our faith into action. During the days of Lent, we are encouraged to reflect on our own life, consider the needs of others and strengthen our relationship with God.

It is always amazing how quickly students return to school and settle into a new school year.  After the extended break you could be forgiven for thinking that the start of the year would be reasonably unsettled.  In fact, the opposite has occurred with all classes quickly returning to school routine approaching each day with enthusiasm and a commitment to learning. 

I can honestly report that students are settled, focused and ready to learn.  They are a wonderful group of students who display every day the Christian values of compassion, service, and respect for their neighbours, finding Jesus in all things as they go about their day.  As a parent body you should be very proud of your children, and I encourage you to continue to communicate with the school so we can work towards the best results for your child.

Some key reminders for the coming weeks:

  • Thank you to all parents for remaining out of the pods before 8.30 am for morning drop-off and 3.00 pm in the afternoon for pick-up.  This practice allows teachers to prepare for their day each morning without disruption and also ensures a nice calm learning space for all students without the distraction of a loved one close by in the afternoon. 
  • A reminder to all parents and carers that at no point should a vehicle be parked and left unattended in the Primary Pick Up Zone between 7.30 am – 9.30 am and 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm on each school day.  Parents and carers who do wish to leave their vehicle must park in the central parking areas.  Cars that are parked and left in this area prevent the pick up zone from flowing and ultimately lead to frustration for other members of our school community. Staff will be on duty each afternoon to monitor the student crossings and pick up areas.
  • Parents and carers are also reminded that notice is required by the College if a student is going to be away from school for an extended period at any point in the school year.  This ensures our attendance records are accurate and allows us to complete our census requirements accurately.  I would also ask that all parents discuss this absence directly with the class teacher so they are able to discuss any work students may be missing during this time.
  • I would also like to advise parents that we will be tracking student attendance very carefully this year.  After several disrupted years, it is important that we maximise available learning time and that we are working towards making each day count.  Please do not hesitate to make contact should you have any worries about your child’s attendance or if you require support in this area. 
  • My thanks to all parents and carers who attended the Open Classroom Evening on Monday of Week 4.  It was wonderful to see so many parents on site for this special event taking the opportunity to connect with their child’s class teacher.  A reminder to all parents that as a follow up to this initial meet and greet we will also be holding parent teacher interviews in the coming weeks (Week 6 & 7) to provide the opportunity to discuss your child’s start to the school year and areas of concern moving forward. 

Head of School – Secondary – Ursula Witham-Young

Welcome to our College for 2023 – it has been an enjoyable start to the year with no Covid lockdowns/delayed starts or any of those other things that have marred the beginning in the last few years. 
I thank Nathan Milne our Dean of HPE and College Sport for all his work ahead of and during our Secondary Swimming Carnival on Friday, for the start up to our sporting programs and for persuing the sporting needs of our students. 

In week 3 we had our Inaugural Academic Assembly where we celebrated the achievements of our 2022 Seniors. Our students signed the Honour Roll, and we look forward to this being our new tradition in our 20th Year as we Celebrate Diversity, Embrace Unity. 

There were some wonderful words of wisdom from Andrew Ritter (Dux for 2022) which I have included below:

  1. Make friends with the school groundskeepers – they have the keys to everything, including the school’s royal carriage, the golf buggy!
  2. Take advantage of the school’s resources, especially your teachers – they want you to succeed just as much as you do.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously – high school is a time to have fun and make memories, not to stress out about the future.
  4. Spend some time to find the way that you learn best, it will allow you to study efficiently and have more time to do things you actually like.
  5. Despite temptations, please never write an assignment solely with a thesaurus, just trust me on this one!
  6. Never ask your teachers about homework in class because when they inevitably say, “oh yes, I forgot about that,” you will be the first one voted off the island.
  7. Finally, just be yourself – everyone else is taken so there’s no point in trying to be someone you’re not. Just be confident and be proud of who you are.
​A very big thank you to parents for your assistance with ensuring that our college expectations around uniform, hair and jewellery are being upheld. We have noticed a change in the attitude of our students and have had input from the community stating our students are wearing their uniform with dignity and are proud to be Xavier students.

Our students have also completed goal setting and in particular our Year 12 students have either completed or are in the process of completing their Pathway Interviews. Parents, you can assist us to keep motivation throughout the year high by discussing your child’s ambitions for the year, and to help them make those ambitions and goals a reality. Help them to sculpt their hopes and dreams into measurable, term by term goals by writing these actions down and putting them on the fridge/in a common area. We look forward to assisting you and your children attain these goals. 

With every blessing,
Ursula Witham-Young

School News

Care and Concern Committee

Xavier Catholic College’s Care and Concern Committee is a group of parents who volunteer their time to welcome and help members of the school community.

They do this by:
  • Holding first day morning tea (meet and greet opportunity) when and where possible.
  • Providing meals for school families experiencing a crisis.
  • Providing information about the school to families.
  • Assist the College Board in planning and reviewing the Pastoral Care Policy of the College.
  • Working closely with the Campus Minister.
While parents and carers are encouraged to explore the parent portal or talk to your child’s classroom or pastoral care teacher about any questions they might have as a first point of contact, each House also has parent contacts ranging from P-12.

We are always looking for parents to be a part of the care committee or become parent contacts. If you would like to nominate yourself, or request further information, please contact Carmel Donnelly (Campus Minister). Parent contacts and their details will be included in the school newsletter once a term.

The committee and parent contacts will always respect confidentiality. Any information shared with us will not be passed on, unless requested by you.

For more information, contact or 41971165.

College Captains' Report: Jesuit Student Leaders’ Conference

Year 12 Xavier Catholic College Captains and Vice Captains attended the Jesuit Student Leaders’ Conference with Mrs Grambower in Melbourne from the 4th to the 6th of December 2022.

This is their reflection:

Leadership teams from Jesuit schools across the country attended to share and explore a range of leadership ideas we could take back and apply within our own school communities.

We explored a range of different ideas revolving around Ignatian Spirituality and we looked at how the morals and principles could be applied within the context of our own Xavier community.

Keynote speakers from around Australia led sessions on the four pillars of Ignatian Spirituality: The Magis, Discerning Leadership, Finding Jesus and God In All Things, and Cura Personalis (care for the whole person). 

As College Leaders, we hope to bring the knowledge and insight we gained from the spea​kers, fellow Jesuit students and teachers into Xavier this year.

The four-day experience and getting to meet other leaders from around Australia was incredible.

Activities ranged from ice breakers to running around Melbourne on a scavenger hunt.

We would like to thank Mrs Grambower for accompanying us on the trip and dealing with all of our antics.

A big thank you also goes to Mr McDonald and the College leadership team for providing us with an amazing opportunity to further develop our leadership skills and explore Melbourne with other leaders from across the country.

Narwari Mission Week

Welcome to term 1, 2023 and to Narwari Mission Awareness Term!

Narwari Mission Awareness focuses on our patron, Edmund Rice and our charity is Caritas Australia.

Our support helps Caritas address the challenges of poverty today in some of the most marginalised and remote communities in Australia and overseas.

Narwari Mission Day will be held on Tuesday, 7 March in the Primary School and Friday, 10 March in the Secondary School.

Activities will be held during lunch breaks to create awareness of the work Caritas does worldwide and to raise funds for their annual Project Compassion campaign.

You can watch videos on the Caritas website for more information on the organisation.

For All Future Generations!

Primary School Award recipients and VIP students of the Week

P.1Juniper Jacobs, Willem​ Nicholson
P.2Sonny Savage, Mila Rossini
P.3Brooklyn Osler & Lincoln Cullum
1.2Millie Hulse
1.3Adeline Humphries
2.1Jeremiah O'Rourke
2.2Emerson Rossini, Macy Dodsley
2.3Eyoab Estafanos and Mia Endres
3.1Jax Francis
3.2Gracie Hulse
3.3Elijah Wilkinson; Bradyn Moss
4.1Claiton Tanner
4.2Alasdair Frainey
4.3Sara Rankin
5.1Isla Kerswell
5.2Nevaeh Kendall
5.3Keira Anderson, Lillian Barlogie
6.1Lachie Hudson
6.2Noah Finlayson
6.3Cali Pinches
6.4Indi Kirwan

Congratulations to our VIP Students of the Week:
  • Riley Murray
  • Kamden Switzer
  • Zen Edwards
  • Sullivan Gretton
  • Keehan O’Conor
  • Oliver Robertson-Brown
  • Oliver Owen
  • Hunter Mitchell
  • Elijah Smith​

Spaghetti STEM Success

Congratulations to Richa Woochit, Erykah Nelson, Seth Keal and Sienna Hilton for finishing third in last year’s State-wide Spaghetti Bridge Competition.

Results were announced in December, with the Xavier Catholic College team finishing third out of 50 tested designs from 25 schools.

Students had to design and build bridges using only store-bought spaghetti and glue. Each structure had to weigh less than 300g and span at least 35cm.

The competition tested participant’s creative and design skills in STEM.​

Year 12 Retreat Tree Painting 2023

Our Year 12 students spent three days reflecting on what it means to be a Xavier Catholic College student and what they need to do to make the most of their final year of school while on retreat at Alex Park Conference Centre at the beginning of February.

Students identified key attributes they want to focus on this year to achieve their goals.

Their action points have been attached to a painting of a Weeping Willow tree in the form of leaves.

Why a Weeping Willow tree?

The Weeping Willow tree is mysterious with an ancient and enchanted atmosphere that lures the viewer into an other-worldly transformation. 

The repetitive curved markings are reminiscent of another time and form a connection to our heritages and ancestors.

These trees not only survive but thrive in some of the most challenging conditions. 

They also grow quickly and don’t need special conditions to do so. 

Willow trees are found growing near a source of water.

The sturdy and lush bank that secures the Weeping Willow tree is symbolic of the constant support, guidance and encouragement from the students' peers and parents across their high school career. 

The impressionistic shades of dabbling blues cascade out surrounding the majestic tree. This reveals beauty, peace and gentleness. While the yellow flowers in bloom on the tree called catkins represent our many gifts and talents, as well as our future potential, wherever we may go, continuing to grow and adapt.

Sports News

Secondary Swimming Carnival – Buthu Wins Again!

Our Year 12 Leaders arrived at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre early on Friday morning, 10 February and were brilliant in setting up for the day. 

This resulted in a perfectly timed carnival that was enjoyed by all students.

Students dressed in bright colours and themes that showcased their passion for their houses and school.

The 50m championship races were broken up by students participating in 25m races, novelty events and the ever-popular Salmon Run. The Big Splash was again the highlight of the day, with Oliver Wright and Alix Woods being crowned ‘fastest in the school’ in their respective 25m deep-water start races.

House war cries rang loud and true and the college war cry ended in a brilliant wolf howl that echoed across the aquatic centre.

The swimming carnival was a brilliant day with Buthu again ending as the dominant Champion House.

​Big Splash Winners
  • Boys: Oliver Wright (2nd Blake Begaud, 3rd Bodie Dwight)
  • Girls: Alix Woods (2nd Alana Woods, 3rd Charlie Ryan)

Age Champions
  • 13yrs: Zoey Quinn and Charlie Woolgar
  • 14yrs: Lucy Wright and Tallen Gunn
  • 15yrs: Kailey Pritchard and Rhys Rockliffe
  • 16yrs: Alix Woods and Noah Purser
  • 17yrs: Charlie Ryan and Oliver Wright
  • 18yrs Girls: Alana Woods

Final Points
  • 1st Buthu 1255 points
  • 2nd Narwari 1036 points
  • 3rd Kondari 957 points
  • 4th Dirum 884 points

Hervey Bay District Swimming Carnival
The Hervey Bay District Swimming Carnival will be held on Monday, 27 March. We’re aiming once again to send a full team, with no lanes going empty where Xavier students could be competing. More details regarding the event will be communicated closer to the date.​

Hervey Bay District Cluster 2 Trials (13-19 years)

Hervey Bay District Cluster 2 Trials will be held on Thursday, 2 March for the following sports:

  • Rugby Union (15-a-side): 13-15 years boys; 16-19 years boys
  • Netball: 13-15 years girls; 16-19 years girls
  • Soccer: 13-16 years boys; 17-19 years boys; 13-15 years girls; 16-19 girls
  • Squash: Boys and girls
  • Surfing: Boys and girls
  • Rugby 7’s (girls only): 15-16 years; 17-18 years.

Students have been Emailed a link to sign up for these trials.

Xavier Wolves Merchandise

Xavier Wolves merchandise is available for purchase on the Qkr! App.

Stock is limited, so get in fast!

  • Trucker caps - $20 each
  • Bucket hats - $20 each
  • Drink coolers - $5 each

Get yours via the Qkr! App, just navigate to Xavier Wolves Merchandise under the Xavier Sport Uniforms Menu.

2023 Youth Girls Competition