Newsletter - Term 1, Week 4, 2024


From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers,

Last Friday we celebrated the commencement of the school year with a whole school Mass led by our Parish Priest, Father Jacob. It was a wonderful occasion that reminded all that the education received at Xavier Catholic College is more than just academic achievement. Rather, it is much more holistic and incorporates our values, our vision and our mission. Prior to the Mass I was invited to provide a reflection which I will summarise in this article.

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(PHOTO: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)​

When our College Community developed and articulated its values it used the acronym of GRACE: Gratitude, Respect, Acceptance, Compassion and Education.

Obviously, as a school, “Education” takes a central place in why we are here. In our values statement the importance of education is described by the words: ‘our school is a community of learners where the quest for knowledge and truth, enlightened by faith, is desired by all.’ The very word Education comes from the Latin word ‘Educare’ which means “to bring out what is within.” A more liberal interpretation is “to bring out the divine qualities of the soul.”

But, of equal importance is the first value – the value of “Gratitude” which is explained with the words: ‘Our school appreciates the gifts of God’s grace that come to us each day and offers thanks to others and to God for these blessings.’

I recently came across a short story about gratitude that may set the scene and the theme for today:

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which read, “I am blind, please help.”

There were only a few coins in the hat – spare change from folks as they hurried past.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. Then he put the sign back in the boy’s hand so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.

That afternoon, the man who had changed the sign returned to see how things were. 

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”

I wrote, “Today is a beautiful day, but I cannot see it.”

(SOURCE: A Short Lesson on Gratitude. (2017, November 21). The Tapping Solution.

Both signs spoke the truth. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind, while the second sign conveyed to everyone walking by how grateful they should be to see. The story reminded me of a saying that my mother would express to my siblings and me. We didn’t have much money and when we complained that we didn’t have all the things that our friends at school had she would quietly say: “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”

Gratitude can have a domino effect. If a person has a grateful mindset, they are more likely to recognize the help and then later reciprocate that help. It leads to both ‘paying things back’ but also to ‘paying things forward’ – to do good without the expectation of a reward.

The experience of gratitude involves two stages:

First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say ‘yes’ to life. We affirm that, all in all, life is good and has elements that make it worth living. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.

Second, gratitude is recognizing that the source of much, if not most, of this goodness lies outside the self. One can be grateful to our creator, other people and the world, not just to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it.

The two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition of the goodness in our lives and then how this goodness came to us. Simply put, gratitude is a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation. It is the value that underpins our school motto: ‘finding Jesus in all things.’ But to do this we must first open our eyes and our ears to become aware of what we so often take for granted.

Go ahead, I invite you to try it out right now. What or who do you have in your life for which to be thankful? Let’s hold that thought and offer a prayer of thanksgiving and perhaps make this a daily routine. And for those who are not comfortable with making a prayer, I invite you to make a wish.

Blessing and Peace,
Simon Dash

Head of Primary School – Russell Davey

My thanks to all parents who attended the Open Classroom Evening on Monday 12th February.  It is always wonderful to see many parents and carers on site engaging with staff towards better outcomes for their children. This afternoon is a wonderful opportunity to touch base with your class teacher and focus on the important relationship between class teacher and parents/carers.  Experience has shown me that Parent-Teacher relationships do not just happen. They are built over time through consistent communication, collaboration, creative problem solving, a common goal and, most importantly, trust. 

Because teachers change every year, the constants in these relationships are the parents and children. So, it’s essential that both parents and educators develop skills in setting clear goals, have meaningful and productive conversations and create an action plan for supporting their child/students in the short-term and long-term. Learning is not a sprint; it is a lifelong journey and at every turn there are opportunities for new growth and development. 

Research shows that a strong parent, child and educator relationship helps boost student achievement and outcomes.  At Xavier one of the key points in time for this to occur is the Parent-Teacher interviews. These interviews will begin in Week 7 with times available to parents throughout Week 7 and Week 8.  I would encourage all parents/carers to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with your child’s class teacher and discuss their learning and any support they may require. Information regarding the process for booking an interview will be provided to all parents via email in the coming days and reminders will be sent via the College Facebook page.  

Finally, I would also like to remind all parents that the relationship with the school for each parent/carer extends beyond the classroom.  The classroom teacher is always the first port of call, but you also have a range of support staff available at Xavier to support your child’s learning.  I would encourage you to utilise these resources and maintain an open line of communication with the school. As Head of School, I am always happy to discuss any concerns you might have and would encourage you to contact the College to make an appointment if you wish to raise a concern.  I also appreciate when parents provide positive feedback as staff are genuinely thrilled to hear that their families are enjoying their schooling experience at Xavier Catholic College.  We look forward to the remainder of the term and the opportunity each day presents to ‘find Jesus in all things’.  

Head of Secondary School - Ursula Witham-Young

It was delightful to see our 2023 College Captain Adam Wylie and our Dux Reece Wiegmink return to the college last week to our Academic Assembly. Reece gave an amazing speech which, with his permission, I have printed below. We also welcomed our 2013 Clavius Award for Academic Excellence recipient, Courtney Young back to the College to share her journey since leaving Xavier with us.

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(PHOTO: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)​​

I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the teachers and mentors, including the parents who have guided our students on this journey. Their unwavering support, encouragement and belief in the abilities of our students have been instrumental in shaping their academic destinies. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have gone above and beyond to inspire a love of learning within our students. 

Speech from 2023 Dux, Reece Wiegmink:

About a week ago, I bought a lottery ticket for the largest ever jackpot draw in Australian history. The chances of winning were about 1 in 130 million. The prize was drawn on the 1st of this month and $200 million dollars was split between two unknown winners. I did not win any of this money. I didn’t even win the bottom prize of $12.40. But someone who lives in the same country as all of us, who goes to work every day, maybe even catches the bus, received a phone call that night with probably the best news of his or her life. That person could have been any one of us, any regular person who decided to throw an insubstantial amount of money for the impossibility of winning an absurd amount of money. Nobody expects to win the lottery, and before their winnings, every single lottery winner probably considered themselves to have average luck, maybe they won a few dollars on a scratchie once, but they usually don’t win these sorts of competitions or giveaways. Most people, I think, wouldn’t consider themselves to have above average luck. Some people, would even say they’re pretty unlucky most of the time. 

Rewinding to about 2 months ago, I was sitting at my desk loading the QTAC website to see what result I got for my external exams. When I saw my ATAR, I probably had the exact opposite reaction compared to the other day when I saw that I, in fact, had not won enough money to buy a small country. I was not at all aiming to be the highest in my grade, it really was just a bonus of the effort I put in. I wish I could tell you all some grand secret life hack that will help you maximise your results in school without stressing over exams and still having a great social life. But high marks without significant effort are not really achievable… unless you’re Kail Daly. My advice for all of you is just to do the work you are given. The best time to start studying was a while ago, but the second-best time is now. 

For Year 10s and 11s, you’re lucky because you still have time to start those good habits that Mr Relf loves telling us all about. And if you’re in year 12… well good luck. I was not a model student, however, I can pin the majority of my result on having fantastic teachers and putting in a lot of effort right before my external exams, where during exam block I was studying around 40 to 45 hours a week for about 3 weeks straight. If you want to avoid having to study as a full-time job to get a great ATAR, then you simply have to spread that workload across the entire year that you get to prepare. That’s the simple formula for achieving an ATAR that you can feel proud of, knowing that you didn’t work yourself to death but still being able to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you put in. 

Happiness, I think, is an area not focused on a great deal when talking about success in high school. You can pay 30 grand a year to go to the top school in the country, study 6 hours every day of the week, use your holidays to read ahead in your textbooks and get an incredible result and maybe get accepted so you can study to become a doctor or lawyer. You can also go to a school with a great community and staff, commit yourself to studying and catching up on any topics you don’t understand, go to tutoring sessions in the morning and come out satisfied with your result and with fond memories of your last years in school. Your time here is primarily focused on learning – learning should be your priority. But the secondary aspect of building lifelong friendships, social skills, and all the extracurricular opportunities are often underappreciated in the school system. 

My last year of high school, and the few months of freedom I’ve had without the burdens of debt, bills, and university study have been the some of the best times of my life. I’ve made friendships I never would’ve made otherwise, I’ve travelled, partied, slept in until 3 in the afternoon, and not once did I look back with regret or any feeling other than being content. You can’t have regrets if you know you applied yourself and did the best you can. After all, the work you put in now is just to get a result for university, and then it doesn’t really matter. Then in university, you work to get good marks for an internship or a job, and then they don’t really matter either. That’s not to say these marks don’t matter at all, because they definitely do in the moment. But to ruin your last years of childhood by stressing over something you might not even remember in a decade would almost be selfish. I’ve started to try living my life based on a rule called the 10/90 rule – Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it. Most of the time you don’t have control over the 10%, and this rule teaches you to focus on that enormous 90% of reaction you can control, whether that’s good or bad. But if you try your best to see the good in everything in your life, or even do whatever you can to work past all the bad that life throws at you, then good things become inevitable. 

I didn’t win the lottery. And that’s not something even worth getting upset about. But if you take just one thing away from this speech it’s that, all of you in front of me and pretty much everyone you know and have ever spoken to… Have already won the lottery. Australia, one of the richest, most peaceful, and most culturally diverse nations in the world. The school you go to, with it’s fantastic facilities, community events, teachers and staff, and opportunities for all of you. Your friends and family, pets, cars, phones, electric scooters.  Forget 1 in 130 million – billions of people on the planet wish they had even a tenth of what we have. And I think that’s something worth remembering. It’s ok if you’ve never won any raffles or giveaways, even if you’ve never won $2 from a scratchie that your grandma gave you on your birthday. No one in this room will ever win the lottery. But all of you, without question, are some of the luckiest people on the planet.
Thank you,


Change of Address
If you have recently moved to Hervey Bay or if you have changed your residential address, please click on the “Update Your Details’ tile on the BCE Connect App and follow the instructions. This will ensure we have your current residential and postal addresses reflected in our student database.  

Qkr! Tuckshop Orders
Please ensure you have updated your child’s class details on Qkr! before making any online tuckshop orders. You will need to update your child’s Year level and class details. This will help make sure online orders are sent to the correct classes. E.g. Year 1, Class 1.1.

Narwari Mission Week
Narwari Mission Week is just a few weeks away and excitement is already growing ahead of Week 7’s activities. Tickets for the 2024 Eggnormous Easter Raffle went on sale earlier this week. You can get yours now via Qkr!

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(IMAGES: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)​​​

International Women's Day Breakfast
Xavier Catholic College will host an International Women's Day Breakfast next month. The College is looking for local businesses to help support the initiative by donating any products, services or vouchers that could be used as prizes on the day. All money raised by the event will go towards the Yoorana Women’s Domestic and Family Violence Service​ - the organisation chosen by our Student Leaders to be the beneficiary of the event. For more information please contact Head of Secondary School, Ursula Witham-Young.
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(IMAGE:  ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)​​​

The Resilience Project (Year 7)
The Resilience Project is committed to teaching positive mental health strategies to prevent mental ill-health and build young people’s capacity to deal with adversity. Throughout the year students will engage in lessons and activities around the key principles of Gratitude, Empathy, Mindfulness (GEM), and Emotional Literacy to​ build resilience. 

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(IMAGE: ©️ The Resilience Project, 2024)

Check out their website for more information: 
And check out TRP@HOME; a place filled with inspiration and activities for the whole family, to help improve your wellbeing and build resilience:

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Iggy’s Breakfast Program
Iggy’s Breakfast Program commenced at the beginning of Week 4 – Monday, 12 February 2024. The program provides a simple breakfast to students who might not always have a nutritious meal at the start of the day.
When: Monday and Friday mornings, 7:45am to 8:15am
Where: Goa Kitchen​


International Women’s Day ART COMPETITION - 'Inspire Inclusion'

Why do we celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th)?
  • Celebrate women's achievement. 
  • Raise awareness about discrimination. 
  • Take action to drive gender parity.

To enter: Using the artwork template create an artwork in any media of a woman in your life that inspires you. (Electronic template here as well as paper copies at College Office and Library)

CLICK HERE to download the artwork template.

DUE Friday 1 March 9am
  • College Office or to Senior Visual Art Room (Rm 42)
  • electronic works emailed to Mrs McArthur (

Prizes for Winner and Runner Up for each category: There will be a FIRST PLACE and a RUNNER UP award for the following categories:
  • Prep and Grade 1
  • Grade 2 and Grade 3
  • Grade 4 and Grade 5
  • Grade 6 and Grade 7
  • Grade 8 and Grade 9
  • Grade 10, Grade 11, and Grade 12

For more photos from around the College over the past two weeks, click the image below:

(IMAGE: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)​

For more photos on some of the events that have taken place at Xavier Catholic College over the past two weeks – including our Opening Mass, Shrove Tuesday celebrations and Ash Wednesday liturgies, click through to our Facebook page.


Secondary Swimming Carnival 

Xavier Catholic College will host its 2024 Secondary Swimming Carnival at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre on Friday, 23 February. Whether you're diving in for championship races or taking part in the novelty events, important House points will be on offer. Who will emerge victorious in 2024? Will it be Buthu for a fifth year in a row or will Dirum, Kondari or Narwari take home the silverware? 

(PHOTO: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2023)​

8:40am - 9:15am - Roll marking and briefing
2:15pm - 2:30pm – Presentations
2:35pm - Students returning to Xavier Catholic College by bus leave the aquatic centre​

Are you or someone you know looking to enhance their swimming skills? The Hervey Bay Swimming Club, based at the Aquatic Centre, offers a fantastic opportunity for swimmers of all levels. Whether you’re interested in competitive swimming or simply aiming to race against your own best time, the club provides an inclusive and dynamic setting. They host club nights every Tuesday from 5:30-7pm throughout the rest of this term and welcome swimmers aged 6 and up to participate in two complimentary 'come and try' sessions. For those interested in joining or learning more, check out the details at​

For the latest images from Xavier Catholic College, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover Image: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)
Disclaimer: Copyright in some materials appearing in the newsletter is owned by third parties and should not be used or reproduced without the authority of the third party. The links to websites or web pages are for information purposes only. To the extent that such third-party materials are not owned by BCE, we accept no responsibility for such content.