Newsletter - Term 1, Week 6, 2023


​From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

​Last Wednesday our community attended Ash Wednesday services to signal the beginning of Lent. My thanks to our APRE's Brendan McDonald and Laura Oliver, along with the support of our Ca​​mpus Minister Carmel Donnelly and large group of student volunteers to make this a solemn service.

I did send out a Lenten Message via YouTube. If you didn’t catch it and would like to watch it, you can find it here: 
I encourage you to watch it, reflect on the message and, hopefully, find something powerful and uplifting within it.

One of the most well-known stories of forgiveness is the story of the Prodigal Son.  He made choices that he thought would make him happy, when, in fact, they led to misery.  While at his lowest point, feeling less than human, he took stock and realised that the road he had taken was a road to nowhere.  He saw the “Wrong Way - Go Back” sign.  

Talk of sin often conjures up notions of a ‘balance sheet God.’  A God that keeps a register of good and bad deeds and checks at the end of our days to see whether we are in the black or the red.  The Father’s reaction to his prodigal son tells us that our God is not like that.  The Father welcomes his son back without condition.  The Father rejoices in his son’s decision to turn back and head for home.  It is an indication that our God is on our side and wants what is best for us.  

The great author, John Steinbeck once said, “In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty, people want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of our sins are attempted shortcuts to love.”  I think there is a great deal of truth in it.  We take the wrong road from time to time because we think it will bring satisfaction and happiness.  Sometimes we ignore the signposts of God’s advice to head down a shortcut. But the satisfaction, if any, is fleeting and the sense of emptiness remains.  

Lent is a call for us to look at the road we are travelling. To look at the signs that tell us where we’re going and to recognise the “Wrong Way – Go Back” messages.  We can only move to where we should be by acknowledging where we are.  
But, Lent is more than a call to repentance – it is an affirmation of our goodness that, no matter our failures, no matter what we’ve done – that goodness is always there.   Today we affirm the uniqueness and beauty of everyone in this gathering, because when we realise the real love that God offers us, we also realise that our shortcuts to love don’t lead to happiness, peace and satisfaction we crave so dearly. Today, we rise from the ashes, commit to living life in a better way and to spreading that love of God to all we encounter.

Some years ago, when I was an APRE, I penned some prayers that tried to utilise everyday symbols, symbols that we instantly recognize, to convey a way of looking at those areas in life where we can let ourselves from time to time:

We acknowledge this day those attitudes and actions that have taken us on the wrong path.  As a ritual of sorrow I have asked representatives of our community to choose symbols which represent the things we have done, or failed to do, which have hurt others and I ask them to bring them forward now.​

  • Reader 1: We present the symbol of a Dining Room Plate. We acknowledge that we do not always show respect for those who help us and that our manners are not always what they should be. Let us hear the call to respect others.
  • Reader 2: We present the symbol of a clock.  We acknowledge that we do not always use our time wisely. ​Often we are lazy and fail to use our time to help ourselves and others. Let us hear the call to use the precious moments of our lives to help others.
  • Reader 3: We present the symbol of a mask.  We acknowledge that we sometimes jump to conclusions and make judgements about people who we don’t really know. Let us hear the call to look behind the mask and avoid judging the stranger.
  • Reader 4: We present the symbol of a dictionary.  Our words have power and there are times when we use them to hurt others or talk behind their backs. Let us hear the call to think good of others and to use our words to heal.
  • Reader 5: We present the symbol of a dozen eggs.  Like people these eggs may look the same, but each is unique and fragile.  We acknowledge that we do not always respect the individuality of others.  Let us hear the call to see each other as unique and special.
  • Reader 6: We present the symbol of a megaphone.  We acknowledge that we do not always listen to those who are shouting out their needs.  Let us hear the call to open our ears to the voices of others who are crying out to us.
Blessings and Peace
Simon Dash

Head of School – Primary – Russell Davey

As most of our parents and carers would be aware, we strive at Xavier Catholic College to ensure we are a welcoming community.  We value the health and happiness of each child and will do our best each and every day to ensure students are not only progressing in their learning but also learning to be good people.  We talk a lot about developing the children in our care to be citizens who strive to achieve their personal best and aspire to make a difference in the world. But you cannot learn what you are not there to learn. ​

It is also important that we acknowledge the statistics which are highlighted by consistent student absence. As a standalone event the impact of student absence can seem trivial. However, when we reflect on the combined impact of regular absence the story is quite different. 

Did you know?

Obviously, there are times when your child cannot attend school due to sickness or personal circumstances. As a school we acknowledge this and accept that this is not something parents can control.  

However, I would encourage you to ensure that your child is at school and learning each day that they are able to do so! 

I have listed a few personal strategies below which you might find useful.  My wife and I use all these strategies with our own children and whilst it’s not easy, we know that the extra effort will pay off in the long run. I am sure many of you would have your own tips/tricks and ‘go to’ routines and I would love to hear about these if you have the time to send me a quick email to share your own wisdom. 

  • Set time to go to bed
  • Ensure uniforms and your child’s school bag are ready the night before
  • Have a set time for starting and finishing breakfast
  • Set a time for daily homework activities
  • Speak about school positively
  • Be firm, send your child to school every school day including their birthday and the last day of term!

As always, my thanks for the support you provide as parents/carers. Please do not hesitate to contact the school should you require support regarding your child’s attendance at school. 

​Head of School – Secondary – Ursula Witham-Young

Staff Professional Learning

In this time of Lent, our staff have the opportunity to be involved in our College Lenten Program. This program focuses on our journey to a new life and to be open to conversations “From Ashes to Hope.” Last week, our discussions focused on how do I respond to situations in my life when I am in the wilderness? Or tempted? Did these experiences change me? Are my eyes on Jesus, who shows me the direction to take? For our staff, this time of professional learning and reflection on prayer gives the opportunity to share with each other and to grow and learn from our colleagues. 

Our secondary teachers on Monday night had our first Twilight of the year. Our Twilights are the days ‘given back’ to staff f​rom the Easter holiday and we participate in four of these professional learning activities over the year. Our first was on wellbeing, both staff and student. We looked at the barriers to wellbeing and student engagement and attendance. Attendance is a focus at Xavier Catholic College for 2023 and I would encourage you to look at this article sent to me earlier this week: School attendance rates are dropping. We need to ask students why.

​​If you don’t have time to read the whole article, I thought the last paragraph where it talks about tailoring “learning and the day-to-day experience of school to meet the diverse needs of their students, this will help more young people feel like they belong at school. And this will increase the changes they will turn up and stay.” Our Twilight focused on how we build positive emotions in our classes and with our students and we hope these measures increase attendance at school. 

We also looked at staff wellbeing and how to improve our work life. Suggestions that came up from this included connecting with each other more through social events, opportunities for our community to be involved in our wellbeing, coffee carts and massages and a better balance for work and school. 


It is our aim this year to ensure that we have 90% of students here 80% of the time. 

Attendance can have significant impacts on student progress, achievement, wellbeing, and their future success in work and in life. To improve educational outcomes for every student, regular school attendance requires prioritisation by students, parents and schools.

Research confirms that regular student attendance matters and that poor attendance, from as early as Prep, has long lasting impacts on a student’s learning and life.

The focus needs to be on a unified, comprehensive and equitable approach that targets students from the beginning of Prep, promoting attendance, addressing barriers to attendance and learning, re-engaging disengaged students to the classroom and re-engaging disengaged families to the school. Brisbane Catholic Education's approach to supporting student attendance has a focus on every student on time every day and has five key principles:

1. Attendance is everyone’s responsibility
2. Engage with the school community and families on the importance of attendance
3. Celebrate and acknowledge high attendance
4. Support and re-engage students with attendance below the expected benchmark
5. Track, monitor and follow up on unexplained absences.

With every blessing.
Ursula Witham-Young
Head of School (Secondary)​

School news

International Women’s Day ART COMPETITION - 'Embrace Equity'

Why do we celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8th)?

To recognise how far we’ve come towards gender equality and how far we still have to go. 
To acknowledge that everyone is equal, regardless of gender, and break down the stereotypes and assumptions, even subconsciously, that still hold us back from equality. 

To enter: 

  • Using the artwork template create an artwork in any medium of a woman in your life that inspires you (template emailed to you by Mrs McArthur)

DUE Wednesday 8 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 Year 1
  • Year 2 and Year 3
  • Year 4 and Year 5
  • Year 6 and Year 7
  • Year 8 and Year 9
  • Year 10, Year 11, and Year 12

Ash Wednesday Liturgies

Primary and Secondary students attended Ash Wednesday Liturgies last week, marking the beginning of the Lenten journey – a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection at Easter.

It was great to see our students take a leading role in proceedings by marking the Xavier Catholic College community with crosses of ash in memory of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

You can find a gallery of the Ash Wednesday Liturgies on the College Facebook page.

​Support for Syria-Türkiye Earthquake Appeal

Last week, one of our teachers, Trudy Webster organised an awareness and fundraising dress sale for other staff members at the College to assist Caritas’ Syria-Türkiye Earthquake Appeal.

Staff donated dresses that their colleagues could buy, with all donations going to the appeal.

Meanwhile, students and teachers at Xavier Catholic College are being urged to wear yellow shirts on Tuesday, 28 March in support of those living through the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye.

The College community will wear yellow shirts as a symbol of hope and to raise awareness for the continued needs of people affected by the tragedy.

Students and staff are encouraged to give a gold coin donation via Qkr! (Earthquake Disaster Appeal) or bring a coin on the day to support our Catholic agencies on the ground feed, clothe and provide shelter for survivors.

All donations above $2 are tax deductable, so please do not restrict your donation to a single gold coin.

Please give generously, wear yellow and remember that with every donation, hope rises.

We look forward to seeing a bold statement of support and love for all in our world through your collective participation.

Narwari Mission Awareness 

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!

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.

Sports news

The school sport calendar is always jampacked in Term 1. As a result, there is always a lot of information going out to students and parents via emails, newsletters and Facebook posts. I encourage all students to be active in checking emails and listening to Daily Notices (which are also emailed to students) to ensure they do not miss out on opportunities. Whilst I can appreciate the tedious nature of completing multiple forms for school-sport events, I do encourage all students and parents to carefully read emails and any attachments to be aware of due dates for Qkr! payments and form submissions. I thank you in advance for your efforts in meeting due dates.

Nathan Milne
Dean of HPE and College Sport (Secondary)

Representative Cluster Trials 13-19yrs

Important dates to remember

  • Wide Bay Cluster 2: Monday 13th March 3pm (Rugby Union, Netball, Soccer, Squash, Surfing, Rugby 7’s). Students successful in gaining selection in Hervey Bay teams from Hervey Bay Cluster 2 will receive an email (will also be sent to parents) with requirements (forms and Qkr! payments) on Friday 3rd March.
  • Hervey Bay Cluster 3: Tuesday 14th March 12:00pm to 2:30pm (Touch Football, Basketball, Hockey). Students have been sent information to sign up for these trials via email.
  • Wide Bay Cluster 3: Thursday 30th March (Touch Football, Basketball, Hockey). Students successful in gaining selection in Hervey Bay teams from Hervey Bay Cluster 3 will receive an email (will also be sent to parents) with requirements (forms and Qkr! payments) on Wednesday 15th March.
  • District Swimming Carnival
  • This is scheduled for Monday 27th March at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre from 12:30pm to 3:30pm. More details will be communicated to students in coming weeks.
  • K-12 Cross Country
  • Students from Kindy to Year 6 (not including 12-year-olds in Year 6) will run their cross-country on Thursday 30th March. Please see schedule of races below.​
9.3011 Yr (2012) Boys Championship - ribbons3km
9.4011 Yr (2012) Girls Championship - ribbons3km
9.5010 Yr (2013) Boys Championship - ribbons2km
10.0010 Yr (2013) Girls Championship - ribbons2km
10.109 Yr (2014) Boys Championship - ribbons2km
10.209 Yr (2014) Girls Championship - ribbons2km
10:45 – 11.30FIRST BREAK
11.40Participation – 2011 Boys1km
11.50Participation – 2011 Girls1km
12.00Participation – 2012 Boys1km
12.10Participation – 2012 Girls1km
12.20Participation – 2013 Boys1km
12.30Participation – 2013 Girls1km
12.40Participation – 2014 (Yr 4 and Yr 3 ) Boys1km
12.50Participation – 2014 (Yr 4 and Yr 3 ) Girls1km
1.00Year Three (2015 only) - Boys1km
1.10Year Three (2015 only) - Girls1km
1.30 – 2.00SECOND BREAK
2.05Year Two – Boys750m
2.10Year Two – Girls750m
2.15Year One – Boys500m
2.20Year One - Girls500m
2.25Preps – Boys350m
2.30Prep - Girls350m
2.35Kindy Kids100m
Friday12 Yr (2011) Girls /Boys Championship3km​

Students in Years 7-12 (including 12-year-old Year 6’s) will run their cross-country on Friday 31st March. Please see schedule of races below.

TimeAge GroupWristbandsDistance
12:50pm12 Girls (2011) Red3km
12:55pm12 Boys (2011) Red3km
1:05pm16 Boys (2007) Purple6km
1:10pmOpen Boys (≤2006) Pink6km
1:20pm13 Girls (2010) Green3km
1:25pm13 Boys (2010) Green3km
1:30pm15 Boys (2008) Black4km
1:35pm14 Boys (2009) Orange4km
1:40pm15 Girls (2008) Black4km
1:45pm 14 Girls (2009) Orange4km
1:50pm16 Girls (2007) Purple4km
1:55pmOpen Girls (≤2006) Pink4km

A reminder to all students who have signed to play for a Xavier Wolves Team Sport in 2023, it is a compulsory requirement that you run/jog the entire cross-country course. Failure to do so will place your participation in any Xavier Wolves Team sport at risk.

AFL QCup Gala Day

Well done to all the Primary AFL players who took part in the AFL QCup Gala Day at the Hervey Bay Bombers grounds on Friday, 17 February 2023.

The boys team played in Division 1 and narrowly missed out on a spot in the final. We also had two girls playing on the day – thank you to our friends at Yarrilee State School for welcoming our girls into their team.

Great sportsmanship was evident throughout the event, with many of the more experienced players supporting and encouraging those who were new to the game.

It was also great to have some Xavier parents supporting the players at the fields.

Thank you to Kieron Hyndman – Hervey Bay AFL Participation, Program and Competitions Manager – and his volunteers for putting on another fun gala day.

We have more photos of the action on our Facebook page: Xavier Catholic College Hervey Bay.

Fraser Coast School Futsal Titles

Three Xavier Catholic College competed at the Fraser Coast School Futsal Titles from 27 to 28 February.

A big thank you to Mr Karl Jansen and Ms Ash Flesser who coached the teams across the two days. All students displayed excellent sportsmanship and camaraderie on and off the court.

Congratulations to the Open Boys who placed 4th in their pool, Open Girls who placed 3rd and a special mention to the U15 Boys who made the Grand Final but narrowly went down to James Nash State High School.  

Play Something Unreal

Touch Football: Professional Development

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