Newsletter - Term 2, Week 2, 2024


From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

On Thursday, 25th April, our nation commemorated ANZAC Day.  While the number of veterans each year is diminished by the ravages of time, this makes it even more imperative that we keep the ANZAC spirit alive. ​While the day recalls the first ANZACs who stormed the shores of Gallipoli in 1915, it is also a time to remember all those men and women throughout our country’s short history that have served to defend our land and liberty.  It is not a day that attempts to glorify war, but rather, to remember the price of peace.  

When I visited the battlefields of the Somme in France, I saw the indelible mark left by our soldiers. At Villers-Bretonneux there is a message painted on the wall of their school ‘Do Not Forget Australia.’ Nearby at the Australian Corps Memorial there is a quote carved in the stone from the French Prime Minister spoken in July 1918. The words speak volumes of the ANZAC Spirit. It reads:

“When the Australians came to France, the French people expected a great deal of you… We knew you would fight a real fight, but we did not know that from the very beginning you would astonish the whole continent….
I shall go back tomorrow and say to my countrymen: I have seen the Australians. I have looked in their faces. I know that these men will fight alongside of us again until the cause for which we are all fighting is safe for us and for our children.”

The price of peace and liberty has been a high one for our young nation.  While we cannot fully understand the bravery, courage, selflessness and fear experienced by those who have gone before us, it is important for us to continue to remember all who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who continue to be affected by the scars of conflict, loss and grief.  Lest we Forget.

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

New Board Members
My thanks to all who put themselves forward to serve on the College Pastoral Board. The Pastoral Board is not a Board of Governance, but a sounding board to provide feedback on proposed changes, to offer suggestions regarding areas that require attention and to provide advice and support to the Principal. It is comprised of both parents and staff members.

Given there are exciting changes on the way, we were keen to bolster the numbers of Board Members in order to expand the breadth of experience and expertise. My thanks and congratulations to: Adam Davenport, Jodie Geale, Shane Robertson, Peta Spencer and Sam Wild.

They will be joining an excellent team of ongoing members: Andrew Garty (Chair), Andrew King, Sarah Lewis, Tim Loague, Louise McNall, Chris Relf, Sarah Smith and Sarah Young. The Board, as with the Student Voice Council, reflects our commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard and empowered to contribute.

Blessings and Peace,
Simon Dash

Head of Primary School – Russell Davey

You cannot learn if you are not here to learn!
This was a mantra that my first principal used at every opportunity with the students of my first teaching appointment.  Whilst he was at the end of his career and some of his sayings were at times a little dated this one always stuck with me.  It is a very simple message but also a powerful statement at the same time.  Students cannot be expected to learn if they are not given the opportunity to do so.  It is very clear that students who attend school regularly improve their chances of being academically successful. There are obvious exceptions to both sides of the rule. There are a few students deemed academically successful who also have attendance issues and a few students who struggle academically who are always present. However, in most cases, strong attendance correlates with successful outcomes at school, and poor attendance correlates with academic and social struggles. Regular school attendance will mean that your child gets a better chance at life. Your child will achieve better when they go to school all day, every school day: 
  • they learn better
  • they make friends
  • they are happier
  • they have a brighter future

As I have shared with parents before, it is very 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?
  • Missing 1 day per fortnight = 20 days per year (4 weeks of learning) 
  • Missing 1 day per week= 40 days per year (8 weeks of learning)
  • Missing 2 days per week = 80 days per year (16 weeks of learning)

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.  This is a key responsibility as a parent, and it is important that we take this responsibility seriously. I have listed a few key strategies below which you might find useful if getting your child to school is difficult or challenging at times.
  • A set routine can help
  • Have a set time to go to bed
  • Have a set time to get out of bed
  • Have uniform and school bag ready the night before
  • Have a set time for starting and finishing breakfast
  • Set a time for daily homework activities

In the coming weeks all parents who have a child with an attendance level that is not within BCE’s acceptable attendance guidelines will receive a notification of their child’s current attendance levels.  This notification is not intended to criticise or to be taken as a negative as there can be many circumstances that impact on a child’s attendance. It is simply intended to ensure that parents are aware of their child’s current attendance levels and to offer the opportunity for assistance if there are difficulties. It is also a reminder to all parents and carers of the key responsibility that lies with all who have children (including myself) … the responsibility to ensure that our children have the opportunity to learn, grow and be the best that they can be!

Kind regards,
Russell Davey

Head of Secondary School - Ursula Witham-Young

Welcome to Term 2!
I hope you have all had an amazing Easter break and had time to relax and renew. Term 2 is always a beautiful term, as we have the long weekends and the weather is cool. We have a specific focus this term on attendance and if your child’s attendance is below 85% you will receive an email from us this week. We would appreciate your support as we try to improve our college attendance. As educators, we understand the impact that attendance can have on student progress, achievement, wellbeing and their future success in work and in life. We also know that to improve educational outcomes for every student, they need to be at school regularly. 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.

We are part of a project in Brisbane Catholic Education presently where we are tracking our student wellbeing and resilience through their connectedness to school. We will be presenting this data to the Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education later this year and hope that by increasing student and teacher relationships through building connections we will see an increase in attendance. As a college we work to ensure that your child is connected to positive supports and programs – please reach out to us if there is anything we can do to assist you. 

With every blessing,
Ursula Witham-Young


Prep Come and Try Sessions
Xavier Catholic College is again offering its exciting Prep Come and Try sessions ahead of the 2025 school year. If you have a child or know of a child starting Prep next year, please do RSVP to attend one of our three upcoming sessions. Children will be able to meet the teachers, make new friends and explore the Prep facilities before the start of school next year.
Prep Come and Try Sessions:
  • Monday, 13 May 2024 (3:30pm – 5:00pm)
  • Wednesday, 12 June 2024 (9:00am – 10:30am)
  • Friday, 26 July 2024 (9:00am – 10:30am)

Prep Come and Try 2025_FINAL.jpg
(IMAGE​​: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)

School Photos
School photos taken by Academy Photo can now be ordered online. Please use the link to order your individual, group or sibling photos:

Please follow the instructions on your Individual Student Photo Flyer or Sibling / Family Photo Flyer. Online orders can be made until Friday, 10 May 2024. Orders made after photos have been dispatched will incur a $20 late fee.

BCE Connect App: Android device update
If you use an Android device, please ensure your BCE Connect app is up-to-date. An issue with the app and the Android 14 operating system affecting the Absences tile was identified, resulting in incorrect absence listings if not noticed by parents / carers. The issue has since been rectified; however Android device users need to ensure they’re using the latest version of the BCE Connect app.

If you’re using an Android device, please follow these steps to ensure your BCE Connect app is up to date:
  1. Open the Google Play Store app.
  2. Tap the profile icon at the top right.
  3. Select Manage apps and device.
  4. Tap Manage.
  5. Locate the BCE Connect app (look for the “Update available” label).
  6. Tap Update.

If no update option appears, your app is already running the latest version.

School Officer – Student Wellbeing
Xavier Catholic College would like to introduce Mr Matthew Benstead to the to the College community. Matthew moved from England to Hervey Bay with his family in January 2024 and started as a School Officer, working primarily with the Year 7 students. 

Matthew Benstead.png
(IMAGE​​: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)

Matthew is now working with students across the College:

“I moved to Hervey Bay from England with my family in January 2024. I started here at Xavier Catholic College as a School Officer and worked with the Year 7 students for the majority of the time. In England I was Head of Year 7, having previously been head of Year 10 and Year 11. So my background is in a pastoral/wellbeing role where I make sure that students are looking after themselves outside of the classroom. At Xavier, I have now taken up the role of School Officer – Student Wellbeing which means that I will be able to work collaboratively with students, away from the classroom on their wellbeing. I’ll be working together with them to make sure that they are feeling well and taking proactive steps to ensure that they are looking after themselves and doing the right things for their own physical and mental health. I will be working across all year groups in school, from Prep to Year 12 and I’m really excited to begin and have a positive impact on our young people.”

Scholastic Book Club Orders
Scholastic Book Club orders are due by Thursday, 2 May 2024. You can order your child’s books online using LOOP. Books will be delivered to your child’s class and distributed by their teacher.

Mother’s Day
Xavier Catholic College will celebrate the extra special members of our families with a P-6 Mother’s Day Breakfast and Liturgy on Wednesday, 8 May from 7:30am. Please see below flyer for more information:

2024 Mothers Day Invitation Final.png
(IMAGE​​: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)

The Library is also running its annual Mother’s Day Stall. The stall runs from 29 April to 10 May. Gifts range from $1 to $8 and can be bought via Qkr! or cash. Two gift hampers are also up for grabs. Raffle tickets cost $1 each and can be bought via Qkr! or with cash in the library. Both prizes include a $50 voucher for Brew & View Café in Point Vernon. Money raised will go towards buying new resources for the library.

Thank You
When a parent heard that the Student Services team at Xavier Catholic College were doing some repairs on one of their sick bay wheelchairs, she kindly offered to donate a brand-new replacement.  Many thanks to Sarah for this generous donation.  Sarah and Ben are parents of current students Isla and Jett (Years 6 and 8) and past students Dominic and Zach (2022 and 2020 graduates).  

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

Arts and Culture

School Musical
Welcome back to another big term of Arts activity at Xavier. The big news of the moment is the casting of this year’s school musical, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. We have had a fantastic response to this event with over 60 students nominating to participate as either a performer, a backstage crew person, a set construction team member or a publicity officer. Wow! Thanks to all these students who have chosen to make a positive contribution to our school community and the Arts at Xavier. Without further ado, here is the list of main characters and the students who successfully auditioned to win these roles:

​Percy Jackson
​Deegan Attard
​Annabeth Chase
​Lily Spencer
​Grover Underwood
​Hannah Bould
​Mr. D (Dionysus)
​Richa Woochit
​Luke Castellan
​Piper Spencer
​Sarah Ewart
​Hamish Baillie
​Bianca Piggot
​Silena Beauregard
​Samara Foster
​Sally Jackson
​Aysha Hodges
​Scarlett Spencer
​Mrs. Dodds
​Ella O’Hea
​Clarisse La Rue
​Emily Horne

​In addition to these main roles, we have 26 chorus members to fill out the cast and dazzle the audience with song and dance. Add to that our 26 Backstage personnel and you have the promise of an awesome, blockbuster, showcase event for the Arts at Xavier. Rehearsals begin this week with a rotating schedule linked to the two-week cycle of classes. As many cast members are busy with other commitments on various afternoons, it was decided that a rotation of days would assist all to get to rehearsal as often as possible. So, in every Week A, rehearsals will be on a Tuesday afternoon from 3.15pm – 4.30pm. For every Week B, rehearsals will be on a Wednesday from 3.15 – 4.30. 
That’s it for this week. More information across all the Arts soon. Stay tuned!

Warm and creative regards,
Jonathan Dunn

Please Note

Collection Notice for Parents/Guardians
The Australian Government Department of Education has requested the College to provide residential address and other information. The Student Residential Address and Other Information Collection informs Australian Government school education policy and helps ensure funding for non-government schools is based on need. For more information on this, click here

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Cover Image: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2024)

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