Newsletter - Term 3, Week 2, 2023


From the Pen of the Principal

Dear Parents and Carers

Welcome back to the new term! Halftime in many sports is a time not only to catch your breath but to reassess the match and make any necessary changes. For our students and staff, I hope this was also your approach to the holiday break. Yes, rest and recover. But also review the first Semester and decide on any changes in approach that may be needed as we enter the run home. It may be rethinking your study timetable, or at least committing to sticking to it. It may be to ask your teachers more questions. Without an action plan, goals are just dreams. Dream big but make the changes to get you there.

Jesuit Education Conference 2023
During the second week of the holidays, I along with our APREs, Brendan McDonald and Laura Oliver, travelled to St Ignatius College Riverview in Sydney to attend the Jesuit Education Conference. It is a conference that occurs every three years and brings hundreds of delegates from all over Australia to reflect upon our identity in educating for a faith and hope-filled future.

While the keynote speakers were excellent and inspirational, the highlight for me was two sessions where we heard directly from former and current students. The alumni panel was a live interview of 3 former students who graduated in the last 5 years. This was backed up by a range of current students who had their interviews filmed ahead of the conference.

While they reflected a wide variety of positions on their individual faith journeys, they all expressed a commitment to human excellence, justice and solidarity, and the desire to make a contribution to the world. It was clear that their orientation was not about what they could get out of life, but rather, what difference they desired to make.

The dilemma that often faces Catholic schools is that our students and their families may not be church going adherents to the faith, but they are actively engaged in selfless acts that will make the world a better place. This causes some to view this as a problem or a failure. I do not view it this way.

First, we need to remember the old maxim ‘Faith is caught not taught.’ Faith is a gift and a relationship with something greater than yourself.

The second point of hope for the future is the work of the Spirit. Put bluntly, the Holy Spirit is as active in this world as the Holy Spirit has ever been. If we can’t see it maybe we are looking in the wrong places. When I listened to those young people at the conference I was inspired by their vision, commitment, compassion and search for meaning. While it looked very different to what I may have heard when I was at school, I could hear and see the Spirit stirring in these wonderful young people. While the world has its problems, with such young people coming to adulthood, I feel our future is in good hands.

Chapel Opening
Our Saint Francis Xavier Chapel is nearing completion with the refurbished pews to enter the building shortly. It has been quite the transformation and certainly will provide a focal point for our prayers and liturgies.

The Chapel will be blessed by Father Adrian Farrelly, the Episcopal Vicar for the North Country Deanery, and opened by Durm O'Riordan, Deputy Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education.

The ceremony will form part of our Catholic Education Week liturgy in JPAC on Wednesday 26th July commencing at 10.00am. All are most welcome to attend.

Blessings and Peace,
Simon Dash

Acting Head of School - Primary 

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all families back to the college for Term 3.  I would also like to welcome our new families to the school and the students who have started their learning journey with us. 

As we begin the term, I would like to alert all parents to our school calendar.  Term 3 is gearing up to be a busy and exciting term with many upcoming events in the Primary School.  Events this term include a variety of opportunities to celebrate Book Week with our annual dress-up parade, Family Reading Night in the library, an author visit and Rug Reading lead by our Year 6 students.  Later in the term we will also celebrate the father-figures in our lives with our Father’s Day Liturgy.

In the coming weeks some of our students will represent the college at the Hervey Bay District Athletics Carnival and All Schools Oz Tag Tournament.  We wish all students participating in these events the very best. I would like to thank the staff who are also attending these carnivals, giving up much of their personal time to coach and manage teams.  Thank you also to the parents and carers for the continued support you provide to ensure participation at these events.
After School Pick-up of Students

A reminder to parents/carers in our school community, when collecting students from classrooms at the end of the day, please wait outside Goa, avoiding the pod areas until the 3.00pm bell sounds.  This prevents disruption and ensures our students are able to focus on required tasks and teacher instructions until the very end of the school day.  We appreciate your cooperation with this matter.

Before School Duty - Goa
Parents are reminded that no supervision is provided on site prior to 8.00am and that no student should be onsite before this time. The only exception to this is the students who are dropped off by one of our regularly scheduled early buses.  

Prep Come and Try Day 3
Our final Prep Come and Try Day (Friday 28th July 9.00 am – 10.30 am) is quickly approaching. Students will be provided with the opportunity to experience classroom activities and become familiar with the Prep environment. Please register your interest at the College or via our online events registration.​

Head of School - Secondary

Active Listening and Positive Behaviours
When we listen to others, it is sometimes only to consider how we will respond. We sometimes are distracted and miss some of what is being said. Active listening requires the listener to pay close attention to what is being communicated both verbally and nonverbally. It requires the listener to have an excellent attention span and empathetic abilities. Sometimes what is not said is also very important and conveys a deeper meaning than the content of what was said. I was reading up on active listening based on a conversation we had prior to the college holidays. It was about taught behaviours and that most behaviours are learned. 

To teach our students about active listening, we would start with the basics, of how do you know when someone is listening to you? Maintaining eye contact and appropriate facial expressions are important to convey empathy and attention. Genuine attentiveness needs not to be forced or faked it is a way to capture the essence of what is being said. I thought this article from the University of Adelaide was a great short read for us all Active Listening (, as it highlights how we can learn to listen better. Like how we can work with our students to see productive behaviours in the school. 

As we continue on our journey of Positive Behaviours for Learning we need to understand that establish behavioural science principles include:
  • Behaviour is learnt and therefore replacement behaviours can be taught;
  • Behaviour is bound by laws and predictable in nature;
  • Behaviour occurrences are affected by system and environmental factors that interact with the biophysical characteristics of the individual and;
  • Adult behaviour significantly influences student behaviour. 

As stated on the Brisbane Catholic Education website, Positive Behaviour for Learning is an evidence-based organisational framework which brings together the whole school community to contribute to developing a positive, safe and supportive learning culture. It also provides us with a set of tools to manage behaviours when things go wrong, using a relational approach. The framework assists schools to improve social, emotional, behavioural, and academic outcomes for all children and young people. Please see link for further information Student Behaviour Support (​.

Positive Behaviour for Learning will assist in the prevention of unproductive behaviours with logical consequences for behaviour that contravenes the expectations of our school, and are applied consistently, but with the consideration of the individual circumstances. Successful teachers define, teach, reteach, and model expected behaviours. They provide regular opportunities for students to practise these behaviours in settings in which they will be used. They also actively supervise students, promote the expected behaviour, prevent, and correct inappropriate behaviour and acknowledge positive behaviour continuously. 

Staff Professional Learning and Development
We have been fortunate recently after submitting applications with our system. We have been accepted to be part of two exciting opportunities to upskill our staff. Our Mathematics department have been invited to participate in a year-long professional connection with Tierney Kennedy. This is an exciting transformative professional learning opportunity for our teachers and our students. Our teachers have committed to four days of learning, to work with a team of teachers to develop their own practice and the impact they have beyond the classroom through leading the learning of others. I thank Mrs Janine Ritter who is leading this in our school. 

We have also been invited to participate in partnership with Peter Ellerton and the Critical Thinking Network. Our staff will work later this year with the University of Queensland to improve the way we teach Critical Thinking. 
Safeguarding our students 

Recently I was at Professional Learning within our system of Brisbane Catholic Education. It reminded me to share this resource from the Queensland Police. It is an interesting read about distributing of images referred to as ‘sexting’. 

The sharing of intimate images, commonly referred to as ‘sexting’, is the act of taking sexually explicit images or videos and distributing the material to partners, friends or anyone else via mobile phone or any other communication method. Once an intimate image is transmitted, the owner of the image or anyone else depicted in the image loses control of it.  This means that the recipient of the image, or a person who has accessed the image through other means such as computer hacking, could further distribute the image or upload it to a public forum without the owner’s consent. In some cases, recipients of the image might use blackmail for further images or for money by threatening to post the already received image. This can happen to anyone, regardless of the relationship to the recipient.

In Queensland, it is a criminal offence if a person shares an intimate image of another person without their consent in a way that would reasonably cause them distress. It is also illegal if a person threatens to share an intimate image without the person’s consent in a way that would cause them fear of the threat being carried out.  This applies whether a person threatens the person depicted in the intimate image, or anyone else. This offence applies even if the image does not exist.

For more information regarding the sharing of intimate images, refer to the Queensland Government's website.

How To Seek Help:
  • If someone has shared an intimate image or video of you, or has threatened to share an intimate image, you can:
  • Report it to your nearest police station
  • Where images have been uploaded online, contact the office of the e-safety commissioner and seek advice on techniques and strategies to remove the images.
  • Seek support services who can provide you with immediate and on-going assistance. 

Counselling and support is available from:

With every blessing,
Ursula Witham-Young


Uniform shop
If you’re looking for Xavier Catholic College winter track pants, the uniform shop is again fully stocked with all sizes. Track tops are also in stock. The uniform shop is open four days a week:
  • Monday: 7:30am – 10:30am
  • Tuesday: 7:30am – 10:30am
  • Wednesday: 7:30am – 10:30am
  • Thursday: 2:30pm – 5:00pm

Gecko and Work Experience 2023
Greatly Enhancing Career Knowledge and Opportunities (GECKO) is a program that is run for our Year 10 students each year. The program culminates with each student completing their Senior Education and Training Plan (SET Plan). This year, 110 Year 10 students participated in our Work Experience and GECKO program in weeks 9 and 10 of Term 2. 

Mid way through Term 1, students began their induction into work experience and the steps involved in this process. They were then required to reach out to local employers working within the industries they identified as being future career possibilities. 

Students asked local employers if they would be willing to take them on for work experience over one week at the end of Term 2. Students have begun sharing their success stories from work experience and are grateful for the insight the opportunity provided. 

Students are encouraged to undertake further work experience in senior school to enhance their knowledge of their potential future career. Students interested in undertaking work experience should schedule a meeting with Ms Bridget Moloney or Mrs Alison Keal. The College community is incredibly grateful for the generosity shown by the local businesses that took on our students this year. We look forward to continuing these partnerships in the future.

When students were not at work experience they were at school participating in our GECKO program, which has been designed to provide our students with opportunities to learn and explore real life skills that they will need in senior schooling and once their complete their education journey at Xavier Catholic College. In addition to work experience and the GECKO program, students also attended the Fraser Coast Careers Expo which allowed them to ask local employers, universities and careers support companies questions regarding their future pathways. 

The College expresses its gratitude to Jobs Fraser Coast for organising this event and providing transport so that all of our Year 10 students could attend.

Winter School
Year 10 student Michael Parsgaard spent the June school holidays in Townsville at the JCU Winter School for Australiana Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students. Michael applied for a position and was accepted into the discipline of Medicine and Dentistry for the JCU Winter School where he had the chance to experience university life. Over five days, students lived on campus and took part in academic lectures and team-building activities in an interactive program that provided opportunities to meet university staff and students and form bonds. Michael said the best part about the experience was getting to know the people he met there. 

“Some other cool things that we got to do included going into the anatomy lab and the night activity where we made a fire from dry hibiscus branches. I am keen on not only attending Uni, but especially JCU. I would highly recommend other students to attend Winter schools” - Michael Parsgaard.

Containers for Change bins
Our green bins need your help! The College’s green Containers for Change bins are not always being used correctly, even though students know what they can and cannot place in them. Over the coming weeks we will again educate the College community on the proper disposal of rubbish on campus. We have two bins on campus – red bins and Containers for Change bins.

The College campus is kept beautiful by a team of hardworking staff and we would like to help keep it that way by using the correct bins at all times. Please see the below images detailing what can go in the different bins and discuss with your child/children how they can be used correctly. You could also discuss ways of reducing packaging brought to school to help us reduce the amount of rubbish we accumulate.
Remember, it’s everyone’s responsibility to care for the environment.

Primary disco
Primary school students (and some staff) celebrated the end of Term 2 in style at the P-6 Disco on 21 June. It was great to see so many students dressing up for the Western / Country theme. In case you missed the post, you can find a full gallery from the disco on our Facebook​ page.

 A big thank you to all staff and students who helped organise such an enjoyable event.

Students who have achieved 133% or higher Growth Rate or 100% Accuracy need to master 4 out of the 6 modules completed each cycle. This newsletter acknowledges those students who achieved this every cycle for Term 2!​ ​Why is 133% Growth Rate important? Students achieving this consistently show more than a years’ worth of knowledge mastered. As students are filling in gaps in Year 6-8, this is ultimately the goal of Maths Pathway.

Congratulations to the students listed below!

Australian Mathematics Competition
The Australian Mathematics Competition will be held at the College in Term 3 on Thursday, 3 August 2023 during Lessons 1 and 2 for students from year 3-12.  This year we will be completing the competition online. Entry is $8.00. A link on Qkr! has been set up for both payment and permission slips.

If your child has missed out on a letter and wishes to participate in the competition, they can collect one from student reception. Payment needs to be made by Thursday, 27 July. If you have any queries please email:
  • Year 3-6
  • Year 7-12

Maths Tutoring Timetable

Catholic Education Week
Join us this Sunday, 23rd July at 9:00am at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Bryant Street Pialba as we launch Catholic Education Week with a celebration of the Mass with our Parish community, facilitated by students and staff from Xavier Catholic College. All are welcome!​

Arts and Culture

NAIDOC Week 2023
Xavier Catholic College came together to celebrate the rick culture, history and achievements of Australia’s First Nations people during our NAIDOC Week celebrations in the first week of Term 3.

Our P-12 assembly on Wednesday started with an Acknowledgement of Country from former student Mani Bowers, followed by a procession of cultural items placed on the stage by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Former student Ruben Broome led Gari Gynda Narmi Welcome Dance, accompanied by some of our indigenous students. Ruben returned to school to share his pride and mentor younger students, which was greatly appreciated. Deadly Choices staff, Kayleb Angeles and Lysha Skene (also both Xavier graduates) returned to the College to participate in events and share their cultural knowledge. 

The pride the College community feels when students return to visit is immeasurable. It is testament to the strong sense of community and enduring bonds forged during their time with us. Their visits inspire and motivate current students to strive for excellence. 

Primary students were treated to various activities run by our Secondary indigenous students on Friday. They shared many cultural activities, including art and craft. Students were given samples of kangaroo meat and the chance to cook Johnny cakes on the open fire.   Uncle Les from USC was amazing with the students and explained how Johnny cakes came about. Students thoroughly enjoyed this interactive activity.

In the classroom, we participated in meaningful discussions on NAIDOC Week, Butchulla Country and the Elders. At Xavier Catholic College, NAIDOC Week is a time of unity, respect and collaboration that extends beyond the festivities.

You can view our full NAIDOC Week gallery on Facebook​.

Book Week

Get ready for an explosive week of Arts activity with two special days: the 15th – 17th of August. From 3.30pm you can Walk the Art Trail to discover incredible student artworks and Xavier history. Stop off for some delightfully delicious creations at Frankie’s and relax to some un-plugged live music supplied by our own music students. Immerse yourself in the world of film with some of the most amazing student films showcased in Campion Theatre. Be captivated and enthralled with live music, jokes and dance at the Variety Night performances. So, buckle up and be prepared to be blown away. August 15 and 17 - claim the date!

Dance Nirvana
Our amazing Dance teams – the middle school Sporting Dance Team and the newly created Xavier Dance team are set to impress in the upcoming Evolution Dance Competition in Maryborough next week. If you have a spare hour or two, drop into the Brolga Theatre on Monday the 24th of July to catch the action. But the dance doesn’t stop there! We were fortunate enough to run a free dance workshop facilitated by the Queensland Ballet which took place Tuesday the 18th of July. Our dancers will be primed and supercharged for the competitions next week.

Sublime Strings
Ms Jenny Conlan is also preparing the Xavier String Ensemble for the upcoming Maryborough Eisteddfod. Arts captain Chiara Di Pietro and the talented Lily Spencer are also set to participate in the State Honours Strings Ensemble run by Griffith University. This is a fantastic opportunity for young musicians to meet, rehearse and perform with other amazing young musicians across the state. 

Vibrant Visual Art
As well as the amazing Art Trail in the Artomic festival, the Visual Arts crew here at Xavier are continually busy. The Tee-shirt design team are busily preparing some wearable art. There is a new exhibition of student works in the Library this week which invites students to vote for their favourite artworks. Some great prizes to be won! Plus, there has been a continual array of external Visual Art competitions that students have been invited to enter. Particularly, of late we have had students enter the Independent Education Union’s Art Competition, ‘Colours of Life’ as well as a select few secondary students be successfully nominated into the Queensland College of Art Workshops at Gin Gin High School in late July. Our artists are making the most of artistic opportunities made available to them!

Creative Features (Gin Gin)
Congratulations to Nalani Hunt (Year 7) and Villo Barton-Bako (Year 11) for their successful nominations ahead of the Creative Futures program as part of the Griffith University’s QCA Art and Design School Program in Gin Gin later this month. The event is the combined programs of the Queensland College of Art (QCA) Art and Design School Program presented in association with Gin Gin State High School and Queensland Conservatorium’s State Honours Ensemble Program presented in association with Bundaberg Christian College.

Nalani and Villo will work alongside a team of world-renowned faculty from Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art to develop their skills and explore processes and perspectives in their chosen craft. The three-day workshop takes place at Gin Gin State High School from 28-30 July 2023.

The QCA will host an exhibition after the workshop to celebrate the participants’ hard work. The exhibition will be open to families, friends and peers.


Secondary Athletics Carnival program of events

Schedule of Events - Friday 21 July

A reminder to all Year 7-12 students that the canteen will not be available at second break on Thursday.

Click this link for photos of the Primary Athletics Carnival held at the end of Term 2. 

Confro 2023
Confraternity 2023 was another hugely successful week for our Xavier boys. Although they ultimately finished second to a very good Chanel College side, the tremendous levels of respect, gratitude and resilience displayed throughout the carnival ensure they will be remembered as one of the best sides to represent the College. 

Overall, the boys won 5 of their 6 matches, only succumbing at the end of the week when illness and injury had taken a hold within the squad.  At the conclusion of the carnival, Jordan Hislop (Best and Fairest) and Declan Drury (Spirit of Confro) were presented with individual awards for their outstanding performances and leadership both on and off the field.
A huge thanks also to Anamique for her many hours of strapping and tending to the injury needs of the squad, and to Allen and Luke for their words of guidance and encouragement in their roles as on-field trainers. Without these volunteers the team could simple not perform to the levels they were capable of. Thank you also to Mr Collier, who left no stone unturned throughout the week to ensure that the boys had everything they needed and were able to focus on their football. 

Finally, a huge thank you to the many families, students and staff who travelled to Brisbane to support the team throughout the week, with a special mention to Belinda Geldard for the great photography! One of the special parts of Confro is being able to share it with the broader Xavier Community, and everyone that attended games or tuned in to the livestream helped to contribute to such a supportive atmosphere. 
Congratulations again to all the players and staff, and we look forward to going one better in Townsville in 2024.

QISSN 2023
Our QISSN teams finished the carnival on a high with both teams taking out wins on the final day. Our girls’ team had a good win against Mt Maria to finish in third place in their division, while the boys had a great 13-10 win in their grand final against Mt Maria to take out the Division 2 Men’s Shield.

Congratulations to our two MVPs, Jackson Dundas and Chloe Paxton. Your Leadership on and off the court was outstanding. Congratulations also to Max Wilson and Katelyn Relf for being named in the Rising Stars list for 2023. Well done to all players on both teams. Your commitment and effort across the week was outstanding. Thanks to all of our coaches and managers for looking after the teams.

Don’t Forget

​You can also stay up-to-date with Xavier Catholic College by following us on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you to all the parents and carers who have already joined our growing online community.

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