Newsletter - Term 3, Week 6, 2023

​​From the Pen of the Principal

We all feel the stressors and strains of the busyness of daily life. There is much evidence that schools can, at times, add to the tension and have an effect on our sense of wellbeing, whether that be as a student, a staff member or a parent. It may sound a little trite, but I was quite taken by a statement made at the Positive Schools Conference that I recently attended. I have inserted a picture with the quote: “Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.”

Term 3, Week 6, 2023 - boat.jpg

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

For whatever reason it spoke to me and stayed with me. 

It reminded me of the concept based on Stephen Covey’s work that has developed into a model containing three concentric circles: The outer being the Circle of Concern. For example, global issues such as climate change, politics, or the economy fall into our circle of concern. We may feel strongly about these issues, but ultimately, we cannot directly control them. 

The Circle of Influence encompasses those concerns that we can do something about and have some control over. It can include things like our health, our children or problems at work. Finally, there is the Circle of Control, an even smaller circle, representing the things we can actually directly do something about.

For a visual example of the concept by Stephen Covey, click here.

Discerning what things sit within and outside our Circle of Concern can be quite liberating. Further to this is whether they are things you can move from concern to having influence. The discernment can free us from worrying about matters that we cannot influence and provide energy to those things within our ‘wheelhouse’ to do something about.

Dan Siegel, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, refers to the ‘Window of Tolerance’ which he likens to a middle ground between chaos and rigidity. If we can stay within the window, our level of emotions enables us to experience a sense of stability and coherence. We are reflective and flexible; able to think abstractly and adapt our responses to the challenges we face. 
There are lots of potential factors which can impact on the size of our Window of Tolerance. When we feel safe, calm and in control, the window will be much wider. Protective factors, such as the support of a loved one or proactively planning to manage a difficult day, can help us to maintain good enough functioning. The window will be narrower if we are coping with multiple sources of stress, feeling exhausted or having to deal with unfamiliar and unpredictable contexts which evoke strong thoughts and feelings. 

I follow a lot of the work of Dr Chris Moore who provides insights into creating positive environments for young people to grow and to flourish. He suggests that each day as we experience the vagaries of what life can throw at us, the window can tighten and we continually stray close to the boundaries. Sitting in a long traffic jam, being let down by a friend or receiving a terse email from a manager may not tip us out of the window on their own, but one could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back if they were all experienced on the same day. It is that feeling you have when a minor event, which normally would not make you think twice, is something you fixate on and fume about for the rest of the day.
Young people’s ‘Windows of Tolerance’ are naturally widened. But this is much less likely for those who have lived in chronic fear and feel a lack of safety and security because of past trauma and loss. Similarly, school staff and parents who continually feel burnt out by various demands will find it harder to think rationally, manage impulses and can run the risk of slipping out of their windows. 
While it takes time and practice, learning how to pay less attention to land on the horizon and storm clouds overhead, enables us to see more of the clear ocean and get to calmer waters. Remembering when we have felt our Windows of Tolerance being wider is a great starting point. But it does take practice. 

Knowing your ‘triggers’ is perhaps the most important starting point. What are the times of day when you notice a big change in your wellbeing? Are there certain activities you dread? Who are the people that bring you down or stress you out? Staying aware of these triggers can help us to make good decisions before we face the clouds or the shore. 

Planning ahead can help to reduce a lot of unnecessary stress. Ever notice how you feel much more relaxed when you have organised all of your gear for work the night before instead of 20 minutes before you are heading out the door in the morning? If you constantly find yourself rushing, try to give yourself more time, space things out and focus on doing the most important stuff first. 
Keeping to healthy habits is easier said than done. But start slow and small. This might be scheduling one or two walks a week, at times when you are most likely to follow through. Similarly, try heading to bed a little earlier and finding a new book or album to dissuade you from reading the news or checking your emails in bed. 

Connecting with others is critical to our wellbeing, given how important relationships are for our physical and mental health. Make time to talk to your family and friends, check in with someone you have not spoken to in a while, let someone know that you are thinking about them and spread some kindness around your social network. 

Prioritising yourself can be one of the last things you do when you have lots of commitments and demands on you, whether at home or elsewhere. But there comes a point when it is healthier and more authentic to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now’ to something that you would normally do regardless of how you feel. 

Finally, we need to build in time for ‘flow activities’ – things which allow us to feel completely absorbed and fulfilled. This also means taking a break, so that we relax and recharge often enough to prevent us reaching burnout. 

As parents and educators, one of our highest responsibilities is to role model these practices for our children and to encourage them to take these same steps. They may sound simple, but the impact can be life-changing. It could be a great conversation to have as a family and to plan ahead in order to gain the energy and enthusiasm to grasp hold of life and live it to the full.

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

Blessings and Peace,
Simon Dash

Acting Head of Primary School

Parent Teacher Interviews
A reminder to all parents that Parent / Teacher interviews will occur in P-6 during Week 7 and 8.  All parents should have been notified that Parent Teacher Online is now open ready for bookings. I would encourage all parents to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss your child's learning with their classroom teacher.  The partnership between school and home is a key factor in any child's learning and these interviews are invaluable towards ensuring each student is able to access the curriculum.  Please contact the College if you require assistance to make a booking on Parent Teacher Online.

Pick Up/Drop Off Update
My thanks to all parents for continuing to respect the request of only entering pods after 8:30am and 3pm.  I appreciate the extra effort all parents have made to ensure teachers can prepare for classes in the morning and by staying out of pods until after 3pm ensures students are not distracted by seeing family members outside of their classrooms before school is finished.

Book Term Celebrations
Next week our book term celebrations continue with our main event being the book parade on Wednesday, 23 August. This will be an opportunity for all students to dress up as their favourite character from a book they love.  All parents are invited to join us for our 3-6 Book week Assembly and P-2 Outdoor circle parade. Thanks to Mr Bebington for organising these celebrations and ensuring that all students have an opportunity to be involved in activities throughout the term.

Father’s Day Stall, Breakfast and Liturgy
Our annual Father’s Day stall will be on again between 29 August and 2 September in the library. This is a perfect opportunity for students to purchase a small gift for the special male in their life. We will once again be hosting a Father’s Day Breakfast on Wednesday, 30 August.  This will involve a simple breakfast for all the special men in the lives of our students and some games on the GOA oval. Following breakfast, a short Liturgy will be held in GOA at 8:45am.  All parents are invited to join us for this special event, please RSVP via Parent Slips.

Gala Day
These past couple of weeks the Year 3 and 4 students have been demonstrating their sporting prowess in preparation for the Gala Day on 25 August.  These days are all about having fun and participation, but this is only possible because of the hard work and dedication of Mrs Hatchett, thank you for all that you do in promoting sport at Xavier Catholic College.  Parents are always welcome to support their child at these events, hope to see you there.

Kind regards,
Sarah Love

Head of Secondary School

Last newsletter I wrote about our Wellbeing of Students and Staff and the committee we have formed at Xavier Catholic College. I was fortunate enough, along with our Dean of Pastoral Care, to attend professional learning on Wellbeing a few weeks ago. As part of our Strategic Plan at Xavier Catholic College, we are working towards how we look after the wellbeing of our staff and students. We know that if we improve staff wellbeing, we will have happier teachers, we will have meaning and purpose beyond the classroom and this will support our energy to continue to teach. We know that teacher wellbeing is about valuing and recognising the incredible work teachers do, while ensuring they can work and function at their best. Could I ask you to take the opportunity to thank an amazing teacher? 

This week, we had our staff and students dress as SuperHIRO’s for the day. Could I encourage you to also discuss the positive impact we have on each other through our actions and words? This is a great site to have a look at HIRO | Bully Zero. If we can think about the words from Harry, we can make Xavier Catholic College a better place.

  • I am personally accountable
  • I am responsible
  • I am respectful
  • I am kind

Kind regards,
Ursula Witham-Young​


Vaping resources for parents
No doubt, many of you have been reading in the news or viewing programs in the media about the electronic cigarette pandemic, also known as vapes or personal vapourisers. It has been an issue for many schools and families in our society lately. Many parents and caregivers have contacted the school requesting additional resources and referral agencies for them in relation to this issue as it is an area that they feel they know little about and have difficulty with when they try​ to pass on information and discuss the issue with their children.

We hope that this information may be helpful to parents and caregivers and there are also a range of drug and alcohol specific referral options including:
  • Alcohol and other drugs services in Queensland by Queensland Health
  • Clarence Street - Mater Young Adult Health Centre by Queensland Health Adis
  • Free drug and alcohol counselling in Australia by Counselling Online
  • Quitting smoking support tools & apps by Queensland Government Quit HQ
  • Vaping Resources for Parents by Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia
  • Special Report on Vaping by SchoolTV

Legal implications - Under the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 (Tobacco Act) electronic cigarettes are smoking products and subject to the same laws as tobacco or cigarettes.  This means that in Queensland it is illegal to:
  • Supply any smoking-products to people under 18 years of age.
  • Sell or possess liquid nicotine products without a prescription.
  • Advertise and promote e-cigarette products.
  • Use a smoking-product, including e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas, including on school grounds or within 5m of the boundary.

School responses to vaping incidentsA student found in possession of a vaping instrument on school grounds; part of a group vaping on school grounds (i.e. toilets); outside the school but in school uniform; or at a school endorsed activity is managed under the school’s Student Behaviour Support Plan and the BCE Procedure: Alcohol and other drug-related incident. The College would consider appropriate sanctions under the plan that respond to the incident which considers a student’s behaviour history, age, development, cultural and social situation. Essentially, we would respond to vaping in the same manner of cigarette smoking or alcohol. 

Literary Triumphs of 2023: Xavier’s Readers Shine Bright!
Step aside ordinary bookworms, because the literary champions of Xavier Catholic College have made 2023 a year to remember! Prepare to be enchanted by the extraordinary tales of triumph that unfolded on the pages of this year’s Readers Cup Competition. For those not in the know, Readers Cup is the brainchild of the Queensland Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia – a state-wide competition that transforms the act of reading into a fierce battle of wisdom and wit. Imagine a sporting event where the playing field is a rich tapestry of books, and the athletes are not athletes at all, but teams of four to five students armed with knowledge and camaraderie.

At Xavier Catholic College, it’s not just about reading; it’s about preparation, dedication and teamwork. And once again, Xavier’s students have proven themselves as true contenders in this literary arena.

The spotlight shone brightly on XCC when it played host to the Wide Bay Readers Cup regional final for the spirited year 5 and 6 competition where we witnessed an awe-inspiring gathering of over 17 schools and 29 teams, all bound by the magic of stories. Among them were two dynamic Xavier's teams:

Team One: Meg Collier, Riley Murray, Sophie Greener and Rose Abberfield
Team Two: Thiviyan Pratheepan, Rohan Woochit and Hayden Nash

With passion in their hearts and books as their armour, these teams battled to the very last question. Team One placed a valiant and courageous 7th, while Team Two completed the challenge in second place to St Luke's Anglican College by just one point! But destiny had other plans – St Luke's couldn't make it to the State Final, and thus, Xavier's Team Two emerged from the pages of fate, ready to seize the opportunity with open minds and open books. Let's cheer for this incredible team of readers as they venture into the grand stage of the State Final!

Moving up the literary ladder, the Year 7 and 8 Readers Cup virtuosos – Lexy Zentveld, Emily Horne, Jazmin Moore, Ester Matyas, and Taelah Rowe – took on the challenge posed by 17 other teams. Their determination and unwavering spirit earned them a dazzling bronze medal, a testament to the fierce competition that raged at Rosedale State School. 

Stepping into the spotlight of the Year 9 and 10 Readers Cup, Xavier's team of Hannah Bould, Emma Garty, Samara Foster, Richa Woochit, and Charlotte McQuaid embarked on a literary journey that led them to the doorstep of Kepnock State High School. Here, they stood face to face with the formidable St Luke's Anglican College. While silver was the prize of the moment, their performance radiated with brilliance and promise.

9_10 Readers Cup Team 2023.jpg

(Photo: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2023)

Let us extend our warmest applause to all our remarkable readers for their unwavering dedication and boundless effort throughout the 2023 competition. As the final chapter of this year's Readers Cup draws to a close, we eagerly anticipate the stories that await in the upcoming year. With every book turned, a new adventure unfolds, and we can't wait to witness the magic that Xavier's readers will conjure in 2024 and beyond!

Xavier Catholic College Art Update​
(Images: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2023)

(Photos: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2023)

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

Make sure you catch the final night of Artomic in GOA on Thursday, 17 August. Students have worked hard to plan and present an amazing showcase of music, dance, comedy, short films and art. If you’re hungry, make sure you grab a bite to eat at Frankie’s Café. 

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

Maryborough Eisteddfod
Congratulations to all Xavier Catholic College students who took part in the Maryborough Eisteddfod recently.

A special mention goes out to:
  • The string ensemble who came third in the Open Age Ensemble section.
  • Lily, Piper and Ellie who played in a quartet and came third in the Under 18 section.
  • Lily and Ellie for placing first in the Under 18 duet.
  • Lily who came second in the Under 18 solo.

Well done to all those who took part, the whole Xavier Catholic College community is proud of your performances.


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

St Vincent De Paul School Sleepout
“The crisis of homelessness is no longer distant; it's a grim reality affecting friends, families, and even white-collar workers. As housing costs soar, a report paints a bleak picture with the demand for accommodation skyrocketing. This Homelessness Week, the question is not just how we define homelessness, but how we respond to its profound impact.” Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street Publications.

We will hold the annual Saint Vincent De Paul School Sleep Out on Tuesday, 29 of August at Xavier Catholic College. Our students will be sleeping a little rough on this night, with a simple soup dinner and toast for breakfast.  This experience helps us develop a sense of solidarity with those in our community who are experiencing homelessness in Hervey Bay.  We already have a large number of secondary students who have signed up to spend the entire night sleeping on a piece of cardboard as well as our Year 4 students who will be joining us earlier in the night to develop an understanding of the work that SVDP do in Hervey Bay.  Please continue to support the agencies in our community that directly work with families and individuals who are doing it tough every day.  No doubt, those who choose to participate in this event will have a heart full of gratitude for what they have every day.

Year 8 Retreat
Our Year 8 students recently engaged in a wonderful day facilitated by Az Hamilton geared towards making connections and choosing friends that will enhance your life and bring out the best in you.  The students were enthralled by Az’s ability to use story as a great congruent to bring to life these core concepts.  Lots of time for games, challenges and listening to each other was also a priority.  Thank you to all those parents and caregivers who encourage your child/student to attend. They loved it. 


(Photo: ©️ Brisbane Catholic Education, Xavier Catholic College, 2023)


2023 All Schools Oztag – OUR BEST YEAR YET!
Congratulations to all 12 teams that competed at the Queensland Oztag All Schools Tournament on the Sunshine Coast. Our teams spent three days competing against 80 schools (243 teams) for a spot in the finals and selection into a Queensland Oztag All Stars Merit Team. 


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

This was our most successful year to date with eight of our 12 teams making it to finals! On top of that, our Year 10 Girls and 12 Boys made it to Semi Finals and our greatest success was our Year 11 Boys, who not only made it to the Grand Final – they won it! The boys played Keebra Park, a very well-known, strong sporting school. At full time the score was a draw, so the play went to drop offs where our boys worked together tirelessly to put Ethan Hore over the line to score the winning try. The match of the tournament; however, was when our Year 11 Boys played our Year 12 Boys. All eyes were watching including the Oztag officials. It was a hard-fought match by both teams with our Year 11 Boys taking away the win. 

Further to that, we had a number of students selected into the Queensland Oztag All Stars Merit Team and Development Squad:

QLD Oztag All Stars Merit Team
  • Yr 7 Girls – Summer Osborne
  • Yr 7 Boys – Utah Blaikie/Kaycen Horne
  • Yr 8 Boys – Tom Mason/Billy Roderick
  • Yr 10 Girls -Madison Fletcher/Milli Paxton/Cee Cee Hilton
  • Yr 11 Boys – Zac Bennett/Chaz Sheedy/Caleb Berthelsen
  • Yr 12 Boys – Kaine Richters/Dane Blanke/Kai Prouatt/Jett Wright

QLD Oztag All Stars Merit Team Development Squad
  • Yr 6 - Will Robertson
  • Yr 10 Girls – Ariana Rasmussen/Millie Jackson
  • Yr 12 Girls – Summer Wilson/Emily Fisher
  • Yr 11 Boys – Koopah Nooroa

Congratulations to all players and the effort put in over the three days. Also, a big thank you to the parents who accompanied the students to the tournament. And finally, a huge thank you to the staff who gave up countless early mornings and lunch times to train our teams and attend the tournament. Without your dedication this would not have been possible - THANK YOU!

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.