Officer Campus – 21 February 2019


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We Grow Together


The following is my address to Officer Campus from our Assembly on Wednesday.

The year has started so well for us here at Officer Campus. We have a lot to look forward to over the course of the year as We Grow Together.

Over the past two weeks, I have met with many of your teachers and they have told me about the way you have returned to school ready to make the most of your learning opportunities. At the Year 7 Parent Evening, I heard many parents say that they chose St Francis Xavier College because they knew the teaching staff here would help you to reach your full potential.

Some of you may have seen your Primary Principal here yesterday, Mr O’Brien from St Patrick’s Primary, Mrs Staindl from St Clare’s Primary and Mr McDermott from St James Primary were here to talk about ways that we can better support you with your transition to secondary school.

I have had students emailing me and requesting time to meet to discuss ideas they have for various clubs and activities that they think other students would like to get involved with; a Minecraft Club, an Anime Club, a Dance and Cheerleading Club. I can’t wait to see the many ways in which these clubs develop your gifts and talents.

When I was your age, I wanted to play basketball for Australia. My heroes were Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. I wanted to play basketball like the Australian legend, Michele Timms and there was much I learnt from my coaches and training. When I heard about the expansion on NBA Africa over the weekend, I thought that I would share some of my learning from this sport.

Through sport, if you put in effort you will be rewarded. Through sport, you learn what it means to play as a team. Even if you are the best player, your job is not just to show off, but your job is to make your teammates better. To be the best, you must invest a lot of your time and energy.

Those people who are outstanding athletes put a lot of hours into their training; a lot of thinking into their game plan and have a lot of passion for what they do. This development is not confined to just basketball.

Today as I look around, I can see that there is so much potential in this Hall. My challenge is to think about how to get the best out of everyone. Let’s take this learning and apply it in the classroom.

Through your studies, if you put in effort you will be rewarded. Through your studies, you learn what it means to play as a team. Even if you are the best learner, your job is not just to show off, but your job is to make your classmates better. As a College community, we commit to supporting our young people to make good decisions. In positive education terms, we are keen to support our young people to develop grit. To perform at your personal best, you must invest a lot of your time and energy.

Learners who perform at their personal best put a lot of hours into their training; a lot of thinking into their game plan and have a lot of passion for what they do. This type of learning, this type of growth is not just confined to the classroom; it influences your character as a person.


Year 7 Camp

The Year 7 Camp is shaping up to be an outstanding experience for our Officer students. I am looking forward to seeing the way our students return from this camp experience bonded as a cohort and as a team. I have noticed that many of our Year 7 students have a terrific sense of confidence and independence. The Year 7 Camp is designed to maximise our students’ exposure to new activities they may not have tried before and to develop leadership capabilities. This offers a unique opportunity for our students to branch out and to make new friends. Navigating and building these friendships over the Year 7 Camp experience also teaches our students to be more socially confident – something they can take back to school with them.


Year 7 Transition – Planning for Success

For many students, the first year of high school is a time of great change. Year 7 brings new routines, multiple teachers, new friendships, new transport, and new expectations and responsibilities. Whilst, some students will thrive and enjoy these added responsibilities others may feel that they’re not ready to live up to the expectations and demands of secondary school. For every child, a new school or new stage in their schooling is an opportunity to develop a sense of competence and self-worth. Making this transition smooth is not about removing obstacles, but giving your child skills to manage the change.


Road Safety and Using the Lights

Children and young people need assistance dealing with the traffic environment until at least the age of 10 as they are not equipped physically or developmentally to make the crucial decisions to keep them safe. Like learning to drive a car, children and young people need practise and experience to walk in the traffic environment.

Children and young people are vulnerable road users. Anywhere where there is a potential for moving vehicles is a potentially dangerous traffic situation for children. This includes residential areas, carparks, at traffic lights, along footpaths, pedestrian and other crossings and busy streets like Princess Highway and Cardinia Road. Although children and young people may think they can handle crossing a road by themselves, remember that children and young people:

  • are easily distracted and focus on only one aspect of what is happening;
  • are smaller and harder for drivers to see;
  • are less predictable than other pedestrians;
  • cannot accurately judge the speed and distance of moving vehicles;
  • cannot accurately predict the direction sounds are coming from;
  • are unable to cope with sudden changes in traffic conditions;
  • do not understand abstract ideas – such as road safety;
  • are unable to identify safe places to cross the road;
  • tend to act inconsistently in and around traffic.


Parents have a key role in educating their children about road safety. Children and young people learn about road safety largely by experience. Parents have opportunities in day-to-day routines to discuss road safety with children on the way to the newsagent, local shop or going to school. Whenever crossing roads, it is an idea to talk about when and why it is safe to cross the road with your children so they can gain a good understanding of road safety issues.


Music Drama Dance Building

We are eagerly anticipating the commencement of classes in the Music Drama Dance Building next week. Yesterday, we had a final inspection of the site and have started moving in the furnishings. It has also been wonderful speaking to students about ideas they have for performances and clubs that may run at lunchtimes.


Solar Works

We are in the process of installing solar panels across the Campus. Contractors will be onsite for the next fortnight and the scheduled date for completion is Friday 8 March. These enabling works will help to reduce our carbon footprint, enabling our school to run on clean energy while at the same time combating greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.


Primary Principals – Welcome

On Tuesday, I welcomed three of the principals from our feeder primary schools for a meet and greet. It was a wonderful way to plan for the successful transition of students from our primary schools and to build on our positive school and community partnerships. It was great to see a number of our students rush over to say hello to their former principal and welcome them to our community.

  • St Clare’s Primary: Helen Staindl
  • St Patricks Primary: Mick O’Brien
  • St James Primary: Andrew McDermott


Lisa Harkin

Deputy Principal – Head of Campus – Officer

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