Like so many staff members this year, I was new to the College in 2019. At the start of the year I recall having a conversation with Mr Tim Walker (Head of Health and Physical Education) who spoke glowingly about the ATC community and its passion for Service. His belief that the attitude towards Service set this College apart, rang true, time and time again throughout the year.
Last Fridays’ Service Assembly we formally recognised a record 152 Gold Service Award winners. Such is the incredible enthusiasm for Service, there is simply not enough time to individually acknowledge the 91 Silver award winners or the 87 Bronze winners or everyone for that matter, who contributed in some way to the 22 000 hours of Service accrued throughout the year.
This year Mr Gordon’s Year 4 cohort continued the tradition of visiting Indooroopilly Montessori Playhouse. Playing with the children in the playground and the sand pit, feeding the resident chickens and enjoying some shared reading time with new friends. Students in Year 4 also have begun the creation of books that they will read with the children throughout the remainder of the year.
The Year 5’s have led the way in the area of sustainability, creating their very own recycling program and making significant monetary donations to drought relief organisations. Through their leadership in this area, we have seen an introduction of recycling programs across other grades. Mr Cashmere’s Year 5’s have also continued their wonderful work with their Friendship Group at St Mark’s Inala.
Miss Moffat’s Year 6’s enjoyed entertaining and interacting with residents at the Cairns Aged Care Home and braved a cool night sleeping in the Nudgee Junior Hall as part of their ‘Swagust’ initiative. In addition, the Year 6 boys incorporated some fitness into their Service initiatives, participating in a push up challenge for Men’s Health awareness. They also tapped into their creative sides, designing and creating jewellery to be sold for charity.
Junior School students have raised funds and donated countless items for different organisations, such as the Winter Appeal, Footy Boot drive, Chocolate Brownie drive and Used Book drives – all to support groups, organisations, events and individuals that need our support, as well as once again, completing their annual Walk4Brain Cancer event, where they raised over $13000.
The Year 7 cohort, with over 3500 hours, continued their great work with Meals on Wheels delivering meals to those in need. A large contingent of Year 7 students signed up for their annual Service Expo – where they visited or participated in a selection of activities that assisted a variety of community groups, and have been big contributors to the Boomerang Bags program.
The Year 8 cohort continued to form relationships with students from Glenleighden School, spending time, interacting and playing with students on a regular basis. As a Call to Action the Year 8 group donated non-perishable food items to support the Jindalee Parish and St Vincent de Paul Homelessness network, as well as many of the boys spending a night sleeping out at the Parish in solidarity with those sleeping on the streets.
The Year 9 boys led the way with Boomerang Bags, creating shopping bags from used materials, reducing plastic and landfill. This year also saw the 9’s establish a new connection with Youngcare, and on a regular basis, students would visit the residents of Youngcare where they spent time chatting and playing games. The Year 9 students were huge contributors to events such as the Red Shield Appeal and Clean up Australia Day.
Students in the Senior school continued their wonderful work with their respective Friendship Groups. Connacht House completed the Stair Climb Challenge raising funds for the Mater Hospital Medical Research Foundation, also visiting the local aged care facility on a regular basis. The mighty men of Munster, ran the annual Red Shield Appeal and were regular visitors to Blind Eye Ministries. Leinster House had opportunities to work with students and members of DanDaLion. Leinster lads baked cupcakes, participated in running events and organised a Futsal tournament with this terrific organisation.
Ulster established a link with Occupational Therapy group, Sense Rugby, and regularly provided assistance to staff and participants of the Rugby based program. Groups such as E-Waste Connect, The Smith Family, Wesley Mission Relief Hub, St Vincent de Paul all received the Services of ATC students. Recently, the College supported our farming community with Five for a Farmer, raising much needed funds for families struggling through the drought.
As a College we acknowledged initiatives such as Put your Best Foot Forward and Real Men Wear Pink. We also contributed to a number of events at some of our neighbouring girls’ schools that raised money to assist a variety of organisations.
In addition to the organised events, there is a never-ending stream of stories and accounts of ATC Men of Courage using their initiative and finding their own activities to be a part of. Many young men have completed fundraisers, mowed a neighbour’s lawn, cleaned up a local area, helped the elderly, and many many other simple, yet very meaningful acts of Service.
Whether it be coaching sporting teams, running BBQ’s, hosting functions or selling raffle tickets, there is never a shortage of volunteers to help out. The spirit of service is certainly alive and well in the ATC community. Congratulations to all students for your efforts in the Service-Learning program this year. We can be proud of what we do as a College. Few schools place such importance on this aspect of a persons’ development. The ripple effect of 1300 students, 200 staff and countless parents and community members is far reaching and the work that our ATC community has done to support those living on the margins is certainly worthy of praise, which we will do on Friday. And we do this because it is our purpose, because it is right, because as a Catholic School in the Edmund Rice tradition we are called to do so.
Service Program Coordinator