On the 15th of September the students and staff of the College gathered to celebrate Unity Day, a celebration of the diversity of cultures within our community. The day began with a Liturgy of the Word led by Year 12 students with the Mercy Cross and St Mother Theresa and St Mary MacKillop relics. The Cross and Relics processed with the students dressed in national costumes, symbolising the image of unity in our College. The Acknowledgement to Country was given by our very own students and the National Anthem sung in Dharug, a very proud moment for all students involved and the College community. Our World Youth Day pilgrims gave us an insight of their personal faith journey through their testimonies and presentations, connecting to Year 8 as the next group to receive this amazing opportunity in Panama.
As we have learnt and heard about the message of ‘Living Mercy’ throughout the school year, the students were reminded of the various social justice activities and programs undertaken within the College and encouraged to further participate in them as presented by the Social Justice Executive Team and the Social Justice Coordinator, Ms Becroft.
Within the presentation, Alice Apalakis had spoke about the work of the Vinnies Chapters across both campuses in encouraging individuals to reach out to the marginalised. This had included the Vinnies Van Program, Valentine’s Day Roses, Doorknock Appeal, Winter Toiletries Appeal and the organisation of Christmas Hampers. The unity of the College community has in effect enabled the fundraising of, on average, $5000 per year for St Vincent de Paul programs, as well as raising awareness of social issues through various initiatives and presentations.
Emma Mulholland, a fellow executive Social Justice Team Member, had spoke of the initiatives of Caritas, in particular Project Compassion within the College. The support to raise, on average, over $10,000 per year for Project Compassion, this year, for those in Malawi, Africa, demonstrates the active involvement and participation of the student body to make a difference with regard to social justice issues and the importance of this for the development of the character of all students.
Following this, Maria Alemao had spoke about Social Justice and its work in educating, advocating and working towards changing structures to ensure the rights of all individuals are addressed. The fundraising conducted by the Social Justice Team has enabled the College to support many individuals in East Timor to be qualified to teach and empower their own communities.
To conclude the presentation, Katrina Quizon had identified other social justice groups and initiatives within the school that students may involve themselves in. This included the Chapter of Amnesty International within the College, the Australian Young Christian Students group, as well as the Thailand Immersion Tour and World Youth Day. Students were encouraged to continually take an active involvement in working towards addressing social issues and creating change.
The Social Justice presentation on Unity Day had reminded all students of the impact of various initiatives and programs within the school for the wider community, and the ability of this to create real change. It not only commended the student body of their impact and achievements so far, but had encouraged students to embrace the support and unity of the College in the future.
Year 12 Executive Social Justice Team