Positively contributing to the wider community has always been a part of the St Mary’s College identity. Our students are strongly encouraged to see beyond themselves and be aware of and alert to the needs of others. Our students actively address the quest for social justice and understand that it is part of our Catholic Mission to support the disadvantaged and marginalised in our community, just as our founder Nano Nagle did in the 18th Century.
Community outreach has been demonstrated in many ways throughout the College’s history, primarily at the grass roots level through student-led awareness groups, campaigns, fundraisers supporting a variety of charities and our Community Service Learning program.
In Year 12, students complete a course called Community Service Learning, which requires them to complete 30 hours of active service to others and to reflect on the nature and benefits of this service. This program is also now offered to Year 7-11 students as co-curricular option.
Catholic causes that the College regularly supports include Caritas Project Compassion, The Nagle Foundation, St Vincent de Paul and Catholic Mission’s Sock it to Poverty day. This support comes in the form of ‘Hot Cross Bunraisers’, Crazy Sock days, quiz nights and various food stalls throughout the year.
In addition to our regular Catholic causes St Mary’s supports several worthy causes in our local and wider communities, such as Jump Rope for Heart, Wear Red for Daniel, Stand Up to Bullying, CanTeen Bandanna Day, Fight Cancer Foundation’s Footy Colours Day and the Australian Childhood Foundation. The College also assisted St Paul’s Catholic School with providing ‘Eddie Backpacks’ containing football boots and gear.
The Year 6 Leaders and Prefects annually determine their own target charities to support each year and each homeroom raises funds for the Presentation Sisters’ Mission in the Philippines.
Staff of St Mary’s College also contribute to local charities with some members participating in a regular roster on Loui’s Van and others sacrificing a percentage of their pay for a key charity each year. This money is used to buy goods for Christmas hampers donated to St Vincent de Paul.
Three student-led groups that actively support the wider community and hope to inspire change through their initiatives are the Young Vinnies, the Justice Action Network and the Footprints Project. The Young Vinnies, an arm of the St Vincent de Paul Society, focus on raising awareness of those in need by coordinating ‘Winter Woollies’ drives and holding fundraisers. The Footprints Project is an ecological team that discusses and arranges events and awareness campaigns to make SMC self-examine our environmental packages. The Justice Action Group regularly meets to discuss topical issues and join in social action, and this year hosted a ‘Rally for Hope’ on Parliament lawn to support the plight of refugees.
The College continues to have a student presence in annual community events such as Hobart’s Anzac Day dawn service and Tasmania’s Youth Parliament and MUNA. Some of our Year 6 students have had the opportunity to make their voices heard at a vision workshop held by the City of Hobart, while our Year 5s contributed to the Hobart Town Hall’s time capsule.
Our students also connect with residents at several aged care facilities, including Glenview Aged Care for a Mother’s Day visit, Southern Cross Care for Christmas carols and Freemasons Homes for games and stories. The College also takes the opportunity to celebrate our parent community and invite them into the school to take part in key community-building events such as breakfasts and afternoon teas for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day.
The College regularly connects with its Alumni through hosting Alumni Association events or inviting guest speakers to connect with our students.
The St Mary’s College community also enjoys connecting with our ‘Sister Schools’, encouraging our students to be global citizens. In recent years we welcomed students from Yaizu, Japan to St Mary’s College and for the first time, students from Fujian Province in China. A group of students also travelled to Italy and another group extended their outreach efforts as far as Cambodia, with some students visiting and assisting a PTD Community School through the World Challenge program.