At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Bundaberg, we help our students learn about the special history of our school – the fact that Mary MacKillop visited on several occasions and that her Josephite sisters actually started our school – a long and proud tradition based on Gospel values and retaining the vision of Mary MacKillop to provide a Catholic education to all who seek it.
We celebrate Mary’s feast day on August 8 (or as close to this date as possible) with a special whole school liturgy, and depending on what else is happening that week, we follow the liturgy with a session of rotational activities through the school. The students work in groups with Preps to Yr 6’s in each group and they rotate around a series of fun and educational activities, some of which are based on the life and values of Mary MacKillop.
As part of the liturgy we also present our annual Mary MacKillop Award. This award goes to students who consistently exhibit the qualities lived by Mary:
SERVICE, COMPASSION, DIGNITY FOR OTHERS, COURAGE, AWARENESS OF A SENSE OF GOD.
The students receive a certificate and a small Mary MacKillop medallion which they wear as part of their school uniform.
Our Mary MacKillop statue takes pride of place in the sacred space here at school. – Our students are shown a powerpoint presentation depicting the construction and delivery of this statue from its humble beginnings as a piece of sandstone to the final product we see today.
Our school hall is called MacKillop Hall.
During Mary’s canonisation year (2010), we put together a timeline of significant events in Mary’s life. These dates and events were printed and laminated. Students from each class were allocated several events that they represented as ‘freeze frames’. These ‘freeze frames’ were set up around the oval and visitors were able to ‘walk through’ Mary’s life as enacted by our students. This was a huge success and we have been asked to present this to other groups several times since then. Recently we extended this time line to include the involvement of the Josephite sisters here at our school and presented it to a group of people from Brisbane and Toowoomba who were on a pilgrimage. It was very successful. The students really get involved and do a great job – even though it’s difficult to stay like a statue for half an hour!!! The Prep students found it especially tricky because they knew they weren’t supposed to move or talk (being photos or statues), but some of the visitors started asking them questions about their particular part of the time line – they didn’t know whether they were allowed to answer or not! One little guy was very proud to announce that even though people talked to him, he “just stayed a statue”!!!
In 2014 we held our inaugural MacKillop Festival – a week-long celebration of The Arts, culminating in a Bush Dance Family Fun Night. Three Josephite sisters joined us during the week, participating in our daily presentations and presenting our Mary MacKillop awards for that year. This festival will take place every second year, with different events and activities being celebrated every other year. These will be based on Mary MacKillop learning experiences from each year level and classes will organise activities for the rest of the school to participate in during the week.