Education Week: McCarthy Catholic College students learn kindness

KINDNESS CLASS: Year 8 students Emma Emma Byrne and Jazmyn Pearson helped the elderly by writing kind letters. Photo: Gareth Gardner
KINDNESS CLASS: Year 8 students Emma Emma Byrne and Jazmyn Pearson helped the elderly by writing kind letters. Photo: Gareth Gardner

IT’S the last class on a Friday afternoon and students are too busy looking forward to the weekend to take studies seriously.

So, McCarthy Catholic College teacher Nicole Anderson needed to get creative with her religion class, implementing kindness into the curriculum.

With algebra, science and English down pat, Year 8 students turned their minds to the community.

Teacher Nicole Anderson said she wanted teenagers to think outside of themselves as the centre of the universe.

“It’s really important that they think about what the community has to offer them and what they can give back,” she said.

“It’s important to learn how to spell, read and write but there’s a bigger world out there – at some point these kids need to know how to exist in that world and it’s not something you can open a textbook and learn.”

The assignment asked Year 8 students to think about a need in the community and how that could be met.

Taking it one step further, the kids had to implement their kindness campaign in the community.

Year 8 students Emma Byrne and Jazmyn Pearson decided to write letters to the elderly.

“We did some research and found Nazareth House is helping the elderly stay financially stable and giving them a hope,” Jazmyn said.

“We wrote letters because we think they go unnoticed and family sometimes doesn’t visit, so the letters might make them happier.”

BOTTLE DONATION: McCarthy Catholic College students Isabelle Neville and Johnina Facistol present their Guide Dog fundraiser using Return and Earn bottles project.

BOTTLE DONATION: McCarthy Catholic College students Isabelle Neville and Johnina Facistol present their Guide Dog fundraiser using Return and Earn bottles project.

The girls came up with a number of different letters, one for when the elderly were feeling sick, a brighter good morning and encouragement were just some of the penmanship.

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And they weren’t alone in brightening people’s lives, other initiatives included saving return and earn bottles and donating to the Guide Dog Foundation.

Other students came up with a quick and easy cookbook for parents looking for healthy lunchbox snacks in a pinch.

But, all of them learned something about kindness without compensation Ms Anderson said.

“The world doesn’t often ask a lot of us, there’s no expectation of what we do in the world, but I want our kids to be able to have an expectation of themselves to produce something better,” she said.

Emma said it’s changed the way she looks at her place in the world.

“We’ve actually acted on our campaign so it’s made us feel happier and brighter,” she said.

“It’s also made us realise a lot of things about the elderly, before this we didn’t really care about it but now we’re passionate about it and want to make them happy,” Jazmyn said.

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