Schools rally to help bushfire victims
From prayer circles to mufti days and morning teas, principals say that finding ways to put their support behind the relief effort was their first priority since the beginning of the school term.
At Sacred Heart Primary, Cabramatta, the community raised more than $4,000 in just over 24 hours. Principal Brian Auselbrook said the response from students and parents was phenomenal.
'On Thursday afternoon we sent home a note about the bushfire appeal. The next day parents handed over envelope after envelope of money. There was no pushing, no gimmicks, no mufti days – just simple giving.'
Mr Aulsebrook paid tribute to the generosity of the parents, many of whom have lost their jobs and have been badly affected by the economic downturn. 'Despite their personal difficulties, the nature of this community is to help in any way they can,' he said.
At Good Shepherd Primary, Hoxton Park, principal Helen Gardner said they donated $1,646, collected from a day of canteen sales and a gold coin donation day. They were joined by two other primary schools – Holy Spirit at Carnes Hill and Regina Coeli at Beverly Hills, who raised $1,353 – in the gold coin fundraiser.
Mary MacKillop College, Wakeley principal, Narelle Archer said their collection was one of the most successful fundraisers in the college’s recent history.
'The College came together and literally emptied their wallets into collection bags. The generosity displayed by the students was astronomical, with some students handing over $50 or $100 at a time,' she said.
The Mercy Action student group at Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer used their annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser to donate more than $500. St Gertrude’s Primary at Smithfield, donated $3565 to Sacred Heart primary school in Yea, which was devastated by the fires. Principal, Sharyn Dickerson says some of the families and staff from the small school of only 70 pupils had lost their homes.
'We hope to remain in touch with the school at Yea and continue to offer them our friendship and support,' she said.
'The generosity from our school’s own 506 families is uplifting and as a school community we have chosen to reach out. One family donated close to $500 alone, handing over months of family savings.'
Sydney Catholic schools have raised more than $100,000 for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, with more donations still pouring in. Executive director of schools, Dan White, said that as well as fundraising, all schools had been keeping Victorian communities in their thoughts and prayers. At St John Bosco Primary, Engadine, the student council had prepared a school liturgy and asked students to wear green and white to symbolise hope and new life for the bushfire victims. Each student wrote a prayer and displayed it on a leaf which was mounted around the school.
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