More than 200 Year 6 students from schools St Paul’s Albion Park, Ss Peter and Paul Kiama, Stella Maris Shellharbour and Nazareth Shellharbour City came together on Friday 9 March for their annual Southern Illawarra Catholic Schools' (SICS) Leaders Day.
Held during Catholic Schools Week, the event focused on student well-being recognising the crucial role schools play in fostering the social and emotional development of young people.
Principal of Ss Peter and Paul, Jacqueline Lee, guided this year’s event. “We chose something pertinent to be the theme with a strong leadership focus,” Jacqueline said. “Well-being is critical for our communities as a whole but something that is necessary for us to address very explicitly with our students.”
An event highlight was keynote speaker Dan Hunt, a former St George Illawarra player and current mental health and well-being ambassador from The Mental Health Movement. Through the power of personal story and lived experience, Dan shared helpful tools for the students to use to develop good coping strategies. Dan emphasised the importance of building strong supportive networks and to not be afraid to ask for help.
“Well-being is essential for both academic and social development and is improved by safe, supportive and respectful learning environments. This is something Catholic schools takes seriously, fitting with our strong emphasis on pastoral care.” Jacqueline said.
Ten interactive workshops were also available presented by the NSW Police Force and staff from the Catholic Education Office, intended to directly speak with and engage students through music, art and gratitude about the importance of physical, spiritual and emotional well-being in order to be good leaders and further, to celebrate all that is good about Catholic schools.
Teacher at Stella Maris, Shaun Dutaillis, shared that he was interested in talking with the students about their learnings from the day and how the teachings for these Year 6 leaders will continue throughout the year.
“I did the Christian Leadership workshop, learning to be a faithful leader,” one student reflected. “I really loved this, as I learnt a lot about the importance of relationships and trust.”
Catholic Schools Week 2018 runs from Sunday March 4 - Saturday March 10, 2018 across NSW and the ACT and is a wonderful occasion for students, teachers, families and parishes to acknowledge the strengths and achievements of Catholic schools.