School programs teaches kids to manifest Christ, the hero.
By Bridget Chamberlain
A local government public relations stunt has taken on more practical applications for several Catholic schools around the State, with a ‘hero program’ helping students to be more Christ-like to their peers.
Jo Norfolk, who was instrumental in the program’s successful introduction at Our Lady of Fatima School, Palmyra, said that many schools have programs in place that recognise sport, academic or cultural abilities but more support was needed to acknowledge valuable, everyday qualities in students.
“A child can win the award for determination (coming last in a cross country event, but finishing); a sunny disposition in trying circumstances; doing the right thing; resilience or demonstrating great social competencies. “It’s become our way of noticing the good things our students do,” Jo said.
The hero program acknowledges ‘heroic behaviour’ or contribution to the school community. At Our Lady of Fatima School, the program has been tied to the virtues program where they specifically acknowledge students who demonstrate courtesy, patience or organisation. What also works well with the program is that anyone in the school community, teachers, students and parents can nominate a hero.
“It’s possible for anyone to receive the award – the students love that aspect about it,” she said.
At Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mullewa, in the diocese of Geraldton, school principal Andrea Moyses uses the program to help students recognise students who show respect, use their manners, look after others, apologise when they are wrong or hurt others, include people in their activities, help without being asked or show kindness and patience.
“It’s these students who make great heroes,” Andrea said.
The focus of this program is making Jesus real in students’ lives and is underpinned by the peer support program where senior students conduct workshops that help other primary students understand and recognise positive people as opposed to negative people.
The principal said it has transformed the atmostphere around the Mullewa Catholic school’s community, while the “blame game” and “tattle-telling” has diminished.
“We are seeing more and more positive behaviour as students strive for the accolade of hero,” she said.
Presenting the awards at assembly also helps raise the award’s awareness and aspirational status. The hero program is also active in Our Lady of Mt Carmel School, Hilton, St John’s School, Scarborough; Our Lady of Grace, North Beach and Christ the King School, Beaconsfield, while Kearnan College has a modified version they call ‘Aussie of the Month’.