Environmental awareness club
The environmental awareness club, colloquially called The Green Dream, is run by the girls, for the girls. A committee of five or six girls decides on which initiatives to undertake.
The club meets fortnightly, at second break, on Mondays. During this time, members explore environmental issues, from forthcoming awareness campaigns to discussions around everything from global matters to vegetarianism, while simultaneously having some fun. Girls are able to make presentations to the club on environmental issues as well as advertise and present their initiatives to the entire school.
Not only are girls able to work towards both half and full colours within the environmental awareness club, but they are also given the opportunity to meet girls in other forms, learn from one another, become aware of topical issues and provide a service to the environment.
At St Mary’s, first aid is offered as a co-curricular activity. The girls who wish to be on the first aid team have to attend weekly team meetings, where registration is kept and duties for the week are organised. There is training, which the girls organise and Sister Leigh Sullivan facilitates. It is compulsory for the girls to commit to an hour a week of first aid field-side duty. Girls can receive half-colours and full colours for their commitment to first aid, as long as they have fulfilled the correct criteria.
A Level 1 course is offered to the girls in the first and second terms of the year. This training is done every Tuesday from 15h00 to 17h00. The girls have a practical and written exam at the end of the course. Upon completion of this, they will receive a certificate. Sister Sullivan trains the Level 1 girls. For Levels 2 and 3, we have an outside trainer who organises with the girls the hours that will suit the group as a whole. A practical and written exam has to be passed by the girls before they receive a certificate. All levels are run according to the rules set out by the Department of Labour, and in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the Resuscitation Council of South Africa.
The first aid team has grown in numbers over the past few years and many of the team have achieved Levels 1 to 3 certificates. This year many will continue their training.
The President’s Award
The President’s Award is an international award for young people; its concept is one of individual challenge. It encourages personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to oneself and service to the community.
Participants must be between the ages of 14 and 25 and the award programme consists of four mandatory sections:
- Adventurous journey
- Physical recreation
There are three levels of award: bronze (for those over 14), silver (for those over 15) and gold (for those over 16). The minimum period of participation to qualify for an award is six months for bronze, 12 months for silver and 18 months for gold.
The St Mary’s Samaritans (SAMS) forms part of the school’s extensive community affairs programme. SAMS’ primary focus is to collect various items, including goodies for Easter, blankets, non-perishable foods, toiletries, items for Mandela Day and Christmas hampers. It aids organisations such as Reach for a Dream, Tape Aids for the Blind, CANSA, Hospice, the Salvation Army and various other schools, animal shelters, old age homes and orphanages.
There is one SAMS representative in each form class, and they keep the school informed regarding details of each collection. Every girl has an opportunity to contribute to the community through the various annual SAMS drives and civvies days. The generosity of the St Mary’s family enables SAMS to help, comfort and encourage many people every year.
The Sisters of Christ Society meets for prayer and spiritual support in a faith-based, Christian context. Weekly meetings centre on a theme, which may run for as long as a term. Guest speakers bring fresh and relevant perspectives, and sometimes the girls are joined by or visit neighbouring schools.
SOCS supports many worthy causes, raising funds with civvies days, cake and candy sales, and raffles. The SOCS committee decides how these funds should be spent.
Prayer meetings are held once a week in the early morning in the chapel.
Both SOCS meetings and the prayer meetings are voluntary, and these are well supported by the St Mary’s girls. God is definitely moving in the school, and it is exciting to be a part of His incredible work.