Primary students box up thoughts for HSC cohort

We have all faced our own coronavirus-related crises and none more so than students preparing for the HSC. A thoughtful initiative at St Patrick’s Primary, Lochinvar, has taken sparing a thought to a new level.

All students from Kindergarten through to Year 6, along with staff members, prepared letters, prayer cards and other assorted tokens for the Year 12 cohort about to sit this year’s HSC. The Year 6 Engaging Community Team then assisted in packing the boxes and leaders Jemma Webber and Max Amidy delivered them for distribution.

Staff and students at St Patrick's Primary were aware of the restrictions to graduation celebrations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We acutely felt the disappointment of the Year 12 students and their teachers and were empathetic to their plight, particularly when they sat their trial exams. 

Religious Education Coordinator Maryanne Hacker challenged our students to find a way to lighten the load of the Year 12 cohort at St Joseph's College, Lochinvar, to help them feel supported and loved. Our students provided bookmarks, hand-made cards, letters of encouragement and drawings, along with a few chocolates and treats to keep them sustained.

They are small tokens of encouragement, and a special way for our current Year 6 students to re-connect with their Mighty Mates who are now in Year 12. This gesture was offered as a form of kindness for the Year 12 students, many of whom had looked after our current Year 6 students when they were in Kindergarten at St Patrick's.

The senior school staff and students were delighted to know the primary school community was thinking of them and that special prayers were being offered in their name. We would have loved to have seen the boxes being opened to enjoy first-hand the reactions of the students. 

Jemma said when she and her group were making the boxes it was exciting and fun to have the thought of putting a smile on the Year 12’s faces.

“The boxes were made with love and kindness and it made me feel happy knowing it would make them feel remembered,” she said. “The boxes were filled with different things that came from different years in our school. 

“The idea was to wish the Year 12 students luck with their exams and to make them feel happy and proud of their achievements this year. They may not get a graduation like they deserve, but at least they will be able to finish the year with pride, love, and happiness in their hearts.

“I enjoyed reaching out to my high school peers because it gave me a sense of pride towards our actions and a new meaning to what they might be going through with exams and the virus. 

“Hopefully, the boxes let them know that they made a big impact on our school lives when they were in Year 6, like we are now. Being in Kindergarten and having someone to look up to was exciting and made me feel as though school was the coolest thing ever.

“Making and packaging the boxes was a fun experience because we were able to share memories about our Kindergarten experience as well as our growth over the years. Sharing ideas and making the boxes was a thrilling experience that we will remember when we are in Year 12.”

Max said the whole experience made him feel kind and happy.

“Due to COVID-19, Year 12’s HSC would be hard for them and we sent them a little gift with letters and sweets,” he said. “I enjoyed reaching out to them because it would have put a smile on their faces and make them feel happy.”

And indeed it did. Following is a sample of Year 12 responses.

“It was the best way to start Sunnyside Up Week.”

“It was so thoughtful.”

“The letters and messages were so cute.”

“It is nice to know that they are thinking of us.”

“The lollies were great.”

“It’s just what we needed after our trial HSC exams.”

A big thank you goes to Mrs Hacker who came up with the idea and supplied the contents of the boxes.

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Jacqueline Wilkinson Image
Jacqueline Wilkinson

Jacqueline Wilkinson is the Principal of St Patrick's Primary School, Lochinvar.