Making Jesus real at St Patrick’s Latrobe

By Veronika Cox

A breakfast club is providing more than a delicious morning meal for students at St Patrick’s Catholic School in Latrobe.

Year 6 students Jasper and Kale said the club encouraged school values and united children across the grades.

“The food helps all families, not only those families who find it hard to put breakfast together,” Jasper said.

“It also helps some children get to school earlier, and it gives them something to look forward to – both in the food and for students who will be able to help out once they reach Year 6.”

Kale said the breakfast club provided an opportunity for student growth.

“We believe a lot of children gain confidence in speaking out, because they are served by students,” he explained.

“We also praise them for their good manners, so hopefully we are reinforcing this value.”

The breakfast club is just one part of St Patrick’s Care and Concern initiative – a program that has blossomed over the past four years.

“The school community is typical of every school community, being comprised of families who may often be experiencing ongoing or incidental financial or social-emotional challenges,” Principal Rod Linhart said.

“School communities usually have excellent networking and many families, being aware of challenges faced by others, are keen to support in a manner that is subtle, offers anonymity and ensures families in need (which is every family at some stage) feel our words of support are actioned by deeds.”

St Patrick’s invites families to be included in a list of possible beneficiaries – some offer meals, others offer home maintenance and others transport.

Mr Linhart said the initiative began to support families who would welcome and benefit from the generosity that abounds in the school community.

“A staff member lent her car for a considerable length of time to a family who was in need,” he said.

“Members of our school community chop firewood and deliver to households who experience need; children prepare and cook family meals at school to take home with pride; flowers are provided to families in recognition of milestone events; meal rosters are organised in support of families in ongoing need as a sign of support and sustenance.”

Mr Linhart said St Patrick’s was not unique in these endeavours.

“Catholic schools and their school communities would be involved in these initiatives that reflect our respective charisms and ‘Make Jesus Real’ philosophy,” he said.

“Our school’s charism is the Mercy tradition, and our values of Mercy, Compassion, Hospitality and Respect are ‘front and centre’ of the culture we endeavour daily to communicate in words and deeds.”

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