St Mary MacKillop College's motto is ‘faith and courage’. It is only fitting, therefore, that our school, built on these tenants of the Sisters of St. Joseph, support those and their families who show faith and courage in their occupation to protect our community.
MacKillop, with support from the Australian Defence Force and Defence Community Organisation, provide a dedicated Defence Transition Mentor. Gareth Bowen, the current DTM, aims to provide support to students that range from social wellbeing and school transition, to academic outcomes and personalised tutoring schemes. Part of our pastoral system, events that occur as part of our Defence contingent include:
- Year 7 and 8 Birriagai outdoor camp – aiming to develop resilience, trust and friendships
- Year 9 and 10 retreat – (TBA)
- Regular fortnightly morning teas and lunches– aiming for students to share concerns in a safe and understanding environment, and allow them to develop or sustain friendships
- Specialist incursion days – guest speakers provide life stories and life strategies on overcoming adversity, or working through feelings.
- Academic support: Gareth is a humanities teacher and provides after hours support in these subject areas (as well as lunchtimes). Indeed, it is likely that at some stage while at St. Mary MacKillop your Defence students will be taught by him! We coordinate with faculties to provide extra support after hours for students, including maths tutoring, and working with DCO can support the engagement of professional tutoring as part of a new posting.
- Counselling and mentoring – Gareth will actively mentor with students where a need has been identified, be it academic or social. Counsellors are available and students with parent support can be referred to them to provide professional counselling either at school, or as part of the broader Defence support network.
- Providing a conduit between the student and their families, and DCO and other areas of Defence.