Service – the world beyond St John’s

By Amanda Bertschinger,

  Filed under: Senior School

St John’s students continue to exhibit a real passion to improve the world. This is supported by the school in a number of ways, including being embedded in our Wellbeing Framework. To quote the framework, “service is at the heart of St John’s mission, with students and staff encouraged to be active, responsible citizens, learning to live beyond themselves and for others.”

The translation of this at St John’s makes for an exciting place. This week we have undertaken a range of service activities, demonstrating individual and collective desire to make a real difference.

Year 10 Citizenship Program

The Year 10s participated in a Citizenship program this week. It began with a series of workshops from Engineers without Boarders. University students from Adelaide University led our students through a range of workshops, encouraging them to consider some of the real challenges faced in developing countries. Students developed their own water filtration systems and floating houses. The process of problem solving and considering real world issues helped them understand the ways they could make a difference as a University student.

They then spent two days providing direct service in the local community. We again partnered with Puddle Jumpers (, a wonderful Adelaide charity, that provides support for some of Adelaide’s most vulnerable children and young people. Our students worked in their op shop, sorted their warehouse, prepared boxes for camps and learnt about the work of these amazing volunteers.

Hands on learning involved planting close to 1,000 trees for Conservation Australia and completing a number of beautification projects on the St John’s Secondary and Junior Campuses.

Dulcie’s Bus

Another service initiative this week was the visit from Dulcie’s Bus. Our Aware group promoted this to students as an opportunity to purchase a vintage formal dress. Students have been encouraged to consider the impact of fast fashion on our society and environment and the arrival of Dulcie’s Bus allowed students to consider beautiful recycled dresses as a very real option for them.

Students and staff were also able to support another charity, the Hutt Street Centre (, with over $650 being donated to the Hutt Street Centre as a result of their visit on Wednesday. Our donation will enable this charity to “help end homelessness.”

Cancer Council

Our students have helped support the work of the Cancer Council in a number of ways over the last week. Our Year 9s participated in Relay for Life in Belair National Park, contributing to a meaningful experience and fundraising effort.

Joel Ransom, our Cancer Council ambassador, introduced a recycling project that encourages students to recycle their stationery (pens, textas, highlighters etc.). Not only does this help with our quest to improve the environment but this project also allows for the money raised through this initiative to be donated to the Cancer Council.

We also had some of our Year 10 students participate in the Ponytail Project ( This project encourages students to grow their hair and then, after raising money, chop off their ponytails (or shave their heads). When the ponytails are longer than 20cm, this hair can then be donated for wigs, providing a further opportunity to serve their community.

Alongside all of these events have been a range of small, student-led fundraisers; Toastie Tuesday, bake sales and barbecues. Our students continue to give their time, passion and money to make a real difference and I want to commend them all. It is an absolute joy to work in a school where students and staff really do care.

Congratulations to all!

Leonie Harwood

Deputy Principal and Head of Senior School