It’s Chappy Week, and while we could talk for hours about how wonderful and amazing our chaplains are, it’s even more special when that high praise comes from other Queensland state school support staff.
Below is the transcript of a short speech given at a recent chaplaincy breakfast by Bargara State School and North Coast Region (Bundaberg) guidance officer, Michelle Wilde.
I am Michelle Wilde, and have been working as a guidance officer in the Bundaberg area for the last 15 years. When I first started, chaplains were community funded, so there were only chaplains in the three high schools. In 2012 the government started funding chaplaincy and their numbers grew, so over the years I have had the privilege of working with quite a few of our chaplains.
Currently I am working across eight primary schools, and it was Chappy Lynne from Kalkie State School that asked me to speak today about why school chaplains are unique – how do they make a difference in schools?
I had to give that some thought as I know it’s such a blessing to have chaplains in schools. I know chappies make schools a better place to be and are an integral part of a school support team.
But I had to think a bit, to work out what makes them unique because I believe that everyone who chooses to work in a school setting does so because they care about kids. And I have seen people in every role in a school, making a difference to students’ lives, whether they are a lolly-pop lady, a cleaner, a groundsman, work in the tuckshop, the office, are a volunteer Rotary reader, a teacher aide, a teacher, the guidance officer, a deputy or the principal – every person who works in a school has the ability to make a difference to students’ lives. So what makes chappies unique?
I think the difference is – all the other people I just listed have other things to do in a school – clean, run the tuckshop, run the office, teach, run the school – and that makes them very busy, and it’s sometimes difficult for them to find the time just to be there for students. And that is what chappies do so well – they are just there to listen and show they care, whether the student is in a crisis or just needs a friend. They let children know they are loved and are never alone, and this gives children the confidence to be themselves. Chappies help children see how truly special they are.
But the amazing thing is chappies not only offer this support to the students but also to staff and parents as well. So I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all the school chaplains that we are lucky enough to have in our schools.
Thank you for:
- Your support
- Your thoughtfulness and kindness
- Your generosity
- For always going the extra mile – and boy do they do that!
- For always being so dependable, trustworthy and reliable
- For taking the time just to be there, and
- For the difference you make to all our lives.
Mother Teresa once said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”
I think the world’s hunger seems to be growing every year, and with it our need for more chaplains.
Chappy Lynne is only able to support the children, their families, and staff at Kalkie State School because of generous supporters like you. This Chappy Week you can keep the light of chaplaincy shining in our communities, visit suqld.org.au/donate.