Shining a Spotlight on Our Student Ministry Team

Members of our Ministry Team with Mr Walsh from Shopfront

At Santa Maria College, there is a dynamic group of students who are doing wonderful things in the faith space. The Student Ministry Team, led by a group of passionate and dedicated students, truly embody the spirit of service, leadership, and faith formation for the student body. Under the capable leadership of Ministry Captain Grace Westerhout, the group, driven by their faith and desire to make a difference in the world, is committed to providing authentic and meaningful experiences for students to practice their faith.

This year saw a restructure of the group, which now includes a Faith, Service, and Awareness component. Nine very capable and dedicated Year 12 leaders take ownership of their roles with a fervour that is inspiring to witness. Their commitment to their leadership roles goes beyond duty; it is fuelled by a genuine love for serving others and for nurturing the spiritual growth of their peers.

Abigail Marra, from the Faith Arm, believes their mission is to find relevant, contemporary ways to encourage a more spiritually involved community within our everyday schooling environment.

Allegra Trolio from the Service Arm said their mission is to “Promote social justice and equity by addressing barriers and inequalities that affect marginalised populations. We aim to support disadvantaged communities through fundraising, advocating and creating resources for those who are unable to access them”.

Anika Zammit, from the Awareness Arm, said their aim was to raise awareness of diverse groups at the College and in the community. “Our mission is to promote diversity by organising events and activities that will raise awareness. In this way, we hope to promote inclusion and acceptance,” she said.

Student Ministry Team Leaders

Jilly Landers, Director Mission believes that one of the most remarkable aspects of the Student Ministry Team is their unwavering dedication to mentorship. “Recognising the importance of passing on the torch of leadership and faith, these student leaders actively engage with younger students, guiding them on their own journeys of faith and service.”

Ministry Captain, Grace Westerhout explains why she’s involved in the Ministry Team. “I am involved in this group because I love how it is student driven. The collaboration between students from Years 7 – 12 allows for all members of the Student Ministry team to feel empowered and therefore eager to assist where and when the need arises. It is most rewarding being able to mentor younger students in their own leadership journey during faith celebrations, in the same way I was mentored at the start of my high school journey.”

Colette Robertson, Service Captain agreed, “I love how we get to mentor students in the younger years, so they know how to lead in the future.”

Prisha Sureshkumar, Service Arm wants to inspire members to engage in meaningful service projects that address important needs in our community. “I hope to embody a sense of compassion, empathy, and responsibility within my role, while also mentoring leadership skills and teamwork”.

But the impact of the Student Ministry Team extends far beyond the confines of our school walls. With a keen awareness of the social issues plaguing our world today, these young leaders are determined to make a difference in their community and beyond. Through advocacy, awareness campaigns, and service projects, they strive to address pressing issues such as poverty, inequality, and exclusion. Their efforts serve as a testament to their compassion and commitment to be ‘just leaders’.

Awareness Arm leader, Jacinta van der Zanden hopes to empower individuals within the group to become agents of change in their own lives and communities.

Maame Atta-Danso also from the Awareness Arm has a vision to create a community where students don’t just observe but actively engage with social issues. “Through discussions and impactful initiatives centred around events like Harmony Day, Sorry Day, and Reconciliation Week, we aim to foster empathy, respect, and action. Ultimately, we hope to nurture a generation of compassionate leaders committed to positive change.”, She said.

Maame Atta-Danso during Harmony Day

What sets the Student Ministry Team apart is their collaborative spirit. Students from Years 7-12 come together with a common purpose: to create meaningful faith experiences for everyone. Through liturgical celebrations, community outreach initiatives, and advocacy days, they work together and build capacity for other members to continue their legacy.

Through her role as Ministry Captain, Grace hopes they can continue to build on the collaborative and inclusive approach they have in the Ministry team. “The opportunity for students to be involved in such a vibrant group promotes a sense of purpose and community. I hope the group continues to champion student voice, especially as faith serves as the foundation of the College we attend.”

As the Director of Mission, Jilly is continually inspired by the enthusiasm, dedication, and leadership skills demonstrated by the leaders. “They truly embody the Mercy values of hospitality, service, and justice, and serve as beacons of hope in a world in need of compassionate leadership.”

The Student Ministry Team at Santa Maria College is a testament to the transformative power of faith, service, and leadership, exemplifying our Mercy values of compassion, justice, and hospitality. Their collective efforts not only enrich the school community but also inspire positive change.

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