June 08, 2019

St Saviour's College Toowoomba, Australia: Empowering Young Women in a Changing World

Hear these students sing!

Local singer songwriter Josh Arnold  has worked with schools all over Toowoomba diocese and across Queensland, creating music and events that promote culture, celebrate diversity and foster respect. We invited Josh to work with a group of 25 students across Years 7-12 to create a new college song.

The girls brainstormed for half a day about what the song should contain, and what we, as a College, value most.

Our Mercy traditions were resoundingly deemed the key foundation to all that we do. The song writing group ensured that the song contained our cornerstone values of Compassion, Hospitality, Justice and Excellence, as well as reference to our motto “Integrity is our strength”, and of course, refer to the example of Catherine McAuley.

The previous College song had been around since 1991, so the girls decided that they did not want to completely get rid of it, rather, radically embed it in a new and exciting way. Hence, the old chorus serves as the preface to the song, which then breaks into the new melody.

There were a number of talented musicians in the group who began to work with Josh on a tune. Within a day, the song was well and truly on the way. The next day, Josh and the group presented the initial cut to the whole school at our Friday Assembly. Needless to say, it was an immediate hit.

Some weeks later, Josh and his crew joined us again for recording and filming. Students were invited to gather in our lunch area, ‘Dublin Court’, to film an informal group clip, and over half the College turned up. The entire assembly was also filmed, with some great encouragement from the staff who were spurring on the enthusiasm from the stage where the cameraman was situated. Every student in the College features in the video clip.

After a few weeks, Josh sent me the finished product. I watched it about five times in a row and cried every time. I couldn’t wait to launch it to the staff and girls.

We had our official launch at  our College Assembly on 10 May. The girls loved it, and there were fits of giggles when their own faces hit the screen, and they could see their overwhelming joy in being involved in the project.

The clip was posted that day on Facebook on our St Saviour’s College page, and Josh’s Small Town Culture page, and, to date, has had over 20 000 views. It has been commented on by people from our past and present, all claiming what a joyful production it is, proudly declaring their pride in being ‘Mercy Girls’.

I guess I’m particularly proud, as I am an old St Saviour’s girl, and while the girls came up with the line “Once a Mercy girl, always a Mercy girl”, it’s something I proudly profess in my role as Principal every day here at the College.

Messages to: Sharon Collins - Principal

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