Harvesting Fresh Produce for a Cause!

February 05, 2019 at 4:27 PM

In a first for the Middle College, a large vegetable patch was cultivated towards the end of last year as part of a service venture to provide fresh produce for those in need.

At the start of Term 4, 2018, a group of over 40 Year 8 students, working towards their Saint Kentigern Silver Service Badge, dug over a large patch of land on the hill below Bruce House to plant potatoes and pumpkins - in the hope they would be ready to harvest when they returned this year.

Now Year 9, the students rolled up their sleeves this week and dug in, delighted to see the results of their pre-Christmas labour. Within minutes, three containers of potatoes and two containers of pumpkins were harvested in readiness for donation to the South Auckland Foodbank, an organisation which provides community dinners in Papatoetoe every Wednesday night for around 100 people. Over the years, a number of our Senior College students have offered service at the community dinners, helping prepare and serve meals.

For some students, this was their first time planting vegetables - learning how to dig, measure distances, plant, maintain and harvest their crops. This has been a fantastic learning opportunity, not only to develop new practical skills but also learning how their efforts can be of benefit others. Service learning enables students to discover ‘their best selves’ and develop lifelong habits.

With one harvest under their belts, the Middle College are excited to continue their planting initiative and aim to regularly provide vegetables for distribution to the community. 

‘Whoever wants to be great among you must first be a servant of all.’ Jesus (Mark 10:44)

In any way it can be measured, whether in the number of students involved, volunteer hours worked, causes supported or money raised, the service programme at Saint Kentigern, across all campuses, is substantial. Service is inscribed in the Saint Kentigern Vision, which states that our graduates will ‘Serve and Lead with Distinction.’ Accordingly, service opportunities exist for all of our students from Preschool to Senior College, with staff and Old Collegians also committed to activities which benefit disadvantaged communities in New Zealand and abroad.

Service is an integral part of a Saint Kentigern education, encouraging empathetic and generous citizens. Service does not always have to be about ‘big issues:’ it can be acts of kindness, consideration and compassion in the classroom, at home and in daily living. It is these little acts of service that build a foundation for moral reasoning later in life. Service learning allows our students to discover ‘their best selves’ and develop lifelong habits.

As they engage in acts of service at school, at home and in the community, our students in Years 7 – 9 are encouraged to record their efforts towards The Saint Kentigern Service Awards. Modelled on the concept of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award (for students in Years 10-13), the Saint Kentigern Service Awards were first devised for the Boys’ School some years ago, and were subsequently introduced to the Girls’ School, and more recently to the Middle College.

Comprising of three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold, students work in their own time through set criteria, recording their progress in an e-portfolio for checking and feedback by their tutor. At the completion of each level, they are rewarded with a badge for their blazer.

The final achievement of Gold is exceptional. To be eligible for the Gold Award, students must complete over 35 hours of service and be recognised for an exceptional act of service within school and out in the community. They must engage in a conservation/eco project; complete at least 10 hours service to their school; have represented their school in a range of sporting, cultural or service activities; complete an entire term of service at home in a chosen task; volunteer for a charity; have demonstrated true House Spirit at school; undertake at least five acts of community service; an and complete a ‘World Solution Project,’ creating an audio visual presentation from research into a world issue, offering possible solutions.’ The final stage, once all work has been logged and checked, is an interview with the Principal to discuss their learning and outline future service plans.

The opportunity to be involved in service is invaluable; the students learn commitment and effort, and come to acquire an understanding and awareness of the role of community service in our society. Through this engagement, our students gain an appreciation of their own lives in the context of others; they realise that they can make a positive difference in the community. 

To stay faithful to our Mission Statement, ‘To provide education which inspires students to strive for excellence in all areas of life for the glory of God and the service of others,’ we will continue to provide opportunities for pupils to put service into action; for service to become an intrinsic part of every Saint Kentigern students’ outlook on life - to live The Saint Kentigern Way.


Back to News List