A Cup Of Service

May 08, 2018 at 6:47 PM

On the wall of the new Learning Commons in Roselle House is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr, ‘What are you doing for others?’  In the same vein, silver service took on a whole new meaning at the Boys’ School Mothers’ Morning Tea today with a strong message about the value of service to others, delivered by guest speaker Stacey Shortall.

Firstly, however, was the annual opportunity for the mothers of our boys to simply take time out.

Whenever the Boys’ School needs assistance to put on an event, take a trip or simply needs an extra pair of hands to lighten the load, it is inevitable that our mothers are the first port of call with a request for help. The Mothers’ Morning Tea has become the one occasion where they can step back and let others do the work. So many times we ask for their assistance but this particular gathering is for the simple pleasure and enjoyment of being a mother.

The hall had been transformed the day before with crisp table linen and row upon row of fine china. With an early start, five willing, yet unseen dads, Troy Hageman, James McLeod, Guy Weerasinghe, Mark Hiddleston and Craig Knox, lent helping hands to get scones jammed up and the cake stands loaded with morning tea fare ready for our guests!

The classroom doors were opened wide early on for mothers to see their boys’ classes in action, before piper, Nick Forgie and drummer, John Zhu led our guests to the hall – every seat was taken!

In her words of welcome on behalf of the Parents and Friends, organiser, Mrs Philly Hiddleston said, ‘We hope that this morning you can enjoy each other’s company, feel appreciated and perhaps contemplate the very special school community we belong to.  Leaning in, pulling together and helping out will bring us all closer – and it is that attitude that helps make Saint Kentigern so special.’

More than anyone, Principal, Mr Peter Cassie recognises the value of the contribution by our mothers and so this is the day that he and his team of Year 8 helpers put their school work aside, dust off their aprons and get down to the serious business of waiting on some very important members of the Boys’ School community! With tea pot in hand, Mr Cassie cheerfully headed around the room, closely followed by Reverend Hardie and Mr Aspinall wielding coffee pots, while the boys with milk jugs followed on behind! Meanwhile, accomplished pianist, Year 8 student, Sunny Le, played the background music.

Guest speaker, Stacey Shortall is a Wellington lawyer and mother of four young children, whose leadership and generosity of spirit to the wider community has been acknowledged with a number of significant awards. A true inspiration, her words encouraged us to dig deep and re-evaluate what each of us, personally, could be doing for others.

While working as a top Wall Street litigator, she became deeply involved in pro bono work, especially with vulnerable women and children. Among other projects, she volunteered in New York women’s prisons, helping mothers understand their rights and obligations to their children, and took a sabbatical to help women and children in Ghana who were victims of violence.

On her return to a law firm in New Zealand, she built on her work in New York to set up the Mothers’ Project, a ground-breaking programme at the Auckland Regional Women’s Correction Facility to empower imprisoned women to make better choices. Also, wishing to encourage others from her law firm to be involved in the community, she established the Homework HELP Club at a low-decile school in Porirua to help the children with their homework one afternoon a week. She has launched a nationwide campaign which is seeing other homework clubs begin in decile one primary schools in Auckland and Wellington.

Stacey has continued to inspire others to use their time and abilities to make a difference. Her call to action – ‘Who did you help today?’ – has become a nationwide movement connecting skilled people with not-for-profit community projects. Her message was poignant, and it is hoped that the mothers gathered will be inspired to find avenues to also help their communities.

With his apron back on the peg, the final words were given to Mr Cassie who told Stacey that her service attitude epitomises all that the Saint Kentigern community holds dear. He said, ‘How much you have achieved in your busy life is nothing short of amazing. We can all take a lesson from your leadership, drive and compassion.’ To add to her numerous, well-earned awards, Mr Cassie presented her with the bronze, silver and gold Saint Kentigern Service Awards!

We offer our sincere thanks to Mrs Philly Hiddleston for organising this morning’s event and to the many who assisted to ensure the morning ran smoothly with plenty to eat and drink. In particular, we thank Stacey Shortall for her powerful food for thought.

To read more about Stacey’s projects, click here:


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