Dear Parents, Friends and Students,
I would like to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me and draw attention to my position at Caloundra City Private School. My name is Gerard Maguire and I am the Chaplain. I have been a professional educator for over 30 years, both as a classroom teacher and as a principal, and I look forward each day to the challenges and excitement that being the school Chaplain presents. I am neither a priest nor a minister and I am not here at the school to direct individuals towards a particular faith.
Caloundra City Private School recognises the need for a Chaplain’s presence at the school and in line with the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program we have allocated time for this to take place. The National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program is a voluntary Program that assists school communities to support the spiritual wellbeing of their students, including strengthening values, providing greater pastoral care and enhancing engagement with the broader community. The aim is to provide general religious and personal advice, comfort and support to all students, families and staff, regardless of their religious denomination, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Students are not obliged to participate.
The Chaplain’s role is an integral part of school support network. The Chaplain works with student support teams and the school principals to connect students and their families to community organisations and other essential service providers - such as counselors, medical/health practitioners, welfare agencies and local churches. As Chaplain of this school, part of my responsibility is to be available for young people to connect with at school and provide a listening ear, caring presence, and a message of hope. An additional part of my role is to care for students struggling with a wide range of issues, including family problems, confusing relationships, friendship issues, peer pressure, self-esteem issues, bullying and depression.
There are many reasons why a student might come to see the school Chaplain. Some of these might be:
• To find a place for you to discuss your values, commitments and faith, or to think through how these are affected by study and work;
• When you are thinking about what you believe and why, and how you might find a wider group of people considering the same sort of issues;
• To think through issues arising from relationships;
• To get some information about different faiths, and how these faiths work;
• To find out about places of worship;
• When you are struggling with complex questions, like whether you’re doing the right course, or you’re feeling unhappy, but are not sure what’s wrong;
• You are in a time of grief and loss and you need someone to listen.
As Chaplain, I am also involved as a support to the students and staff within their learning environments, as well as the Outdoor Education Program, the sporting activities of the students, the weekly assemblies, the Permaculture Garden Program and an assortment of other activities that connect students to the wider community.
As Chaplain I will take your situation seriously and will seek to respond to your needs with care and respect. I will be willing to discuss issues with you, or I will refer you to someone better able to help you with the issues you bring. If at any time you would like to see the school Chaplain please arrange a time through the Administration office, the class teacher or directly to me. Of course, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.