Innovation of College events through COVID-19 crisis

June 22, 2020

Even during lockdown, the College ensured it commemorated ANZAC Day.

The COVID-19 pandemic threw many of the College’s best laid plans into disarray towards the end of Term 1.

A series of major events had to be cancelled at a moment’s notice, creating much disappointment in the community.

There are have been far too many events cancelled or postponed, to list them all but they include:

  • The Annual St Patrick’s Day Mass, Assembly and OCA luncheon;
  • Edmund Rice Day activities, including the annual Walkathon;
  • The joint St Patrick’s College – Loreto College production of Matilda;
  • The 2020 Year 12 formal;
  • Year level reunions;
  • The Year 10 Work Experience Week;
  • Many school camps, excursions, sporting and music events; and
  • Planned tours to Darwin, England, Japan and the United States.

There would not be a student at the College who has not been left disappointed at some stage by the cancellation of an event that they were dearly looking forward to.

However, in times like these, the College has sought new, innovative ways to fill the void left by cancelled events.

In some cases, a re-imagining of how we could replicate events in an online world has injected new life, new thinking and greater involvement.

Some of these innovations will continue to be embedded in the College calendar for years to come.

Following is a list of some of the highlights:

Student Council videos

Always looking for ways to ensure the student body remained connected and passionate, the 2020 Student Council has been exemplary in the ways they have created a series of fun, quirky videos to keep the fire of school spirit burning.

In particular, they deserve commendation for recognising early in the lockdown that their classmates needed some fun injected into their daily routine.

The concept of a Funky Hair Day injected some fun into online learning.

The concept of a Funky Hair Day, where staff and students were encouraged to wear their hair in whatever crazy style (or colour) they desired was a great success.

Similarly, fun videos to celebrate Mother’s Day and another to welcome the return to the classroom, also brought much-needed laughter to long days in front of a computer.

The Student Council also arranged a sombre ANZAC Day video, which was shown to all students, to ensure this important day was not forgotten.

All Student Council videos were posted to the College’s Facebook page at


St Pat’s Has Talent

Traditionally held on Edmund Rice Day each year, the annual talent quest was in danger of becoming another cancellation in 2020.

However, once again the power of the video online came to the fore, with students encouraged to record their entries and subm

Congratulations to Year 12 students Chad Cartledge, Harry Johns and Archie Pollard who won the top prize with their band, Spa Adventure.

it them online for public judging.

This requires great courage so it was fantastic to see 15 quality entries, ranging from Lego building to piano recitals to sports challenges to drum solos, published on the College website before more than 500 people lodged votes for their favourite act.

Congratulations to Year 12 students Chad Cartledge, Harry Johns and Archie Pollard who won the top briz with their band, Spa Adventure, which took out the top prize, narrowly ahead of Year 7 drummer Riley Irvin and Year 12 solo act Alex Byham.

Weekly Sports Challenges

One of the risks of the lockdown was that boys would spend inordinate time sitting in front of a computer and would not have the opportunity, nor the inclination to spend some energy.

Recognising this, the College’s Head of Sport Ms Tina Benoit set about the task of issuing weekly sporting challenges, prompting boys to film themselves completing the task set and sending in their recordings to see how they match up against their peers.

Challenges including trick shots in sports such as tennis, golf, basketball, soccer and football – with videos published on the College Facebook page each week.

It proved a great avenue to showcase the many talents our students possess while also encouraging them to continue practicing their well-honed skills.

The windows of hope project asked our community to find some peace and comfort in working and studying from home.

Windows of Hope

The first week of May was a particularly challenging time in our community. We were all still adjusting to the rigours of online learning, the weather was turning bleak and we were missing out on celebrating Edmund Rice Day – with its annual walkathon and activities.

We needed a reason to feel positive so the College’s Mission Team led an inspired Windows of Hope campaign, asking all members of our community to take a photo of their own personal “window of hope” and to share their visions with the community.

Once again, we were delighted with the buy-in from the community and were thrilled to be able to publish many inspiring images to provide some bright moments in a tough time.

St Patrick‘s Day

While the lockdown restrictions had not fully been implemented on March 17, they were clearly imminent and, as such, the College had to cancel many of the planned activities on the day such as the Mass, Assembly and OCA Luncheon,

However, that didn’t mean we couldn’t still inject some fun and SPC spirit into the day as students were encouraged to wear their special green SPC ties while each boy was presented with a very large green donut at recess to mark the occasion.

Looking ahead …

As the school year continues, and some social distancing restrictions remain in place, there is still much uncertainty lingering over many key events.

We don’t yet know for example what this year’s Valedictory Dinner or Thanksgiving Mass will look like.

We can’t plan an Annual Celebration Dinner for the Old Collegians Association, or an SPC in Concert, or a Herald Sun Shield campaign.

What we can have faith in however is our ability to innovate, to keep the spirit strong and to re-imagine creative ways to ensure that 2020 becomes memorable for some inspiring reasons as well as for their heartbreak it has wrought.