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Be the ‘I’ in Kind

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Be the ‘I’ in kind is the message students at McAuley Catholic Primary School hope to share with the world through the latest edition to their playground; a five metre high mural emblazoned with the word “kind”.

The official opening of the Kind wall was celebrated with a short ceremony and blessing on Monday 26 October, with Sydney Catholic Schools Excutive director Tony Farley, Saint Mary Magdalene Rose Bay parish priest Fr Chris Slattery and Woollahra Council Mayor Susan Wynne all in attendance.

The official opening of the Kind wall was celebrated with a short ceremony and blessing on Monday 26 October. Photo: McAuley Catholic Primary School

Fr Chris spoke to the students about St. Mary Magdalene as an example of kindness and read from the Gospel of Matthew, 25:34-40; “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

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“The mural is a very symbolic way of connecting the parish and the school,” said Fr Chris. “What I’m trying to give the students is a strong Mary Magdalene focus, because she is a model of discipleship and goodness.

“She didn’t just talk the talk, she did the walk.”

SCS Executive Director, Tony Farley, also addressed the students, thanking them for the kindness they showed him and the other guests, before encouraging them to embrace kindness in all areas of their lives.

“Kindness is so underestimated and can make such a difference,” said Mr Farley. “I think, particularly as we get older, we tend to lose the understanding of how central it is to who we are and to our happiness in life.

“Never underestimate the value of kindness.”

Principal Nicole Jones with Sydney Catholic Schools Executive Director Tony Farley, parish priest Fr Chris and two McAuley students. Photo: McAuley Catholic Primary School

McAuley Rose Bay principal Nichole Jones, herself a former McAuley student, said she wanted the mural to serve as a reminder to the staff and students of the pledge they have all taken to be the ‘I’ in kind.

“The wall represents the need for us all to be Kind,” said McAuley Principal Nicole Jones. “It also represents the need for all of us to be in this together. We ALL need to be KIND.

“If we all try to be the I in KIND, our school, community and world would surely be a better place. So we pledge here today to be the I in KIND, every single day, not just one person but absolutely everybody.”

The wall was painted by Dana McChesney-Clark, an interior-architect and mother to Year One student Heidi, who said that the Kind Wall was the first time she had taken on such a big art project.

“I’ve painted all my life but never anything that I’ve shown people, so I was quite terrified,” laughed Dana. “but Nichole was fantastic, she said go big or go home”

“We were so inspired by her enthusiasm for the school and for the kids that we really wanted to give it our best.”

McAuley Catholic Primary School has undergone a revitilsation during 2020, with many areas of the 53 year old school receiving new love, all aimed at reminding the community of the need to be kind.

Parent and Artist Dana McChesney-Clark with McAuley students Adelaide and Walter Silk, her daughter Heidi and principal Nicole Jones. Photo: Benjamin Conolly

In addition to the new Kind Wall the school proudly features a ‘Buddy Bench’ to make sure everyone has someone to play with, new gardens and artworks encouraging optimism and compassion.

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