The program ties in well with the Jesuit values of the school, according to teacher and head of social justice, Peter Ryan.
“We have a serious social justice program running.
It is one of the basics of everything that we do, [and is] reflected in what we want to bring out in our boys and girls, in their future life.”
The school has played host to a wide range of social justice speakers, from former detention centre detainees to boy soldiers.
“I just look for a very, very wide variety of speakers we can have and have a varied group, whether they be male, female, old, young,” Ryan elaborates.
The students’ response to the speakers has been largely positive. “…they have had fundraising activities for them, getting involved … some of them have even written letters,” he says, adding that sometimes exposure to these issues has an impact later in life.
“[Many of our students], go in and tutor them, help them through their high school and university.”
After each presenter’s speech, there are always follow-up activities with religion or homeroom teachers in which students discuss the issues involved.
“They will go and look at other films, other stories, other books, that have been there,” Ryan explains.
Ryan hopes that the students gain a stronger sense of empathy and community awareness from listening to the Just Voices speakers, and look upon people as individuals rather than part of monolithic groups portrayed in the media, as well as reflect upon their own privileges.
“I think the value I want them to achieve is make them better people, a better person when they leave school, and the way they treat people around the place.”