Raymond Yong and Mark de Silva as year 12 student leaders, started a praise and worship project with the support of one of the school’s religion teachers, Mr. Joshua Stock. Both were year 12 student leaders at Ursula Frayne Catholic College and started doing this praise and worship project for their final term at school, term 3 of 2017.
Mark shares about how the project came to start:
The reason why we started praise and worship at school was because we had fallen in love with everything about it and wanted to share it with our school. One day on the train we just looked at each other and said, ‘We should do praise and worship at school’. We were inspired by some of our friends that would lead praise and worship at many different youth events, and we always loved being at them and wanted to keep having it. By doing praise and worship at school, we thought that it would be both of those things, we were sharing it with anyone that wanted to go to it at school and we were holding it twice a week, every week. We enjoyed every moment of it and were ecstatic to be leading it with the support of our friends, Amelie Ho and Stephanie Valenti.
We held these sessions during recesses on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We would welcome the other students and start. We had just enough time to play 3 Christian songs with either prayer or reflections in between each of the songs. I would normally lead in the reflections, where I would try to relate the song to our lives. It helps the attending students understand the meaning and purpose of the songs. Raymond would usually lead the prayers, either at the beginning or end of the session. We would always alternate the style of the songs, upbeat and slow tempo. Tuesday’s session would usually be upbeat songs, and Thursday’s session would be more relaxed. Some examples of the songs we used were; Real Love – Hillsong, Fix My Eyes – for King and Country, Ever Be – Kalley Heiligenthal, Good Good Father – Chris Tomlin and many others. We also really appreciated the people who provided continuous attendance and support. They were the ones who shared the information about our project and we may not have even started this initiative without the help of our school’s Religious Coordinator, Mr. Joshua Stock, who gave us tips and ideas to help promote over our school network.
“For someone that loves praise and worship I was so happy and pleased with the support I had from my friends and a few of my teachers. There were some days that I really didn’t have the energy to lead it but when it came to the time I had the most energy I could have ever had because of the love I had for it. I would say it was the highlight of my schooling experience.”
– Mark de Silva
What did the students say?
“Praise and worship is a really wonderful time to spend with God amongst the busyness of school and life, praising God with others makes me feel centred and at peace, ready to face challenges and opportunities that come my way”
– Amelie Ho
“Praise and worship was a way to strengthen the school’s faith. Although we started late, it was still a great experience knowing that we tried something new that the school has never done before, and something that will influence the younger year groups. Praise and worship speaks in all languages, and that’s why it has the power to bring many people together. In total, I really enjoyed spending time with people who wanted to strengthen their faith as much as I did.”
– Raymond Yong
Written by Mark de Silva Year 12 Student