ST Mary MacKillop School, Birkdale, made
history when staff and students had the honour of staging the
international premier of the anti-bullying play Have you Filled A Bucket Today?.
An added bonus for the school was the presence of the play’s writer, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, who flew in from New York to witness the performance
Ann Marie, an associate
professor at St Lawrence University in New York, based her play on US
author Carol McCloud’s award-winning book about Trey, a Year 4 student
who learns about “Bucket fillers”, people who help without being asked, give hugs and compliments and generally spread good feelings, during a summer camp.
Guidance counsellor Judy Butler said producing the play was a mammoth undertaking for the school.
She said the school had achieved some significant firsts – the first international production and also the first time the play was performed by children.
impressed Ann Marie said she was honoured and humbled her play was
produced in Australia with a creative and innovative staff and student
“I was especially excited to have the opportunity to
discuss the issue of bullying with the St Mary MacKillop staff who are
as determined as we are in the USA to address the problem.
“I believe we need to do so with new and creative mediums and I hope my play will help in some way.”
She said the children preformed so well and it was great to watch their confidence grow.
“I am so proud of all of them, and I sincerely enjoyed my time with them,” she said.
play was the culmination of the school’s three-week student protection
program, which first raised the concept of “bucket filling” as a way to
get students to support each other to create safe and friendly schools.
cast consisted of students from the school’s drama club under the
guidance of drama teacher Terry Larson, as well as staff members.
Judy said the bucket filling concept had given students something tangible to say to others and be instantly understood, which was making a positive difference to interactions between students.
enthusiasm of the students from Prep to Year 7 is amazing to be a part
of as they are learning both to acknowledge positive behaviours and be
more able to stand up for themselves,” she said.