The Talented Pupils of St Mary’s College!

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O well done to all the pupils of St Mary’s College in Southampton for making their Harvest of Talents project such a great success!  Their ideas, enthusiasm and hard work have been absolutely fabulous! Thank you all!

As you may remember, the Harvest of Talents project is based on the Biblical parable of talents which reminds us that God gives us gifts and skills that can be used for the good of others.

Each student thought about their own gifts and abilities before thinking of as many ways as they could to use their talents for the benefit of others.  They were then given £5 each to invest in their ideas with the aim of multiplying this money as much as they could over five weeks.

The pupils’ start up fund was provided by the Southampton Circle Catenian Association whose members were also on hand throughout the project to act as mentors and offer their business expertise.

Today marked the official close of the project but some groups are still going!  Therefore the final total is yet to be announced but they’ve made a very impressive profit so far!

St Mary's College Talents Project Lent 2015aOver the last five weeks, the pupils came up with some fantastic money making ideas using their talents, including putting on a basketball and football tournament, holding a penalty shoot-out, creating homemade cards and selling all manner of food and drinks to their fellow students across the school.  One group had planned to go busking but are now giving a lunchtime concert tomorrow instead!  Good luck folks!

Head of RE, Ms Thom reminded everyone of some of the key learning points from the project which included developing organisational skills to help keep track of who’s paid their entry fee when you are running competitions, costing out ingredients properly when producing food and determining the best way to sell a product.

Ms Thom said that the students that had made the most money had generally either made something themselves from scratch or added value to an existing product, using their talents and skills to adapt something in order to make it more attractive to their customers.  One team had offered a hairdressing service (which was highly praised by the boys!) and others ran competitions based on their sporting abilities.

Special recognition was given to the team who made the most money, the team who were thought to have put in the most effort and the team who came up with the wackiest idea!

It was awesome to hear the variety of activities they had all been so busy with and just an honour to be able to thank them in person for all their efforts!  Well done everyone!!!

St Mary's College Talents Project Lent 2015nThis was certainly a big team effort, led by our Education Volunteer Coordinator Roger Lillie and Education Volunteer, Rosemary Peacock. Thank you both so much!  Special thanks should also go to our Education Volunteers from the University of Southampton Catholic Society, Nicholas, Davide and Karen and to the Southampton Circle of Catenians who provided the seed money as well as some of their very valuable time and business expertise! (Thank you Harry and Daverio!)

Thank you too to Ms Thom for supporting and encouraging all the pupils and for helping make this such a success!  The final amount will also have double the impact of course as each pound raised and donated to CAFOD during Lent will be matched by the UK government (up to value of £5M). Hooray!

One final word from Nicholas Wong, our CAFOD Volunteer Coordinator at the University of Southampton Catholic Society. After this morning session, he said;

“It is amazing to see the large gain that the students have been able to bring in with their initial seed money. It just goes to show that with the right motivation and a little innovation, great things can be accomplished, and this is true in any endeavour and any aspect of life. The success of this project can be attributed to the hard work of everybody involved, from the Catenians, to the staff and volunteers at CAFOD, to the students and their teachers. At the end of the day, I believe this was a remarkable experience for everyone, and I am sure the students had a lot of fun too working on their projects.”


For more information on CAFOD’s Lenten appeal, please go to


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