Ingham Daily Press

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A cut above the rest: Abergowrie raise $2,000 for Project Compassion as teacher shaves head

A close shave: Peter Cavalot's students ran the clippers over his head after raising more than $2,000 for charity.

MORE than $2,000 has been raised by a Hinchinbrook school for a charity that aims to alleviate global poverty, hunger and oppression.

Students from St Teresa’s College in Abergowrie made $750 in three hours from a carwash in Ingham and raised hundreds of dollars selling homemade wrist bands.

More than $1,000 was secured through an auction where staff donated money to senior pupils who dedicated a day to helping teachers as well as cleaning and gardening after school.

The money will go to Project Compassion, a Lenten appeal run by charity Caritas Australia.

Teacher Peter Cavalot agreed to have his head shaved if students met their money target of $1,000, which the school doubled.

Teacher of 39 years Peter Cavalot agreed to have his head shaved if the students met their fundraising target.

After being scalped at an assembly yesterday, he said: ‘We can all go a bit further in our giving to make the world a better place.

‘So it was a challenge to the students that if they got to their $1,000 target, then I would shave my head.

‘As it turns out, we’ve raised more than $2,000, which is sensational.’

The experienced teacher has been in education for 39 years, spending five years on Palm Island, seven years at Southern Cross, ten years at Ryan and six years at Marion Catholic schools in Townsville before moving to Abergowrie earlier this year.

Peter Cavalot before his charity head shave.

He added: ‘All the staff here give so much. I admire what the principal [Angus Galletly] and his wife [assistant principal for religion, Paula Henderson] are doing. They’ve got six children of their own, and all of us as their children in a way too – all the students and staff who are under their umbrella.

‘I see them spending every day of the week making sure everything works at this college and caring for every individual.’

The AFL enthusiast, who grew up in Melbourne and has represented Queensland as a veteran in the sport, felt the chill after allowing students to run the clippers over his head.

He added: ‘The last hour since my hair’s come off I’ve felt the air current around my ears.

‘It’s a bit cooler, but that’s okay.

‘They’ve given me a beanie, which says ‘Become’ on it. The message to the boys today was to try to become good people in the giving aspect.’

A charity carwash in Ingham raised $750 in three hours.

Assistant principal for religious education Paula Henderson is the driving force behind the college’s active role in the community.

She said: ‘We started Project Compassion during Lent by planting the seed with the boys about what it meant to be a human family across the world.

‘How we could try to be more by doing small acts that would contribute to a more generous sharing of resources and care and kindness to others.

‘The carwash was held last Saturday for three hours in the morning and Father Damian [McGrath] allowed us to use the parish grounds.

‘A group of 17 students organised the neccessary materials and coordinated what they would need to bring it to fruition.

‘We had a very generous business owner, Brendon Andersen from Hinchinbrook Autowash in town, donate some detergents and a raffle prize, which was great.

‘We went about advertising and setting up cooking a breakfast, but the main priority was to invite people to wash their cars.

‘We’ve raised over $2,000 this year. The students have managed to do that. The target was $1,000. When we met the the Student Representative Council, Mr Peter Cavalot offered as an incentive to shave his head if the boys reached their goal, so we had that to work towards.

‘Well, we reached that $1,000, we’ve exceeded that by another $1,000 and we’ve seen Mr Cavalot have his head shaved in an assembly.’

She added: ‘I find our young men are so in tune. They come from community. They have a very strong sense of family, and then the community and the whole notion of sharing and doing for others.

‘When we’re here at school sometimes we feel a little bit removed from community because of our geographical position at the college.

‘Our boys love nothing more than to be involved in the community. It was lovely to see people recognising and acknolwegding their enthusiasm and our boys’ willingness to get in their and be physical – having a goal to raise money for others.

‘The boys were standing out on the street and they had made signs with the staff, and they were dancing and encouraging people to come in and support them.

‘It was so powerful that people stopped to say they were doing a great job and gave donations. That was a thrill for the boys to see that their hard work and enthusiasm was appreciated by the community.’

In 2020, nearly 900 parishes and over 1,000 schools in Australia helped to raise $7.91 million for Project Compassion, a charity that supports people in Third World countries around the world.

St Teresa’s principal Angus Galletly mucks in at the Saturday morning charity carwash.
Team effort: Students had to work together to clean a truck that pulled in.
Year 8 students Mikey Charles and Chris Ketchup, who are both from Palm Island but board at the Catholic school, are pictured with teacher Lisa White.

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