DARTH Vader used the “force” for good when he visited St James Catholic Primary School, Coorparoo, helping it raise more than $1300 for Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion.
Following his rejection of the “dark side”, the former commander of the Death Star had some wise words for the school community.
Darth, better known as principal John Bates, told the excited students their generous contribution was going to help support people rise out of poverty through Caritas-run education and training programs so they could generate income for themselves.
He said this year a significant amount of financial support would be directed to struggling villages in Fiji following a devastating cyclone.
Mr Bates became Darth Vader for the day after challenging the school community to beat the previous year’s tally for Project Compassion.
“Who would’ve thought that in my first term as principal that I’d be dressing up as Darth Vader for the day,” he said.
“I have to say that it was the highlight of term for both the students and myself.
“It was done for a great cause of course.”
Mr Bates said it was fantastic to see the faces on the students when they first set eyes on him.
“It was great to see the excitement on the children’s faces,” he said.
“It was also very satisfying to see all their efforts come to fruition.”
St James’ assistant principal for religious education Sonny Smith said the students made a huge effort to see their principal walk around the school for a day in the Darth Vader costume.
The Star Wars fan said it was a fantastic way to raise awareness of Project Compassion among the other students.
He said after some Year 5 and 6 students saw a Star Wars display he had on his office door they discussed the idea.
“Our Year 6 ministry leaders really drove this,” Mr Smith said.
“They held icy-cup stalls, jelly bean competitions, an Easter egg raffle and many other fundraisers to really get behind promoting Project Compassion not only in the school but also in the wider community.
“That’s why we were able to raise the funds we did.
“They had that passion to raise the money and bring Darth Vader to the school, to the delight of the other students.”
Mr Smith said there also was a lot of enthusiasm among the rest of the students – and staff – to achieve the target and have Darth Vader visit.
“They were really excited to have him here for the day,” he said.
“Our parents were also very excited to see him here, with many taking the opportunity to get a ‘selfie’ with him.”
For more information or to donate to Project Compassion, visit the Caritas Donation page.