Chaplain to hit the road
A man with more than 20 years experience as teacher at a Geraldton high school is now racking up around 600km a week as a travelling chaplain for Mid West schools.
Spending Sunday to Tuesday in Kalbarri, and driving back home on Tuesday night to attend Northampton District High School, Peter Hanrahan said he had reached a point in his life where he had time to travel, and he spends an hour and a half each way in his little blue Yaris.
“There’s a lot of places in Perth or other places that you’d be travelling an hour so for work — but I get to do it at 110(km/h) with a beautiful countryside as well,” he said.
“I am clocking up the kilometres, though and I pray the Roo-Shoo whistles I have fitted will do their job.”
Mr Hanrahan said in his 40 years teaching, 22 of which were at Strathalbyn Christian College in Geraldton, he’d realised that to get the best out of kids’ reading, writing and arithmetic abilities you had to come alongside them to take care of them emotionally and spiritually.
“As a teacher you’ve got a curriculum to stick to, but now as a chaplain I’ve got time for those spiritual, emotional things — I can befriend students to work with them,” he said.
“I actually get the chance to shut up and listen instead of always having to have the answers.
“One principal said having a chaplain in a school means you have a soft place for students to fall and it’s a soft place for staff too.”
Mr Hanrahan said in some cases the distance actually helped him in his work, because being from outside the town meant people felt more comfortable sharing things with someone who wasn’t an ingrained part of the community.
YouthCARE area chaplain Doug McGhee said the schools were very happy to have him.
“I think Peter will have a very good impact on both schools,” he said. “He has heaps of school experience, is a talented drama teacher and has a passion for pastoral care.
“Peter is also naturally friendly and fun, and has huge qualifications.”
Peter Hanrahan acts as chaplain for Northampton and Kalbarri district high schools.