Storytelling is almost as old as humankind itself. Using elements of oral language, gestures and basic paintings or drawings, storytelling predates writing by entire ages, but remains as relevant to human existence now as it did in its very earliest forms of being.
Some might say that storytelling is what sets us apart from all other animals on the planet. Stories can teach us about the most basic human survival, educate us about all manner of things and provide entertainment. Stories can pass on lessons of history and imaginings of the future. And in all this, stories help to form society and the communities within humanity.
Storytelling has come a long way; from cave paintings and Greek poets to Shakespeare and the introduction of radio; the potential for people to tell their stories to an ever-growing audience has become almost limitless. Of course, the advent of the internet and subsequent social media platforms has made publishing to the world an act almost anyone can undertake.
For the last eight years I have been ‘narrating stories’ via social media as just one part of my work in schools and over the last 12 months in particular I have discovered storytelling to be a fundamental tool in building a community in a brand new school. When St Luke’s Catholic College opened for operation in February 2017, our student body came from 31 feeder schools and our staff from an equally diverse background, so it was imperative that we share our story in order to draw the community together.
Using the power of social media for good has been beautifully apparent in the way Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram have been implemented to build the St Luke’s story during 2017. The response from parents was a clear indicator of the popularity of the platforms. Feedback such as “Really enjoying seeing the children during the day, it gives us a platform to talk about their day” and “We are able to follow what’s happening inside the classrooms even we are working and away from our children during the day” indicates that parents are happy to be kept in the loop about what is going on at school. Further, prospective parents advising that they chose to enrol their children at the College because they had been ‘watching’ the St Luke’s story on social media, would indicate that news of the College is spreading far beyond the reaches of our immediate community.
Of course, we recognise that the use of these platforms is far from perfect, but in the first instance, the use of social media to tell the St Luke’s Catholic College story has afforded us the opportunity to build a strong sense of community among the current families and to share the information with a much broader audience, ensuring continued growth at the College.
People matter and stories matter. People relate to stories, they feel a connection. Telling the St Luke’s story for the first 12 months of the school’s existence has been a privilege and I look forward to the next chapter. In the meantime, you can follow the St Luke’s story on any of our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.