Congratulations to our graduating year 12 class.
Last week, we had some really fantastic events aimed at honouring and celebrating the witness and work of this group, and their families. They have been a really special senior group. I have been impressed by the support they showed each other and the incredibly mature attitude they brought to their school work. It was a consistent cycle of hard work and humble self-reflection, and I know that a lot of the graduating class are looking at some very good grades in mid-December. Congratulations also to those students who have already received university offers or are already employed. We are all very proud of you.
At the Valedictory Lunch last Friday, I closed proceedings by stressing to the graduating class that Mary MacKillop Catholic College would always be their home. Unlike many of the older Colleges in Toowoomba, we don't have a strong and large former students' association yet, and establishing those cultures can be hard. It starts with our graduates coming back to their school and drinking again from our specialness and our welcome. We will be hosting an event for St Mary MacKillop's Feast Day in 2024, and ensuring that as many alumni as possible attend.
I want to acknowledge also the speech made by Mrs Dobson on behalf of the year 12 parents. She gave some worthy and welcome advice to the graduating class which is something our entire College community should read - I have included it verbatim below.
...to our courageous graduating class, here are my words for you moving into the big wide world. You might find some of this stuff inspiring, you might find some of this stuff boring and you will most definitely forget it all by the end of schoolies week. But here goes…
- (This one's tough love.) You have been blessed at school with nurturing teachers. I’m sorry to say, it won’t be like that when you head to university or into the workforce. That’s not to say you won’t find mentors, but it’s up to YOU to build those relationships. You will have lecturers and bosses who have spent their lives becoming experts in their chosen fields. They will have a story of how they got there, and they will love to tell it. Seek them out. Make an appointment. Show you are keen. Listen. Learn from their experience. And you WILL find someone who’ll give you opportunities, and help you reach the next step to your own goals. But it’s up to YOU to find a mentor and connect.
- Always maintain your integrity. Live life with honesty and compassion, and stay true to yourself. You are amazing. Your parents and school have given you great foundations. Hold on to them.
- Don’t seek happiness. If you spend too much time thinking about getting there, then it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you might just catch some of it along the way.
- Be hard on your opinions…everyone has one! But I recommend your opinions should be regularly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others. Focus on your beliefs – take them out into the backyard and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, and your privileges.
- Be a teacher! Please, please, please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. Even if you’re not a teacher, BE a teacher. Share your skills and ideas and don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn and share it!
- Define yourself by what you love. Try to express a passion for things you love. Thank people and give standing ovations to those you admire. Be positive. Be grateful. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.
- Respect people, no matter how successful you become. If you are at a meeting in a restaurant, those around you will judge you on how you treat the wait staff – even if you’re the most powerful cat in the room. Have manners.
- Finally. Don’t rush. You don’t need to have a big dream right now. If you do, that’s great! But mostly BIG DREAMS are for people on American talent shows who are on a journey. Instead, I advocate passion and dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you RIGHT NOW. You never know where you might end up. Just be aware, that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing in the corner of your eye. The next opportunity for something awesome...
I am unsure if Mrs Dobson was attempting to do this, but as I was listening to her it made me reflect that she had very adequately mirrored the mission of our Josephite College. Work hard - but be attentive in doing so. Be happy in serving others. Be humble and critique yourself before you critique others. Find a passion and pursue it. Seek possibilities. Celebrate partnerships.
What a wonderful message for these impressive young people.
Mr Chris Gabbett