On this, the most important occasion on the Arthur Phillip High School calendar, I would like to acknowledge the Burramattagal people of the Darug Nation who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we celebrate today. I would also like to pay my respect to the Elders both past and present of the Darug Nation, and extend that respect to other Aboriginals with us this morning.
I would also like to welcome:
Mr Nicholas Train, Deputy Principal
Mr George Retsos, Rel Head Teacher History and Year 12 Year Adviser
Mr Gareth Rennie, Rel Head Teacher English and Year 11 Year Advisor
Riko Truong, School Captain, Arthur Phillip High School
Steven Chung, School Captain, Arthur Phillip High School
We are honoured with your company today.
And a warm Arthur Phillip welcome to the parents, carers and families of the 2017 graduating class. This is as much a celebration for you as it is for Year 12. You have been there for them as they have grappled with assessment tasks and submitted works. Not to mention your advice, guidance and thousands upon thousands of healthy meals and warm hugs over the years. Please enjoy today. It is a very proud moment for you, as you watch your children reach an important milestone after years of support, guidance, laughter, tantrums and tears, on both sides most likely. No doubt you have been stretched to breaking point this year.
Congratulations, you have almost made it, and no matter what the final result, you will survive. In two months it will all be over, and you will be wondering what all the fuss was about. Perhaps. Please take time to celebrate your child’s achievement before the next challenge which will be just around the corner.
Year 12, before we start to talk about how wonderful you are, I would like you to stand and turn and show your heartfelt appreciation to your parents, carers and families who have been there for you, and will always be there for you, no matter what happens.
And most importantly, I would like to welcome our graduating class. Year 7, 2012 and now Year 12, 2015. A very special group of young men and women who have shone in many ways this year. A group who typically care about each other no matter how different they may be from each other and look for the positive in every experience.
Well, here you are, with just a few short hours of ‘school’ left. Your journey at Arthur Phillip High School is about to end but your smiling faces, sense of humour and bright personalities will endure. It seems impossible that just six short years ago you entered Arthur Phillip High School for the very first time. Right from the outset your teachers set you the task of being your best self at all times and making every moment, both in and out of the classroom, count. We can see now that you accepted their challenge and even though there have been some bumps in the road, I hope you feel happy and contented with the choices you have made along the way. The school is proud of you and the risks you have taken to improve your skills, challenge your learning and step outside your comfort zone. You must continue to do this always. As the immortal Dr Seuss once said ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.‘
Today, we also need to acknowledge the work of your dedicated teachers. Teachers who are passionate about your education and strive to give you the very best learning experiences, always. By setting such high expectations, focusing on exceptional standards and challenging the pedestrian, your teachers have prepared you well for the HSC exams you have already faced and those you are still to face in the next few months. And more importantly, their insistence on your personal best at all times has prepared you for a life of success.
Remember always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars. And that’s what you are to us – you are our stars. Today and always. You are all stars who have shone in some way. Nobody is outstanding at everything but we are all brilliant at something. You, Year 12, have strengths beyond your years. Whether it is in the Chemistry classroom, on the Performance Stage, in the sporting field, behind the debating lectern or as a caring peer mediator, student leader or supportive friend. I am truly confident that all of you will make a difference in our world and find your true calling in life or as in today’s world – callings - for you can take many pathways and have many careers.
But first, you must complete the final task set for you. You must complete the HSC - striving for your personal best and we know you are more than capable of reaching such a goal. But we are not going to worry about the HSC today. Today is for celebration and remembering the joy, values and experiences you have shared with your teachers and peers at Arthur Phillip High School.
A huge thank you must go to Mr Retsos, your year adviser. He has nurtured you and wiped your tears whilst helping you to build the resilience required to sail through the rest of your lives. Well that’s the plan anyway. He has taught you that challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
There have certainly been many highlights throughout your time here. The school’s proudest moments are grounded in the fact that you care for others and work together to show gratitude for what you have been given. You accept challenges without fear of judgment, as you are all comfortable being who you are.
Your moving memorial assembly in March this year for Mrs Goodwin organised by our amazing Year 12 leaders demonstrated the compassion you have for significant people in your lives. She would be so proud of you right now.
The fantastic Multicultural Day held earlier this term is a tradition you have started at Arthur Phillip High School. A day where we all come together and recognise and celebrate the differences and similarities of many cultures. This inclusivity and diversity makes Australian society unique and very special. The true value of a comprehensive education is the opportunity to live and work with people who are very different from ourselves – they have different strengths, talents and abilities to us; many have different cultural backgrounds; but together in the same school we become friends, colleagues and collaborators. You, Year 12, learnt from each other and more importantly have built a community of harmony and inclusivity.
The wonderful way you support and praise each other on performance nights, at exhibitions and sporting events is uplifting. I know the school community feels honoured and proud to know you. I certainly do.
Because you are so important to all of us at Arthur Phillip, I urge you to continue to learn and grow into the successful and compassionate citizens Australia needs for future social, economic, academic and cultural success. You are our future. Don’t falter from your goal. Never, ever let anyone tell you that you cannot be whomever, or whatever, you please.
‘Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!’ Always move forward.
And finally, whilst on your journey to brilliance you must always remember to take care of each other and promise to be yourself, because everyone else is taken and no one but you, can do the things you do. Remember, it takes courage to grow up and become the person you really are. And NEVER FORGET, you are Arthur Phillip people. The best people.
And now, I would like to conclude with more words of wisdom from Dr Zuess:
Today you are you
That is truer than true
There is no one alive
Who is youer than you
You are off to great places
Today is your day
Your mountain is waiting
So…..get on your way.
Farewell Year 12, may fortune always follow you.
Ms Erla McMaster
21st September 2017