This week is the culmination of the academic year for the students in the Graduating class, and in many ways the consummation of their schooling lives. 245 young men, who walked into the College in over-sized khaki shorts as 10 or 12 year old boys back in 2011 and 2013, respectively, leave as men having completed the requirements for Year 12 and the standards associated with them. They have added their own distinctive chapter into the rich and unfolding history of the College and led their school with great integrity and commitment. Along the way, they have embraced the values of their education and made enduring contributions through their engagement in the multifarious aspects of the educational program. We are the richer for their presence and deeply grateful for all that they have given to the school community over the years. During the Valete Assembly, major awards that have been endowed over the decades were presented to the boys whose achievements have been particularly meritorious over the course of their graduation year.
Congratulations are extended to each and every young man who walked across the dais of graduation during the week, and special commendations are extended to those whose contribution to their year level and their school has been particularly noteworthy and meritorious.
There are a number of rites of passage associated with graduation; many of them shaped by the school’s distinctive history which are now replicated in the contemporary context. For the boarders who came to live residentially at the College, their year was formally brought to a close with ‘The Long Tables’. Here, the oak tables of the refectory are arranged in a linear fashion, allowing the families and the staff to join the boarders for their final meal before some words of recollection and a liturgy in the Dalton Chapel. For those who left home at 12 years of age and have grown up at school, this is an emotional time, as it is for the families as the young men begin to countenance life beyond the confines of residential living.
Perhaps the high point of the graduation calendar is the Graduation Mass and the Graduation Dinner. These speak to ‘catholic culture’ in a profound way, in that the final point of departure for all of the graduates and their families is the liturgy of the Mass followed by a shared meal. Both simple, both at the heartland of a school that is based upon the teachings of the gospel that commissions its graduates to go beyond, and in the words of St Ignatius of Loyola, ‘set the world on fire’. They will do so by their zeal and their commitment to social justice, mindful of formation that has shaped men of competence, conscience, compassion and commitment who are asked to be active agents of change in their world over the years ahead. We wish them well as they go forth, and particularly extend our very best for the demands of the HSC Examinations that loom so perilously close.
As is usually the case, the final week of term brings with it a flurry of activity to round off the many activities and programs that have been underway over the last 10 weeks.
- The Year 9 play, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, was a most entertaining and humorous production. It was very encouraging to see so many boys and girls enjoying their performances, and displaying so much acting skill and confidence on stage.
- Access Asia saw a stunning array of projects undertaken by the boys on the Regis campus, which were so colourfully presented at the expo in Regis Hall on Tuesday evening. Some extraordinary insights into our neighbours in the Pacific Rim – Cambodia, China, Thailand and Vietnam – were part of the expo, with many of the boys adopting cultural dress to highlight the cultural richness of the region.
- The Co-curricular Assembly, which was held in Ramsay Hall on Wednesday, saw dozens of boys acknowledged for their contributions to various sporting and cultural activities over the winter season. Recognised as one of the most diverse programs in the nation, it was hearte
ning to see many boys at all ages engaged in healthy and life-giving activities that promote fitness, develop friendships and cultivate skills and proficiencies.
As we come to the close of another term, I extend my deepest thanks to all for the contributions that have been made by so many across the various domains of school life. When one reflects upon how much has transpired, from the daily quantum of learning in the classroom to sporting and cultural events, service programs and outreach activities, there is so much to celebrate and so much to be grateful for. As we come to the time of rest, let us be mindful of the graduates as they prepare for the HSC Examinations over the weeks ahead, and may all who have worked hard across the term experience that renewal that the holiday period will bring.
Best wishes for a well-earned break and I look forward to the resumption of classes and the arrival of the summer program over the coming weeks.