The below is adapted from the Head of School address at the Valedictory Awards:
On Friday 18 September, we came together to celebrate the end of an important milestone where we marked the end of Year 12s formal schooling here at All Saints Grammar and a partnership that for most of us, has spanned 13 years.
The Graduating Class of 2020 will be etched into the history of our School. And there are various key reasons for that:
- They were the last students to have any connection to our first campus at Hampden Rd Lakemba, before moving into our new campus in Term 2, 2007.
- They graduate on the year our school celebrates its 30th Anniversary.
- They have completed their HSC year through one of the worst pandemics the world has seen.
All of those reasons made this event, their time in history, an even more momentous occasion.
Nevertheless, this year’s Valedictory was a very different one. At this present time, the whole world is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We, at All Saints Grammar, are not immune to the impact of this virus. The year has tested our resilience and our focus. We have been through lockdown, virtual remote online learning and numerous restrictions which have considerably impacted our daily lives and routines.
The continuously changing advice from authorities has created a high level of uncertainty and as a result, anxiety. Young people’s school lives have been disrupted significantly. These necessary restrictions, imposed in the interest of our safety, have forced changes to some of the rites of passage, like having their parents join in this very special occasion of the end of their school life. We are very proud of the grit and tenacity that Year 12 have shown to get through this time.
These moments in their history is made memorable for our Year 12 Graduating Class, because they are permeated with mixed emotions. Sadness, because they may be moving away from wonderful friends; excitement because they have treasured enriching experiences to form fond memories; a degree of anxiety because they leave behind the safety net offered by teachers and the nurturing environment of School. All of those emotions are totally understandable and a sign that they care.
The All Saints Grammar community has been alongside Year 12 all these years supporting and guiding them and playing an integral part in shaping them into the wonderful young men and women they have become. We are so proud of every one of them.
Our School’s aim has always been to produce young men and women who are proud of their rich Hellenic heritage, who practise their faith and who have respect and empathy for humanity. I am confident that we have achieved this with them.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing because it wasn’t meant to be. Growing up is the time when, and school is the place where, you make mistakes. But it is also the time and place to learn from those mistakes and develop into the fine young people that our Year 12 are today.
The world out there can appear scary, uncertain, and challenging. Especially at the moment. But at the same time, it is exciting, and full of opportunities to explore. Our students have been given the firm foundations required to take on the challenges the future brings and to enrich their lives with the wonder of the world.
To our Graduates – as you step into the next stage of your life, stay true to your faith, stay close to your family, surround yourself with good friends and never compromise your self-respect, respect for others and your capacity to do good. Be resilient, dream big and try for that which may appear unachievable and you will succeed. This is my advice to you all.
Our Valedictory was made the more special, thanks to the presence of His Eminence. Thank you to His Eminence Archbishop Makarios for taking the time out of his very demanding schedule to join us. Since his arrival in Australia, the interest and leadership he has shown towards all his flock, but in particular for our youth, has been most moving. We thank him for his spiritual guidance, words of wisdom and unwavering support. May our Lord bless him with many years of energy and vitality to continue his work.
Getting us where we are today is undoubtedly the result of teamwork. I would like to acknowledge the efforts and support of all our wonderful and dedicated staff.
To our outgoing School Captains: Zoe-Vasilia Fountotos and Peter Politis, as well as the entire student leadership team, thank you for representing our School with pride. You have been fine ambassadors and your exemplary commitment has inspired others who see you as role models.
I must acknowledge our Board of Directors and Mr Steve Rafeletos (Chair of the Board) for their service to the All Saints community – it is at the core of our community’s success. Mr Rafeletos and the Board, follow the steps of a great tradition of community service of men and women, who saw the need for a school such as All Saints Grammar. The vision you now carry, that of preserving and transcending the rich Hellenic tradition of our ancestors, lives on. Our school celebrates 30 years in 2020. Mr Rafeletos and the Board have shown that this is a worthy cause; that our young people are worthy of your support and your commitment. We thank you immensely for your selfless service to the All Saints Grammar community.
Finally, on behalf of the entire All Saints Grammar community, its members past and present, we would like to wish our dear Year 12 students, every success for their upcoming HSC Examinations.
They are on the final lap now and I encourage each student to stay focused and positive until the last examination. They will be in our thoughts and prayers as they complete the final hurdle.
Thank you for the wonderful memories we have acquired during the journey we undertook together. Thank you for reminding us all of the reason for which we entered this noble profession of education, and how rewarding it can be.
We are so proud of you.
Goodbye for now and God bless you always.
Head of School