RAY COLLINS: Graduation week

In the next few weeks our Year 12 students will sit the 49th Higher School Certificate. Introduced in 1967, the HSC was a key component of the Wyndham Scheme, an initiative to facilitate the reform of secondary education in NSW schools. Whilst I wasn’t one of those students sitting the HSC in 1967 I was in a cohort that followed soon after.

Despite that experience being a long time ago, I still recall, like yesterday, the demands that the HSC placed on young people at that time, as it does in the present day. I also recall the last week of school and that sense of concluding my school life.

The graduation week is a very important milestone in the journey of these young people as students of Catholic schools. It is the end of something which, for many, commenced in Kindergarten, whilst for others it might have only been for a few years. The end of formal schooling brings to a close a very important period in a young person’s life and ushers in a different and, what I hope will be a very exciting adventure as they embrace new opportunities in learning that will take them to all parts of this world.

During this coming week the students will have occasion to celebrate the end of their secondary school lives through graduation ceremonies which will entail a liturgical dimension, reminding them that as students in a Catholic school they draw strength and inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

I hope they will take with them into their roles in society values that have been informed by the life and teachings of Christ and that their Catholic education will inspire them to make a real difference in the lives of others, as they embark on new careers.

I am sure the whole of our diocesan community wishes them every success in the challenges that lie ahead. I trust that they will enjoy this last week and its celebrations and leave their respective schools with the knowledge that they have contributed significantly to the system of schools that is proud to draw its inspiration from the life of Christ.

Like the generations that have gone before them over the last 49 years, I am sure they will do everything they can to make our society a more just and equitable example of what our world is meant to be.

Our prayers and best wishes will be with them during the next month.

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Ray Collins

Ray Collins is the Director of Schools within the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle. He is an authority on education issues.

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