Friends, family and special guests — State Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp, Sr Jenny, Fr Joseph and Fr Andrew — gathered to celebrate yet another positive year at the progressive and inclusive school.
To set the sacred space, an Acknowledgment of Country preceded the awards liturgy. Fr Joseph read the Gospel and the students read the reflection hymn.
“Like many of you, I enjoy spending mindless time scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, connecting to a world that is far bigger than ours,” said St Dominic’s Principal Veronica McLoughlin.
“For some reason, human nature gravitates towards the negative. How often do we enjoy an accomplishment only to focus on a minor element that could have gone better?
“Thankfully there are antidotes for this endemic – good news stories that spread hope. An article by Mauro Gatti lists 50 good news stories from 2019 and I would like to share a few with you now.
“Seven eggs from the world’s last two remaining northern white rhinos have been successfully fertilised. This may save the species. A man in India planted a tree every day for 35 years and created a forest larger than New York’s Central Park. Iceland becomes the first country in the world to legally enforce equal pay for men and women.
“The list was missing one great news story. This story is all about a group of fabulous families, super staff, committed community and incredible young people who inspire, educate and achieve every single day.
“To all our students: create the vision, walk to the beat of your own drum, stay connected to the village that loves you and continue to have the courage to become the best version of yourself you can be. We are very proud of each and every one of you.”
At one point during Ms McLoughlin’s speech, primary student Tom abruptly showed his support by making some profound comments that just validated the truly flexible and open-minded nature of the education environment at St Dominic’s Centre.
The awards presented included:
School Service Award: Mackenzie Paterson
The Tim Crakanthorp Community and Social Justice Award: Kaizah White
Christian Leadership Award: Laura Malone
Sisters of St Dominic’s Encouragement Award: Matthew Tapera
St Dominic’s Artistic Recognition Award: Jazmin Trappel
St Dominic’s Secondary Sport Award: Morgan Carter
St Dominic’s Primary Sport Award: Dominic Andrews
Principal Award: George Houston
The announcement of the winner of the House Cup was a great moment and the special guest made the special award. Peter Turbit from the Primary class was announced the winner for his submission to the Tim Crakanthorp Newcastle Electorate Christmas Card Competition.
In the evening, all eyes were on the Year 10 students graduating from St Dominic’s Centre — Laura Malone, Morgan Carter, Nathan Walter and Ethan Murphy. The students’ case manager Simon Watt spoke about the strengths of each student, identifying their uniqueness, growth and the maturity they had developed during their time at St Dominic’s Centre.
“I have been lucky enough to walk the journey of high school with them,” Mr Watt said. “I’ve seen incredible personal growth, maturity, and building of their sense of identity and calming into young adults.
“The memories that I’ll remember Nathan for are all the amazing things he’s built and cooked up in the TAS room. He loves taking on a challenge and creating something new and innovative. I also like how he thinks carefully before attempting a project. He really considers who he’s going to make it for and why.
“When we were at camp for the first time and Laura attempted the rock-climbing wall, she became stuck on the way up, legs shaking, crying out for help. She looked like she was holding on for dear life. Little did she know she was only a few metres off the ground. But what happened next defines Laura. With a little bit of encouragement, she started back up again and slowly with each step up and pull up, she gained confidence. She wanted to keep stopping, her legs were still shaking but she was determined, she persisted and got to the top by herself.
“So lastly the memory that I’ll remember about Morgan is the incredible connection that she has with people. She loves spending time with other students in the playground. She tries to include as many students as possible of any age and always looks after them if they are sad or having difficulty with something.
“Each of you are individuals, you’re amazing with all of your different interests, hobbies, skills and talents. You have so much to offer the world so be yourselves and you’ll be great.”
Students and their families then had some time to let their hair down as they enjoyed the photo booth, the food and the cutting of the cake before taking part in a parent-child waltz, which they had been practising throughout the term.
The room was filled with laughs and full hearts as the formalities of the night came to a close.