St Bede's first graduates

The following story was published in the Maitland Mercury.

St Bede's first ever graduating class received a rockstar reception last month when they were 'clapped out' of their graduation ceremony by the entire school.

The students started year seven in 2017 as the brand-new school's only year group, and have made it up the ranks to now being its first graduating cohort.

Year 12 students across Maitland and NSW have said farewell to school for the final time this week, as they look toward the HSC which starts on October 11.

St Bede's Catholic College Chisholm college captain Eaden Dawson said she believes her cohort has played an important role in the school's history and future.

"We always used to say in the younger years 'we're just the guinea pigs', but I think as we got older we realised we're the trailblazers and we had a really special position in the school, to be able to pave the way and create a culture and community," she said.

"I wouldn't want it any other way."

Miss Dawson said it's exciting to be taking the leap into the next chapter of her life.

"I'm really excited for everything to come, but it's also really hard to say goodbye to St Bede's because I love this place so much for the people in it," she said.

"I've grown so much with this community and in this college, so it's going to be sad to go but I know we're leaving behind a really strong legacy."

Fellow year 12 student Blaze Brockman said the most emotional part of graduation day is realising his peers won't be by his side every day anymore.

"It's a weird feeling, seeing them for the last time, both the students and the teachers," he said.

"I feel good moving on to the next chapter in my life, it feels like a big step forward but it will always have a place in my heart; the buildings, the teachers, all of the people."

At the Year 12 Farewell Liturgy on Friday, September 22, St Bede's principal John Murphy addressed the historical moment of the first cohort graduating.

Mr Murphy recalled when, back in 2017, these students and their parents sat down with him in a house opposite the school - which was not yet built.

It had no history, no established culture, no buildings and staff yet to be appointed.

"We congratulate year 12 on graduating today and for setting the standards for future year groups to aspire to," he said.

“As the journey of our inaugural graduates comes to an end, we can confidently state the vision we had for these students back in 2017 has been achieved.”

Mr Murphy said each student has grown into a person they can be proud of.

"Year 12, it has been an absolute pleasure and honour to have been your principal from the day we met," he said.

"We want you to always have happy memories of St Bede's and to embrace life to the fullest."

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