Class of 2017, we always thought that sounded so long away. But now, 13 years later, here we are. Some of us have been used to these classrooms for over a decade, some of us have only just adjusted, but we have all ended up here today, finishing one stage of our lives and entering a new and exciting one. These years have had their ups and downs but we need to thank the people who have helped us along the way.
Firstly, to our wonderful year advisors. Our year group has had a bit of a roller coaster over the 6 years, having 3 different teachers on our grade. Mrs Cook graciously took us on in our worst years, working hard to shape our year 7 and 8 selves into respectable people. Mrs Jackson then followed in her footsteps after Mrs Cook left to bring us another year filled with support and encouragement at our most vulnerable stage. Mrs Trautman, obviously not hearing the warnings from the previous attempts to help our grade, agreed to take us on for our final years. She has done an amazing job working with us and dealing with us in both our best of times and worst of times. Then there’s Mr Wright. Sticking with us for the entire 6 years, honestly such an astonishing achievement, he deserves a medal. You have been nothing but a support to us, someone we can talk to, someone we can laugh with and sometimes at…., but overall you have been a fantastic Godly role model to us when we needed it the most. Thank you.
Secondly, thank you to all of our teachers. The time, dedication and care each one of you have put into your classes has made school worthwhile and enjoyable. The past two years wouldn’t have been at all possible without your constant encouragement, readings and re-readings of essays, and sometimes for our own good, some tough love.
Finally, to our parents and families. The past 13 years have been a challenge, there’s no question about that. The eager little 5 year olds you sent off to their first day of kindergarten way back in 2005 have learnt many valuable life lessons, and some lessons that might not be as useful… From learning how to tie shoelaces, to learning how to read, learning how to make friends and learning how to resolve conflict, our years at school have equipped us for what life throws at us. Of course, school isn’t just about life lessons. We’ve also all learnt, through some painful experiences, how some of us just really aren’t cut out to be artists, or professional athletes. We have learnt that sometimes our parents are actually right and we shouldn’t have left our study to the night before… or that our teachers, even though they seem to hate us with the mountainous amounts of work they give us, actually are preparing us and caring for us. To the mums and dads, aunties and uncles, grandparents, brothers and sisters, thank you for dealing with our mental breakdowns, emotional and sleep deprived selves and for always offering a shoulder to cry on when school seems a bit too much. Thank you for enduring spelling words, dozens of home readers, listening to friendship dramas and putting up with our countdowns, you really are special and mean so much to us.
Year 12, there’s not really any words that accurately describe the mix of emotions each of us are feeling today. Some of us are overly eager to leave while some of us are sad to say goodbye. Just keep in mind, we have survived: the ruthlessly competitive Kahoot contests and feuds over which movie we should watch. We have seen each other grow and mature and shared so many memories over our time here. The camps, excursions, fundraisers and trivia and movie nights have all brought us some precious memories, which has proven to have put a smile on all of our faces. The friendships formed with all these people we have grown up with is something we are all extremely blessed to have. We have all the bumps and bruises of adolescence and perhaps the barest hint of wisdom gained from them. We stand before endless opportunities, and how can we not be envied…not for what we have or what we have done, but for what we still have to do. Ahead of us stand all the years we have yet to live and the experience we have yet to know. We are just embarking upon this awfully big adventure. Although it is natural that throughout our journey our dreams and character shift and change with time, it is important to always stay true to ourselves and pursue those dreams. One definition of success is the ability to look back on your life without regrets. When we say this we also mean to not let the special moments that are yet to come pass by.
It has been an absolute privilege to serve each and every one of you and we pray that in the years ahead, the lessons you have learnt at William Carey remain with you. Sometimes, it’s easy to see straight ahead. We countdown to graduation, we countdown to the start of HSC, most importantly, we countdown to the end of HSC. But with the focus being so set on what’s directly in front of us, we sometimes lose view of what’s around us. I like to try and gain perspective in times like this by thinking about driving at nighttime. It’s almost like we’re all driving in the dark, headlights fixed on what’s directly ahead of us. But, the headlights don’t reach too far, and they don’t show us the whole view. It’s similar with school. We get so caught up in it, that we sometimes forget to take a step back and take it all in. Year 12, please remember to take a step back and see the big picture and what God has in store for us beyond what our lights can show. It’s a scary thing, but we know that God always has our lives under control and we can trust his plans for us.
Behind each graduate there must have been at least a dozen people providing support in at least a dozen ways. The best way we as graduates can show our gratitude is to make the most of the opportunity we have been given and go forward into the world with the intention of making it a better place for the generations that follow us. We will pay that debt of gratitude forward. Year 12 this year have donated funds towards the future upgrading of the school grounds. This includes the purchasing of signs to put around the school that promote the attributes of William Carey students. These signs will indicate the qualities of life long learners who think creatively, collaborate and communicate clearly, show respect and compassion and be servant-hearted. We are excited to donate this gift as we can’t wait to see the characteristics of future graduates.
As we come to the end of the lasts, we want to leave you with one last message. In all that you do, live to bring glory to God. We want you to remember that the HSC is not the be all and end all. Micah 6:8 tells us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Thank you William Carey for all that you’ve done for us and thank you year 12 for the memories…all the best.