27/10/2017Deputy Principal - Head of Garnsey Campus What will you take with you Year 12? “Faith, hope and love abide and the greatest of these is love.” In 1 Corinthians 13 we are urged to consider love as the greatest of gifts. This reading is often used in ceremonies where love abides, I suspect because we can all take meaning from it about the nature and importance of love and how we can demonstrate that in our interactions with others. This was the reading at the Year 12 Farewell Chapel Service this week, which was an opportunity for our student and staff community to farewell our Year 12s and - with love - celebrate the end of “childish ways” and their continued growth as adults in the world beyond our School gates. It fell to me to say a few words of reflection on this reading at the service. During the service the Year 12 Chapel Captains lit candles from the altar candles and that light was passed to the candles of each Year 12. In Christian tradition, the lighted candle represents Jesus, the light of the world. As they head into the future the Year 12s will take that light with them; it symbolises their time at Gippsland Grammar and the opportunities they have had to brush up against Christian faith, values and actions. In reflecting, I wondered what else they will take with them from Gippsland Grammar. I hope that they will take with them a heart which is open to love, the greatest of all gifts. That they will empathise with others and show compassion for others, especially for those who have not had the blessing of an education such as theirs. I urge them to look for opportunities to show friendship and love to others in their community and beyond. My hope for them is that they are leaders in the world that awaits, not followers. That their knowledge, understanding and skills mean that they will light the way for others and will stand up to injustice and discrimination whenever they recognise it. My hope for them is that they will earn respect wherever they go and that they will be beacons for others to know respect. They have learnt what respect means at Gippsland Grammar, sometimes in challenging ways, but they know that respect is not just something you receive, but something you must give. My hope for them is that they use the education they have to pursue, actively and without fear, their passions and dreams for life as an adult, forging their own path; they’re no longer children, with childish ways and reasoning, but they will now make their own life choices. I urge them not to be passive in this pursuit, but to have courage to live the life they deserve. But they are not alone. The light of the candle - God’s love - will always be with them. My hope for them is that they will always know they are loved and that they will love others in return; the greatest of all these gifts, as per 1 Corinthians 13. After the Chapel Service, students enjoyed a morning tea in the staffroom and some farewell speeches, before some time preparing for their concert assembly and enjoying a jumping castle and water activities in some sensational costumes. Finally, in Period 6 the Year 12s farewelled the School with a concert: dancing, singing, a video and images of their time at School. Their final farewell was a guard of honour from staff and students through which they ran before bursting through a banner; it was the end of an exciting yet emotional day. We thank the Year 12s for all of their contributions to the School and wish them well in their examinations which commence next Wednesday. As the celebrations continued on Thursday night, Blackwood House held its annual Valedictory Dinner to farewell the Year 12 boarders. With parents present, the Year 12s enjoyed a semi-formal dinner followed by tributes to the boarders from their peers, along with some inspiring words from the Boarding Captains, Head of Boarding Mr Stuart Llewellyn and Mr David Baker. It was a lovely night; a great chance for boarding parents to catch up with each other and for the boarders to get dressed up. Many students find that boarding in the senior years is a positive way to have greater focus on their studies, to work collaboratively, to access tutors who provide support each week and to give them more time during the week. We look forward to welcoming our new senior students into boarding during Rollover.