This week has been a week of goodbyes. My year 13 cohort graduated and this ends my five years of deaning. We finished off with a heartfelt goodbye, first from my English class.
Next it was the walking school bus followed by the ‘big reveal.’ I really wanted to surprise them. The theme was “Goodbye childhood, hello world.” So what we created was a really childish playground with jumping castles, water slides, jousting rings and mini rugby. Add to that as-much-as-you-can-eat candy floss and lolly bags. The general consensus was that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They did exactly what I hoped they would, and that was dive headlong onto the slides.
And finally we got to graduation. They all did remarkably well and I am so proud of their behaviour, and their accomplishments. A moving moment was the standing ovation, I must admit.
I attach some of my speech for my reflection:
The last five years seem to have passed so quickly. I clearly remember sitting on stage as the year 9 Dean, and watching the year 13 Dean give his graduation speech. As his tears welled up, I sat wondering what all the fuss was about. Now that I have walked that same journey and watched these students grow in confidence as well as maturity, I totally get why he was so upset. This group of students are exceptionally talented and I feel privileged to have been their dean. This night marks the end of our journey together, but remember that graduation is not the end; it really is only the beginning. Take stock of what you have learnt in your time at the college, and then look forward to the amazing opportunities that await you.
One thing that you won’t forget is that you are ground breakers. You were the first year 13s to go from mufti to uniform. Doesn’t it make dressing up tonight so much more special? You were also the first cohort to use one-to-one devices. Technology is such an integral part of the class now, that it’s hard to remember what school was like before the introduction of devices. I do believe that our students have developed 21st century skills that far surpass anything we originally envisaged. At this point I’d like to take a moment to remember Mark Quigley, who was our senior manager for the past four years. A few years back he said to me: Linda write this down so we don’t forget: we must remember to say a special thank you to our students at graduation for allowing us to make such a big change.
So, thank you for moving forward with us and for setting the example for others to follow.
I’d like to conclude my final duty as a dean with a quote from Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”