As I sat listening to the Year 6 Band playing Augie March’s One Crowded Hour at the Middle School Presentation Night last week, I was yet again blown away by the depth and breadth of talent we develop within our rich and diverse Clarendon community. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in that audience captivated by the focus and the passion of those performers. We really are privileged to teach, guide, support and care for your children.
In reflecting on the year that is drawing to a close, the sheer range of events, activities and opportunities within our calendar is breathtaking. Our Performing Arts team had our Senior School play, Black Comedy, the Years 10-12 musical, Chicago, two productions of Alice in Wonderland Jr – because we had too many performers for just the one! – and three Showcases. Our sporting teams and individual athletes have once again performed well on the water, on the pitch, in the pool, on the court, running laps around the lake. Their efforts yielded a number of premierships and personal bests. Our students have enjoyed successes in Chess competitions and, particularly, in the State Finals and three Clarendon students have been selected for entry to the Australian Science Olympiad’s Summer School at the Australian National University. This year, students topped the state with nine ICAS medals – five medals in Mathematics alone is an extraordinary achievement.
Our students’ awareness, concern and contribution to their local and global community saw them reading, swimming, walking, skipping, donating, handballing, dancing, building and raising awareness. Junior School students raised $15,000 for Jump Rope for Heart and gave generously through their Kids Supporting Community initiative, presenting big cheques to the Ballarat Animal Shelter, Very Special Kids and Child and Family Services. And across the school students volunteered at Pinarc Disability Support and Nazareth House; donated much needed blood at the Red Cross Blood Service; raised money for struggling farmers in the Walk a Country Mile Walkathon; our Players for Pink football match continues to support the Breast Cancer Network Australia; the annual Girls Boarding House concert raised money for MND Victoria, while the Boys Boarding House White Ribbon dinner dance raised awareness, seeking to end violence against women in our community; our Cambodia Expedition saw students working in local communities to ensure access to clear water, undertaking reforestation projects and teaching English in the local primary schools. And so much more. We – our students, parents and staff – are a caring community bound together by a common set of values and aspirations.
There were a record number of alumni events in 2018 and we celebrated the opening of the David H Haymes rowing tank in August. It is particularly fitting to name the rowing tank after an Old Collegian who has achieved and invested so much in the sport as a rower and coach, and who has contributed so much to our school over decades. We are proud to have the Haymes’ family name etched into our school’s history.
At this time of year, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of our VCE students, particularly the Class of 2018.
We celebrate the successes of our 159-strong Year 12 cohort, 101 of whom achieved a university entrance score over 80 putting them in the top 20% of the country and 36 of these students achieved an ATAR over 95, placing them in the top 5%. Our Dux is Jack Tuohey with an ATAR of 99.75. As ever, the context of these amazing results is our school focus to maximise a student’s competence, skills and capacity so that, at the end of their time at school, when they stand on the threshold of their future, they can choose their heart’s desire.
And each of these young adults stands on the threshold of their future, their next steps will see them move closer to their heart’s desire – whatever their personal goals or dreams may be. Within our diverse group of Year 12 students we have aspiring engineers, industrial designers, health professionals, architects, marine biologists, dancers, military personnel, fashion designers, singers, educators, make-up artists, software developers and musicians.
These students have cause to celebrate. The Class of 2018 has achieved results that reflect their determination and their effort. The outcomes also reflect the commitment of the team involved in supporting, guiding and caring for them. Congratulations to all our students, their families and staff.
Excellence is not an inconvenience and striving for excellence, being ambitious and wanting to achieve, should be embraced. In the words of Franklin D Roosevelt, ‘Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.’ And our Year 12 students have much to be happy about.
So let’s celebrate the dedication of all VCE students. They have worked hard to grapple with difficult, powerful concepts and they have developed interests that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Moreover, their efforts, and the efforts of all of our students, will benefit our community now and in the years to come.