Leavers' Assembly // Friday 2 November 2018
Nau mai haere mai
e nga hau e wha
e nga iwi, e tau nei
Tena koutou katoa
Leavers of 2018, parents and guests… today we gather as a community to remember and reflect, to pay tribute to those who will leave school at the end of this year – particularly the 12 students from Year 12 and the 178 from Year 13.
A special welcome to all who have joined us this morning and to Bryan Pearson, Chair of the Board of Governors.
Twelve of our Year 13 leavers have completed their entire years of schooling at St Andrew’s College, some even started in Pre-school. This special group were honoured at a special gathering after Leavers’ Chapel last Sunday. But whether you have spent one, five, seven or 13 years at St Andrew’s you have all left your mark on this special place.
Your wall of memories is behind you, the foundation of your life is firmly established, and there is a new horizon ahead.
You are about to leave your school years behind. Behind you are the traditions, the foundations, the values, the learnings and most importantly the relationships and the friendships of your years at StAC. These have shaped who you are today and much of what you have experienced will remain with you forever.
However, you are definitely facing forward and there is so much excitement, opportunity and learning ahead…
While you feel some sadness in leaving St Andrew’s, you are ready to leave, and to take your place amongst 12,500 Old Collegians.
The last 13 years you have spent at school have seen many changes in education. You were the first year to see BYOD introduced for all of our Year 9 intake. You were the second year of the StAC Year 10 Te Waka programme. In your five years of Secondary School you have been the beneficiaries of significant campus development and have enjoyed the addition of a new gymnasium, pipe band facility, our beautiful Chapel, new fitness centre, the reimagined Green Library and Innovation Centre, new boarding houses and our beautifully landscaped grounds.
Many of you have enjoyed learning experiences beyond the classroom that have linked with workplaces or businesses, you have had access to the latest technological developments allowing you to experience virtual reality, digital design, coding solutions and 3D printing.
You have all navigated your way through the pitfalls of social media and I know many of you have made the choice to unplug and turn off at various times in order to better enjoy real time friendships and be mindfully present in real-time experiences.
We have been impressed with your enormous contributions and talents… on the sports field, in debating, speech, music groups, pipe band, dance, cultural activities and productions, as leaders, contributors to community service and as role models for younger students.
There is no doubt that the world you are stepping into is going to continue to change rapidly and there will be many big gnarly challenges to face including, rapid population growth particularly in Africa, the ongoing development of nuclear weapons, global warming and the decline of the world’s natural resources, the exponential advances of technology and AI, the concern around mental health and personal well-being, and political challenges of overt nationalism and global immigration policies.
But I am full of hope and optimism when I see you and the way you are engaging with these future issues already. Speech and slam poetry topics in the recent speech finals, the way our debaters, sustainability council, community service team and writers explore global issues, demonstrate that you, our future leaders and decision makers, are going to truly contribute and make the world a better place. A place where compassion, equality and freedom are at the top of the agenda. I urge you to be people who are going to take responsibility for your actions and make meaningful contributions to society.
In our soon to be released new Strategic Plan for St Andrew’s we have turned our mind to what will be important for our connected, global world and to our guiding values of Truth, Excellence and Faith we have added the values of creativity and inclusivity. I know that in the future we will be looking to you, our leavers of 2018 for inspiration and potential answers to a sustainable, connected, safe, inclusive, more equitable world for all.
Today’s leavers, we salute and congratulate you for what you have achieved here. I know that the significance of your time spent at StAC will continue to grow with time. And so take time to feel proud of your achievements. Stop and enjoy this moment with your classmates and friends before you gather yourself, ready to embrace your new challenges ahead.
This morning as you processed towards your final assembly, you were honoured by our Prep School students…
To them you are grown up and mature and knowledgeable. In your senior years you have been influencers and role models and the younger students have looked up to you. We thank you for the positive influence you have had and the responsibilities you have shouldered.
Your contributions are recorded in Regulus magazines, the Collegian and through website, Facebook pages, and thousands of photos and videos…
But most importantly you leave yourselves in the minds of others, the kind words said, the thoughtfulness shown, the teachers you have appreciated, the others you have inspired.
We feel privileged to have been part of your school years, however long you have been here. Thank you to parents for the support and partnership that has developed over your child’s years at StAC.
I am sure that today you feel enormous pride as you reflect upon the young man or woman your child has become.
This morning we are also saying farewell to a number of Secondary School teachers;
Mrs Jane Matthews (Learning Support Teacher)
Mr Graeme Besley (Science Teacher)
Mrs Dianne MacDonald (Director of Boarding)
Miss Jessie Watts (Mathematics Teacher)
Mr van Florenstein will acknowledge their contributions later in the assembly, but in the meantime, I thank them all for making such a difference in the lives and learning of so many.
As our 2018 graduates leave your school days behind to realise your dreams, I urge you to take with you the StAC guiding values of Truth, Excellence and Faith. Keep alongside you, our DPR values and use these to help you make decisions and choices that are wise, inclusive, mindful of others and good for your own personal growth.
As you step into a world of possibility and opportunity, remember that, “Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision… But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope”.
Tena koutou katoa