Hello everyone and welcome back to Term 4,
Last term ended in a flurry of excitement and activity with our wonderful Spring Fair and the very moving Year 12 Graduation Ceremony. Both of these events were a real celebration of our students and the school community which supports them.
Each year, I give an address to our graduating class and below you can find the text of this year’s address. I am very proud of our students and wish them all the very best as they complete their final exams this term.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are privileged to be on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation and I would like to honour and pay my deepest respect to Elders, both past and present. Australia’s aboriginal people are amongst the oldest known civilisations in the world. They undertook the first great sea journeys of exploration and developed a culture of deep knowledge and connection with the land that has endured longer than almost any other in the world’s history. We are all held in the cradle of this knowledge and connection and it is in the spirit of this that I make my final address to you today.
Over the last 13 years of your schooling, you have learned a lot of things. You have developed skills and learned about the world and yourself. Now, as you stand on the threshold of a new beginning, I want to take a moment to reflect on the things that really matter.
We live in a time of great change, a time where change is happening so quickly that it is hard to even imagine what the world will look like in a few years. 60% of the jobs that exist today will not exist in 10 years. Political and social boundaries are quickly changing and environmental change is happening so quickly now that it is hard to understand what our planet will look like in the near future. The task of imagining the future is now yours and you are already in the process of shaping it.
Whilst I hope the skills we have taught you will be useful to you in this changing world, I believe that it isn’t what you know that truly matters now, it is who you are and who you are going to be in the world.
We live in a time where it is easy to draw apart, to polarise and to find the differences between us and to reinforce these. I want to encourage you not to follow this path. Have the courage to stop and listen to those whose views are different to your own. You do not need to agree, and certainly it is important to stand up for what you truly believe is right, but please take the time to at least try to understand the other view; see and understand our differences and then search for the things that draw us together. You are all developing a strong moral compass; use it to make good choices but also have the empathy, courage and insight to understand those who do not. The hope for the future is in finding our common humanity and forging a path we can walk together.
Our school vision is to enable each individual to realise their potential to be self aware, resourceful and resilient with the empathy, skills and initiative to make a positive contribution to the world. I want you to know that, right at this turning point in your lives, as you are about to finish your school education, you are exactly who you should be.
I look at you and I am filled with so much hope for the future. You are creative, caring, empathetic, thoughtful, insightful, gentle, humorous, determined, imaginative, analytical, hopeful and courageous. You are exactly who you need to be to step out into the world and fulfill your own life destinies. You will be the lovers, the carers, the decision makers, the inventors, the collaborators and the healers. You will be the artists, poets, musicians, strategists, scientists, engineers and farmers who will shape and change the new world.
So now, go out there and ask questions. Stand up for what you believe in. Make strong, ethical choices. Care for others, even if you don’t understand their lives or their choices. Actively care for this magnificent planet and speak up when others don’t. Find happiness in the small things. Draw pictures, make music, plant gardens, write poems – be a creator in the world. Accept that you are not perfect and sometimes you will get it wrong. Make mistakes – and then learn from them. Be prepared to wait and work for the things you want. Look for the music and the beauty around you (it is always there).
I want you to know that your teachers, your family and your school community, are so very proud of you. I am very proud of you. Almost 100 years ago, Rudolf Steiner said “Receive children in reverence, educate them in love, and let them go forth in freedom.” We received you with reverence, we have educated you with so much love, and now it is time for you to go forth in freedom.
Your education at Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School has finished, my wish for you all is that you can go on to fulfil the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are.
(You may enjoy this photo of the ‘alternative me’ …. our Year 12 students had a lot of fun dressing up as school staff in their last week with us)