What a special week this has been for our school community! The Spring Fair was a wonderful community event with such a feeling of warmth, sharing and celebration. Congratulations to the Class Three parents for developing a vision for the Fair and then making it happen. Thank you to all of our school community for your work together to make the day so special. It was really wonderful to see the high level of participation from our High School student in almost every aspect of the fair. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how participation and communication are needed to build community and the Spring Fair was a lovely example of this.
The week continued in a lovely spirit with our Year 12 students celebrating their last days at the school. There has been such a feeling of warmth, gratitude, sadness and excitement from our graduating class. On Wednesday, a group of Year 12 students painted a beautiful mural on the wall of the D&T building as a thank you gift and then on Wednesday afternoon the students made a wonderful afternoon tea for the teachers to express their gratitude. Then yesterday the whole school gathered for the formal graduation ceremony. This was a moving event and a real celebration of the journey these students have undertaken. Several parents have asked for a copy of my address to the students and so I have included it in this bulletin.
I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday break.
The beautiful land on which our school is built has a history stretching back to the beginning of the dreaming. We are privileged to have the use of it now. I would like to acknowledge that this ceremony is being held on the traditional lands of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation, and pay my respects to elders both past and present. I would also like to acknowledge the incredibly dedicated and caring team of teachers who have worked with our wonderful graduating class over the years.
To our graduating students, today marks a special moment in your lives. For thirteen years you have been at school. You have played. You have made friends. You have learned how to read and write and how numbers work. You have learned how to follow the rules and, later, how to ask questions about the rules and think for yourself. You have learned how to get on with others and be part of a group. You have learned about history and geography and art and music. You have discovered what things you are good at and you have learned how to work at the things that don’t come so easy. You’ve learned how to celebrate the passing of the seasons and how to be part of our school community.
Some of you have been at this school since kindergarten and some of you joined us a little later. Through all of this learning and growing, the most important things you have started to discover are who you are and what you believe in. The quest to understand these things doesn’t stop here, it goes on for the rest of your lives.
When I graduated from school there was no such thing as mobile phones, eftpos or ATMs (we paid cash), petrol cost 36 cents a litre and there were about 4 and a ½ billion people in the world. When you started school, 13 years ago, Apple had just launched a little music program called “ITunes”, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat did not exist and neither did the term ‘social media’ and there were 6.3 billion people in the world. Today, we carry personal computers, in the form of mobile phones, around in our pockets, a spacecraft has just passed the outermost planet in our solar system, robots work to complete jobs ranging from making cars to performing complex surgery on human beings, the world’s climate is becoming increasingly unstable and there are almost 7 and a half billion people on our planet.
Our world is changing and the change is happening quickly. It is almost impossible to imagine what it will look like in 2028 when today’s kindergarten children graduate. So what can I say to you today as you prepare step out into a complex, changing and challenging world?
I could tell you to go out there and follow your dreams – but I won’t as I already know you are going to do it, you are doing now. I could tell you that now that you have graduated, the world is yours – but I won’t because it isn’t.
Instead I am going to ask that you step out into the world with an attitude of kindness. That you walk gently and try to see, really see, what it is to be the other. Remember the story of Parzifal and be prepared to ask, “what ails thee?” Then have the courage to act out of this kindness. Do what you know is right, even when the doing might not directly serve your own wants and desires.
Go out into the world 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).
Class of 2015, we, your teachers, your family and your school community, are so 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 fulfill the highest, truest expression of yourselves as the wonderful human beings you are.