Principal’s Address to the 2016 Graduation Class

Your years of school education are now coming to an end and you are about to launch into a future filled with possibilities.  During your time at school, you have learned how to read and write, how to analyse pieces of writing and create a whole range of texts of your own.  These things are important, but they are not what truly matters.  You have learned to count, to add, subtract, multiply and divide (perhaps with the help of some little number gnomes).  You have learned to measure and quantify things and you have learned how to use number to understand the world.  These things are also important, but they are not what truly matters.  You have learned about the events in history that have shaped who we are today and you have learned about the many different landscapes and environments around the world.  You have learned about your own bodies and what they are capable of.  You have learned about the beauty and wonder in art, music and poetry.  All of these things are so important, but again, they are not what truly matters.

You are about to step out into a world which is changing so quickly that it is hard to understand what it will look like in another 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.

Whilst we 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.

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, 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 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.