Year 12 students of 2021,
I start by acknowledging the loss we as a school community experienced late in 2020 with Aachal’s passing. At the time I was on leave, I prayed for Aachal, her family and all of you through this difficult time. I know she is with us in spirit today.
In a short time, each of you will receive your 2021 Senior School jumper. You should feel a sense of pride receiving the jumper and I look forward to seeing each of you wearing it proudly in our community.
We see the wearing of this jumper as being a significant sign of your place in our community. Your jumper, by its nature, visibly sets you apart from the main body of students. It tells everyone that you are one of 161 Year 12 students in our community. There is a clear identity that comes with the wearing of the jumper. I believe the jumper sets a standard.
In choosing to wear this jumper, you are choosing to set a standard for others to follow.
I recently watched a YouTube clip where Lt Col David Morrison, former Chief of the Australian Army, passionately addressed current and retired service women and men, and the Australian public on the treatment of females serving in the armed forces.
Lt Col Morrison made one point that resonated with me and one I have spoken to in the past:
“The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept.”
This quote had me reflecting on the meaning of today’s presentation of our Senior School jumpers. In accepting this jumper, in choosing to wear it, you are also choosing to accept the standard we expect of a Senior student at Catholic College Wodonga.
For example, we are an inclusive Catholic community. We welcome all regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identification or the gifts and talents each student brings to our community. If as a Senior student wearing your Senior School jumper, you hear or see behaviour which does not reflect our inclusive Catholic community, then you need to act. When the time comes to act, we, the staff, are here to help.
If you choose not to act, then the “standard you just walked past, is the standard you accepted.” Consider the message you send to others, the individual and ultimately yourself. But, in choosing to not walk past, you empower others, you send a clear message to those impacted that they are not alone. This is an important step in fulfilling your role as a Senior student at Catholic College Wodonga, as well as developing a skill that will hold you in good stead when you leave the College at the end of the year.
Can you imagine the standard that would be set by a Senior group of students, all 161 of you, choosing to not “walk past”, and to instead choose to stand up and say this is not who we are as a community at Catholic College Wodonga.
I choose to stand with you throughout this year. I will do all in my power to support you. I want to make sure that this year, is a year where our community talks about the brilliant standards set by the 2021 Year 12 students at Catholic College Wodonga.
I congratulate you on entering your final year of secondary schooling. On behalf of the staff, I wish you all a successful year and hope you will have positive experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.
Good luck for the year ahead