A journey is a common metaphor for life as it reminds us that the destination is not our only goal. Like with any form of a journey, there are times when the roads are straight (life is on an even keel) and times when they are winding. There are ups and downs and potholes along the way. And there are often wonderful surprises and fun discoveries that you would never have experienced if it wasn’t for the route you chose.
For our Year 12 students this week will mark the end of their time with us – well at least as students. We obviously hope that they will continue to connect with us in some form as they become our first old boys of ATC. Whilst it might have its sadder moments as we look to mark their time with us, I am also looking to celebrate the many gifts that they have brought us. On Wednesday we will celebrate their time in the form of a retreat to ensure that, as a group, there is some quality time to relive moments, share stories and offer each other thanks. Thursday morning brings the last full assembly for the year as a school community as we look to formally farewell them from the College. Fittingly as a Catholic community we will celebrate the end of this era with a Valedictory Mass in at St Stephen’s Cathedral. Our final celebration will be following Mass as we move down to the Howard Smith Wharves for our Valedictory Dinner. All this seems to be a great backdrop to their wonderful journey with us.
This week will also unveil a new feature on the landscape in front of the Waterford building. On Tuesday we hope to install a large rustic cross. This 3.6 metre symbol is the Year 12 families parting gift to the College. After discussions with the parents of some of our departing families it was decided that we should mark the significance of our first graduating cohort. Sitting above the top roundabout near the Waterford Reception, it also heralds the end point of the Year 12 students’ journey from the Junior School, through the Middle School and to their final place of learning in the Senior School.
For history’s sake, the names of all the graduating Year 12 students will be placed on plaques on either side of the cross and an explanation of the significance of the cross will appear on the front of the cross. The wording on the plaque we hope will accurately reflect and capture the unique contribution of a group of fine young men:
Foundation Year 12 Class 20192019 marks a significant time in the history of Ambrose Treacy College with the graduation of our first Year 12 cohort. As the ‘Senior’ class of the College during its first five years, our Foundation Year 12 Class has been instrumental in shaping and informing the culture of the school.
As men of courage, they have taken up the challenge that Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed in his thoughts when he said “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” They have forged the culture of how ATC students think, act and interact. For our younger students, they have been excellent role models on what it means to be an ATC gentle man. Faithful to our pillars of learning, leadership and service, they have been true signs of faith to our community.
This cross was chosen to symbolise their journey through the College; for many of the students, a nine-year journey. The resting place of the cross fittingly is positioned outside the Waterford building, the heart of the Senior School, and marks the end of their time with us.
The rustic construction of the cross speaks to their own grounded values that have guided their way as student leaders of our community. Symbolically, the cross represents the legacy of life and hope they leave for the College into the future.This cross is proudly donated to the College by the families of our Foundation Graduating Year 12 Class of 2019 to commemorate this special time, and more importantly, the contribution from our inaugural Seniors.
As we all know, the only journey that really matters is the journey inside us. It is my belief that the young men are well prepared for the future they will meet. This does not mean that they have all the answers, none of us have all the answers. What I do believe, is that they have the means within themselves, within their friends and within their families to find the answers to the questions and challenges that they may encounter in the coming years. These answers will be honed by an earthy set of values that will ensure that the bigger picture is understood, the next step isn’t rushed and the impact on others will be a part of the process.
We are very proud of the men graduating at the end of this week. As a community we wish them every success in the years ahead and we look forward to hearing of their how their stories have unfolded. As another first, we also look forward to them continuing to forge their remarkable pioneering spirit as they give shape and bring meaning to being of first Old Boys. Congratulations and well done Year 12 Foundation Senior Students.
THE 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month holds special significance. So it was, that the terrible bloodshed of on the Western Front drew to a formal close on that historic November morning in 1918, when Germany signed an armistice, or truce, in the northern French city of Compiegne. Although the Treaty of Versailles would not be signed until the following June, it was November 11 – Armistice Day originally, but Remembrance Day in Australia and across much of the English-speaking world – that became the significant historical marker.
November 11 might sit somewhat in the shadow of Anzac Day for us but, even so, the nation paused today, wearing a collective fund-raising poppy, to silently remember the sacrifices of war. Today we proudly celebrate Remembrance Day at the College. Remembrance Day is about remembering – remembering the commitment and sacrifice so many young men and women have made for the peace we enjoy today and the fact that many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice with their life in pursuit of this freedom. It is also a time for us to remember that we all have our own responsibility to show courage in the pursuit of a better world for everyone – in our own small way we need to be courageous and challenge instances of injustice in our own communities.
I would ask our community to please keep Harvi Madders (8 Nolan) and Saxon Madders (8 Lynch) and their family in your thoughts and prayers following the passing of their Grandfather recently. We hope that the passage of time will ease the pain of their passing and that the upcoming days can be a time of celebrating the gift that their lives have brought to their families. Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord, May perpetual light shine upon them, May they rest in peace. Amen.
With best wishes