The Class of 2019: Taking the next step

The beginning of Term 4 is always beset by a range of emotions for our Year 12s as they grapple with feelings of excitement, nostalgia, disquiet and fatigue. The Quad countdown (which commenced last term) is into single digits; the leavers’ jumpers are rightly being worn as a badge of honour; trial exams are over (which can only mean one thing) and the formality of evenings like Valedictory and Speech Night loom large on the horizon. There’s a sense of finality to things now – final House sessions and Assemblies; Chapel services and classes. And a poignant sense of where it all began, the likes of which will be given tangible expression next week through the opening of time capsules. This is a period replete with ritual and gravitas and a growing sense of purpose as evidenced by the extraordinary numbers of students who made use of the library over the holiday period or the dozens of students who arrive at 7.00am for Maths ‘boot camp’.

The Class of 2019 set the tone from day one, coming together under the banner of Unity, which was honoured time and again in word and deed. They’ll be remembered for the way they played and swam and sung with joy on behalf of their Houses; that, despite their growing need for independence, they respected the processes and more importantly the people put in place to guide them in their final year; that they gave of their time over again in the service of others; supported each other from the sidelines and stands, stalls and riverbanks (no matter the result); transformed the Quad into a scene from High School Musical so that their formal at Leonda was a night to remember for all the right reasons; wore the best looking uniform in Melbourne with genuine pride and threw their considerable weight and creativity behind our collective efforts to nurture a culture of community, inclusivity and trust in the Senior School. They’ve been an absolute delight to be around and I know I speak on behalf of all Senior School teachers when I say that we could not have asked for a more delightful group of young people with whom to spend our days.

But their time has come, in the words of Sir Francis Drake, to ‘venture on wider seas’ and it is our sincere hope that they will lose sight of the shore, and in so doing, find stars…

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas, where storms will show your mastery, where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars…

We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes, and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.

The crossing of any threshold is a terrifyingly wonderful event, fraught with possibility and rightly filled with fear and excitement in equal measure; there is no doubting the fact that this is a seminal moment in the life of our young men and women. Implicit in any moment of embarkation, however, is a rising sense of readiness and a call to take the next step on a life’s journey. Help us to help them take that next step with purpose, dignity and gratitude for the blessings that have been theirs to date.

Natalie Charles
Head of Senior School