I had a chat on Wednesday morning with Mr Elsing, reflecting on 2019 and the short time we have been year 12s, which has seemed to flash before all of our eyes.
Mr Elsing said something I could not agree with more, and that was, “when I think of the year 12 class this year, the word that comes to mind is fellowship.”
Despite there being only 15 of us, our differences are as vast as ever. Each and every one of us has an entirely unique upbringing, set of beliefs, interests, skills and talents, circumstances, and personalities. But our culture has not been one of division and intolerance, but rather one not only of acceptance, but also appreciation for one another and finding strength in our diversity.
Being a young person in our world today is difficult. In the age of technology, bad news is given to us freely with the click of a button. Sometimes it can seem as though there is bad news, cruelty and injustice in every direction we look. However, I cannot help but be filled with a great sense of hope when I look at the people around me. Not only do I see a group of young people who find strength in their unity and compassion for one another, I also see a group of extremely talented and intelligent young people, who all are committed to using their strengths to make the world around them a better place, and each and every single one of them is capable of doing so.
When I look around, I'm reminded of how grateful I am to be surrounded by a group of people who I look to in admiration at their courage, integrity, and the kindness that overflows in all of their extremely big hearts. This year has been filled with obstacles and hardships that we've all had to face. Many of us are studying our ATAR subjects in hope of making it to our dream course in university. Some of us have put our best foot forward in trades. And others have faced extreme hardships, in possibly the most challenging year of their lives.
But every single person has had the courage to persevere, and every single person has taken it upon themselves to show compassion to one another, and to uplift one another.
I am not only here to express my gratitude towards my classmates, who I not only consider to be my dearest friends, but also a group of people I consider to be like family. Our teachers and parents have all played perhaps the greatest role in making us who we are today.
In John 15:13, the bible says:
“Greater love has no one but this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”
All of our teachers, our mentors, and our parents have made some of the largest sacrifices possible to give us all the opportunities in life we could ever ask for. I personally know my parents sacrifice everything to give me the best possible chance at life, and I’m confident I can say the same on behalf of the rest of you.
I would be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time I heard Mr Prestwidge say he stayed up all night wondering how to help us with a question or topic we don't understand. Or the amount of times I’ve heard that Mrs Edwards and Mrs Taylor have stayed in the kitchen until 6.30pm to ensure it is maintained to Mrs Edward’s very high standards, then Mrs Edwards going home only to mark work until 11.30pm. Or the number of times I’ve heard about Mrs Sorj’s and Mr Hewson’s struggles of marking assignments and preparing lessons, while trying to spend time with their families and very young children. Or Mr Adams spending hours designing experiments, that his classes cannot only learn from, but also enjoy. Or Mrs Ellery offering free tuition to ensure we are prepared for our exams, and she and Mrs Green blessing us with their baking skills, with food that always disappears very quickly.
Many schools offer something that young people do not find valuable: Needless anxiety over excessive pressure to achieve nothing other than a high ATAR score, and false promises of happiness and fulfillment the closer you achieve to that 99.95. But the reality is, no number will bring you those things. Because the person who achieves a high 90 can’t help but think, “If only I performed a little better, I could have gotten a little bit higher.” And even the person who achieves that 99.95 is left wondering why their perfect score has still left them unsatisfied.
But Mundaring Christian College has given us all something unique, and something I will be forever grateful for: A sense of hope for the future, and a network of people who truly believe in you. And there is nothing, more fulfilling for a young person, than being shown by your role models that they truly believe in you and are proud of you. So, on behalf of the class of 2019, to the parents and teachers, we are all extremely grateful for your sacrifice and commitment to us, so thank you.
I know for many of us, leaving school is a very bittersweet time. Although we are beginning bright new chapters of our lives, we are also going to miss our schooling years, and if anyone else has had a similar schooling experience to me, those years will likely be the best years of their lives. However, I remain hopeful for the future, of leaving school in entering the real world, as I am confident all the friendships we have made will last many years to come, and I will carry with me the things I have learnt at school for the rest of my life, both academic and valuable life lessons. I am extremely grateful to have lived out my schooling years in what I believe to be the best way I possibly could. So, to everyone around me, thank you.
Catherine C. (Year 12 Valedictorian)