Year coordinator, Terry Close's address to the Class of 2021 - 29 October 2021

Friday, 29 Oct 2021

Welcome parents and carers, BDC college leadership, fellow teachers and students. As year 12 coordinator I have the immense pleasure of addressing the 2021 Valedictorian Class of 2021 here today. This is an honour I take very seriously and will cherish for a long time. I am excited, as for every teacher, this is the goal we strive for.

Days like this are important stepping stones, and sometimes it is easy to let the moment wash over you and it soon becomes a distant memory. But these way points on your journey ARE easily forgotten if we don’t take the time to soak them in.  

To notice the sounds, the smells and the sights around you. 

For these students, completing their year 12 studies has been an adventure. Storms, Evacuations, School Closures, Online Learning  and for the first time ever, lessons in term 5. We began in term 4 2020 with our Commencement Ceremony. Uncle Troy started us off with a smoking ceremony and you each lit a candle. I spoke to you about the challenge ahead and challenged you to work together to find success as a team. At the half way point they attended a retreat at Yarranapinni, and we rebuilt and enhanced the bonds within the group. And yesterday, we reflected on the journey and those that we have shared it with. Today, we formally recognise the achievements of the class of 2021 and in early December we will celebrate the completion of the HSC at our Valedictory Dinner. Year 12 have completed a journey, they have conquered the challenges set before them and now they reflect and celebrate. They have completed the most significant Rite of Passage a school can offer. 

Today’s assembly is the culmination of 13 years of formal education. On 27th February 2009,  the 72 students before me were five or six year olds nervously walking into school on their first day. Like most Kindies, I assume you were very cute in your slightly too big uniforms that you still needed to grow into, very nervous about starting at such a big school and like most kindy kids,  very quick to settle in and think that you were in charge of the whole place.      

And now…. As I gaze out into the audience today I see an amazing group of young adults, bursting with potential, packed with capabilities, full of possibilities, and hungry for adventure. I see future teachers, medical professionals, lawyers, business owners, politicians, managers, artists, tradies and maybe even a few Influencers. Wherever your journey takes you, be the best you can, and take every moment as another learning opportunity. I can confidently say that many of life's most important lessons have come from the worst jobs I’ve had or from plans that turned into a disaster. Now is your time.

As you complete your time at Bishop Druitt College I encourage you to reflect on the journey you have taken, the skills and lessons you have learnt and consider how you can use these to create even more opportunities…... to gather even more skills and lessons learnt. A passion for continued learning and understanding will take you to amazing places you have not yet imagined. 

I have always strongly believed that school is about so much more than just classwork and assessments and grades and ATAR’s. As a result I was very clear about 2 goals I had for you as a cohort. 

Goal No. 1-  To work well as a team and support each other. 

I am so impressed with how you have achieved this goal and how it has served you well. As I think about our journey together, I reflect fondly on the group of outstanding individuals you have become. Supporting each other in times of need. 

Goal No. 2 -  To be the nicest group of year 12's ever

And in my opinion, I think you have achieved that goal comfortably. Reflecting on this year in particular, you have been such a lovely bunch of young adults. Always friendly, polite and helpful. I constantly receive glowing feedback from staff and visitors. Gina Driscoll consistently remarks, "Who are these kids?  They are amazing……" And the care and support you displayed on Retreat was truly heart warming.  

And as you move forward into the next chapter, remember to thank those that have helped you along the way. But at BDC, remember all of your teachers, the cleaners, grounds staff, office ladies, canteen crew, librarians, principals and of course your amazing tutor teachers. Mr McCormack, Ms Dawson, Ms Walker, Mr Linke, Ms Wainwright, and Ms Kiemski. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and all of these people are part of your village. 

Year 12, I have enjoyed seeing you grow into such wonderful young adults over the time I have known you. I am impressed with the way that you treat and respect each other. I am proud of all you have…. and all that you will achieve. But there is but one hurdle left to negotiate year 12. That little thing called …. Exams.

With HSC exams occurring for most of you over the coming month, I wish you good luck. Now is the time for you to peak, pull out your A game, be confident in your preparation and come out swinging. 

You’ve got this!

So enjoy today, your valedictory celebration. All of the work, the persistence, the pain and determination, and maybe a few lunchtime detentions, have all led to this moment. Soak in every part of today, you have earned it.

Congratulations year 12, and as always,

Be nice to your family

Be nice to each other,

But most importantly, be nice to yourself!!

Terry Close 

Year 12 Coordinator 2021