Thursday, 08 February 2024

SACE 2024 Merit Ceremony

Rod and I warmly welcome you all to Government House.

This event concludes two days of ceremonies in these grounds, with 1120 students receiving their certificates of merit.

This afternoon we gather to celebrate our highest achievers in the SACE 2023 – students who have received multiple merits, or a Governor’s Commendation Excellence Award.

Congratulations to each and every one of you.

Yours is a significant achievement.

No doubt your families and friends are proud of you, as are Rod and I.

High school is now finished, and you are about to enter the next phase of your lives.

University, a gap year, employment or other endeavours may be next.

As a mother of four adult children in their twenties and early thirties, I remember well how exciting – and a bit daunting – this time of life can be.

As Governor I am pleased to meet a wide range of young people from across our state.

Through regional visits, receptions and ceremonies at Government House, and engagement with organisations like Debating SA, it is my privilege to get to know young people like you who are inspired by their communities and often driven to make a difference.

Young people who are aware of the challenges facing our society and our world and want to play a role in addressing them, in improving the lives of their families, friends, and our community.

Young people who have lived through the difficulties and disruptions of a pandemic, and have emerged stronger and more resilient for it.

The young people like you, who are drawn together not only by high achievement, but by a desire to make difference.

You are leaders.

By committing to setting goals and seeing them through, you will be well placed to help guide the future of our State and nation.

Young voices are important voices, and I hope you will always have a sense that you can use your voice, as we grapple with global and local issues such as climate change, reconciliation, inequality and homelessness – there are many.

I urge you to try to find the best possible combination of what you are good at doing and what you love to do.

South Australia is experiencing growth in a range of innovative, cutting-edge industries and there are exciting possibilities for you to pursue. The Premier will doubtless have more to say about this.

As life progresses, there will be success and sometimes setbacks, especially if you are prepared to pursue big goals.

Not everyone realises that failure is a natural part of life and plays an important role on the path to success.

Afterall, it’s how we learn and refine our skills and develop resilience.

I encourage you, too, to take care of your physical and mental health.

If there’s one piece of advice I can offer, let it be this: the words of John Mannion, CEO of the Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation of which Rod and I are patrons:

“As we look to the future and start to plan out how we wish to change the world, remember that we need to look after ourselves so that we can help others.

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are struggling, being vulnerable is the first powerful step to getting help.

If you see somebody else struggling, reach out to them - you could be the first person who has and could make such a powerful impact.

Be kind to yourselves, as we are all made up of our mistakes as much as our successes.”

Thank you, John.

In wishing you all well, I hope you will return to Government House many times in the future, whether to visit the grounds and house on our open days, or to be acknowledged for your contributions as you are today, to receive an Australian Honour or other award, or perhaps even one day be sworn in as a government minister!

To your teachers, principals, parents and siblings I thank you for encouraging our young people to be their very best and set a firm foundation for the future.

I thank the SACE board and staff for equipping our young people with the skills and knowledge to maximise their potential as Australian and global citizens.

I particularly commend the SACE’s work in providing a culturally responsive qualification for Aboriginal students to utilise their living history, languages and cultures as an integral part of their SACE.

Congratulations once again on your outstanding achievements in SACE.

Rod and I wish you all the very best and we look forward to seeing your ongoing contributions to our state, enriching our community now and into the future.

Coming events