Thursday, 09 February 2023
It is a pleasure to welcome you all to Government House to celebrate the achievements of students who completed the South Australian Certificate of Education in 2022 and received multiple merits, or a Governor’s Commendation Excellence Award.
Congratulations to each and every one of you. Be very proud of your achievements and know that we are proud of you.
This is a defining moment; high school has finished, and you are about to enter the next phase of your lives.
It is an exciting time, if perhaps also a daunting prospect as university, a gap year, employment or other endeavours loom.
As you look forward, with a youthful perspective, it may seem that the world will always be as it is now in 2023 as you set your plans in motion.
Yet history shows, and strikingly so in the past few years, that the world can change, and change rapidly, not only during the course of a lifetime, but in a matter of years and sometimes almost overnight.
We may be confronted with unforeseen challenges, or today’s seemingly minor issues may become imperatives for action.
As high achievers, with the ability to set goals and see 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 that voice, as we tackle critical global and local issues such as climate change, reconciliation, inequality, homelessness – there are many – all while governments in our region of the Indo-Pacific seek to maintain peace and prosperity against a backdrop of growing rivalry between major powers.
South Australia, its people, institutions and industries are capable of being at the forefront of developing solutions to the challenges we will face.
I urge you to try to find the best possible combination of what you can do for good and what you love to do.
As parents of four adult children aged in their 20s and early 30s, the Year 12 experience is still fresh in Rod’s and my minds, particularly the commitment and determination it takes for young people to get to where they want to be.
We have some experience of the triumphs and setbacks which are keenly felt along the way – felt also by your parents or guardians, who are there to lend support and provide a wise sounding board.
You have all passed a significant test in finishing Year 12 and finishing with distinction, but rest assured there will be other tests to come: academic tests, tests of stamina and resolve, tests of character, testing moments of decision and indecision.
There will be success and sometimes setbacks.
But you have already shown yourselves to be resilient, determined and having leadership abilities, ready to be drawn upon to tackle these tests.
I hope as you navigate your own futures, that you will be patient with yourselves and others, and be mindful of how much you can gain personally by giving back to your communities and lifting others up.
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 during a function 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 congratulate you on 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.
To our students, congratulations once again on your outstanding achievements in SACE and my very best wishes for the future, wherever it may take you.