Tuesday, 12 October 2021

School Leaders Reception

Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for this special occasion.

Many of you have travelled from country areas to be here, and I thank you for making such a special effort. We really want all South Australians to be able to come here and to feel at home when they do.

Each year for almost 30 years, the Governor has hosted a reception to acknowledge Year 12 student leaders from schools across South Australia.

It is Rod’s and my pleasure to continue this tradition.

We congratulate you on being chosen to attend this Reception, on being leaders in your school communities, and for embracing the responsibility of leadership.

Holding such a role is an honour; one which recognises your confidence, your interpersonal skills and your commitment to giving back to your school community.

And, I would add and emphasise, your resilience and ability to embrace uncertainty and change.

I am sure many of you are grateful to parents and teachers for their support and encouragement over many years, but particularly over past 18 months.

COVID has presented us all, as individuals and communities, indeed as a society, with many challenges.

For you these have been in addition to Year 12’s own challenges. You have had to contend with finding new ways to study and interact with others, and grapple with the uncertainty of your post‑Year 12 options in a COVID constrained world.

The final year of High School is an important milestone in your lives; one that will be a springboard to the next phase.

Let me assure you, or perhaps reassure you; there will be many more milestones and phases from here.

Some of you may have a strong idea of what’s next, others may still be mulling over where life may take you.

I must admit that when I was your age, I didn’t have a firm idea of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go to University and pored over all the university handbooks.

I thought Economics sounded interesting and that Law would give me a good all round education, so I started with both.

Then a year overseas as an Exchange Student honed my thinking and I decided that law really wasn’t for me.

So, I graduated with an Economics Degree from the University of Adelaide and loved my time there.

That economics degree enabled me to join the Department of Foreign Affairs in a graduate position, which led to a first overseas posting in Hong Kong and 20 years after that an appointment as Australia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

Before I became Governor, I was head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra and Australia’s chief diplomat.

Back in High School I would never dreamed all this could happen.

Similarly, Rod has been successively a physicist, a diplomat, a and a high school teacher.

Two of our four children chose the TAFE path, one of them having first tried university. TAFE led to project management and a fulfilling job overseas.

I share our stories so you can see that ambitions and choices change, career paths can take a turn that is often unexpected and opportunities arise that can be grasped.

You will have careers in a globalised world. Here in South Australia, there are many exciting opportunities including in defence, space industries, medical research and services.

Last week when I was sworn in as Governor, I urged young South Australians – you - to contribute to and deepen your understanding of this State – and Australia – not just here but in the wider world.

I said you should be encouraged to leave, explore, gain experience – and, of course, to return.

Whatever your next steps, I encourage you to do what you love, do it to the best of your ability and put your heart into it.

Continue to strive for excellence and look for opportunities to assist others to be the best they can be.

Always be aware of the pleasure and fulfilment which comes from helping others.

We wish you all well for the upcoming exams and will follow your futures with interest.

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC

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