Friday, 08 December 2023

Thebarton Senior College Graduation Ceremony

I am delighted to be with you for the Thebarton Senior College end of year Presentations for the Year 12 Students and those from the New Arrivals Program.

You have studied at a school with a rich history, one which will be celebrated at next Year’s Centenary.

Some of you recently toured Government House and I was pleased to meet two student representatives (Sukina Barati, Laila Aldridge) at a school captains’ reception there a few weeks ago.

Now it is wonderful to be welcomed to your place.

The end of the year is an opportune time to reflect on the milestones you have achieved and take a look over the horizon, however hazy it may appear, to what the next stage of your lives might bring.

I know when I was about your age, I looked forward to the future with optimism, but also with some trepidation, wondering what it would bring in the long term.

I had no inkling of the paths my career would take, leading to me now standing before you as Governor.

If there is a single message I would draw, and share, from my experience, is it to take opportunities as they arise, even if they are unexpected, even if you are not sure where they will lead you.

Leaving school is a rite of passage. For some of you it marks the culmination of years of study, of years of having your days mapped out for you by teachers and parents, of structured learning.

You now embark on a phase of life where you will realise that learning is more than what was tested in exams; than what, however useful, is contained with the pages of books, or on the internet or in podcasts.

As graduates of Thebarton Senior College, a UN Global Peace School, you are well placed to take that journey, having deeply considered, alongside your academic studies, issues relating to human rights and relationship building.

Yours is a generation perhaps more aware than any previously of the place of each of us as global citizens, and of embracing the advantages and responsibilities that that entails.

As a former Australian diplomat, I highly value the understanding, cooperation and innovation that interactions between people from many backgrounds bring.

We can gain much by considering differing viewpoints, sharing varied experiences, and working together to explore our common aspirations.

You have had many opportunities in which to do so with such a diverse student body, coming from more than 76 countries, and I congratulate the school staff and leaders for developing such as keen sense of community amongst you.

For those who are completing the New Arrivals Program, I congratulate you on your efforts, including for many of you in learning the language of a new country. I hope this has opened up new possibilities and brought with it a sense of belonging.

As Governor, I work to encourage the strengths that a multicultural society brings, including through the Governor’s Multicultural Awards program and the annual reception we hold in the grounds of Government House for international students.

I am also delighted to note that Thebarton has embraced the Governor’s Civic Awards program with two students (Saima Shafai (Sigh-mar Shaff-fei) and Lyza Sorokina (lee-zar) winning awards last year.


You are the leaders of tomorrow.

As you go on to more studies, or take a gap year, or go onto a trade or university, I have one message.

The future is what you make it.

Whether that’s in your own individual way, or by joining with others to tackle the big issues you care about.

Because it is within you to be what you want to be.

As you go through life there will be many more milestones and challenges ahead.

But you have already demonstrated commitment, resilience, and achievement.

Congratulations to all the Year 12s and participants in the New Arrivals program and the award winners we celebrate today.

May you always live the Thebarton Senior College motto: “seize the day and be prepared for what tomorrow brings.”

Coming events