I would like to welcome our newest school captains & vice captains into their respective leadership positions:
- Emily Harris - captain
- Dallas Harrison – captain
- Daniel Gonzalo – vice captain
- Macayla Hilton – vice captain
Well done to our many award recipients, be proud in your success, be both grateful and gracious in your achievements. Remember to thank your teachers and your parents.
I've built what I have to say tonight around the theme of pride. I must admit I have drawn some of my inspiration from the YES vote on same sex marriage. If any of you heard some of the speeches in parliament, they were the most moving I have ever heard.
The students here tonight have much to be proud of – they have achieved a high enough standard to be recognised for either their academic prowess or else their special achievement in a specific area. Well done to you all.
I would like to share with our community some of my own gratification in being the principal of Albion Park High School. I have a great deal with which to be satisfied. There are so, so many examples I could share with you; from learning of Mr Shannon Farrugia's National Education In Teaching Award … to the two Year 12 students who recently gained the VET Illawarra student of the year in Business Services and Construction (Aleesha Windsor and Jordan Darracott), to finding out that Isabel Harding was a state finalist in the Youth Frontiers program. From watching
my amazing Year Advisers work with love and kindness and professionalism to support their students, through to watching staff as they gave and received random acts of kindness with each other – a beautiful initiative by Patrice Joynson. But I think the best way to illustrate my deep pride in my staff and students is to tell two stories.
FIRSTLY - there is the story of the primary school principal from Sydney, who contacted me out of the blue to see if she could visit with a teacher, to learn about what we had done in the Skills21 living classroom permaculture program. It would take me far too long to unravel the full conversation but the amazement on our visitors faces as they spoke to our skills21 students in Year 9, as they walked through our school whist students openly said hello and smiled, whilst they viewed the permaculture area (PS if you haven't seen it yet please do so!), as they learned about the three year journey we have taken and listened to me rave about my brilliant staff and my awesome students – those faces said it all – I cannot tell you how proud I was to share!
The second story is that of White Ribbon and how it has grown and blossomed into a belief structure at Albion Park High School which has a strong stand in its zero tolerance of violence towards women – thanks Mr Todd Wilcoxon for leading this year's simple but effective symbolic gesture of trying white ribbons to the front fence with Year 11 boys taking up the leadership role in speaking to all students about respect of men towards women.
The last ‘story' was captured via the video which I hope you all saw as you were waiting for the official party to walk in – this video captured eight individuals representing SRC, CAPA, Sports, Youth Frontier, REVS, Parkside, Support and the Debaters, telling us about what they were most proud of achieving in 2017….
PRIDE – so many of our students say they are too embarrassed, too shy, too unable to accept the accolades that are given – it is a very unfortunate Aussie trait linked to the tall poppy syndrome – but I want for all of our students, as they come to collect their awards tonight, to be really proud, to know that striving for excellence is a great thing, that working hard and aiming really high is something to be admired. Love yourself. Be proud of who you are, as a unique individual and never be afraid to work your butt off!
You are so very privileged to have access to our education system and in particular our wonderful school – never take it for granted.
As I conclude, I would like (as always) to acknowledge my incredible Deputy Principals, Paul and Christine, who work such long hours, often at the cost of their own families to do this difficult job - from our community – an enormous thankyou.
Thanks very much to the P&C – though small in number you are large in generosity.
And finally I wish a fond farewell to Head Teacher HSIE Letitia Summers (who cannot be here tonight as she is in Hawaii), Letitia is an extraordinarily good and effective Head Teacher who is leaving us for Moss Vale High – which is where she lives, I know it's great that you will not have to traverse that darn mountain again each day… but you have left an almighty hole in our executive, we will miss you enormously.