Message From the Principal

Message From the Principal

This week has been our final week for Year 12 2022. Every year that I have been at the school and as we approach Graduation it feels like there has been something significant – bigger than us – happening in the world. The first two years it was the disruption of COVID. This year, we find ourselves in a week bookended by the funeral of the longest reigning British monarch – Queen Elizabeth II, and the graduation. The ending of a life that has witnessed and been involved in some of the most significant events of the 20th and 21st centuries, just as our Year 12’s post-school life is about to begin. And as they launch into this next phase, we can’t help reflect on this long life that has ended and what has shaped it.

When Queen Elizabeth was just 21 years old – just a couple of years older than our Year 12’s – she made a public declaration to the world. To put it in perspective, she was speaking less than 2 years after the end of World War 2 – the deadliest military conflict in history, where an estimated 70-85 million people died, and ensuing political and power shifts across the world through growing independence movements and communism. Our world has certainly been turned upside down through COVID, but the aftermath into which she was speaking is hard for us to comprehend. 

Nevertheless, some of the statements she made on her 21st birthday include –

This is a happy day for me; but it is also one that brings serious thoughts, thoughts of life looming ahead with all its challenges and with all its opportunity…. If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing…To accomplish that we must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves… I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service… But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.

Despite the huge shifts in our understanding, particularly in regards to imperialism, my challenge and encouragement for our Year 12’s was that their lives would echo the sentiments she expressed over 75 years ago, and to consider their life as one of service.  When our College was founded, a set of values were chosen to shape who we are, what we believe to be essential for a good life – faith wisdom, compassion and respect. They reflect that at the centre of what we do as a College we are shaped by the mind, the heart, the soul and the actions of Jesus – in Christ alone our hope is found. Our College values try to capture a little of what it means to create a life of beauty, joy and hope through service to others.

In order to serve others, our attitude needs to be founded in Respect for each person, no matter how different they may be. This respect must be shaped by Compassion and a huge heart to care for those who need protection. Their service must be guided by wisdom and for it to sustain them through life, the best bet is to be guided by faith – solid and secure in the knowledge that God will give them strength, and enable them to see how high, how wide how long and how deep his love is for each person, that His love is enough to help them walk through the valleys and come out the other side; that each one of them is wonderfully and carefully made.

When Princess Elizabeth made those promises over 75 years ago, little did she know how long her service would last – and we saw her continuing to serve until two days before her death, as she welcomed in her 15th Prime Minister. Was she perfect? No. Did she make mistakes? Of course, she’s human, but she committed herself to do it with God’s help.

My declaration and prayer for our Year 12’s is that they go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart; that they devote their life, whether long or short to the service of others, knowing that God will help them to make good their vow. I am confident He will bless each one who is willing to share in this dream.

Mrs Megan Hastie