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Year 12 Graduation Mass and Awards Ceremony

December 7, 2018

On Monday 3 December, Year 12 graduated from St Francis Xavier College.

A full set of high-resolution photos are available for download at the following link. 

The evening began with a mass of thanksgiving, celebrated by Fr Loi Viovicente, parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish North Belconnen, and our much-loved school chaplain. Year 12 students organised and played the music for the mass in what became a reverent and moving liturgy. Mass was followed by a short recess, and then the Year 12 certificates, subject awards and special awards were presented. The evening included a number of speeches which are included below.

The following is an edited version of Acting Principal Colleen Rowe’s address to the Year 12 Graduating class. 

I love this evening. I have experienced 15 Year 12 Graduation Ceremonies, four of them as a parent. So, I reflected in recent days and asked, “Why are we here?”, “Why do we have this tradition – the Graduation Ceremony and our celebration of the Mass?”

The adults present, the ones who have cared for you and love you, have a strong sense of this evening’s importance. They can remember other occasions and events that have marked the important rites of passage in your life and they realise what tonight means for you and them.

Your parents remember seeing you for the first time, seeing your first step, your first solo bike ride, first goal, the first time the tooth fairy came, and they remember your first day at school. Many parents will have shed a tear that day as you took your step out into the big world.

Your parents’ life journey will give them a sense of your road ahead which may involve travel, years of study and achievements that will see many of you carve out long professional careers. Your parents have nurtured you to this day and they will continue to love and support you.

It is important to remember that family is the most important thing you will ever have. As Desmond Tutu once said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them” ….  So I say treasure them!

What do we want for you as you leave us?

Much the same as your parents. We want you to be happy, to be good people and we want you take a little piece of SFX with you as you leave us, just like the young people on the mural in the Hub with their SFX backpacks heading out on a big journey. Take your backpack full of the skills, knowledge, values and culture that you learned here at SFX over the past few years. Take this and all your SFX experiences to make a difference in our world.

You are ambassadors for SFX as you go forward in to the world and remember that kindness is the greatest gift you can offer. Allow the words of the Gospel: “love one another” to guide you.

We wish you well in the new phase of your lives. This is the end of part your life’s journey, but it is also a wonderful new beginning for the next part.

On behalf of the college, I bid you farewell and wish you best of luck in your days ahead.  May God bless you all!

Bridie McNeill, Year 12 Coordinator’s Speech for Year 12 Graduation 2018

It was only a couple of weeks ago we were here at our final College assembly where I encouraged the Year 12 students to be active citizens, ones who used their knowledge for good, who responded to issues of injustice and who gave back to the community.

I have no doubt that they will do this, as I have seen many do this over their time at St Francis Xavier College. They have developed the values of altruism, generosity and kindness which they have shown in abundance to each other, the school and the wider community; and these values will take them far.

It is important to recognise the contributions of everyone in this room tonight in supporting and encouraging these young adults seated here in front of me. There is a lovely African Proverb which reads; “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Parents, family and friends- you are your child’s first teachers, their greatest educators. I feel a great sense of pride watching these young people graduate tonight and can only imagine that you are feeling the same. Thank you for your support over the past 6 years, it has been a pleasure getting to know many of you in my role this year.

To another part of your village Year 12, the teaching and support staff of St Francis Xavier College. You have had two wonderful Year Coordinators, Mr Justin Wood and Mrs Jessica Tarbuck who have been an important part of your journey.

I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of your Pastoral Leaders: Amber Rebecca, Karen Humphrey, Danielle Madsen, Veronica Murray, Dene Kermond, Bianca Porcheddu, Sam Wilson, Jake Betts, Erin Pitt, Brad McCallum and to our Pastoral Advisors, Travis Cragg and Janet Gratton – thank you for your care and support of the Year 12 students.

And of course, to the executive, your teachers and Mrs Judy Knight, the Senior Studies Coordinator, thank you.

Year 12 Class of 2018, congratulations on your achievements and on reaching this milestone. Tonight, we are all here to celebrate with you and to support you on the next part of your journey.

School Captains: Holly Freeman and Luke Houghton’s Address for Year 12 Graduation

Good evening and welcome friends, family, staff, invited guests and of course, Year 12. It wasn’t long ago that we thought we were addressing you for the last time. But it turns out that we have more to say, so here we are.

Tonight, we are here to not only celebrate the end of curriculum at SFX, but also to celebrate our journeys of friendship, self-discovery, growth, success, failure, resilience and love. It is both an honour and a privilege to be able to address you one more time, but it is also bittersweet.

As they say, “great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget”. Year 12, the last 12 months have been truly amazing. It has been a year I know I will never forget. We couldn’t be more grateful for the memories we’ve been able to make, and the people we’ve met along the way.

I always find it funny how, day by day, nothing is different, but when you look back on it all, everything has changed. It feels like only last week that we were all sat in the theatre for the very first time, listening attentively to Mr Wood, Mr Tulley and our College Captains, Ashley and Nick, welcome us to what would soon become our home. Little did we know that the people in that room would become our closest friends, our family, for the next six years.

But of course, we wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for our parents and guardians at home, who’ve showered us with endless support and love throughout our journeys. The contribution you have made to our lives is unforgettable, and no amount of gratitude will ever make up for it.

By contribution I don’t mean sandwiches with the crusts cut off and school uniforms 3 sizes too big. And while these things are essential, it is the guidance, understanding, patience and compassion that has gotten us to where we are now. So thank you, so much.

The pain of parting is nothing compared to the joy of meeting again. So, Year 12, as someone special once said to me, this isn’t a goodbye, but a see you later. We wish you the best of luck for all of your future endeavours, and I hope that, whenever the chance arises, we will meet again. So, if this is the last time Luke and I get to address you, then let us say, “See you later, Year 12”, you may be out of sight, but never out of mind.

Thank you.

Special Awards from the evening included the following:

SFX College Captain Medallions

Holly Freeman

Luke Houghton

SFX Vice Captain Medallions

Ella Snowden

Barnaby D’Cruz

Sir Howard Florey Award for Academic Pursuit

Josephine Graham

SFX College Medallions for Academic Excellence

Josephine Graham

Carlee-Ann Tonkin

Angelie Villena

Caltex Best All Rounder Award

Carlee-Ann Tonkin

SFX College Medallions for Outstanding Contribution to the College Community

Trish Chipangura

Holly Freeman

Mateja Kostrica

Patrick O’Connell

Ethan Seselja

Carlee-Ann Tonkin

Ellen Workman

SFX Sportsperson of the Year Trophy

Simon Bewick

SFX College Medallion for Contribution to Sport

Emma White

SFX Inspiration Award

Kenichiro Kaneko

Moira Najdecki Endeavour Award

Trish Chipangura

ADF Leadership and Teamwork Award

Sarah Hajduk

ADFA Education Award

Barnaby D’Cruz

Pierre De Coubertin Award

Dillon Manning

Canberra Mathematics Association Medal

Carlee-Ann Tonkin

The Australian Institute of Physics For Excellence in Physics

Josephine Graham

The Rotary Club of Ginninderra 2018 Citizenship Award

Ellen Workman

BSSS Performing / Visual Arts

Jamie Johnston

BSSS Vocational Studies Award

Roy Madaffari

BSSS Community Service Award

Mateja Kostrica


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