Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

So long, farewell:

Finishing year 12 a wonderful achievement for students & parents
By Caroline McMahon
Date: November 01 2013
Editor Rating:

I have been enjoying the sprinkling of Facebook photos coming through this week of my friends' children all having their last day at  secondary school. 

Some of the children I know personally and others I only know from a distance. I was interested in the beautiful ceremonies, customs and traditions that each school offered.

I cast my mind back to my own last high school day. After meeting at a friends house for breakfast, about twenty of us caught the bus, arriving at school in a noisy cacophony.  We had strictly been briefed on keeping things civil for our last day.  

I think the most risqué thing we did was do things in reverse to our teachers' requests. When our teachers wished us good morning, we replied with good night, and we only entered the room when our teachers asked to leave the room. It was our little bit of ground taking and our teachers played along. I think we ran around the school visiting all the classes to say goodbye to everyone, but that was about it. Our parents weren't involved, we left at the end of the day on the bus as we usually would. 

We had a lovely final Mass and graduation ceremony and dinner, but that was quite separate to our last day.

For those of you that know me or read my blogs, will be aware that I know very little about teenage girls, having only sons; teenage girls are not my forte. 

I was very moved by Penrhos, a girls' school in Perth and their touching farewell ceremonies. The biggest thing that I noted was that the parents of the girls were very welcome and involved.  The school did not shun the frivolity and chaos of ' Muck up day' but rather they joined in on the fun and the school rejoiced in the girls excitement and emotion of the last day. I loved how the Year 12 students were made to feel special as they reflect back on their formal schooling years and wished well into their future, whatever that holds. Each girl is valued and appreciated in their own unique way, with their school and families joining as one loving and supportive community to wish them well for their final exams and future.

Looking at the young fresh faces in all the last day photos from various schools, it is hard not to see the difference in expressions on the students.  Many are alive in excitement and anticipation of graduating, the wonder of what is to come for them. 

Others are far more pensive, perhaps not ready to let go of their safe years of where they feel comfortable, that change and the uncertainty of the future ahead is not something that they embrace. The sadness of not seeing their friends everyday and the closeness that many share with their teachers, soon to be gone - such a mixture of emotions for both the students and their parents.

It must be such a wonderful sense of achievement for the parents who have worked hard at maintaining a home that supports a healthy school life. The fine balance between sport and extra curricular activities and homework and school activities. Managing siblings and your own work. Also between nurturing your child enough to make them feel safe enough to explore their growing independence and natural curiosity about the world around them, and supporting their decision making to know what are good and not so good decisions and what the consequences to them are.  

My eldest son is just completing Year 11 and we have all this to look forward to next year.  While my sons' school will have their own unique way of celebrating and farewelling their students, I will look forward to embracing the end school life for my son and his friends and looking toward the start of his soon to be adult life.

For now, congratulations to all those finishing school and everyone that has supported you in your schooling. May the world that is waiting for you be all that you hope for

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