Senior School - Commencement

Posted 15 February 2019 11:14am

At the start of each year, the Senior School recognises students who have stepped into leadership roles across all areas of the School at the annual Commencement Service. Badges are presented, parents look on with pride, teaching staff process in their academic gowns and the Gabriel Singers inspire the audience with their joyous voices.

This year we also had the distinction of welcoming our new Principal, Mrs Anna Owen as well as hearing from the 2018 Dux of the School, Tara Dabrowski. During her final year at CGGS, Tara undertook the demanding IB Diploma Programme and held the position of Student Representative Council Chair. This year she is starting the next chapter of her life as a student of Actuarial Studies and International Business at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

In addition to the seventeen members of our Senior Council, more than 70 students received a badge to signify their leadership role within the School. As is tradition, they each made a pledge to uphold the values and standards of CGGS while demonstrating responsibility in their duties. Each of our leaders is listed in the Commencement Service booklet which you can access here.

School Captain, Ailin He, welcomed students and encouraged everyone to venture beyond their comfort zone in 2019.

“Take the next opportunity given to you - sign up for that sport, or choir or whatever it is you’ve always wanted to but were too scared to try. The more you put yourself out there, the richer your high school experience, the more friendships you’ll form and the more everlasting memories you’ll create.”

Ailin’s honesty and sense of humour are just a couple of her endearing qualities. In this week’s assembly, she spoke about kindness and the impact it can have on those around you. We think everyone should hear what she had to say, so here it is…

Good morning everyone,

Today I want to share with you one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me. But this story isn’t about me, it’s about someone else’s kindness towards me.

Many of you know the Athletics Carnival is coming up - Week 6, Thursday. Now, that very day, five years ago, I was in Year 7 and it was my first Senior School Athletics Carnival. So there I was, standing in line for the 400m and it was probably my 8th race that day (because I signed up for every race). Now, I had never run 400m in my life. Do you jog, or do you sprint?  But then I remembered, one of my PE teachers had once told me, “When in doubt, swing your arms as fast as you can because your legs will just follow.”

Obviously at some point, it is physically impossible for your legs to run any faster. Now 12-year-old me didn’t realise this, and my arms were just flying all over the place. Before I knew it, my legs completely gave way and I fell, flat on my face in the middle of the AIS track.

The whole school stopped. Every single pair of eyes in the stands stared right at me. And there I was- this one little Year 7, lying on the track, absolutely mortified.

But then - and this is one of the sweetest things that has ever happened to me - I see this hand reaching down grabbing mine. My friend who was running in the next lane over had stopped mid-race - sacrificing that blue, red or green ribbon - to help me back up. And sure we might have finished last together but the thing is, five years on, no one remembers who won that race, no one even remembers it was me who fell (or maybe they do and I’m just saying that to make myself feel better). But everyone remembers Rachael, her kindness and that moment of true friendship.

This year is going to be busy for all of us- Year 10s with semi-formal, subject selections and careers. Year 11s fresh to the BSSS and IB grind (welcome) and Year 12s…our final year.

It’s often so easy to find ourselves caught up on the end result - getting that top grade in science, being swimming age champion etc. - and while achievements are awesome and we should definitely be celebrating them, it’s not the number of medals or certificates or badges you’ll be remembered by. Moments of inspiration come from your acts of kindness, your generosity and your willingness to help others.

It’s as simple as helping your friend with those English notes, sending the girl who was sick a photo of the whiteboard, and picking your friend up when they fall (literally).

Hopefully, it won’t take you all to fall in front of the whole school to realise the power one act of kindness has. So, coming from someone who did in fact fall in front of the whole school, trust me when I say, if you have the choice - always choose kindness. Perhaps you won’t see the benefit right away, maybe it’ll even make you come last in the race. But rest in the knowledge that what goes around comes around - and at the very least, you will always be remembered as that kind person.

Photo above: 2019 School Captain, Ailin He

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