From the Head Master

From the Head Master

Today completes the ‘Valedictory season’ for 2022. The Valedictory season refers broadly to the two weeks in which we bid farewell to our graduating Year 12 students, marking the end of their school days.

There are a number of elements to the season. Year 12 students go out to dinner at various venues with their Housemasters and other House staff. On the last Year 12 Focus Day of the year, those who have come through Trinity Grammar School all the way from infancy, having commenced at the Preparatory or Junior Schools in Pre-K or Kindergarten, return to the places where their schooling began. There are a number of Year 12 vs staff sporting contests; this year the fixtures included: Basketball, Chess and Volleyball (which were won by the students) and Touch Football, Lawn Bowls and Table Tennis (which were won by the staff). On the last day of classes, the boys celebrated their final quad assembly, their final House meeting and their final Chapel service.

The more formal events in the season are the Year 12 Prizegiving, in which we honour and celebrate those students who have achieved excellence, particularly in their studies, and the Valedictory Assembly, in which we honour and celebrate all boys as they come to the end of their school days. The Valedictory season concludes with the Valedictory Dinner for the graduates, their parents and the staff, which is held at Doltone House on Jones Bay Wharf.

There is a lot to love about this time of year. The genuine bonds of affection that tie the boys to their School community become evident, whether in the House, the cohort, the class, or the individual interactions that take place incidentally through the week. A number of parents comment to me about how much they value the opportunity to reflect, to celebrate and to witness their son experiencing these rites of passage. Many of the boys make heartfelt expressions of gratitude and appreciation to the staff who have guided them through both the turbulent shoals of adolescence and the rigours of their academic studies.

Recognising the varied experiences of the boys, and acknowledging that they have come to the end of this chapter with mixed feelings regarding their engagement with the opportunities that have been afforded to them, I made the following comments in my speech at the Year 12 Prizegiving Assembly:

There are two messages that I want to bring to you today, as we celebrate the achievements of the class of 22.

The first is straightforward and I address it to those of you who are able to reflect on your time at this School with few or no regrets. Many of you have seized the opportunities provided to you by your families and the School. You have thrown yourself into your studies, into your sport, into your music, into your Houses. You have harnessed your innate gifts and directed them towards achieving your potential. You may not have experienced constant and continual success. You may not have achieved some goals that you had for yourself, or some position to which you aspired or some success that you wanted, but you can, with honesty and humility say ‘I gave it my best.’

My message to you boys is “Well done.” Whether you will walk across this stage today for a particular achievement or not, well done. It is a beautiful thing to have no regrets.

My second message is to those of you who may have a sense of regret, either emerging or full-grown or perhaps dormant but likely to rise in years to come. For one reason or another, you may know that your school days have not seen the best of you. Maybe you have been lazy, like I was. Maybe you have been distracted by screens and games and social media. Maybe your circumstances, your health, your emotions have conspired against you and you were doing well simply to get to school some days.

My message to you is that your school days don’t need to define you. Your performance or lack thereof, your engagement or lack thereof, your effort or lack thereof, don’t need to define you. After this chapter, there will be a new one, and then another, and then another.

As I reflect on my own school days, my school experience was profoundly formative for me – perhaps not immediately in the ways that my family and my teachers had hoped, but my story didn’t end with Year 12, and neither will yours. The years that now lie behind you are behind you. What matters now is what happens now.

Detur gloria soli Deo

Tim Bowden | Head Master

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