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A Toast to the Graduating Class of 2022

December 14, 2022 at 10:53 AM

As our Year 8 boys’ time at the school draws to a close, students, parents, staff, Trust Board member and invited guests gathered at the Ellerslie Event Centre to celebrate their achievements, learning and friendships made over the years at the school.

In his welcome address, Year 8 Dean Mr Steve Aucamp applaud all students for striving to be better every day, and in doing so collectively set the standards higher. Referring to the analogy of a small fish in a big pond, Mr Aucamp complimented the boys for all they have achieved and challenged them to give it all they have got in the next stage of their education.

He said, “The ‘pond’ needs what you can offer and I know what you can offer is limitless. I am confident the experience you have gained here will set you on the right path in your next chapter. Anything is possible when you hold strong to the Saint Kentigern values.  Go out and make yourself proud. You are ready.”

Mr Hayden Butler, President of the Old Collegians Association was next to come on stage where he welcomed the boys to the Association as alumni. Chapel Prefect Matthew Sawden then said Grace before guests were invited to enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner.  

This year’s special guest speaker was Old Collegian and world champion wakeboarder Mr Brad Smeele. Mr Smeele was living the life, traveling the world and pushing the limits of his sport, until an attempt at repeating his world’s first that won him Trick of the Year in 2014, went horribly wrong. He crashed heavily and broke his neck, leaving him a quadriplegic at 27 years old.

Sharing his inspiring life lessons with the audience, Mr Smeele reminded the boys that failure is part of the journey to success and that the Saint Kentigern education will help prepare them, as it had for him, and allow them to lean on those values and skills to get through adversities. He said, “I have had thousands of tries before I achieved what I set out for myself. Through struggles I learnt to take control and to own situations both good and bad by having the right attitude and taking necessary actions.” His message “You own it” was loud and clear.

In a toast to the Year 8 students, Principal Mr Peter Cassie congratulated the boys on their outstanding achievements and for their contribution to the school. Many of them had started from Year 0 and 1, and a handful from Preschool; Saint Kentigern being the only school they had been to. Mr Cassie goes on to acknowledge boys and their families whose connection with the school, combining siblings and generational involvement, spanned a number of years. While many fall in the single digit category, there were a number that goes beyond, with a record of 16.5 years combined at the school.  

We wish all our graduating Year 8 boys all the very best as they embark on the next stage in their educational journey. We look forward to hearing about your future successes and welcoming you back in December 2027 for our reunion gathering.

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