Senior College Graduation Dinner

December 03, 2018 at 4:16 PM

In a change of venue this year, the Year 13 Graduation Chapel and Dinner returned to campus, bringing students, parents, staff and invited guests together for one last time in familiar, much loved surroundings. The evening marked the end of our Year 13 students’ time at Saint Kentigern, as they prepare to move on to life beyond the College gates. 

Over 750 people, too many to fit the Chapel, Reverend Smith’s service was held in Elliot Hall, with every seat taken! While guests filed in, photos streamed on the big screen - a reflection of a final year well spent in the company of friends, playing, performing and achieving. 

Year 12 student, Christina Middelbeek-Harrison, was called on to open the service in song with When we were Young’ (Adele). A little later, fellow Year 12 student, Venice Qin followed to sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ with Christina finishing the service with the sung blessing. Both these girls have powerful voices and the congregation was clearly moved. 

The recurring theme throughout the night was that of our Vision Statement, that our ‘Graduates will Serve and Lead with Distinction.’ Reverend Smith asked, ‘What might this look like?’ He said, ‘To ‘Serve and Lead with Distinction’ involves humility and empathy and the recognition of the place of others in our lives. It entails the need to treat others with the same respect and dignity that we would expect ourselves. It involves the rolling up of one’s sleeves and the understanding that the fulfilling of our responsibilities always comes before the assertion of any rights. And it requires a willingness to keep ‘listening to’ and ‘learning from’ - even from those whom we lead.’ 

The culmination of the students’ secondary education was recognised with the presentation of their diplomas by Senior College Principal, Mrs Suzanne Winthrop, Chairman of the Trust Board, Mr John Kernohan, and Head of Saint Kentigern, Mr David Hodge. As the students crossed the stage, proud parents looked on, undoubtedly wondering where the years had gone! The guests were then piped to the Sports Centre for dinner - the last time for a while that the students will hear the sound so synonymous with Saint Kentigern. 

The Sports Centre had been amazingly transformed by the Parents and Friends with a mass of balloons in House colours. Deputy Head Prefects, Hannah Williams and Ben Staite did a sterling job as MCs for the evening; keeping everything moving as well as offering anecdotal insights into the strong bonds between this cohort. Head Prefects, George Shirtcliffe and Laura Porteous also spoke one last time. Above all, there was an air of gratitude as the students thanked their parents, teachers, tutors and other mentors within the College. 

Mrs Winthrop also thanked the parents for believing in Saint Kentigern and entrusting their children to our teaching and care.  She told the students to remember the fortunate grounding they had been given and encouraged them to give back by serving others.  ‘Many of you will become leaders in various spheres of influence in NZ and overseas.  Be strong, compassionate, humble and grounded people who lead as examples of excellence.’

The sentiments expressed throughout the night of thankfulness, friendship and pride in having attended the ‘world of opportunity’ that Saint Kentigern offers, confirmed that these students will go on to great things. We wish them well in their future endeavours and thank them for everything they have done to extend the Saint Kentigern legacy.


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