Year 12 Final Assembly – Principal’s Address
Mr Alex Houthuysen, Chair of the College Board, other Board members present, staff, students and of course the graduating class of 2009. In the fifteenth year of the College, it gives me great pleasure, as Acting Principal, to farewell the 11th Year 12 group from Xavier College. For you, this week has been a combination of House assemblies, Oratory celebrations, shared meals, fancy dress, today’s final assembly, Mass and lunch with the staff. In their own way, each of these experiences has been has been an expression of our very best wishes for you, as you prepare to leave our community and begin the post secondary school stage of your life journey. Before this special, but demanding year finishes, you still have exams to face, then the wait for final results and time to spend time thinking about where to now. On behalf of the community gathered before you, I thank you for your commitment to the College and wishes you all the best for your futures.
As a Year 12 group, you were outstanding on Retreat. The retreat enabled you as a group, to develop a greater appreciation for yourselves and each other as well as the wider College community. This experience is something that I know many of you will reflect on from time to time over the coming years.
This year started with more of the Salesian story being imbedded into our community, through the renaming of the four Houses. I believe this was a radical change for many, especially for our old scholars, but I pay tribute to this Year 12 group who have recognised the significance of the new House Patrons and their significance to the Salesian tradition and our College identity and ethos by maintaining their enthusiasm for their Houses by supporting House and College events such as Athletics Day and Xavier Day.
I congratulate the Senior House leaders and thank them for the work they have done for their peers and the College in general. As House leaders, you all have had an impact on the students and staff in your respective Houses.
I give special thanks to Elizabeth and Peter, for their leadership as College Captains this year. In my opinion, both Captains have been very good servant?leaders, through their ongoing service to our community with very little fuss or desire for personal recognition. At all times, both Elizabeth and Peter, have displayed a high level of commitment to their roles as the senior student leaders. I congratulate you both on a job very well done. It is also important for me to recognise and pay tribute to all those who have supported our senior students in reaching this day; to their families, teachers and other staff members that have supported them along the way I congratulate and thank you for the way in which you have supported these students through their secondary education.
To our senior students: for the past five years, you have often heard Xavier College described as a Catholic school in the Salesian tradition. Today, I propose a challenge for you, as you prepare to go your separate ways and make your mark on the world.
Don Bosco once wrote to his past students: “By the name Salesian, I really mean all those who were educated in the spirit of the teaching of the great saint – St. Francis de Sales. So for all intents and purposes, you are all Salesians.”
If we take Don Bosco at his word, then as Salesians, I challenge you, the senior students of 2009 to take the Salesian spirit that has been a part of your life here at Xavier College to the rest of the world.
In order to do this, I want you to remember one word:
RUAH – the Hebrew word for the Spirit of God RUAH is spelt R U A H and I want you to remember this way.
R for Respect
to treat yourself and others with dignity at all times
U for Understanding
to celebrate difference, diversity and ability in all those you meet
A for Affection
to forgive and love, to be generous and charitable of time and wealth
H for Humour
to be cheerful and bring a smile to the faces of others
These elements are at the heart of Salesian spirituality, at the heart of the Salesian way of life. As old scholars of this school, as Christians and as Salesians are you prepared to carry this spirit beyond this community? Will you allow the Spirit of God or RUAH to continue grow and develop in your lives?
Will you continue the life and example of St. Francis de Sales?
Will you continue the dream of Don Bosco?
Mr. Mark Flaherty
Xavier College, Gawler, South Australia