This time of year is always so special for so many members of our College community, as it is the time where we farewell our Year 12 graduates from Kolbe. Our Year 12 Graduation Evening is a celebration of our entire community. The well known proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ could not be truer within our College, and it was so heartwarming to see family, friends and staff gather together on Tuesday evening to witness our Year 12 students take the exciting, but daunting leap into the next phase of their lives.
In my address to the Year 12’s at their ceremony, I spoke to them about not just valuing the happy and joyful experiences during their time at Kolbe, as special as they were, but also realising the importance of the times where you were battling or enduring hardship that may have affected you. I reminded them of the story of a man who walked past a butterfly cocoon that was about to open, and witnessed the butterfly struggling for hours trying to get out of the small enclosure. With empathy the man delicately cut open the cocoon and the butterfly immediately was released easily, but once out its wings were shriveled and its body was tiny and withered. Because of this, the butterfly was not able to take flight due to this lack of strength, and it spent the rest of its life crawling with a wounded body.
I hope the message in this story is clear – for our Year 12 students, and all of us for that matter, sometimes the struggles we face in the present are necessary to make us stronger in the future. The resilience developed by our students during these times, coupled with the love and care provided by our families and our wider Kolbe community, really does set up our graduates to be successful in society, and to face any challenges that the world will throw at them. As Roger Crawford said, ‘being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional’.
Finally, congratulations once again to our Year 12 graduates – may you always be inspired by Maximilian Kolbe, Jesus and our College community as you move onto the next stage of your journey. You leave a wonderful legacy at Kolbe and have set the bar high for our students that follow you. I leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi – ‘There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.’