In late October, we farewelled our Year 12 graduating class at a number of end-of-year celebrations. At the final assembly, our Principal Mr. Sweeney had the opportunity to speak to the group, and we are proud to share his address with the school community.
“Each year, I am honoured to have the prestigious duty to address you the graduating class, at the Year 12 Farewell Assembly. I am sure each year all in the audience have high expectations that I will share some sage-like advice. That I will summon profound guidance from the depths of human wisdom, never before heard, a life changing message that will impact you young people for you to carry from this day forth.
And I am sure within this advice, you would expect me to espouse such things as the importance of lifelong learning, of that of effort and application, how best to continue to serve others, and providing the essential ingredients for leading fulfilling lives. Nothing like putting the pressure on!
But, is this necessary? Not because what I listed is not important - it is, but do you need for me to tell you that which you already know? And not only know but have lived these past years. I would like to think these years of schooling will not be defined in a single event, or indeed a single speech. For a Hume student I would hope these things should be after all - obvious.
In the Declaration of Independence of the thirteen United States of America, signed by the general congress on 4 July 1776, the second paragraph commences with a well-known phrase - “We hold these truths to be self-evident”. This is a powerful statement, because in just over half a dozen words a strong position is established and great weight given to all that is to come. It is saying that the great truths to follow stand on their own. They are self-evident and require no supporting testimony or further proof to substantiate their validity. They are unshakable, indisputable and foundational.
Hume Anglican Grammar has also its own great truths, these are also unwavering and undeniable, and most importantly they permeate and underpin everything we do, and everything we are. They go by a different name and are called the School Values. Hume Anglican Grammar embraces 6 core values:
1. CHRISTIAN - an inclusive Christian community in the Anglican tradition built upon compassion and service to others
2. EXCELLENCE - high standards in all that we do and individuals realising their full potential
3. RESILIENCE - a positive approach, founded upon realistic expectations, strength of purpose and flexible actions that help us deal with the challenges of life
4. RESPECT - principled and disciplined; we care for ourselves and value others
5. INTEGRITY - a community whose members are accountable, responsible and trustworthy
6. SAFETY - care for the health and wellbeing of all members of our community
Further, these values are ubiquitous, this means they are pervasive and found everywhere. Sometimes they are obvious and in plain sight - perhaps published in literature or promoted in various documents, the school strategic plan being one. You no doubt have seen them proudly displayed as you enter the school from the main carpark.
However, they also exist where I believe is even more important, but these are less apparent so not immediately obvious. I talk of within the relationships we form, in expectations and standards, acts of kindness - of sacrifice - of friendship, we see them through displays of trust, gratitude and self-discipline, and put simply ‘treating others how we ourselves would like to be treated’. We often bundle all this up in something called culture.
Gathered here today as the graduating class of 2020 we have 63 students, some have been with us for just a few years, and there are others who have been here throughout their entire school life. In fact, if you all added up the number of years you have been at Hume, we get a grand total of … 402. 402 student-schoolyears assembled here today, and there is little I can say in 5 minutes that you have not lived and learned during your time. As during your collective 402 years you have been part of the Hume Anglican Grammar culture - both sharing it and contributing towards it.
These beliefs we hold to be true, and it is these beliefs I know you will continue to live - unwaveringly, undeniably and unshakably.”
Bill Sweeney - Principal