Guilford Young College Commendation Ceremony

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Commendation Ceremony
Guilford Young College
16 March 2012

When it comes to preparing a homily, or a speech, I have found that it all becomes a lot easier after making a decision how to begin. Once that decision is made, what follows comes relatively easily. I would like to begin today by relating two very recent experiences which both relate to students of Guilford Young College.

The first occasion was just over two weeks ago, when I was a guest at a dinner which was catered for and served by VET students at the Hobart campus of Guilford Young College. It was done very professionally, and the others who attended the dinner with me were very complimentary about their experience as guests in the college dining room.

The other experience was just two days again, when a former student of the college, Cedrick Mulumba addressed the Pastoral Conference, attended by the priest and religious who work in the parishes around Tasmania. Cedrick came to Australia as a humanitarian entrant in 2008, and following his arrival in Hobart, he was enrolled in Guilford Young College. He grew up originally in the so-called Democratic Republic of the Congo, which, despite the name, is one of the most undemocratic countries in the world. In recent days, a political leader from that country has been finally convicted in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, of criminal behaviour in kidnapping young children and forcing them to take up arms.

Cedrick has a great affection for Guilford Young College, and he says that he gained great inspiration from the advice of St Mary of the Cross Mackillop who said that “if we see a need, we should do something to respond to it.” Cedrick decided that he could make a contribution to a gathering of young people which took place in Prague, in the Czech Republic in January, and on Wednesday he gave a most enlightening and enthusiastic report of the time he spent at the conference. I think we will be hearing a lot more of Cedrick Mulumba.

I am very happy to be able to attend this Commendation Ceremony for Guilford Young College, in which we recognise the achievements of a number of students from year 12 of 2011, and then recognise those students who have been chosen to take up positions of leadership and responsibility for the year which has just begun.

This ceremony, and the Graduation Ceremony at the end of the year, are both important moments in the yearly calendar of the college. At the Graduation ceremony, each and every student who has completed year 12 is recognised and honoured. There are students of different cultural traditions, different family backgrounds, different physical attributes, but each and every one is given recognition by having their name called, and being handed a certificate.

I have always been very happy to be part of that recognition. I hope that by now each and every one of the former students, like Cedrick,  have found a new path to follow, building on the opportunities provided to them during their two years at Guilford Young College, and the schools and colleges where they pursued their earlier education.

Some of those students who graduated in November last year, are back year again today, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge their personal, and in some instances outstanding achievements. I congratulate each and every one of them. In light of the meaning of the word commendation, we now send them out into the wider world, to further their experience, and to give others the benefit of their achievements and their talents.

I wish to thank the Principal, Mrs Bobby Court, the academic, support and administrative staff, for ensuring that there is a balance at the college at all levels, spiritual, academic, cultural and physical. It is pleasing to note that the college is building on the developments which have taken place on both campuses in recent years, all done with the purpose of ensuring that you have the best of facilities and opportunities.

I note that during this ceremony, the Relationship Agreement with Edmund Rice Education Australia will be formalised with the presence of Br Paul Oakley, the President of EREA. The Christian Brothers have made a very significant contribution to Catholic Education in Tasmania for over 100 years. It is good to see Br Terry Burke here also, the last of the Christian Brothers to have a presence at Guilford Young College.

Today is the 24th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Guilford Young, the 8th Archbishop of Hobart. He was the kind of person who made a very deep impact on everyone he met, both at a personal level and in his public appearances, and among the wider circle of people with whom he was associated both in the Church and in the wider community. It is very fitting, just the same, that his name and his memory be perpetuated through the college which bears his name.

Thank you again for the invitation to be with you today. I congratulate all those who are to receive awards. I commend all those who are being commissioned in leadership roles in the College this year, and thank them for their willingness to make an additional contribution to the life of Guilford Young College. May 2012 be another special year of growth for everyone at the College.

It is with some measure of personal sadness that I realise that this is the last time that I will be called to carry out this role. I have tried to give my full support to the college at all times, and I am pleased to say that I believe that such support has been well and truly rewarded. Thank you.