Year 12 Graduation Dinner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in Catholic Schools Victoria 2015

27 October 2015


In 2015, 74 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were identified as completing year 12 in Catholic schools in Victoria.  This year was the inaugural gathering of the Catholic Education of Victoria’s Year 12 Graduation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in Catholic Schools Victoria.  Families, school personnel, Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI) representatives and Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) staff gathered at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne on Wednesday 16 September 2015 to a celebratory dinner.  This dinner, which compliments the school’s Year 12 graduation in acknowledging success, also provides a cultural rite of passage as each student journeys on to the next stage of their lives. 

Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter began proceedings by performing a “Welcome to Country” with a speech and the welcome gift of gum leaves that connected us to the spirit of the Wurundjeri.  CECV responded to the “Welcome to Country” ceremony with an “Acknowledgement of Country” prayer to conclude the ritual. 


We would also like to thank and acknowledge our schools for their valuable contribution to our young peoples’ successful completion of Year 12.  In line with the CECV overview on Distinguishing and Distinctive Characteristics of Catholic schools they played “a deliberate and vital role in the creation of an Australian community that is highly educated, skilled and cultured. They continue to give priority to activities involving active community service and issues of social justice, encouraging students to be informed, ethically aware, tolerant and open in contributing to a socially just Australian nation.”


Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Catholic Schools Victoria

 “You are the bearers of dreams, the promise of eternity, not only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but for all Australians. 

Your formal years of schooling are about to finish but journeys never end, they change and yours will remain forever marked in the lands of your ancestors. 

You have been prepared to deal with and understand the stories of yesterday, the realities of today and all of those unknown possibilities of tomorrow.

Make your journey amazing and gift it to future travellers, then take your place in the ceremony of creation and shine.  You have earned your rite of passage to the next stage of your life. 

Good luck and God speed.”    

Dr Paul Sharkey, Director of Catholic Education Services, Catholic Education Melbourne


Family members and school personnel presented a commemorative plaque made by Wathaurong Glass and a certificate to their student/s to convey our congratulations on their completion of year 12.  
















 Oh!  The places they'll go!