Yass High School Year 12 celebrate their graduation for 2020 in style 

Yass High School Year 12 Graduation Dinner was such a successful night. Students and teachers shared a final meal together at the beautiful Olleyville Restaurant at Shaw Vineyard Estate.

The venue was stunning, and the food and service were outstanding. Year 12’s had a wonderful night and it really was such a perfect end to such a difficult Year for our students.

As their Year Adviser I was so proud of the resilience and courage they displayed throughout the Covid period and this resilience was able to carry them through their exam period and now beyond into whatever the future holds.

Teresa Baines, Year 12 Adviser & English Teacher, Yass High School

Due to community members unable to attend under strict COVID requirements. Yass Valley Times has committed to publishing speeches and photos of the event to share and document this important milestone of senior students with the wider community.

Awards ceremony details below.

 Yass High school Graduates its class of 2020

It was with great pride that we graduated our wonderful Year 12 cohort on Tuesday 17th November. The planned evening in the Quad went ahead smoothly with all COVID-safe regulations in place. Attendees registered through a QR code or on the attendance form. Seats were arranged in family clusters 1.5m apart. The stage was beautifully presented with full technological capacity (huge thanks to Mr Munn and his amazing Entertainment team).

Teacher Ian Munn with The Entertainment Crew – without whom these events would not go-ahead

Portfolios with certificates, references and a USB with the video (thanks Mr Munn) of the school farewell day were prepared (thanks to Jess Dunn). The massive effort of determining the recipients (thanks to Ms Bills and Ms Wykes) of the many awards (from our supportive sponsors – we are so grateful for your continued support) ensured an evening that truly acknowledged and celebrated the many successes of this group of students.

Yass High Graduation ceremony – 2019 Dux Bronwyn Kemp giving her speech

The speeches ranged from entertaining (Bronwyn Kemp – 2019 Dux) to emotional (Ms Baines…Ms Bills…Tamara Brooker and Renee Kemp) but all were thoughtful, genuine and reflective of the strong relationships that exist throughout the Yass High School community.

The stirring performance of “The Time of your Life” (Mrs Hansson, Jaime Burgess, Max Hansson) conveyed our wishes for wonderful memories of life at Yass High School. We applauded the class of 2020 as they exited with a final roll call. The ceremony ended with cake (individually wrapped – thanks Hailee Southwell) and bottles of water – all COVID-approved.

Yass High Graduation ceremony – School Captains Corinne Green and Chrissie Davis were the MCs for the evening

So many people made this event a reality. As a school, we are delighted that we were able to host a Graduation event for Year 12 that families could attend in a year that has been characterised by change and uncertainty. Thank you to our students, staff and parents for the support that you have given the school this year.

Yass Valley Times Award for Excellence in Senior English: Zoe Hudson

Yass Valley Council Award for Special Achievement in Communication: Emily Targett

Don McColl Memorial Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Year 12: Megan Kemp

Commonwealth Bank Award for Achievement in Science and Mathematics: Millicent Duncan

TransGrid Award for Achievement in Mathematics and Science: Dylan Huey

ADF Innovators Award for STEM Motivation: Matthew Doggett

Yass Newsagency Award for Senior Humanities: Jordana Freebody

Yass Earth Movers Award for Excellence in Senior Business Studies: Matthew Doggett

Tootsie Art & Design Award for Achievement in Senior Art: Zoe Hudson

John Allen Memorial Award for Special Achievement in Vocational Education: Tiernan Roberts

B&V Engineering Award for Industrial Technology: Benjamin Thornely

Ron Davis Memorial Award for Excellence in Rural Studies: Zoe Tritschler

Yass TAFE Encouragement Award for Primary Industries (Animal Studies Certificate II): Talissa Polsen

Geordie Whitfield Memorial Award for Hospitality: Emily Targett

Winnaguy Award for Cultural Leadership: Georgia Worthy

Yass Wellness Centre Year Adviser’s Award: Tristan Cupit & Annabelle Regan

Sporting Blues Jack Gallagher, Cross Country and Football

Megan Kemp, Swimming

Lisa Johnson, Athletics

Premier’s Sporting Challenge: Megan Kemp

Australian Olympic Committee Change Maker Award: Renee Kemp & Jack Gallagher

Reuben F Scarf Award for Special and Consistent Effort: Lilly Miners

The Australian Defence Force Leadership and Teamwork Scholarship: Cate Wells

Major Awards

Rotary Excellence Awards for Senior Leadership and Citizenship: Emily Targett

Rotary Excellence Awards for Senior School Service and Citizenship: Ezekiel Groom, Talissa Polsen, Samantha Rattenbury, Lisa Johnson, Pierce Gourlay, Millicent Duncan

CWA Award for Leadership, Citizenship and Service: Megan Kemp

RSL Award for Special Service and Citizenship: Caitlin Witt

RSL Award for Leadership, Citizenship and Service: Benjamin Thornely

Yass High School Values Award (sponsored by Steve’s Quality Cars)

Dylan Huey, Pierce Gourlay, Cate Wells

Yass High School Dux 2019: Bronwyn Kemp

Caltex All-Rounder Award: Jordana Freebody

Yass High School Medal: Megan Kemp

Principal Linda Langton’s Speech

Good evening parents, carers, families, staff…and most importantly, Year 12 students of 2020.

Graduation is always such a special occasion – the culmination of years of hard work, the realisation of goals attained and the celebration of successes achieved. Year 12 is commonly referred to as “the most important year of your life”. Wow! How’s that for pressure? Throw in a global pandemic and the class of 2020 has faced one of the biggest challenges of their lives. You have risen to the many challenges presented to you this year. You have accepted change stoically; re-positioned your learning with agility; pulled yourselves back up when everything around you seemed to be pulling you down. You have shown great resilience in navigating a year of continual change and unforeseen obstacles.

Author Elizabeth Edwards writes that “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” You have done exactly that to complete your Year 12 studies and your HSC exams. You have believed in your ability to cope; identified and stayed connected to your sources of support; shared your personal journey with your friends, families and teachers; helped each other in times of need; purposefully stayed positive and determined to survive and succeed.

Above all, you have sought meaning for yourself by staying focused on your goals and working diligently towards attaining these. It is these skills which have given you the resilience necessary to move through 2020. The world is forever changed. Things will eventually get back to ‘normal’, but this will be a different standard than before 2020. Jobs will change; the skills that have been valued in the past may not be those most needed now; the ideas that may have once been fanciful can now be revolutionary. This is your moment. The future is yours to influence and design.

You have all the skills and talents necessary to succeed. Yass High School has shared your growth from the child who walked into this school in Year 7 to the young men and women seated here tonight. We have strengthened the values you have been taught at home through our focus on Respect, Responsibility, Safety and Learning.

Year 12 class of 2020 Future Careers dress-up day at Yass High School

You have developed maturity to deal with obstacles in your path; empathy to appreciate how others feel, kindness to be gentle with yourself and others; and, resilience to pick yourself up after adversity, dust yourself off and keep moving forward towards your goals. “It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

These values will be critical as you navigate the many character-defining moments that confront you in life and test your values and moral code. I challenge you to have courage to stay strong to your character. Do not be swayed by convenience or expediency. Your actions define you; your words explain you; your kindness connects others to you.

Remember the special moments you have shared at Yass High School and value the people around you who have known you from childhood to adulthood. Long-term friends are hard to find and need to be cherished. They will be by your side in the darkest moments and keep you true to yourself as you flourish in the years ahead

I congratulate you all on your graduation this evening. The tears, tantrums, laughter and friendships have all been necessary steps towards tonight. Through success, you have understood your talents; through adversity, you have faced and overcome challenges and developed inner strength. You are ready for life beyond school, whatever that will look like for you.

Yass High Graduation ceremony – Jordana Freebody receiving her major school award from Principal Linda Langton

I have many people to thank for making this evening possible.

On your behalf, I would like to thank: your Year Advisor: Ms Baines for her guidance, care and compassion…and for always having a listening ear and saving you from yourselves when you needed it most. Ms Bills, Ms Baines, Ms Wykes and Mrs Dunn for their superb organisation of this event; Mr Munn and his Entertainment students for the technical and stage set up; Mrs Dunn for her detailed publishing; Mrs Riach for her support as your deputy; Ms Wykes for the guidance and advice she has offered for life after school; every teacher who has known, cared for and valued you throughout your time at Yass High.

Thank you to parents, carers and families for your love for and support of your wonderful children and for trusting them to us for this important part of their lives. We share your mixed feelings of sadness, joy and pride as we farewell our Year 12 group.

As you leave the comfort and structure of school, look forward to what lies ahead. This is the start of the rest of your life. Seize this moment to create your own life story. Use your gifts of intelligence, kindness, compassion and empathy to make a difference in your community, your country and your world.

The knowledge and skills that you have gained from your time at school will not determine what lies ahead for each of you; it is what you will learn in the next stage of your lives that will advance you as a person. Live your life with passion for your ideals, kindness to others and service to your community. Contribute to the world that your generation will lead. Leave it in a better state than that which you have inherited it. Make an impact…ensure your life has meaning for yourself and others.

Farewell Year 12. Our best wishes for the future and strong belief in your ability to achieve anything you desire go with you. Thank you

Much of the class of 2020 Yass High School