Our Year 12 graduates enjoyed their Valedictory Dinner in October before the start of exams. Jingyun Wu and Liza Clerehan were named Class of 2017 Valedictorians and gave these speeches.

Jingyun: I’m so proud to be here with Liza as a Valedictorian. Maybe I should start with a big thank you to everyone in Year 12. Thanks for believing in me to represent the whole year level, and for your friendship and support these last three years. I still can remember when I first walked into Elwood College in 2014. I thought, “Nice, cool, this looks like a park”. I remember at that time, the Year 9s still had their own building next to the G block and the library was still standing in front of the Science and Language Centre.

We have all had an amazing time at Elwood College. A lot of funny things have happened throughout the whole year. I will always remember Mr Alexander’s message to ‘chip, chip away’ to keep us motivated. Sometimes teachers say wise things and sometimes they don’t. For example in my physics class. Mr Barr just couldn’t pronounce my name, so he ended up calling me ‘chicken wing’. I mean, I like eating chicken wings, but I might not choose to keep this nickname.

Joking aside, we need to say thank you to all the teachers and peers that we met throughout our lives in Elwood, especially to Ms Hutton and Mr Alexander for keeping us on track in Year 12. As an international student, we want to say thank you to Ms Stella and Mr Spring, thank you for looking after us for both our life and study. And I personally want to say thank you to Ms Tran, Mrs McDonald, Ms Pritchard and Mr Barr. Thanks for helping us through our course work and giving our class many tips for university life. We are so glad we met lots of good people here. Now, I want to represent the whole Year 12, to say thank you to every parent, teacher and peer who has helped us become better! Thank you!

Liza: Well, we made it. And I don’t just mean that we survived Year 12, or even high school. We did it, got through 13 years of school. And for that, I want to congratulate the class of 2017. During year 12, even when we are all stressed and irritable, little things have made us laugh. Like the commentary of Olly, whose quotes even made their own facebook page. Or Kyan, as he is always trying to find an excuse to get his top off; whether it be at house swimming when he hasn’t actually enrolled to race, or when we are getting injections. Also, elements of support at school, such as the mentoring program in which teachers were assigned to students to take them out for a coffee or lunch, just to see how things are going and to give some advice. I am grateful for my cafe trips with Ms Pollock, as her counsel gave me perspective on the year and allowed me to calm myself down.

I want to thank all the parents that have been there to support us not just this year, but all through high school. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the encouragement of my own.

Our ATARs do not define us. Our memories, our relationships with others, and how we view ourselves does. And with thanks to my experience at Elwood College, it has given me a huge supply of moments that I will always carry with me and will always keep a place in my heart. The unique energy of Elwood College is so special. Where the teachers go out of their way for you. I know I’ll miss Mrs McDonald’s tangents about her countless brushes with death, or Mr Alexander’s aerobics classes and inspirational anecdotes, or Mr Green and Mr Stokes’ passing comments in the hallway. And Rhonda, the heart and soul of the school. Most of all, I know I will miss seeing my friends each day. 

I wish each and every one of the Class of 2017 the best of luck for the rest of your lives. Whilst you would have grown from the tough times of high school, I hope you never forget the good moments.