Tuesday 19 October 2021

Farewell to the Class of 2021

We are so proud of our Class of 2021, for so many reasons, some of which have been captured so beautifully in our 2021 School Captains speeches given the other evening on the zoom ‘Toast to the Class of 2021’.

“One thing is for certain – we will not be defined by the pandemic, and we have not been limited by the pandemic”.

The memories we created as a group commenced many years before the lockdowns and our relationships will continue long after they are history. As the Class of 2021, we have risen well above the circumstances we face, and we are about to graduate from Ivanhoe Grammar School as united and determined young people of great character. It is with this, the absence of being on Campus in year 11, that the joys of Year 12 were made even greater.

From the Plenty Campus Captains, Bella and Frank

What an experience the secondary years have been for every single student in the Class of 2021.  From our first-ever day of secondary school, meeting under the Bell Tower – feeling both nervous and excited about the journey ahead…. as well as wondering how Ben Goldie could already be so tall.  Our nervousness soon washed away, as our courage grew and friendships formed – transitioning us into learners who shared successes, setbacks, ambitions, thoughts, journeys, and our unique and deep-seated Ivanhoe values. Then, in seemingly a moment, we find ourselves completing our VCE years.

It is hard to deny that our Year 12 year was shaped by the pandemic, whether it was the excitement of getting your SAC pushed back a week, or the sadness of realising we had lost our Year 12 Formal. Despite this, our year level rose above it all, we supported one another and focused on the positives. As a result, here we are, nearly at the finish line. This, of course, must also be accredited to our teachers, who put so much effort into checking in on our wellbeing, keeping lessons interesting, and motivating us to get through these tumultuous times. We seriously cannot thank you enough. The experience of home-schooling also taught us new skills. Such as learning how to scan 5000 sheets of paper in perfect lighting as well as completing a practice exam whilst simultaneously experiencing an earthquake. Nevertheless, the most rewarding moment was stepping back into the school grounds this term. At that point in time, the saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ has never been more true. And then within a blink of an eye, Year 12 was nearly done.

There are so many varied and wonderful memories we can take away as the Class of 2021. It is for this reason that is so very difficult to answer the question “What makes Ivanhoe Grammar School so special?”. We have been blessed to learn and grow in a community with such a strong sense of family and interconnectedness, not only within our group but across all year levels.  The friendships we have created while at Ivanhoe; with each other, our mentors, our teachers, and future graduating classes will be our enduring memories, long after we receive our ATARs and take the next steps in our lives.  The Ivanhoe Grammar School education is incredibly and uniquely nurturing and liberating.  We are believed in, we are trusted, we are encouraged to be authentic, find our own wings, set ambitious goals, and contribute to our communities with passion and purpose.  I hope every student in the Class of 2021 can take this same sense of belief into their final exam preparation. You are unstoppable and we are unstoppable! Thank you all so very much for the past 6 years.

We’d also like to extend our thanks to the parents of the Class of 2021. You have been the backbone to our successes this year, supporting us when times got tough, sacrificing your own needs to be there for us, standing by our side for all the highs and the lows as well as all the tears and laughter. We are extremely lucky to have you in our lives.

Finally, Frank and I just want to say what a pleasure it has been to be the School Captains of 2021. For the two of us, we can safely say that this year, even in the face of the pandemic, has been the greatest year of our lives. And at the end of the day all those one million speeches, photos, delayed assemblies, and meetings have all been worth it. We just want to say a huge thank you for making our Ivanhoe experience an unforgettable one.

From The Ridgeway Campus Captains, Lexie and Harry

Our years as adolescents have such an influence on the rest of our lives. These years, spent at Ivanhoe, have shaped who we are today, and will form the foundation of who we become tomorrow.

Tonight, whilst we may not all be together to laugh, cringe, cry and reminisce over the times we have spent together, we have a far stronger bond that ties us together. All the hardships, joyous moments, confusing times – online or in person, have been achieved and overcome together. Our unity in the face of challenge is a testament to what this year level stands for and the people we have become. As we dive back into the memories of this journey, we can truly appreciate the time we have had. It is too easy for us to focus on the Covid breakouts, the lockdowns, and breakdowns. But once we begin to unpack these experiences more and more, we discover that what was hidden under all these challenges, was an opportunity. An opportunity to grow into the strong and resilient people we can see ourselves to be today.

It is not the moments spent in maths class learning about some guy named Pythagoras or the symbolism behind why an author decided to have the door painted blue, but it is the time we spent outside these periods, largely in the many co-curricular activities that we had the opportunity to participate in.  Ivanhoe’s focus, not only on academic learning but also on the value of co-curricular opportunities and the development of character, fostered by passionate and supportive staff, has provided us with so many avenues to explore and challenge ourselves in, gifting us with a global perspective and an understanding of the value of service and life skills that will propel us into whatever life we choose after school.

We would also like to thank several members of staff who have contributed so much to our Ivanhoe experience, particularly in our final year. To Mrs Di Ciocco, thank you for your incredible support throughout our time as Senior Years students. Thank you for the countless hours you have spent making this year, a year that we have cherished and loved amidst the challenges we face. You have done so much for our year level ever since we began senior years, and we cannot thank you enough. Mr Rickards, your unwavering beacon of positivity has helped guide us through so many challenges, and we are so grateful for what you have helped us achieve. To the heart and soul of the school, Mr Fox, the work you do for each member of the school is phenomenal; every year without fail you organise amazing barbeques, carnivals, provide us with affordable drinks and snacks, and so much more. You have been a steady source of inspiration for so many of us.

To the heads of house and deputy heads of house, our mentors. Now of all times I think we can truly appreciate this title of mentor. Because that is exactly what you have become for us. Your guidance and compassion through whatever hardships we face, and your support and spirit for our achievements, has been incredible. Whenever we have needed someone to listen to us, you have been there ready to see us through the other side.

Mr Foley, thank you for the optimistic and supportive way you have provided a place where we can realise our potential and follow our passions.

To our parents. Thank you for the early morning drives to Saturday sport, and then quickly having to rush home to pick up the footy boots or sports top that we forgot, the support you have offered us during some of our most stressful times, and of course for the financial burden that you may have experienced over the years.

As we leave school, we will disperse from the bubble that is Ivanhoe and begin our new lives elsewhere. The moments of today become the memories of tomorrow. But as time goes on, and the percentage of our lifetime spent at school becomes smaller and smaller, one thing I know that won’t be diminished, is the spirit of Ivanhoe that we will carry with us as Ivanhoe Grammarians. Although no longer students, we will forever hold a place as a member of the Ivanhoe Grammar community. Wherever life leads us, whichever direction we take, whatever path we go down, we will always be connected, by the memories of our time at Ivanhoe.