We are immensely proud of our graduating class and thank you for joining us to celebrate their accomplishments and successes. Northside School Captains Jonah Clarke and Emily Khan gave a moving speech...

'Some of you can’t wait to get out of here, right? You’re the ones sitting there tapping your feet, glancing at your watches waiting for the end of this night. You honestly can’t wait to leave Northside and your schooling lives behind, and that’s totally fine. You’re ready and excited for the challenges that lay ahead of you in the years to come. Maybe you’re excited about Uni, or to start that apprenticeship you worked so hard for. Maybe you’re taking a Gap year and can’t wait to start all the plans you’ve got in place. However, some of you are nervous, right? You don’t really want to leave. Maybe Northside is all you’ve ever known and you won’t know what to do with yourself once we walk out those doors in a few short weeks, and that’s also totally fine. Maybe you’re one of the people that will just miss school, miss the Northside community and miss seeing friends and staff every day. Regardless of what boat you’re in though when it comes to these feelings of finishing, someone else is in it with you, right? That’s what it's been like throughout the last years of school. There’s always been someone who's got the same exam as you, the same homework due, or even just the same class as you. This is what Northside has been for us, a community we’re all in together, one to do life in and one that has more or less been shaped for us by our wonderful teachers and parents. 

This is the thing about leaving school, and graduating to the next phase of life. The communities we live in, no matter what they are, where they are, or how different they are from each other, they aren’t going to be shaped for us anymore. We’re now transitioning into communities that we have to shape. Even our home lives will stop being shaped for us. You’ll make more decisions, be able to go more places, have less restrictions, and your parents will eventually, if we’re honest, unfortunately, stop paying for things. As we move out of home, some of you will become teachers, and shape an environment for others just like Northside. Maybe you’ll be a civil engineer and physically shape how we live. Or maybe you’ll go into a form of healthcare where you help others to live in their own communities. Regardless of what it is or where you end up, it's now our turn. It’s our turn to be the helping hands when our communities face natural disasters, global pandemics, threats of war and maybe even surprisingly frequent, but untimely, fire alarms. 

This is the thing about Northside, it’s prepared us to be these people. The people that our respective communities are going to need. These roles aren’t always going to be easy to fill but thanks to the incredibly supportive schooling environment we’ve been a part of here at Northside, we’ll be equipped. Most importantly, Northside has readied us with the message of the gospel and with the passion to be advantageous with how we disciple others. Some of us have taken these chances already and will continue to do so, and some of you, even those who don’t think you’re cut out for it, will become some of the greatest messengers of Christ in every community nationally, and potentially even internationally. 

Whether your time at Northside began on day one of Prep, or like me you joined later on in the journey, it’s been clear to me how our grade has moved from being students who share a classroom to friends who share lives. Northside and the Christian ethos that underpin it, have invited a culture that has inspired us to come together despite differences. In a few short weeks, we will step out from an environment that at times can feel like a small pond. We’re heading into open water. I’m looking forward to it and I hope you are too. But I think it’s worth taking with us, the same spirit that took us from acquaintances to friends. In a world that seems to be increasingly polarised, let’s be people who bring unity, where there’s division, and connection, where there’s isolation and be peace-makers in the face of conflict. 

Although our horizons are infinitely broadening in this season of our lives we should remember and take inspiration from the empathy, kindness, and forgiveness that we have had modelled here at Northside. Jonah and I have seen these characteristics all across the year, and it gives us such faith in the maturity of the people sitting in front of us. When faced with differing opinions and conflicting choices hold onto these values. Remember that it’s not just the other side of the story or argument, it’s someone else’s side, just like you have your own. 

Holding on to these things and taking inspiration from those that have gone before us will ensure that we meet the opportunities in this next chapter with humility. As C.S. Lewis put it, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.” Throughout 2022 our cohort has embodied this, as each of you led the College with a heart for the betterment of others, regardless of what position you were in. Whilst there is great satisfaction in acknowledging the incredible year it has been, true leadership is about looking ahead, and so let’s take up the challenge of living lives marked by humility. I know the capacity for greatness and impact in this room is significant, but let’s agree to be men and women who always look for and affirm the significance of others. 

Keep reading, questioning, learning and talking. Move and go forward into this next season, no matter how challenging it is. We are so fortunate to have had the freedom of education in this country, but also the absolute privilege to go to a school like Northside where Alumni are always welcome. Even if we feel alone and confused in the next few months Northside’s door is always open. One of the most worthwhile things we could do in this next season is to stay connected. The Northside community goes with us, though it will look a little different. I’m looking forward to bumping into a couple of you next year waiting to pick up younger siblings or while grabbing a much-needed coffee at the Alley. 

There’s no doubt many of you will be back in this very auditorium for the musical next year, and perhaps for many years to come. Or maybe we’ll even catch up at the DaVinci festival, reminiscing about those great Raw Sugar performances. Regardless of when or where it is, let’s make the effort to stay connected. I’ve always appreciated the input and presence of so many of the alumni in the life of our school, and now it’s our turn to contribute to the rich culture that has been a blessing to us. With that in mind, the tireless work and genuine care of our teachers have been one of the biggest contributors to this culture, and so on behalf of the cohort, we would like to whole-heartedly thank all teachers of Northside for all you have done to make our schooling journey, such a blessed one. Of course, we wouldn’t have this privilege of education without the love and support of our families. There is no one more deserving of appreciation than the parents, grandparents, friends and relatives far and wide who’ve cheered us on over the journey. Class of 2022, it’s been one of the greatest honours of my life to be your captain and it’s been an even better joy to call you friends. I want to finish in the same way in which we started this year, with Galatians 6:9, the inspiration for our vision statement, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don’t give up.” Thank you.