Wow. Here we are again. It seems like only yesterday that we were joined here to close our 2013 school year. It seems that it was only a few days ago that I nervously participated in my first Sunshine Christian School graduation service. To the parents of our graduating grade 6 class, I’m sure it feels like only yesterday you saw your child walk through our front gate for the first time.
Again I have the privilege to address the community of Sunshine Christian School as its principal. This is not something I take for granted. It was again an honour to serve the community in this capacity. I thank the staff, parents, council and students for their continued support. A successful school is built on the strong relationship between students, parents and staff. We are indeed blessed by the richness of the relationships in our community.
The school has experienced yet another successful year. Camps to Weekaway and Canberra were wonderful. Music has been learnt and our walls have groaned from wonderful art. We have run and jumped our way through PE. We have read book after book. We have done sum after sum. We have all experienced success and explored our God given gifts. While I often joking tell off students and teachers for having fun while learning, it has personally brought me great joy to see all of our students develop.
Tonight is a joyous occasion but also one that brings a small measure of sadness. In addition to farewelling out Grade 6 class, we say goodbye to other families as they moving out of the region. To the families leaving us this year, we wish you God’s richest blessings as you settle into new homes and schools. Thank you for blessing us with your support and for joining with us to educate your children.
To the graduating class of 2014, I would like to share a few words of wisdom.
There once lived a great philosopher. He is indeed a very wise man. A man of many friends and a man of great joy. He is a deep thinker indeed. A man who enjoys the sweetness of life. His name…is Winnie the Pooh.
As I child I greatly enjoyed the stories of Winnie the Pooh and his friends Piglet, Eeyore and Rabbit. I am not ashamed that I still enjoy these wonderful stories and as I reread some of Pooh’s adventures this week something he said struck me deeply.
As we say goodbye this evening, Pooh Bear says “How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
We are indeed blessed to have shared in this learning journey together as a school community as you have grown from little Preps to young adults.
The readings we heard earlier contain a clear message for you. It is a call for us all to be bearers of Good News to the world. For us to be people who will bring the love of Christ to life in our words and deeds.
My favourite saying of Pooh is this:
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
In front of you Grade 6 is a period of great change. This is not something that should be feared but one that should be celebrated. You have the opportunity to experience new things, meet new people and discover new talents.
In the spirit of the great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, don’t stay in your own corner of the forest and wait for people and experiences come to you.
Have great courage. There is a large world out there that needs people who care deeply about others. Who are willing to leave their forest to share the good news of God’s love for us.
May the creator God, who was with in the beginning, has walked with you at school, and now goes with you to High School, remind you frequently of his grace, mercy and deep love.