On Wednesday 23 November, Year 12 students at Catherine McAuley College acknowledged the end of their school days with a joyful Graduation Mass and Celebration.
The College community was especially thankful to return to the magnificent Sacred Heart Cathedral after an absence of several years due to the pandemic. Extended families, loved ones and invited guests were welcomed to the grand space to witness this milestone moment for the graduands who have endured more challenges than usual in the final years of school.
The Graduation Mass commenced with a procession of the Class of 2022 along with a presentation of meaningful items that symbolised the past six years. These included the now redundant Catholic College Bendigo uniform which this cohort is the last to wear. That they are the last group to have commenced under the former version of the College and transitioned to a new school identity has been a memorable part of their journey.
The Mass was concelebrated by the Very Reverend Dr Brian Boyle, Father DJ Suguitan and Father Junray Rayna. The students took an active role in the parts of the Mass while the music was provided by a combined Coolock and St Mary’s choir which included staff.
Parents of graduating student Charlotte Sexton, Ben and Rochelle Sexton, reflected on their experience as parents navigating the school years and being part of the College community for the past decade. Students Oliver Mayman and Janna Tzouroutis spoke on behalf of the Class of 2022 with a nostalgic reflection, unique to this cohort.
During the Graduation Ceremony part of the Mass, each student from the Class of 2022 received a mission cross, and certificate. The cross represents the unique call and mission of each student in going forward from the College community of faith.
The Class of 2022 were congratulated for their contribution to College life during the past six years and encouraged to embrace the challenges and transformations ahead of them, to become the best versions of themselves they can be.
Principal, Mr Brian Turner congratulated the Class of 2022 for their outstanding service and contribution to College life during the past six years. Their conduct has been appreciated by all involved with them as they persevered through many unexpected challenges. He hoped that their efforts and capacity to thrive in the face of adversity will serve them well.
The return to the Sacred Heart Cathedral has enabled a full return to one of the most cherished elements of graduation – the Ceremony of Light. The light is symbolic of an ending and a beginning – the Easter light, the symbol of Christ. It is also the light of love, wisdom, faith and of hope. The students processed from the Cathedral with their candles to light their way into their future.
Following the Graduation Ceremony, students along with their parents and carers, made their way to the Bendigo Jockey Club to celebrate the end of exams, the end of their school life and the beginning of their new lives as young adults.