Hi! My names Alexis Koukounaras and I will be your valedictorian for tonight. I’d like to start off by saying welcome to the Class of 2016 Graduation Ceremony. I know this is a very big day, not only for us graduates but for many others too. The teachers, relieved as they may be, will be losing a pretty awesome group of kids and may become a bit sensitive. Guys, I know it’s hard but try not to shed too many tears once we’re gone. I also know there’s got to be a few emotional parents in the crowd tonight, including my own mother. Don’t worry guys, your little babies aren’t all grown up just yet! Although, we’re getting closer.
Ok, enough talking to the parents. For now, let’s just talk about them. Graduates, I hope you guys all know that your family is very proud of you. They’ve got high hopes for you and they have faith in you. You’re making them remarkably proud by showing them how much you’ve done and the amount of potential you’ve got. I mean have a look at them now, you can see them smiling, snapping their cameras, even wiping away a few tears. They’re more emotional than we are! But like I said before, today is a big day for them too and today you guys are making them so happy. Today they won’t be able to wipe the smile off their face…. Today would be a good day to ask for some money.
No but seriously, today would also be a fantastic time to run up to your family and give them a massive hug and thank them for supporting and believing in you because seeing you graduate primary school is definitely something that they will love and cherish forever. This means hugging and squeezing your mum, dad, step mum or step dad, your grandparents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties and everyone who cares about you because they want to see you live your best life and grow up to be a strong, unique and independent person.
Graduation can be seen as a kind of coming of age. It’s more of an official way of signalling that we are taking another step in our lives and honestly that is what we are doing. We‘re turning a new chapter, preparing for what’s to come.
With every year, every one of us graduates have become a little more independent, responsible and mature. I mean, think back to your first day of school, how exciting, nerve-racking and a little intimidating too. Look at the amount of growth you’ve made from then until now. I bet when you look at the little preps you think, Wow! Look how little they are! Was I really that young and small? Yes. Yes, you were. And get used to that feeling, because you’ll be feeling that for the rest of your life.
But when we look at each other, we can see how much we’ve all grown up. We’ve learnt heaps of new things and have matured a whole lot during the course of our schooling life. We have learnt to become leaders, mentors, successors. Have a look at all we have accomplished this year alone. Teaching the year 5’s about our sports programs, standing as patient role models to our buddies, performing at our school concert, Come Fly with Me and went to a whole different state on camp. There is so much more I could mention but we’d probably be here all night. What I’m trying to say is that we’ve accomplished so much in our beginning lives already, imagine what we could do in years to come. We all know this class is capable of great things and I am so privileged to be a part of such a talented group of people.
Everyone I have met over my time at this school has left an impression on me in some way. Just to pick out a few, we have Zoe and her amazing writing skills (which got her work published in a book!), Shanice and her dancing feet, landing her in numerous productions performed around Australia, followed by Ben and Sammy with their special puns and jokes, having the ability to both make you both laugh and cringe at the same time. Honestly, I could comment on every single one of the graduates for they are all unique and special in their very own way. I’m sad to be leaving them but I know we will never forget the great times we’ve had at this school.
All I have left to say now is thank you. Thank you Moonee Ponds Primary for being the best learning foundation there is. Thank you overworked yet persistent teachers for doing your best with us and teaching us what you know. Thank you patient parents for putting up with us and supporting us over the course of our lives. But most of all, thank you to my fellow year 6’s who have helped me make the most of the past 7 years. We’ve driven both the teacher and our parents through the walls with frustration yet managed to make them proud of us at the same time. Well done. But all in all, you guys are all pretty special and will be remembered in years to come.
So now I’ll leave you with this final quote from a fantastic author by the name of Dr Seuss.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
Congratulations graduates and thank you for your attention.