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Good afternoon, I am delighted to speak at your graduation ceremony. I would like to acknowledge your Principal, Ms Lydia Liu, and thank her for the invitation to speak today. I also acknowledge Year 12 students, your families, teachers, and special guests.
My name is Gail Taylor and I am the overseas manager at the School Curriculum and Standards Authority in Western Australia. Prior to joining the Authority, I spent 17 years as Principal of a suburban high school in Perth. As such, I know first-hand the extraordinary efforts Year 12 students – as well as their teachers and families – go through to get to this incredible milestone we call high school graduation.
I am sure you are experiencing a range of emotions as you sit here today. I would guess those feelings include the sheer exhilaration and relief that comes with the completion of your secondary education. You may also feel sad that school has finished, and you are heading off on different pathways to your friends.
In addition, you are probably feeling excited, and maybe even a little scared, at the thought of what lies ahead. That might include training, work or tertiary education, either in China, Australia or other overseas countries.
Completing the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) has given you an opportunity to achieve your academic potential. The curriculum was designed to be dynamic, relevant and challenging. I trust you have found it so!
Your results will be recognised by universities throughout the world, as well as at industry and technical colleges. Every one of you deserves to feel proud of what you have achieved at NIT.
I would like to acknowledge NIT as one of the largest and most successful international schools in Beijing. Your school has justifiably earned a reputation for academic excellence, but also for producing confident young people who are destined to be future leaders in China, and in your chosen careers.
I would like to acknowledge the academic success of last year’s Year 12 students. In particular, Huiting Wu, who achieved an outstanding ATAR of 99.9 and won a Special Certificate of Distinction for Chemistry and Mathematics.
Congratulations also to the impressive efforts of Yiyue Zhang and Wanyi Yang, who both achieved an ATAR of 99.05. In fact, more than 50 per cent of NIT WACE graduates last year achieved an ATAR of 90 or more. I challenge the class of 2012 to improve on these results!
To finish, I would like to remind you that learning is a life-long process. To quote Morris Adler, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” I wish you a life rich in learning. Congratulations on your graduation!
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