Duncan and Rebecca

To the graduating class of 2019, our warmest congratulations. You have entered the ranks of students who have dedicated themselves to the completion of Year 12. This will ensure your pathway to further education, training and sound employment prospects, well equipped to embrace life and to make a significant contribution to the future of your world.

Relieving Principal, Duncan Kirkland gave a moving and thought provoking speech at our 2019 Year 12 Graduation ceremony for Westport Campus. Here is the Principal's Address.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here today to help celebrate these fine young adults that sit before us on the stage. I extend a warm welcome to the parents and carers, grandparents and siblings. In particular, I welcome the Class of 2019 for this is your day.

First of all - I send Mr Ross’ apologies as he is unable to be with us today. He dearly would have loved to be on the stage with you this morning. Mr Ross sends his very best wishes to you all. He certainly is looking forward to seeing and supporting you throughout your HSC examinations and attending your Formal next term.

Year Advisor:
It is at this point that I must take the time to acknowledge your Year Advisor, Mrs Rebecca Roach. It is very special to have a Year Advisor that follows their cohort through the full 6 years of Secondary schooling.

Mrs Roach, thank you for all the support you have provided to this very special group. The time, advice and guidance you have given to the young adults on stage today is greatly appreciated & I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the school to give you this small gift in recognition of all that you have done. 

Year 12, the people sitting in front of you have invested a great deal of time, effort and energy into raising you into fine adults with the strength of character to change the world. I can tell you, as a Dad of two, I know that such an investment does not come without other sacrifices.

As parents, we very quickly realise raising our children in a safe environment whilst trying to prepare them for independence is one of the most important roles we choose to take on. It is becoming even more difficult  to protect our children  from the many distracting temptations of today’s society, however you should be proud of these young adults and the right choices they have made, which has enabled them to be sitting here on the stage today.

So, I would like to invite the Class of 2019 to stand and join me in giving a round of applause to thank your parents and carers for everything they have done for you during your Westport journey. From a school’s perspective, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the parents who have volunteered their time in so many different ways throughout the years. It would be impossible for a school to operate effectively without your assistance.

Our P&C have work endlessly, not only in raising much-needed funds, but also in offering counsel towards the school’s future directions. I would like to take this opportunity to specially acknowledge the dedicated work of 2 very special people, Robyn & David Cooper. The Coopers have been on our P&C committee for many years while their three daughters attended Westport. Your ongoing support has been amazing, you have always been such strong advocates for Public Education, especially Westport Campus. While it is only a small token in comparison to your contribution to our P&C, I would like to invite you both up to receive this gift in recognition of our appreciation.

Of course, you would all not be here without the support of so many people around you.  Throughout the years, many of you have been fortunate to develop a very special rapport with your teachers. It is these staff members who have given a significant amount of their own personal time to take sporting groups, dance, choir, drama and many other extra curricular activities to help develop you into who you are today. Each late afternoon, weekend or holiday when I come in to work, I regularly see one of your teachers running a special study class or lending a hand to finish off that final major work.

A shining example is the ongoing extraordinary performances our Year 12 vocal ensemble group, who have performed throughout the years. A very special thanks goes to both yourselves & Mrs Bone for all that you have done here.

To the unique Year 12 WASCALS team - year after year, I am amazed to witness the dedication and drive you have committed to making the lives of those a little easier during such a difficult time. Both Mr Parkin and yourselves deserve to be recognised for the enthusiasm you have given towards this worthy cause.

I also feel it is important on an occasion such as this, to recognise the invaluable work carried out by our very committed Supported Learning Staff. Your role as educators goes far beyond delivering the curriculum. Your caring, patient and encouraging persona, in close partnership with parents, truly demonstrates what it takes to develop the ‘whole child’. On behalf of the Year 12 Supported Learning students over the last 6 years, I would like to especially thank you.

Year 12
In the past 6 years, I have been amazed  to see what you have accomplished  and as a school, we are very proud of you. As each Year 12 group  have graduated from Westport Campus, you too, have proved to be very unique in your own way.

At some point, whether you are called to account by the public or a sleepless night at home, you will need to answer the question of whether the person in the mirror is the person you sought to become. As you grow older, these things become more difficult than you might think. The pressures of family and work make looking after your mental wellbeing, and staying connected to each other, far more difficult.

As I finish up, Year 12, I ask you to do 3 things:

1. Look after your mental wellbeing – this is so important to enable you to become the best version of you.
2. Stay connected – with one another, with your family and with your friends. As human beings, we rely on connection with others and again, this will help your mental wellbeing.
3. Be proud of where you come from. You are a Graduate of Hastings Secondary College, Westport Campus – we are so proud of each and every one of you. You have all played such an important role in who we have become as a school and we would like to think that we have played an important role in who you have become as a person.

Thank you all and good luck. 

Duncan Kirkland Signature






Duncan Kirkland
Relieving Principal Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus