Captains with Jane Goldsmith


Firstly, may I acknowledge the spectacular land on which we are so privileged to house our College – that is Birpai land. I acknowledge the gifts provided by elders past, those present and of course those of the future, many of whom we are so fortunate to have in our care.

Good evening special guests, of whom there are so many that I am greatly heartened by the support. Good evening to parents who have come along to join the College community with great pride. And good evening to our awardees - the true VIPs this evening.

Myself, Mr Willem Holvast, Ms Lorraine Haddon, Mr Ian Ross & all College staff in attendance this evening, welcome you to the Hastings Secondary College Awards of Excellence.

This evening we take time to celebrate those students whom we at the College already know are phenomenal in their chosen fields of excellence, but who we feel deserve to be celebrated in a more public forum for others to share in their achievements.

We all know that it takes a village to raise a child and three years ago we set out to create the greatest educational village in Port Macquarie. Westport High School and Port Macquarie High School embarked on a brave new venture. And may I acknowledge the presence this evening of one of the greatest driving forces behind this amalgamation – Mr Mark Youngblutt. As Director of the Hastings at the time, it was Mark who successfully chartered the unknown waters with the leadership teams from each campus to formulate the blueprint for the College. Out of this, Hastings Secondary College was born.

From 2015 to 2017 was Phase One – the establishment phase. Much work was to be done to create this new village and now three years on we can reflect on its success.

So, what does it take to make a successful educational village?

Firstly, Teachers with wisdom, care and grit. Teaching staff have demonstrated innovation, willingness to step outside of their comfort zones, eagerness to form collegial relationships to work smarter, not harder. All of this to create the best village for our children.

Another key ingredient is Parents. Parents as partners of their child’s learning and providers of the most critical foundation – love. Parents have regularly contributed to the establishment via engagement with programs, constructive feedback and active contributions to daily school life.

Next was community. A community willing to provide educational partnerships and real world learning opportunities beyond classroom walls. Partner primary schools who value k-12 learning pathways. An Aboriginal community keen to build rich authentic partnerships. And very importantly, a community willing to back public education.

And finally, students. Students with curiosity, individuality, ownership of learning and willingness to fail in order to learn and grow. In the words of one of our 2017 College Captains, it is the students who make Hastings Secondary College, we make it great – we are sure as hell, no longer ‘that’ local public school. We are so, so, so much more.

During Phase One, the collective wisdom of staff, students and community determined a future vision for the College. This vision would create an educational environment which is driven by excellence, innovation, opportunity and success. Over the past three years, each of these has been deeply manifested in College life and have become “What we do”.

Innovation is at the very core of Hastings Secondary College. The range of innovative programs which have been designed by College staff and successfully implemented for positive impact on our students is astounding. From our Academies in Sport, Creative Industries & STEM, to our unique LEAP and Zenith programs. The Educator magazine named Hastings Secondary College as one of Australia’s top 20 innovative schools in 2016. In 2017, the College was named as a STEM Action school – a leader in this field and one of only 8 schools in the State to mentor others in this growth area. And recognition continues as college staff are regularly invited to present at prestigious educational forums such as Inspire Innovate.

If I ask you to think of success, you will each have your own definition. For some, this is a day to day journey of courage in the face of significant personal adversity. For others, it is a goal, be it sporting, academic or otherwise which they work with perseverance to achieve. The newly-formed village has enabled a greater level of success than was previously available as discreet high schools. For example, what do you get when you put a group of students with a set of talents on one campus with another group of students with complementary talents from another campus in a Robotics lab? The result – an absolute gun team who would not only have phenomenal success at the Asia-Pacific level, but be invited to compete in an International Robotics competition in Houston Texas. This is a level of collective success only possible as a result of the new village.

So, what about opportunity? What does that look like at Hastings Secondary College? Tonight, I ask you to pay special attention to the students who receive awards as a result not only of the regular curriculum offerings, but also the range of extra-curricula opportunities. Three years ago, who would have thought that we’d have:

- a College Clontarf Academy?

- a college musical?

- or a robot and its student and staff crew that would fly to Houston Texas?

But tonight is about excellence. These are the students who have shone the brightest in 2017. Awardees, your willingness to set goals, to persevere in the face of challenge and determination to be your best is what we celebrate this evening. This room full of people will continue to support and guide you, but also watch with great excitement at the future possibilities which you have set yourselves up to explore and achieve. What’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What significant contribution will you make to the future of your world?

In 2018, we embark on Phase 2 of Hastings Secondary College. Again, we ask each of you – parents and community to be partners with us on this continued journey. Our success is dependent upon the whole village.


Hastings Valley Community of Schools
Hastings Valley Community of Schools