Past Student Testimonials
Past students of WCCS talk about their memories, how our school equipped them for life after graduation, what opportunities they have received as a result and how they feel about coming back to visit.
WCCS Year 12 Graduation Service 2019
Speech from Alumni Rebecca Gavin
Welcome parents and carers, members of the College Board, staff, invited guests, and Year 12. It is my great honour to be able to deliver a speech today on such a special occasion and I would like to thank Mr Liney for his invitation.
Year 12…For the past 13 years each morning you have carried a backpack to school bringing books, a laptop, a bus pass, pens and perhaps the odd mouldy lunch to school, ignoring your mum’s advice to “empty your school bag!”.
Today as you graduate and leave WCCS for the last time as a student, I would love for you to consider the following question. What are you taking with you in your backpack? Hopefully it is not that library book you pretended to read for that English task…More seriously, Year 12 I ask you to consider what you have gained from your education here at WCCS. What will you take with you in your backpack of experiences as you graduate today?
I graduated here as part of the first ever Yr 12 class in 2007 and it just so happens that you lot were in kindergarten! There were only 15 students in my year group, and we had the best fun. Miss Jaeger was our year advisor and as the first group of Yr 12s we got to do some fun stuff. On our last day of school some of the boys covered the front fence with for sale signs. Today I’d like to share what forms my own backpack of experiences from my time here. I hope that I might inspire you to reflect on your own time here.
In the year 2000 I started here at WCCS in Year 5. On my first day I was led into the church, and into the kitchen which was strangely filled with desks and chairs. This would be my classroom for the next 4 terms. A kitchen classroom…I half expected the sweedish Chef from Sesame St to be my teacher, but I have to tell you it was much worse. His name was Mr Choake…Bad name, right? In actuality Mr Choake was a legend. He told jokes that would last a week or two and I thought he was pretty cool. Most of all I remember that each day he read from Mark’s Gospel and for the first time I heard all the stories about Jesus in detail. I was captivated. In August that year our principal, Mrs Bannister took a Biblical Studies lesson and I clearly remember responding to her explaining the gospel message and I gave my heart to Jesus. Through high school my relationship with Jesus continued to grow as I was encouraged, prayed for and discipled. It was in that little church my life would be forever changed. For me, relationship with Jesus is the single most important thing I have taken with me from this place in my backpack.
Later in high school when I was in Yr 8, my home life became extremely difficult. I didn’t come from a Christian home and my parents had both struggled with alcoholism my entire life. It all came to a head when my Dad started rehabilitation and at the same time my mum walked out on my siblings and me. During this time, my school life became my normal, my sanctuary. I would come to school and was so loved, accepted, believed in and it was peaceful. It was far from what I had experienced at home and school showed me that life could be different to what I knew and was experiencing. I am forever be thankful to the staff who taught me (many who are still here) because they showed me love every single day. They showed me that teaching to them was much more than a job and that life was more than the syllabus, HSC or ATARs- I saw that they desired to be the hands and feet of Jesus each and every day to prepare me for life. I don’t even think many of the staff knew what I was going through at the time, but they were real, and they were authentic. I was so impacted and inspired that I felt a calling to pursue teaching myself. I desired to be a person who could help teenagers who face difficulty situations and to be that person in their corner. From the outset I was determined to work in Christian education because I believe Christian schools provide the most unique environment for this to occur, just as I had experienced. As a teacher myself now, it is so wonderful to have been able to work with some who taught me and after 12 years now, to still call many of them friends. Fruitful and meaningful relationships with staff is the next most profound item that I left WCCS with.
The final part of my backpack would have to be the friendships I made here. From the church kitchen, to athletics carnivals, to camps and to lunch time chats I met some of the best people. With WCCS being a K-12 school, there are many opportunities for friendships to be formed that will last a lifetime and this is true for me. Today, the best friends I have are still those who I came to school with here. The girl gang of Year 6 has become the mother’s group of 2019 as each one of us will have a baby within the next few months. Trust me – this wasn’t planned but I think it is incredibly cool! I know lots of people who have met here and gone on to get married and hey- my own brother married his Year 2 sweetheart who happens to be Mr Choake’s daughter. Christians schools certainly are unique!
So Yr 12…Today as you walk out of here and into your future of university, tafe, the work force, what will you take with you? How have you been blessed by coming here to WCCS? What is in your backpack? Coming to WCCS has definitely shaped me into who I have am today. Key aspects of my life were formed here. Having become a Christian here in a biblical Studies class, I now teach Biblical Studies and am passionate about young people finding Jesus.
As you consider the things, you’re taking with you in your backpack, is there room for God? Or have you thrown that away like a rotten banana in the bottom of a school bag? Have you ‘heard it all before’ but not genuinely considered what John 3:16 actually means? I’m sure you could all quote “for God so loved the world that he gave…I want to pause there. Generosity is a value that everyone would agree is positive. Christian or not. If God isn’t in your backpack, consider that God is ever so generous, even when we don’t deserve it and we throw him away like a rotten banana. He still loves. He gave his only son- His treasured possession for You so that he can be with you, and you can be with him forever. Surely that should capture your attention because God’s love and commitment to you is second to none.
If you’ve attended different schools, I hope you can see that there is something different about this place. I want to let you in on a secret and tell you what it is- It is Jesus. Everything that happens here is intentional so that you might experience this love too. The flavour of the entire place is seasoned with God’s love and character: Grace, hope, the fruits of the spirit, faith, the list is long! Can you see it? Have you experienced it for yourself through this place? From the office staff, to the green team, to the canteen workers- Everyone here has the same message- God loves you.
I can well assume that not every one of you are walking with Jesus and some of you are unsure. Maybe you have questions and or doubts.
Can I encourage you to continue to search, read and investigate? CS Lewis said that Jesus is either Lord, a liar or a lunatic…What do you say? The God you’ve heard about so many times has created you and yes- has a great plan for your life. However, in life there are many seasons and storms. You will each face them. Where will you turn? My prayer is that you find a friend in God like I have through each and every season in life.
If you’re walking with Jesus today, keep walking. As you graduate, don’t graduate God. Don’t keep your faith on the bookshelf but know that it can fit into our challenging world. You have the answer to what our world so deeply needs and craves. Keep God in your backpack wherever you go and don’t be ashamed of your faith. You will be challenged, criticised and persecuted for your faith. But hold on to the hope that you have. God is real and our world needs him.
As you consider your backpack today, there is one compulsory inclusion. It happens to be familiar to you…It is the school song. Can I remind you of one line- “We will shine your light for all to see we are God’s community.”
Remember these words. Take them with you. I hope they annoy you and replay over and over in your mind. Whether you’re walking with God now or not, you have learned incredible values and lessons here that are worth taking with you into our world. Matthew 5:14-16 says
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Don’t stop shining your light as you leave here today. Continue to live a life that stands out and shines. Make it your personal mandate to live like a lighthouse no matter where you go or what you face.