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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools

2023 Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student graduation ceremony

2023 Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student graduation ceremony

The Toowoomba Catholic Schools’ Mass for 2023 Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduands was celebrated at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday, 4 September.

Over 20 students attended the celebration along with their parents, grandparents, Elders and community members. 

Dr Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Catholic Schools noted that the completion of Year 12 is a major milestone to celebrate in all young people’s lives.

“Although they may not grasp it fully now, they have a precious gift that over half the world’s population do not have, a world-class education,” said Dr Coughlan.

“It is a gift to be shared, to help others achieve what they have achieved and to make the most of opportunities which come their way.”

“Education is the great enabler to unlock and rise above the challenges and disadvantages which get in the way of people leading full and flourishing lives.”

“Higher levels of education are associated with improved health outcomes, economic status and quality of life,” said Dr Coughlan.

The Mass included a student-led smoking ceremony, Acknowledgement of Country and didgeridoo playing.

There were also messages shared to guide and inspire the graduands, and graduands were presented with specially designed sashes and a medallion as a memento of this milestone in their lives. 

St Mary’s College Year 12 graduand and a proud Kamilaroi man, Jacob Lasserre, commenced his secondary schooling journey with St Mary’s in 2018.

Jacob said, “I am grateful for the opportunities that I have experienced while studying at St Mary’s College.”

“I graduate with fond memories and a great sense of pride in myself and my school.”

“Finishing Year 12 opens the door to many opportunities for me to succeed and have a fulfilling career.”

“While I am excited to move onto the next chapter of my life, I will dearly miss the College, but I know the friendships I have made will continue long after school finishes,” said Jacob.

Brendan Stewart, Principal of St Mary’s College said he was very proud of the graduating students.

“It has been wonderful to see these boys grow into young men who are thoughtful, knowledgeable and highly capable individuals and I know they will thrive as leaders beyond the walls of St Mary’s College.”

“Well done to all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduands, we are most proud of you,” said Mr Stewart.

“We wish you great success in your future and we know that you will take what you have learnt into the world and make it a better place.”

Students from St Mary’s College, St Saviour’s College, St Joseph’s College, Good Samaritan College, St Ursula’s College and Downlands College, Toowoomba, Assumption College, Warwick and Our Lady of the Southern Cross College, Dalby attended the graduation.

Caption: Principal Brendan Stewart and Year 12 student Jacob Lasserre from St Mary's College, Toowoomba