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Diocese of Toowoomba Catholic Schools


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Graduands 2019

The Toowoomba Catholic Schools Mass for 2019 Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduands was held at St Patrick’s Cathedral this morning. Thirty students from Toowoomba and Warwick attended the Mass. Other students from St John’s School, Roma and St Joseph’s, Stanthorpe were unable to attend.

‘The completion of Year 12 is a milestone to celebrate in all young people’s lives.  Although you may not grasp it fully now, you have a precious gift that over half the world’s population do not have, a world-class education. Something that many people your age around the world can only dream of.  I hope the last 13 years have also shaped you to know that this is not a gift to be selfishly hidden away and used to advance only your own personal interests and ambitions. It is a gift to be shared, to help others achieve what you 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 Pat Coughlan, Executive Director: Toowoomba Catholic Schools.

The Mass included several cultural rituals including a Smoking Ceremony, Acknowledgement of Country and inclusion of cultural artefacts. A Graduation Ceremony followed the Mass, where each graduand wearing specially designed sashes was presented with a medallion as a memento of their graduation. Students shared morning tea following the ceremony.

The Mass was attended by Elders from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, parents and family members, teachers, members of Toowoomba Catholic Schools leadership team, Toowoomba Regional Councillors and representatives from other organisations associated with Catholic and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Sam Elara, Vice-Captain of St Mary’s College is excited about completing his education and moving onto a new chapter in his life. ‘I began my secondary journey six years ago at St Mary’s and to finish grade 12 opens the door to many more opportunities for myself. I have a school-based apprenticeship in cabinet making that I started in Year 10 and  hope to gain employment with that. I love the College and it was an honour to be made Vice-Captain this year and give back to the community that has provided so much to me and my family’.