Much to celebrate as the adult world beckons
MR TIM RAYNER HEAD OF UPPER SCHOOL
Recent Old Boys often tell me how much they enjoyed Year 12. While it is the year of VCE and when boys move on to the next chapter of their lives, it is also marked by significant school events, which combine to provide a varied, rewarding, but challenging year.
It is not that Year 12 is without pressures. The structure of VCE coursework and final examinations means that for almost every week a Year 12 boy has to sit at least one School Assessed Coursework, and then, in November, boys have to sit a series of examinations externally assessed and scored. As boys take five VCE subjects in Year 12, they are kept busy. What with course and career selection for the following year, and competition with the rest of the Victorian cohort, our boys know that the bar has to be set high.
Our Foundation Day Concert is always a memorable point in the school year. The participants, audience and venue all combine to make the evening something quite special. The work of our Music School is highlighted, and we are treated to music and singing of exceptional quality.
Of course the Year 12 boys on stage, standing behind the performers, also have a role to play. For many years now the Year 12 cohort leads the singing by being positioned at the back of the stage in front of everyone, including the roving camera! It is a nervous time for some as every movement is picked up by the audience, and it is also quite obvious who may not have learned the words to songs so well. But it is memorable and it is special.
The boys not only remember that time, they take great delight in singing the songs, particularly the Scottish ballads, at any given opportunity. On the annual bus trip to Nagambie, it is not uncommon to hear ‘You take the high road …’, much to the bemusement of the driver and staff.
The Year 12 Dinner Dance, usually held at Leonda, is always keenly anticipated. As a formal event, the care and attention to detail taken by both boys and girls regarding dress and appearance is evident to see. Some arrive on foot, others in stretch limos, although a few have been known to arrive by chartered boat.
After dinner the dance floor is where most of the attendees find themselves, but not before watching the traditional Year 12 Dinner Dance short movie. This is a 10-minute video, loosely tied with a paper-thin plot, allowing a series of comedic scenes involving many of the boys in the year. Last year, the video included scenes as diverse as a boy in a light aircraft above Victoria and a scene at the top of the Gifford Tower.
The Dinner Dance has become a social oasis in the middle of a demanding academic term. Our boys, on the cusp of joining the adult world, enjoy the event no end, and it is hoped such dinners with schoolmates continue to be a regular occurrence for many years.
Mid-October is time to farewell our most senior boys, some of whom have been educated at Scotch for 13 years. Those boys who attended the Junior School are encouraged to visit and see their past teachers. Presentation Night is an opportunity for Year 12 achievements to be formally recognised by the Scotch College Council, Principal, staff and parents.
The following evening is the Valedictory Dinner, held for boys, parents and teachers at a city venue. This is a time when families can look back on their years at Scotch, but also boys look forward to their futures as Old Boys and members of OSCA. Next morning, after a musical variety concert run by the boys, for the boys, the Year 12s cross to Memorial Hall for School Assembly and to say farewell to the rest of the school. The Torch Ceremony, as it is known, is a Scotch tradition which allows each boy to cross the stage, receive his school gift from the Principal, and to say goodbye to the rest of the school. It is an emotional day, but one we all hold dear.
Of course there are other milestones and events in the school calendar, which also contribute to making this final year a memorable one. There is no doubt the boys build even closer relationships with their friends and teachers during this time, but the adult world beckons and new experiences wait.