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Class of 2020 we applaud you!

20 June 2020

I keep thinking about all the graduates of 2020. University, TAFE, Year 12 students, all of them. My son would have graduated with a double degree in electrical engineering and finance in April. Valedictorian, no less, honoured with the auspicious task of addressing the class of 2020. The day came and went and due to restrictions was silently acknowledged at home (in our pyjamas) with very little fanfare because we all still hope that when September comes we can frock up and celebrate in style. Globally, 2020 graduation ceremonies have transcended into digital diaspora and who knows how the year will play out.  After parties' cancelled, the hugging of friends and shaking of hands’ outlawed, mass gatherings illegal, so we celebrate quietly, humbly and with humility.

For the teachers, lecturers and professors it’s been an equally arduous teaching year. Forced to upskill in response to the global pandemic, now delivering lectures and classroom learnings virtually - it’s a bridge they had to cross quickly, and one they never imagined they would face in their lifetime. While the students may be ‘digital natives’ logging online since they could read, accessing news and global perspectives on poverty, politics, inequality and climate change, ostentatiously aware of their technological prowess, they embrace newness, jumping in and cruising new platforms and apps, never afraid to harness newer and quicker ways to quench their knowledge of learning and of life. But spare a thought for the teachers, for many of them are not. Yet they’ve risen to the challenge, got on with the job, because as they say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and it takes a community to educate one. And for that, we thank you.

As a graduate heading into the new chapter of your life the once optimistic hope and expectation of a bright future is something that we all now ponder. With job losses in the millions globally, and unemployment rising nationally it's hard not to wonder what does life hold in store for the next generation? The ashes of the pandemic have laid bare the weaknesses of our economy and so it's up to you, our new leaders, to propel forward and recalibrate - you have the chance to build a new order in society and for our economy and from the dust of our past rekindle the spark for your future.

Congratulations graduates of 2020 - and to the staff, teachers, professors, lecturers, tutors, parents and all who have sustained you.


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