|The Light Shines with Excellence and Spirit - 25 November 2015|
The lights at the back of the stage urged everyone to SHINE as evidence in front of them pointed to a year when the light did indeed shine on. The Celebration of Excellence and College Spirit held at the Chandler Theatre last Friday evening was a truly inspiring celebration of light shining at LHC in 2015 and a very fitting way in which to farewell our graduating students.
Comperes for the Celebration, Lydia Argyros and Courtney Lucas, demonstrated outstanding poise and attention to detail as they introduced the various elements of the evening's program. The night opened with the traditional procession of light, as Year 12 students carried their candles into the auditorium with grace and dignity. These two qualities then characterised all that followed.
A Liturgy of the Word led by the Student Mission Team focused on the words of Matthew’s Gospel, "Let your light shine", and reflected the many ways in which light shines in our community. Through word, image and song, the community prayed to continue to be bearers of light to the world. Meghan Hansen created a sublime atmosphere with her balletic response to a reading from St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians while a string duet of Krizia Jeffriess Rios and Gemma Lucas gave a beautiful reading of the Hymn to Our Lady of Lourdes.
An important part of the evening was the presentation of awards to recognise the achievements of a number of outstanding students. These were presented in the areas of service and spirituality, culture, sport, academic and all round achievement. A full list of award winners is available HERE.
The three major awards presented towards the end of the evening were greeted with enthusiastic approval from the audience. In a departure from recent years, these awards were kept secret, even from the award winners and their families, and it was wonderful to see the joy the announcement brought. Claudia Cipressi was named Dux of the College, an outstanding achievement which reflected her diligent and insightful approach to her studies. The Sr Leonie Star Award is presented to a student who embodies the values that underpin LHC. Tessa Onraet was a very worthy recipient of this award. The Archbishop Duhig Award, which was donated in honour of the founder of the College and is voted on by Year 12 students to identify the finest Lourdanian in the cohort, was presented to Kara Tomkinson.
The graduation ceremony was a definite highlight of the evening. Ms Anderson presented each graduating student with a hand-crafted St Benedict medal made in Lourdes and their House Pastoral Leaders presented them with their graduation certificate. The atmosphere created was respectful, with each student honoured for her contribution to the College and this important milestone recognised with appropriate dignity.
Interspersed through the evening were moments of stunning light through the musical talents of our students. The Concert Choir, Concert Band One and String Ensemble impressed with their musicianship and sense of ensemble. A vocal trio, comprising Katyia Wills, Aleisha-Jane Seeto-Murphy and Sophia Cardaklija captured the theme of the evening with an inspiring performance of "Reach for the Light". Staff from the Arts Faculty, under the dedicated leadership of Ms Rachel O'Brien, had worked extremely hard to ensure this really was a demonstration of excellence.
The final section of the evening saw College Captains, Grace Forrester and Emily Trowse, deliver a vote of thanks to the College and hand over the symbols of their leadership to their successors, Cadence O'Reilly and Hannah Vokes. They then led the Senior body in a graduation prayer before Ms Anderson called for God's blessing on the class of 2015. The evening concluded with a spirited but respectful singing of the College Hymn before the new "Old Girls" gave a final rendition of the College Cheer.
If anyone wanted evidence of the excellence and spirit present at Lourdes Hill College, last Friday night certainly provided plenty. It was a night of great joy and all involved should be very proud of their contribution to what was a wonderful evening. As everyone let their lights shine, the glory of God was clearly made manifest.