The College celebrated a special Remembrance service to mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice.
Students from Years 3 to 10 took part in the ceremony on our beautiful Chapel Lawn. The String Orchestra and Chamber Choir learnt a new song to mark the occasion and drummers from Year 10 accompanied the placing of the wreath. We were delighted that some members of the 2019 SRC took time out of their study break to lead the ceremony; thanks to Faith & Mission Captains, Lucy Jenkins and James Vardanega and to Head Boy, Alex Kirwan. (Ella Fracaro, Head Girl, was sitting an exam at that time).
Once again, we were thrilled to welcome back Head Boy from 2012, James Mazza, to play the trumpet calls. James has generously returned to the College many times and his playing always brings a great sense of ceremony and beauty to our services of Remembrance and ANZAC Day.
We were especially honoured this year to have as our guest speaker Warrant Officer Paul Vardanega, who is the father of James and William. Warrant Officer Vardanega is a currently serving soldier in the Australian Army and is a veteran of campaigns in Somalia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Warrant Officer Vardanega’s address outlined the sacrifice of Australian service men and women in many conflicts and campaigns to protect some of the values important to Australians: independence and ‘freedom to think, to move, to speak, to worship, to have a say in the election of governments, to love and to raise a family.’
Warrant Officer Vardanega summed up the ANZAC Spirit and what it means for young Australians living one hundred years later. The following is an extract from the last part of his address and is used with kind permission.
“The actions of Australian soldiers in in World War One forged what has become known as the ANZAC spirit and today, one hundred years later, we commemorate that spirit.
This spirit represents a sense of purpose and direction. Those soldiers knew what they had to do. They lived with the misery of trench warfare and they understood the dangers and the difficulties of their day to day tasks but they did not let those difficulties stop them from obeying their orders and achieving their goals. It is true that there had been many setbacks and at times, various missions did not achieve what was hoped for, but the soldiers on the ground continued their operations and met each setback with renewed energy and even greater effort.
You can apply this to your own life. You know what work you have to do at school and what jobs your parents may have set for you at home. No matter what obstacles you think are in your way, take a moment to think of those soldiers and push those difficulties to one side and complete your task.
Secondly, this spirit represents an acceptance of responsibility. This is another quality you should apply in your everyday lives. Take responsibility for everything you do. It is easy to say 'I did that' or 'that's my work' when everything goes well. We all know that sometimes things do not go as we planned. Sometimes you do something which is against the wishes of your parents and teachers. Remember the ANZAC spirit and take responsibility for everything you do, right or wrong.
Lastly, this spirit also includes being kind and considerate. This has been summed up in the Australian experience as mateship. This means to watch out for your friend, help him or her at all times and display respect and consideration for all other people regardless of their background.
These three simple things are what we mean when we remember the deeds of those soldiers from 100 years ago.
Now I, like every other person, hope that Australia will never be involved in another major war and that you will never have to experience the things your ancestors went through. You should however, use these examples that I have talked about - a sense of purpose, acceptance of responsibility, and consideration for others, not only while you are at school, but in whatever you do in your lives. When you do this, you will be keeping faith with those soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom and you will be helping to make sure that their spirit is always part of life in Australia.
Lest we forget.”