Dear St Michael’s College Community,
Class of 2020 Graduation and Academic Assembly
Thank you to all involved in the Class of 2020 Graduation Ball at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Saturday 6 February. Whilst COVID restrictions necessarily delayed the date and shifted the format, it was an exceptional night and a wonderful opportunity to have a final gathering as staff, students (old scholars) and families. Whilst some missed being able to dance after the formalities, others observed that this provided new opportunities to catch up with friends, families and staff. Similarly, the conversations on the night had a different flavour with many of our young people now aware of what 2021 holds in relation to study, apprenticeships, work and other opportunities.
A particular thank you to Mrs Bonita Dorian, Mr Sam Kitschke and their team for the enormous amount of work and agility shown in bringing the Graduation events to fruition. I also thank our families for their patience, partnership and involvement, and to the Convention Centre staff for their work, flexibility and common sense approach on the night.
The Class of 2020 Academic Assembly was held on Wednesday 10 February in the Founders Hall at the Secondary Campus. This was a special opportunity to recognise the academic achievements of our graduating students following the release of the SACE results, Australian Tertiary Admission Rankings and SATAC offers. It was wonderful to welcome back and recognise the representatives of the Class of 2020, for they are part of an impressive group of young men and women who in 2020 (despite COVID implications) achieved 100% SACE, had 54 students above 90 ATAR, 97 above 80 ATAR, 77 A+ grades with 31 merits and 40% of all grades being in the A Band. Over 95% of their peers who applied through SATAC received their first or second preference for university study and numerous others will be attending TAFE or training, or have secured apprenticeships or work placements. They are also very much representative of the many personal bests and good news stories from the Class of 2020.
It was wonderful to have many of their families in attendance, as well as current Year 11 and 12 students, and our invited guests. Our guests this year included Dr Neil McGoran, Director Catholic Education SA; The Honourable Matt Cowdrey OAM, Member for Colton; Mr Joe Szakacs, Member for Cheltenham; Mayor Angela Evans, City of Charles Sturt; Dr Anthony Bourne and Mr David Bourne; Mr Brian Gilbertson and Ms Julie Sloan OAM; and 2020 College Captains, James Dimas and Olivia Higgins.
There were a number of speakers on the day, including our guests Brian Gilbertson, David Bourne, Matt Cowdrey, and 2020 College Dux Paras Stefanopoulos. Whilst there were various themes, there was strong messaging on the value of education, community, relationships and connections. There was also inspiration for the young (and older) people in attendance around the importance of personal character, following your passion, working hard, valuing uniqueness, service to others and knowing that ‘who you are’ is always more important than ‘what you are’. I thank all our speakers and guests for taking the time to be part of this important celebration of the young people at St Michael’s College.
Please see the document below for a summary of results.Class of 2020 results summary
There will be times when students who are unwell should stay home for their own health and that of others and families are generally the best judge of this. Whilst we should all continue to maintain high levels of hygiene practice, regardless of COVID, these absences are sometimes both necessary and unavoidable.
Separately however, one of the key elements in setting students up for a successful year is attendance at school. Intuitively, we know that attendance at school is essential to successful academic and well-being outcomes, but the research also strongly supports this. The ‘Absences Add Up’ research of Ginsburg, Jordan and Chang (2014) highlight the following findings:
- Poor attendance in the first month of the school year can predict chronic absence for the entire year.
- Absenteeism in the early years can affect whether a child develops the grit and perseverance needed to succeed in school.
- Absenteeism in middle and high school can predict dropout rates.
- Absenteeism influences not just chances for completing High School but also for completing Tertiary study.
- When students reduce absences, they can make academic gains. Interestingly, in the early years, several studies suggest that the children who arrived with the weakest skills and attended regularly saw outsized gains in achievement.
As well as focusing on building a positive and engaging learning environment, we also utilise attendance data to inform action and have numerous support structures in place if required. We encourage parents to work in partnership with the College to maximise attendance for all students. Your child’s pastoral teacher is an ideal first point of contact and would be most happy to work with you in this regard.