The first week of term four has been a busy one. Our Senior Boys and Girls First XI Soccer teams represented the School with distinction against the much larger Guilford Young College in Hobart in the recent state final. Our Senior Girls were seeking their 5th premiership in a row. In a nail-biting game that went into extra time, which was finally decided by a penalty kick-off, the girls were narrowly defeated. Whilst I, like many of us, enjoy winning it filled me with great pride to see the humility with which our girls accepted defeat and congratulated their opponents. As one of the girls commented to me afterwards, “we will get them next year!” I read once that when we win, we see some of our character; when we lose we see all of it. Our girls’ humility and grace showed their outstanding character.
Following on from this match our Senior Boys also tackled Guilford Young College which fielded a team containing many highly credentialled state league players. In an incredible game which also went into overtime, our boys came away with the victory. It was heartening to see the girls celebrating on the field with our boys as they won the State Final for the first time in over 22 years ending a run of 4 in a row for Guilford Young and bringing the trophy back to Launceston Grammar.
We recently held the Blessing of the Fleet at the School which is the traditional commencement of the rowing season. We were joined by Alexandra Viney (class of 2010) who helped christen the boat named in her honour. Alexandra was an outstanding rower as a student achieving success with our Senior VIII at the Head of the River and was poised to achieve more success in her rowing post School. This was dealt a blow as Alexandra was in a horrific accident which saw her severely injured and she did not step back into a boat for many years. Alex told the story of the hardships faced when finally getting back into a boat and the joy and camaraderie that she found rowing with others. Alex went on to row at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and recently represented Australia at the World Championship bringing home a silver medal. Alex’s inspirational message to the students demonstrated her courage, her humility, and her grit. We feel privileged to have a boat named in her honour. This follows on from the great success of Henry Youl (Class of 2009) at the World Championship. Earlier this year a boat was also named after him to acknowledge his successes and contribution to rowing. It is wonderful that our students can sit in a boat bearing the name of students who not so many years ago rowed out of the same shed where they are now learning their craft.
We were excited to hear the news of Mr Ross Youngman who successfully swam the English Channel raising in excess of $165,000 for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. At the time of writing Ross is preparing to swim in a marathon around Manhattan Island.
Earlier this term some of our students joined Indira Naidoo at a breakfast during the Tamar Valley Writers Festival and were fortunate to hear her speak. Her recent book The Space Between the Stars is both poignant and beautiful.
One of the great strengths of Grammar is, and always has been, its community and the lessons that we can learn from those that have gone before us to help inspire and encourage us to do great things in the service of others, and in challenging ourselves. I recently heard that a person’s desire to reach should always exceed their grasp as they strive to reach further than they could possibly dream. The stories of our alumni encourage our students and very soon as our Grade 12’s finish their final exams, they too will start their journey as alumni of the School whilst also leaving their legacy to inspire those coming behind. The stories of the four alumni and our students that I have mentioned today demonstrate the determination, grit, sense of service to the community and compassion that I know we hope to instil in our current students. To have such inspirational alumni to follow is truly inspiring.
Today also sees Mrs Janet Knowles, finish at Launceston Grammar after 15 years of outstanding service. Janet will be greatly missed and we wish her and her husband Bevan every success and happiness as they relocated to Brisbane.