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Principal's Piece - Justin Harrison

Principal’s Piece
 — Justin Harrison
Senior Formal
What a night!  What a celebration! Our students looked incredible and acted impressively; lots of dancing, conversations, hugs, selfies, tears, memories, speeches, photos, awards, a magician —the formal had it all. Two of our staff members; Silke Hetherington and Rachael Hartwig delivered an inspiring night and need to be recognised for their commitment and effort to pull off this amazing event.
Year 12 Graduation Breakfast and Last Week Activities
The opportunity for our students, families and teachers to come together and share breakfast as a culmination of 12 years of formalised schooling is a wonderful tradition at Toolooa State High School. A full house, great food, great company and a chance to hear from our students and staff; a genuinely lovely morning. Add to this the last week activities and our Toolooa State High School year 12 group could not have had a better send off! Our year 12 coordinator, Mr Darren Boase has been instrumental in keeping our students on track this year and organised a memorable last week for our students. As always, Darren has done a fantastic job.
Firstly, I would like to thank all parents and caregivers for attending the Graduation Breakfast for the Class of 2017. What a special time in the lives of a fantastic group of young men and women, and to have family by their sides collecting their certificate – very special. I would also like to thank Ms Jounquay, Miss Hingst and Mr Hage for their contribution to the breakfast. Finally and certainly not the least, a special mention needs to go to Rachel Hartwig for liaising with the GECC and organising a fantastic experience for all that attended. The graduation breakfast is a time for students to reflect on the time they spent during their schooling lives and look forward to time ahead. Except for a few pronunciation errors (sorry) the morning ran smoothly – a credit to the staff at GECC. I would personally like to thank the Class of 2017 for their commitment throughout 2017 and wish them all the best in their future endeavours. Set your goals and reach your potential. You will be missed class of 2017. Good luck.
Interact Handover
It was with great pleasure that I attended the annual Interact Handover Dinner on Tuesday 14th November where the Toolooa Interact members were recognised by the South Rotary Club of Gladstone for the achievements of 2018.  The night was informative outlining the events that the group had participated in during the year and the publication proudly sponsored by the South Rotary Club was a very professional document.  The night not only reflected on the year that was, the 2018 committee was introduced and the goals of the incoming President Merin Ward were mentioned. I would like to thank Mrs Natasha Read and Mrs Rachel Bos for all their hard work that goes behind the scenes in supporting our students. I look forward to seeing what the 2018 Interact Club of Toolooa achieve next year. Well done to all involved in such a worthy group. Please see more on page 7.
2017 Sports Awards:
Last week we held our annual sports awards night at the Yaralla Sports Club. It was a fantastic evening that allowed all coaches, parents and students to celebrate the achievements of our young sporting stars. This year we recognised students that achieved success in the following categories Age Champion, Best & Fairest, Port Curtis and Capricornia representatives. We also recognised the achievements of Tegan Van Vegchel who made it into the Queensland U15 Football team. As was the case in previous years, we saved our biggest awards for the end of the evening. These awards included the Team of the Year, Junior sportsperson of the Year & Senior sportsperson of the Year. The Team of the Year this year was our Open Girls Netball Team that went through their competition undefeated. Our Junior sportsperson of the Year came down to four students. They were Tegan Van Vegchel, Dylan Price, Carla Watson-Scott and Clara Furness. The winner of the award was Tegan Van Vegchel.
Our Senior sportsperson of the Year was decided out of Abbi Cooper, Ally Ware, Chyanne Downing and Daniel Ludkin. Ally Ware’s performances throughout the year were enough to get her across the line this year.
Congratulations to all the students who received awards on the night. It takes a lot of hard work to reach the heights that our students made this year and I look forward to seeing these students and more in 2018.
Finally, a special mention must go out to our sponsors of the event. Without sponsors a night such as this wouldn’t be possible. Our Sponsors for the evening this year were:

Combined Schools Indigenous Graduation Ceremony - ‘2017 Passage of Rights’
Indigenous Year 12 graduates, families and staff came together Monday evening 13/11/17, to celebrate this important milestone for indigenous youth.
This event first started in 2012 being the concept of then Community Education Counsellor Aunty Loris Corowa.
After Aunty Loris’ passing, school staff decided to keep this tradition going as it was deeply valued by the Gladstone Indigenous Community.
This year Chanel Catholic College was also invited to join the ceremony, making the event truly combined. From the very first ceremony in 2012 with only six students graduates to this year with an astounding forty-seven students completing their senior schooling.
Alan Bird from DATSIP travelled down from Rockhampton to be guest speaker. This is an awesome opportunity for external agencies like DATSIP to be able to meet and mingle with students and families, getting to know them in an informal environment and discussing Year 13 options.
Students were presented with a certificate and symbolic message stick. The sticks were hand painted by staff from host school Toolooa State High School. Each message stick had four larger white dots representing the four high schools, two campsites/meeting places representative of the students family group and their school administration and support team and forty-seven small individual dots representing each of the 47 graduates. Families finished the night by enjoying and celebrating with a beautifully decorated cake.

Year 6 to 7 Transition Days Next Week
We welcome our 2018 year 7 students into our school for two days next week. These two days are crucial to allow these students to understand how Toolooa State High School operates and to settle in to their surrounding for next year. Our year 7 coordinator, Mr Craig O’Connor and Junior Secondary HOD Miss Jess Batey have developed strong programs for these visits each year and the 2017 program is no different. We look forward to these students bringing their personal talents to our school.
Last Week For The Year 10 and 11’s
This week sees our year 10 and 11 students finish up for 2017. We wish them well for a relaxing holiday break and we look forward to them taking up the mantle next year as leaders of our great school. The future of Toolooa State High School is in good hands and we are excited to see where these students take us over the next couple of years.
Expectations Have Not Changed
With year 7, 8 and 9 students still working hard over the next two weeks it is important to remember that our expectations have not changed. We expect our students in uniform, with required equipment and following school policies right up until the last day. We have an alternate program operating for the last 7 school days with students engaging in a range of subject areas. Whilst the teachers may be different over these sessions, the focus will remain; providing engaging learning activities for our students. We are not winding down over these days, rather providing a different model of learning. We look forward to seeing all of our year 7, 8 and 9 students over these days.