A Look at Leavers’ Celebrations

As the Class of 2020 head towards their last days at the College, it is timely to look at how leavers’ celebrations have taken place in the history of the College.

The traditional end-of-year celebrations have changed over time from a very formalised setting and purpose to a more fun and informal event. 

The tradition of the debutante ball at the College was a glamourous rite of passage, announcing a young lady’s marriageability. The tradition of Victoria Square Ladies College was for the debutantes to be presented at the Victoria Square Old Collegians’ Annual Ball.

1937 VSC Debutantes

Students leaving the College in 1938 would have debuted at the 1939 Victoria Square Old Collegians’ Annual Ball, the year following their last year at school.

Continuing the tradition of ex-students participating in a ‘coming out’ ceremony, the Santa Maria Ex-Students Association staged a Debutante Ball on Tuesday 7 April 1964. This ball was in the same ballroom as the Victoria Square old Collegians’ Annual Ball.

As evident in the program there is a strict sequence of events, although there are some sixties touches in the dancing. The women making their debut are from the Class of 1963.

From 1970 the annual SMC Ball was the venue for ‘coming out’ for the leaving Class of 1969. This Ball was held on 17 April 1970 at the Melville Civic Centre and the sixteen debutantes were presented to the Mayor of Melville, Mr Carroll. In 1976, six leaving students were presented to Bishop Quinn at the SMC Ball. In 1987, The Golden Jubilee year, The Gala Ball was the celebration of both the College’s fiftieth birthday and the debut of eight women from the Class of 1986. The 1987 College Annual describes how the McDonald Hall was transformed for the evening.

Although socials and dances were held earlier, the first time a Senior Ball is mentioned in the College Annual is in 1982. By 1990, the balls were for Year 11 and 12 students and held in the McDonald Building mid-year.  The Ball moved to a central Perth venue for the Class of 2000 Ball and the dress arrangements for the occasion became a major undertaking. An end of year celebration for Year 12 is first mentioned in the College Annual in 1995.

Class of 2009 Ball
Class of 2000 Ball

The Class of 2010’s Year 12 Valedictory Dinner was held at the Hyatt following a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral. The Valedictory Dinner has been held at the College since 2016. The Year 12 Ball has since been moved to the beginning of Year 12 and end of year celebrations include a mass and assembly.

2020 saw another change to the end of year celebrations to adapt and fall within the COVID guidelines, with an outdoor Graduation cocktail party. This was a wonderful celebration for the students, parents and teachers involved. We wish the Class of 2020 a wonderful future.

Class of 2020 Graduation cocktail party
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