Farewell Year 12

In the lead up to the Year 12 breakfast held on 13 September, much preparation and organisation were essential. Numerous meetings were held for the Year 11 boarders to brainstorm and finalise decisions. As a cohort, we worked together to create the theme of Snow White and set up groups associated with decorations, food, and scheduling. During the long-weekend girls gathered materials from home and prepared home-made decorations to bring back to boarding to help reduce financial burdens.

Roles and jobs were delegated to each Year 11 boarder, which were to be completed both in the lead-up and on the morning of the breakfast. We had girls painting cardboard cut outs of animal characters from Snow White and flowers to make a fairy-tale setting come to life. Four piñatas were made by the girls as one of the activities for the Year 12s to do before they reached the breakfast. Other girls went to the shops and bought food such as donuts, marshmallows, and Oreos for the donut line, chubby bunny race, and Oreo challenge. Costumes were also collaboratively produced by some of the girls which consisted of a home-made yellow and black buckle belt and a cap with the names of each of the dwarfs sewn by Boarding supervisor Jen Sullivan.

The night before the breakfast, the majority of the Year 11s ran back and forth to the College Chapel to place the decorations in a pile undercover. The morning of the breakfast, all the girls had a very early start and were dressed and out of their houses by 6.30 am. All the decorations, tables, and some of the food were set up nicely around the grotto beside the College Chapel.

Overall, the Year 12 breakfast was a great success. Not only did the Year 12 boarders find themselves thoroughly enjoying the set-up, food, and each other’s company, but so did the Year 11s. Despite the stress and challenges that were faced by many of the girls, the morning ran smoothly as everyone worked together and communicated effectively to get the job done.
Sage Murphy, Year 11

Head Boarder Harriet Comerford- Smith’s Homily to the Year 12s

Well, here we are at the end of Year 12! I can’t believe we’ve made it this far; our lives will forever be marked by this place and the memories we’ve created here. I’m sure that we are all grateful to have been sent here and to have met the gorgeous girls we have.  

Once we have left and are out in the ‘real world’, it’s going to be the friendship and love we remember, not the arguments or our last exam marks. The time we have had here has given us so many skills, talents, and blessings, that will serve us well in the future. I an sure that once you younger girls have reached Year 12, you will also feel the bittersweetness of leaving Santa.

On the one hand, we can not wait to leave and see what we all do with our lives and the incredible things we are all sure to get up to after school, but on the other hand, it is going to be tough not living with all of our best friends ever again. We have all grown so much over our time here, and I hope we continue to grow once we have left. Living here was such a privilege but leaving here will open so many opportunities for us. 

We have now reached a milestone in our lives, and we are looking forward to a wonderful future. Today we are filled with hope and we long for only good things in life. But if we have learned one thing, it is that is life is not always smooth sailing. We have many highs, but we should also be expecting some terrifying lows. How ready are we going to be for these?

How will we cope when life gets tough and we do not have each other right next door to lean on? Today we have to remember that we have been taught that we will never be alone or have to go it alone. Will we be too blinded like the disciples in today’s Gospel and not see God in the people he will place in our lives at exactly the time when we need them. Where will we look for support?

We must remember to look to the goodness of others, in the good things we still have, and to be thankful for everything.

So today, let us take one lesson with us, and that is gratitude for all we have received, and even when things go badly for us, then to we have to be grateful because we will grow and become transformed by the experience.

Head Boarder Harriet Comerford-Smith’s speech to the Year 12s

To my dearest of boarding sisters. Writing this speech was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, because how on earth could I fit six years of friendship into three minutes of talking? We’ve spent nearly every day of our high school lives together, which when you think about it, is kind of insane. We have spent more time together than with our actual families. I suppose that’s what makes us all family, as well as each other’s best friends, therapists, beauticians, stylists, hairdressers, role models, and confidants.

But here we are. At the very end of our time at Santa. I would say that it’s passed by in a blur but honestly, it has felt like I have been here for at least a decade and I should be going into a midlife crisis by now. The start of Year 7 feels like a lifetime ago when we, the first seven girls were still dressing up in our little denim skirts and billabong t-shirts, running around on the terrace after study every day and getting special treatment from Mrs Bulloch because we were the littlies.

Since that first year, I have seen every one of you grow so so much. I know I sound like a mum when I say this, but I am so insanely proud of every single one of you. Getting to Year 12 as a boarder deserves a Nobel Peace prize. You girls have persevered through so much, all while living away from your parents surrounded by 150 other teenage girls in a city that is pretty unfamiliar. To go through that at such a young age, as well, is a feat in itself. You have all adapted and for that I admire you.

The way you girls pull together when called for is admirable, and your determination and dedication is something I hope the younger girls have noticed and taken on in their time in Boarding. The energy you all put into Boarding and anything that has been asked of you has been incredible, and I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. To Mackenzie especially, thank you for being the ultimate right-hand person. The efforts you have put into Boarding, all while keeping a smile on your face, has been something I have strived towards. You have set the bar for future leaders in Boarding, as well as how I should be going about my life. Thank you, really.

The talents and skills you girls have are incredible, and I know that wherever you go in life, you’re going to absolutely kill it. I mean it when I say you’re all capable to do anything you set your mind to. I’ve never met a smarter, funnier, more dedicated, and positive group in my life. I can’t wait to see what you all do in the future and the amazing lives you are going to create. Because I know no matter what, we can get through it, after all, we’ve been through a lot.

Y’all are the bestest friends I could have ever hoped for, and my favourite sisters (sorry Imogen). I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to connect with anyone when I first rolled up to Santa Maria in 2015, and yet here I am in 2020, our final year, with 26 beautiful sisters. The thought of living apart from you girls next year is just about unbearable to me. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. You girls have given me so much joy every day over the past six years, and to not experience that every day in the future is the most depressing thought I’ve ever had. I can not stress just how much I’m going to miss all of you next year. You girls have been at the centre of my life for years now, and it’s going to be hard to move on. But I also know that all of us going our own ways is going to let us grow more than we ever could in Boarding.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to know you ladies and to be your Head Boarder for 2020, and I thank you all for the love you’ve shown towards me during our time here. I wish all of you love, wealth, success, and happiness. I love all of you with all of my being. Thank you.


On Wednesday 16 September the Years 7 – 9 boarders dressed up and had dinner with the Year 12s as a farewell party. The Year 7s made heart-felt cards to congratulate the Year 12s on graduating. The Year 8s gave gifts and the Year 9s served the Year 12s dinner. Head Boarder, Harriet, gave a very good speech of her life in Boarding and her experiences. There was a slide show of funny photos of the Year 12s through their boarding life playing throughout the night. It was a very fun dinner. Emily Mulcahy, Year 7

The Community Year 12 Farewell dinner that took place in our dining room was both a delightful and unforgettable experience, particularly for the Year 12s. It gave us the opportunity to not only share a memorable experience with the younger girls, but it was also nice to have one final gathering as a Boarding community, before we leave Santa Maria. At our farewell dinner, we were blessed with delicious food, heart-felt speeches, great company and even handmade cards that were handed to us by the Year 7s who made them. The evening ran very smoothly and is something that I will forever cherish, years after I have left Boarding and the College. 
Rachel Gilbert, Year 12

The Year 12 Community Farewell Dinner, was a great experience, to be able to take time to say goodbye to boarders from younger years and to allow them to be part of the graduation celebrations. It was a special night for everyone involved and hopefully will mark the start of a tradition for years to come. 
Chloe Henville, Year 12

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