On behalf of all the 2018 Graduating Grade Sixes, I would like to welcome you here this evening, to help us celebrate this special occasion.

In preparation for tonight, our 2018 Graduating Grade Sixes, together with our senior and Performing Arts teachers, have been working to make this evening a memorable occasion for us all.

Grade Six Students have taken time recently to reflect on their Primary Years, write about their experiences, and describe their hopes for the future. It is our privilege to communicate the group’s thoughts for you tonight and we hope, you the Graduates, can hear your voices within the words spoken.

This year’s Grade Six students are a particularly diverse group. Interestingly, of the 40 Graduates, only 15, so less than half, have been here at West since Prep. About the same amount have transferred from local schools, and a few have moved from Melbourne, interstate and two all the way from the Philippines.

Although having come from different backgrounds and life experiences, cultures, races and religions, it is safe to say that West has been a very kind and caring place for all. We are proud to share this important milestone.

Together we have learnt to work and have fun with people other than our friends, and we have learned we can achieve more if we share our skills and knowledge with others.

We have successfully built our relationships on the important values of respect, care and acceptance for others, regardless of their race, gender or abilities.

Throughout our Primary years, we have shared in wonderful experiences with others. We’ve been well supported here at Bairnsdale West by staff and students, together with our families, to achieve many great things, both individually and collectively.

Whether it be by showcasing our creativity in the arts, demonstrating our skills on the sports-fields, developing our knowledge and skills in reading, writing and maths, or understanding our place in the world through science and Humanities, we have all been working hard, and been well supported to experience success.

Individually we’re pleased to say that we’ve grown in many ways. We’ve grown in confidence, stepped out of our comfort zones and spoken up. We’re seeing ourselves more positively and are now more able to work through challenges, to solve problems in helpful ways. We’re brave and happier being ourselves. Importantly, we’ve all tried to help others to be better.

Ellie Haas, Zach O'Keefe & Holly Fyfe - 2018 Graduation Students


Good evening,
On behalf of the school council I want to congratulate each of our graduating students.
As others this evening will mention – we hope this is just one of many graduation ceremonies throughout your lives.
I would like to thank each of you for being part of the Bairnsdale West Community. This is a great community that benefits many of us, including my own family.
It is your contributions, throughout your time here – living the school values - that make this the special community that it is. Thank you.
It is tempting when asked to speak at significant events like this, to offer unsolicited advice for the future. You have each achieved significantly during your time here and I know you will continue to do so into the future, so I’ll try to keep it brief.
Continue to be a good person and aim high.
On behalf of school council we wish you every success for the next chapters of your lives.
Jo Cunningham - School Council President


It gives me great pleasure to speak tonight at such a special occasion. Majority of these students started back in 2011 at Bairnsdale West but others have joined this amazing school community along the way. I have been privileged enough to have been part of the Bairnsdale West community for over 13 years. No Damon my son has not taken this long to graduate from grade 6 but as some of you are aware, I have a 19-year old son that’s not long graduated from Secondary College and will be heading off to University next year. I became part of the school community rather reservedly as I’m not much of a social type although I am notoriously known for my talking. I tried my best as parents do and I’ve was certainly presented with many opportunities to be involved with the school community over the years.

I remember having to entrap Damon behind tables due to toddlers running away to feed breakfast to children at the Breaky Club which is a brilliant example of the community spirit here at West. I also got the opportunity to be part of the school council for four years and share my views and opinions on whatever issues crossed the table bringing a new awareness of the commitment level of the teaching staff here. It has not always been easy for our family to be involved as we all have autism however the Bairnsdale West way of accepting people from diverse backgrounds and embracing the differences our community brings has been liberating and a joy to behold.

I have certainly had my fair share of communities that have excluded us however it has been nothing but an inclusive experience at West. Within this school it was very evident that my first son had some major difficulties in accepting education and being part of a group. From difficulties of being able to sit with others to completing tasks, all three of us struggled with numerous activities within school. Despite my poor educational experiences Bairnsdale West supported the whole process of assessment and provided ongoing support to our family and many others on the autism spectrum. Our family wasn’t only dealing with autism we were survivors of family violence an only too common occurrence for many families. Bairnsdale West offered an inclusive, healing and supportive community when our family needed it even though we felt the rest of the world was not reachable and for this I will be eternally thankful to the staff that I now view as an extended family.

My two boys have been offered extension classes, music and extensive ongoing support with counselling and provided with great role models over the many years they have been a part of West. Staff do their upmost to make sure that our family’s needs were met and due to how much support they offered I was able to change our family circumstances. This enabled me to raise my boys in an environment that was conducive to support their education which was successful only through the positive partnerships created in conjunction and consultation with school staff. Both my boys have excelled beyond my wildest dreams because of the community spirit offered at Bairnsdale West as there was no way that I could have raised these boys without the skills and knowledge that was offered by the larger community within the school. It has been a pleasure to see minds nourished with so many opportunities for children to excel, not just my own with the environment created here. Many of the faces I see in the audience reminds me of how far all of our children have come filling me with pride.   Not only have my sons succeeded at graduating from grade 6 but all the students before me are graduating or will one day graduate in the future from Bairnsdale West. Here you have created an extended family at West evident from the families, friends and staff I see here tonight.

As with family we try to contribute where we can to support each other. There are many diverse needs of students here that are embraced throughout every facet of the school, promoting difference and enabling friendships and bonds that will last a life time. I’m sure many of the students will cross each other’s paths in the future once they leave their schooling days. They will be able to reflect on some of the things that they’ve done and achieved at Bairnsdale West due to being part of a caring and learning community. The school has provided opportunities as previously mentioned in the form of extension programs promoting arts, sports, academia, performing arts, community service and leadership as is well demonstrated this evening. I have had children that have been able to represent the school in a number of extra-curricular activities such as sports, productions and camps and so much more thanks to the commitment of dedicated staff here at West.

I’d like to thank all the staff for their ongoing devotion that is constantly shown to all students not just my children in every year level that I’ve witnessed over the duration that I’ve been part of this amazing community. It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge all the grade 6 graduating students and I wish them all the best for their future aspirations and hope they can achieve their many dreams from great foundations.

Julie Storey - Parent