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shane mason » class of 2011

class of 2011

November 17, 2011


Today, like most schools around this time, we had our Year 12 Graduation.

As the students and their proud parents entered the hall for the ceremony I started feeling envious just like I always seem to be at these occasions. I am jealous that it’s not me graduating all over again, like I did in 1995 from James Nash State High in Gympie.

I always think to myself “If only I knew then what I know now. I would have done so much differently?” Such is the power of hindsight. Of course it is impossible to articulate this to a young adult who has just finished high school. I know that it would have been a wasted conversation had anyone had it with me in ’95. I wasn’t thinking about changing the world, being a better person or taking the path less travelled. I was only thinking about schoolies and the fun we were going to have over the Christmas break, because not only were we adults, we were also bullet proof. Unfortunately, in hindsight we were neither.

I only understand now, in a way that was impossible to perceive at the time, those really were the best days of my life. Let me clarify that statement. They weren’t the best days because of what I did, they were the best days because of the potential for what I could have done.

At 17 years old the world is your oyster. Sure you get things wrong, and make mistakes. Sure your parents sit at home nervous as you pull out of the driveway in your car, or a friend’s car. They too know that you will make mistakes; they only hope that the mistakes you make aren’t because you think you are bullet proof and require you getting bailed out of jail, ending up in hospital or worse.

Once again at the time you don’t realise this. But later in life hopefully we do realise and remember to thank them for what they went through. I promise I will get around to doing that next time I see them.

This year’s graduating class of Year 12 students seemed to be a very good year with lots of friendship and achievements.

I was surprised to hear during one of the School Captain’s final address a quote from me, “As you go forward from here I want you to remember something that Mr Mason once said, education will set you free never stop learning.”

I was instantly honoured and excited to think a piece of my rhetoric (which I surely stole) made it not only into the heart of this young man, but also to this stage in front of all the graduating year 12 students and their parents.

It did catch me completely off guard, and I’m finding it very hard to remain my modest and humble self ;)

Given the opportunity prior to the speech I wonder if this would have been the single message that I would have liked to pass on to the graduates. The wonderful thing is, I didn’t need to make this choice, these are the words and message that the school Captain wanted to deliver. I get to feel proud that he used me and something that I said during an IPT class to get that message across.

Given the opportunity, what would your single message to a graduating year level be?

Picture by CarbonNYC