Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland) (00:24:10): What a year the class of 2020 has had. For year 12— and indeed all students, parents, carers, support staff and educators—COVID has significantly changed their social and learning opportunities. It has changed rites of passage such as presentations, farewells and formals, as well as face-to-face or group learning. Yet they have stayed the course.

I thank parents and carers for supporting our young people when it has been a harder time for them both. Similarly, school communities have adapted course content and delivery modes, and provided support to students and their families in a herculean effort to ensure the needs of students have remained the number one priority.

As the Class of 2020 leave school this year and embark on the next chapter in their lives, I hope they do so knowing that they have our greatest respect for their courage and tenacity. It is more important than ever to remember that final exam scores are only a number in a world that has taught us that connection, resilience and perseverance are perhaps more important than we ever knew. I wish students good luck in their future endeavours, whatever path they take.