21 November 2023

Marian Catholic College year 12 cohort raises funds for autism support and graduates in style

| Oliver Jacques
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students at graduation celebration

Ellie Walsh, Charlee King, Sophia Kelsey, Sienna Andreazza, Teresa Patane and Sophia Belfiore at the Marian Catholic College graduation. Photo: Supplied.

A Marian Catholic College year 12 cohort known for its volunteering and fundraising efforts celebrated a spectacular graduation at Bagtown Function Centre on Friday, 10 November.

“This was the first time our graduation was held at Bagtown,” pastoral leader Renae Savage said. “We had around 80 graduates and 261 guests, including parents, guardians and special invitees.”

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Popular local band Cherry Bomb provided the musical entertainment.

“The kids danced the night away. You know it’s a successful event when everyone is up dancing,” Ms Savage said.

It was her first year in charge of the senior students and she said they had made an instant impression on her.

“They’re a very giving group of students, they did a lot of fundraising this year,” she said. ”In particular, they raised money for the Griffith Autism Support Group (GASG).”

GASG is a volunteer-based group that provides support for families with children on the autism spectrum.

Its president, Dene Beltrame, is the mother of year 12 Marian graduate Noah Beltrame, who is an advocate for those on the spectrum. He has also been doing work to rebrand Autism as an asset rather than a disability.

“The students got on well with Noah, they wanted to do something special to support him, which is lovely,” Ms Beltrame said.

“The same group raised funds for us when they were in year 11.”

Year 12 graduates cutting cake

Marian Catholic College leadership group: Jess Moraschi, Lachlan Chant, Elizabeth Romeo and Charlie O’Sullivan. Photo: Supplied.

Several students also volunteered at Griffith City Library in 2023 for a program whereby young people helped elderly residents use social media and technology.

“They’re such a generous bunch of kids. I was privileged to be their pastoral leader for 2023. They always tried their best and created some great relationships,” Ms Savage said.

She said several students would be staying in Griffith next year and doing a gap year.

“A lot of them need that break after 13 years of schooling. They have worked hard and want that break from doing something academic.”

Student graduation dinner

Students enjoy dinner at their graduation. Photo: Supplied.

In her speech on Friday, she wished them all the best for the future.

“May the future hold boundless opportunities and success for each and every one of you. Dare to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams.

“To the parents and families, thank you for your unwavering support, love and sacrifices you have made while contributing to your child’s journey.

”I would also like to express my gratitude to Dr Ludicke, Mrs Segrave, staff and the year 12 homeroom team of Mr Mason, Mrs Abdala, Mrs Turunen, Mr Matheson, Mrs Duncan and Mrs Dumbleton for your support, patience and encouragement in guiding year 12 in their academic growth.”

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Ms Savage also paid tribute to the leadership committee for 2024 – captains Lachlan Chant and Elizabeth Romeo and vice-captains Jess Moraschi and Charlie O’Sullivan.

Next year’s school captains will be Dahlia Abbas and Mason Salvestro and the vice-captains Amilia Cantanzariti and Nicolas Minato.

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