Although not the final goodbye, the boys in Year 12 were sent off into their Term three break, with a fitting, although somewhat different farewell. 

As many a Joeys Old Boy can attest, the final week of Term Three at the College is usually one of great celebration for Year 12 students. The annual graduation ceremony crowns six years of toil and study as boys look ahead to the HSC and reflect with fondness on their time at Joeys. Families come together across the final weeks to commemorate and celebrate their journey.

Above: As they did in 1941, our Year 11 boys gave the graduating class, a fitting send off.

In years gone by, the Year 12 mothers mass and the Year 12 graduation mass would see the College Chapel overflowing with loved ones. The graduation dinner and final assembly for the boys are defining moments in the school life of all Joe Boys, but this year has been like no other. Because of the turmoil COVID has inflicted on the school calendar, graduation week was unable to be held, and like many other schools, was moved to a November time slot. But this did not stop the boys enjoying themselves.

On Tuesday evening, our Year 12s were welcomed into the Old Boys Union at the annual dinner. Regular Old Boys were absent because of the virus, but 25 staff Old Boys filled the breach, ensuring it would be a night for all to remember.

The boys were presented with specially embroidered 2020 Old Boys ties to commemorate their Joeys days and shared stories with Old Boys about their experiences at school. Now permanent members of the Joeys community, they will enjoy the famous college camaraderie and support for the rest of their lives. In a moving video tribute, Old Boys spanning seventy years imparted words of wisdom, wishing the boys every success in their future endeavours. 

Above: The Year 12 Old Boy dinner took place in Br Emeilian Hall, where the Graduating class were presented their 2020 Old Boy tie by Old Boys of the College.

The boys were up at the crack of dawn on Thursday – but not for footy practice or other extra-curricular activities. Instead, they devoured a barbecue breakfast and chilled out to the sounds of a live Year 12 rock band and DJ. It was a great opportunity to relax and appreciate their mates’ talents.

They spent only two periods in class before Year 11 led a surprise Guard of Honour on the front driveway. The procession of boys stretched from the St Pius X wing through to the Year 12 quadrangle, where the younger boys and staff watched on from the surrounding balconies. For one final time, this group of young men, many of whom donned their Old Boy ties, gathered for a stirring rendition of Sub Tuum. It was a touching tribute and a fitting way to end the term.

At a special morning tea following the procession, the boys took a seat by the College Memorial Pool, and reminisced with teachers past and present, recalling good times and expressing the pride they feel in being Joeys boys. It was uplifting to see how strong the bonds are between teacher and student and the mutual respect they share.

One of the best things about life at Joeys is the interaction between city and rural boys. In the afternoon, the annual City v Country rugby match took place at Number 1. Those boys that weren’t playing tucked into a barbecue lunch as their mates went hammer and tong out on the field. The result? A tight, hard-fought victory to the city lads. 

A hearty congratulations, then, to all the boys on a brilliant finish to the term. They will now make final preparations for the HSC before attending their Formal and Graduation events in November. We wish them well.