Authentic Thoughts on Leadership Life View Principalship Ulladulla High School World Class Global Learners

Respect, determination and just being good humans.

To the class of 2019. I have witnessed you evolve into incredible young people. High School is a challenge, no doubt about that. It seems that navigating a pathway where you are true to yourself takes great courage and determination. You are here, now ready to move successfully into the world, while it may not feel like it. You are soooooo ready.

Year 12 2019 Graduation Speech

I too would like to acknowledge that this ceremony is being held on Aboriginal land and I too recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of our Murramarrang people of this land.

I thank all our parents and carers who have taken time to come today. Your support of your young person in this celebration and recognition of this significant event has more power than you know. We are extremely appreciative of your presence.

To all 152 of the class of 2019

There is no one more proud of you today, than I am.  I have witnessed you evolve into incredible young people. High School is a challenge, no doubt about that. It seems that navigating a pathway where you are true to yourself takes great courage and determination. Navigating the social conundrums, of identity, independence, responsibility, what you value, social media, the seemingly negative influences and understanding your own sense of belonging. Add in the emotional roller coaster of moods, feelings, sensitivity to others, self-consciousness, and then trying to navigate all those decisions and then, learning the consequences of impulsiveness, toward becoming careful decision makers. This is all wrapped up in 6 years, add some serious study over the top and it equals an exponential time of personal growth. 

You are here, now ready to move successfully into the world, while it may not feel like it. You are soooooo ready.

It has become a tradition at our school over the years for Year 12 students to commemorate the end of Year 12 and high school by doing some kind of physical challenge, before graduation to signify that transition and end of your high school journey.

Year 12..While you didn’t get to do that  dawn walk up Didthul, ….. you still have all made the Summit. – you turned your energy to making the most of the opportunity that presented itself… with Respect, with determination and through just being good humans.

150 of you walked the coast of this magnificent community, chatted and strolled, enjoying the moment.

Class of 2019

There are students among you, where the journey has been a struggle. Yet you have made it. You have made your family and us very proud. I applaud you.

As I say often, everything we need is within us..

°What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us°


How is success measured?

Its not about the doing all those assessment tasks that grows us, but the learning of skills that will carry you to new horizons while the struggle is there..

Often the focus on the list of assignments to do, the projects to complete, or the essays to rewrite blur the real growth.

As the content of the HSC exams fade. What remains in you, are the skills, the knowing, the way you approach learning, the way you are with people and your attitude to life. This will be your future..

For those who have clearly set goals and worked incredibly hard to achieve them, I commend you.

For those who were not so sure.. You can choose to write your story from this point. 

Whether you choose to completely re invent yourself…. Or turn-on your ‘strengths switch’ , take time to  recognise your strengths,  be true to yourself.

Year 12, Your Passion has been spreadable.

A funny thing happens when a person operates from a place of passion. Their passion spreads, and it elevates the work and thinking of others. This has certainly been true for our student leaders, both formal and informal leaders and many of you. I know that Takesa’s and Jacobs, Ethan and Rosie, the prefects, and all the informal student leaders, your passions have rubbed off on others. There has been a couple of stories, one recent one I would like to share. Where a student initiated, influenced and actioned their passions.  Here goes..

Along with a number of teachers, I received an email during the year…

“Hi everyone,

For those who don’t know me (remember she is emailing the principal and a bunch of teachers), my name is Talya and I’m in Year 12.

Recently I was invited to watch the documentary film ‘Backtrack Boys’ at the Narooma Cinema and I thought it was inspirational and important.

The film is about a youth program run by Bernie Shakeshaft near Armidale NSW, who offers unconditional support to young troubled kids, through involving a group of working dogs.

I am interested in requesting to screen this film at Ulladulla Cinemas as I think it is  important  for our community. Please let me know if you think this would be a good idea, I have included a link to the trailer below”.

Talya Year 12 2019

So that good idea… went viral, the screening, not only went ahead, but the theatre was packed, sitting in front of me was one of Shoalhaven Councillors, and said afterwards, this is great, we need to do something to support this in our community. Lets see what we can do.  Talya’s passion, was not something disconnected to school, her PIP, personal interest project for Society and Culture was an investigation into the impact of equine assisted therapy, much like the working dogs. If you know Talya, she is a quiet, kind and committed student. Talya like so many of you will go onto make a difference in the world. 

We are  #worldclasslearners, first and foremost,  a vision we take very seriously.

Denise Lofts Principal

Year 12, you showed all your teachers, particularly over the last 2 years that you won’t let the weather, the tides, the wind, bit of hard yakka and even fire dampen your spirits and your journey toward your goals.

You have been an absolutely wonderful group of students, exceptional school leaders, extraordinary musicians, talented artists, tremendous sports people, peace makers, environmentalists, mathematicians, coders, robotics engineers, actors and actresses, authors, performance poetry trailblazers, the list goes on.

It is with great respect that I acknowledge the student leaders, captains, prefects and sports captains . You have been an incredibly inspiring group of people who have shown me and the school community that having courage to step forward for what you believe in has enlivened the hearts and minds of each and everyone of us.

Your response was to move to compassion, caring and courage.

#Protecting our environment #mindfulness #no more plastic

They say leadership

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,

do more and become more,

you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams

Working with young people is the most enriching profession there is..

We as teachers are honoured.

And I honour and thank the incredible teachers at UHS, your efforts and your dedication is so very much appreciated. Trust me, you are all gold.

My sincere thank you to all the parents and carers who have walked beside us in an incredible partnership that has created these great young people.

Sincerest and most grateful thanks to your Year Advisor Mrs Mel Clare and your steady assistant Drew Hicks.   Thank you.

Year 12….. you now join the proud alumni of Ulladulla High School, this is your high school and will always be your high school.

You will join the many doctors, lawyers, celebrities, musicians, athletes, change makers, businessman, editors, baristas, and barristers, teachers, peacemakers, tradesman, mums and dads who are all part of the great world class school tradition that is Ulladulla High.

Be proud of the outstanding public education you have received, and don’t allow anyone to put your school or the people in it down.

Denise Lofts Principal Ulladulla High School

…so.. as I conclude..

And of course, in my usual flavour, and my Principals last word…

#MelKindnessInBuckets 6 years of brilliants – Massive Thank you

#Hicksy TheBestWingmanEver

 #DeputyPearso.. SuperSubExtraodinaire.. 3 years of awesomeness.

To year 12, all the best for the exams #legends #practicepersistence #SmashIt





#Bekind2YourParents  and

#Dontforget Us

Denise Lofts

Principal Ulladulla High School


is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a
little better and the world a little braver.

Thank you.

Principal of a fantastic secondary public school where our young people enliven their dreams through a growth mindset to fulfil their potential. Focussed on leadership that makes a difference in my school.

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