Speech from St Spyridon Dux – Rhea Tsimboukis


UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Bachelor Laws/Arts, (Classical Greek major) at University of Sydney.

It is with great humility and honour that I have the opportunity to address the St Spyridon community today. I would like to congratulate the other award recipients present and the rest of my cohort for their excellent year 12 results.

It is no secret that Year 12 is a daunting and demanding year. Between a flurry of exams and assignments, dealing with people ignoring the quiet signs in the study rooms, balancing other commitments and personal life, it is fair to say that the challenges that year 12 presents do not always bring out the best in people. In fact, I recall Mrs Katsogiannis saying to my cohort as we transitioned from year 11 to year 12 that our final year would be one that tests our character.

Indeed, it was this year in particular where the nurturing school environment I’ve known and been a part of for 13 years guided, supported and encouraged me to become the best version of myself. I am thankful for the friendliness, patience and tolerance that was shown consistently by other students and teachers, characteristics which shone brightly especially during challenging times that tested character. This is a testament to the environment of unity and support that uniquely defines our school. Not only is St Spyridon a closely-knit community, but the immense value placed on culture and faith differentiates it even further from other schools. We are fortunate to be taught not only skills, but qualities like compassion and humility, which I’ve come to see the importance of now that I’ve finished school for a year. It was in this outstanding environment of support and love that Year 12 became a year of personal growth and wonderful memories. It was in this environment that year 12 at St Spyridon managed to bring out the very best in people.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to my teachers for their constant support and belief in me. Mrs Koutsoukis and Mrs Kefalouros, thank you for your lively classes, dramatic interpretations of texts and always reminding us to keep handing in drafts. To Mr Picardi for your hard work and dedication, always willing to take time out of free periods and lunchtimes, and in ensuring that we were all aware of what a band 6 response required. I thank Mr Condous for making maths classes enjoyable and being willing to revisit concepts for us. My studies in languages were very rewarding, and for this I thank Ka. Faleta. Your love for what you do is infectious and you always brought your humour to class and made learning Greek so enjoyable and memorable for all of us. In the same vein, to Kuria Vana, who’s impact on me went beyond imparting her expertise of the language, but also in constantly motivating me and reminding me of the importance of hard work. To Ms Flokis, even though you didn’t teach me, your positivity was always a source of support for me. Finally, to Ms O’Shea, who has been a part of my high school journey since year 7 as the coordinator of girls’ sport. You have been such an important part of the memories which I look back fondly on, whether it was on the court or in the classroom, thank you for always supporting me, keeping me calm and helping me reach my potential.

If I can leave any lasting piece of advice to students, it would be to enjoy every opportunity and experience you have. Get into your sport or music or art, spend time with your friends and take a genuine interest in learning. I encourage you to approach school with the Ancient Greek proverb ‘pan metron ariston’- everything in moderation. If you get the balance right, you’ll appreciate and enjoy what you do, and you’ll give yourself the opportunity to bring out your best self.

I wish the students of year 12 2020 the best for the challenging but fulfilling year ahead and best of luck to the current year 12s for their upcoming results.

Once more, I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to everyone in the St Spyridon community for giving me such fantastic opportunities and wonderful memories.

Thank you.

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