• David Ling

Acknowledgement of Country

Updated: May 4

I join Veronica in acknowledging the Wurundjeri Willum people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather today and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Distinguished guests, students, parents, staff, Ladies and Gentlemen.

If repetition is key to learning and knowledge it will serve for me to repeat:

Plenty River College’s vision is to empower students to achieve, through education, their personal best and to become positive, confident and productive members of our globalised world.

Our mission is to assist students to develop life and work skills and achieve their learning by:

• re-engaging them in education

• fostering their social and emotional development

• providing a supportive and safe environment for them

A number of us here today, have been involved in working within Diamond Valley Learning Centre, to bring us to this day. We are immensely thankful to DVLC, its staff and Board for the invaluable effort put in getting us here.

I had the privilege of chairing the DVLC Board for 6 years until I reached the end of the allowable term under their constitution. During that time, for reasons already mentioned by Veronica, we had many discussions about the benefit of establishing an Independent School to better care for our VCAL students. Some of these discussions included sessions with Vicky Ward and her staff as well as staff at the Department of Education.

About three years ago, we embarked on a journey with the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority, the end result of which was that in December our application for registration was approved. To say that the registration process was challenging would be putting it lightly as the requirements are demanding, and rightly so, but VRQA staff were extremely helpful in getting us past the post and showed considerable patience with us in the process.

Now that we have our registration, we now qualify for membership in the Independent Schools Victoria. Without the help we received from the same body, before becoming members, we would not have made it through the application process.

Two major items emerged last year as we felt we were getting closer to achieving our goals.

It became obvious that it would be very difficult to obtain registration as a part of the Diamond Valley Learning Centre incorporation. This meant establishing a completely separate legal entity which, of course, we have done. Regardless of that, DVLC Board and Staff have continued to support us and in fact, DVLC provided a substantial loan as start-up funds for the period until grant funds are received. I dare not try to list the many staff and board members who worked tirelessly in preparing policy and other documents, financial projections etc. because the list would be too long, and I would be in danger of missing someone.

The second major hurdle was that the venue did not meet VRQA requirements. This looked like a wall we couldn’t climb or breakthrough until Pastor Craig Anderson and Infinity Church stepped into the picture. Time doesn’t permit me to go into details, but Infinity Church has been marvellous in the support they have given and still continue to give us now that we are in operation.

Now it is ‘on with the job’. We have a good basic Board with prospective additions in the pipeline that will ensure good Governance.

We have a well-equipped staff led by an extremely competent Principal in Veronica. We have ongoing support and finances with much-improved government grants.

Someone gave me a quote that goes something like "There comes a time in your life when your focus shifts from working to achieve your own goals and dreams, to focusing on leaving a legacy.” You can probably tell that I have personally reached that perspective! But I believe it actually applies to the college.

Another quote: ’The greatest legacy anyone can leave behind is to positively impact the lives of others. Whenever you add value to other people's lives, you are unknowingly leaving footprints on the sands of time that live on, even after your demise."

For me, to walk into the college and see the connection, and responses of our students is the greatest of rewards and know that this will be a continuing story. We will hear a student’s perspective today.

Thank you,

David Ling,

Board Chairman — Plenty River College

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