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Thursday, 24 November 2011
Page: 13858

Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (09:55): As we conclude our final week in this place, we are fortunate to be given the opportunity to spend time in our electorates congratulating students and teachers on a successful year and joining our local community for holiday celebrations and Christmas cheer. In Bennelong I will be attending the Ryde Secondary College 10th anniversary and the launch of their community partnership program. Ten years ago the school changed its name from Malvina High School to Ryde Secondary College. The school's principal, Cassy Norris, has established a program of community partnership with local business, the community, the council and clubs. The idea is that these organisations can provide work experience placements as well as mentorships for students. Principal Norris is very keen to build links between her school and local businesses to assist the students. This is a great initiative, and I congratulate Casey Norris on the program. I am looking forward to joining her in a week's time.

I will also be attending Karonga School's celebration of learning and the official opening of its new amenities block. Principal Sue Dennett has requested that I present the Bennelong award as I did last year. This year's winner is Cyrus Chan, who has won the award for most outstanding year 12 student. I congratulate Cyrus and Sue for their hard work in this very impressive educational facility in Bennelong.

Other schools and speech nights I will be attending include those to be held at Epping Boys High School, Denistone East Public School, West Ryde Public School, Epping North Public School, North Ryde Public School, Marsden High School and Marist College Eastwood—and I am sure there will be others. The community celebrations culminate in the Weekly Times Rotary Community Christmas Carols Spectacular on 18 December at North Ryde Common. I urge all in the area to attend this very special community event.

As we come to terms with the great challenges that face us, we can think back to the famous quote by Winston Churchill, 'A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.' As we come to the end of a very difficult year with international conflict, world economies in crisis and many challenges at home, there is still cause for optimism, with our frontier character, to seek a better life and a better way—and so we shall seek a better path in the year to come. I wish all of you and your families and local communities a very merry Christmas.