The way in which the Aquinas community celebrates its ‘Valete evening’ every year makes it one of the much-anticipated dates on the College calendar. At the end of such an extraordinary year, Valete 2020 was always going to be extra special.
Weeks are invested in planning and preparation, with the crescendo building as the big night approaches: outfits finalised, menus set, rehearsals for the Valete Service taking place, the dining room transformed.
The evening began, as usual, with a whole College service in the beautiful Christ Church, a feature of which was the Valedictory. This year, the Valedictorian was Mitchell Thompson, a classics major who was completing four years at Aquinas. As would be expected from Mitch, it was an outstanding address..
At the end of the Service, after the symbols of leadership were handed over from the leaders of 2020 to those appointed for 2021, and the Sub Tuum Praesidium was sung, the incoming Student President Ruby Yates led the 2020 Valetants out of the church behind the Aquinas banner,
Drinks and canapes followed for parents, staff and members of Council while the College Photo and group photos was taken on the Gleeson Lawn.
A magnificently adorned dining room greeted everyone as they entered to begin what was a sumptuous meal. There was a real buoyancy in the room as 2020 was celebrated and the Valetants honoured. Formalities during the evening included the presentation of each Valetant, a toast to the College proposed by President Catherine Walsh with a reply from the Rector, and the naming of the Aquinian of the Year.
A recurring theme of everyone’s talks was the unique community that Aquinas is, and how much this was appreciated especially with the challenges of this year.
As guests adjourned to the Davenport Room at the conclusion of the Dinner, students made their way to the city to continue their celebrations.
All in all, a night to remember.
Please click here to read the 2020 Valedictorian, Mitchell Thompson’s Valedictory Address given at the Valete Service on 31 October.