Larissa Named Inaugural Yalari Valedictorian for 2015

On Friday 28 August, 29 Year 12 Yalari students from around Australia met for a celebratory lunch at Duntroon. Podmore Foundation scholarship recipient Larissa (Year 12, Canberra Girls Grammar School) was named the inaugural Yalari valedictorian for 2015. Congratulations to Larissa and all other graduating Yalari scholarship recipients!

L-to-R: Llew Mullins (Yalari), Larissa, Podmore Foundation President Dr Bob Breen, and Waverley Stanley (Yalari)


In her acceptance speech, Larissa spoke about how honoured she feels to be recognized in this way and she made special mention of Podmore Foundation and its president, Dr Bob Breen, who she said have given her the “opportunity to travel overseas to Laos and Thailand, represent my school at a national level for basketball multiple times, as well as represent my country in Canada.”

She continued by thanking “all the people who have supported me over the last six years at Canberra Girls Grammar School including Mrs. Twigg and Mrs. Doherty for their motherly support and care in the boarding house…Meaghan D’Arcy, my KPMG mentor who helped me with anything I needed, my mother – my number 1 fan…and last but not least, to Waverly and Llew…Without your pure determination, love, passion and drive in founding Yalari, no one in this room would be sitting here today. It’s inspiring people like you both, who change our lives and give us the opportunity to exceed in what we love doing! Opportunities, which we wouldn’t have even dreamed of; if we attended the local high schools in our communities.”

Larissa closed her speech with a quote:

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world”!

We have this weapon now! Use it and do amazing things! You don’t have to be smarter than the next person; all you have to do is be willing to work harder! The only limits in life are the ones you make; believe in yourself and you will do unbelievable things.

Never forget who you are, where you came from and the people who have supported you through your journey.  I wish you all the best for your future endeavors and whatever happens, never give up! Dream, believe and achieve!

Larissa at the Yalari graduation lunch

Larissa with Podmore Foundation supporters and benefactors
L-to-R: Katherine Meagher, Malcolm Gilfillan, Larissa, Julie Gilfillan and Podmore Foundation President Dr Bob Breen

Yalari Year 12 Graduating Class for 2015
(Larissa is on the leftmost side, second row from the front)

Originally posted at Canberra Girls Grammar School’s News Blog