Ian McKenzie

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — I am exceptionally proud and a little disappointed today to speak about Ian McKenzie, the founding principal of Alkira Secondary College, who recently announced his retirement after 43 years of educating our young people.

Ian often said that a true leader does not create followers, they create leaders. There can be no more perfect example of this philosophy than Alkira Secondary College. Staff and students alike have achieved extraordinary results and taken up leadership positions in countless fields throughout our community.

Ian fought for and created a culture of excellence, opportunity for all and hard work. Together he, his staff and of course their students worked together, supporting one another to achieve their very best.

It comes as no surprise to me — nor, I am sure, to those who know Ian — that on the same day he arrived in Australia in 1971, Ian took up a position at Noble Park High School. Since that fateful day Ian has worked with over 50 000 students and more than 3000 teachers. He taught at Koo Wee Rup Secondary College, led by example as assistant principal at Eumemmerring, Endeavour Hills and Fountain Gate secondary colleges and undertook outstanding work as the founding principal of both Kambrya College and Alkira Secondary College.

It was Ian’s vision and commitment for a new school in our growing community that saw the establishment of Alkira Secondary College. I take great pride in knowing that together we delivered the very best possible school and learning environment for our young people.

I was privileged to be at Alkira’s inaugural valedictory dinner when Ian announced his retirement. The entire room — staff, students and parents — stood and applauded him for all that he has given. Ian has touched the lives of thousands of students and teachers. His legacy is clear for all to see in their success and achievements. He will be missed.

As a year 12 student said, ‘Farewell, our Mr Chips’. Thank you, Ian, and best wishes for the next phase of your extraordinary life.