College Captain Valedictory Speech

Mr Ashmore, Mr Carter, Fr Chambers, staff, students and parents,

Where has time gone? There will come a time where each and every one of us, takes a final step outside the gates of our beloved Salesian College. With a bitter-sweet tinge of relief, fear and excitement, we’ve observed this on an annual basis, but in 2021, it’s my turn and the turn of the 160-odd boys before me.

On February the 1st 2016, just under 200 twelve-year-old boys ventured beyond any zone of comfort, embarking upon the beginning of a six-year journey at Salesian College. Although some of us have fallen or joined along the way, the core spirit of our cohort has always been sustained. The larrikin spirit and attitude of the class of 2021 has never looked back. I’ll always remember the days of our junior years with fond memories of all of the laughs and how quickly we were able to connect as a cohort. No doubt, as the years progressed, the work became a bit harder and came in greater waves; though not to douse our spirits.

To all of our teachers, regardless if I have personally had you as subject teachers, the smiles and greetings that I have received across the years from you all have truly gone a long way in making me feel at home. Thank you. To Mr Chen and Miss Capomolla, thank you for always being prepared to drop everything just to check up on me and reassure me. I would truly not be here today, had it not been for your guidance.

To Miss Tilley, thank you for being such an inspiring presence for my leadership through this year. No doubt, it was such a difficult year to step up to the role of student leadership coordinator on your own, but the work that we have achieved this year as a group is a true testament to your character and your dedication.

To Mr Carter, I’m sure that this was not how you had envisioned your first year into retirement, but I truly hope we’ve made it an enjoyable one. Your leadership and guidance this year has no doubt, been a source of inspiration for myself and our cohort, I for that, I thank you.

Finally, to Ms Rabot, taking-over as our co-ordinator would arguably have been one of the toughest jobs on the market at the time. Yet, you stepped up to the role so seamlessly, that it was as if you’d had years in the role. As a cohort, you’ve always put us first and although we may have driven you to insanity in a few instances, you never stopped doing so. Thank you for making the final years of high school, and easily the most challenging, so enjoyable and memorable.

This place, this community has and always will form a huge part of my identity. For this, I am eternally grateful to everyone that has been part of this community. To those working tirelessly behind the scenes and to all of the boys that have made the college what it is today: thank you all.

Thank you also, to the year 12 leadership team and especially, to Robbie and Keelan. Under the most difficult of circumstances, we have been able to forge such a strong bond as leaders and as mates. Though we had not achieved all of the ambitions that we set out to do under the conditions we were met with, I truly hope that the legacy that we have left behind is remembered and built upon.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the greatest inspiration in my life – my family. My parents are quite easily, the hardest working individuals I have ever observed and it is through this undying commitment that I have been able to adopt a similarly diligent work ethic. The countless sacrifices and hours of working and driving us to school over the years have not been forgotten, nor have they gone to waste. I think it is only fitting that I say to them now: Con cám ơn bố mẹ cho nhửng gì mẹ và bố đã làm cho con trong 13 năm trời học hành. Con hứa là con sẽ tiếp tục cố gắng học cho mẹ và bố được hãnh diện và cho nhửng gì mẹ và bố đã làm cho con sẽ xứng đáng. To my sister as well, thank you for all of the help over the years with my studies and my ideas; no doubt I will return the favour – there is a big future ahead for you.

To the boys in the junior years, I think the greatest pearl of wisdom that I am keen to share, is to absorb everything. Immerse yourself within this school’s rich culture and most importantly, enjoy it and be yourself. Something that I have tried to live by this year, in times of hardship, is: “only those who never stand up, never fall down”. Over my six years here, I’ve been able to cultivate a level of confidence in my ability and myself, to where I am now, not afraid. What I have learnt, is to take solace in your courage to ‘stand up’. Back yourself, because once you keep standing up, anything is possible. Take it from me, a person too shy to accept an offer to present their McKertich speech in year 7 to standing here today, presenting my final speech as the College Captain.

As the clock winds down to the final second of our time here on these grounds, I hope that I have made each and every one of you proud. Being honoured as the College Captain was initially a fruit of my wildest imagination. However, as I stand here today, I can truly say that I dreamt it into reality. I gave my all and every single time I donned the red, silver and blue, I did so with pride and honour, knowing that I was representing the greatest community that I have ever been part of.

I think it’s fitting that I give my last word to my brothers of SCC21. Although it wasn’t exactly the fairy-tale ending that we had all hoped for, it was one that we certainly owned. I hope that each and every one of you boys, the greatest successes for the future. Take in your stride, all of the qualities that we have developed together as a group, and come into your own; show the world what a Salesian boy of SCC21 is truly capable of.

As the dawn of a new chapter looms on the horizon for Salesian College, part of me cannot help but feel a tinge of discontent at not co-authoring the next; though the role that I and we as a cohort have played in the last is something to which I will be eternally proud of. As the Salesian family looks forward to 2022 and beyond, I will for certain, be looking on with “joyful pride” at having been part of this amazing community. Thank you all.

Steven Tran
2021 College Captain