2022 Principal Valedictory Assembly Speech

Good morning Fr Joe, students, staff and parents,

It is wonderful to be with you today to celebrate the academic achievement of our students from the Class of 2022 as well as other students across all year levels at the College.

I begin by recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ spiritual and cultural connection to Country and a commitment to Reconciliation, I would like to acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country. We respectfully acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging and remember that they have passed on their wisdom to us in various ways. Let us hold this in trust as we work and serve our communities.

The purpose of schools, education and study is learning.

Learning at Salesian is holistic and takes its form in a variety of guises in our varied focussed classrooms, performance on stage or participation on fields and ovals. Importantly learning also involves your spiritual growth experienced by interacting with rituals, stories, texts, symbols and religious and spiritual experiences. Our Catholic and Salesian ethos underpins all aspects of College life.

We all can (and do), learn here at Chadstone in our joy-filled Catholic learning community

Don Bosco himself described “learning as a matter of the heart.”

Our Salesian Charter highlights that our school community today is challenged to be:

A school that prepares for life by:

  • Encouraging a passion for life-long learning and a quest for excellence
  • Developing a sense of meaning and purpose, which expresses itself in a spirit of service and self-giving
  • Proclaiming the challenge of community building, commitment to others and responsible decision making
  • Cultivating resilience, resourcefulness and adaptability as important skills for life

Our Class of 2022 demonstrated these aspects of our Charter in spades, with each other and our community.

Led by our College Captains and leaders, the Year 12s encouraged one another to be passionate about learning and creating an academic culture. The quest for excellence was there for all to see in the dedicated collaborative approach in the classroom, study hall and library.

The Class of 2022 were instrumental in welcoming all to our community and partaking in and promoting our Catholic faith and Salesian charism. Years 12s supported one another, looked out for our Year 7 and 8 students and in groups regularly attended Friday mass. The boys gained purpose and meaning through their leadership, service and commitment to each other and towards others in our community

It is also worth noting that the Class of 2022 had their Year 10 and 11 studies in lockdowns and began Year 12 with uncertainty of classes, events and activities. Our senior students were resilient, resourceful and adaptable. The comradery, support and collaboration amongst the boys helped them all achieve success.

The 2022 results were exceptional by the boys and I would like to commend all students, staff, parents, and members within our community who have contributed to the individual stories.

Each Salesian student has had his own pathway supported by the College staff, peers and family. Whilst celebrating high achievers today, there are many students not here today who achieved personal excellence, many well beyond their own expectations due to their hard work. Each of our students from the Class of 2022 have learnt in different ways growing into independent learners.

I recognise the increasing number of young people who have graduated from our community who have completed the VCAL Applied Learning Program and our VCE Unscored pathways. For these equally valued Year 12 students, success comes in many forms, including work placements, apprenticeships and further study.

Each student achievement needs to be celebrated. We are proud of every boy for his academic achievements and wonderful contribution to school life at Chadstone. The Class of 2022 graduated as good Christians and honest citizens with Catholic values nourished by the Salesian charism and fond friendships with one another and of our school.

I am proud of all our graduates.

It brings me great joy to stand here today to celebrate our high achievers who challenged themselves to use their God given talents to achieve excellence in their studies. To be recognised as a high achiever amongst your cohort is a considerable achievement and you should all be genuinely proud of yourselves. I offer my congratulations to students from the class of 2022 and 2023 who received accolades today for their VCE and VCAL studies.

Congratulations to 2022 College Dux Jake Johnston who achieved an ATAR of 99.45, placing his result in the top 1% of students across Australia. Jake, as College Vice Captain, achieved the following Study Scores over 40: 47 English 47 Further Mathematics, 46 Mathematical Methods, 40 Physics, 44 Business Management (Year 11). Jake mentioned that his most satisfying result was the 38 Specialist Mathematics. Jake intends to study his first preference of Engineering and Commerce at Monash University.

As the 2022 College Proxime Accesit Dux, Kevin Kang achieved an ATAR of 99.2. Congratulations to Kevin who achieved a perfect 50 in Further Mathematics as well as 47 English, 42 Economics, 41 Accounting 41 and Mathematica Methods 40.

Jake and Kevin were very competitive yet helped each other to achieve their amazing personal results. They both also spent time helping their peers with their learning.

With 25 students achieving an ATAR of 90 or more, 58 achieving an ATAR of 80 or more and almost 9% of study scores being above 40, it was evident that the boys worked hard and that they collaborated with one another to achieve personal excellence.

Fourteen Year 11 students also achieved study scores over 40 with numerous others achieving scores in the high 30s. Congratulations. There is an opportunity for the Class of 2023 to build upon the study culture developed by last year’s students.

I congratulate the many current students from Years 8 to 12 who have received recognition for their academic achievements in 2022. It gives me great joy to celebrate your success and reward for effort. I encourage you to continue your studies in a diligent manner and to support others in your classes with their learning.

Thank you to our amazing educators who promote initiative, a spirit of enquiry and a desire to strive for academic excellence through innovative and supportive teaching.

Don Bosco worked with the youth and engaged them in their faith, learning and in meaningful work. In the depths of the industrial revolution, a time of heartache, poverty and unemployment, Bosco fostered opportunities for young boys to learn and work in a printing press, small business, construction and a bakery.

Our Salesian staff are replicating Bosco’s work with contemporary opportunities to develop all of you so that you can achieve personal excellence. Thank you.

My hope is that our Dux Assembly provides a source of aspiration for each of you and offers and opportunity for you to reflect and contemplate the possibilities ahead with your studies.

To take some strategies from today for your learning I offer you these insights:

  • Set clear, meaningful achievable goals.
  • Work hard and attend to your studies to achieve personal excellence by being diligent, organised and persistent
  • Access the people and resources at Salesian College and beyond to seek help, guidance and coaching
  • Demonstrate kindness and love, be compassionate and forgiving, and do good to others.
  • Strive to live our College values of belonging, respect, integrity, joy and dynamism in all that you to become a good Christian and honest citizen.

I will finish with the writing of Pope Francis who shares a special message for us all:

A person needs little to live well, especially if they cultivate additional pleasures and find joy in encounters with others, in service, in developing their gifts, in music and art, in contact with nature, in prayer. Happiness means knowing how to limit certain needs that only serve to confuse us, and by so doing, we remain open to the many different possibilities that life offers.

I wish each of you all the best for your learning and encourage you to access the opportunities available to you at our great school.

Mark Ashmore