2022 Valedictory Assembly Dux Speech

Good afternoon Mr Ashmore, Fr Dinh, staff, students and guests.

It’s quite a strange feeling being back in this hall after finishing year 12 about 3 months ago now. It is an honour to be back here after what was the most stressful and difficult, yet rewarding and enjoyable year of my life. It is somewhat challenging to comprehend how such contradicting ideas can be used to truthfully encapsulate what year 12 is all about. It’s about study and school of course, exams and results. But It’s also about growing up and finding yourself. It’s about fun and laughter, friends and connections, triumph and celebration.
So, to start us off, I’d like to talk about everything but the academics, the clear and undeniable positives of Year 12. 2022 was the best year of my life, not defined by my results, but by every event, every memory and every experience my final year brought. This is something that all of you can look forward to, especially the current Year 12’s. When those older than me said Year 12 would be the best year of your life, I always shrugged it off and never thought much of it. Yet, what they said, proved to be unmistakably true.

For example, the Year 12 formal was an absolute highlight, dressing up with all the lads and forming a raging mosh pit fit for the occasion.

I loved representing mighty Collinson, whether it be in sports or the prestigious pancake off which was Shrove Tuesday. Three years running we were the best at cooking and eating pancakes so I hope the new blood can help continue this trend. It really is an exhilarating feeling going out on the track, field or court, and giving your all. SCC is a force to be reckoned with, that incites fear in its adversaries… as long as we are competing in Div 2. But I’ll tell you younger lads, nothing can beat that elation of avoiding relegation from div 1 athletics just a few years back. The cheers rung loud and true. We’ve come a long way since then, with the lower year levels holding their own against the heavyweights of ACC sport.
And of course the memories of those last few days at school before our exams had started are to be savored. The final game of condensed soccer on the covered courts, with about 100 of us chasing 1 ball like seagulls. And the last time singing the Salesian anthem is to be cherished in the class of 2022’s minds far into the future.

Here I have discussed everything but the academics, but i did of course study, i wouldn’t be up here otherwise. I am proud to say that I grinded last year. I worked hard, especially in those last couple months as exams approached. I studied so that at the end, I could be proud of the work I put in, and have no regret in my results, knowing I couldn’t have tried any harder or studied any more, whilst still maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

School was not an easy journey with many ups and downs. There were days where I felt motivated and driven, and others where I felt lazy and disheartened. However, It was my fellow classmates who assisted me in overcoming these challenges in both keeping me accountable and making study more engaging and interactive. A special mention to Kevin Kang, who had his own way of keeping me accountable by laughing at any test mark that was lower than his. I guess that acted as a good source of motivation. On a serious note, that friendly competition between mates and studying in a group rather than individually was an effective method to working more often and more efficiently.

I believe having a balance between studies, leisure and work is vital to not only enjoying school, but also performing to the best of your ability. Continuing to work and play sports and socialise kept my mind at ease throughout the year and put me in a strong mindset to study when I needed to.

A strong piece of advice from me to attain and maintain a balanced Year 12 lifestyle is to figure out what’s important to you, and continue to do those things. Cut out the things in life which are not of benefit to you. Make time to socialise with the people you love and people you love to be around. Keep playing sport, keep going to work if that’s what you like. Play video games if that is what you enjoy! I sure did. However, all of these activities should be done in moderation and balance.

Thank you for listening to me ramble about my year and hopefully you got something out of what I have said. But before I leave you there are a few people I must thank for their contribution in my schooling life.

I’d like to take this time to show some gratitude to the teachers who played such a pivotal role in my Salesian journey.

Ms Tsiavis; from year 8 when I arrived at Salesian you were a kind Oratory teacher who was supportive and helpful all the way through to year 12. I still find it amusing that our Year 8 Biretta class was so disruptive and irritable that Miss Tsiavis left for England the year after just to get away from us. She always said it wasn’t because of us or that she had already planned to go before the year had started, but I say don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Mr Augustus; throughout Year 12, you were an amazing support. You always considered our situations, giving us time to study and being absolute legend to talk to. The banter of 12B and the chronicles of James Peluso vs the class was always entertaining. Thank you for being such a kind, considerate and supportive pillar in my final year of school.

To all of my year 12 teachers, Mr McDonald, Mr Khambete, Mrs Polouse and Dr Barclay. Thank you for all of the dedication and commitment you had toward my learning. The extra hours you put in and all of the knowledge you shared enabled me to perform to the highest level. And for that I am extremely grateful.

To my parents. You have molded me into the young man I am today and am so grateful to have you as role models and supporters. Your love and understanding throughout Year 12 helped me to stay healthy and dedicated as the arduous year went on. I also extend this praise to all the parents of last year’s cohort for the love and support you have shown your children, and also for dealing with our abruptness and mental meltdowns as the year concluded. To all you boys, be nice to your parents and consider what they sacrifice for you. Remember that they pay for you to come here, and they also probably make your lunch.

Lastly, to the class of 2022, my cohort. My Salesian experience was made so fruitful and memorable because of you. The sheer enjoyment that came from being at school with everyone made year 12 an amazing year, and took the focus away from studies and academics. And when it came to crunch time, all of you pushed me to my limit and helped me overcome many challenges, as I too, hope iI did the same for you.

This opportunity to come back and speak to you all has been an absolute honour. I wish the best for all of you here and urge you all to face your current and future challenges head on, so that you can be proud of yourself and have no regret in the effort you gave.

Thank you all for listening.