A beautiful ceremony was celebrated in the De La Salle chapel for the handing over of the College Cross from past students to our current student leadership team.
Hello and welcome back.
To the year 7s, welcome to O’Connor. You could say I’m a little biased but I think you’re going to have the best time here. To the year 12s up the back, I’ve sat where you are and have felt exactly the same mix of feelings. Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine as wine.
Thank you to Mr Roff for inviting me to talk, I’ve been to 6 of these ceremonies and never thought I’d be the one up here. I’m going to give you a quick zoom through my life from where I was here at O’Connor to where I am now.
My life at O’Connor was defined by one thing: handball. Every morning, recess and lunch you could find me knees to the concrete ruining my school shoes but having the time of my life. I loved high school and all the different things you could get involved with.
I was never that athletic, but in true Bradbury spirit I would give everything a try. In my year 10 swimming carnival I went into every race, probably trying more not to drown than anything else, and I came last in every single one.
But all I’m going to say is that points add up and if you look at the year 10 male swimming champions my name is on that list. I say that because without trying, you’ll never succeed and often our worst doubters are ourselves.
Going into stage 6 one thing I really remember was dropping everything for study- sport, music, reading. I thought that by taking these things out of my life I would have more time to study and help lift my grades. But I realised that just having more time doesn’t mean you do more, it just took away all of the fun things I had.
So I went into year 12 with a goal to give more, to get involved more, and to make the most out of the time I had here with my friends. I might not have gone as well as I could have but when I look back now that was one of my best years and I’m a better person for it.
After I left school I went to study engineering down in Sydney. In my first week I signed up for absolutely everything- exotic beer club, the socialist alternative, the tea and coffee society. But I quickly found between uni and college and friends I didn’t have time for any of these and I ended up doing none of them. It was a busy busy time, I was in a new city with new friends and life was flying by so fast.
And then in came to a stop. To a halt.
I had a strange syndrome which left me paralysed in a hospital bed for three months not being able to move, eat or breathe by myself. So much for my plans. And that was a really really hard time for me. But I think through each of our lives we’ll have these hard times, these quiet times. Finding it tough at school, hard times with your family, losing someone you know or even just struggling with being happy in life. All these things I’ve experienced but they’ve made me into who I am today.
So last year I went back to uni, back to my friends, back to Sydney. But I started to focus on living life in the slow lane, enjoying the sights, enjoying the people in it.
So where does that leave us? Well I hope learning a little about my story has told you how much I’ve come to value balance. In our lives we will have times where there’s too much, too little or nothing at all.
A favourite quote of mine is that 'Specialisation is for insects'. We’re often told to find our niche, or career, or the right group of friends. But I think that blinkers us to the galaxy of experiences that are available to us. I’m going to be an engineer, but my dream is one day to write a book. You might want to try the guitar, but down at the oval none of your mates do.
If there’s one thing I could call you to do this year is to try something new, go somewhere new, meet someone new. Maybe it won’t work out and let’s be real, most things don’t. But you’ll have tried, and that makes all the difference. Thank you.