College Captain’s address for Year 12 Academic Assembly- Cooper Hill- 2020
To the College community, staff, viewers, and Year 12 award recipients.
I hope you have enjoyed the ‘Semester 1 Year 12 Academic Awards Ceremony’ thus far. Despite the less than ideal situation that our cohort has been placed in, many of the boys here today have chosen to rise up and attempt to find their personal positives out of it. The past few weeks has been an immense shift in our form of education, only recently getting back to a slight norm. This unprecedented – a word that we have all heard from the news recently, circumstance has been tough for many of us and has truly tested our self-discipline. I know for a fact that motivation has been at an all-time low for many of us, especially with such high stakes as the HSC. What this new world has illuminated however, is the perseverance and resilience that we all have. Despite the lack of face-to-face learning, the challenge of getting out of bed when there isn’t a set place to be and the isolation created by physical distancing, the St. Dominic’s community has been excellent at bringing to light ways to maintain positivity.
The communication from the Pastoral Care and Social Justice staff has been outstanding. From social justice activities we can do from home such as the ‘Living it Rough Challenge’ to the ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ updates with small activities to keep our mental health in check. These little things are so important in keeping the community connected, as well as stopping us from falling into these slums of negativity where each day merges with the next.
After speaking with some boys in Year 12 after returning to school, the common theme I picked up was that they all found a new appreciation for face-to-face learning. School has been, for a majority of us, something very grounding and encompasses much more than our education. It holds our friendships, relationships with the staff and many of our achievements. With school being so presumed, we have all learned that we take it for granted. The daily routine, the timetabled lessons, the inside jokes, the interactions with mates and teachers- all put on pause.
What I hope comes of this is a boost of encouragement for our cohort to grow closer and take every single opportunity handed to us. With roughly thirteen weeks of in-school learning before we leave, being involved in as much as possible is vital. As Alexi referred to beforehand, balance is definitely important-not just in the academic sense, but in a more wholistic approach to life. But giving a go at everything offered to you and embracing the experiences that we can is so important in growth as an individual and as a community. Mr Ronchetti mentioned a few days ago to our year group to make the choice in being remembered as more than the ‘Covid-19’ year. As much as we would like to use that as the excuse for our poor effort or lack of motivation, it is up to us to make a change and to try our hardest in the following few weeks.
This assembly is an important reflection on all of the hard work of this cohort so far but does not dictate the future. The 2018 DUX of St. Dominic’s College, Ahmed Khan, emphasised the notion of not becoming complacent. If you have achieved what you want so far, keep that up and don’t settle. If you are watching this and have not yet achieved what you want, don’t settle either. Complacency leads to comfort in a world where everyone is aiming for the top spot.
So, to conclude, congratulations once again boys on all the hard-work, dedication, and persistence you have maintained. We are well on our way to leaving a positive mark on this College. Thank you to all of the staff that have supported us thus far and have been putting in all their effort, especially from home, to keep not only our academics in check, but our spiritual, physical and mental health in good order as well.