From the Principal

In line with recent Valedictory events, this fortnight’s e-News sees Principal Rob Brennan sharing his 2015 Year 12 Farewell Speech.

Good morning staff, students and guests,

It fills me with a great deal of pride to be standing here today as your Principal, as we reflect on and celebrate the past six years and look towards the future.

When I joined the Salesian College community four years ago, I never realised how connected I would become to the boys in this community and their families, which is what makes farewelling the fine young men each year very difficult and emotional.

Class of 2015 students, it was only six short years ago when you arrived here, and now, believe it or not, it’s time to move on. I’m sure you are asking, how did it all go so fast? Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that we were tiny little Year 7s, fighting with the locks on lockers, trying to figure out where the next class was, and generally looking bewildered. Now you sit there as the graduates of the class of 2015, ready to graduate and move forward in the world.

At this seminal moment, it would be remiss of us not to look back, reflect and reminisce.
How will you measure your time at Salesian College Chadstone?
In the beginning, you probably measured your time here in class periods, maybe minutes, counting down to recess or lunchtime. As you matured, the count was more likely to be the days until the weekend, the end of term, or the end of a year. This year you undoubtedly measured in weeks, terms, semesters, or perhaps SACS completed. Now you are probably working backwards and counting the time you don’t have to complete everything that is to complete.

You have moved from being those bewildered year sevens, to becoming sophisticated young men who believe they have it all figured out. Now that the end is here, and your rule is over, and as your time here becomes a distant high school memory, I ask; how you will ultimately measure your time at Salesian College?

Will it remain in periods, semesters or years, or will it be measured in the friendships you made, the experiences you have enjoyed, the battles you have fought, the success you have achieved and the times you shared together? I know the community will measure your time here in the relationships enjoyed, the sense of joy you have provided, the welcome and sense of belonging you share and the sense of pride witnessed among you. Each one of you will be remembered fondly for who you are.

As you reminisce, there’s one thing you need to remember. Look around you at those slightly older faces sitting in this auditorium. Look at your teachers’ faces. You will see something you may never have noticed. What I hope you see is pride, joy, a sense of triumph, a feeling of completion for getting you through your high school years. Oh yes, there may also be some signs of relief. I often recite a John Bosco saying with the staff, that, not only must the boys be loved they must know that they are loved. I can proudly and confidently say your teachers have done this and more. They have looked after and cared for you for six years. They have nurtured you to the point where it is time to move on: they will stay, hoping you will go on to fulfil your dreams, your hopes and aspirations.

It is important that you leave knowing that your legacy will live on. A collective legacy, not one achieved by any individual, or a single moment not even in a single year. Your legacy is the sum of the contributions made by you all over the past six years. Soccer premierships, participation in College gatherings, camps, how you wore the College uniform or didn’t wear the College uniform, your efforts in class, you interactions with each other and other members of the community all contribute to your legacy. A legacy that is incomplete as your place in Salesian College history will be judged in part by your academic achievements, which will be influenced significantly by your exam results. I encourage you not to let yourselves down now. Set academic standards that you will be proud of, standards that other groups will aspire to.

We have witnessed leadership on many levels, not limited to those elected or appointed to positions. Whilst Patrick, Danyon and Josh have lead by example and with distinction, the leadership team have been able support and have complimented their efforts to ensure a great year of which you can all be very proud.
You stand here today on the precipice of the future. It’s no longer a distant reality, it begins here. It begins today. Your time at Salesian began as children, you leave here as fine young men. You’ve completed your education here at Salesian College, an education grounded on the values of Jesus Christ. I encourage you to use the lessons learnt and values witnessed to serve as a very sound platform to launch yourselves into your futures.

As you leave I offer two pieces of advice:
Firstly, find your passion in life. You don’t have to look far or wide to discover that successful people all share one thing in common. They are all passionate about what they do. Whether it be a successful sportsperson, musician, writer, artist, priest or parent, they will all share the one thing; a passion for what they do. I pray that you will have the wisdom and the courage to chase your passion in everything you do. Remember, it has been said that if you find a job that your passionate about you won’t work a day in your life.

I read the other day a sound piece of advice “You can Google for an answer. You can Google for a mate. You can Google for a career. But you can’t Google to find what’s in your heart, the passion that lifts you skyward”. So I say for the little decisions in life, use your head or perhaps Google, but for the important decisions in your life, trust your intuition, and use your heart. John Stewart wrote “the unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life, is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective. The paths are infinite and the results uncertain”. So if there’s any real advice I can give you it’s this; University is something you complete. Life is something you experience… love what you do and be good at it.

My second piece of advice is:
‘Do Not Let Others Define Who You Are’.
Steve Jobs once said that “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
Be true to yourself and know that the only limits that really matter are the ones you put on yourself. With the talents you have, the lessons you have learnt, and the experiences you have gained, I want you to know there are no limits to what this group can achieve.

I believe that there are three types of people in this world:
1. Those that make things happen
2. Those who watch things happen
3. And those who wonder what happened.

I implore you to be the people who make things happen, who challenge the injustices in the world, who choose to take your own path not one dictated by the media.

Boys, I congratulate you on the completion of your secondary education. I wish you every success, not success judged by wealth and fame, rather the success of having a wonderful fulfilled life; one filled with happiness, surrounded by loving family and friends – and remember, as Salesian men, you are truly the best of the best.

GOOD LUCK to the Year 12 Graduating class of 2015 and God bless.

Robert Brennan