2017 St Joseph’s College DUX, Annual Prize Giving speech.

Posted on February 9, 2018

Good Evening Mrs Kelly, Dr & Mrs Hayes, Br Anthony, The Brothers Community, Staff,

Parents and Boys.

 

Now tonight I stand in a hall that is, quite noticeably, teeming with change. As we’re all

aware, we have a new leader, Dr Chris Hayes, sitting in the Headmaster’s seat and ready

to guide Joeys through the next chapter of its long and illustrious story. Similarly, there

are over 200 new boys scattered around the hall for whom this prize giving is one of their

first experiences at the College, and the same can be said for a number of staff. Yet

despite this change, as I walked back in here tonight, there is a noticeable stability about

the place, a stability that stems from the College’s rich traditions, excellent culture and

great camaraderie, both amongst the boys and the staff. It is this stability, pervasive

throughout my six years at Joeys, that enabled me, as with all the boys seated on the

stage, to not only succeed but flourish in an environment that celebrated success and

rewarded hard work, whether that be in the classroom, on the sporting field or in the

performing arts. For this I am very thankful.

 

In thanking this College tonight, I am really thanking the wonderful people, whether they

be staff, parents or boys, who make up this special community. Firstly, I think it is

appropriate to thank my teachers. While thanks is owed to all the teachers who guided

our cohort over the past six years, I personally would like to extend my gratitude to my

own teachers, Mr Lane, Mrs Schofield, Mr Goss, Ms Angeloni, Mr Clark and Mr Habib. All

of these people have truly given their all – not only for my benefit – but like all teachers at

this school, for that of each of their students. Whether it be through their tireless effort to

mark practice responses, or their assiduous devotion to preparing classes, it was the

commitment of all the teachers at Joeys to our learning that encouraged us to excel and

eventually achieve the results that we did. Similarly, I believe that Mr Sidgreaves, Mr Frost

and Mr Matthias all deserve a great amount of thanks. While it has been said before and

will be said for years to come, the three of them combined last year in a truly outstanding

way, allowing for everyone to not only strive for better things, but enjoy themselves in the

process. I can safely say that Year 12 was the most rewarding and enjoyable year I had 

whilst at the college, and this can certainly be attributed to their efforts across every

aspect of our busy college lives.

 

I would really like to thank my parents and grandparents for their immense sacrifice over

the past six years. During this period, they have all dedicated so much of their time and

effort to my schooling, being my main supporters and prime sources of inspiration. Each

of you boys here in front of me tonight have someone who is in your corner quietly

supporting you. Whether it be parents, grandparents, guardians or carers – we owe so

much to those who look after us. For me, the unfaltering support and sacrifice of my

parents, even in times of their own illness, has been truly outstanding, and inspired me to

jump at everything the school has to offer with enthusiasm and strength. So Mum and

Dad, Thank You.

 

The final thank you tonight goes to the Class of 2017. While only a small portion of the

year are able to be present tonight, I think it is pertinent for me personally to give thanks

to the best bunch of people I have ever met. Throughout our 6 years, the cohort grew

really close, and while we had a strong reputation for being rowdy and loud, just as

fearsome was the care and support which existed amongst the boys. Whilst there was

always strong competition, whether for positions in teams or ranks in subjects, this never

detracted from the mateship and camaraderie prevalent in our year, and everyone’s

willingness to help each other was pivotal in our cohorts wide array of successes last

year. So for fostering such a positive atmosphere and for just being great blokes, thank

you.

 

If I can leave any lasting pieces of advice to the boys in front of me, this is the most

important. Enjoy it. By no means am I suggesting you take a free ride and slack off. But

make the most of the experience while it lasts. Get into your sport, spend as much time

as you can with your mates and take pleasure in your study. If you get this balance right,

none of them will seem like a chore, and when you love what you’re doing, you’ll reap the

rewards of your effort.

 

As I mentioned earlier, Joeys has an inherent stability about it that comes through the

routines and great culture. For me personally, I was a Weekly Boarder since Year 7. The

balance and routine that the boarding environment gave me was pivotal in reducing

stress and truly fostered a work ethic that I know was crucial to my final results. If you 

stick to these routines and work hard, keeping that balance between all aspects of

College life, you will enjoy everything about the place and success, whatever form it may

take, will stem from that enjoyment.

 

So, as I look back on the chubby, nervous little Year 7 that I was who walked through

those gates six years ago, whose early stature would earn him the lasting nickname

“Kegs”, and compare him to the young man that now stands before you, I realise just how

important these years have been. Thanks to Joeys. I, like many before, have developed

into a confident, driven, passionate young man, making plenty of friends in the process

and even slimming down a bit (although the nickname has stuck). I’m sure it’s been said

before and will definitely be said again, but it is the special nature of Joeys that has

allowed for this growth, and I’m sure that there are hardly any schools, organisations

even, that can have such a pivotal and positive impact on anyone. So boys – take up the

opportunity with open arms, and I assure you, you will better for it.

 

Thank you.

 

THOMAS McGREGOR