Good morning Gess Carbone, Sisters of St Joseph, Mrs McGuigan, distinguished guests, parents, staff, and students. I am honoured to be the College Dux of 2015 and it is my greatest pleasure to be here with you today.
I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to the graduating class of 2015 on your achievements and success.
At the beginning of Year 12 I wrote a letter to my future self as part of the National Youth Science Forum. The letter went as follows:
My goal is to persist through Year 12 and achieve the best grades possible without burning out.
I am prepared for shortcomings and failures but I am keen to do my best - whatever my best may be.
During NYSF, I learnt that if life doesn’t go as planned, you take the alternate, more scenic route. Enjoy the journey. Don’t rush. Don’t burn out. And if you’re already burnt out, just get back on that horse and ride.
Keep going, do well, and don’t forget to pray.
Kylie (before Year 12)
I received this letter just before end of year exams. I never thought I would say this, but hearing back from myself was a huge comfort. The letter reminded me to persist through Year 12 and not let this be the end of a chapter, but instead the beginning of a new one.
Throughout my years in high school, I learned that we are defined not only by the opportunities we seize but also the opportunities we miss. As much as I wanted to blame something or someone else, I knew that it was these missed opportunities that would propel me forwards to aim for more and for better.
But aiming for something bigger and better was definitely not easy. Even though I may have really wanted to be the ideal student, I definitely was not - in fact, far from it. Last year, I loved the first lesson of everyday because I could loiter around in admin to enjoy the company of my dear friend, Elyse. I would daydream in English about the day I would finally drop the subject. I would linger in the Specialist Maths class talking about cats and dogs even though I wasn’t even enrolled in the class.
I would be lying if I told you I was the best student. I will admit, however, that no matter how difficult and demanding Year 12 became, I still loved learning. Yes, I dreaded the stretching hours of writing practicals, endless note taking, and tedious practice questions. But I loved what I learned and I loved learning - and this is what got me through.
Since I was young, my parents always told me, “Có công mài sắt có ngày nên kim”, which translates to, “If you put in the work to sharpen the steel, it will eventually turn into needles”. It wasn’t until the last couple of years of high school that I truly learned the importance of practising persistence and patience. No matter how desperately I wanted to give up on studying or on myself, with a gentle nudge from family, friends and teachers I would push through what seemed like a wall of bricks. And in the end, the bruises, tears and scars were all worth it.
I want to formally thank my parents for their unconditional support and patience. Thank you to the staff of the College and the Sisters of St Joseph - your smiles never failed to brighten my day. I am especially grateful for my teachers, for their guidance and reassurance. Lastly, I thank the College for providing me opportunities to grow and a community in which I could belong.
To all the girls who are here today at the beginning of a new chapter at Mary MacKillop College: this is your time to shine. The year will end before you know it and hopefully you can look back and laugh, smile and know that it was all worth it. So have confidence and take every opportunity to learn. Most importantly, have fun - because as Dr Seuss said, “Fun is good.”
2015 Dux of the College