2018 Valedictory Dinner – OCA speech

November 26, 2018

One of the major highlights of the 2018 Valedictory Dinner was the stirring speech delivered- by current teacher and Old Collegian Shane Murphy (SPC 1993-98) who welcomed our graduates into the ranks of Old Collegians.

A transcript of that speech follows:

-It is my honour to formally welcome to you to the ranks of the St Patrick’s College Old Collegians Association. There are Old Boys in the stock markets of Europe, the churches and classrooms of Africa, and on the battlefields of the Middle East.

Even here, at this time, in this place, you are surrounded by Old Boys -“ and we welcome you.

So how did you get here?

Most of you have been here since Year 7, with the nervous excitement, overloaded school bags and uncomfortable neck ties. Some of you have only recently come to St Patrick’s College in the past few years.

But it doesn’t matter.

Most of you are Ballarat born and bred. Some have come from distant places, and you are far from home.

But it doesn’t matter.

A man can have two homes, gentlemen. – And whatever your story, this place is now and will forever be your home.

It doesn’t matter who you were before, it only matters who you are now, and you are now and will forever be a Patty Boy. You belong to us, and we belong to you. Ecka Dora, now and always.

But consider. – Of all the times you’ve walked down the College hallways on the way to class, how many times have you looked -“ really looked – at the rows of class photos on the walls?

You may not often look at them, but they have always been looking at you.

These photos, these silent guardians, they watch each generation who comes after them. They guard you, they guide you, and they picked you up if you should fall.

You now belong to those rows of faces. You now belong to memory, but while your time in uniform is ending, the road does not end here.

It is true that life is a journey, and the world is full of wonder and beauty, faith and compassion. But there is also darkness, hatred and fear in the world.

And it is in the face of this darkness that we need good men.

Men of conviction. Men of courage. Men of faith-¦ but ultimately, boys, men of compassion. And I can say sincerely that you are all good men.

So, as you travel down that road of life, one day you may find yourself lost in the dark and surrounded by shadows, on a lightless street, unsure of how to find your way home.

It is in these moments, in these times of fear and loss, that those who love you will be there for you -“ just as you will be for them.

Your families will be there. Your friends will be there. And the Old boys will be there as we have always been -“ to guard you, to guide you-¦. To pick you up if you should fall.

That’s what being an Old Boy is. That’s what Ecka Dora means:

-No one ever gets left behind. And no one ever walks alone.-

You will never walk alone gentlemen, and where ever tomorrow takes you, whatever may happen on the road that lays ahead, your will always carry St Patrick’s College with you.

Because you are a Patty Boy. You are an Old Boy, and we are proud of you.

And you will never walk alone. –