College Captain speech to 125th anniversary dinner

November 20, 2018

2018 College Captain Sam Williams delivered the following speech in the Olympic Room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the College celebrated its 125th birthday with a gala dinner for 400 people.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Sam Williams, and it has been my honour to be the college Captain for 2018. Tonight, is an opportunity to celebrate the long history of the College, as well as the progress and achievements which we have made together as a community. Indeed, as my cohort and I approach our final weeks as students of St Patrick’s, the chance to reflect upon both my own experiences at the College, and the 125 years of the College’s existence is particularly poignant.

Whilst the College has undoubtedly changed drastically over the last 125 years, tradition is still at the core of life as a current student. Our rich history is interwoven into everyday life and is an essential component of what makes St Patrick’s so unique. The College’s past does not define us, but it does inform and inspire us. For we are constantly aware that we do not just share the school grounds with current students. Instead, we are connected to the memory and legacy of the thousands who have walked the corridors before us. The numerous photographs which occupy pride of place in the school halls are a testament to the pride which all of us share in this past. They are the most obvious manifestation of the link which we have with all the past students of the College, a link which transcends time and place to connect us all as Patty boys. They remind us not only of what we inherit as students of the College, but also of the legacy which we leave behind for those who follow us.

More than the education we receive in the classroom, the greatest lesson of St Pat’s lies in coming together as a community. It is a lesson that allows us to contribute to something greater than our own aspirations, to strive to improve not only ourselves, but also the community which we are a part of. This animates and unites the student body, binding us with a strong camaraderie in which all of us share in the successes and hardships of one another. It is this attitude of contribution and collaboration that truly makes life at the College so rewarding and enjoyable. It is an attitude that allows us to aspire to excellence in all our endeavours, knowing that we have the support of the entire College community.- At the same time, when paired with the faith and values which we share as a school, it promotes humility and compassion, encouraging us to remember the people around us even as we strive for individual success and to commit to aiding others in whatever way we can.

For, at its core, St Patrick’s College is defined by the people who comprise its vibrant community. Its story is not the story of one entity, but rather a living canvas upon which every individual has left their own unique mark, contributing to the ongoing narrative of the College that will be passed on to future generations. And the diversity of these individuals and their unique talents is perhaps the College’s greatest strength. With excellence across the arts, sport and academia, the College is host to an array of people who each have a different perception of what St Patrick’s College offers. And yet, behind each individual interpretation there is a common foundation that remains unchanged.

It was in an effort to encapsulate the true essence of what it meant to be a Patty boy today that prompted us to reflect upon the mission statement of -Raising fine boys to the status of great men-. In a series of in-depth discussions with students and staff from across the College, we developed a vision of the values and standards that define the men we aspire to be. These expectations represent the heights that we aim to achieve and maintain not just in our time at school, but throughout our entire lives and form a strong foundation upon which the College can continue to build long into the future. From this dialogue within the school, we created a video to share with the community, and it is with great pleasure that I invite you all to enjoy our vision of what it means to be a great man at St Patrick’s College.”