Dux’s Academic Assembly Address

March 1, 2016

2015 College Dux Paddy Collier delivered the following address to the 2016 Academic Assembly which was held in the Br W. T. O’Malley Sports Centre on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Today I find myself in a position I never really believed I would be in. For me this is an opportunity to give something back to a school which has given me so much. I would like to do that by offering you all three pieces of advice. While these are directed at the senior students I still hope that the younger boys can take what I am saying and apply it later on.

The first piece of advice that I wish to share is that it is never too late to improve. For me this was especially applicable in Physics. Late in Term 3 I decided that I wanted to do better in Physics and I took it upon myself to put extra work in over the holidays.- The result was a score much higher than I had hoped for all year. For those entering Year 12 this year there is no reason that your past should dictate your future. Your success will be determined by the work you put in this year, not the work you didn’t put in last year.

The second piece of advice I would like to offer relates to the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle throughout Year 12. It is a common misconception that students in VCE should drop all other commitments in order to focus on school. I can confirm that this is far from the truth. Throughout last year I worked a part time job, played cricket and soccer, was a member of St Vinnies and the Student Council and maintained a healthy social life right up until exams. The result was Year 12 being the most enjoyable year of my schooling and it meant I did not feel swamped by school work which made VCE much more manageable. It is important to note that even with my extracurricular activities and the amount of work I did I still had plenty of free time. I firmly believe that it is more effective to manage your time well than to cut down on the activities you enjoy.

My final, and perhaps most valuable, piece of advice is the importance of your peers. Everyone knows that VCE is a competition and this makes it easy to forget how useful your classmates can be. Helping my friends in class meant that I consolidated my learning while assisting someone else in their endeavours. I would exchange notes constantly with them because I knew that they would have covered something I missed and the other way round. Use your peers as much as you can because at the end of the day you and your mates are all in it together and the support you offer each other is priceless.

I now turn to the wonderful staff of St Patrick’s College. All of you would have taught me something in my six years here and I only have fond memories of all of my teachers. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all of my VCE teachers – Mr O’Loughlin, Miss Brown, Miss Sharp, Mr Emerson and Mr Schuurs. Each of you has helped me in a unique way and there was never a time when I didn’t understand something you taught me, even if it took a few attempts. There is no way I could have ever achieved what I did without all of you, so thank you.

There is someone else I would have never achieved this much without. Will Briggs and I have spent the last 13 years together as class mates and as close friends. With four mutual subjects and similar goals it was Will who pushed me to succeed more than anyone. We would constantly compare our work and for the whole year we were only ever separated by a mark or two in all our classes. It was this healthy competition that allowed me to push myself as far as I could. On the day I ended up with a marginally higher score but it could have just as easily been the other way round any other day. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Will and thank him for keeping me going all year.

St Patrick’s College has been more than I ever imagined. I have had opportunities I didn’t even know existed and I have loved every minute of my time here. While I am sad to leave it makes me immensely proud to know that I have earned myself a place in the history of this great College. Best of luck with the rest of the year on behalf of the entire class of 2015, it has been a privilege to be here. Thank you.