College Dux - Opening Service speech

​The following message was given by Jacob Moffat, Class of 2019 College Dux, at the 2020 Opening Service.

Good morning students, staff, family and friends. Thank you for the opportunity to speak this morning. I would like to take this chance to say a brief thank you. 

I address my whole-hearted thanks to the whole community of Victory. That includes everyone in this room and beyond. From the grounds and maintenance staff to the teaching and executive teams.  Each and every one of you use your gifts and work hard to make Victory the unique school that it is. I say unique because I genuinely do not know of any other school with the same standards of excellence coupled so closely with intimate and personal relationships between staff, students and families. Victory truly has been a special place for me and one that I will not quickly forget.  

I would also like to thank Victory for the high standards that they set for my education. I personally thank all of my teachers over the years for pushing me and encouraging me to aim high. 

Although receiving the title of Dux is an honour and a privilege, its significance is minor when I weigh it up against my year twelve experience. 

I say this because at the start of the year I set a few goals for myself. These were not academic targets but simply a few key things that I said to myself I would use to measure the success of my Year 12. Specifically, these were: to enjoy my year, to keep healthy physically and mentally, and to simply do my best.  These were not academic goals and they certainly weren’t a certain score that I wanted to achieve. As a result, when I finished Year 12 and I spent a brief moment reflecting upon my time, I realised that I had been able to maintain my mental and physical health, I felt that I had put my best foot forward and I certainly enjoyed myself.  In that moment, I knew that my final year of schooling had been successful. 
This was before any scores were released and having the satisfaction of already achieved a successful year, in my mind, was a huge relief.   

And so, to all the Year 12s and beyond...

If you’ve fallen asleep, this is the time to wake up and listen because if I can offer one piece of advice this would be it: Spend some time to sit and think about how you would like to measure your success. What, when you reflect on your Year 12 in 10 months time, is going to indicate a successful year for you personally? 

For some of you, this may be a certain ATAR score and that’s totally fine.  But for many of you I would encourage you to set something a little bit different.  Your goal may be to stay positive, to be organised, to look after your mental health or simply to make memories.  When you have a goal that is not based on scores or results, it truly does reduce your anxiety and reduces the amount of time you spend worrying about things you cannot change.  Instead of fretting about that SAC you just sat or how you are going to prepare for exams, enjoy each day and focus on the big picture.  

And now I turn to the rest of the student body who don’t even know what a SAC is or who are just really bored right now.  If that’s you, I’d love it if you could listen up.  
My message to you is the same. 

When you’re at school, do not think that you are a good or bad student based on if you get a good score on a test, make it onto a particular sports team, get a ribbon at a Carnival, or are able to draw incredible art. Each of you have individual strengths and talents. You all have things that you are great at. 

To try and demonstrate this, I would like to you picture a goldfish in a tank. Nothing special, just a normal goldfish. Now if you were to ask the goldfish to climb a tree it wouldn’t be able to do it, would it?

So, if we were to judge a fish by its ability to climb trees, then the fish would spend its whole life believing that it is a failure. However, fish are amazing swimmers and that is what they are known to be good at.  

I want you to imagine you are like this fish. Each of you is very good at something or maybe lots of things. I encourage you not to focus on the things that you aren’t good at but to enjoy the things you are good at.  Spend time doing them, pick subjects that you love and follow your passions. If you are like a fish that cannot climb a tree, do not get hung up on it but rather focus on doing what you love.  

I wrote part of this speech in a bus in Indonesia and as I travelled I was reminded of how lucky I was to attend school in Australia.   

I tell you this to highlight the importance of making the most of your education. Approach each day with gratitude and aim to make the most of it.  

For the Year 12s. This is your last shot. You will soon start to experience all of your last’s.   The last carnivals, last tests, final days.   

I encourage you to cherish them. Do not wish them away and make the most of them all. Everyone says it, but the year goes by so so fast. In the famous words of Ferris Bueller, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while. You might miss it.  

Jacob Moffat
College Dux, Class of 2019

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