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To begin the 2017 School Year, we celebrated and recognised the outstanding individual achievements from our 2016 VCE results. As a result, we welcomed back many of our Class of 2016 and their parents to a school assembly held at the Xavier Sports Centre at the Senior Campus.
The three duces of 2016, Hamish Adams (in absentia), Patrick Groenewegen and Colin Hwang were awarded the Thomas Molomby Prize for the Dux of Xavier College, for each achieving a perfect ATAR score of 99.95. Harrison Vanderkley was also awarded the 2016 Ob Insigne Meritum Award for his outstanding efforts in achieving an ATAR of 99.00. Several of these high achievers gave inspiring speeches to the assembly, which are listed below.
(left to right) Patrick Groenewegen, Colin Hwang and Harrison Vanderkley receiving their awards
"Every Xaverian is constantly reminded to grasp every single opportunity that comes their way, and I couldn't agree more that this is important. However, I would like to stress that it is extremely important to simply be yourself. Don't do something just because you've been told to do it by your school, you should have a real passion for getting involved. If you truly love doing Ignatian Service, then take the opportunity to participate. But if it's really not your think, don't feel obliged to participate or disheartened by the vast commitments made by other people. The same applied for any co-curricular activity that the school offers. Every one of you has something that sets them apart from the rest, always keep that in mind when you hear about a classmate receiving a leadership position or playing sport at a high level."
Patrick Groenewegen - 2016 Thomas Molomby Prize for the Dux of Xavier College
Colin Hwang, another recipient of the 2016 Thomas Molomby Prize for the Dux of Xavier, shared a heartwarming reflection on his school life with the audience. He expressed his sincere thanks to his parents and friends, but also to the Xavier community, for the unique chance to be on a scholarship to attend Xavier College.
"The exam period in itself was somewhat surreal. The much-anticipated culmination of 13 years of education felt inexplicably anti-climatic. In addition to the months of preparation, I put a great portion of my exam performance down to my state of mind walking into the examination room. It may sound overly optimistic, but I went into every SAC and exam with the belief that I could achieve 100% and a dogged determination to not drop a mark. Additionally, whilst the year level waited and chatted anxiously before exams, I removed myself from that environment and spent 15 minutes in reflection. The realisation that the exam isn't the be-all and end-all meant that unlike many of my competitors state-wide, I felt calm and at ease. I reminded myself before every exam that there's so much more to life than the outcome of the upcoming couple of hours."
Harrison Vanderkley - 2016 Ob Insigne Meritum Award
Harrison Vanderkley speaking to the assembly
2016 is also the first year of the Dalton Award, named after Fr Dalton SJ who purchased the land that the Senior Campus stands on today, which was presented to students who achieved an ATAR of 95.00 and over.
Recipients of the 2016 Dalton Award
To conclude the assembly, Rector Fr Chris Middleton SJ gave a short reflection:
"As we begin the academic year for 2017 we recall that we walk in the footsteps of so many, some of them members of your families. There are few areas of Australian life that Xaverians have not contributed to – politics, academia, the arts, sport, the professions, the armed services, business, church ….. this year we add another strand to this living tradition.
At Xavier we refer frequently to the ideal of generosity and to the goal of the formation of the whole person. This is not just empty rhetoric. These young men before us have embodied our ideals and they show that one can achieve academic excellence and at the same time be generous in participation and involvement. Many played for our Firsts in various sports, others simply had a go, while others were involved in Music and Drama and Debating. Many undertook the Kairos retreat, immersions and World Challenge. Many hours of Ignatian serve were undertaken. Some were outstanding school leaders, while others were among the quiet members of the year level. They were involved across every aspect of school life. They grew in friendship and in generosity.
The presence of these young graduates here today is a reminder that whether you aspire to excellence in your studies, or in any other area of activity or interest, it is possible to achieve success and to be ‘men for others’. It is possible to develop the whole person – this is our dream for every student here this morning. Their presence this morning should give us confidence in this task of growth and education."