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As a young ten year old sitting underneath the Wominjeka Tree at Kostka, I was shy and nervous, and oblivious to the fact that some of my best mates to this day were probably a few metres away. As time elapsed, the days felt shorter and being an only child, these boys at Kostka not only felt like my mates but also my brothers.
Over my 4 years at Kostka, I developed very close bonds. Values of respect, decency and being a good person were taught to me. These very values ring true with MacKillop’s house motto, “Virtue Conquers All” so I knew that this house would be a perfect fit for me.
Starting a new part of the Xavier journey was always going to be a daunting prospect coming from Kostka and it was evident in the first couple of months at the school that friendship’s from the two separate junior campuses were strong. It was difficult to get a grasp of how long it would take for us to become one strong unit. It started with getting to know the boys of MacKillop and from there the connections grew and to this day I enjoy coming to school, because of the comradery and the culture we have created as a year level.
Along with these young men, there have also been a couple of teachers who have had a significant impact on me. A few months ago I saw Mr Thomson wearing his purple lab coat, at first I thought what is he thinking, but it showed me that his passion for this house is enormous and it urged me to relay this passion to the boys of MacKillop. Along with Mr Thomson, Ms Matthews who is currently overseas, made life coming into the Senior Campus a lot easier and her positivity has rubbed off on me making me a better person, which I am extremely grateful for.
A strong piece of advice I would like to give the Year 9’s here tonight is be yourself. From this, it will not only make you stronger and more confident people, but also your time at the Senior Campus will be much more enjoyable.
Tonight’s Gospel reading focuses on opportunities. Three different seeds have been planted on different soil resulting in a variety of outcomes. The seed cast in the gravel will not allow it to grow. Whereas, the seed falling on good soil will be amazed with what it can achieve and how big it can grow.
For me, the seed falling on good soil was an opportunity to go on World Challenge to Tanzania in the June/July holidays of 2014. I would never of even thought about this chance if it wasn’t for my parents and I am very grateful that they were able to support me in having a go at a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Going to Tanzania gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experience things that I may never be able to again. Building a school and mosquito nets over beds isn’t my ideal thought of comfort but it opened up my eyes to experience first-hand how those who are less fortunate than us in Tanzania go about everyday life.
This trip also helped to develop strong friendships with others in my group that might not have eventuated if it wasn’t for this trip. Three weeks in an entirely different country might seem like a long time but it flew, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share the experience with because they made it very enjoyable. However, it wasn’t all positive, there were days when I was missing home and feeling very sick but that was quickly overturned by seeing the joy on the faces of the Tanzanian children, showing me that they make the most out of what they have even though it might not be much. The whole Tanzanian experience will never be forgotten and will be remembered as a highlight of my life.
Throughout my time at Xavier, there have been a few missed opportunities such as not participating in Friday night School due to other commitments. Even though this is the case, another opportunity for helping those in need came forth with MacKillop Aged Care Services. This helped me grow into a stronger person because I learnt how to be comfortable in what may be confronting situation and therefore it has helped me in everyday life.
Opportunities are always presented in Xavier and I urge everyone to step out of their comfort zone, because you will feel better for it and become a more confident person. Late last year an opportunity to lead this house presented itself. I knew I wasn’t a natural born leader and that taking on a task like this would be very tough. Throughout this experience I learnt that leading isn’t just one person doing everything, it is getting everyone involved so that everyone feels apart of the house and I am extremely glad I went for it because it helped me grow into a stronger and more confident person. It not only gave me a chance to lead but also a chance to develop better relationships with the young men throughout the entirety of MacKillop.
Opportunities will be presented all around you. The seed is yours and what you do with it will make you as a person, hopefully you can choose the seed thrown on good soil because no one wants regrets in life.
Sean Stanley (House President of MacKillop)