Captain’s Corner – Final Captains Address

On Friday last week, I had my final Captain’s Address in front of the entire school. I wanted to allow our entire school community to have the chance to read what I said. Something I didn’t include in my speech was how important our community is. Our nuturing and passoniate school community has truly shaped not just myself, but our entire year 12 cohort for the better.

Good morning Mr Zavone, special guests, staff and students,

It is my great honour and privilege to stand before you this morning and address the whole St Edmunds community as College Captain for the last time.

However, for me, today is a sombre day. This is because for myself and my fellow Year 12 Forever is a very strong word, but one which, in this case, is appropriate. We will forever be Eddies boys, we will forever be a part of the Eddies community, but soon, never again will we walk through these doors as students.

This fact brings with it a wide range of emotions. Most notable of these being sadness, satisfaction but also excitement. Satisfaction because we have successfully navigated through our thirteen years of schooling. Sadness because we are leaving a place that is more than a school, more than an institution, but a home. And of course, excitement for what the world holds in store for us. The door has been opened, and it is time for us to step through and begin the next great adventure of our lives.

What I love most, however, about this year’s graduating class is the strong sense of camaraderie. Over our time here at St. Edmund’s strong relationships have been developed, and friendships formed that will last a lifetime. People often use the term brotherhood to describe this, but at this stage, I would refer to it as family.

We are a family that is supportive, inclusive and resilient. Just like all families we go through our good times and our bad times, but we always manage to pull through. Most importantly, we are a proud family. Proud of each other’s accomplishments, be it in academics, sport, co-curricular or social justice and proud of each other’s abilities. Perhaps most of all, we are proud of this school, proud of its history and proud to be a part of such a wonderful community.

Not long ago I was chatting to a former student. I asked him about what life was like after Eddies. He said that it was good… but it was not the same. He said that the sense of pride and the sense of community, that we have here at St. Edmund’s, …you never have again.

This is one of the many reasons why I will miss this College so much. I know it sounds cliché, but I mean it when I say that I love coming to school every day.

As young men, we have been cared for in many ways. We have always been placed most definitively in the centre of decision-making processes. This is a result of talented and caring staff that are well led in many areas. Amongst many things the SEC staff do well, ensuring Year 12, 2020 were given the opportunity to flourish was always towards the top of the list. Today many staff are here. Some of whom first taught us when we were 9 years old. We need to never forget that some of us would not have made it here today without this wisdom and collective decision-making ability of the Eddies staff. To our teachers we thank you for preparing us for what comes ahead. At the same time, we have been gifted with some great teachers and staff members who deserve a special mention.

I would like to begin by thanking our canteen staff. Since year four, you have tirelessly catered to our needs, our BBQs, our noise and you have always done so without the true praise that you deserve. In your absence and on behalf of year 12, but especially your biggest customer, Corey Davis, thank you.  I would now like to thank each of our classroom teachers and all of the support staff. Although we have had far too many teachers over our 9 years at this college to even remember, we are grateful for being granted the opportunity to reach our full academic potential. Included in this is our tutors. I was fortunate enough to have the same tutor since year 8. This has allowed for a connection between him and our year 12’s in the tutor group, like no other. So, I would like to extend an individual thanks to Mr Giteau for his continued loyalty to the college, and the positive influence he has on our tutor group.

This then flows into our wellbeing staff. Over the course of our time in the high school, you have ensured that all our well-being needs have been met. So, to the 6 heads of house thank you – you people are the engine room of the college. It would be amiss of me to not mention our principal, Mr Zavone. Since coming to Eddies, I know each and every student can testify to the fact that you have changed this place for the better. You have also tried to make the best of our COVID circumstances in our graduating year and for that, our year 12 cohort will be forever grateful.

I would also like to thank numerous staff members who have personally supported me along the way. Staff members such as Ms Rose, Ms Miller, Ms Manenica, Mr MacArthur, Mr Mead and Mr Hall. I couldn’t forget the icon of St Edmunds rugby, Mr Fox who took 20 humble and bright eyed year 10 students to his hometown of Gisborn in New Zealand on our 2018 rugby tour.

I wanted to highlight these significant few because they have greatly contributed to my personal development not as a student, but more importantly as a person.

Lastly, to the three vice captains. Patrick Mcfarlane, Corey Davis and Tyler Greenhalgh. I could not be prouder to have led St Edmund’s in 2020 beside you three. The effort you put in this year, far exceeds that of what your role states. On behalf of the entire school, thank you for your fitting example of servant leadership.

As I look back on my nine years at this fine college, I remind myself of the mates and the memories that I have made. A word often used to describe a boy who has attended the college all the way from year 4, to year 12 is an ‘original’. For us few, we will always have a special connection after spending half our life to date at this school. For everyone that joined our cohort and made it to the end, we will always have an inseparable bond. Over this time, we dared, learned, made mistakes, showed poor judgement, exercised leadership, recognised and celebrated differences, learned life lessons, served, travelled, were inspired, reflected and grew as young men – every single one of us. We have drooled over the chicken and gravy rolls at the iconic ‘Pines’, we have bled for the blue and white in our sporting teams, we have been taught and mentored by Eddies icons such as Dr Widmer, Mr Sorrentino and Ms Doyle, but perhaps, most significantly, we have formed a cohort of young men who truly understand what it means to be an ‘Eddies boy’.

I could not be prouder to refer to myself as an ‘Eddies boy’ and say that I have walked shoulder to shoulder with the young men that attend this school. For a school is nothing without the people that occupy its halls, and I will forever proudly say that the halls of St Edmunds College Canberra, are filled with young men who epitomise the aspirational ‘Eddies spirit’ in all that they do.

As we say our final goodbyes to this great college, we look towards the future. We will be forever grateful of the opportunities presented to us at this place and we will never forget where we were formed and shaped into the young men that are. Farewell boys, the future of Eddies is now in your hands. Thank you for the memories St Edmund’s.

Sam Gibson
College Captain

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