Welcome Address from School Captain, Darcy Kraljev
Good morning Headmaster, official party, staff and boys
Whether you prefer to call it the Millennials, Generation Z or the iGeneration, the group of people born between the late 80s and early 21st century – that is, our generation – is by far the most privileged of them all. We truly are ‘digital natives’ – every one of us here in a school uniform has grown up with the Internet, text messaging and the phenomenon that is social media. We have almost every piece of information at our fingertips, and a fact or an article is literally a few seconds away.
We have been told our entire lives that we can be anything we want to be: an astronaut, a fireman, an engineer, a professional athlete, an artist, a doctor. And why not? According to surveys, 71% of our generation wishes to work abroad, and just over 60% want to become an authority in their respective field. We want to get out there, and take our opportunities. We want to lead.
Not only are we the most privileged generation, but also the most exposed. Thanks to the dominance of the media industry, we are constantly bombarded with images of conflict, recession and climate change – all requiring their respective calls to action. We have all of these ideas, thoughts and opinions floating around in our heads whilst, technically speaking, the latter third of this generation are still children. When you break it down, it seems a little overwhelming, right?
Let me tell you a story about a boy I know. An honest boy, he had high academic goals for himself, and set out to achieve them through hard work and consistency. He came down to school in Year 10, after spending three years living in a small country town. Moving away from home was a daunting thought for him, yet he remained nervous, but excited, for what was to come. On arrival, he was presented with a sea of options wherever he looked: sporting choices, decisions to join co-curricular activities, subject selections. This continued as he came closer to graduating: What were his university preferences? Was he ready for a five-year course? Was he sure that this is what he wanted to do at all? It made his head hurt.
It is very easy in today’s society to be swept up in all of your options. So much so that whilst you go through, accepting offers and making decisions, you can begin to become distracted, and stray from what you stand for. Whether it be because of the prospects of a career, the particular training times of a certain sport or the suitability of a subject to your personality and mindset, anyone can lose track of themselves as they progress.
Of course, this is not to discourage you from making those decisions. As I said to nearly 200 of you last week, I challenge you to make the most of your time here. What I say to you all this week, is that when you take those opportunities, do them your way. For example, if on camp you find the outdoors is out of your comfort zone, use what you are comfortable with. If teamwork is your strength, work with the rest of the boys to navigate your way along the river, or to set up camp for the night. Using your values can make situations far easier.
To the younger boys – you will not be the younger boys for long. I remember my junior years, and I can say from experience it flies by. Welcome the opportunities that are presented to you, but do not be content with simply taking them: make them yours. You may be someone who is able to empathise with those around you, or someone who values loyalty. Use these strengths in your classes and house activities. Furthermore, take the time to develop relationships with your fellow schoolmates. They will be with you as you celebrate successes, but more importantly, they will be there through the struggles. The importance of relationships has never been more evident to me than this past weekend. On one of the most emotional days of my life, I witnessed the coming together of a community to grieve a friend who was taken far too soon. That day – in the midst of tears, embraces and final goodbyes – I realised how close the class of 2013 is. I hope you heed that advice.
To the older boys, you are nearly there. You have just begun the most enjoyable years of your lives so far. You will witness the wonders of the Blue and White, lead your school and its houses with pride, and work towards your academic goals. Whilst you race through these next couple of years, remember that integrity is a vital personality trait. When you lead, if putting emphasis on finding the funny side comes naturally to you, then reflect that. Each leader is unique, so have confidence in your own leadership, and continue that confidence through to your tertiary and subsequent years. To the Prefect group of 2014, I am excited for the various chances we will have to the lead the school, and I look forward to working with you all extensively.
At the core, I am still that Year 10 boy. I still believe in hard work, consistency and being honest with those around you. I continue to strive to develop lasting relationships with those around me, as I have learnt their significance. Whilst I have grown in stature, maturity and awareness, I endeavor to keep my values close. It is an exciting time to be part of Generation Z, but amidst all of these opportunities, my challenge to you is to ask yourself: what do you stand for? What do you deeply care about?
I would like to thank Mr Murray, Mr McKinney and the Saints community for giving me the chance to lead the student body of St Peter’s College in 2014. It is an absolute honour, and I will be forever grateful. This would not have been possible, however, without my parents, whose love and generosity I will never be able to repay. I thank you, and I love you both.
2014 is a vital year for us all. For some, the aim will be beginning your secondary education the right way. For others, you will be working towards deciding on which certificate you want to complete. And, for 141 of you, this is your time. I wish you all the very best of luck.
2014 School Captain