Award Assembly 2018 Keynote speech by Ms Jennie Hickey

Posted 08-Feb-2018

During the 2018 Awards Assembly held on Friday February 2nd, the College was privileged to have a two keynote speakers deliver speeches to students.

The first presenter was Ms Jennie Hickey, Executive Officer, Jesuit Education Australia who spoke about 'What makes us different as Ignatian students from other students?'  Ms Hickey is pictured here with Mr Michael Exton during the awards presentation.

Here is a transcript of Ms Hickey's speech.

Mr Exton, Fr James (president of the Canonical Administrators), distinguished guests, College staff, students, alumni and parents.

I feel most honoured to have this opportunity to speak to you today at this very important ceremony and I would like to congratulate the 2017 graduated students of Saint Ignatius’ College Geelong for their fine academic efforts and acknowledge the support provided to them by their parents and staff.

I would like to make three points to you here today.

The first is about giftedness. Today we acknowledge the talents of those students of 2017 who have achieved outstanding academic results. I congratulate those students for their scholastic prowess, their ability to be organised, logical, determined, committed, and to having the ability to focus on those challenges that are presented in the senior years of our Australian education system in Australia.

I would also like to acknowledge the support and direction these students have received from the staff of Saint Ignatius’ College Geelong and their families and carers who have journeyed with them throughout their 13 years of education.

God has gifted all of us in special ways and I would ask you just for a moment to think about what your gifts are?

We are all unique. No-one is exactly alike. No one has the same physical attributes, intellectual, sporting, musical or dramatic abilities. No one has the same DNA. No one is positioned the same in a family, even identical twins are born at different times.

No one will see the world in exactly the same way. We are all special and unique and we should acknowledge and celebrate this, and strive to be the best we can be with the gifts we have been given.

We live in a world of comparison, am I first or thirty-first, am I bigger, stronger, richer, better-looking than the person next to me? But at the end of the day, I only need to look at myself in the mirror and compare myself to what I see staring back at me. I do not have to compare myself to others. I do not need to put others on a pedestal and put myself down, or put myself on a pedestal and put others down. I, you, have special gifts and we should all be grateful for what we have.

Saint Ignatius’ College Geelong is unique because you are in it. The wonderful tapestry of this community is created because it is comprised of all of you with all of your individual giftedness.

The second point I want to make is about beginnings.

Whether it is the beginning of a new calendar year or a new school year or a new stage in life as these 2017 alumni are experiencing.
i) provide an opportunity to start afresh. They give us a chance to clear the decks, to reflect on those things we have no further need of and a chance to take up new activities, new ways of behaving and new attitudes of mind.

In 2018, what will you get rid of? and take up?

ii) Beginnings call for creativity and imagination. To dream about what is ahead, where we want to go, how we are going to get there, what sort of world we want to live in and how we can help create that world.

Get creative, engage your imagination and dream – what do you want to do and what sort of world do you want to create?

iii) Beginnings allow us to set goals – to strive towards making our dreams a reality. You may have already had the opportunity to set some goals – maybe in some of your classes.

Do it!

And check on how you are going with these goals on a regular basis.

Set yourself some character goals – goals that relate to the sort of person, friend, student, teacher, parent you want to be.

Who you are will help create the culture – the tapestry of this school.

What sort of school do you want Saint Ignatius College Geelong to be and how can you help that develop?

Beginnings can be scary and exciting – they provide new opportunities and new challenges. Embrace them and remember you are not alone. There are plenty of people with you on this journey. Work together and be there for each other.

The final point I want to make today is that you always have a choice.

Many of us go through periods of time when we feel trapped, unhappy, overwhelmed, on the fringes. There are times when we don't really like what we have to do or who it is that we have to interact with and sometimes we think that we do not have any choice in this.

There can be an element of truth in all of this as homework and assessment tasks start to accumulate, marking and reports need completion, household chores need attention. We can be caught in times where our tasks can rule our lives and we think that we have no control. …………

Over the holidays I reread a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning”, it is a book about Dr Victor Frankl. He was a Jew psychologist who survived the horror of a Nazi death camp during the 2nd world war.

I know this is a stretch between finishing the essay, writing the reports and being held prisoner of war – but stay with me.

Frankl clearly did not choose to be in the concentration camp and, he describes many of the terrible things he had to endure, but one of the things he realised which helped himself and other prisoners survive, was the need to know why we do what we do.

In his case, he needed to know why he should keep fighting to stay alive. From his own experience and watching others in the camp, he came to the conclusion that, if a person knows the ‘why’ then they can almost always bear the how.

This is where choice comes in. You have the choice to reflect on why you are doing what you are doing, to set yourself some goals that are particularly suited to your own unique giftedness and to approach each day as a beginning. Then when things get tough or overwhelming, there is something deep down inside that provides the strength to get you through some of the ‘how’.

When Saint Ignatius of Loyola established schools in 1547, he did so with a very clear understanding of why he was doing this. In a letter he dictated in 1551 to the provincial superior of the Portuguese Jesuits, he stated clearly that his aim for establishing schools was that; - “since young boys (and today young girls) become grown men (and women), their good education in life and doctrine will be beneficial to many others, with the fruit expanding more widely everyday.”

That ‘why’ Ignatian schools remains today.
Fr Arturo Sosa, the current Father General of the Society of Jesus, spoke last October and said that the continued “goal of our education is to train individuals so they can give meaning to their lives and contribute to the common good within their context, their society and their planet.” Nicolás, S.I., Adolfo. Profundidad, Universalidady Ministerio Intelectual. Retos para la Educación Superior Jesuita Hoy. Mexico City, April 23, 2010

This wonderful College does exactly what Ignatius wanted schools to do, as your College mission statement says: the saint Ignatius’ College Geelong is committed – to educating the whole person – with your unique God - given talents - to be people of competence, conscience and compassion who will be of service to the community.

My best wishes to all of you, for 2018 to be a year truly blessed and meaningful.



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