28 March 2024

Embrace the Flame, Follow the Footsteps, by 2024 College Captain Curtis McCoughtry.

Article by 2024 College Captain Curtis McCoughtry.

Embrace the Flame, Follow the Footsteps, by 2024 College Captain Curtis McCoughtry.

As I’m sure you are now aware, our College theme for 2024 is “Embrace the flame, follow the footsteps.” Everyone has their own interpretation of the theme, and how they can apply and make it relevant for their life, in this article I am going to go a bit deeper into what the theme means for me personally, and how I strive to ‘Embrace the Flame and Follow the Footsteps’ in my life.

To embrace the flame is to wholeheartedly accept the challenges and opportunities that come our way. It’s about diving into the depths of our ability, and striving for the Magis, leading by example, to take a deeper and more enriched approach to everything we do, especially our learning. I personally connect to this, as through my time at the College. It has always been a goal of mine to ‘strive for the Magis.’ I love to take an enriched approach to my learning by asking lots of questions, and by complementing my learning with extracurricular activities wherever I can. Recently I have attended house chess competition, house trivia and enjoyed being part of the Division 1 inter-school tennis at Geelong Lawn. We are so fortunate to be part of a College Community where the students and teachers spend time creating fun activities outside of the academic learning for everyone to enjoy - and represent their House – Go MacKillop!

For me, a time when I felt I was embracing my flame or my passion was when I attended the 2023 Timor Leste JACSA immersion, with my now co-captain Alana. This immersion was life changing for me. Experiencing different living situations, a different culture, talking to different people and spending time with Jesuit priests, completely changing my worldview and opening my eyes to the poverty and living situations in one of Australia’s closest neighbouring countries. This has inspired me to pursue social justice further in my life, which I will continue to be passionate about after I leave school, and hopefully for the rest of my life.

I also find I am embracing my flame when volunteering within and representing the school. This is particularly relevant for me at the moment, as in the last week I have been fortunate to attend the Clonard International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast, helping at the College IWD Community Engagement Event with guest speaker Nicole Livingstone OAM OLY, and next week my fellow captains and I will be meeting with the leaders of other Catholic schools around Geelong at our “CLOGS” (Catholic Leaders of Geelong schools) meeting.

The second part of the theme “follow the footsteps”, I particularly see as a Jesuit Companion School in following the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In the early years of my schooling, I didn’t put much thought into the idea of following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius. However, as part of my journey at the College and spending time in a Jesuit Companion School, I have come to recognise the significance of “following in the footsteps of Ignatius.” From participating in the Examen every Friday, to saying the prayer of Saint Ignatius, to discussing the different sayings, “amare et servire,” “cura personalis,” “the Magis,” we are connected to a worldwide organisation of people who live by similar values, beliefs and faith, and following the footsteps is joining a community of people who are also on a journey of love and service.

My vision for 2024 is to lead, guided by this theme, embrace the flame, follow the footsteps. As much as I can, I would like students to be able to embrace and ignite their own passions, and to appreciate the opportunity we have to be educated. I realise everyone’s journey is different but look to the core values and guidance through the footsteps of the Jesuits, and Saint Ignatius of Loyola. I believe students should feel as if they are being supported, heard and nurtured within our school. As captains we want to, as much as we can, set the foundation to continue to enhance our ever-present school spirit, create and enhance a positive environment, be appreciative and help our peers enjoy their time at our College. Wishing everyone all the best for the year ahead.