The following is an extract of the Dux of School Address given by William Begg (FLL 2022) at Academic Muster
Good afternoon, Headmaster, official party, staff, special guests, students and of course, the high academic achievers of 2022. I remember a younger, Year 7 me, sitting in this hall watching on as a previous Dux gave their speech, not feeling inspired or excited about my journey ahead but thinking nothing more than, hoping it was over soon. So today, this speech is dedicated to trying to keep that version of me happy and a little bit more informed.
I have lived and breathed St Peter’s College since joining reception 13 years ago and it’s an incredibly surreal feeling being at a muster, at this time of year, at this time of day and not have English in 20 minutes. This is quite nice really but also a very daunting reality, as school has, for the most part, been my life up until now and is and will have been all of yours too. Now maybe that younger version of me didn’t think they would ever have a chance of being on this stage today, but in hindsight, with what I know now, I know that it’s not only possible for me, but I believe that it’s actually possible for any student here. Despite the fact that most adults and parents would claim that I’m still only at the beginning of my life, I still think that, at the least, I am qualified to give advice about school, and how anyone here could get to this point.
I believe in a single line of wisdom, once spoken to me by the great Mr Jaldiani, who said, “life is all about choices”. And I believe that with the right opportunities and the right choices, you can do anything. And right now, your lives are open. School is structured, predictable and reliable, and a place like St Peter’s College has unlimited of these opportunities that life afterwards doesn’t necessarily provide, so there’s a lot to make the most of and you should, make the choices, that make the most of it all.
For the younger years, Years 7, 8 and 9, yes this is about you so listen just for a sec then you can zone out again. These are arguably the most important years of your schooling. You have a lot of time on your hands, so try to put the work and effort into your classes now, because its these younger years that you learn and solidify your fundamental knowledge, and trust me, you will thank yourself later if you do. But at the same time, I’d say that this is the time in your schooling where you should be trying as many things as possible, getting a taste of it all. Find a sport, instrument or activity that you really enjoy because it’s that past-time that will give you joy and fulfilment when times get busier later on. In addition to this, you should always be trying to meet new people and form friendships that will grow and solidify over the coming years. But mostly, please just enjoy yourself.
For the Year 10 and 11 students, you should be taking many of these same opportunities, but you should also begin to form good study habits and environments. Talk with, and get to know your teachers; they will be your guidance and get you through the toughest of times (they also mark your work so please be nice). Find friends who you get along and work with well, but also push you to be improve yourself. And I know you hear this a lot and you probably don’t even know yet, but try to research and really spend time finding what you want to do after school, not what someone else wants, and set goals for how you’ll get there, big or small. Most of all, be passionate about what you do and how you do it.
Finally, the Year 12 students. I hope your year has started well and I wish you the very best for the coming challenges. For you, I’m sure you’ve heard it all, but sincerely, look to others for guidance, there’s no shortcuts to success. You already have the foundations and the ability to excel, so use what’s already been given to you, be strategic, plan and get ahead. Time is the most important commodity to you so less Tik Tok, less YouTube and organise yourself and make the most of it. Enjoy the time you have as you experience many ‘lasts’ in your schooling. And most importantly, make the right choices and don’t let setbacks stop you.
I quickly want to thank a few people who have helped me personally throughout my schooling, especially in the later years. Firstly, to the School, for the vast opportunities it’s provided me. And to my parents, for putting up with me and giving me the privilege to study here – in so many ways, I physically couldn’t be here or have done anything without them. To all my teachers and mentors that I’ve had, I am in immense dept to each of you for the work you have put in to get me where I am and I can’t thank you enough. Finally, to my cohort and my friends, many of whom I’m glad are behind me today, for pushing me and simply allowing me to have some of the most enjoyable years of my life, thank you.
To the students, staff and community of Saints, I wish you all the very best, in and outside school through the coming years and don’t forget that life is all about choices.
William Begg ((FLL 2022)
Dux of the School 2022