Go well, young man

2019 Captain of School, Harry Gilchrist's final assembly address to the Senior School cohort

Headmaster, Teachers, Parents, Guests and fellow students,

I'd like to begin my final school assembly speech in the same manner with which I started my first speech this time last year, by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are gathered today, the Noongar people, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

Well Year 12 cohort, the end of the road is nigh. Just one last, big effort required for the final exams, and then all our stresses and strains can be lovingly passed over to our parents as we power our way into Leavers…we're almost there lads!

Without doubt now is an opportune time to reflect on our Scotch journey. In doing so, I wonder what we'd all say to the younger versions of ourselves…the ones that nervously started this journey all those years ago. Imagine if we could send a letter back in time.

Of course the exact starting points were varied…for me it was entering Year 6.

Here's what I would write:

Dear Harry. Or Gilly. Or even Guillotine for that matter.
You're nervous. It's a weird feeling, isn't it?  But don't sweat it mate. So are all the other 11 and 12-year old kids in that class.
Before you keep reading, lean over and tell that Oscar Grant bloke to keep his opinion to himself…  your watch isn't from a girl's surfing brand. He doesn't know what he's talking about.

So, you're at the start. You're finally beginning that Scotch journey, and what an extraordinary journey awaits. I understand you've already made judgments on the boys in your new year, and that's fine, it's human nature.

There's that ratbag, that man-child, that kid with the big frullet. What about that boy with those huge hands! Weird people, eh. Well… don't judge them too harshly buddy, as these blokes will end up being your closest mates… No, stronger than that… Your brothers.

Along your journey mate, please take up the Bag pipes. You'll regret it when you're older if you don't…trust me. Or, at the very least…every time you hear the Pipe band playing, promise me you will listen closely, not just to the music, but also to the pride pulsating through your veins…Those pipes…they are the College's voice and they are world class.

Young Harry, I've not got time to go into fine detail of what lies ahead for you, other than to say one day…in fact on the very last day of your school life at Scotch, you will be asked to give a speech…a pretty significant one…at the final assembly, where you sort of address your fellow year 12's before they March Out.

Don't fluff around on this one mate, get straight to the point and be honest.

Simply tell those boys how PROUD of them you are.

Proud of them for reaching this, the final day of year 12.

Remind them that these teenage years aren't the easiest in life to navigate…and to a man, they are all doing a fine job of it.

Remind them that in amongst the hormones and the haircuts, the big bi-ceps and the even bigger egos…at the end of the day, we are all equal.

And that's what made this cohort so unique.

They all bought into that right from the start. They understood it, and lived it. They became a band of brothers who ran, kicked, bowled, jumped, sailed, debated, danced, sang, acted…heck, they almost made the Arts Department cooler to be a part of than the Sports Department!

And although student didn't do every activity… their sense of community and awareness made it feel like they were all in it together.

Yep, so proud of this group and this entire school you will be young fella.

Speak with pride about the strength of the Scotch Community, and particularly this group of young boys, when tragedy hit and a valued friends life was taken far too early to comprehend. Tell them again how proud of them you are. Not only of the way they handled their sorrow, but of the beautiful legacy this year group will leave in the form of the many tributes to Mo Maslin, so that his spirit and memory will be indelibly inked into Scotch life.

So proud…just keep telling them that…because its true and they are an amazing bunch.

Perhaps also in that speech, maybe one word of advice to the lads in the other years below. Tell them to please, please, please communicate. I don't mean via text or social media. Conversations…face to face with other kids or students or parents. Honest, open communication will solve any issue in your life and most probably prevent them becoming issues in the first place.

In finishing, take a quick look around and you'll notice the School Crest can be seen pretty much wherever you are in the school campus. On buildings, buses, pens, computers. It will probably on the lectern you'll speak from at that important assembly.

Most importantly it's on your uniform…smack bang on top of your heart.

Pretty symbolic.

From my experience I've found if you put your heart into all that Scotch has to offer, in return the school and it's community wrap themselves around you, providing support and guidance.

There's going to be good and not so good times believe me. But that Crest and all it represents will consistently be there throughout your entire Scotch journey, almost like a guardian. Who knows, it may even play a role in the rest of your life. Just like the band of brothers you will be Marching Out with after that Final Assembly.

Go well young man, how exciting. A fortunate position you are in.

That's what I would write…and the reality is, its exactly the way I feel today.

In finishing I'd like to congratulate and thank the entire 2019 Leadership team, but specifically to Denzel, Alex, Blake and Benji…your commitment and support has been invaluable lads, so thank you.

But, enough with us old blokes, it's time for the new leaders to take the reign, and progress the school further to success. And for you Charlie, mate, you're a brilliant bloke and very deserving of the role, and if I had to give you one piece of advice, stay true to your passions, and use these to build on the college's tradition.

Thank you.

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Scotch College acknowledges the Wadjuk Noongar and Wilman Noongar people, the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which the College and our campuses stand. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge the Noongar people as the First Peoples of this place.