Embrace the tradition, forge a legacy

At the first Senior School assembly for the 2019/2020 academic year, School Captain, Charlie Bevan addressed the College for the first time in his new role. Charlie spoke with pride and gusto about his opportunities and challenges for the year ahead and revealed the theme for 2020. Please enjoy his speech below.

Good morning Headmaster, staff, parents and students, and welcome to the first assembly for the new academic year. My name is Charlie Bevan, and I have been honoured to represent the college as School Captain for 2020.

What a privilege it is for me to stand up here in front of all of you boys, and share a few words about what the leadership group is striving for in the next year.

Upon much discussion, the year 12 cohort have decided on a theme for 2020: Embrace the tradition, forge a legacy. I'll be honest, it's a bit of a mouthful, but I simply cannot find a better phrase that encapsulates our belief for the College. To get a better understanding of what this theme means to all the young men in this room, I would like to elaborate.

The idea behind the two parts of the theme was to describe your time here at Scotch. You've heard it before and no doubt you'll hear it again, but the tradition and history of Scotch College is like no other. I could talk to you about this all day, so instead I will share a story that happened to me recently.

As a part of community service, Nic Verryn, Will Reeves and I had been visiting an aged care home where coincidentally, two residents were Old Scotch Collegians. After visiting Bill and Geoff for a month, talking to them and playing board games, we managed to contact Ms. McGowan through the help of Mr. Kyle to see if they were in the Scotch records.

Ms. McGowan looked through the Scotch Archive, and discovered information on these two students, dating back from the 1940s and 50s.  We found out that Bill, the man in the front row on the far left, was a prefect in year 11 and 12; he was a part of the cadets, and came 2nd in the open 100m sprint in the inter-house carnival. He also represented the college in the 2nds rowing and football team.

Geoff, in the middle row on the far left, came to Scotch in year 8 and was a sergeant in the cadets. Before leaving in 1956, he completed exams in English, Geography, Arithmetic and Algebra, and physics. Now, this information may seem unimportant to you, but that's beside the point. The meaning and purpose of these records carry far greater significance than what is actually written.  

In our next visit, we showed the men the photos of their younger selves, and watched as old memories flooded back, reminiscing on the good times and naming all the boys who they haven't seen it years. After all this time, they are still scotch boys.

And almost 70 years later, the College still has records of these people. Two students of many thousands, are remembered by the school to be just as important as the next one. I was astonished when I found this out, and I think it's reassuring for you boys. To know that many years on, every single student will be remembered as a Scotch Boy, and will live on in the heart of the College. This, is what is so special about the traditions of Scotch.

From cadets to music, from drama to sport, everything you do here is building on the strong foundations of a college whose identity rings loud and clear, and yet has a certain degree of malleability - the capacity to change and take new forms. The school is constantly evolving, like the construction of our brand new building; new programs are initiated, new co-curricular activities are discovered – and yet we never forget our heritage, our history. We remember were we came from and what it means to respect the people before us who forged their own legacy, which became our traditions.

Every Friday, we march to a traditional, Scottish band; every term, we have inter-house events which allow all boys of different interests to be involved, and every year, we say goodbye to the year 12s in a ceremony where thousands of people come to watch;

And this is why we as students, need to embrace the school's history, to be proud of our heritage. To wear the maroon and gold with pride, to shamelessly suit up in a kilt and long socks, to march behind the pipeband, to sing the school songs loudly and proudly. As students, we all need to embrace in this culture.

The community of scotch reaches far and wide, and people from all over still stay in touch with the Scotch Traditions, well after they've gone into later stages of their life. There is no better example of this than Founder's Day. People from different year groups, who've all gone off in directions with their life, come together again to reunite and share on the common ground – they attended Scotch. And for those who come back to play in the Pipeband after all those years, to once again experience that feeling of being involved in something so special to the school - it says a lot about the culture that they were brought up in.

We want every boy to immerse themselves in these traditions, and this is where the second part of the theme ties in: forge a legacy.

The traditions of the school have been created through its inhabitants – the headmasters, the teachers, the students, the community around it. Nothing can become a tradition until it is done in the present. Over a hundred years of the college's history is built upon individuals and collectives forging their own legacy. This is why we need to look to the future and see what impact we can have on others.

In those last few days of year 12, you will hand down the mantle to the next year group. And wouldn't it be gratifying to be able to pass down something to the younger years – to leave a legacy. Now these things don't have to be life-changing or inspirational, it just means to have a positive impact on the school and the people around you. The simplest of things, can have a lasting impact. It can be as small as showing kindness to the people around you, by being a good bloke to your peers, both older and younger. And before you know it, you will start to notice changes. Your attitudes and actions will rub off on other people, and all of a sudden the culture around the school has lifted.

What started as such a small and insignificant action, can lead to something far greater than anticipated. Be known as the boy who would always try their hardest in cross country and inspired others to give it their all, or the boy who volunteers for anything and everything, and encourages others to be involved in their house and their school.  These are the types of legacies we want to create and every day presents a new opportunity.

They're not tangible things – you can't hold them and sometimes you can't even see them. But you know that they're there. The atmosphere changes, the environment becomes a more supportive one. Each student forging their own legacy, and steering the future of the College.

But what about us a leadership group, what do we want to achieve? We hope that we can leave our own mark, with the goal to introduce some new aspects to the college. One of which, being the idea add lyrics to the 10 house tunes, with the aim to create a House song. These hymns can be sung at inter-house events, to cheer on your mates and create a great environment. It will take a lot of work, and they may not even be sung this year. But if we can build up the foundation, put everything in place, we can leave it for the next year to take up the reigns.

Under the leadership of Max Jones, we will be introducing a year 9-12 buddy system, to help the year 8s with the transition into senior school. We hope that this will improve the relationships formed between these year groups, and will be an initiative that has lasting impacts on the college.

We want to honour our past and respect over a hundred years of history, yet we still want to build on what's there. What can we give, to make the College a better place for years to come.

Embrace the tradition, forge a legacy.

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.