Striving for excellence

At Tuesday's assembly, we recognised a number of students who have already achieved excellence this year. Following is a speech I made that morning on my hopes for each and every boy at the College.

For those of you in Years 7 and 8, you will not have met Mr Kenny, a previous principal here at CBC Fremantle. While Mr Burgio may jokingly argue this is for the better, there was one very clear goal that he held for each and every student, and which has stuck with me ever since. This goal was to walk across this assembly stage at least once every year.

In effect, Mr Kenny's hope was that every year, you would have the chance to celebrate your personal excellence. While today we may only be congratulating those who have shown excellence in the swimming pool and workplace, there are countless opportunities at the College for each of you to showcase your unique talents and hard work. This is because excellence is not just constrained to the sporting field or the exam hall, the lectern or the music score - excellence can be shown in every aspect of your life.

For example, take one of our assemblies from last year. You may remember when two Year 12 students, Ben Lombardo and Saad Fallah were recognised for their excellence not at school, but on the bus on their way home. These two students put their safety in jeopardy in order to protect a girl potentially being assaulted, and then made sure she was safe when she got off the bus. They didn't expect recognition for their actions, and they certainly didn't plan to be congratulated by the Fremantle Police at a College assembly. They acted the way they did because it was the right thing to do.

Gentlemen, this is the epitome of excellence. You don't have to be outstanding in a field, as the dictionary defines it. Personal excellence simply asks you to commit, to work hard, and to give your best to the task at hand. And that task really can be anything, from competing in swimming carnivals to running your best at cross country, and from striving to do better in assessments to commitment to a drama production.

Excellence is a habit, it does not occur overnight. Excellence is achieved through passion, not perfectionism. Perfectionism can be viewed as a phobia of making mistakes, which prevents opportunity, whereas excellence is a result of a person's ability to make mistakes and learn. It is the ability to overcome challenges, prove people wrong, and be your best.

If you take one thing away from today's assembly, I hope it is a renewed hunger for achieving your best. I hope that desire continues to grow until graduation, and beyond, as you show the world what it means to be a CBC gentleman - one who always strives for his best and understands the inherent value of doing so.

Alexander Buckland
College Captain