Endless possibilities and abundant hope

It was an interesting year in 1994: Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa; Pope John Paul II was named Time's Man of the Year; Tonya Harding thought Nancy Kerrigan's knee needed 'a little attention'; and as a Year 10 student I decided that I was going to work in the sports industry, either as a professional cricketer or something that involved travelling with a sports team. Future solved!

There were only a few issues – I had no idea what I needed to do to achieve my dream, I wasn't clear on what my options were and I was somewhat misguided on the matter of my abilities. To be truthful, there was a more relevant issue. My efforts at school and other areas of my life were hardly exemplary, and I was a fair distance away from the virtues we ask our CBC gentlemen to aspire to.  Despite not ending up as a professional cricketer (apparently scoring 100 runs of 60 balls in an Under 15's game at Tempest Park doesn't get the attention of the national selectors), I often look back now and reflect on how lucky I am. Even with all my failings, I have managed to end up in a career that I am passionate about, and working in a school that I love. However, I have many friends that were not as fortunate and I frequently ruminate on why this might be.

The conclusion I arrive at most is that, at 15 years of age, my friends and I really had a very narrow view on what was needed to be successful in life. We didn't understand the state of the 'real world' we were about to enter, and we often didn't know what steps were needed to achieve our goals. There were no such things as Career's Day, Year 10 Retreats or workshops that allowed us to reflect on our lives and aspirations. Some of my friends also did not cope well with the stresses of being a teenager, and rather than seek advice and accept help, they sought solace in vices that would start a few of them on a path that they have not recovered from or took them on a tangent that wasted energy and effort.

It has the ability to be a confusing stage of life and that's why at CBC we have The Rite Journey. That's why every step of the journey from today's boys into tomorrow's gentleman is carefully considered. As mentors and leaders of the young men at this College, we understand how boys learn. With this in mind, this week the Year 10 students took time out of their busy school schedule, and were provided with an invaluable opportunity to reflect and shift their gaze to a future they would like to have. Not just their career path, but also on the young adult they want to become in our society.

The week started with the Year 10 young men visiting various tertiary training sites including UWA, Curtin University, the University of Notre Dame and the Construction Futures Centre. The ability to connect future career opportunities with their current studies was an opportunity our boys greatly valued. That evening, I had the pleasure of speaking to all Year 10 families about the options and pathways that lay ahead for students in Year 11 in 2019. We never take for granted the support our families provide the College, and I was filled with great pride as I watched students and parents speak with key academic leaders after the presentation, searching for advice and support. The message from the evening was simple: choose a pathway to maximise your strengths, which will help you achieve your desired career. No one pathway is better than the other, and all pathways require boys to strive to be their best.

Later in the week, our boys completed the 'Breaking the Man Code' workshop, which continues the discourse from our Year 9 Rite Journey programme with a focus on mental health. Funded by the Kai Eardley Foundation, boys concentrated on deconstructing the Aussie male stereotype as seen in the ABC series, Man Up. The workshop allowed our students to ask questions about the kind of men they've learned to be, while exploring the man they want to become and the culture they are creating for themselves and their mates.

Our boys also experienced a 'Being Edmund People' retreat, which focussed on the service of others, and the call to put the marginalised at the centre of our life. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to reflect on different organisations, and were asked to focus on those who need to be served. We are at our best when we are giving, and the boys were challenged to look beyond finding a profession and to also seek a sense of vocation in their future. Seeds were sown to allow for growth in their hearts to be Edmund Rice people.

Our Year 10 students are at an exciting time in their lives; possibilities should be endless, hope should be abundant and challenges must be faced with resilience at the forefront. In our synergy between home and school, we must ensure our boys are nurtured to become the best version of themselves they can be. I conclude with a quote from Robert Kennedy:

" This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease ".

Mr Neil Alweyn
Vice Principal