Go in love, CBC gentlemen

Today the CBC community bid farewell to the Class of 2018 with an emotional Year 7 guard-of-honour. It's a day that we do not take lightly. For six years we have been proud of them, worried about them, laughed with them, cried on occasion, and never has a day gone past without a fervent prayer passing my lips for these fine young men. We are blessed to know them, and to honour their transition from today's boys into tomorrow's gentlemen. I share with you the following speech which I delivered to these remarkable students at their final College assembly, and congratulate you, the parents, on the love and commitment you have contributed towards their spiritual and emotional growth.

Over the past two months I have interviewed all the graduates of 2018. Common themes have been the value of this community, the relationships fostered between students and their peers and students and their teachers, the unfaltering assistance teachers offer beyond school hours, the opportunities to serve others, to go on tours, to take part in immersions and a myriad of other compliments and highlights.

Many schools would have similar accolades, or at least should. The consistent comment that was also made in those interviews, which I believe make this school special, was that it invests heavily in each boy's formation. That investment takes the form of guiding and helping him become the best possible man he can be. What makes CBC Fremantle a special place, in my mind, is that it has an aspiration for its graduate. Not just an aspiration for the deeds of its graduates, their ATAR, grades, sporting prowess, artistic achievements, as important as these things are. CBC's aspiration for its graduates includes all those things but in the context of being a good man … a gentleman. The animating of our tagline is something the whole community should be proud of, and certainly something our graduates acknowledge. Together, teachers, parents and students work tirelessly to support this transition, and today we witness its culmination with the graduation of our Class of 2018.

Over the past few years, many speeches have been delivered from this spot about why it is important to have such a focus. Growing men in the 21st century has changed from the halcyon days of the past when certainty of purpose, community and values were more constantly and consistently applied and understood. In the past, family, community, school and church provided the foundation to one's formation. Today, the internet, social media, accessibility to the world and an ever-increasing importance placed on peer acceptance fill this space. Those things are not bad in themselves; in fact used well, they can be amazing tools. It is the temptation to use them or be affected by them poorly that is the problem, and the confusion that can develop as a result of drifting during the formative years. Add the scourge of drugs and the secularisation of society and it becomes obvious that a clear set of values that form one's moral compass is needed more than ever before.

We recently had a PD Day focussed on wellness. The presenter made many good points, but the one I want to share with you today, gentlemen, is to do with success. Mark Bunn told us that one of the algorithms people use in western civilisations is to chase happiness through success; the markers of success being flash cars, big houses, highly paid jobs, promotions at work and owning lots of 'toys'. The problem with these metrics is that as soon as you achieve them, the bar is raised; flasher car, bigger house, more highly paid job, next rung on the promotional ladder, and better toys. Happiness is always around the corner. The model Mark Bunn proposes is to pursue happiness first and success will follow. So, how do you pursue happiness?

I have been on this earth nearly 58 years. I possess many of the material things that today's society values and deems important. Based on that alone I should be deliriously happy. Gentlemen, I can stand here before you and say all those things, if they have any value at all, pale into insignificance when compared to the love I have, and sometimes receive in return, for my wife and children. The love I have and always receive from my beautiful grandchildren. The love I have, and feel for and from, my friends, my colleagues, the parents and importantly from you. Relationships are what make you happy and are the key to life's success, and relationships underpin the CBC Journey.

So, gentlemen, today is your last day as a secondary student. What have you learned here? What are your take-aways? How are you better placed than had you attended another school? How well-formed is your moral compass? Are you equipped with the armoury to be happy, and as a result successful?

Let's do a quick stock take. Sit and reflect. Do you form attitudes and actions based on Gospel Values? Do you love? Do you forgive? Do you show empathy and compassion? Do you show kindness, meekness and patience? Are you gentle, graceful and humble? Are you closer to Jesus, in reality or figuratively, than when you arrived at the College? If you do, you are a CBC gentleman.

Do you give of your best, and take pride in it, using all your God-given gifts and talents? Do you resist the temptation of the easy road, the half-job and the 'rough enough is good enough' mentality? Do you understand that the difference between your best and not your best can be wafer thin? If you do, you are a CBC gentleman.

Do you put up your hand when you get it wrong, take responsibility and own the consequences of your actions? Do you apologise without condition and reflect on how you can get it better if faced with similar circumstances in the future? Are you resilient and strong, and if not, do you know where to go when in need and who can help? If you do, you are a CBC gentleman.

Do you place others at the centre of your life and understand the only real joy you will ever know is when you do something for someone else? Are your relationships based on reciprocity? Are you going to reject and call out boorish behaviour and make sure you value women as your equal and provide children with your unconditional protection? If you do, you are a CBC gentleman.

Do you value the other in your life and, before you make any judgment, walk a mile in their shoes? Do you understand the difference between equality and equity and the value of a cohesive society as Jesus did? Will you seek to get wiser on the Journey, not just older? If you do, you are a CBC gentleman.

The world needs more gentlemen and it needs more gentle men. Today it is the hope of all of us that we graduate 130 young men who we hope will go out and make a positive difference in the world, be it as a son, brother, father, partner, employer, employee, friend or neighbour. Your legacy at this College is great, you have modelled for your younger brothers and provided example. You leave, perhaps not fully-formed, but fully informed. Your future is in your hands, your happiness within your grasp. When you walk out of this auditorium today, look around at those who have helped you, those who have been a part of your journey and especially those who will always be there for you. On behalf of all the CBC Fremantle community, I extend love, gratitude and wish you God's blessing.

Mr Domenic Burgio
Principal