College Dux speech to Year 12s at Opening Mass22/02/2021
Joshua Prowse returned to speak at Opening Mass to the 2020 Year 12 cohort about the importance of making the most of your time and resources. His advice is to work smarter, not harder, to help achieve the best results this year. Congratulations to Joshua, the Catherine McAuley College Dux for 2020 with an ATAR of 99.35.
Good morning students, staff and distinguished guests,
To be named Dux of Catherine McAuley College for the year 2020 was an absolute honour. I would firstly like to take the opportunity to thank the members of the College staff who made this possible, through the hours of tireless work they put in for every student who passes through the doors of our school. Without this, none of us would be in the position we are today.
2020 was a year that brought on a myriad of challenges, which none of us could have expected at the beginning of the year. Although devastating, this period instilled in us a variety of new qualities such as resilience, independence and perseverance which, in my opinion, shall be vital in the years to come. Being isolated from our school and our peers taught us to make the most of the time we have together and to value the relationships we formed in our time at Catherine McAuley College. I implore every member of the class of 2021 to follow suit and enjoy each last second that they have remaining at high school, as the year shall pass by in a flash and suddenly exams will be upon you and the end near.
Throughout this year a major part of your lives will be dedicated to your studies, though I implore you not to abandon your social lives. That it is not to say you should take the foot off the accelerator when it comes to studying, rather, that you should work twice as hard so that you can enjoy each moment of your Year 12 with your friends.
On a personal note, to be named Dux of the College was an extremely proud and satisfying moment in my life. It was the culmination of many years of hard work, in and out of school, to realise this goal, which was my highest priority since the beginning of my high school journey in Year 7. All was not plain sailing in my quest for dux, with many challenges encountered. Yet, with a clear goal and a love of learning I had something to work towards. In my opinion the most crucial component to success and the completion of a goal is passion for and a love of what you do. Without this passion one can never succeed as the mindset will be that any work is a chore, where only the minimum is completed; whereas with a love for learning and a love for what you do, anything can be achieved. Therefore, I only chose subjects which I enjoyed, not the subjects which were considered easy to score well in or that my friends were doing.
Think about what you can do to achieve your goals and not what others say,
as in my opinion success in VCE should not be defined as achieving the highest score possible or achieving a higher score than a peer on a test. Rather, the success is in the knowledge that you have reached your goals and that you’re satisfied with the work you put in.
To finish today, I’d like to share some advice for any students looking to achieve academic success.
Firstly, and in my opinion most importantly, work smarter in a short amount of time to get the most out of your study, don’t spend hours at a desk casually pouring over notes and textbooks, rather work hard and put effort in for a short amount of time. This allows for much more free time to relax or spend with your friends and allows you to make the most of your Year 12 experience.
Secondly, take that extra step towards a higher score. Year 12 students often forget that the VCE is a competition against the entire state. This means that you should try and do everything you can to gain that slight edge over the competition, be it learning that extra fact or having a deeper explanation of a concept.
Finally, persevere. One bad SAC score won’t be the end of your aspirations. Rather, use it as motivation and an opportunity to learn how to improve. Don’t weigh yourself down, but always seek to improve so that you can achieve your goals and feel pride in what you have achieved come the end of the year.
I would like to say one final thank you to every member of the school staff at both campuses who helped me and my peers throughout our high school journey. I would like to wish the best of luck to all students and especially the Year 12s of the class of 2021 for the coming year.
Joshua Prowse, College Dux, Class of 2020