I would like to start off by thanking Miss Penrose for inviting me back here today to speak to all of you. It wasn’t too long ago that I was sitting in this very auditorium like all of you, wondering when I would be able to stand up because I couldn’t stand sitting still for more than ten seconds and I’m sure that it’s the same with some of you, so with that in mind I hopefully won’t keep you here long. I left Inverloch Primary back in 2010, A few of you might remember me and I think that you grade sixes would have been in grade Two! Seems like a long time now!
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Some of my best memories have come from this amazing school such as some of our school yard footy matches when my mates and I would try and take speckys on each other even when the ball was clearly five meters away, and sport’s heated Dodge ball matches. I also fondly remember having such an awesome time with my buddy, Ryan Bradley in grade 5. All of you should be very grateful as I was to have amazing teachers like the one here at Inverloch. Some of my teachers included Mrs Page who had to put up with me for two years with my constant question asking in grade 3 and 4, Mr McCartney who would always take us outside for games and set up football times table matches in grade 5, and Mr Foster who was always entertaining and very scary I might add in grade 6. I also won’t forget Mr Boyd and his sports classes and I haven’t had as good a sports class like his ever since, And Miss Penrose who was constantly organising everything and making sure everything ran smoothly within the school.
For those of you who know me, when I won the lion’s public speaking competition back in grade 6, it really came as no surprise as everyone knew that I loved the sound of my own voice. One of the activities that I started back in grade one was swimming. It was something that I really loved and Inverloch and its teachers were always really supportive of my swimming and when it became pretty serious for me the school was really encouraging. From grade 4 through to grade 6 I got selected to be part of the Victorian school swimming team and in grade 6 I was selected as junior captain. The school was always really happy for me as I’m sure they are will be with all of your sporting efforts. Recently at the 2013 Australian national age group championships I was able to win the 200m backstroke for the 14 year old boys which meant that I was the fastest 14 year old backstroker in Australia. I also had 6 other top 10 finishes in events like the individual medley and the butterfly.
But I’m not here today to talk about my achievements, I’d like to talk about all of the hard work, persistence, organisation, confidence, resilience and getting along skills that it took to get there. All of those values were things that I learnt here, here at Inverloch primary school. When I was in primary school I thought that persistence only applied to persevering with a hard maths problem or trying to figure out how to spell a difficult word on my own, but this skill most definitely applies everywhere in life. When I was training for nationals if I had given up on a really hard training set when I was tired, that might mean that on race day at nationals I might go 0.2 of a second slower. And in the sport of swimming, that can be the difference between coming first and winning or coming fourth and missing out entirely. So, day in and day out I did and still do, give everything that I can during sessions and make sure that I persist and grit my teeth when things get tough.
The same story applied with organisation for me in primary school, I thought it meant that my books and sheets needed to be neat and that I needed to make sure I didn’t lose any of my pencils and when I finally got my pen licence a long time after most people, my pens. But In everything you do outside of school, organisation can be the key to being cool, calm and collected, or being upset because things feel out of control. I had a hectic schedule to try and manage with High school, homework and an 8 session a week training program, and if I hadn’t planned (with the help of mum) how each day would look and each week, or how I was going to get to training then maybe I would have fallen behind with school work and had to miss a session to make sure I caught up on the work. Because school should always come first, but it was vital that I went to every session in the lead up to nationals. Sow without organisation, the preparation would have most likely fallen apart.
Now confidence was also extremely important as you can’t stand up behind the blocks, with the lights on you and everyone watching, and think to yourself “wow he looks focused, he is probably better than me, and maybe I haven’t worked hard enough and maybe I can’t win.” If that is what you think before you race then the competition is over before your feet even touch the water. You need to be thinking that “you can win, I have worked hard enough and as long as I give my best then then the rest will take care of itself. Positive thinking was another reason as to why I improved so much last year and got some of the results I did, and am getting now.
Resilience is something that everyone needs and not just during school. Every time that I didn’t swim well in a race or train well, if I had gotten really sad with myself and dwelled on it for days then I wouldn’t have been able to move on and swim well in the next race or in the next session. It’s the same here in school, if you don’t do well in a spelling test, then make sure you don’t get down on yourself and dwell on it, use your resilience and pick yourself up for the next one.
And of course getting along will apply everywhere in this world. Plenty of people are able to help you are willing to and they will be all the more willing if you get along well with them. I needed to make sure that I got along with all of my coaches and team mates because if we spent the whole time arguing with one another then it wouldn’t really be a place that I would have wanted to train in.
Well, thankyou again for inviting me to speak, it’s a huge honour and congratulations to all of the new captains, it’s fantastic that I have got the opportunity to present you your badges. Make sure you all give your best to be your best in everything that you do here in school and outside of school. And make sure you all enjoy this year to the fullest. Thanks for having me!