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Principal’s Message – Mid-Term 4, 2023

For Dominic’s mid-term Principal’s message, he is sharing his speech from our Year 13 Senior Celebration Evening, held on Monday 30 October. If you would like to read the original Nick Cave article that Dominic refers to below, please visit The Red Hand files

Tēna koutou katoa

This evening’s celebration represents work from students in our 2021 class and our 2022 class who believed that we could have a more inclusive celebration of all the achievements of our leaving class. Our year 13 started year 9 in 2019 as a group of 235 students and grew to be 275 students in year 11 with more joining along the way than leaving. This year some have left to follow other opportunities and we have a leaving class of 251 students.  We want to celebrate your time spent over the last five years because it is a significant achievement just to be seated here at the end of those five years.

In thinking about what to say to you this evening and also in trying to keep things brief, I sought inspiration from another source, specifically the musical artist Nick Cave who some of you will know, and even if you don’t you will have heard some of his music. I became aware of Nick Cave as a teen in the early 80s (yes, I know you thought that would have been early nineties!), because he fronted a band called the Birthday Party. And for a boy growing up in Sydney, there weren’t many cooler people than Nick Cave, although he did have the appearance somewhat of an undertaker. Nick Cave’s career has evolved over many years and he started something called the Red Hand files a few years back (named after his song Red Right Hand – the theme to Peaky Blinders) where he has created an online space to receive questions from his fans, which he answers with erudite penmanship.

So, to one of the questions he received from Ruben in Victoria, where Nick was born. Ruben says:

I’m 13. In a world ridden with so much hate, and disconnect; How do I live life to its absolute fullest, and not waste my potential? Especially as a creative. Also, what is a great way to spiritually enrich myself? in general, and in my creative work.”

Nick’s reply is my advice to you this evening:

“Read. Read as much as possible. Read the big stuff, the challenging stuff, the confronting stuff, and read the fun stuff too. Visit galleries and look at paintings, watch movies, listen to music, go to concerts –  be a little vampire running around the place sucking up all the art and ideas you can. Fill yourself with the beautiful stuff of the world. Have fun. Get amazed. Get astonished. Get awed on a regular basis, so that getting awed is habitual and becomes a state of being. Fully understand your enormous value in the scheme of things because the planet needs people like you, smart young creatives full of awe, who can minister to the world with positive, mischievous energy, young people who seek spiritual enrichment and who see hatred and disconnection as the corrosive forces they are. These are manifest indicators of a human being with immense potential.

Absorb into yourself the world’s full richness and goodness and fun and genius, so that when someone tells you it’s not worth fighting for, you will stick up for it, protect it, run to its defence, because it is your world they’re talking about, then watch that world continue to pour itself into you in gratitude. A little smart vampire full of raging love, amazed by the world – that will be you, my young friend, the earth shaking at your feet.”

Love, Nick

I couldn’t have written those words anywhere near as well as Nick Cave has. And if you are not familiar with Nick Cave, that’s another thing to add to the list and a starting point might be ‘The Boatman’s Call’ particularly if you’re in a sombre mood, and we are all allowed those times.

Congratulations to all our prizewinners this evening but a special congratulations to all of you for making it here, the end of your school journey. Best wishes over the next few weeks with exams, good luck in the next part of your life journey and enjoy the rest of your evening with your peers!

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa