Making the most of opportunities as a Girtonian

There are many factors that influence your past, present and future journey throughout life. For example, your parents, your nationality, the time in history when you are born. However, the one I would like to speak about is opportunities. Opportunities are making the most of the chances or openings offered by circumstances. When I think about opportunities, I think of what Girton has offered me throughout my schooling since arriving in Grade 6 in 2003. Girton has provided me with numerous openings that have allowed me to achieve what I have so far in life.

I would like to tell you about a young country boy and his parents who had to make a big decision whether to take up an opportunity many years ago. This boy was in Grade 6 at his local primary school and was not able to read that well or do his timetables and was very self- conscious.  So his parents and the boy decided that he would repeat Grade 6 at Girton. This was a very big decision for the boy’s parents as well as their son but they took up the opportunity. The boy’s parents were worried if it was going to be the right decision or whether the boy would make the most of the opportunity that was being presented to him. Well, as soon as the boy began on his first day the parents and the boy knew it was the right decision because he was with one of the best teachers at Girton, Mrs. Tobias, he was going to get some of the best support from the LRC (Learning Resource Centre), and he was in one of the most supportive and friendliest year groups.

I am so grateful that my parents made that decision and gave me the opportunity to come to Girton as it changed my life. Coming to Girton gave me much greater self esteem, a good work ethic and a value of education that will last me a lifetime. It also gave me the confidence to take up other opportunities one being to apply for the Old Girtonians’ Scholarship. And now all the years of schooling, encouragement and support at Girton have given me the opportunity for a new phase in my life – to go to University and hopefully complete my dream of becoming a Physical Education teacher.

Coming to Girton also opened many doors, created many more opportunities and enabled me to develop in other areas. I had the opportunity to play volleyball for the school, which then led to having the opportunity to try out and get into the Bendigo Academy of Sport, to play for Victoria and be involved in coaching at our school. Volleyball, since 2003, has been a huge part of my life and I am really looking forward to continuing my coaching at Girton in 2010. How can I ever forget the awesome feeling of pride and exhilaration and the special look on Mr. Mac’s and my teammates faces when we won the Gold Medal at Nationals last year! I would like to play a part in helping that happen for other Girton volleyballers. Girton has also given me great friendships and the opportunity to take on leadership roles and to even do public speaking (something I never imagined possible!).

When an opportunity arises, some people don’t make the most of the chance it has given them or it may even pass them by without them knowing the opportunity was even there. Often hard work is required to make the most of the opportunity but usually the rewards and personal satisfaction are enormous and well worth it. I believe if you don’t try to make the most of every opportunity then you are not going to develop or learn about yourself as a person.

So as I remember and reminisce about all the fantastic times that I have spent at Girton and now look back as an Old Girtonian, I believe the most important thing is to make the most of all the opportunities that our school presents. I loved my time at Girton and I can’t thank Mr. Jones and all the wonderful staff enough for all the help, support, encouragement and opportunities they have given me. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my goals without Girton and all that it offers.

Being a Girtonian/Old Girtonian makes me feel so proud and the honour of being the recipient of the Old Girtonians’ Scholarship is overwhelming. It means so much to me.

Thank you.