Posted by Anna Zsigovits-Mace
on 27 February 2020
On Wednesday 12th February 2020 the staff and students of Francis Douglas Memorial College gathered at our Parish Church, St Joseph's to celebrate Mass for the beginning of the 2020 school year and to dedicate our Year 13 students alongside the Student Leadership Team to the College.
Our theme for the year is "From Good to Great", and our Mass reflected this from start to finish. Firstly we transported 800 students from Francis Douglas Memorial College situated on the upper west side of the city into the Central City where our Parish Church is located. This in itself is no mean feat, but due to the organisation of our Pastoral Deputy Principal, Tim Stuck, all 800 students and accompanying staff arrived at the church in time for a 9:15am start. Our guests included Sir Brother Patrick Lynch (FSC), Mrs Paula Wells (Principal Sacred Heart Girls' College), Jorja Murray (Head Girl SHGC), Cornelia Chan (Special Character Leader, SHGC), (Deputy Head Girl) and the families of our Leadership Team.It is a day where we acknowledge the Year 13 class as the senior students of our college. They are all blessed and charged with being young men of honour and integrity as they lead the younger students through the year. Our Year 13 leaders all pledged an oath to be wonderful role models and big brothers to the younger students. Thirteen young men were also dedicated as the Leadership Team under the guidance of our 2020 Head Boy, Adam Johnston.
Father Simon Story celebrated the Mass for us. Br Pat gave the homily and he encouraged the boys to aim for excellence, to talk to each other especially if they were struggling, to develop an attitude of excellence for themselves and to always shine bright for all to see. Thomas Whaley, our Lasallian Youth Captain for 2020 and Adam Johnston both spoke to the students and followed a similar theme. Thomas said the following:
"Hello everyone, I'm Thomas Whaley, and I am your Lasallian Youth Leader this year. Your time at FDMC is a time to be cherished. This school is a rare school, partly because of the fine young men we produce, but more because we are Lasallian. Saint John Baptist De La Salle was a French priest who followed Christ's footsteps. We base our school on following Christ. We use De La Salle as an example and inspiration of someone who serves. We are a Lasallian school but it goes even deeper than that. We are a Catholic school and we follow the Teachings of Jesus just as De La Salle did over 300 years ago so we continue to uphold the values of Faith service and community.
Living the Lasallian way involves a life of these values, and it enriches your own life. Living life with faith is the most important, the underlying value that we as followers of Christ have. Faith in God is essential, but is difficult. Walking through the chaos of life, we find ourselves often walking away from God, forgetting his presence. Even though we know that he is always with us, it is key that we constantly reconnect with him. Following Jesus shows us how to serve, hence 'Christ as our Leader'.
Service is our way of giving some of our precious time to think of others. And through service comes community. Our school is connected to fellow Lasallian schools, not only in New Zealand, but in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, and South Africa. Being a Lasallian school is a privilege as we learn to share Jesus with others.
Faith in God, service to others, community to all.
At FDMC we enter to learn, leave to serve."
At this point the leaders pledged to lead our College in servitude and through the Gospel Values of Jesus Christ. They were presented with their Badges of Leadership and Father Simon then blessed the leaders alongside all the Year 13's as big brothers to the younger students. Our Choir sung Remembrance during communion. After Communion our 2020 Head Boy, Adam Johnston gave his speech to the school community.
Adam had this to say:
"None of you in this room today are mediocre, none of you are average , and none of you are ordinary , none of you are standard, typical, regular or undistinguished , nor are you a dime a dozen , or the run of the mill.
Instead what all of you are, what every single one of you in this room today is destined to become..Is great ! You are all great and you all have the ability to be great in anything you do. You all have the ability to succeed in anything you desire and most importantly you all have the ability to inspire greatness.into others.
Now for some of you, that might have just sounded like some plastic idealistic nonsense , that is easy for me to say but in reality is hard for you to actually do. And your right, I too remember sitting in this very audience only last year, listening to my older brother give the lasallian youth captain speech , and he looks at the audience and says "We were all designed with a specific mission in mind. We were all designed for a purpose, we must start by finding our purpose in order to live our lives to the fullest". And I thought wow that sounds truly inspirational, it's too bad that I have absolutely no idea how to do that , or what that means.
And some of you might be thinking the same for this year's theme "from good to great,...what exactly does it mean ? and how does one progress from being just good to being great?
Well In order to achieve greatness we must first accept that greatness is not something that can be defined in just one sentence. It is not something that i can define for you, nor is it something that you can define for me. It is instead something that only we as individuals will eventually be able to discover the true meaning of.To commence on our journey from good to great, we must start by setting our goals and expectations for the year. We must all ask ourselves what we want to achieve this year and more importantly how we are going to achieve it ? And if we can't set our sails on something as far as a "year" down the line, then we must simply reduce our period of time. What do we want to achieve by July ? What do we want to achieve this month ? This Week ? Or maybe even what do we want to achieve in just today ?
It is important to remember that your ability to achieve greatness will never ever end, but you will never be able to reach the end if you never even start ?
So once we have answered those initial questions, we must then go and do something that many people fail to do, something that if simply done, will send us light years ahead of mediocrity and high off into the skies of ultimate success. That something is putting our words into actions, and our visions into reality.
But why aren't we all great yet ? Why aren't we just following these steps? Why are we stopping when greatness is right there in front of us ? when we are only a fraction of a inch off achieving ultimate greatness we stop. And why do we stop? ..it's because we are afraid ? Afraid because we don't know what's next, afraid because we don't want to fail, afraid of being judged by others, afraid of being judged by the ones we love and most importantly afraid of doing something that puts us above the rest !
This year I encourage you all to confront your fears, to get back up when you are knocked down, to cut out those in your lives who are holding you back, to not be afraid to fail, to disregard others judgement and most importantly...to do what you feel is truly right!
And often the hardest part of all that, especially for us guys , is asking for help. As Mr stuck alludes to regularly, there is no reason anyone should have to suffer in silence. And whether it be a friend here at the college, teacher, mentor or family member, it is vital that you all know someone will be there to help you !
Asking for help is not a weakness, it is a strength! And so no matter the problem, its size or its shape, asking for help is what will truly make you GREAT!"
We then ended the Mass with a full school blessing and the song Shine Jesus Shine.
With leaders who have such a strong understanding of who we are as Catholic Lasallians in a modern world Francis Douglas Memorial College is in great hands for 2020.
Live Jesus in our Hearts Forever.