Believe in yourself and success will follow

Dr Kerry Ferguson, La Trobe University Pro Vice Chancellor (Equity and Student Services), congratulating Katie Cameron at the Year 12 Valedictory Dinner

An edited extract of the speech given by 2012 School Captain Katie Cameron at the Year 12 Valedictory Dinner on 24 October...

We, the class of 2012 accept our valedictory awards tonight knowing that it is as a result of the hard work of our parents. Although we don’t always show it, we are incredibly appreciative of the education you have allowed us to have.

We would also not be looking forward to such promising lives if it was not for the teachers who have supported and nurtured us. On behalf of the class of 2012 I would like to thank the staff of St Catherine’s. We know that we can complain, at times be careless and even lazy, but aside from our parents, no one has played a bigger role in our development. We will not lose the values that you have instilled within us: the importance of persistence, determination, service and curiosity.

And we are here tonight because of the sheer determination and persistence of the Year 12 cohort. I found it incredibly difficult to write an inspirational speech for a group of girls for whom I have such admiration. You have taught me how to succeed and how to dream. You have made me who I am today and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All I can hope to do is encourage you to recognise the depth of your own power and the unlimited nature of your capabilities. I can only wish that you see yourselves as I do – as girls who have the education, talent and moral code to achieve greatness. Be guided by your imagination and aim for what is considered the impossible.

We will all face different struggles but remember that Thomas Edison had 10,000 failed experiments before he invented the light bulb. Do not be afraid to fall down. The one thing that stops individuals reaching and fulfilling their potential is this unwavering fear of failure. It is like the Year 3 chicken pox that won’t go away; it gets inside your ears, in between your toes and infects all your siblings. Fear is contagious and crippling. Class of 2012, you are too good for it. Fight for what you value, seek purpose and meaning in life, and I know you will find happiness.

Some will see their ATAR and it will be all they could ever have dreamt of. For others, it may not be. Do not let that score define you. You are better than a number, greater than a VCAA ranking, bigger than a study score. Fight back with your belief in yourself and you will live your dreams.

I leave you with a quote: ‘The most painful thing to experience in life is not defeat but regret.’ Be great, class of 2012, and know that I believe in each of you. Thank you and congratulations.

Katie Cameron
School Captain, 2012

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