“Legacy is not what we do for ourselves; legacy is what we do for future generations.”

But what value is there in a school’s legacy, a legacy enriched in sport, music, culture, service and so much more, if the students don’t harness the many opportunities that are provided for us?

Good morning Mr McFadden, official party, staff, parents and my fellow peers. It is an honour to represent you today as the College Captain for the coming year.

For the 2021 leadership team behind me, in our brief moment in leadership, our legacy will be determined by what we do in the next twelve months to serve all of you, and how well we succeed, even if in some small way, in leaving a positive impact on the culture of Aquinas for future generations. With this in mind, we have established three goals that we hope will contribute to present and future students. These goals embody the realisation that the heart of a College like our own is a culture sustained by students who have a go at the opportunities our school provides.

So firstly, GOAL 1: Grounding the Senior School Council System.

As some of you may know, we’ve established a new Senior School leadership system in 2020, a system of 14 councils that each focus on promoting and developing different aspects of our College, whether it be academics, service, sport, sustainability or boarding, just to name a few. Unlike some other schools where a small leadership team is stretched thin to try and make changes within their College, we now have a full system of 51 prefects and 16 captains thinking, brainstorming and initiating new projects for our school community. The 2021 leadership team acknowledges the foundation of the new council system that the previous year has established for us, and for this coming year we aim to maintain and improve this. Ultimately, we strive to make the College Community more inclusive and expand the opportunities of the Aquinas College Life.

GOAL 2: Listening to the Aquinas community.

That’s listening to the students, the staff, the parents, the Old Boys, the entire community, for their valuable input, opinions and concerns and allowing those voices to shape how our school evolves. In Term 3 you might have noticed boxes around the school asking for the opinions of both students and teachers. We asked you ‘what do you want in our school’? From this initiative, many students were interested in a student garden, so the Sustainability Council have been looking to get one running. Other students called for an Interhouse Esports Competition, so a competition for Senior School students will be held in Week 6 this term! I feel like schools should listen to the many different wonderful ideas that both students and staff have, as so many exciting possibilities can be found.

And finally GOAL 3: Inclusivity and Buying In.

The culture of a school is dependent on the participation of its students. Aquinas College provides a lot of opportunity for each and every student that walks these College grounds; the student leadership team aims to expand these opportunities to involve as many students as we can into the Aquinas life. But while Aquinas provides us these opportunities, it’s up to each and every one of us to decide whether we want to make the most of them. Aquinas has a whole breadth of life-experience on offer, whether it be in service, debating, academic competitions, production, mock trials, or, of course, sport. Aquinas participates in arguably the strongest school sporting competition in Western Australia, so, as Aquinians, we should try to always serve the Red and Black at the best level we can.

The Aquinas culture is also defined by supporting your fellow Aquinians in the aspects of the College they involve themselves in; whether it be cheering from the sidelines at our PSA games on the weekend, by coming to watch the Senior School Production early next year, or by supporting the mighty sportsmen in the Interhouse esports competition in a couple of weeks... This all links to the value of mateship in our school community, especially in an all-boys community, and buying into the College life, the College life of serving others and participating in as much as the school offers.

I began this speech by underlining the legacy that the 2021 leadership team aims to achieve: bettering the Aquinas Life in whatever way we can, for all of us here, and for future generations to come. But while the staff and student leaders strive to provide as many opportunities for life-experience as we can for our community, it’s up to us students to buy-in to the Aquinas life, starting from now and this year to come. To conclude this speech, I’d like to part with a few words that I believe we should all keep in our hearts, as we face the year ahead of us, a strong ideology already present within the Aquinas Community. As our Captain of Boats Daniel Nolan says to his crew, “this is our year boys.”

Thank you for your time.

Naveen Nimalan, College Captain 2021