The best performed academic and extracurricular students were recognised and the graduating Class of 2018 farewelled at Speech Day in November. The special event also provided an opportunity to hear from the School’s leaders and guest speaker BGS Old Boy Simon Fenwick ’87.
Outgoing School Captain Marcus Ray spoke about the importance of community in his eloquent address – the theme for the School’s 150-year anniversary. “In 150 years, much has changed at Brisbane Grammar School,” he said. “Buildings have come and gone. Students have come and gone. Headmasters have come and gone. Yet one aspect remains unchanged, impervious to the influences of time – our great sense of community.”
“Our BGS predecessors forged a collective spirit that continues to serve as our school’s very foundation, that binds our diverging paths together, and that defines who we are and what we are today.”
Marcus paid tribute to his those who helped him and his fellow graduating seniors on their BGS journeys, from teachers to parents and many others in between, and reflected on the School today.
“It is not our successes that define us as a School; it is our effort, our enthusiasm, our endeavour, and our spirit that cultivates the culture of academic excellence and the pursuit of all-roundedness that Brisbane Grammar has become synonymous with today,” he said.
“This School, Brisbane Grammar School, has defined who I am. It has defined who we are – this community, this unity, our values, and our vision for 150 years and for 150 more.”
Headmaster Anthony Micallef used his Speech Day address to reflect on the School’s 150-year anniversary and a year of achievement. “Throughout the year BGS has had much delight in marking 150 years since the School’s foundation in 1868,” he said. “This milestone year gave us the opportunity to share our rich history and connect with countless members of our extended community.”
Mr Micallef reminisced on a terrific year of community engagement through the Gala Dinner, royal visit, Grammar Community in Concert, celebratory gatherings and reunions at home and abroad, Sports Lunch and the annual Celebration of our Community, which acknowledged BGS volunteers, donors and sponsors.
He wished the 2018 graduates luck, saying they would be remembered as a “dynamic and industrious year group”, and praised the student leaders for their dependable leadership.
During an informative Speech Day address, Fenwick revealed he was far from the finished product when he graduated from BGS and didn’t know what he wanted to do beyond school. But the School instilled in him a vital asset that helped him on the journey to success – curiosity.
“Developing your own curiosity will arm you against dangerous groupthink,” he said. Groupthink seems almost pervasive in a lot of the press, political discussion and social media. However, your curiosity and continuing education will allow you to cut through it and get to the truth.”
His key points of advice to students included: continue your education, listen, accept careers aren’t linear, read widely, take considered risks, and give back.
“Remember where you came from. Strengthen your communities, where ever they may be. This could be coaching, mentoring, community groups, charities there is an abundance of options. Use your education to your advantage. But equally, help put back into your community, and provide opportunities for others.”
Board of Trustees Chairman Howard also reflected on the successful sesquicentenary and congratulated the Class of 2018 on their graduation. “To the boys who are leaving, I trust you can see that there is much still to be done to keep your school great,” he said.
“Your lives will inevitably take twists and turns, and will not follow a straight-line upward trend, but with the BGS motto front of mind, opportunities will present for you. You are ready to take them.”
Mr Stack briefly reflected on his time at BGS. "My wife Hilary, who has patiently supported me through my 28 years as Chairman, is greatly relieved that I am content for these plans to be implemented by future Boards, and that this is the last speech day address she will have to endure," he said. "I am not leaving tomorrow, there are some things to put in place next year, but it is time to say thank you to everyone for your support. It has been a great privilege."