This week the College has been focusing on the issue of bullying in the lead up to today's National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

To draw attention to this important issue, hundreds of students gathered on Ross Oval to spell out the word 'courage'.

Tuesday's Assembly also saw Year 12 student Harrison Vella deliver a powerful speech about bullying. The transcript follows:

School days are supposed to be the best days of our lives. The stretch before we start paying bills, leisure time and the period we establish friendships that last a lifetime. When I look back I can honestly say I have mostly happy memories of school. Brothers who have graduated tell me they miss school, and that they would come back tomorrow. But unfortunately for some, school isn’t all that. For some, the daily grind is exactly that – a hard slog.

We have all seen and heard the spirited cheers Nudgee College men voice when versing our rivals. We stand shoulder to shoulder - the support is palpable. In 2018, Nudgee College is 1500 men strong. We have a robust history of 10,000 brothers who have come before us. It is our legacy and our responsibility to back each other. And we do it like no other I have ever seen.

So the question begs; why is that within our inner sanctum, where we should feel safest, that some of us find it necessary to bully a fellow Nudgee College brother? Today I am going to challenge you to take ownership of your behaviour towards your brothers. We are not all the same - we have different interests, different views, different shapes, and different upbringings, hey, even different hairstyles - but what we all need to have is tolerance and patience of those differences. It is those differences that come together to make Nudgee College – put them together and we have the full set of complementary skills that make Nudgee College great!

We can only ever be as strong as our weakest link – and the weak links are those people who feel it is their responsibility to make life for others boys harder than it should be. I stand here before you today and challenge those individuals, but more than that, I want to challenge those boys before me who see this behaviour day in and day out, yet say nothing. The bystanders amongst us, must have the courage to assist those in need.

Boys, I know that this concept of standing up and supporting people in need is difficult, but let’s pause and consider the things we all do each day that are hard, but are done anyway?

  • How many times each day have you walked past a situation and thought “I wonder how that person is doing?”
  • When you are sitting on the bus, how do you feel knowing that all the negative energy is going to one person?
  • How do you feel when you are in the Learning Centre and you notice one of the younger students getting picked on in the same way each and every day?
  • Put yourselves in these situations - what would you like someone to do for you?

Nudgee College doesn’t need 1500 Angus McDonalds. What we do need is 1500 individual men who will come together and stand side by side. Men who will pick each other up in a crisis and look out for each other. Not just in the stands of Ross Oval or on an opponent’s sporting field, but all day, every day. Don’t look the other way or laugh along to fit in. “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends (Dumbledore in Harry Potter)”.

My passion lies on the rugby field, so I often compare aspects of life to a sporting team. On the field and in life, we each have different roles; different strengths within our team. Members must operate with a high degree of trust, to share authority and responsibility for self-management, and be accountable for the collective performance. As a team they work toward a common goal and share the rewards. When you operate as a team there’s no room for put downs or unfair blame games; no room for unacceptable attitudes or power plays. A team becomes more than just a collection of people when there is a strong sense of mutual commitment.

 No other school has the spirit and camaraderie that we have here at Nudgee College. So let us have big hearts and be men of good character. Hold your heads high and treat each other with respect. I truly believe that as a collective we have the strength to eliminate this negative behaviour from our campus. We are a community that fosters caring and respect. Behind all we do is the fact that we are Signum Fidei - Signs of Faith. Bullying is everybody’s problem.