By Max Chu | Posted: Thursday November 9, 2017
OBHS Prize-giving 2017 – Regent Theatre
Tena koutou, tena Koutou, tena koutou katoa
Thank you. Good evening to all esteemed guests tonight, staff, family, friends and the lads. It is a privilege to present the last address to you for 2017. I’ll be honest, I was unsure about the message I was going to give tonight. People suggested I give advice, information or wisdom. I don’t recommend taking advice from a 17-year old! Wikipedia is a better source of information than me and I most definitely am not wise. So here I was, contemplating a number of complex ideas to blow the socks off the audience in my penultimate speech at Otago Boys’, when Dad came along. “Say thank you”. “Dad, that would make for a pretty short speech”. Jokes aside, it struck a chord with me, and here I am, about to say thank you, and after that I will tell of something that I have learnt during my time here.
My first 'thank you' goes to the staff to my right. I have been at Otago Boys’ for approximately 870 days. Not one of these days have I left school not being able to take a positive home to Mum or Dad. Over the last 870 days we have been grateful to have been moulded under your tutelage into the young men we are today; whether that be by learning through the classroom, in the theatre, on the sports field, during the tournament van rides or in the Matukituki. As a part of the graduating Class of 2017, I’m sure all of us can testify that many of you have, and will continue, to have profound effects on our lives.
Secondly, to friends and family. You are the ones that put up with us for our schooling years, and for some, this may be the last year that we have you. Our first real steps as adults. There is a Māori proverb, ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi. Engari, he toa takitini ke. My strength is not the strength of one. It is the strength of many. You’re there for us through our ups and downs, our successes and failures. We are lucky for what you do for us, from putting food on the table, driving us to trainings and paying our fees. For myself, I know I wouldn’t be anywhere in life without my family – and we have to realise that family and friends are very precious things, something which I have learnt this year. Personally, I would like to thank my family; Mum, Dad and my grandparents. You’ve always been there for me through thick and thin, cared for me when I’ve been ill, stuck by me when I’ve made mistakes and taught me this game that we call life. For that, I am grateful.
My final thanks are to the lads. My Otago Boys’ brothers. Lads I’ve shared classrooms with, waited in the canteen line behind and cheered on Littlebourne beside. Thank you. It’s you boys that have made my last 5 years the best of my life. Sorry to the teachers, but it is really these boys who have taught me the most in my time here - lessons on respect, friendship, pride, responsibility and four-square are the ones taught at lunchtime and interval. These are the unforgettable lessons. To the lads still with time here, we have the best classrooms in the world to learn these things, so make sure you enjoy and as Hunter said a few weeks ago, make use of your time here, it does not take long for the wheel to turn around again.
This leads me to my final two cents worth, the guidance with which I have learnt from this great school, which I challenge you to follow, as I challenge myself. It is a cliché, but there is only one guarantee in life, that is death. Let me ask you this question. If your life stopped right now, what would you regret more? The things you did do? Or the things you’d wished you’d done? The risks you didn’t take or the dreams you didn’t pursue. Something this school has helped me realise is that life is not simply about going to school or work, waiting for the weekend and going through the motions. I don’t know that much, but what I am willing to put money on, is that everyone in here has, or had, a dream, big or small. World beaters, cancer curers, money earners or stage performers– those dreams all exist in this room.
Many of us live our lives scared of the thief in the night, however the real thief is the one in your mind. His name is doubt, if you see him around, alert your neighbourhood, see him off as he is wanted for murder – this thief has killed more dreams than failure ever could.
Doubt divides and squashes dreams, turning you into a “sort of”. There are a lot of “sort of” people in this world. We “sort of” want to get excellence, we “sort of” want to fix the environment, we “sort of” want to be a CEO. I think it is pretty simple, if you “sort of” want something, you will “sort of” get it. My message is, don’t be a “sort of”. Want that dream, and want it fully. You will fall, fail, move backwards and fail again, but you will keep going. Failure and pain are the pre-requisites for greatness, you will never stop growing. An oak tree may grow twisted and gnarled by the hardships it faces, yet an oak tree grows on.
We are given one life, one life, with no repeat, rewind or overtime. We can choose the pain on the road to success, or live a life, haunted by regret. Otago Boys’ young men, the choice is ours.