Good evening, it is my privilege to welcome :
- Our Patron, The Headmaster, Dr Chris Luman and
- Senior Deputy Head Master, Mr Matthew Marwick
- Past Headmaster and Honorary Life Member Mr Kieth Olivier
- Honorary Life Members
- Past Presidents
- Past Head boy of 2019, Mr Travis van Aardt
- Old Boys Executive members
- Old Boy Life Members
- The Chairman of the School Gov Body, Mr Steve Colenbrander
- Teaching staff of College
- Moms and Dads – Uncles and Aunts, family members and Care Givers
And most importantly
- Our honoured guests, that this evening is all about, our Matric pupils of 2023
I want to thank you – our Moms, Dads and Significant Care Givers;
You must be so proud.
Your boys are all but done and 5 years have flashed by.
You entrusted College with your son’s high school education, I must congratulate you on a very wise choice and thank you.
It seems like just a few years ago I was a 6th former and I look back and reflect on how blessed I have been to have attend this fine school, College, and to be a part of the : red black and white – ‘tribe’
I also give thanks for the fact that as an older guy now I get to have an audience with you youngsters who are going to be the future men of this country and shape our world.
I have said it before and I have spoken to many of you at assemblies and meetings old boys have attended with you that, if ever South Africa needs rock solid fathers and leaders of the future, now is the time: we need honest leaders, men of integrity, men of respect, men of courage.
Too often, I think we walk past these all-important virtues that College reinforces into you and I think sadly this country has lost its sense of morality.
These critical factors, that make us College men so special, are key as you journey out into your studies and future careers.
Firms now spend a lot of time “deep diving” into your past, particularly when they recruit for senior management, and they try to really unravel what sort of people they are recruiting. Are they people that are going to be honest? Are they people that are going to put people and our planet first? Are they team players who can add value?
That is the kind of person that companies are looking for. It is not always the smartest person, not always the person that achieves the eight distinctions and results that are just off the charts. It is about being an honest team player and being human. I can tell you that your old school tie and business network we have via College Connect is going to open doors for you.
You are going to find through life’s journey and challenges you face; that you are going to look for your tribe. Humans are funny things. They look for acceptance and a sense of belonging. They look for people that they identify with, who they want to work and ‘kuir’ with and have a beer with and watch the Springboks win a 4th world cup with – They look for their tribe.
I am going to short cut this and tell you – this is your tribe, look around you tonight, this is your tribe.
Sitting here tonight are a number of elderly grizzled statesmen who I can tell you will be joining a lot more next Tuesday for the Old Boys veterans’ lunch in the Vic hall. It has been years since they put on school tie, yet here they are. They will be chewing the fat all afternoon long.
Many have given a lifetime of service to College and College Old Boys and have been bonded to the red black and white over decades. For whatever reason, like me, they are all bonded back to College, this great school that it is, and the role that it played in our lives.
Recently we have had the sad passing of two absolute legend Old Boys, Ted Reed and Les Howard Browne. I can tell you their tribe, as they faced death was filled with family and their College tribe.
When College says it is “College4Life” it is for life
I had the privilege of chatting to you at the beginning of the year, and I think at the end of last year, which was quite a difficult year for College. Of the many topics we covered, I spoke of respect for each other and the unacceptable characteristic of being a bully. I stand here today and I am absolutely blown away at what a great year this has been for College.
This year, you Matrics have taken your year and made an absolute success of it. The productions of My Fair Lady, the sporting results, the accolades, be it basketball, rugby, hockey, cricket, mountain biking, choir, jazz band and into the classroom.
It’s been a heck of a year and I want to thank and congratulate you all.
You are going to reap the benefits because many years from now, you are going to look back, you are going to laugh, and any issues experienced through the year will fade away BUT the memories of defeating Affies with 50 points on the board, the memories of matches won and lost across all sports and at any level, those stories will percolate through and you guys are going to really enjoy Old Boys because you are going to have these wonderful stories to reminisce about because it has been a wonderful year and you guys have made it a wonderful year.
I challenge you to really put this last effort in now to make your results what they need to be and what you’ve earned, focus on that, and reap the rewards so that your careers reap the rewards too.
We at College Old Boys will be helping you unlock doors via our College Connect business network that is now fully operational and staffed. We are already hosting events at the different universities, already helping Old Boys with job placements, hosting business breakfasts and golf days where Old Boys are doing business between each other.
Gents, enjoy this evening. Welcome to Old Boys. Please remember, there is no structure to Old Boys. We all wear the same badge and we share a common passion for College and the brotherhood. The pecking order, the pleases, the sirs, they all disappear, it becomes a mutual respect that we all have for each other out there and our love of College.
MCOBA is all about Fellowship, fun, attending events and Reunions but there is so much more.
In the few weeks’ time and you finish your final exam and you sign that pledge to come back for your ten-year reunion – come back, I flew back from London for my ten-year anniversary and it was a wonderful evening. I will always fondly remember that first ten-year reunion.
Obviously, do not miss the ones in between if you can make them, and we will see you soon at the respective universities if you are going.
Tonight, as you get your Old Boys Tie, I urge you to seek out the OC who is named on your tie ( Melba in the old boy’s office has their contact details) , make contact, thank them, and make a plan to meet up and share a beer and a story with them at Reunion Day or whenever you may be back.
I wish you well with your final exams and welcome you warmly into the MCOBA as you receive your tie tonight.
Get some wonderful pictures and memories made tonight that you will cherish.
- Stay connected with College and College Old Boys
- Enjoy Reunions and Branch Functions
Congratulations once again on the splendid year you have had. You have made us all very proud as old boys and as custodians of our wonderful school, Maritzburg College.
Pro Aris et Focis