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Class of 2018 Valedictory Speech – Ian Ng

Printed with approval from Ian Ng.

Two years ago an old friend of mine, whose name isn’t worth mentioning once told me, “Don’t go to USC, it’s just a school for a bunch of try-hards and nerds.” It’s funny how wrong people can be sometimes. Today, I shake my head as I stand before the most outstanding group of individuals that I am proud to call my friends. Distinguished guests, friends, family, and teachers I hope you have enjoyed your time here tonight, and to my class of 2018 welcome to the finish line.

I would first like to take this opportunity to thank those in the room who have given us the immeasurable support that we didn’t know we needed since day one, who knows where we would’ve been without you. To all the mums and dads in the room thank you for being patient with us in these past 2 years, patient enough to be there for us at our worst, patient enough to deal with us and our little breakdowns…patient enough to deal with us and our big breakdowns. To all the teachers, thank you for not locking your offices and hiding the day before a test, thank you for your wild and utter savagery when it came to last-minute work, thank you for continuously pushing us to be the best we can be, inside and outside the class. You’ve helped us grow in so many areas, it’s not fair to call you just teachers, and for that, I say thank you.

Words cannot describe the type of people I’ve met in these past two years, but numbers can. 1/100. I guess as a maths student I would say that’s the probability of finding exactly the same student with the same interest, dreams, aspirations, and goals as the next one. You won’t find the same two people at USC…except for twins apparently we have like 5 sets of those. But differences aside, we are connected, we are a team, we are a combination of different talents, passions, cultures, and beliefs. We are more than students, we are the class of 2018 and no one can take that away from us.

On the 1st of February 2017, we played the dumbest game of bingo on the Jordan Lawns, but there was free food so that was cool. On that day we met some of our closest friends and thus began our 2-year journey and some of the best memories I’ll ever have. On that day I also learned that we had a 14-year-old kid in our year level and that our student counsellor loved to take photos. Looking back it felt like the first day of primary school, with way more testosterone and estrogen.

The first 5 weeks were a breeze, no work and too much free time and then came week 6. Suddenly our expectations of ourselves fell just a little and we finally realised what we signed up for. But every time we fell, we stood back up and it’s because we kept picking ourselves up and up again that we are able to be here tonight. At some point, we all struggled, but if I’ve learned anything from this school, it’s that you can’t get anywhere unless you struggle, as Eric Thomas once said, “Where there is no struggle, there is absolutely no progress.” USC has pushed all of us out of our comfort zone in so many ways, through our subjects, through lectures, through tests, and through 8am mentoring about positivity and wellbeing, we have been constantly pushed and because of that, we were able to move forward.

This year was a challenge on its own. According to the Chinese Zodiac, this year was the year of the dog. But apparently at USC, this year was the year of last-minute assignments, the year of procrastination, the year of 3am cramming, and of course, 3am crying. This year, we learned that lectures can be watched at double speed and that naps were our best friends, especially on the bus to school.

This year we started the O-week expo, an event that will be a part of the orientation program from now on. This year, we entered the first USC team in the School Sport SA Track and Field Championships. This year, we had three teams compete in the national titration championships, we had multiple research projects published, we had the year 12 drama production perform Blood Sister and Soldadera, we had the art show which showcased USC’s finest pieces of work, we held the biggest USC formal, and so much more. This year, we have demonstrated that we are capable of achieving more than a number, something important to note come December 18th.

Before I move on, I would like to invite the class of 2018 to take a moment and look at your hands.

For me, USC is kind of like our hands. The thumb represents all the good times, the okay times, and on occasion the bad times we’ve experienced.

The index finger represents all the knowledge, capabilities, and skills we have developed in our 2 years here. Without this finger, we would not have been able to write notes, solve equations, and paint masterpieces.

The middle finger represents all the laughs we’ve shared, inappropriately timed jokes and banter we’ve had between our friends and with our teachers.

The ring finger represents the relationships and the friends we have made, ones that we will hold on to even after tonight.

Finally, the pinkie finger represents promise and opportunity given to us by our teachers, and by the school. Perhaps the finger that is usually the most forgotten, but one that will always be with us no matter what. Together, these 5 fingers are what makes USC, USC. A place of belonging, a place of beneficial stress, and now a place of memories.

Two years ago, an old friend of mine whose name is not worth mentioning once told me “Don’t go to USC”, thank god I wasn’t a good listener back then.

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