MCOBA President’s Address: Induction 2020
6th Form Induction Speech 2020
Good evening gentlemen, Past Presidents, Honorary Life Members, Our Patron – Mr Luman, Old Collegians, Fellow Exec members, Parents and friends – but most importantly – you Gentlemen – the class of 2020. This evening is about you. You and us – the current Old Boys.
For the past 12 odd years you have been a school boy – and for the last five (some shorter, a few longer) – you have been a College Boy. Well as long as that may have seemed – pretty much most of your life I guess. In the bigger picture – it is really not a long time. BUT…. as of tonight – you are no longer a College Boy. Tonight you become a College OLD BOY. And that gentlemen; is something that you will be for the rest of your days.
This may have been a difficult year – but don’t let this be the year that defines you! This is merely one of many challenges that you will face going forward in life. But you will also have many triumphs along the way too. Let is be these that define you.
Each and every one of us here tonight wearing the stripy blazer or the OC tie. Each and every one of us that passed through these old walls at some time. Each of us have had our fair share of challenges and victories, every one of us is, and will always be a College Old Boy.
I do have a little bad news for you however – being an Old Boy does not provide you with some magical formula to be an instant success. I will not be teaching you some secret handshake or introducing you to some benefactor that will offer you a lucrative job. No.
That is not what being a College Old Boy means. Sadly, it does not even mean you will be a good husband, father or business success. However, it does mean taking responsibility for your actions – and living by the consequences. It also means not letting the past hold you captive.
It means that you have had the foundation laid that allows you to be a world changer and a solid citizen that makes a difference in all he does and leaves an impression on those he meets. The core values that have been key to your success within these walls – those of – self-discipline, commitment, integrity, courage, respect and honesty. These are the same values that will make you a success as you venture out from these old walls of your alma mater.
But being a College Old Boy also means that there are around ten thousand other College Old Boys already out there in the world – spread from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – from Agulhas to Zurich. We as College Old Boys seem to gravitate towards each other. Irrespective of our age or our station in life. We always seem to have time to share a “coke” or story with a fellow old boy we have just met. Sharing with a fellow old boy seems to transcend all other aspects of life. I have seen so many times – old khehla’s – grey and wizened sharing a meal and fire with young bucks just a few years older than you men. Some of these gents have been captains of industry, international sportsmen, authors, leaders of large churches – or just solid citizens. Most have gone through hardship and pain – others seem to have been blessed beyond measure. But once we find that commonality as old boys – once we find that we are brothers that walked the same old walls – something stirs within us and we find ourselves standing together and standing proud and tall as the giants we once were here at College. I urge you to listen closely to the words of the Alma Mater and Old Walls as they are read out in a few moments. These words penned by Skonk Nicholson and Alan Paton encapsulate so much of what it means to be a College Old Boy.
We as the Old Boys Executive, and myself as the 43rd President of the Maritzburg College Old Boys Association, are extremely proud to welcome you into the hallowed ranks of our 123 year old association. We look forward to the contributions each and every one of you will make in society. I stand here today as President of our esteemed Association, along with my Executive not because of the great things we have done. But because of the great things each and every Old Boy before us has done. We stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before us. And it is with a sense of contentment and excitement that I look out at you this evening – Class of 2020. I am excited about the history that you are about to start writing as College Old Boys. With men like you heading out into this country and the world, we can only but be excited about the future.
So what does being a member of the Maritzburg College Old Boys Association entail?
It means that you have a special anniversary and awesome weekend laid on every year especially in your honour. Reunion weekend is something that is hosted especially for you. You need to get back to Goldstones every year – come walk these fields again. Come share in the brotherhood – and make a commitment to yourself and the men sitting around you to return as often as possible – but most definitely for your milestone years. Keep in contact with your classmates, update your contact details with the Old Boys office as you move on and see you at Reunion.
Tonight you will be receiving a very special pack. This contains a few items. A special lapel pin has been included. Tis has never been done before, and we do not plan to do it again. It is an acknowledgement of the particularly difficult 6th form year you have, including missing out on your final Reunion weekend, had and the bravery with which you have faced it. It is based on the shape of the Victoria Cross – something that has a few connections to College.
A pledge certificate – this is for you to sign with your mates – a large certificate will be made available during your exams to sign, as we want to respect social distancing this evening.
Your old boys tie…… I encourage you to wear your tie whenever you get the chance. In particular, Thursday is a day that Old Collegians globally will wear their MCOBA tie to work. We also have many of our meetings (including this evening) on Thursdays to continue the tradition. You will notice on the back of your tie there is a message welcoming you. Each and every tie this evening had been donated by an old collegian somewhere around the globe who is proud to have you joining our ranks. Some are anonymous, but many have a name and year that the donor was in 6th Form. I want to thank each and every OC that has donated to this initiative
Now I encourage you to look up your donor if there is a name, the office can assist, but connect with them – thank them, arrange to meet them at Reunion for a chat. Build those bridges and start your College old boy network.
This network is something that we have with branches across the country (including many of the Universities) and across the globe. Contact Sue or Zinhle in the office to find out more about who runs the branch wherever you are heading.
This networking is a significant part of being a College old boy. I encourage you to follow the College Connect website, LinkedIn page and be involved. Intime this will be a place where you can share your CV, look for jobs, look for businesses run by members of the College community and grow your business and professional opportunities.
So finally gentlemen – I want to leave you with a challenge this evening. I challenge you to all to embrace being a College Old Boy. Make it work for you. You do not need to wait 20 years. Build your networks, stay in touch, seek each other out and look for ways to pay it forward and make a difference wherever you find yourself and allow the legacy of Maritzburg College and the mystique of the College Old Boys to continue and to grow.
Go out from here and be the best you can be – hold the Red, Black, White dear to your hearts – and hold your head high as you walk forward as proud college Old Boys. Stay Strong and run the race of life well.
Pro Aris Et Focis.