Gold, Gold, Gold!

I distinctly remember the great commentator Norman May, who was a legend in calling the many swimming races at the Olympic Games, with his energetic and passionate call of Australia winning a gold medal in the Men’s 4x100m Medley in 1980. His trademark was his enthusiasm and passion with his call of ‘Gold, gold, gold for Australia’. This is no different 40 years later in Tokyo where we have enjoyed the same gold, gold, gold. Haven’t we enjoyed an amazing two weeks of competition and achievements by Australian athletes? We celebrate along with our country the successes of athletes such as Emma McKeon, Logan Martin and Jess Fox just to name a few. But the Olympics brings other experiences such as Liz Clay missing out on the 100m finals in hurdles by 0.04 seconds, the pain-staking, upset loss of the Hockeyroos to India when they were on track for a gold medal, or the Matildas who were unlucky in their devastating loss to Sweden, also missing the opportunity to play off for the gold medal. But how can you forget the 10000m run from Patrick Tiernan, who ran a great race but on the last lap, fell on the track and struggled to get up, he staggered on to finish and again fell when he came to the last bend. My heart sank and like many Australians, we felt for Patrick. He got up and finished the race, completely exhausted having given his all and best. He finished 19th but still achieved a season best. This shows pure guts and determination, and he was hailed a hero back in Australia for his heroic finish. These are the many experiences we are privileged to see at the Olympic Games. The Olympics brings the story of the highs and the lows and the fierce pride we have as a nation. It brings our nation together.

This week we celebrate the outstanding success of 210 students who excelled in Semester 1. They received straight As in endeavour, achievement or both. Indeed, these students have won a gold medal for their efforts in Semester 1. We are amazed by the exceptional talent we have at Cardijn – students achieving at the highest level. We are very proud of their achievements and endeavours. Behind many of these results however, are many stories of how these results were realised. They didn’t just happen. Behind each result is a belief that they can do it and that hard work and commitment does pay off.

A message however akin to the Olympics is that every student was part of the semester journey and for many it didn’t result in a certificate of merit or gold medal, but what matters most, just like the performance of Patrick Tiernan, is that you have given your best and your result is your personal best. The 210 students who were recognised didn’t achieve this on their own, the support from teachers, family and friends were instrumental in their success. As a school, we celebrate their success collectively. The final point is that like every athlete striving for their best and working towards achieving gold, their personal best is still ahead. The challenge for every student is also that their personal best is yet to come in Semester 2.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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