The Last, Last Word

By Max Chu | Posted: Wednesday November 1, 2017

When being asked to write a last word, prefects are told very little.They are told to be original, to give advice or impart wisdom.

In 154 years of history, the duty of a last word has changed very little. The thing that makes a last word different to any other speech is; it is not for credits. It is not to gain popularity or to get a laugh.  It is simply OB's boys sharing thoughts to OB's boys. This is what makes it special for me, and I feel privileged to deliver my third and final word to you lads.

My last word today will be a story. I came in year nine to Otago Boys’, from Johnnies, about six weeks into term one. I knew barely anyone at OBs' – most of my mates from primary went to King's, and all the new friends I had made were still at Johnnies. We hear a lot of clichés about the first day at OBHS, walking under that archway and the feeling that washes over them to name one. Not going to lie, I didn’t feel that at all. A skinny Asian kid from Johnnies, I was as apprehensive as ever, the last thing on my mind was that archway. There were more important things to worry about: like what would teachers think of me, what would my class think of me, or in the case of period one swimming, what would my class think of my horrific knee length, skin tight speedos.

Speedos aside, the feeling I do remember was walking out under that archway, at 3.10pm, was one of belonging. I felt like I was a part of something far bigger than just a class or even a school, more like a family. Only now can I reflect and call this the brotherhood.

I understand that not everyone feels this same connection into the OBHS brotherhood, or they may not know what it is. It is not always an immediate process; however, I think every lad in here today has the potential to help another feel a part of something bigger than simply themselves.

For me, this happened on that very first day. A few periods after very luckily escaping the pool without copping a complete spray for my shocking attire, I had the cricket option. Being amongst a group of pretty standard young lads who love their sport, we lost track of time and were late back to school. I remember being absolutely petrified walking across the quad and into room 14 period 5 science with Mr Terry Curtis, realizing that I, the new kid, about to be late to class on his first day of school. This was made memorable though not for the serve I should have aptly received from TC, but it was when those four lads who I was with stood ahead of me, and took the blame on themselves. This was my first taste of the brotherhood, and that is what has made this place great for me over the last five years.

This leads me to my last three points, one for each year group.

For the Year 11s, have discipline. No longer the babies of the senior school, you will have to set a stern example. Year 12 will be the year you may be pushed and pulled in varying directions, positive or negative. You will have to step up inside and outside the classroom to make better decisions. Don’t let poor choices take you off the initial path you set yourself.

To the Year 12s - leadership. As I will allude to, the lads to your right have hours left as the alpha of this school, before the position is yours. Take courage in being the Year 13s of 2018. I challenge you to leave the school in exactly a year saying, “I left Otago Boys’ in a better place than it was”. You will be looked upon to lead, so lead well and with confidence. I know you will all do an outstanding job.

To the Year 13s. The class of 2017. Our brotherhood. What a ride we have had. Ups, downs, success and failures, we’ve done it all. And now we are here, with our time left measured in minutes rather than months or years. We are all going different ways next year, however the thing that will never separate us really is that bond we have. Look at us – in this cohort we have groomsmen, best men, team mates and brothers for life. The experiences we have shared as a year group are what makes us, us, and it would be a shame if we were to never share these experiences with each other again. Even going our different ways, let us make sure we never forget the memories forged in the Matukituki or battles fought on the sports field. Let us maintain the brotherhood.

Finally, I will finish by saying thank you. Thank you to the school and the teachers, but the biggest thank you, is to you. The lads. It has been an absolute honour and privilege to serve you this year, I will ever be grateful. It’s been a pleasure lads, thank you.