The Last Word

By Samuel Wardhaugh | Posted: Tuesday June 21, 2016

As you know, our values for this term are honour and courage. I could stand up here, tell you to follow your dreams and give you some tired old cliches like when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything or perhaps when you fall off the horse, get straight back on but there is more to it than that. It takes courage to follow your dreams and not let lifes hurdles hold you back. Sometimes life pushes you around, knocks you down, but it is what you do when you get back up that matters.

Jonas Salk, an American medical researcher who developed the first successful polio vaccine said “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality”. To me, this means that dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them, yet I also recognise the fact that these dreams don’t just happen, you need to make them happen.

As young men with our whole lives ahead of us, we need to dream big, set goals, then work hard to achieve them.

We need to have dedication and determination.

We need to have self-belief.

We also need to realise that making our dreams come true whether they be career aspirations, sporting, cultural or whatever, won’t be easy, but we can’t let the fear of failure stop us from chasing our dreams.

Things will go wrong. We will make mistakes and have disappointments. That’s life. But showing courage and resilience to tackle these obstacles along the way is what being an Otago Boys boy is all about.

For many years I have dreamt of becoming an Officer and helicopter pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It always seemed a long way off. In the last year, however, that dream has become more real after attending a Defence Careers Experience Camp and having several helicopter flying lessons. I have started my way down this path and I am part way through the lengthy application process.

Pilot is one of the most sought after positions in the Air Force with an extremely tough selection process. Because of this, I have always known the road to my dream career was never going to be easy and my goal by no means guaranteed, but I have worked very hard both in and outside the classroom and done everything I can to improve my chances of being accepted.

Recently I came up against a major obstacle with my application, failing a required colour vision test. I have known for years that my colour perception was impaired, but I have been determined to keep pursuing my dream in the hope that things will work out along the way. Following this test result I felt shattered. I felt as if my dream had been taken from me, just like that. But I picked myself up and I am determined to keep going. I am still waiting for confirmation about this from the Defence Force and I certainly haven’t given up all hope. If necessary, I will take another pathway to follow my dreams.

If not as a pilot, I hope to be accepted into the Air Force in another of my chosen fields and one day I will learn how to fly a helicopter- I will just have to work very hard to fund this dream myself.

Today I will leave you with a quote from Pope Saint John XXIII (the 23rd)

“Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but what is still possible for you to do.”