Waverley College farewells a legend
On Friday 14 September, over 350 teachers, parents, old boys and friends gathered at the Br J P Lacey Gymnasium to farewell the Director of Waterford, Anthony Banboukjian and celebrate his 28 years at the College. Special guests included previous Headmasters Br Paul Oakley and Br Bob Wallace, previous Head of College, Ray Paxton, immediate past Board Chair, Sam Hardjono, current Board Chair, Mark Davies and President of the Parent Association, Mary Ramsay. Tony was also very proud to have his family and friends in attendance, including his mother, Josephine, at the special celebration.
Tony’s moving speech can be read here:
This a truly humbling experience. My apologies in advance if I get emotional. I can’t believe my time at Waverley will be over in just a couple of weeks. 28 years. 28 great and most of the time very interesting years. I really hadn’t planned on staying this long – I’ve always said find me a better school and I’d be happy to move on. I think in those years at Waverley we’ve lived through every possible human emotion: We’ve laughed together. We’ve cried together. Watched our families grow. Watched as we got older and some of us balder.
28 years – not bad for someone who was initially only employed for one term’s maternity leave – thank you Michelle Arkins. That one term became a year which become 20 plus. My role changed throughout my time at the Junior School – going from just a teaching role (“Communications teacher’ was my first role) to sports master to assistant director and for the past 10 years I’ve had the distinct honour and pleasure of been the Director of Waterford.
I remember my first day at Waverley. I’d just moved from an inner city boy’s school where I’d been punched by student, had a knife pulled on me by group of disgruntled students, threatened by a boy who a few years later would end up in Long Bay for murder – so I was excited to be at school like Waverley. A fellow teacher however took me aside and warned me how difficult the students could be; well it only took one lesson for me to walk into the staffroom and give him a clip behind the ear to remind him just how good he had it here.
In the space of a few days I went from wanting to leave teaching to loving my work and looking forward to coming to work each day. What keeps someone in one place for so long? It’s really simple; the Junior School is a truly special place with great people who create a family-like atmosphere. What you need to understand and keep in mind is that parents don’t have to send their son to the Junior School. They make a determined decision to change schools to send him to Waverley. They want something special for their son – they want him challenged, they want him involved, they want a boy friendly structure and they want teachers who understand boys and boys’ education.
Yes, it’s busy and noisy but I’d like to believe we have created an environment where boys want to come to learn, to achieve their best, to learn about charity, empathy and inclusiveness. My hope has always been that every boy that comes to the Junior School strives to be the best person he can be and that the teachers inspire him as role models. I’m happy to walk away from the College at the end of the term knowing that I’ve had the real privilege of teaching over 4000 unique young men and I hope I’ve made a difference and had an impact in their lives.
If you permit me I’d like to extend a few notes of thanks:
- To my beautiful partner Kristen for her love and support – I know I haven’t been the easiest guy to live with recently
- To my family here tonight – my mum, sister Giselle and her partner, Adrian
- To my two sons Luke and Zachery – thank you for making me a proud dad
- Thank you to the Christian Brothers – especially Br Oakley, Br Wallace and Br Leary who had the faith and trust in me in the early days
- To Mrs Helen Newman who taught me the real meaning of leadership
- A special note of thanks to my mates – and I use that word with genuine warmness – Frank, Cal, Mark and Greg for their continual support and advice
- Thank you to everyone who helped organise tonight – Jennifer Divall and her team – it’s greatly appreciated
- A special thanks to the old boys here tonight especially my ex-students – it means a great deal to me to see you here tonight
- To all the parents here tonight and to those have sent me their best wishes – thank you
- I really need to stop and acknowledge the wonderful Junior School staff – my staff – they’ve made me look good for the past ten years
- Special thanks to my executive team of Matt, Stephen and Gaby for their incredible support over the years.
I know they won’t like it but I’d like to acknowledge two special people.
- Greg Harris – who due to health reasons can’t be here tonight but his support as my assistant for the past 10 years has been invaluable. His incredible hard work and care for the boys is something I’ll always appreciate. We wish you a speedy recovery. The Junior School can’t wait to have you back.
- She’ll hate me for this – but that’s ok. Thank you Mrs Coupe – my boss. The heart and soul of the Junior School. No-one at the Junior School will ever go wanting for attention while she is there. If they need a band-aid; if they need a cap; money for lunch; a shoulder to cry on; someone to fix their problems. Staff or student – they go to Mrs Coupe – thank you Audrey.
I look back with gratitude for the opportunity to work at Waverley. As I leave Waverley I am taking many of you with me.
You’ll be in my memories:
- I’ll always remember the things we achieved together
- The lessons taught
- The afternoon trainings and the Saturday morning games
- The block cricket games at lunchtime
- The Friday detentions
- The Canberra trips
- Vision Valley
And the list goes on.
I’m not retiring which might surprise some people – what the future holds we’ll have to wait and see. If you are ever down Moss Vale or Berrima way drop in for a chat.
Again I thank you for allowing me the great privilege and honour to have worked at Waverley College and been the Director of the Junior School.
Anthony Banboukjian finishes as Director of Waterford at the end of Term 3, with new Director, Gabby Smith commencing in Term 4. Waverley College would once again like to acknowledge the wonderful contribution Anthony has made to our Waverley College community and the Junior school over these many years. We wish him the very best as he embarks on the next chapter in life.