‘Back to Waverley Day,’ an annual event for all Waverlians who graduated 50 or more years ago, this year honoured the Class of 1972 on 10 November 2022.
We always look forward to welcoming Old Boys back to our growing campus, but this year was particularly special, because this celebratory event was inevitably cancelled in 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions. 100 Old Boys from the years 1953-1972 were in attendance.
After morning mass with Father Bernie in the College chapel, and a morning tea in the Senior School Library, Principal Mr Graham Leddie welcomed our alumni and our Pacifika parents/carers and extended families, to a full College assembly.
The assembly opened with a performance by the Waverley College Pacifika group. These talented Pacific Islander students have been working with Ms Sue Walsh (Director of Identity & Student Formation) and Aunty Fleur Smith for the past six months, and we were privileged to enjoy their unique stories in the form of prayer, music and dance.
The Pacifika group have made encouraging inroads into building deeper cultural awareness within the College, whilst also helping to strengthen our inclusive community, one of the four ‘Touchstones’ at Waverley.
The Pacifika brothers began with a prayer in the form of a beautiful Fijian hymn, ‘Noqu Masu’ sung with arms linked, followed by a performance of three haka: from Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand. The third haka spoke about the relationship between a father and son, and the important advice the father gives to his son about being true to himself.
Supported by archival images on the large screens, Mr Leddie then spoke to the cultural, technological and social changes that occurred during 1970-72 at Waverley, and in the wider world.
Guest speaker was Dr David Curran FRACP BSc (Med) (Hons), (Class of 1970 – College Captain, Prefect, Rugby Coach and Cadet CUO), who has served as a consultant physician in gastroenterology at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital for 37 years.
Dr Curran spoke with great eloquence. He praised ‘Back to Waverley Day’ which he said, “ … enables Old Boys to come home to their educational birthplace.” He exhorted current students to cultivate their friendships, a vitally important part of their overall education, and said that forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to one another.
He encouraged students to tackle life with passion and grasp all opportunities.
Dr Curran also educated many of us about the life of American political radical and pacifist, Dorothy Day, (b.1897 – d.1980), champion of the poor and exploited workers. Setting up the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, she remained a controversial figure whose ideals ignited his schoolboy energy. As a teenager, Dr Curran launched a fundraising campaign to help Dorothy Day, and she responded gratefully with a handwritten card, thanking him for his financial assistance to her cause. At the close of his speech, Dr Curran presented this framed letter to Mr Leddie for Waverley College, as an historic gift from the Class of 1970.
Luncheon was served in the Br Wallace Performing Arts Centre, and Walter Rosada (Class of 1972), delivered a memorable speech on behalf of the Class of 1972. Stepping down this year after 20 years serving as Year Coordinator, Mr Rosada thanked Alumni Coordinator, Ms Venettia Miller, for her ongoing assistance with making connections, and also the help of the Old Boys’ Union.
Mr Rosada noted that, “the College had embedded itself into their DNA” and just as they were proud to be part of a history of the College, “the College is a part of the history of us.” He shone a light on both the success stories and the quiet achievers in the Class of 1972, in the domains of medicine, sport, art and academia, reminding his fellow Waverlians to never take their cohort for granted, and to remember those no longer with us.
Ms Vanessa Witton
Marketing Communications Specialist