2023 Dux Kevin Dang addresses Laureate Assembly

“We have demonstrated that true success isn’t just about acing exams; it’s about embracing challenges, adapting to change and growing as individuals.”

That is the message from Blackfriars’ 2023 Dux Kevin Dang, who yesterday addressed our annual Laureate Assembly.

The Laureate Assembly celebrates graduates who achieved ATARs of 90 or above, as well as Blackfriars scholarship recipients and other award winners.

2023 Dux Kevin Dang, with his mum and sister, at the Laureate Assembly.

“It is an honour to stand here today as Dux of 2023 after what was the most challenging and stressful year of my life,” Kevin said in his Laureate Address.

“Firstly, I would like to congratulate the entire cohort of 2023. Together, we’ve not only faced the demands of our studies, but navigated through the disruptions that life threw our way.

“Year 12 isn’t simply about the relentless grind of daily study sessions for exam success.

“It involved forging deep connections with friends who were right there in the academic trenches with me. Beyond the pressure to perform well, there were genuine moments of joy, laughter and shared triumphs.

“Year 12 wasn’t just a quest for grades; it was a journey marked by the camaraderie of friends and celebrating our achievements.”

The 2023 highest-achieving (90+ ATAR) students with Principal David Ruggiero and Board Chair David O’Loughlin at the Laureate Assembly.

Top tips for Year 12 success

Kevin, who achieved an ATAR of 99.75, offered some advice for the senior students to come.

“My first piece of advice is to strive to give your absolute best in everything, so when you leave school, you can do so with no regrets,” he said.

“Take risks and make sure you’re not left thinking, ‘what if I had?’. Whether that means making new friends or doing something that makes you uncomfortable, try. And, most importantly, experience it all.

“Think about it this way; in 20 years, you wouldn’t want to reflect on missed opportunities, those windows of opportunity that could have shaped your journey. Seize them now and craft a narrative without room for regret.”

That advice, he said, extended to exams and tests.

“Whatever grade you achieve, know that you tried your hardest,” he said.

Kevin Dang with Principal David Ruggiero.

The importance of good mental health

Kevin also urged the Class of 2024 to prioritise their mental health.

“Take breaks, hang out with your friends and play video games. I sure did,” he said.

“Don’t sacrifice the things you enjoy. It is so important to find a balance between resting and studying that I cannot emphasise it enough. Remember that it’s the last year you will be at school, and it’s likely where you will form the most memories.”

Lastly, he said, resist the urge to compare yourself to others.

“While it can serve as a good motivational tool, it’s often at times unhealthy and unrealistic.

“Each of us carries our own set of strengths, and these may not always be fully captured by the grades we receive in school. Focus on your own progress and embrace the idea that success is a personal and evolving journey; it may not always align with conventional benchmarks.”

A final thought

“To finish off, I’d like to end on a quote the video gamer inside of me would like to say: ‘Keep holding ‘W’. Just as we move our characters forward in the video games we play, we should aspire to do the same in real life, too’.”

2022 Dux Nico Cacayorin addresses Laureate Assembly

Some months after leaving Blackfriars as a student for the final time, 2022 Dux Nico Cacayorin has returned to address the Laureate Assembly.


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