In 2016, a coward punch ended 19-year-old Pat Cronin’s life.
In 2023, senior students at Blackfriars have heard Pat’s story in a bid to help end the senseless violence that can have devastating and widespread results.
Alan Latu, from the Pat Cronin Foundation, today held two sessions to teach students in Years 11 and 12 about the risks, choices and consequences of social violence. The foundation’s vision is simple: A world free from the coward punch.
The students heard how, in 2016, Pat Cronin, a talented footballer who had secured a scholarship to university to study physiotherapy, was out with mates after a game. When a fight broke out, Pat stepped in to pull a friend away. He was punched in the back of the head.
The resulting bleed on his brain was not immediately evident; Pat got up, checked on his mates and walked away. But, a short time later, he started having seizures and fell into unconsciousness. Two days later, his parents made the agonising decision to have his life support turned off.
The students watched an incredibly emotional video of Pat’s family and friends discussing the impact of his death.
Mr Latu also shared his own story how, as a young nightclub bouncer and eventual nightclub owner, he became desensitised to violence. He is now deeply committed to teaching young people to think before impulsively acting on emotions, including anger.
He called on the Blackfriars students to make wise decisions and to use Pat’s story to make real change.
“Everyone here now knows Pat’s story. Share it. Talk about it,” Mr Latu told the boys.
“Think. Think. Think. The decision is now yours. It’s totally up to you. If you choose to take the hand that you write with and turn it into a fist, knowing Pat’s story, that’s your choice. It’s your choice to throw that punch.”
Year 12 student Seb Taylor, who is about to turn 18, said the presentation hit home.
“With a lot of us turning 18, everyone is going to start going out at some point, and it definitely just reminds us to take a step back when things start to go bad,” he said.
“It allows us to have that inner perspective of ‘is it worth it?’ and gives us some good tactics for when we go out and hang out with our mates. I have two siblings myself, and my family comes from overseas, so you want to be there for them and support them.”
Fellow Year 12 student Jeff Honey-Joseph, 17, agreed.
“I think it’s important to avoid any violence if we’re in that situation,” he said. “If I am in that situation, after hearing what (Mr Latu) said, I think I will take the time to breathe, to make a better decision.”