Our 2023 award winners and what we can learn from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Well done to the Secondary students who have demonstrated significant commitment to the four pillars of Dominican life – Prayer, Study, Community and Service – throughout 2023.

Speaking at today’s Secondary Awards Assembly – on what was the final day of the 2023 school year for our Years 10/11 boys – Principal David Ruggiero congratulated the award recipients. (See the full list below.)

He also shared some wisdom gained from an unlikely source.

“Boys, this weekend was my son’s 3rd birthday party. It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme party. And we can take a lot from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Mr Ruggiero told the assembly.

“There is Leonardo, the leader, who feels the heavy weight of responsibility and fears making decisions that might impact his brothers. Raphael with his fiery spirit and impulsive nature. Donatello, the isolated intellectual who can become entrapped by technology. And Michelangelo, the free spirit who is often misunderstood in his quest for adventure and fun.

Principal David Ruggiero addresses today’s Secondary Awards Assembly.

“Splinter, the wise mentor, teaches them that being a true man isn’t about being the strongest or the bravest, but about knowing oneself, embracing one’s vulnerabilities and showing compassion.

“Our faith teaches us about the journey from the ‘false self’ to the ‘true self.’ Our false self is built from what the world tells us we should be – focusing on success, power and prestige. But our true self is the core of who we are in God’s eyes – authentic, humble and connected to a greater purpose.

“In this journey towards our true selves, vulnerability plays a crucial role. It’s OK to acknowledge our weaknesses, doubts and fears. Vulnerability is not a weakness; it’s a strength. It’s what makes us human and allows us to connect deeply with others.

“Being a man is not about fitting into the stereotypical mould of being tough and unfeeling.

Mary MacKillop Award for Excellence winners Dominic Canil and Michael Ward with Mr Ruggiero at today’s assembly.

True masculinity embraces compassion, emotional expression and spiritual depth. It’s about being brave enough to show your true feelings and to treat others with love, kindness and respect.

“So, as we go forward, let us strive to be true men of the four pillars, living life with truth, integrity, compassion and love. Let us be true to ourselves, embrace our humanity, and extend our hands in friendship and support to those around us. Let’s be the kind of men that our world needs more of. The kind of men that make the world a better place.

“You don’t have to be a Ninja Turtle, you just have to be reflective.”

The St Albert the Great Awards for Academic Excellence will be announced at our Laureate Assembly on Monday 12 February.

Head Prefect's 2023 Academic Assembly address

Our Head Prefect, Reuben Calleja, has delivered his address at the 2023 Academic Assembly. Read it here.


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