Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dux's address.

Allow me to introduce you to the Currents first ever guest post author; Nick Miltchinov.
Nick is an insightful young man who deserves every accolade for his commitment to learning and success. He is to be congratulated on earning the School Dux, 2012.  

I will allow Nick's address to speak for itself. He is happy to reply to any comments posted below.  

Nick Miltchinov, 2013

Good morning { staff, students and special guests }
Before appearing to you today, I was faced with the difficult task of deciding how I would tackle this speech, and I concluded that, rather than approach you as dux or as a past student, I would instead address you as an ambassador of thought. So with that in mind, I’d like you to consider something as you sit here right now: are you, in this moment, even as you listen to me speak, aware of yourself; do you hear yourself thinking; can you feel the space you occupy. Keep this notion in the back of your mind because I want to revisit it later on.

For now however, I’d like to personally congratulate you all on starting yet another wonderful year at Oakhill. For many of you this marks the start of a whole new adventure, one filled with new friendships, new excitements and new experiences. For most others, this year is but a stepping stone in your continual climb through high-school life. And for some, this will be your final and most difficult year of all. 

It is for this reason that I wish to impart you all with some words of wisdom and some advice for the year ahead. However, I do not intend to lecture you with cliché tips or tricks, rather what I want to offer you today is a mentality; a mentality that, not only works for becoming a better student, but also for becoming a fuller individual in general.  

The first step is to stop binding yourself to the idea that everything in this world is a given and therefore dismissible part of everyday life. It is too often that we close ourselves in on this presumption, becoming unappreciative of both the physical and human settings we exist in. So you need to learn to be able to step out of yourself, to dislodge yourself from your perceptions and to become an observer; a questioner.

Only through this will you be able to become a creator: a creator of art, of books, of scientific or technological innovation, of architecture, of food; a creator of history. - Your history, a history that others will look back on, a history that will inspire generations to come. And it all starts with noticing, contemplating and appreciating the smallest of things that life has to offer.

The second step is to have faith in yourself and in the potential that resides within you. Too often I’ve seen people discourage themselves by saying ‘if only I had learnt to do so-and-so at a young age’ or ‘I tried to be so-and-so, but I wasn’t good enough’. To that I say the only thing that really stops you is the limits you put on yourself. So don’t underestimate your potential, but also don’t make excuses for not having the desire, will or passion to begin or to carry something through.  -Like before, those things only come from giving value and having an appreciation for yourself. 

Always remain a lucid thinker – and I can’t stress how important this point is. Thinking, wondering and understanding are all acts at the fibre of our being; to stop these is to impede the evolution of ourselves and of our world. Without them, we become artificial, and life becomes mundane. So remember to always look at the world with eyes of fascination, and remember that the thought is the melody of the mind – the more you tune it, the more harmonious, pristine and unhindered it will become.

And lastly, to the Yr 12s: the HSC will undeniably challenge you, but the greater the risk, the greater the reward. This is the year you will grow most exponentially, so to make sure you reap the greatest  benefit, try to always extend yourself beyond the expectations of your teachers, parents, syllabus and most importantly, of your own.   

For it is now time you learnt to love and to appreciate what you study, not because it’s a current requirement, but because doing so leads to the betterment and enrichment of your self – and isn’t that truly the real goal in life.

As I conclude, I wish to touch upon the notion I presented at the beginning of this speech, and I’m certain all of you can relate to and understand the sensation of being alive and of being conscious that I then described. So I’ll say it simply: relish that sensation. In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we often forget that we all hold on to that special force. So, take moments from your day to be aware of it; to be proud of it; to appreciate it, and so -
Never once stop thinking – you are alive, go and make the most of it!
Thank you very much. I wish you all the best for the year ahead.


  1. Great speech Nick. I wish there was footage of it! You've hit the nail on the head when you say that everyone needs to be more aware of themselves, their surroundings and their actions within the world. Thinking things through is so important but we do get so distracted by our 'to do' lists that life flashes past without us taking the time to reflect. I hope you had positive feedback from the crowd!

  2. Best DUX speech! You made some really interesting ideas and I think it was really engaging!

  3. Via Twitter: Futuristex2014 ‏@futuristex

    What a brilliant speech from Nick! Thanks so much for sharing this Jeannette! #futuristex

    9:37 PM - 13 Feb 13 ·

  4. Nice speech Nick. Some hint of a Buddhist influence (Oakhill is catholic right?) here with immanence and the idea of being present and looking with gratitude at the world around.

    You have some great lines here: "Thinking, wondering and understanding are all acts at the fibre of our being; to stop these is to impede the evolution of ourselves and of our world". What a wonderful message this is and places the HSC into a broader paradigm of perpetual enquiry.

    I hope that you are coming to USYD!



  5. Hi Tony, thank you for your kind words.
    I totally agree with you on the concept of perpetual enquiry - i think one of the biggest shames in a person's life is to leave school or university with the belief that they need not learn any more than that which is related to what they already know.

    Learning is not useless. Everything in this world, regardless of whether it may never be physically applicable to someone's life, is beautiful and worth knowing and appreciating. That is what I hoped to pass on in this speech.

    And yes, I am going to USYD ;)


  6. Well done, Nick! And thanks for sharing Jeannette. I too felt a Buddhist influence in the opening. As far as words of wisdom go, discovering that one's self can be found simply by breathing is a pretty good start. (Although backpacking around Europe while breathing wouldn't hurt either!)