submitted by George Poulos on 23.12.2004
Good Evening, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The Nicholas Aroney Award is an encouragement award for young Kytherians who have demonstrated a high level academic aptitude in the Higher School Certificate (HSC). [Final, External entry examination, held in the state of New South Wales, to, among other things, determine entry in institutions of higher learning, such as Universities].
“A high level of Academic aptitude”. It is these six words I want to focus on. What do they mean? Let me tell what they don’t mean.
High academic aptitude does not mean genius or smart, what it means is……..determination.
The young Kytherians that are about to receive this award tonight are going to receive it not because they have a superior intellect or because they are the smartest, of course there is no argument that they are intelligent and talented.
But they receive the award tonight because they are determined, motivated, individuals.
They are of a stock not unlike the gentleman in whose name we give these awards tonight. Mr Nicholas Anthony Aroney.
Nick was 15 years old when he boarded a ship in Greece bound for Australia. It was 1914 and due to the great War, his ship took him a far as Batavia, Java, then part of the Dutch East Indies.
So Nick wanted to come to Sydney, Australia but ended up in Indonesia.
This didn’t stop him though. By the end of 1914 Nick found himself in Warren, a town in rural northern NSW about 120 kilometers North West of Dubbo. Not quite Sydney, but a few steps closer nonetheless.
Of course, Nick, the determined gentleman that he was didn’t stop there.
In 1919 he bought a café in Nowra in partnership with a cousin. Nick was now only 160 kilometres south of Sydney.
In 1936 he moved to Wollongong and bought another café. The goal he had been working towards for the last 21 years was now only a few kilometers North.
Finally, in 1940 Nick made it. He moved to Sydney and the rest is history.
1914 to 1940. That’s 26 years it took Nick to get to Sydney. Imagine the strength of his determination, his persistence. Imagine if, he hadn’t been so determined. Imagine if when his boat moored in Batavia, Nick decided he had tried his best and the Dutch East Indies would have to do.
Luckily, that was not the case, and tonight we recognize fellow young Kytherians and award them for their determination in the name of Mr Nicholas Anthony Aroney.
These recipients have laboured long and hard over the course of their school lives.
I know from experience, as the HSC examinations draw closer, study becomes more intensive, pressure builds up and sometimes it can all feel a bit too hard.
But these are precisely the moments which define each of us as a person.
These are the moments which Nick would have had when disembarking from the boat that first time in Batavia.
These are the moments for which you are receiving this award tonight.
You are being awarded for your determination, and you are being recognized for the success it has brought you.
Let me say, I was a recipient of the Nicholas Aroney Award when I completed the HSC. You may ask anyone who knows me, when I am not around of course, and I am sure they will tell you that I am a very, very stubborn person. But then what is stubborn other than a substitute for persistent, determined, and persevering.
I am happy that I was awarded for my stubbornness and the success which it brought me. I can tell you it came in very handy when I was purchasing all those 1st year law-school textbooks.
So I hope tonight the award recipients feel a deserved and overwhelming sense of satisfaction, success, and self-awareness. Tonight the legacy of the late Mr Nicholas Anthony Aroney brings the light to bear upon you. May the success which your determination has brought you thus far, take you to where it is you finally want to go.
On behalf of us all here tonight, we congratulate you and thank the trustees of the Nicholas Aroney Trust Fund for their generous benevolence and of, course, we thank the Kytherian Association for their ongoing support for young Australian Kytherians.
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