Parade College life, it’s fair to say, has come full circle for Damian Casamento.

In the Greening Auditorium way back in 1982, Damian was amongst the many hundreds of students hanging on every word of the then College Captain Damian Wilson.

This week, as a proud father frequenting College Hall for 4th Term Assembly, Damian again listened intently, only this time as his son Matthew recited the ode and delivered a keynote address, as 2018 captain-elect for what will be the 50th year of the Bundoora Campus’ existence.

“It was lovely to be part of the occasion,” Damian said afterwards.

“Though our daughter Elise was unable to attend due to university exams, my other daughter Alanah joined my wife Michelle at the Assembly and I have to say it was one of our proudest moments.

“I hadn’t heard Matthew’s speech until today. Michelle had suggested we listen to it in advance, but I said ‘No, let’s wait until Wednesday . . . and Matthew did a very good job. It’s a big year next year, what with the 50th anniversary of Bundoora, but Matthew’s really well organised and I have great confidence he’ll be all right.”

As a winner of Parade’s coveted Alban Pisani Trophy for School Spirit back in ‘82 and as Principal of St. Paul’s Primary School West Sunshine these past 17 years, Damian’s observations of the College both then and now take on added significance.

When he says of the Bundoora Campus that “the facilities at Parade are fantastic” you know he means it.

“The facilities have really been developed to meet the needs of all the kids, even in Matthew’s five years there,” Damian said.

“Matthew’s never been a sporty one, but he’s really involved in the performing arts, which is such a huge component now when it probably wasn’t in my time.

“Without doubt, Matthew’s had a great time at Parade, and today was one of his and our proudest moments.”

Matthew is also pictured receiving his 2018 certificate and badge of office from Parade College Principal Dr Denis Moore.

The following is Matthew’s address to 4th Term College Assembly;

Good morning/afternoon Br. Moore, distinguished guests, staff and students,

I am honoured to be standing here as your College Captain, addressing you for the first time. Next year I am excited to lead on behalf of the student body along with the Vice Captains Jack McArdle, Michael Udovicic, Gianni Perre and the entire prefect team. Our team has some great ideas which we trust will benefit the College in a significant way.

2017 has come and gone extremely quickly and we are now in the busiest term yet. The end is near so I urge you to push through the early wake-ups, the long days, the Melbourne weather changes and the upcoming assessments and exams you may have.

Now that we have stepped off (current captain) Michael Donato’s rollercoaster, I hope you are ready for 2018 to be the biggest year yet as we celebrate 50 years of the Bundoora campus. On February 4th, 1968 this Bundoora campus opened with 730 students and 20 teachers on the 80 acres of land given by the Christian Brothers. Since then, the grounds the grounds have transformed from a farm and a novitiate into the buildings and facilities that surround us today.

I would like to thank the 2017 prefects who this year did an incredible job, setting the bar extremely high for the 2018 prefects. Their leadership throughout the year was admirable, and the money raised as a whole for the Comboni Sisters’ Hospital is a phenomenal achievement.

In regards to next year’s fundraising, the Prefect Team, the Vice Captains and myself have decided on a slogan and target for the College to focus on. The slogan is, ‘50 years, 50 grand’, which we truly believe is a reasonable goal that we can all achieve, given the great success of this year’s fundraising. It would be amazing for us to raise this massive amount of money as we support the deserving Comboni Sisters’ Hospital for a second year. The slogan has a double meaning in that we are aiming to raise $50,000, but also to celebrate 50 ‘grand years’ at Bundoora. We can only reach this goal with the help of every staff member and student, so we ask you to contribute and participate in as much as possible next year.

I wish you all the best for this very busy term and I hope that 2018 will be your best schooling year yet.

Thank you.

(images courtesy Tony Teo)