Oakleigh Grammar recently held its first Pursuit of Excellence Award ceremony, recognising outstanding students at the school’s Conference Centre.

The event, attended by students, staff, dignitaries, and parents, was marked by a heartfelt address from 2023 Alumni Arthur Demetriou, recipient of an Academic Outcomes Award.

Demetriou encouraged students to approach their senior years with purpose, drawing parallels with the dedication of tennis legends. Stressing the importance of a strong work ethic, mindset, motivation, and determination, he urged students to silence self-doubt and embrace the support of their teachers.

Graduate Arthur Demetriou made an impassioned speech. Photo: Con Deves

“Work ethic, mindset, motivation, and determination. They know why they are there, what they are doing, and where they want to go … and it’s no different for each and every one of us … stop those thoughts in your head that say ‘I’m not smart, I can’t do it’ … because they are plain and simply wrong … all your teachers … are here to help,” he said.

Imploring students to remember one of the seven habits (for highly successful people), Arthur said: “Begin with the end in mind so that you know where to start.”

Class of 2023 Pursuit of Excellece Award recipients. Photo: Con Deves

Quoting tennis great Novak Djokovic, he added “So what is the difference between number one and number 500? What goes on between the two ears and how dedicated, motivated and how brilliant we are.”

Finally, the student, who lives with cerebral palsy, said: “I could have made a million and one excuses, and they would have been plausible, so if I can strive for greatness, so can you.”

Striking a chord with his audience the applause was deafening.

Oakleigh Grammar Chairman of the Board, Chris Damatopoulos congratulated 2023 Dux Noah Peoples. Photo: Con Deves

Taking to the stage, Principal Mark Robertson highlighted the value of celebrating achievement beyond grades, recognising the effort and qualities of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

He thanked Board Chairman Chris Damatopoulos for his commitment to providing resources for high achievement.

The ceremony also honoured graduates and current students for their academic excellence, with graduates Noah Peoples and Aaron Neild receiving special recognition for achieving an ATAR of or above 80.

Principal Mark Robertson address students, staff and parents. Photo: Con Deves

Current Year 12 students Arietta Apostolopoulos, Nicola Grigoropoulos, and Jessica Peraic were acknowledged for their exceptional subject scores in the 2023 VCE examinations.

Additionally, graduates Emma Alexellis, Isabella Anastopoulos, Jonathan Carmody, Nicholas Doyle, and Elena Georgiades received Excellence Awards for their positive contributions to the school community.