The shaping of adulthood

"Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man." That sentence is a famous saying and is attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola and also to Aristotle. It has become a catch cry of the Jesuits and in 1964 it was the basis for a documentary that has since become a series.

1h1a4501.jpgThe series follows the lives of ten males and four females in England beginning in 1964, when they were seven years old. The first film was titled Seven Up! with later films adjusting the number in the title to match the age of the subjects at the time of filming. The documentary has had nine episodes—one every seven years—thus spanning 56 years. The quote is intended to reflect the view that the foundations of a person's life are established by the age of seven. You may agree or disagree, but my take on the series is that the lives of those in the documentary have followed a linear trajectory since the first iteration. I am certainly not an expert on the science, research or data about how much can be changed after seven, and given that since Aristotle and St Ignatius Loyola's time we no longer send children down coal mines or have them tiling rooves in their early teens, the age of seven might not be the benchmark it once was. I do believe however, and you have heard me say this before, once your son becomes a physical adult, he thinks he's an adult in every way, so the shaping of his adulthood must happen before that moment and should be a priority of a secondary education.

One of the pleasures of my job is interviewing all the Year 12s before they leave. It is just so rewarding. This year has been no exception. Their genuine gratitude for the sacrifices of their parents in providing the means to attend CBC, appreciation for the efforts of the staff and love of their friends is heart-warming to hear. Time after time they talk about the staff's genuine interest in them as individuals, the differentiated nature of relationships with staff as they mature and of the College's emphasis on a set of values. They echo the sentiments of a graduate from a few years ago who came to us from a very 'prestigious' boys' school when he said "At my last school the staff were so proud of the school and invested in my results. At CBC the staff are proud of, and interested in, me".

"At my last school the staff were so proud of the school and invested in my results. At CBC the staff are proud of, and interested in, me".

1h1a6309.jpgThe attributes of the CBC Gentleman, that we as a partnership seek to form in your sons, will hold them in good stead after they leave this place. Someone who becomes a CBC boy will likely give you a better return on your investment that someone who went to CBC. In the case of the former, the trust and support you give, and have given, us will reap rich rewards. No school will ever universally produce graduates who always get it right, but I know that overwhelmingly the feedback I get from employers, members of the public, families who host our boys for parties and even people who are not connected in any way to CBC is positive when they comment on the behaviour, attitude and goodness of your sons. Similarly, no school should ever take overwhelming credit for the goodness of their graduates. CBC Fremantle recognises and values the role of the parent as the first educator and the support you give us as the critical friend who may see what an emotional blind spot hides.

The Graduating Class of 2022 will leave this place as they entered it, to a guard of honour and the hauntingly beautiful theme from Going Home. The difference this time is that they are grown, they have matured, they have immersed themselves and engaged in what the College has tried to do and they now add lustre to the CBC tapestry that goes back 140 years. As I told them at the exit interview, they are whole and they are beautiful and no-one or nothing, least of all Snap Chat or Tiktok or social media of any kind should ever be given consideration if they ever suggest otherwise. On behalf of all this community, I wish them every success in life, confident that their preparation has been the primary goal of us all.

Good luck and God speed!

Mr Domenic Burgio  
Principal