Graduation speech from Ross McLean, cohort teacher
"What an amazing journey. Arriving here today represents a significant achievement for a number of
Firstly I would like to thank the coaches, thank you for your dedication and commitment to the boys
over the past few months. Thank you for volunteering your time and facilitating this journey.
To all the people behind the scenes at The Helmsman Project. You are making an impact. The world
needs people like you. This project gives so much and will keep giving long after we leave here
But the people we are here to celebrate the most are the boys sitting here before us. Congratulations
on making it here today.
Due to the very strict time limit that has been imposed upon me today I will try and keep this brief.
I wanted to reflect on the first meeting I had with the Helmsman team. It was at this meeting that I
was introduced to the Helmsman philosophy of building hope, promoting self-regulation and
developing resilience. I walked out inspired, I walked out with my own sense of hope.
Working in the school system in Western Sydney you experience the diversity of the area on many
levels and witness the many challenges our students are faced with.
You see their potential everyday, but you don’t always see them reaching it.
This year I saw boys from Western Sydney, all different, all facing challenges, all climb a little closer
to reaching that potential.
It began with apprehension, nervous energy, and uncertainty…
They opened themselves up to new people, an unknown program, an uncertain challenge and a big
step outside their comfort zone.
I saw these same boys a few weeks later on a tall ship, following directions, learning, making
decisions, leading, teaching, sharing stories, making friends, achieving success, overcoming
setbacks and stepping up to challenges.
This project has shown me the power of positivity. Positive people in a positive environment can
achieve great things. I’m sure the boys will carry this positivity forward with them for the rest of their
lives and use this experience as proof that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.
I am very proud of what they have achieved and am honoured to be here today to celebrate their
success with all of you. We look forward to continuing this successful relationship with The Helmsman