2009 Jschool Valedictory from Brett Barfoot:

Welcome to Jschool’s class of 2009 graduation ceremony. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the family and friends who have travelled from near and far to help us celebrate the closing of one magnificent chapter and the beginning and rebirth of eight eager and questioning young minds.

What a year! What a class! What an adventure! What a reawakening of knowledge and passion and yearning to learn!

I am honoured to stand here before you today and have shared with you times of absolute hilarity, absolute re-establishment of knowledge and absolute vodka.

I would like to welcome and thank Desley Bartlett and Professor John Henningham for their efforts and faith in us as students.

John has embarked on a mission to enrich us with a desire to learn, a lesson in history, a transformation of tech savvy high school leavers, endeared and disgruntled men of finance, a fashion designer from Finland, a Western Australian with a chip on his shoulder about the Geelong V Collingwood preliminary final, a Vietnamese teacher and karate expert and last but not least Astushi Wadamine who took on the challenge, through down the gauntlet and crossed cultural boundaries and new challenges to learn the writing craft in a first language English speaking country.

I hope now we are on our way to becoming renaissance men. Jack’s of all trades and open to the pursuit of knowledge and willingness to harness and use the resources and skills we have learnt as Journalism students in the ever-growing global village.

Special thanks to Desley whose patience, character, perseverance, encouragement and passion for journalism has influenced myself and all the graduates here today. She has taught us how to step back from an issue and critically analyse its newsworthiness and how to convey it to an audience. She has given us the bricks and the mortar to go into the media industry with a clear scope of what’s going on, how we can harness it to further our skills and abilities and most importantly to never give up, never give in, always persevere.

Thank-you also to the Tee line queen Julie Abell. Julie endured some of the toughest hours that teaching Jschool must deliver. When each Thursday would roll around and the classroom on Ann St. slowly filled with the sore heads from Wednesday night or the parched grins that 60wpm shorthand just could not restrain. The criterion always surpassed expectation.

In all my years as a student from high school through to Tertiary, I can confidently say I have never learnt more and been encouraged to learn and believe in my own ability until I commenced a diploma of journalism here at Jschool.

The doors of perception have been opened; the myth and ignorance of how to enter into the media industry and its current state have dissolved. We have all become wiser and aware; we now know how to do it. So get amongst it. 

Now is the time to neither meander, dawdle, falter nor depreciate what opportunity we have all been given, Carpe diem.

We never stop being students, we must never stop and walk from the gatekeeper’s door, and we must continue to harness the resources we have at hand to inform.

The keys to the ever-growing mediums exist within our own willingness to question and be always open and ready to put their newfound options to good use.

To each of you I thank-you for a brilliant year:

Adrian- You have the quick wit and vast knowledge of today’s world and all its gadgetry and awesomeness to go very far, use the force wisely young Jedi.

Ben- The duke, “There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.” Ben your character, wisdom and time for everyone will see you travel down many rich roads of truth and justice on your path through Journalism. You have been a rich asset to the class of 2009, steadying the ship and bringing a communal atmosphere to the group. Now as your attorney, I advise you to drive at top speed through the streets and on the beat.

Jim- The storyteller. Jim the karate tour de force, Jim the Casanova, Jim the original prankster. Jim, you have an incredible ability to tell a good yarn. From your many experiences in Vietnam and your interesting perception of life. I hope you enjoyed this year living abroad yet again and I read of your adventures someday soon in a novel at my local bookstore.

Reija- Your keen eye for detail and knowledge of what’s hot and what’s not will be sure to fulfil your sense of adventure as either a dynamite fashion reporter or designer. Keep the faith.

Rhys- “It’s 1500 kilometres to Footscray, we got a full tanks of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.” Rhys your vast knowledge of everything cool from Ray Manterik to the public bar on Elizabeth St is sure to see you crack this journalism bizzo in a big way. You took this year on and put your nose to the grindstone and it will all pay off in ace of spades. Best of luck in Victoria and I look forward to reading one of your succinct and fresh reviews soon.

Tim- The perfectionist. Tim you are the great socialiser and I’m sure your love of people and communicating will see you end up behind a television news desk one-day, broadcasting to the world how Collingwood finally sought their vengeance on the team from the cattery. One day.

Atstushi- Your courage, perseverance and determination to succeed this year is truly a reflection of your brilliance. I wish you the best of luck in your journalism pursuits in Japan and commend you on the hard work you have put in. I hope you return and teach your Japanese mates some of the Australian colloquialism I have told you through the year.

This year we have gone through the halls of council, parliament, newsrooms, a radio station, a police station, art galleries, theatres and courts. We have been introduced to the institutions of Australian Society and the history of the world. We have learnt of the movers and shakers, the revolutionaries, the geniuses, the warriors and the academics.

We have learnt how to write and express to an audience of break neck speed-readers, not interested in our fancy words or riveting plots. They want to see structure and facts right from the top.

However, it is here where we can use all the creative geniuses and desire to kick back against the fray and become revolutionaries ourselves.

The institutions we have toured through this year may be what govern us and dictate the pecking order but they cannot defeat our courage and imagination.

Our courage to use our imagination and to make an institution of it in ourselves. My mother always told there was more than one way to skin a cat.

These reigns true through all avenues in the industry, we are embarking upon; we should count ourselves very fortunate that history has found us with so many tools at hand to enhance it and to create what seems fathomable into reality.

Newspaper journalism needs it. With whispers of its uncertainty as the world-wide-web bounces the news around the globe, for it to survive it needs an injection of imagination.