What the OWCA means to us
Guest Blogger, Darcy Roden, College Captain
The Old Wesley Collegian’s Association (OWCA) is a familiar name to the wider Wesley community, and in just under six months’ time myself and the rest of my cohort will join this illustrious organisation which will continue to link us to Wesley College for the rest of our lives. This has made me think about what becoming a member of the association will mean to us once we graduate and as I have been fortunate enough to interact with the OWCA during my time at school, I wanted to shed some light on this.
When I was in Year 10 in 2015, I applied for and was lucky enough to receive the OWCA President’s Scholarship. I was able to apply for the scholarship as my Grandad, Harry Pearson (45 – 48), attended Wesley College. As a requirement of receiving the scholarship, I was a guest speaker at the 2016 Pioneers’ Day and spoke in front of over 100 attendees. This was the first time that I witnessed the partnership between Wesley and the OWCA, and realised the strong connections that are made between Old Collegians and students. Wesley College Prefects were situated on each table and for the duration of lunch, chatted away with the Pioneers, exchanging stories and memories. As College Captain this year, I was able to have the same opportunity along with the rest of the College Prefects, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. We were able to meet and learn from the life experiences of some extraordinary men who left the College 50 years ago or more.
The annual Pioneers Day gives current students a chance to mingle and connect with a completely different group of men from a different time, a unique experience in itself. It also demonstrates to students the everlasting bonds that we have with the College in the years after we graduate. To know that we are always welcome back to the College for as long as we are alive is, I believe, an untradeable privilege.
Last year, I was chosen by my peers and the staff at Wesley to be College Captain for 2017, and it has been the most humbling experience I have ever encountered. As a result, this year I have become more aware of the services and support that the OWCA provides to its members and I have been able to meet and work with people such as Mr Greg Brown, the current President of the OWCA and Mr Ian Fowler, the OWCA Alumni Manager, whether it is a quick chat in the hallway to see how things are going or get the latest sports results or being asked to participate in important OWCA events like the ANZAC Day Service. By being in a leadership position, I’ve been exposed to the work that the OWCA undertakes and have also seen firsthand the impact that it has on current students and Old Collegians.
As I mentioned earlier, my Grandad attended Wesley and his experience was in some ways different and similar to my own. He would catch the ferry across from the city as he lived in Mount Lawley, whilst I am able to catch a school bus from Booragoon or drive myself. The fact that him and I are the only members of our extended family to have attended Wesley gives us a special bond that I cherish. I often imagine what it would have been like for him walking through the Ward Wing all those years ago and how much the school has changed since then. It was especially eye-opening for him when he came to my first Grandparent’s Day when I was in Year 7. Although the refurbishment of the Senior School was being completed at the time, he nonetheless was able to see the improvements to the College and reminisce about his days spent at Wesley.
With all this considered, the OWCA provides current students with a clear vision for their future and assures us that we can remain involved with the College and our year groups for many years after we’ve graduated. It also gives us a sense of belonging. Having witnessed the camaraderie that exists between Old Collegians at functions and also out in public, I think that future Old Boys and Old Girls understand and appreciate that the OWCA offers them an extraordinary opportunity to be part of a global alumni community.
When we leave Wesley this year we will be able to remain connected to the College through the OWCA, no matter what our individual personalities or interests are. As such, I believe the OWCA is an integral part of the Wesley community.