New ABC RADIO Perth Breakfast host and past College Captain, Mr Tom Baddeley looks back at how his Wesley experience shaped his life.
I could tell you that Wesley directed me down the path of journalism when the Headmaster incinerated 500 copies of the freshly-minted third edition of The Student, a school newspaper that classmate Phil Kirke and I had launched earlier in the year, but that wouldn’t be true.
I’d always had my eye on the fourth estate, so the boss torching our rag because he thought we’d crossed the line in our editorial on his decision to ban school dances only reinforced my resolve.
I could tell you how Wesley set me up for a university qualification and careers (of varying lengths) in other disciplines like law, and media and government relations (where I am now), and that would be true.
But the five years I spent at the school changed me in another, more enduring way, a gift that gives me strength, humility and laughs, so many laughs, to this day. Wesley gave me a group of mates who are clever and caring, frank and forthright, and just bloody funny.
This was no accident. The school shaped our character—no room for entitlement or arrogance; we were a long way from the Golden Triangle. It was egalitarian and aspirational, accepting of all our idiosyncrasies and backgrounds, and keen to help fulfill our potential. Today, we’re making our way in different workplaces—hospitality, medicine, finance, health, pharmaceuticals, vet science, aviation, real estate (actually, with two of my mob, I’m not quite sure what they do, and with one of those, I’m certain his spouse doesn’t either!)—but we are as tight as we were 40 years ago, tighter, in fact.
Wesley’s culture, its ethos, the staff, even a Headmaster alert to seditious commentary on school dances, were our bedrock, and those five years are the glue that binds me to a wonderful bunch of blokes. For that, I am eternally grateful.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 edition of Old School Ties. To read more, click here.
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