Make an Impact, Leave a Trace

The following speech was delivered by Clare Duyker, Deputy School Captain 2017, at Strathcona’s Leaders’ Induction Assembly.

Over 50 years ago, Edmond Locard, a famous French criminologist, developed a theory known as Locard’s Exchange Principle. It describes something to the effect that any person passing through a room will unknowingly deposit something there and take something away. Essentially, Locard formulated the basic principle of forensic science: that every contact leaves a trace.

We can extend this theory to our lives here; every person passing through this school will unknowingly leave something behind and take something away. This something, will not necessarily be heard or seen, it does not have to be tangible, it cannot be numbered, but undeniably it is still there. Memory. It’s what we leave in the hearts and minds of those around us that counts, more than what we can literally leave behind.

Year 12’s, when we leave Strathy, we will physically leave behind our chipped and coffee stained mugs to add to the Historical Museum of Senior Centre Crockery, our missing hair ties and bobby pins dotted around senior school, and fingerprints which have graced the Colour Release Station printer screen in the library with desperate urgency. However, we have one final opportunity to decide upon our legacy to this school, to our teachers, the students, our Houses and to the 88 other girls in Year 12 which surround us.

To the girls in younger Year Levels, you have time to formulate your legacy, to decide what version of yourselves will be left in the hearts and minds of others. Will it be the kindest? The most daring? The happiest? How will you use your 0.06% of individuality? Almost of the same importance, consider that there is 99.94% of our DNA which binds us together, which makes us the same, makes us equals and therefore, working together and getting the most out of one another deserves as much attention as our individuality.

A new school year means a fresh start, where we have time to contemplate how this year will pan out and how others will remember us as individuals, as Year Levels, Houses, and as an entire school. For us Year 12’s, it is the beginning of the end, and for Year 7’s the beginning of the beginning. Yet either way, it is the beginning of a year which will contain as many opportunities as we can make to leave the best of ourselves behind. Every contact leaves a trace; not all the contact we make this year will be good but we can at least have good intentions and walk out of school for the final time of 2017 guiding a trace of laughter, trust, and growth.

Jane Goodall once said: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” I ask this to everyone here today but particularly to the Year 12’s: There is 0.06% of your DNA which separates you from the girls either side of you, and with that, will you be kinder, more open-minded, generous, brave, selfless? Ask yourselves, what kind of difference do you want to make? What will you leave behind?

Image above: Clare Duyker, Deputy School Captain 2017, with Deputy School Principal Jenni Farmilo.