ALMA 2010 High Achiever’s Night Speech – Abraar Abdul Gafoor
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentleman, brothers and sisters, Assalaamu Alaikum and I hope you have all been enjoying the evening.
First things first, I would like to thank the Austra Lanka Muslim Association for this fantastic show of support and recognition for the hard work and dedication that each and every one of the recipients of tonight’s awards In particular, I would like to commend all the children who took part in the wonderful children’s program. Masha Allah! And while I’m on stage, I would like to personally congratulate each and every one of tonight’s recipients for all their achievements. Well done!
Although tonight’s awards ceremony has its obvious purpose of recognising the successful, young members of the community, the long term goal is surely to encourage and motivate the even younger members of our community to even greater success. Some of you will finally be completing your schooling this year, while others are just embarking on this long and sometimes difficult journey.
I’ve been asked to give some advice to all of the current students. To be honest, I’m probably not the best person to ask since any advice I give, I probably didn’t follow it all the way myself. But I suppose if I were to list some of the most important qualities to have, one of them would have to be to work hard to your goals. One of the mistakes people make when they set goals for themselves is they set them either too high or too low. It is important to aim for something that is achievable, but at the same time, you have to believe that you can always do better. Whether its sport, academics or anything else, you must continually try to push your limits and achieve your full potential. To do this, you’ve got to believe in yourself. In the words of Thomas Edison, "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Regardless of how hard it may seem, it is vital that you keep giving it your best.
Now, I’m aware that many of the current school students, particularly the ones in year 12, are probably beginning to fret about upcoming exams, whether it’s your trials or even the HSC exams later on in the year. But before you go into your shells and chain yourselves to your desks to spend many sleepless nights staring bleary-eyed into your textbooks, keep in mind that it is just as important to set aside some time for you to relax and unwind. Many students make the mistake of trying too hard in the days leading up to exams and ‘burning out’, as they say. Find something that relaxes you, whether it’s a hobby, sport, a book or just spending time with your family and friends. Here’s a fact: sleeping actually helps you remember things. I think some of the older members of the community might want to keep that in mind as well.
And it’s important, particularly in this stage of your life, that you do some extra-curricular activities, whether its public speaking, debating, sporting or being involved in the SRC. These things not only develop your leadership skills, but also your communication, teamwork and organisational skills. And I can tell you from my experience outside of school that these skills are invaluable and just as important, if not more, than academic skills.
Special mention must be made here to ALMA’s community education program, which for a long time has encouraged students to participate in extra-curricular activities, through debating, guest speakers, the Clean-Up Australia Day activities, and more recently when the senior Islamic Studies students themselves took turns taking classes and teaching each other. I am sure that many of the recipients can thank this weekly program for making them more well-rounded individuals, and at least giving them the opportunity to socialize with each other regularly.
So there they are: setting goals, working hard, but not too hard, finding time to relax, investing time in extra-curricular activities and not giving up. If
you follow these things, regardless of your stage in life, then Insha Allah you will find much success in this life and the next. On behalf of all of the recipients of tonight’s awards, I wish everyone, particularly those in their final years of schooling, the very best in their exams and indeed, a joyous and prosperous future. To everyone else, once again, thank you very much for your support and attendance and I hope you all have a good night.