Elvis Gleeson (OR2016)

As someone who came into Sydney in awe of the silver and beige towers that sat along the sky, I can say confidently that it is not a matter of ability that separates someone born on the North Shore or in government housing, but rather a matter of belief. A Bursary is an affirmation that you are willing to take a risk on a kid who just needed someone to believe in him, and that is one of the most simple and most human actions that anyone could ever make

It is easy to give a boy a trophy for sporting success or an award for academic merit. But to give a gift to a young man with very little to his name? Now that, that’s hard. But you do it, and continue to do so. That alone is a testament to courage and to a belief in God that transcends the superficial. In a world saturated by self-centric attitudes and feigned morals, such an act is a seed. A seed that will flower amidst the darkest borders of our future and provide a light where there is none. And we may hope that the garden and gardeners grow together. We may be separated by wealth, class and stereotypes, but despite that, we are one, unified, human family. I realised this during my time at Riverview and I hope to never forget it.

When I consider a vision of myself without these opportunities, I am confronted by a deeply troubling path that was almost a reality. You see, I lost my father when I was three years old and the only thing I longed for was to make mum proud. But by age 16, I wasn’t sure how I’d ever do that. My passion had been buried and I’d call myself a wanderer. There was one beacon though. Some strange force in the universe pulled me from my wallowing and brought me to a retired English teacher named Angela. Her husband, Roger, was an Old Boy. His push for me to make a Bursary application was the most defining feature of my adolescence. I do not hold lightly the sacrifices and efforts that have placed me here, in fact, it is the very fuel that pushes me to live the Magis. As much as I can do, so much I will dare to do.

Today, I am the mouthpiece for the Bursary recipients at this college. My experience and stories are only a few of the thousands that exist in the memory of Riverview. Each has their own achievements and struggles and we are proud to wear them as a community. I was going to thank you, but I don’t believe that truly captures what it means for someone like me to be given a chance like this. So I’m just going to smile, and I’m going to continue smiling because someone, somewhere, gave me a go.

Peter Rowley (OR1965)

“The best thing for me was being part of a community,” Mr Rowley says. “Being part of that community was vibrant, stimulating and it was a lot of fun.

Mr Rowley says the School instilled in him the values he carried through his life, and still holds true to now. “The Jesuit culture promoted caring for the underprivileged. I think that came through my life. The culture governed my behaviour,” he adds.

Mr Rowley credits the Riverview Bursary program for enabling him to live a life that exceeded his expectations. “Coming to Riverview has made my life beyond what I expected, and that was all due to the Bursary,” he says.

“I’m hoping I can contribute to somebody’s else life in a positive way, so they enjoy what I enjoyed in the community of Riverview.”

Riyan Minaee (OR2020)

Throughout his time at the College, Riyan led by example, making an impact among his friends and peers at Gonzaga House and graduating, in the words of his Head of House, as “a man of depth… [whose] sensitivity, honesty and generosity allow him to connect easily with others.” Riyan continues to pursue his passions and is now studying Engineering at the University of NSW.

“[Being at Riverview has] had a really big impact on who I am as a person – there’s [a] sense of pride… that you are a boy at Riverview… and without financial burden, I felt less of a burden to my family… [for this] I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Taine Woodford (OR2020)

His fondest memories at Riverview involve the close-knit community of Indigenous boys amongst whom he has formed lifelong friendships. At his graduation, Taine’s compassion, humility and natural leadership were recognised with the Rachel Ward Indigenous Award for Leadership in Mentoring and Pastoral Care.

“Riverview instils a lot of values around service and helping others… [it] has produced a lot of Indigenous leaders who can go back to our communities and share a broader view on our world. Thank you to all the donors who have provided [this] opportunity.”

Brock Twigg (OR2020)

What he didn’t expect was to graduate two years later with the results he achieved. “My final mark was a score of 95.15, which I never expected,” he says. “Now I’m at Sydney University studying civil engineering. I’m pretty stoked about where I am right now. I think that’s thanks to the school.”

Brock says the relationships he established at Riverview was one of the greatest highlights. “One of most significant things I’ve taken out of Riverview is the friends I’ve built here, which I’m so grateful for.”

Brock would like to thank those who have supported and continue to support the Bursary program. “I don’t know how my family would have got me here without the Bursary program. What you do is so important.”