Personal excellence: accepting the challenge

Those familiar with the education of boys know that all too often they can be content to settle for mediocrity. They are happy to do the minimum in order to achieve what is just acceptable. At CBC Fremantle we believe challenge helps to motivate boys and taps into their natural inclination to rise to the task, so we constantly encourage students to strive for personal excellence by setting new and attainable limits.

Every student at CBC is challenged to walk across the stage to receive an award and be acknowledged for their achievements during their time at the College. Every boy can attain his own excellence; he does not have to be born with elite gifts. By its very nature, personal excellence for each boy looks different. At CBC, a boy's very best effort is accepted as his own individual level of personal excellence and celebrated as such.

Although the College prides itself on academic rigour and achievement, the quest for personal excellence is not about getting good grades and being in the top ten percent. This cultural belief necessitates that every activity conducted at the College must be differentiated to such an extent that each student is capable of enjoying success if they provide their best effort. In the CBC community, all members are engaged in assisting each boy in his quest for personal excellence, guiding him to assess risks, respond positively to adversity and seek to better himself. In collaboration with parents and families, this commitment to the common good results in a consistent message of unconditional love and acceptance which lays a solid bedrock for boys to extend themselves.

Boys thrive on competition, and in the quest for personal excellence, doing better than your last effort is paramount for success.

Visualising success

Boys love a challenge; they thrive on competition and feeling empowered. In seeking personal excellence, doing better than your last effort is paramount for success. They also need to know they are capable of achieving their dream. They require clearly defined goals because once a boy believes he can be successful, he will almost always strive to live up to it.

Appropriate challenges with congruous risks, encouragement and structure are the key ingredients to achieving personal excellence, and opening up new possibilities for future development.

It starts with a dream. Choosing the challenge and making it a definable goal, makes sure the boy cannot shirk his responsibility to his self-development. Writing a letter to his future self is a handy tool for self-evaluation and has been a compelling turning point for many young men at the College coping with their own obstacles. By visualising the achievement and focussing on the process, recognising the need for discipline and trying that bit harder to overcome the inevitable adversities that accompany a challenge, boys will inevitably gain mastery and progress, which fuels their confidence and self-belief.

No pain, no gain

Accepting responsibility can be a stumbling block for adolescent boys. "It's not fair," they may wail, or just shrug and wait for mum or dad to do it for them. Human development is a response to problems and failures; it may appear counterintuitive, but weaknesses are opportunities and failures are open doors. Making the job easier for children doesn't help in the long run. Mentoring, guiding and listening as the developing young men make their own mistakes and eventually celebrating with them as they achieve their goals is extremely potent in fostering the life-long habit of seeking personal excellence.