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David Carrick, an arts graduate with a graduate diploma in commerce from the University of Sydney, a former Sports Scholarship recipient and a long-serving member of the Sydney University Lions in the National Water Polo League, delivered the Valedictorian Address at the recent annual Sports Awards dinner in the Great Hall.
The following is an edited version of his address:
“Looking at the calibre of the individuals before me, and especially those who completed their studies last year, I am still somewhat perplexed as the why I have been granted the privilege of delivering this address. This is an incredible honour; one that I gladly accepted.
In today’s environment there are so many things we need to be grateful for. I am grateful for waking up and getting through the work day and still have a job to go to tomorrow. I am grateful for being part of one of Australia’s finest water polo programs. I am grateful for being given this opportunity to speak tonight to express my gratitude for my experiences at the University.
My first contact with the University came shortly after arriving from South Africa, when I joined the Sydney University Men’s Water Polo Club while still a high school students at The Scots College. I was immediately made very welcome by the likes of Australian Olympians and Sydney University students Thomas Whalan and Trent Franklin and others such as James Moar, Aaron Jones and Ian Hammond, all former scholarship recipients and now University alumni.
The club quickly became an integral part of my life – a home away from home.
This support provided a strong catalyst for me to study at the university. This paired with the desire to attend a university with an outstanding international reputation. I enrolled to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree as I was unsure of a direction to follow at that point. After completing my undergraduate studies I was quick to enrol in something more career-orientated – a postgraduate degree in commerce being my course of choice.
From a sporting perspective, I have been involved with the Water Polo Club since 2002. During this period I have been in the fortunate position of experiencing victories in the Men’s National Water Polo League competition in 2003 and 2005 and two other grand final play-offs.
It is safe to say that the University and our water polo club will always be a part of my life. I intend to complete my Master of Commerce degree and possibly undertake further studies in the future. I hope that one day I can give something back that will equate to what Sydney University has given me during the past five years.
Tonight provides me, and I’m sure I speak for many others, with a unique opportunity to thank the University for providing a phenomenal experience and a significant platform in life to build on. At the beginning of 2008, the “building” began when I was in the fortunate position of being offered a position at a major financial institution, an incredible opportunity considering the current financial climate.
The key to achieving a successful completion of studies for any athlete is to ensure that a balance is struck between sporting and academic commitments. At times this is a challenge, however the University’s Elite Athlete Program allows us to achieve our respective goals and endeavours.
Furthermore, as athletes, we all experience peaks and troughs – I know I certainly did. – whether it is our sporting or academic commitments. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank the University for its ongoing support of the Elite Development Program. It is this program and individuals such as Ian Evans, the manager of the program, that ensure individuals like myself receive ongoing assistance and support with our development, allowing us to juggle the demands of our sporting commitments and academic workloads concurrently. I am exceptionally grateful.
I encourage athletes to take full advantage of the services available through the Elite Athlete Program. And I ask all athletes present to make a decision to get involved with all aspects of university life and share the university student experience.”
Mr Carrick finished off with a Toast to the University.

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