IT was a chance to look to the future for male students at Dominic College in November when the school hosted a breakfast event in celebration of International Men’s Day.
The event featured special guest speaker Professor James Vickers – Chair of Pathology at the University of Tasmania, co-director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre and Dominic College old scholar.
Dominic College principal Beth Gilligan said the Men’s Day breakfast was an annual traditional where an esteemed old scholar returned to the school to speak.
“This is a day where we encourage the boys and men in our community to focus on what kind of men they want to be,” she said.
“It is also a chance to promote the concept that they support each other to become good men of integrity and respect, being good friends to each other and making sound life choices.”
Professor Vickers talked of the influence of Dominic College on his life and his research journey into neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
Ms Gilligan said Professor Vickers was an inspirational speaker.
“Professor Vickers encouraged our students to have mentors in their lives and be aware of sponsors with whom they might engage to open up opportunities,” she said.
“He really encouraged our boys to keep their options open as they develop their careers and to use opportunities as they arise.”
Professor Vickers also spoke of the generosity of mentors and leaders at Dominic College, as well as his periods of research as a young man.
He said his career was punctuated by “golden periods”, where people of similar enthusiasms and temperaments combined to achieve productive leaps across multiple dimensions of knowledge.
“We tend to take our brains for granted,” he said.
“But there is nothing more sophisticated and complicated than the human brain.”
Professor Vickers said that with the increase in longevity, dementia was now the number one killer of women in Australia and would soon become the number one killer of men, also.
His practical work now focuses on the three aspects of presentation, community education and care delivery.
“Education at school is like a cognitive reserve against dementia,” Professor Vickers said.
“The longer you stay in school, the less chance you have of getting it. I have stayed in the university all my life, so I think I should be right.”
Caption: Professor James Vickers with Dominic College vice-captain Jack Breward, left, and Captain Noah McGovern.