Tom Hardyman Medal, Tom Hardyman's legacy lives on at SPC

Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021

Pictured: Mrs Ros O’Connor, Leanne Hardyman, Paul Hardyman, Chloe Hardyman and Mr Chris Mayes

Tuesday 9 February, St Patrick’s College welcomed the Hardyman family back to St Patrick’s College to honour their late son, Tom Hardyman, as we awarded the Tom Hardyman Medal for Senior Academic Excellence for the first time to our 2020 graduates who achieved an ATAR of 95 or above.  

We would like to congratulate 2020 Senior Graduates for their achievement:

  • Connor Andersen 
  • Mitchell Bell 
  • Jed Cates 
  • Benjamin Clarke 
  • Caleb Coleman 
  • Jackson Davey 
  • Juan Carlos Florenciano 
  • Connor Geissmann 
  • Heath Huelin 
  • Finnegan Kelly 
  • Jacob Larsen 
  • Jared Noble 
  • Connor Stewart 
  • Henry Swan 
  • Bradley Welch 

College Principal Mr Mayes gave a moving speech and spoke of the significance of Tom Hardyman and the legacy he has left St Patrick’s College...

“This medal will be awarded every year to all students who receive an ATAR Score of 95 or above which was roughly the equivalent of Tom’s OP2 score. To the young men here to receive it today and the many in this building who will be awarded one into the future, accept it with pride and an understanding that it carries the best wishes of a past SPC giant whose shoulders you will stand upon.”

“Every now and then in our lifetimes, we come across a person or people who have a profound effect on us. Tom Hardyman was a person who had such an effect on me personally. I started teaching in 1986 and I can confidently say that I am yet to meet a tougher young man with the same amount of determination, GRIT and courage as Tom possessed.

“I first really met Tom in the last term of 2015. It my first year as College Principal at SPC and I had a meeting scheduled in my diary to meet with Brian Polich (Mooney House Dean), Chris Campbell (Dean of Teaching and Learning) and Paul and Leanne Hardyman and Tom, who was in Year 11. I knew of Tom as one of our brighter Year 11 students, but I had little idea of the purpose of the meeting, but it was one that I will remember for a very long time. Tom and his parents came into my office with a contraption made of Titanium and with spikes at each end. 
“They then went on to explain that Tom had just recently been diagnosed with a serious form of bone cancer and had to undertake an operation where his bone from above and below and including the knee would be removed and replaced with the titanium contraption. The spikes at each end would be jammed into the bones where they could take hold. 

“During the meeting, Tom spoke with clarity and confidence that all would be well after the operation and he would continue his Year 12 without having to delay his senior year. He wanted to graduate with his mates. Mr Campbell, Polich and I were not as confident that this would be possible because of the many weeks away from school for the operation and ongoing months of chemo. We agreed to give it a try, but also raised Plan B with added assistance and extra time to get things done and maybe a delay for a Year as Plan C.  It would be fair to say, that Tom was pretty set and determined to only do Plan A – finish with his mates.

“What followed was a journey through senior school that I observed in absolute awe. As expected, Tom missed several weeks through Year 12 due to Chemo and other operations, he worked from home and in hospital and always got his work done. He went to his formal with a walking stick and no hair and showed up at Curlew Park when he was able, even though he was often tired and weak. His mates were always by his side and he always had a smile on his face. No matter how difficult things were or how much in pain he was in, he never let you know. He was one tough person.

“At the end of 2016, Tom graduated with an OP2 – the top 5% in the State.  He followed his passion of Formula One racing into a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the QUT. He was a McLaren nut. Whilst his cancer continued to cause concern during his studies, it took a more significant one during the latter stages in 2019 and early 2020, still little signs of self-pity but much about determination and perseverance. In his time at QUT from 2017 – 2020, Tom achieved:

  • Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence
  • Dean’s list of Students with Excellent Academic Performance
  • Posthumous Degree in Bachelor of Engineering Studies (Mechanical)

So how has Tom affected me?

  • I learned that when things were not going right, complaining would not fix it.
  • I learned that no matter how I feel, a smile will put everyone at ease.
  • I learned that if I truly wanted to achieve something and put all that I can into it… things can happen.
  • I learned that sometimes looking too far ahead can stop me appreciating now, sometimes now is all that needs to count.
  • I learned what true friends do for one another when friendship is all you have to offer.
  • I learned that life can sometimes be short, but it does not have to be uneventful or without purpose.
  • I learned to be grateful for what I have and to celebrate that.

“We have named this award after Tom, not because of his adversity with his illness, but in a short period of time, he showed many of us what it really was to be a Man of Action and had Persistence, Effort and Attitude in spades.

“I am sure that this award would make him proud, and I would like to think that in his own way, he is still influencing each of you to live life to the full, and no matter how hard you think things might be, you can still fight the good fight.”