Wise, entertaining, inspirational

14 Nov 2019

Magician and entertainer Brendan Dooley was keynote speaker at this year’s Be Inspired Year 7 Leadership Afternoon, warming up the crowd with a little bit of magic, before sharing his powerful and inspirational story with the young audience.

Brendan fell in love with performing as a child and has never wanted to do anything else. He was a “quirky” kid, bullied at school and coping virtually alone with tragedy at home. Magic was his escape, a way to help him forget his problems for a while, to manage the many hurdles he faced and find courage to keep going.

“I got my first magic kit when I was five, learned to juggle at seven, and got on stage whenever I could. I trained at CircoArts and then launched a career as a professional comedy magician at 16. I’m so grateful for that side of my life, but it’s only one side of my life.”

Punctuating his talk with magic and even revealing some of the tricks of the trade, Brendan opened up about his life, asking his audience to think about their lives and their attitudes, to start thinking about the kind of people they want to become. It is amazing what can be done with the simplest of props – with some money and a Crunchie bar, a deck of cards and a balloon, and several Rubik’s Cubes, Brendan captured the imagination of a new generation and sent them on their way with sound advice and hope for the future.

“When bad things happen, think BoB – bitter or better – and choose how you react. Will you get bitter or will you go better? I’ve no doubt every single person in this room will have many opportunities to be at their best. Although I don’t know where your lives are going and what you’re going to be, I’m sure you’ll meet incredible people and that you’ve all got amazing adventures ahead.”

After such an entertaining and thought-provoking start to the afternoon, the participants then split into groups to attend workshops focusing on leadership, run by members of the Student Volunteer Army, sports coach Jesse Rawlings, Attitude health education provider, and several College teachers.

Students from schools all over Christchurch and Canterbury attended Be Inspired 2019, which was held at College on Wednesday 13 November.