Mr Hawke urged students to understand the opportunity afforded to them by attending school and applying themselves to their studies.
‘You should be learning every day of your life,’ he said.
‘When I was here, I had a reasonably good head on my shoulders, (but) I didn’t apply myself as I should have.’
Mr Hawke said the most brilliant decision he made in his life was his choice of parents and told students to remember how much they owed theirs.
‘No young people in this state are better placed than you are,’ he said.
When asked by one student how to become prime minister, Mr Hawke said it was important to be humble and gracious.
‘If you say you’re planning on becoming prime minister, you won’t get there.
‘To be a great leader, and to keep in power, you at least have to be a good listener.’