Each year Sydney Boys High enters several teams, of four players each, in the NSW Junior Chess League's Schools Competition. Teams compete at Junior, Intermediate or Senior level, depending on age. We compete against schools in our local region on a round-robin basis and then progress to a state-wide knockout. High has produced several state-champion teams in recent years. Matches are played on Fridays after school in term two and the competition can extend into term three. Matches must start by 4.30pm and are played both at home and at other schools. Games usually last about an hour. Clocks are optional.
The school encourages student participation in charitable works and community service. Students donate blood to the Red Cross Blood Bank and raise funds for charities such as Jeans for Genes, The Salvation Army and Stewart House. Students volunteer to work with students from other schools in programs such Vincentian House and the Big Brother visits.
Participation in academic competitions is an expectation of every boy in the junior school. It is optional for senior boys. Competitions offer gifted students an opportunity for state and national competition to gauge their abilities and skills. The cost of entry to competitions is met from school funds. Boys have had commendable success in: the Australian Mathematics Competition, the Australian Schools English Competition, the National Science Competition, the Australian Chemistry Competition, the Australian Geography Competition, the AMP Australian Economics Competition, the AMP Australian Business Studies Competition, the Australian Schools Computer Studies Competition, the Australian Mathematics Olympiad, the University of New South Wales Mathematics Competition, the National Computer Science School Competition, the Australian Informatics Competition and in the Australian Informatics Olympiad.
There is a fine debating tradition at Sydney Boys High School. All debaters compete in the GPS debating competition which runs for seven Friday nights during Winter in conjunction with the sporting competitions. There is a pre-season competition for up to five afternoons or evenings in Term 2. The school also competes in state school competitions run for Years 7-8, Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12. We enter competitors in the Sydney Morning Herald Plain English Speaking Competition , the Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award and the Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition. Teams are coached by dedicated and highly qualified Old Boys and managed by enthusiastic teachers.
To support the full and active ensemble program, the school has a team of instrumental tutors teaching the boys one-to-one before and after school. The school carefully selects and monitors the tutors, and parents are actively encouraged to communicate regularly with the music tutors. Parents have the opportunity to meet the tutors at Music Recruitment Night and hear them perform at the Music Tutors Concert held in term three.The instruments that the school provides tutors for include: piccolo/flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, guitar, violin, viola, cello and double bass.
Sydney Boys High has a developmental ensemble program that caters to the needs and standards of all students- from beginner level to very advanced.
The program is structured around four concert bands. Training Concert Band (beginners), Intermediate Concert Band (students with 1-2 years experience), Senior Concert Band (advanced instrumentalists) and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (for exceptional instrumentalists, entry by audition only from year 10). The string orchestra allows experienced string players to perform music that is challenging and demanding. The beginner String Orchestra has been instigated to give inexperienced string players the opportunity to develop confidence and ensemble skills before progressing to the String Orchestra.
The jazz ensembles at the school are an extension of the concert band program. There is a full and active chamber music program with Woodwind Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, String Quartet, Brass Quintet, Percussion and Guitar Ensembles. Regular performances include: the Winter Festival, Spring Spectacular, Tutors Twilight Concerts and Elective music class soirees. (Two per year). The students are rewarded for their musical efforts at the Annual Music Awards Dinner held in December for all boys and parents involved in the program.
The performance program is enhanced by the annual Music Camp that is attended by students from all the ensembles except the beginner musicians. It is held over four days at the start of term 2 and gives students the opportunity to develop their skills in an intensive musical environment. It also gives them a sense of involvement and appreciation of the music making of their cohorts. The camp finishes with a concert on the final evening, allowing parents to hear the value of time spent in musical pursuit. In other words, It's a blast!
The Sydney Boys High Chamber Choir is a balanced vocal group that caters for all voice types (S.A.T.B.). The music they sing provides a challenge, but is accessible for beginners and advanced singers. Boys are encouraged to join the choir. The students involved in singing are coached by a highly qualified tutor. The choir performs at school musical evenings and at special occasions. Each year, the choir performs in the Choral Concerts at the Sydney Opera House as a part of their performance program.
Dramatic and Musical Productions
Sydney Boys High has an established tradition of co-productions with Sydney Girls High in musicals, recitals and dramatic presentations. Currently, the two schools are engaged in the 'Word and the Note' - an evening of music and drama. Musical ensembles from both schools perform. Drama groups from both schools act out their thematic pieces and vignettes. The highlight of the evening is a rendition of a briefly rehearsed piece by the massed senior orchestras of the two schools. Sydney Boys High encourages student performances at all major functions and assemblies held at the school.
Links with universities are regarded by the school as being of great importance. The vast majority of our boys progress to university. A significant link to the University of Technology, Sydney is the shared gymnasium on the school site. Arrangements are in place for senior students to access the libraries of the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney for research purposes. High achieving students have access to our links with the Deans of various university faculties. The History and Classics teachers have links with the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney. Selected talented students have applied for and completed the first year university-level Higher Computing 1A course at the University of New South Wales. Further links with universities are being developed.
The Prefects at High are expected to set the highest example in dress, attendance, conduct and involvement in school affairs. Their duties include assistance in the canteen, attendance at school functions of all kinds, and conducting assemblies.
Each prefect is assigned a specific duty including welfare roles within the school. They are also assigned responsibilities connected with particular activities, including sports, music, and debating. Prefects are entitled to wear a badge, and a navy blue plain tie, and should have the Prefect Pocket added to their blazers.
The Students Representative Council
The Students Representative Council exists to provide opportunities for students to address the interests and concerns of students and to develop leadership skills. A teacher acts as adviser/coordinator. Training in proper meeting procedure is provided. Motions are put forward, debated, and voted on. Minutes are recorded. Fundraising and charity work are undertaken by the SRC in conjunction with the Charities Committee (a separate entity dedicated to charity work both within and outside the school). SRC representatives take an active role in the School Council and have voting rights. We send a representative to SRC District meetings.
Creative Arts Council
The Creative Arts Council was formed to support the music and visual arts program through fundraising. The Council supplies musical instruments to the school. It organises the Music Awards Dinner and the Visual Arts Display and supplies refreshments and decorations at concerts and camps. It is an active parent body that gives generously in time and energy. As music is one of the largest co-curricular programs at Sydney Boys High, it always needs parental help. Meetings are held approximately six times per year and the dates are advertised in the High Notes on the music page.
Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme
This Award scheme encourages students to undertake a series of activities over an extended period of time to achieve goals, commencing at the bronze level and finishing at the gold level. The program is entirely voluntary and participants are free to choose their own program of activities. Students must be at least 14 years of age before commencing the Award Scheme and can remain within the program until their 25th birthday. Participants are required to select activities in the areas of skills, physical fitness, community service and expeditions. Training and co-ordination of activities is integrated within the life of the school.
The Cadet movement originated in New South Wales in 1872, and on the opening of the school in 1883 a request was made to form a Cadet Unit within the school. The history of the Unit over the years has been impressive. In 1911, nine members of the Unit attended the coronation of King George V in London. The Unit is open to all boys who have attained the age of 12 years and 6 months. Parades are held on Tuesday afternoon between 3.30 and 5 pm. Activities include a weekend bivouac each term and an Annual Camp. Members of the Unit can join the Rifle Club to undertake skill at arms activities.