High Notes, Vol 5 No 10, April 02 2004

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

From the Principal
News from the Archives
Dropping Off and Picking Up Students
Rowing Report
Cross Country

From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to our volleyball representatives who were selected to represent Sydney East at the CHS Inter-Regional Volleyball Carnival. Robert Lu, Karl Kruszelnicki, Yaegan Doran, Keith Wong, Bill Zhang, Fahmy Balgahom, Victor Nguyen. At 14 Victor is the youngest ever Sydney East representative in volleyball! Joshua Scharfegger had a huge day on Tuesday 30th March at the CHS Regatta, rowing in the First VIII for an easy win in the championship VIII, coming second in the championship single scull by half a canvas to a NSW Youth VIII representative, and then teaming with Liam Bennett to win the championship men's pair! He raced 6000m before lunch - congratulations Joshua, an outstanding effort!

Head of the River
It was another glorious day last Saturday, with ideal rowing conditions for competitors at the annual Head of the River. Thank you to those students, parents and teachers who came out to see our boys row and to be a part of what is a great sporting spectacle. Competition was fierce with some events being decided in less than three tenths of a second after 2000 metres of effort. The big row of the day was from our 1st IV [James, Doran, Kruszelnicki, Mitsuji, Mittelheuser, cox}. Their effort was the 4th best performance at a Head of the River by a High crew in the last six years, coming a close 6th in their race, at 3.58% off the pace. Congratulations boys! The 1st Year 10 VIII rowed to 5.18% from the winner. The 1st VIII rowed the fastest 2000m by a High crew since 1999, despite finishing in 8th place. [For a full analysis of the Head of the River results over the last six years, see P drive 'Head of River'].

Structured exercise, diet and healthy choices
The prevalence of overweight children is 25% and increasing. Intervention at the school level is justifiable. A New York film director recently made a film of himself "Super Size Me", that chronicled his experiences during a month of eating McDonald's food only. He gained 12kgs and had great increases in blood cholesterol. Education about nutrition and appropriate food choices needs to be a part of the school curriculum. Schools need to set a good example in the food and drink lines offered for sale to students through School Canteens and vending machines. Physical activity should be a part of every boy's daily routine. Our School Canteen is investigating approved healthy food lines to offer for sale. The Committee is moving cautiously in response to government initiatives to control the sale of inappropriate food items in schools. At present the Committee feels it should adopt a 'wait and see' policy. A large proportion of canteen profits comes from the sale of soft drinks and pastries. We need to find acceptable alternatives in these sensitive areas. Our character education program 7- 10 combined with our vigorous promotion of team sports and competition, assist in reducing the level of obesity at High. We are favouring self-regulation in a more tightly controlled context as our approach to the issue.

Language Power Test - Grammar
Mr Whitfield's independent testing of Year 7 boys has produced some interesting results. The benchmark for the test is 90% for an English native speaker. It was interesting that 21.3% of the boys tested fell into each end of the test range - superior and below benchmark. Seven boys earned a perfect score. The results suggest to me that many of our students would benefit from some intensive work in the area of grammar. At the very least, boys need to realise that accuracy in grammatical expression is an important life skill.

Measuring school performance
There is a suggestion that the drift to non-government schooling is in part explained by the perception that private schools provide more performance information to families than do state schools. Privacy laws affect the amount that can be published by government schools. Single measure reporting does not reveal sufficient information to make a proper judgement about a school's performance. There is support for the notion that a school ought to be judged on whether it produces happy well-rounded and motivated young people, as well as on its academic record. At High we strive hard to be judged by both of these approaches. It would be very helpful if NSW Principals had the advantage of the devolved powers over staffing and finances that their colleagues in other states enjoy.

Winter Sport
In winter we again focus on GPS sports. We can accommodate a maximum of 420 soccer players, so positions in all teams will be competitively selected. In Rugby we can accommodate 270 players easily but we attract only about 130. Volleyball will be expanded to 120 players as a maximum, so competitive selection will be necessary. Fencing too will be restricted to around 50 competitors. Table tennis for seniors only is limited to 30. Rifle shooting is limited to 25. There will be around 45 serious runners for Cross-country. There will be no winter tennis until our courts are redeveloped. Only 20 boys who are training for selection for GPS summer teams will be allowed to take the sport. There remains Wednesday Cross country for those who failed the fitness test 1.6k run. Around 140 boys may be running in Centennial Park on Wednesdays. We see no need to increase the number of winter sports when our administration can cope with 1120 boys participating within the current structure. We have a GPS commitment to supply rugby teams for fixtures. I encourage all boys to have a go at rugby in the junior years. It is the premier winter sport in NSW. Let's get involved boys!

Fairland Pavilion Hiring
All school community groups should be aware that the Fairland Pavilion may be used by non-school community groups when not booked by High for our purposes. We have adopted the same 'shared usage' philosophy as we have for the Outterside Centre. These assets are managed by the Sydney High School Foundation to provide facilities and services to the school. To maintain or enhance such services, cash flow is required. We have to make the assets work because they generate considerable annual fixed costs to maintain. Every $500 contributed by people not directly involved with High is like having another student paying school fees. Laurie Heil is our Liaison Officer with the Trust and handles bookings for the Fairland Pavilion. He can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if your team wants a booking for McKay 1 + the Fairland Pavilion. His mobile phone number is 0419 992 660. Please do not assume the area is automatically available for your use.
Dr K Jaggar
Return to Index

News from the Archives

Student archivist Mark Lucchitti (7S) has been consistent and diligent in working towards the acquisition of the Archives award. Mark utilises part of his lunch break to work on archival tasks allocated to him. Activities are varied and include the listing of rare books, encapsulating photographs, setting up display boards, writing up specific reports and the general upkeep of school memorabilia housed in the Archives.

A special welcome is also extended to Alex Shapilsky (8F) and Maxeem Mikha (7S) who have just recently joined the team. These boys are to be congratulated on their enthusiasm and their sound choice of award.

Visitors to the Archives this term include Mr Jack Boag (2000), a close relative of Mr Charles McDonald and John McDonald and Mr Philip Barr (1972), grandson of Headmaster Gordon Barr (1952-1954). The delightful Mr Boag was interested in information on the lesser known Mr John McDonald whilst Mr Barr kindly donated items of interest to the school.
Suet Kumar
Return to Index


My timetable has changed slightly, as I am now (in addition to Tuesdays and Fridays) in on Wednesdays 9-12 and Thursday 9-12 -- approximately: it could be (as this week) 9-11 one day, 9-1 the next. This gives more opportunities for students who wish to consult me, and also makes the rest of the timetable a little more flexible. I may, for example, visit a class timetabled, say, for Tuesday on the Thursday.
If any senior students wish to use the after school time on a Tuesday (which has some advantages from the students' point of view) please forewarn me during the day on Tuesday by seeing me or leaving a note. Then I will be there at 3.20 waiting for you.

The ESL Help Page now starts with 12 Steps to Better English -- and even native speakers might learn a thing or two from it!

Twelve steps to better English (http://neilwhitfield.tripod.com/eslhelp.html)

Especially for students from language backgrounds other than English -- but not only! The links will take you to more information. OUTSIDE links open in new windows; links to this site do not.
Just about every week, at least once, sometimes more often, a teacher will show me a piece of student work which usually has the same handful of problems. Sometimes the student has been speaking English all his life.
Some students (especially seniors) might like these Learner Tips from the BBC English Learner Program.
1. Watch out for tense shifting. If you start in past tense, continue in past tense; if you start in present, continue in present. Look here too.
2. Make sure subject and verb agree.
3. Watch your articles. Should you be using "a", "an" or "the", or nothing at all? Related to this is knowing about COUNT and UNCOUNT NOUNS. Should you be saying "much" or "many"? And watch out for those nasty prepositions -- they can really trip you up!
4. Listen carefully for the endings of words, say them carefully when you speak English, and make sure they are where they should be when you write English.
5. Grow your vocabulary (1). For a start, read many different kinds of English often. Listen to many different kinds of radio and television programs. Especially if you have not been speaking English for very long, visit sites like English Bites or Brian's Common Errors in English.
6. Grow your vocabulary (2). Think of word families. Often learners of English tend to just take in one word at a time without seeing how it fits in with related words. When you look up your dictionary, look at all the related words such as this entry for "cooperate". Look at synonyms too: there's a whole set of quizzes on this beginning here.
7. Keep a journal or diary and write in it every day. You can even do this on the Internet if you want to with sites like Diary-X. If you keep a journal try experimenting with your writing with different kinds of text.
8. Ask questions. No one will think you are stupid if you ask about things you are not sure of.
9. Constantly test yourself. You can use the Quiz Page for this. Someone in Canada uses our Quiz Page every day!
10. Take risks. While being careful, don't be afraid to try something new even if you make mistakes. You have to make mistakes if your language is going to grow. Having something to say is more important than making a few mistakes. However, if you are able to, try the proper writing process: draft, revise and edit, polish and publish. give yourself time to do this. Here is a site that explains the writing process really well -- but it is an Angelfire site so may not be available at school. (I can assure you there is nothing wrong with it!) As an alternative, this one is also very good.
11. Practise working out what exam questions are actually asking you to do. If you are not sure, then ask someone!
12. Never try to learn "a perfect essay" off by heart. It is almost certain it will not be an answer to the question in front of you. Instead, go back to Step 11 and practise brainstorming, planning, jotting down points, writing introductions, or even writing whole answers. Study successful essays wherever you can find them, but only to learn HOW to do things. (The Bored of Studies site is a good place to find some if you are in Year 11 or 12.) Your essay must be YOUR essay. Have a look at Georgetown University Writing Center for ESL Students -- one of many sites that can help, especially from Year 10 up. See also our own Writing and Study Skills Page.
Neil Whitfield
Return to Index


Important notice:
Debaters Support Group Meeting this Wednesday 7th April 6.30pm in the Staff Common Room.

All debating parents and supporters are urged to attend this important meeting.
Return to Index

Dropping Off and Picking Up Students

Please note:
  • When dropping off students please enter by Gate 2 from Cleveland Street.
  • Please stop on the left as close to the Main Building as possible.
  • After dropping off, continue along the road behind the Gym and exit through Gate 3 and turn left into Cleveland Street.
  • Please do not attempt to exit by Gate 2.
  • The Anzac Parade gates should not be used when dropping off or picking up - the large volume of pedestrian traffic here before and after school makes this a most unsafe practice.
  • If parking on the school grounds, please park rear to buildings, and fences.
  • Students with current parking permits must park in the area between the tennis courts and Cleveland Street only.
  • Please exercise extreme caution when driving across footpaths and through the school grounds

Return to Index

Rowing Report

Last Friday's Rowing Assembly marked the beginning of a very busy season finale for our rowers and all their supporters - The Head of the River on Saturday followed by the NSW CHS Rowing Championships on Monday and Tuesday. Captain of Boats, Troy Polis, spoke with his now familiar dignified candour to honour his crewmates, other rowers, coaches and supporters. He spoke with sincerity of our shed as his other home and his crewmates as his other family. He reminded us all of two important anniversary's - 80 years of rowing at Sydney High and 20 years for Mr Barris as Rowing Master. Our Guest of Honour, Mr John Croll, an old boy who has already given so much service to the school, gave us some insights into the sport and the qualities that it develops. Dr Jaggar's address focused on realistic targets that encourage a pattern of improvement.

The crews were clapped out into the courtyard in bright sunshine, where they gave the Sydney High War Cry a rousing rendition. They spent the next few days living up to the kind words of encouragement they had just heard. They rowed with great skill and dedication, they achieved targets and had their successes and, perhaps most importantly, they were a unified and happy team throughout.

Old hands will tell you that the Head of the River lost colour and atmosphere when it moved to the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) from the Nepean River. Maybe so, but there was a lot of atmosphere as the Year 10 3rd VIII got away at 10 am. In perfect conditions the boys in Race 1 rowed towards a wall of sound. Sydney High supporters were in full voice and accounted for more than our fair share of colour and atmosphere. A large contingent of prefects encouraged every crew as our band entertained the crowd. Thanks to all who came along.

The 'big three' rowing schools dominated the regatta - Shore, Joey's and King's. In fact, this year we could almost refer to the 'big one', as Shore won 8 of the 10 events. Our boys did very well against this standard, with most crews rowing best times on the day and no crew trailing off in competition. Our leading crews, the 1st VIII, the 1st IV, and the Year 10 1st VIII, all recorded times on or below the 5% margin against the winning times. The 1st IV were probably the best performed crew on the day coming 6th and only 14 seconds off the winning Shore crew. The 3rd IV and 4th IV also managed 6th place. The Year 10 1st VIII came 7th after going for glory early in the race.

The standard in the senior VIIIs was the best for years. The 2nd VIII race was won in under 6 minutes and the main event in 5m48s - Shore to be sure. Our 2nd VIII battled on gamely against Newington, swapping the dreaded last place a couple of times up the course - less than 2 seconds in it. Our mighty 1st VIII had every right to expect 6th place or better, and they held that spot for most of the race. They finished with their fastest time of the season (6m10s) but in a close last place. It was the fastest time by a High crew since 1999 and the boys gave it everything. They lay flat in the boat exhausted, but were not dispirited in defeat. It had been a mistake free race. They were a young crew up against the national champions. Many of them will be back next year - stronger and more experienced. They have established a pattern of improvement.

Back at the sheds there were no long faces. Supporters cheered the returning crews and gathered around a huge cake for the customary speeches. It was Rowing Master Con Barris' birthday. Club President, Jeremy Glass 'presided' over a thoroughly enjoyable celebration. Again, Troy spoke with great warmth as he acknowledged the supporters of Sydney High rowing and finished with 'thanks to anyone who did anything'. Hear hear!

The boys rested on Sunday, but many of them returned to SIRC for the CHS Championships bright and early (6am) on Monday and Tuesday. Apart from hosting this regatta, we won most of the events we entered. The CHS successes of our crews deserve and will get a more detailed account in next week's final rowing report.
Steve Tiedgen for the Rowing Committee
Return to Index

Cross Country

Sydney Boys High School
Annual Cross Country Carnival
Moore Park, Mount Steele
1.20 - 3.00 pm
Tuesday 6th April 2004
Mr Prorellis, Mr Kesting I/C

Student Information

Your son will be dismissed earlier than usual on Tuesday 6th April 2004


1.40 pm 17+ OPEN 3 km 3 Loops
1.55 pm 16 years 3 km 3 Loops
2.10 pm 15 years 3 km 3 Loops
2.25 pm 14 years 2 km 2 Loops
2.35 pm 13 years 2 km 2 Loops
2.45 pm 12 years 2 km 2 Loops

Get changed at lunch time
Stay in school grounds until 1.15 pm then move over to the venue when the bell rings
When your race is called go to the starting area whether you are running or not.
Non runners will stay in the starting area until directed to move by the Marshalls
At the finish you will be given a place ticket
If you are in the first 15 places you go to the first 15 table and have your name recorded
All runners to proceed with finish ticket to your house table
Tell the teacher your name and finishing position
After the race you will be dismissed by a teacher
Non runners will have names marked off at the end of the race
Non runners will be dismissed at the conclusion of their race if they have a note


Everyone attends
You must run in shoes

You must wear house colours to qualify for points
Stay on the course and follow directions from course marshals
Spectators must stay within 20m of Cleveland St and are not permitted on the course
Winning house determined by the lowest total of the first ten runners to finish
Award Scheme qualifying standard -compete & finish
Top ten runners will comprise the provisional school team to compete at the zone.
Only the first 15 places will be timed

Additional Info:
The School Cross Country is the first qualifying event
within the CHS Competition. The First 10 runners for each
age division will make up the school team for the Eastern Suburbs
Zone Carnival. The first 12 runners at the Zone Carnival
will compete at the Sydney East Regional Carnival and the first
10 runners from Regional Carnival go on to the NSW All Schools Carnival.

You are also invited to join the Sydney High GPS Cross Country Team. GPS Cross Country is a Winter Sport and three age divisions (U14, U16, Opens) compete on Saturday mornings. The season spans across terms 2 and 3 and involves 11 Saturday morning carnivals. All are welcome to join.
Return to Index