High Notes, Vol 6 No 19, July 01 2005
From the Principal
Parent Teacher Evening
Music Winter Festival
Well done to Pat McDonnell for his performance as half back for GPS seconds and to Daniel Thomas as breakaway in CHS seconds. Daniel and Sen Mitsuji made shadow NSW representative teams in their sports.
Volunteer Letter Writers Required
Structural Engineer Volunteer Required
End of Term 2
Volleyball Report #7
High wins 2005 Combined High Schools Knockout
After winning the Regional Final against Marrickville, High came up against Balgowlah Boys. Mike hit many great spikes from position 4 helping High to a straight sets win. This placed High against Nowra in the quarter final.
High have played Nowra many times in past years. Their court coverage and spike reception is as good as any team in NSW and as expected it was very hard to find the floor on Nowra’s side of the net. Their big left handed spiker, Alex Gynes was proving hard to stop from position two. In response High moved their primary attack to quick balls through the middle. Karl and Dom were effective off Fahmy’s low sets and the match started to swing High’s way as they took the fourth set to level the match. Terry was starting to find his jump and some of his old form after a long lay off due to injury. He started on in the 5th and hit a string of winners from the outside to move High into the lead which they held to take the match.
The semi-final was against Airds High School. They were a strong and vocal team that attempted to challenge High in the many games that occur within a volleyball match but the experienced High unit were unflappable. Yaegan hit consistently through their blocks and Dom frustrated Airds with his middle defence. The universal position was shared between Bob and Jamie with both players passing excellently. The match swung back and forth with High eventually taking the match in another 5 setter.
The final was against Westfields. After losing the final to Westfields in 1999 this was going to be the chance to square the ledger.
The Westfields team was captained by Australia’s top schoolboy outside hitter, Geoff Skinner with a potent 100 km/h jump serve but they also had some inexperienced players. High would capitalise on Westfields’ imbalances.
Bill’s perceptive back court play helped High take the first set in relative comfort.
Westfields stepped the pace up in the second set with Skinner bringing out the big jump serve.
High was unable to find an answer and the match was squared. Going into the 3rd set at 1 set all
both teams were grinding point for point when Mike used his face to receive a spike. This called
for a substitution and on came Terry and Victor. The injection of the experienced U17s
combination was enough to give High the 3rd set. In the 4th set the jump serve was again causing
problems with Westfields winning a succession of rapid points. Specialist receiver Alex put his
hand up to save the day. The substitution was successful and High achieved the “side
out”. Several points later Karl roofed a huge Skinner spike and High were on a roll.
Fahmy’s experience was evident as he consistently picked the best hitting option to make a
“kill” and Westfields were unable to stop High from winning points. High went on to
win the set and the match. The Combined High Schools Volleyball Shield will now be held by Sydney
High for the next 12 months and can be viewed at the front office.
Academic Merit Lists Semester 1
Congratulations to the following boys whose excellent academic achievements in Semester 1 are recognised.
Year 7 In students' subjects, points were awarded as follows - HD: 6, D: 5, C: 3, PM: 2, P: 1,
with the qualifying total being 44.
Year 9 In students' subjects, points were awarded as follows - HD: 6, D: 5, C: 3, PM: 2, P: 1,
with the qualifying total being 39.
Year 10 In students' subjects, points were awarded as follows - HD: 6, D: 5, C: 3, PM: 2, P: 1,
with the qualifying total being 39
Year 11 Congratulations to the following boys in Year Eleven whose excellent academic
achievements in Semester 1 are recognised. These students were placed in the top 50% of students
in at least ten units of study at the Half-Yearly examinations
The Regional Cross Country carnival was held last week in perfect running conditions at Canterbury South Primary school. Although it may have been a little less organised and time-efficient than the GPS carnivals on Saturdays, the competition and distance that lay ahead of every runner was no less difficult.
With some great results from the Zone carnival, Sydney High was well represented at the regional carnival with many runners in all age groups, notably in the 16s and 17s. With competitors from high schools across South-East Sydney, from Bondi to the Shire, there were some quality runners in every age group that would embarrass even the best GPS runners.
However our good representation at Regional ensured that we got four representatives, two from both the U17s and the U18s+, to State All Schools to be held in Gosford next term. However the High teams in both these age groups both narrowly missed out in making it through to the next level. There were many other commendable results from all age groups. The runners that will be representing the region at state are: from the U17s, James Barker and myself and from the U18s+, Edward Ovadia and Jeremy James.
With the first half of the GPS cross country season over I look forward to the second half of the
season. Hopefully, with some hard training, the High runners can improve on the first half of the
season and strive to peak on GPS champs day.
From the Library
Premier's Reading Challenge/Sydney High Reading Challenge
Thanks to fabulous hard working office boys in the last week our Premier’s Reading Challenge books were identified and tagged with a red P on the spine. (They have also been ticked on the wall and a special booklet has been created for students to look for these books in the Library.)
HOLIDAYS COMING – BIG CHANCE TO READ so borrow, borrow, borrow!!
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD MAY NEED RE-ORDERING. Do this now and it will be here to begin the term. Pay the office/show library staff the receipt.
PARENT LETTERS TO YOUR LOCAL MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT NEEDED NOW – RE NEW LIBRARY. (Our Principal supports this campaign) I have just written personally to Bob Carr who is my local member for Parliament to ask for his intervention to increase the amount of funding allowed for joint capital works. Dr Jaggar has also written a letter as Principal of our school. At present the maximum amount allowed for joint funding projects is $350 000 for any $350 000 raised by private means. This would allow a library costing only $700,000. Any library built under this formula would be worse than the tiny, inadequate and outdated library we have now.
Would you please consider writing a letter to your local member of parliament as part of our
school’s campaign to draw attention to the need to upgrade the amount allocated to joint
funding projects? We regard Sydney Boys High as the school for all postcodes. So you can write to
your local member or speak to him/her if you are on speaking terms. We will find it very
difficult to obtain a decent library without using every source of funding at our disposal.
Da Vinci Decathlon At Knox Grammar School
This is an academic interschool gala day run in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon, with events of an academic nature. Schools enter teams of eight in years 7, 8, 9, and 10.
Students will participate in activities in the following disciplines;
Mathematics - emphasis on problem solving, number patterns and logic puzzles.
The tasks will be exciting and challenging with a particular emphasis placed on higher order thinking skills. Students will be highly stimulated by the day’s events. Schools should aim to select students who are able to complement each other in the various disciplines.
Sydney High will enter teams in each year group.
Years 9 + 10 Tue 9th August (Week 4 Term 3 )
Interested students can obtain application forms from Mr Dolan (Social Science).
Inter-school chess has finished for most teams this year with mixed results.
The Open team (Ronald Yu, Jason Cohn, Anthony Chau, Munir Alam) are currently 2nd behind Knox with three rounds left to play. The Senior A team (William Cao, Joe Banh, Taymur Mazid, Frederick Lee) finished 5th to Kogarah A in their division. In the intermediate divisions the A team (Caly Yang, Roy Wong, Simin Yang, Sean Lee) were 6th to Scots A and the B team (Simon Ting, Arunan Kandasamy, Alex Yeung, Simon Liu) 5th behind Grammar A.
The Junior A team (Steven Zheng, Declan McCrea-Steele, Timothy Yu, Charley Peng) are still
hopeful of proceeding to the quarter-finals after finishing second to Newington by just half a
It has been a long few weeks of trials across each year group and, with such a large number of talented and enthusiastic students participating in debating this year, selections were very difficult. Coaches have been very impressed with the level of skill and confidence shown.
Selections for the 2005 Debating Season are now (finally) complete and I am pleased to announce the teams who will debate this season in The GPS Competition and the variety of other debating competitions in which we will participate this year.
Congratulations to all the boys who tried out, especially those who have made teams. We have a busy season ahead and I look forward to many successful debates and, hopefully, premierships! Thank you also to the coaches who have spent many hours conducting the selections and putting the teams together.
The Firsts are
The Seconds are
The Thirds are
There is no set formula for selections, as a good debater and a good debating team are made up of a number of factors all in unique combinations according to the different students. Teams were chosen with reference to a number of criteria, namely the way in which debates are judged - Matter (how well they could use their general knowledge to back up an argument), Method (how well they could structure their speeches) and Manner (the level of confidence they have actually presenting their speech). We also consider aspects of the student’s commitment, ability and reliability.
As much as possible teams will remain set for the rest of the season, so as to allow the teams to develop together and settle into working collaboratively. A GPS “A” team has been set for each level (and will debate every week), with a number of “B” teams being included which will rotate through the competition. These teams will also take part in The Premier’s Debating Challenge (PDC) and The University of Technology and Macquarie University Debating Tournaments.
Those boys who did not make the teams are encouraged to keep attending training sessions and to continue to develop their debating skills and general knowledge.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind boys about their conduct in training. With the large number of debaters, we have no time or patience for those who wish to be a disruption to coaching. Boys who create problems will be asked to leave the training sessions and not return. The boys who are in teams are not immune to this code of conduct.
The GPS Debating Handbook has been uploaded onto the website (thanks once again to Raymond Roca) and can be read at http://www.sydneyhigh.org.au/debating/gps-guidelines.shtml.
The full season calendar is also on the website. The season’s results will be posted there as the weeks pass. Please check it out at http://www.sydneyhigh.org.au/debating
The next meeting of the Debating Supporters Group (DSG) is on Tuesday August 9th at 6.30pm in the Staff Common Room. All parents of debaters are encouraged to attend.
For any enquiries relating to debating you can email me at
or with our new phone system you can
leave messages for me by dialling the school phone number and calling extension 266. We will also
have a voicemail-box at extension 399, where you will be able to ring in and listen to recorded
information about the debating locations and times etc.
Definitional Drift: Math Goes Postmodern
People are now claiming proofs for two of the most famous problems in mathematics — the Riemann Hypothesis and the Poincare Conjecture — yet it is far from easy to tell whether either claim is valid. In the first case, the purported proof is so long and the mathematics so obscure no one wants to spend the time checking through its hundreds of pages for fear they may be wasting their time. In the second case, a small army of experts has spent the last two years poring over the equations and still doesn't know whether they add up.
In popular conception, mathematics is the ultimate resolvable discipline, immune to the epistemological murkiness that so bedevils other fields of knowledge in this relativistic age. Yet Philip Davis, emeritus professor of mathematics at Brown University, has pointed out recently that mathematics also is "a multi-semiotic enterprise" prone to ambiguity and definitional drift.
Earlier this year, Davis gave a lecture to the mathematics department at the University of Southern California titled, "How Do We Know When a Problem Is Solved?" Often, he told the audience, we cannot tell, for "the formulation and solution of problems change throughout history, throughout our own lifetimes, and even through our re-readings of texts."
Part of the difficulty resides in the notion of what we mean by a solution, or as Davis put it: "What kind of answer will you accept?"
Take, for instance, the task of trying to determine whether a very large number is prime — that is, it cannot be split evenly into the product of any smaller components, except 1. (Six is the product of 2 by 3, so it is not prime; 7 has no smaller factors, so it is.) Determining primeness has huge practical consequences — prime numbers are widely used in computer security codes, for instance — yet when the number is large it can take an astronomical amount of computer time to determine its primeness unequivocally. Mathematicians have invented statistical methods that will give a probabilistic answer that will tell you, for instance, a given number is 99.99 percent certain to be prime. Is it a solution? Davis asked.
Other problems also can be addressed by brute computational force, but many mathematicians feel intrinsically uncomfortable with this approach. Said Davis: "It is certainly not seen as an aesthetic solution." A case in point is the four-color map theorem, which famously asserts that any map can be coloured with just four colours (no two adjoining sections may be the same colour).
The problem was first stated in 1853 and over the years a number of proofs have been given, all of which turned out to be wrong. In 1976, two mathematicians programmed a computer to exhaustively examine all the possible cases, determining that each case does indeed hold. Many mathematicians, however, have refused to accept this solution because it cannot be verified by hand. In 1996, another group came up with a different (more checkable) computer-assisted proof, and in December this new proof was verified by yet another program. Still, there are sceptics who hanker after a fully human proof.
Both the Poincare Conjecture (which seeks to explain the geometry of three-dimensional spheres) and the Riemann Hypothesis (which deals with prime numbers) are among seven leading problems chosen by the Clay Mathematics Institute for million-dollar prizes. The institute has its own rules for determining whether any one of these problems has been solved and hence whether the prize should be awarded. Critically, the decision is made by a committee, which, Davis said, "comes close to the assertion that mathematics is a socially constructed enterprise."
Another of the institute's million-dollar problems is to find solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations that describe the flow of fluids. Because these equations are involved in aerodynamic drag, they have immense importance to the aerospace and automotive industries.
Yacht designers must also wrestle with these legendarily difficult equations. Over lunch, Davis told a story about yacht racing. He had recently talked to an applied mathematician who helped design a yacht that won the America's Cup. This yachtsman couldn't have cared less if the Navier-Stokes equations were solved; what mattered to him was that, practically speaking, he could model the equations on his computer and predict how water would flow around his hull. "Proofs," Davis said, "are just one of the tools that mathematicians now use."
We may never fully solve the Navier-Stokes equations, but, according to Davis, it will not
matter. Like so many other fields, mathematics is becoming less about some Platonic ideal of
ultimate answers, and more a functional project of computational simulation and communal
negotiation. Dare we say it: Math is becoming postmodern.
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From the Office
LETTERS RE ABSENCE/LATENESS/ EARLY LEAVE
If your son has an early leave note he is required to have his note signed by either Mr Beringer, Mr Dowdell or Mr Prorellis before 8:55 am and handed in to the Main Office immediately after. Each letter should be signed by parent or guardian with the name date and roll class of your son printed clearly. Your son needs to pick up a leave pass from the Main Office before he leaves the school.
LEAVE - If you require leave for your son please, apply in writing and address your application to the Principal, Dr Jaggar, stating the reason and length of time of the leave. Your son must then present this application to Dr Jaggar for permission for the leave. Please remember to apply before the leave and not after.
The Principal must approve all leave applications.
School beanies are available for purchase from the High Store - $20 only. Keep warm and be
State of the Arts
Italy Music Tour 2005
The official Italy website is:
The year concerts will include all ensembles plus soloists. Boys are invited to apply to perform
Sydney Boys High Cabaret Night
Featuring the Sydney High Pops Orchestra, Concert Bands, and Stage Bands.
Put on your dancing shoes and sharp suits and get grooving!
Saturday August 6th 2005 7.00pm Great Hall l
Bring you nibbles for the table, drinks and your dancing shoes! Organise tables of 10 or come as a single.
I would like to purchase the following number tickets at a cost of $10.00 each.
____________(amount tickets) $___________total cost.
Type of Payment: Cheque___ Cash ___ B/Card___ M/Card ___ Visa___
Name on Card________________________________ Expiry date___ ___/___ ___
Card No. ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Amount $______________ Signature____________________________
Return to Index
Sydney Boys High is now the proud owner of a Birko Filter Coffee Urn
Amounts from 12 cups to 100 cups of coffee can be produced.
The urn will be available to all interest groups, sub-committees, departments and individuals provided it is returned in the condition lent. .
Ideal for end of season Dinners, Suppers and Social Functions.
Contact the Main Office for details.
Recently a group of dedicated women gave up their Sunday evening to provide supper at a theatrical presentation at UNSW.
Through their fine efforts and adaptability a sum of $435.00 has been raised for the P & C.
Thank you to
Your enthusiasm and hard work is very much appreciated.