High Notes, Vol 17 No 7, March 18 2016

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From the Principal

High Talent
The NSW State Schools debating squad is a highly talented group of the best debaters in NSW schools. This year Max Koslowski, Thomas Shortridge and Hugh Bartley were selected in the squad. Congratulations, boys! Congratulations to Luke Schofield (2nd) and Jayden Schofield (3rd) who competed so well last week at the All Schools Senior Triathlon at SIRC.  Our Junior Team (Lachlan Ho, Jarrod Khaw and Alan Ji) and Intermediate Team (Luke Posumah, Connor Fisher and Allen Guo) competed strongly also. The senior teams event was cancelled due to the extreme weather. Well done, boys! A great swim by the senior relay team who set a new Sydney East record of 1.43.05. Well done to Christian Haddo, Andrew McNaughton, Luke Schofield and Kalem Best!

Head of the River Results
Both Year 10 VIIIs rowed into 7th place in their races. The last time this feat was achieved by Year 10 was in 2003 (placed 6th, 2nd and 3rd). In terms of margins, the Year 10 Second VIII was the closest to the winner since 2004. The first Year 10 VIII could not quite match the 2014 crew but rowed the second best margin since 2010. The First IV put in the best margin performance since 2010. The First VIII rowed powerfully to complete the course in 6. 17 .28 – the best margin (6.05%) since the 2005 crew – a fine result. They also beat the target I set for them of 6.18 Thank you to all the coaches who mentored the boys on the day; the staff who accompanied the boys on buses; the parents who supplied food and refreshments; and to the students and Old Boys who cheered on our crews and clapped them back ashore.

The Technology Levy
At High, the annual budget for technology in teaching and learning exceeds $475,000.  To support technology, the Department of Education makes a direct annual grant of $53,674. In 2015, parents contributed $254,085 by way of their contributions to the Technology Levy. The wages bill for our three staff members and teacher relief is $350,000. Consequently, the Technology Levy and the DoE don’t even cover the recurrent costs of the wages to support our network.  Recurring maintenance costs for data projectors, printers, software and consumables is $30,000. We need to upgrade ageing equipment in Music Room 101 and replace data projectors at the end of their useful life (c. 8 years). We have high priority projects to be implemented at a cost of $60,000. In order to support our BYOD policy and maximise learning opportunities for your sons, these works need to be done. The budget shortfall is made up from General Service Contributions and Building Fund donations for refurbishment works.

In the 21st century, there is nothing more important than acquiring sophisticated ICT skills for everybody wanting to find employment in the new economy. We make technology a major priority in our development plans each year.  We have pushed for and received 100Mb bandwidth from the DoE. The minimum benchmark set by President Obama’s technology think tank ‘ConnectED Initiative’, was 100Mb per 1000 users but the target should grow to 1Gb per thousand users as learning becomes even more connected. Our enduring motto is ‘opportunity for excellence’ – we want to deliver that in all aspects of education. If every family paid their Technology Levy in 2016, it would raise $345,000. It would be really beneficial if as many parents as possible supported our technology in teaching and learning program by paying their levy.

The Rowing Assembly
Special guest, Professor Emeritus John Argue AO (SHS 1950) spoke to the assembly about the importance in his life rowing has played. At 82 he is still a competitive rower even though he did not row at a high level at school. He learnt commitment and endurance through participation in rowing – two valuable dispositions that served him well during a long and distinguished career as a stormwater engineer. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Mr Argue (SHS 1950), distinguished guests, parents, coaches, staff and Head of the River competitors, it is a privilege to be able to welcome you to this annual occasion celebrating the unique place of rowing in the sporting life of High.

"I want to thank Kurt Rich for his efforts for High as MIC rowing, particularly as he had to work around his own competitive rowing commitments on top of learning what had to be done in the MIC role. Thank you again to Beryl Crockford for her oversight of the rowing program as Head Coach and First VIII Coach, thank you to Steve Comninos (SHS 2014) who stepped up to train the First IV.   Well done to Alan Low (SHS 2010) for his effort with the Year 10 First VIII. Thank you to Ashley Chan (SHS 2013) and Koren Fang (SHS 2011) who assisted with the Year 10 crews. Ken Ambler returned again this year to coordinate the Year 9 quads. Thank you Ken.

"I commend as always the great efforts of the Rowing Committee, particularly President Tracy Whittaker, Tevita Katafano as Vice-President and parking co-ordinator, Frances Liu as Treasurer, Ron Trent as Secretary, Zixiu Gao as camp coordinator and Sharon Wang as camp caterer. Thank you to Michael Schanzer, Sylvia Peng, Pauline Katafano and Andrew Borscz for your help.

"Rowing has a long tradition at this school and a culture of devoted service and striving. In 1965 the ‘senior eight’ had prepared themselves by working with weights at school. The boys went into camp at the beginning of February 1966, at Abbotsford. The resulting atmosphere and morale were described as ‘excellent’. There had been a ‘rowing appeal’ at the end of 1965 and parents raised enough money to buy a new VIII and a set of rowing oars as well as a chase boat.

"Dr Eric Longley was the coach of the First VIII.  He had rowed for Sydney University and in the Empire Games in 1950 and coached the Australian VIII at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff where the crew won a silver medal as did Old Boy Mervyn Woods in the double scull. He worked the boys hard in January and February then gave them a 2-week rest in March to freshen up for the Head of the River. A few weeks out from the race, three members of the First IV were promoted to the First VIII. The ‘Colonel Des Duffy’ was the new VIII. The crew qualified for the final of the Riverview Gold Cup. Their form was strong going into the last regatta. Regrettably, at the Head of the River, despite their really promising lead up form, the crew misunderstood the coach’s tactics and rowed poorly into fifth place.

"In 1967, High was kept out of racing by Dr. Longley for psychological reasons – ‘boys are more easily discouraged’ than men, he thought. He decided to train the crew in isolation but pace it against others. They rowed four mornings and evenings, doing 120 kms each week. They ‘raced’ 30 times over 2,400m, often in competition against the state VIII at Iron Cove. Their best time was 7m 25s [equivalent to 6m 18.4 over 2000]. The crew rowed strongly into 3rd place behind Kings at the Gold Cup on April, 1. At the Head of the River, pushing into a stiff headwind, the stroke must have ‘caught a crab’ 400m from the finish because he was launched out of the boat and the seven remaining oarsmen were left to complete the course in seventh place. Rowing has its intense highs and devastating lows.

"I recount the experience of rowing 50 years ago at High to share with you the dedication, exhilaration and disappointment felt by the participants and to emphasise three enduring features of our rowing program. First, rowers must prepare their bodies well in the pre-season. It is as true today as it was then. Second, the relationship between coach and crew is paramount. In the 1966 example boys were dropped at a late stage but the First IV coach, Mr Cheers, gave up three of his best to help the eight succeed and accepted the demoted boys “with the fine spirit for which he is well known” as The Record affirms. Boys were taught to row for the school, not for themselves. Sticking to the coach’s game plan is essential. Finally, parental support has always been an integral part of the rowing program. Parents support our boys financially, but also serve as camp supervisors, cooks, chauffeurs, counsellors and psychologists too.

"The atmosphere of the shed is generated by the First VIII and their commitment to the cause, their collective desire to do what it takes to maximise their performance, and by their relationship with the coaching staff. This is symbolised by focus, respect, self-discipline and a sense of mutual responsibility. To our boys in the First VIII I set this challenge - connect with our history and set a goal to beat the 1967 crew’s time and row 6m18 on Saturday.

"To all rowers competing at the Head of the River, and particularly those doing so for the final time, I wish you a crew best performance at the time when it counts most – under extreme pressure. Congratulations to all of our representatives who will row for us and for our long tradition of passion and perseverance in the face of intense competition. "
Dr K A Jaggar

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