Principal's Address: Year 12 Farewell 2011

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Principal's Address
Sydney Boys High School
at the Passing out of Year 12
Held on 20 September 2011

Good afternoon and welcome to all the parents, family, staff and students who have come to share our Farewell Assembly for Year 12, 2011. This year’s Year 12 boys have been characterised by their social justice orientation. Whether it was in supporting each other at school, helping staff or organising the school’s community service projects, the class of 2011 really made a big contribution to the tradition of service at High. During the last five years High has developed an enviable reputation for community service. Driven by class of 2011 boys, the Community Services Committee has led the way in many fund raising projects. Total collections for the year will exceed $100,000 – a tribute to the energy and civic consciousness of this cohort. Thank you to Andrew Gaffney, Yale Wong and David Chan for their leadership over the last three years in particular.

The achievements of High boys in basketball this calendar year are unsurpassed in High’s history. A Rashke Cup, a Co-Premiership, a CHS Knock-Out Title and recently – NSW All-Schools Champions – establish the depth of talent and self-belief that the team has built up over the last two seasons. We expect them to go on to take out back-to-back Australian Schools titles. Our volleyball team is facing a tougher standard of GPS competition but nevertheless prevailed again. After a successful All-Schools Tournament campaign, High fell just short of a clean sweep this year at the CHS Knockout. The record of volleyball at High over the last five years is certainly impressive. This year’s athletics result for the senior championship was within a few points of second – a position we still held at 2:15 on carnival day. Despite fading to 5th after the 400s and relays, it was a great day for High athletics.

For some years on this occasion I have recognised the boys in Year 12 who have made a significant contribution to our sports program by representing the school in two seasons in their final year. I really appreciate their commitment. This year there were 106 boys in Year 12 who played a GPS sport in two seasons. Those who represented High in GPS competition, first or second grade, deserve a special mention. The “Triple Firsts” for 2011 were: Chris Morrow, Michael Phung, David Nguyen, Frank Torok, Jeremy Dobrowolski, Kumudika Gunaratne and Brendan Hancock. Well done to our ‘Double Firsts’: Andrija Dumovic, Sangeeth Subramaniam, Nakul Bhagwat, Sivasaran Sooriakumar, Ryan Caetano, Jonah Petrie, Nishant Paul, Giancarlo Romeo, Ashwin Rudder, Oliver Sabau, William Shao, Gabriel Garayalde and Pasan Pannila. In the “One-Two Club” were: Peter Tran, Isaac Eveleigh, Andrew Ye, Ryan McDonald, Michael Wong and Nathan Kok. ‘Double-Two’ participants for 2011 were Tim Gollan and Casper Price.

In the last four years High has not attracted more than 29 boys in any year to represent their school in two sports in GPS first and second grade in their final year at school. This statistic is one reason for High’s lack of competitiveness in the traditional GPS sports. We need to build a stronger culture of participation amongst Year 12 boys beyond the social level. A healthy balance of work and play is good for academic achievement. It does not detract from it.

As you leave formal schooling behind and take responsibility for your own education through study and examination performance, you might think about the skills you will need in a rapidly changing world. The global environment you are entering has many challenges but the openness revolution is one of the most powerful. The internet has brought immediacy to everyone’s world. There is a shift in how we view personal details brought about by the proliferation of social networking. We are sharing more of ourselves with the world than we used to share with our closest friends. The internet has become a virtual, portable homeland in which you can communicate with like-minded people. The new powerful tool for the twenty-first century is collective intelligence. People are appreciating the value of communication and collaboration to solve problems. There is a decline in the reliance on experts and a rise in the power of social networks and social proof. The result has been a ‘democratisation of information’. This movement will have powerful effects on international and domestic political structures in the next quarter century.

The ‘Arab Spring’ in Tunisia and revolutionary movements that have followed, are good example of the political expression of changed expectations and attitudes as a result of rapid and widespread information flows in the Arab World, uncontrollable by governments. The globalisation of information will be an ongoing challenge to governments everywhere. Convergence will bring multimedia data into fewer appliances or even just one. You will be involved with this phenomenon in your working lives after university. We hope that an education at High has given you a global perspective. We are confident that your training and experiences at High have exposed you to these modern communication trends and that you have acquired the skills of cooperation and collegial action to manage them in your future lives. You have added significantly to the High tradition. It has been my privilege to be your Principal. Goodbye and good luck.