High Notes, Vol 18 No 14, May 19 2017

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Benjamin Coan (12E) and Jerry Chang (11F) who have been selected to represent CHS as NSW team members to compete in the Oceania U19 Volleyball Championships in Papeete (Tahiti) from 7-16 July. Our fencing teams have qualified for the National Schools Team championships in all three disciplines – foil, sabre and epée. Qualifying team members were: in Foil, John Tian (12), James Siu (11), Alexander Tan (10) and Owen Zhang (9); in Sabre, Arshad Mohamed (10), Kinzey Rahardja (11), Jonah Beer (10), Yu Ming Lee (7); and in Epée, John Tian (12), William Zeng (11), Roy Zheng (11), Brendan Kwan (11). Congratulations to all our team members on their success.

Joint SBHS-SGHS Drama Production

Our annual joint drama event with SGHS is on next week. This year there will be a production of “How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying”. Book your tickets for the evening shows May 25-27 - www.trybooking.com/PQRE. The two schools have some very talented students. Please honour their hard work and support this joint schools initiative.

Uncollected Reports

All boys in Years 12 and 9 have had opportunities to collect their reports after a quick chat with the Principal. Ask your son for his. He may not yet have submitted his Clearance Form. It is important that parents and teachers have an understanding of the progress being made by each boy in the school. Every student matters. Every report is important.

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2017

My speech to the IDAHOT Day assembly is reprinted below.

"Special Guest Alex Greenwich, Independent Member for Sydney, staff, students, I welcome you to our second annual assembly to acknowledge the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia celebrate on 17 May. Today we show our support for the LGBTI community in their quest for equality. Homophobia is a mainstream social issue because heterosexual people are still not coming to terms with the plain facts of sexual identity diversity. Extreme cases of denial are evident in the current state sponsored persecution of gay men in Chechnya. The recent controversy over the content of the Safe Schools program, indicates how socially and politically sensitive gender identification and sexuality issues are, even in mainstream Australian society. We need to be more mature on this issue and trust to the judgement of schools and teachers to address them appropriately according to their unique school community contexts.

"The problem of acceptance of diversity is one that the majority impose upon the minority by their individual and collective failure to empathise, to imagine what it feels like to be diminished, insulted or physically abused, just for being who you are. If you knew what it felt like to be taunted, pushed around, jeered at or assaulted, you might be more inclined to leave other people alone, to be themselves. It is a fundamental human right. We should respect the dignity and worth of each person.

"'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.' Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was proclaimed at the United Nations on 10 December 1948. Before we say or do something that might injure, ridicule or offend another, we should remember this Article and act according to what we each know is right. Everyone, if asked, would agree that they would like that right for themselves, but might not be so convinced if it were suggested to them that it ought to be extended also to homosexual or trans gender citizens.

"Article 2 of the Universal Declaration allows people to enjoy their rights 'without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status'. Social institutions – families, villages, schools, cities or states – rely on some shared, fundamental values in order to function. We cannot pay lip service to these values and then act in ways that undermine them.

"Here at High we have tried to walk the talk, through our involvement in the Proud Schools pilot project. We celebrate ‘Wear it Purple day’. We have assemblies like these to raise awareness. We have an established values Education Program in the Junior School. Our recently established Equality Committee gives students a voice in raising awareness about how inequality happens in schools.

"Sadly, despite all our attempts to show to our students and our community that we believe in these rights, some of our own students don’t respect themselves or each other enough to put faith in the higher claim of human rights and instead are swayed. "
Dr K A Jaggar

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