High Notes, Vol 19 No 23, August 03 2018

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

From the Principal

High Talent

High won the NSWCHS Volleyball Knockout today defeating Ryde Secondary College 3-1 in the Semi and Murwillumbah 3-0 in the Final. Congratulations to MIC Mick Kay and the team Jerry Chang (C) Harjas Ahuja, Jonathon Zeng. Kevin Court, Alex Liu, Yirong Shen, Nathan Trinh, Samuel Yu, Henry Han, Josh Reid, Zac Liu and Adrian Panas. Well done and good luck to Eric Holstrom who achieved fourth place in the NSW All Schools Championship in Cross Country, thus securing his place in the national competition. Congratulations to the Year 12 debating team who have made it to the NSW Premiers Debating Challenge final to try and win the prestigious Hume Barbour trophy.

Wellbeing Week

This week has been our inaugural wellbeing week which has been an initiative of the wellbeing prefects, supported by Joanna Chan our Head Teacher Wellbeing.  On Monday Year 7 took part in a High Resolves program about collective identity.  We also had the Year 8 BBQ and mufti day supporting Headspace with a remarkable 2:1 victory for staff in the highly entertaining staff versus prefect’s dodgeball competition. Headspace had an information stall for students during Monday lunchtime. Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25-year old’s. One in four young people have experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months – a higher prevalence than all other age groups. Alarmingly, suicide is the leading cause of death of young people, accounting for one third of all deaths. Research shows that 75 per cent of mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. By treating these issues early and providing a holistic model of support, the risk of them developing into more serious problems is greatly decreased. Headspace operates through physical centres and you can find your nearest Headspace Centre on their website: https://headspace.org.au and they also provide an online service at https://www.eheadspace.org.au/. On Thursday we held a Meditation session for Year 12 on Friday Year 11 and 12 were invited to a Motivational Presentation by Motion Impact in the Great Hall. I applaud this initiative and thank the staff and students who were involved in the planning of the week and also those staff – especially the Year Advisers, who play a key role in supporting the mental wellbeing of our students.

Debating, Public Speaking and Rifle Shooting Assembly 2018

My address to the assembly is reprinted below.

"Special guest Dr Soutphommasane, students, staff and parents, welcome to our annual assembly which this year recognises the students and their achievements in debating, public speaking and rifle shooting.

"Very few co-curricular activities at school can operate effectively without some support from parents, students, staff, old boys and coaches. Today I would like to acknowledge the support that these three successful co-curricular activities get from all four. As the MIC of debating I rely on the support of parents to undertake tasks including preparing the suppers which are always, without fail, praised as the best on the debating circuit.  Specifically I would like to thank the members of the Debating Supporters Group for all their work. Pam Konecny who served again as President, with Victor Zeigler as Secretary and Zerman Akarsu as Treasurer. Thanks also to Edwina Henningham, Shauna Wolifson and Pamela Liu who organised suppers this year and Vivien Suttner who was our Parking Coordinator. I would like to thank the coaches who work energetically and enthusiastically to make the Friday coaching experience so wonderful that students return year after year and have a high quality program whether they are selected for GPs teams or not. In particular I want to thank Alison Thompson who has been the Firsts coach, but has also undertaken much of the Head Coach’s role this year and who has been pivotal in ensuring a greater gender balance in our coaching program. Furthermore, I am grateful for the support of Melinda Jollie, Rowena Barr and Jeanette Cook who support the PDC debaters and Anna Hitchcock who, along with coach Sara Critos, manages the Legal and United Nations debating programs.

"I would also like to thank our Debating and Public Speaking Prefect, Symeon Ziegler who has consistently been a passionate exponent of debating and public speaking, has given up his time to support the mock trial teams and has managed the Junior Debating Club and the House Debating Competition. 

"Our debating program continues to deliver because of the energy and enthusiasm of everyone involved. This year Alex D’Arujo was selected to represent NSW in the national Schools Debating Championship and he and Guy Suttner have been selected for the CHS team.  Firsts have already won the Eastside competition and the Year 12 PDC team have reached the Final stage in the NSW PDC competition. Our Year 11s also won Eastside and reached the regional final of PDC.  The official start of the GPS debating season is this Friday night. We hope to vigorously defend the Rutledge Louat Shield that our boys retained, historically, for the third consecutive year last year and to win outright the GPS debating cup which we shared with Grammar last year. 

"Thank you to our MIC of Public Speaking, Cassandra Pride who has efficiently and enthusiastically managed the Public Speaking program which is coached by Vishal Karma (2016).  This includes organising an internal competition which most recently was won by Archie Wolifson in the Junior division and Justin Lai in the senior division. Justin has gone on to win the Plain Speaking English Award, which has not been held at High since 1998. Congratulations to Justin. It is testament to his talents and to the strength of the program.

"Once again Rifle Shooting has been ably and adeptly managed by Cathy Meany and Daniel Comben. Thanks go to Sam Kremer (1992) for his extensive work in maintaining our growing fleet of rifles and equipment to the highest standard. He is a highly valued member of our club who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and has been instrumental in the development and expansion of our fullbore programme over the past decade.  Thanks to Terry Fong (2014) for his dedication in leading the fullbore coaching and training programme this year and to Jacky Yang (2012) for his many years of service in coaching and acting as range officer at our smallbore programme.  Thanks to Mitchell Bailey (National level Under 25 shooter) for sharing his expertise in wind coaching and shooting technique.  More thanks to our dedicated group of coaches and volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past year to assist with the technical coaching of our students. These include Joe Banh, Jeremy Chan, Desmond Chiang, Jason Feng, Evan Han, Keller Huang, James Jiang, Brendan Leo, Wentao Ruan, Tim Tran, Nathan Wong and Jack Zhou and of course to our parent supporters who looked after everyone so well during the GPS training camp.

"Last week Sydney High Blue achieved third place in the All Schools competition. Ricky Li and Frank Zhou placed in the top 10 in this competition from their individual results.  The 1st Grade Rifle team achieved third place in the GPS Rifle Shooting competition and 1st Grade who placed second in the Buchanan Shield match.  Jia Qi (Jackie) Wu was selected for the Combined GPS team who competed against the NSW State Under 25 team last Sunday and the 2nd Grade Rifle team placed 2nd in the GPS Rifle Shooting competition

"I recently read, as would many of you, that Sydney Boys High has an ‘identity crisis’.  I would politely disagree. Our school is a proud public school providing an all-round, inclusive education for gifted students which it partly, but not solely, keep through its membership of the AAGPS. To accompany the high quality educational experience offered in the classroom, there is a huge range of extra and co-curricular activities.  As this, and the many other assemblies we have throughout the year, shows there is something for everyone at High. Obviously there are costs involved in providing such an array of activities and these costs are borne by the families through payments and by fund raising activities such as car parking events. If families are unable to meet particular financial costs then they are waived.

"As the debating MIC I am very proud of our debating program which is both highly successful and highly inclusive with over 300 students attending coaching every Friday. I am proud of our debating program which, in recent years, has specifically coached students on indigenous rights, gender equality and LGBQTI rights and encourages our debaters and public speakers to use their skills to persuade others against intolerance and injustice.

"I recently re-read the Melbourne Declaration which set out the educational goals for Young Australians. Its first goal is to promote equity and excellence and its second goal is to make all young Australians become successful learners; confident and creative individuals; active and informed citizens. In the last ten years, since the Melbourne Declaration was published, Sydney Boys High School has been committed to fulfilling those goals and, I would contend, has been unique in its ability to make positive strides in doing so. 

"As your Relieving Principal, I feel honoured to uphold the traditions that have made Sydney Boys High School, the great school that it is.  I also feel proud to see that we are confident enough to evolve with the ever changing world around us.  I believe that members of the school community are confident with our identity and, at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters."
Rachel Powell
Relieving Principal

Return to Index

Continue reading in PDF format

This complete issue of High Notes is available in PDF format.