High Notes, Vol 20 No 17, June 07 2019

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Julian Markworth-Scott (12E) who was selected into the NSW All schools basketball team to compete at the national championships in August.

Oklahoma Co-Production

On Thursday evening last week, I attended a performance of Oklahoma at SGHS. This lively co-production was the latest in a string of collaborative musicals staged biennially by the two schools. The show was produced and directed by Elizabeth Surbey and SGHS did most of the heavy lifting in getting the show ready. Ms Eggleton devoted a number of her weekends to helping with sets and costumes. The male lead, (Curly the cowboy), was played by Kevin Fernando (10T) and his antagonist in the love triangle for Bianca Tzioumis (Laurey’s) heart was (Jud Fry the farmhand) Gabriel Booth (10M). Andrew Smallbone (10T) as Will Parker won the contest for Ado Annie’s (Sunny Sharma) heart over the opportunistic ‘Persian’ peddler Ali Hakim (Andre Monteiro 10R). Other cast members were William Chen, Michael Tran, Nithin Raghavan and Julian Waring. Timothy Hanna and Dean Nguyen were among the lighting crew. Members of the hard working orchestra were Daniel Morris, Ethan O’Young, Yilei Shao and Toby Wu.  Congratulations to everyone involved!

Student Safety

Parents and students need to make sure that students who need to, always carry around with them their EpiPen’s, inhalers AND their health care plans. In any emergency situation, every piece of information can help save lives. Please do not rely on the epipens held at the school office. They are intended as backup options but not as the first response to an anaphylactic episode.

Parents need to remind their sons about responsibility for their own safety while travelling or walking home or while in transit to catch public transport. I have had communications from concerned members of the community who have witnessed near misses at the roundabout on Darley Road near the Randwick Gates entrance to Centennial Park. The school does not provide supervision when students make their way home from training at the McKay Playing Fields. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Interpreting Year 8 Reports

All boys should now have their reports. Parents need to know that a few marks up or down near cut-off scores for Distinctions or High Distinctions can make a big difference in their sons’ points’ totals. When moving from Year 7 into Year 8 students get their first choice process – one language or two?  As a consequence, some boys do ten subjects as in Year 7 and others, nine. To calculate the boys’ scores, their best nine subject outcomes are counted. So, boys doing more subjects may have an advantage. Language choice can affect ranking outcomes. For example, some boys chose Chinese Advanced. Some chose Latin, others chose Latin and Classical Greek. These are demanding subjects. Getting Distinctions in these subjects is harder – fewer students do them, too. Boys not doing two languages have to have their PE results counted. Sometimes boys in Year 8 start to think about what electives they might do in Year 9 and what the compulsory subjects there are. These future choices might affect their motivation to succeed in some of the compulsory subjects that they are doing currently. Because of the semesterisation of history and geography, students who perform much better in one of these disciplines more than the other can produce big swings in points earned at the half yearly or yearly report. Quite a few boys who have done well in their Yearly Report take their foot off the accelerator and coast through semester one, with effects on their ranking. Often, they get back on track by the time of the Yearly Report again. In short, there are many reasons for big swings in rank. I think that +/-35 positions mean something has altered. Usually, big positive or negative fluctuations are due to learning dispositions: boys listening in class, taking notes, doing homework, accessing past papers and revising before assessment periods.

Winter Sports Assembly

Our special guest, former wallaby, Mr Adam Freier, spoke fondly of his days playing sport at school at Waverley College as amongst the happiest in his life. He made lifelong friends in the High teams he played against at that time. He reiterated the personal, social and psychological benefits of participation in GPS sports. My speech to the winter sports assembly for rugby, football and cross-country is reprinted below:

"Special guests Mr Adam Freier, Mr Mark Ticehurst, Chairman of the AAGPS, parents, staff, students, welcome to our first Winter Sports Assembly. We assemble annually before the first official match of the GPS competition – winter season - to introduce some of our winter teams and acknowledge the work of our staff, coaches and committees. Our second assembly next term will complete the process.

"Our Football program at High has great enthusiasm, but it is not yet as competitive as we would like it to be at open GPS level. Students need to be responsible for their own personal fitness levels, outside of the scheduled training program. To be successful at any sport requires a willingness to suffer - to make the sacrifices necessary – for the good of the team. We have reduced our open program to eight teams in the hope of driving more competition for places and increasing skill levels. I would like to thank our new MIC Sam Higgins and new Football Coaching Coordinator, Dylan Deep-Jones, for taking on two big jobs and trying to take High Football to the next level. Thank you again to our returning 1st XI coach Jordon Hayhurst; and all the lower grade coaches. Thank you to our dedicated Football Committee President, Winston Loke, to all 1st and 2nd XI parents for helping with the catering, and to our Football Staff for helping with Saturday supervision: Mr Kay, Ms Eggleton, Mrs Manolios, Ms Genias, Mrs Luu and Mr Ohlback.

"I want to thank Matt Cotton for his work as Rugby MIC again this year. Thank you to Geoff Stein, Steve Marcos and John James. Thank you to Terri Langi for his work in bringing first grade together to play as a team with such a short preparation time. We appreciate the help given to our boys by Bronson Harrison. Perennial supporter David Knox is back coaching second grade. Thanks David. Thank you to Luke Aldous, Scott Stein and Old Boy coaches – Steve Comninos, Dan Hamilton, Archie fox, Elliott Love and Angus Chitty. On Mr Cotton’s behalf, I want to thank Angus Robertson, Andrew Borscz and Charlie Appleton of the Rugby Committee, and all parent helpers, in particular, Leslie Wait, Lydia Posumah, Greg Gerstyl and Wendy Dar, who have contributed their time to assist in fund raising, barbecues and other activities that enrich the program for the boys. Eddie and Ling Dorahy did a great job with the rugby parking organisation.

"Rebecca Dam, MIC cross-country, has managed a competitive sporting program for our boys for many years. Thank you, Rebecca. Thank you again to Head Coach, Dani Andres, for his long-term coordination of the coaching program. Thank you to our staff Mr Prorellis and Mr Scrivener and our Old Boy coaches Ian Zhou (SHS 2015) and Daniel Ma (SHS-2018) for their assistance. Cross-country can take up to 100 students but they have to be prepared to do the scheduled training sessions to remain in the sport.

"Why do we make such a fuss of our GPS teams in first and second grade? Principally, it is because they are the guardians of our tradition. We have 113 years of GPS history to savour and celebrate. During those years, many training experiences were survived, many great fixtures shared, many victories celebrated and defeats endured, and many friendships forged. In a recent gathering of Old Boys, whose graduating years ranged from 1959 to 1994, it was obvious to me that they had a natural bond and point of conversation – GPS sporting experiences - and how influential an all-round High education had been on their lives. Even though separated by a generation their shared High spirit filled the room. It was a collective camaraderie infused with shared values and experiences.

"As well as a maintaining a punishing academic schedule, our boys have to train at least three times a week, travel to venues, compete, debrief and travel home again on Saturdays. This level of commitment is what makes the scholar-sportsmen whom we prize.  In my judgement, the least we can do is to have a public introduction of them in front of their peers. It is a long-standing tradition that the members of first teams or crews have an item of apparel given to them by the school in recognition of them achieving selection in the premier team in their sport. It is a symbol of our appreciation for their dedication to the cause. The students we honour today will make their own histories, recall their own stories, share a range of emotions, and build relationships that may last their whole lives. I commend them to you."
Dr K A Jaggar

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