High Notes, Vol 22 No 14, May 21 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulation to our fencers who won the Roberta Nutt Shield with a point score of 404, in a competition involving 35 schools. Notable individual results included -Yu Ming Lee (11T) gold and Oscar Shi (9S) bronze in the  Senior Boys Sabre. In the Intermediate Boys Sabre, Oscar Shi (9S) won gold and Samuel Hui (9T) bronze. In the Senior Boys Epee, Brendan Alcorn (11M) and Nicholas Chen (11M) shared bronze. In the Intermediate Boys Epee, Tommy Xu (8E) won silver and Kelvin Chen (8F) bronze. Congratulations to Hunar Verma (SHS-2019) who has been selected in the 2021-22 NSW Blues Cricket Squad as a rookie.

Congratulations to Thomas Brcic (12F) on his selection in the Combined GPS first grade football team.

Interpreting Year 8 Reports Semester 1

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 son’s 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 9 subject outcomes are counted (27 points at credit level). So, boys doing more subjects may have an advantage. Conversely, they may be disadvantaged by having more subjects to master. Language choice can affect ranking outcomes. For example, some boys chose Chinese Advanced. Some chose Latin, other chose Latin and Classical Greek. Some students are doing ‘Information Processes and technology’ a stage 6 course. 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 +/-40 positions of swing means that something has altered. Usually, big positive or negative fluctuations are due to changes in learning dispositions: boys listening in class, taking notes, doing homework, accessing past papers and revising before assessment periods. Alternatively, if they stop doing these things, their results may decline. Circumstances in their domestic life may affect their learning concentration or motivation and result in big swings in the rank order also.

Student Leadership Assembly 2021

This week we held our student leadership assembly and investiture ceremony for our School Prefects. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below.

"Staff, students, parents and Prefects of Sydney Boys High, welcome to our official recognition of student leadership and investiture assembly for our 2021 School Prefects. I acknowledge this morning the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the custodians of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to elders past and present and extend that respect to any Aboriginal people here today.

"At High, we have many opportunities for students to show leadership. There are many endeavours that require our students to lead. How should leaders behave? There are seven distinct leadership styles. There is the autocratic – ‘do as I say’- leader who believes in command and control. The authoritative leader says- ‘follow me’- by mapping the way and setting expectations. The pace-setting leader says –‘do as I do’- and sets the bar high and pushes for achievement. The democratic leader says –‘what do you think?- to share information that affects employees work responsibilities. The leader as coach says – ‘consider this…’-while trying to unlock potential. The affiliative leader says – ‘people come first’ - and tries to meet the emotional needs of their teams. Finally, the laissez-faire leader says - ‘trust them to do it’- and employs the least amount of oversight. In reality, leaders have to alternate among many of these styles, depending on the context in which they are leading and the problems they are addressing.

"As student leaders, you will develop the style that suits you as your preferred method of leading. We expect you to understand your duties clearly and to carry them out ethically and faithfully.  You are in a learning phase about leadership. Schools can be good places to train and build up your knowledge about what works and doesn’t work. Nearly always, leadership involves compromise. Learn how to compromise within a framework of action governed by moral principles. If you ask yourself whether a course of action is the right thing to do, your honest answer will be your best guide.

"Thank you to all the students who have served our school in various capacities this year. SRC, Community Service, Peer Support, Peer Mentors, Equality, PAWS, Environment – no matter where you served, you exhibited leadership. We really appreciate that it takes courage to put your name forward for a role and even more courage to carry it out well. Congratulations to you all.

"In many ways, the quality of our Prefect body is a mirror of the quality of our school life. Full participation in the election process measures the level that school pride has reached. It benchmarks how inspired boys are to commit to qualifying for the role and then carrying it out to the best of their ability. Our traditions are our moral anchors but can also inspire us to emulate or build on activities and priorities that are our legacy. There have been so many great Prefects before them at this school that they must try to follow in some aspects of their role. The honour of such a long-established and prestigious position energises them to perform it well.

"The Senior Prefect leadership team for 2021 is Jivan Naganathan as Captain, Billy Nguyen as Vice-Captain and Rhys Shariff as the Senior Prefect. They have carried out their roles with diligence, enthusiasm and initiative. The careful and caring stewardship of Ms Rigby as Prefect MIC must be acknowledged and thanked. She has set high standards and held our boys to account. At the same time, she is unfailingly supportive of the students she mentors in these important tasks. I want to thank her for her dedication to the role and for her effectiveness in it.

"To move from internship to the point of getting their perpetual School Prefect badges today, Prefects had to prove that they could meet the requirements for the role. These requirements were demanding. Prefect interns had to continue to meet a predetermined academic standard.  They had to maintain their participation in school life, play two GPS sports and earn a Student Awards Scheme Award in their final year.  They had to have exemplary standards in behaviour, school dress and punctuality. 

"The Internship of our Prefects lasts for a full year. From this annual investiture assembly onwards, a new cohort of candidates will have to meet the qualifying standards to be placed on the ballot. They will have to pass the test of democratic election by a constituency of students in Years 10 and 11, teachers and outgoing Prefects. Once elected they will have to perform well until their induction assembly as Prefect Interns and then for the next three school terms until they reach this culminating ceremony of signing the Prefects’ Book and receiving their perpetual School Prefects badges.

"Sydney Boys High Prefects are particularly self-disciplined people – they have proven themselves worthy of the honour shown to them. They have earned their recognition and acknowledgement. I congratulate all the students who are to receive their badges today and thank them for their service to High."
Dr K A Jaggar

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