High Notes, Vol 22 No 7, March 19 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Andy Danis (12T) and Blair Zong (12E) who were named in the second grade combined GPS tennis team to play CAS and CHS. Congratulations to Joshua Li (7S)  who competed in the VEX Robotics National Competition recently. His team 988A received the Excellence and Teamwork Challenge Champion Awards. Joshua has qualified to compete in the World Championships to be held in May.  Well done to the crews who competed at the Head of the River. The first VIII beat the TAS crew to finish 8th in 6.26.28. The time was 8.97% away from the winner’s time and the best row since 2018.

Wearing of Masks by Students on Public Transport

Transport NSW and NSW Police have responded to complaints by members of the public that some students are not wearing masks on public transport. You are expected to carry a mask and wear it on public transport at all times unless you have a medical exemption in writing.

Weights Room Memberships

Only one week remains for students to join the Weights Room. It is such a great program and offers a real opportunity for boys to increase their strength, fitness and self-confidence. All the routines are carefully matched to both the age and experience of the member. Our strength and fitness Coordinator, Kurt Rich, is highly qualified and attends nearly every session the Weights Room is open for student use. Costs for this service are held down to a minimum and reduced by boys taking out a full year’s membership. For 2021, a full year Weights Room membership costs just $268. Boys wishing to have full year membership must register and pay by Friday 26 March 2021. There will be no extensions of time nor any other window of opportunity later in the year if you forget to pay on time.

The Technology Levy

At High, the 2020 expenditure for technology and communication in teaching and learning was $839,347.  To support technology the Department of Education makes an annual grant of hardware. All of the current budget is paid for by parents. We are not an eT4L school. Our specifications for ICT exceed DoE standards and we support these higher standards ourselves. In 2020, parents contributed $357,228 by way of their contributions to the Technology Levy. The wages bill for our four ICT staff members and HT teacher relief was $465,000. Our Classroom Technology Project specific expenditure for 2020 was $238,592. Software for equipment ($39,877), COVID-related hardware & software ($39,957), AV maintenance and consumables ($18,434), network maintenance and modernisation ($15,782), enterprise equipment ($13,202),and school telephone replacement contribution ($8,559), were the other main expenses. 

We expect to spend $787,700 on technology and communication support for learning this year. The plan equates to $652 for each student. Our technology levy is requested from parents to ensure that our school can supply cutting-edge technology and online tools for teaching and learning. It would be very beneficial for our learning improvement if as many parents as possible supported our technology in teaching and learning program by paying their levy. Your support is very much appreciated. The wonderful support of our parents over the last 21 years contributing their technology levy (and voluntary school contributions) has enabled us to keep upgrading our services to staff and students to be at the leading edge of blended learning delivery.

Change to Winter Sport

The Head of the River usually marks the end of summer sport for the AAGPS season. All boys should have indicated their winter sport choices online. It helps our administration a lot if you do and you get a bonus Awards Scheme point. You should check on the student portal next week to see if you have been credited with full participation points for your training, trial and competition fixtures from your summer season sport. If not, check with your coach or MIC to find out when the data will be sent to Administration. Some sports have knockouts that require them to compete well into the winter season – eg basketball, cricket, sailing. We make allowances for those boys in representative fixtures, but they need to fulfil their training responsibilities in their winter sports. Make up sprints and weights sessions are convenient to make up the training sessions missed. We need to train hard all year round if we hope to be competitive at AAGPS level in any sport.

Early Bird Discounts Have Closed

Parents of students in Years 8-12 have had an opportunity to earn a substantial discount in return for paying all of the items listed in their letters. The scheme concluded at close of business on Sunday 14 March. Discounts no longer apply as from Monday 15 March. Thank you to so many parents who have supported the school fully in its efforts to provide high quality facilities and resources for everyone.

Notice to Year 10 Students and Parents

The Life Ready course is mandatory for all students in Stage 6. At High, we cover the bulk of the course in the last few days of Term 4 in Year 10. The workshops and guest presenters are only available once, and in this time period only. Any student who misses this course will have to work through 25 hours of DoE materials in his own time, incurring significant extra cost. It is very important for all boys in Year 10 to be at school in the last days of the year. Parents of Year 10 students are advised that they should not plan holidays beginning before the end of Term 4 for their families and thereby miss this mandatory experience. I am giving advanced notice that I will not be approving extended leave for travel to Year 10 students during this time of the year unless the circumstances amount to an emergency.

Rowing Assembly 2021

My speech to the assembly is reprinted below.

"Parents, teachers, rowers and students, welcome to our 2021 rowing assembly. We are gathered at the traditional time, the Friday before the Head of the River, to honour the Head of the River crews as they prepare to give their all for their mates, themselves and their school. There is a very strong tradition around celebrating rowing at High. The sport is extremely demanding and has a proud history at High, despite two generations without a win by the eight at the Head of the River. Sport is always about how well you journey, not where you arrive. It is about a process of improvement – from where you were, to where you are and to where you could be. It is 84 years since Pierre de Coubertin’s heart was encased in a column at Olympia in Greece. He was a pioneering educator and revivor of the Olympic Games.  He argued that sport is supposed to be enjoyed in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Its exertions are its own reward.

"I would like to congratulate George Barris (SHS-2001) for his work as MIC and Coaching Coordinator. The program is still suffering due to the lack of the second pontoon which supported a broader sculling participation. We are working hard to restore that facility in time for next season. George’s advanced administrative, liaison and organisational skills have attracted rowers and coaches to our program. Thank you to Gareth Deacon (SHS-2010), now in his fourth season as coach of first VIII. Thank you to Tim Trent (SHS-2018) who has taken over as the 2nd VIII coach. Ashley Chan (SHS-2013) is coaching the IVs again. Thank you to Steve Comninos (SHS-2013) and Daniel Xu (SHS-2016) for their work with the Year 10 VIIIs. Our Year 9 quads are coached by Ryan Zhang (SHS-2018), Dimas Sanjoyo (SHS-2018) and Alvis Leung (SHS-2017).Our Year 8 quads are being coached by Gordon Su (SHS-2018), Lenny Han (SHS-2018), James Appleton (SHS-2019) and Jack Ralph (SHS-2018). Thank you all. Stalwart High rowing coach, Marguerite Pain, is coordinating our Year 7 introduction to rowing this year, with the help of Rongxuan Chong (SHS-2019), Jordan Whittaker and Alan Jessup (SHS-2020). I want to thank the staff who assist George to run the program – Mark Gainford, Joanna Chan and Ze Zheng. Thank you again to the Rowing Committee, headed up by Les Chang, for all that they do to support our boys in their sport.

"Fifty years ago, the first VIII was stroked by School Captain David Blomberg, with Con Barris in the bow seat. The average weight of the crew was just over 72kgs. They worked together hard. The crew covered 1450 kms during the season. Despite not beating a crew at the Head of the River, the first VIII was described as being successful, ‘from the fact that the crew was able to leave the river after the race, satisfied that they had done their best and had fulfilled their potential’. In any given year, in whatever era at High, we can ask no more than that each member of every crew gives his best on the day. In sport, the team will be greater than the sum of its individual members. Crew members feel the atmospherics around them, inspiring them to strive harder for the common goal.

"Notwithstanding our significant disadvantages in strength, endurance and physique, compared to our GPS rivals, we must compensate by developing great technique and committing ourselves to leaving all our energy out there on the racecourse. Our goals are realistically modest – we want to beat at least one other crew. A reasonable target for our boys in the 1st VIII is to be within 8% longer than the winner’s time. As the 21-year average time for winners is 5.56.47 our 1st VIII boys have to row 6.24.98. I believe that is a realistic stretch target. Mega-rich American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said, 'Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.'

"Let’s keep that vision of uncommon results in the forefront of our collective approach to the challenge of the Head of the River competition.

"I want to congratulate all the boys who have been selected to compete for High. It is a highly regarded honour historically and with good reason. I hope you are proud of what you have accomplished so far and are looking forward to the big day. Even though the task is hard, tomorrow’s events will be satisfying for those crews who collectively do the very best that they can, preferably with crew best times for the season. ‘Control the controllables’. You have the power to be motivated no matter what. You have the power to give your utmost, no matter where on the racecourse you may be. You have it within you to never give up. Resolve to make some High history and be among the 41 crews since 1999 who rowed under the winner’s time + 9.99%. Even better, aspire to be among the 28 crews between 5.1% and 7.5%. Whatever the outcome, be proud of your striving.

"To show your respect for all the competing crews, who have worked with such integrity for this one event, on this one special day, I ask that as many of you in the audience as possible, make the effort to come to SIRC for the Head of the River on Saturday, to cheer for them on as they pass the 250m mark. Good luck to all competing crews!"
Dr K A Jaggar

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