High Notes, Vol 22 No 3, February 19 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

At the CHSSA Rowing championships last Friday, High was dominant at the regatta but pushed by Northern Beaches Secondary College. Our boys won seven gold medals backed up by nine silver and six bronze. It was a strong performance, highlighted by Jack Smiles (11R) three gold medals, with five other High competitors earning two golds each. Well done to all competitors and to George Barris and his coaches for their efforts. Congratulations to Yu Ming Lee (11M) who won the fencing NSW U17 cadet circuit competition last weekend. A strong showing by our Junior boys at the first AAGPS Swimming Carnival last week. Mathew Chen (7T) won the U13 50m freestyle and butterfly and was placed in the breaststroke and backstroke. Jaden Yi (10T) won the U16 50m freestyle. Congratulations to Brian Ahn (9M) who was selected in the Water Polo NSW Metro Academy Squad.

Valé Fred Kaad (1920-2021)

 Fred was a distinguished Old Boy who had a long career in public administration in Papua New Guinea, rising to District Commissioner. He served in PNG during the war at the battle of Wau and with Cole Force. He was discharged with the rank of Lieutenant. Despite having been rendered a paraplegic after a plane crash in New Guinea in his forties, his indomitable spirit drove him to continue to serve the community. He engaged in higher education and was appointed a lecturer at the Australian School of Pacific Administration. He was awarded an OBE in 1980 for his services to PNG. At High, Fred was an outstanding athlete, winning the GPS (1937-39) and CHS 120 yards hurdles in 15.5 and the CHS long jump in 6.18m. He was instrumental in High’s back to back GPS senior athletics premierships in 1937-38, competing in hurdles, relay, 440 yards and long jump. (Our only other victory since then in GPS came in 1962). He rowed in a second IV, was an important member of High’s swimming team and represented High in the first XV (1938-39). Fred was a regular at our Anzac Day assemblies until his late 90s. He was unfailingly cheerful, always with a ready smile and a joke. He died last week aged 100. I will miss him and his fine example of stoic fortitude and commitment to serving others.

Presentation Night 2021

Mr Corlett expressed his enduring regard for the school which shaped him. He explained how he made an important career shift at 25, despite having risen to partner in a law firm. He outlined his life in business, beginning in merchant banking, and his partnership in community engagement with his wife, Annie. He urged the Class of 2020 to follow their dreams and not to be afraid of change. He also stressed the rewards to be gained from mentoring young people and from service to the community. My address is reprinted below:

'Special guest Mr Bruce Corlett AM, Mr Richard Skinner, Director of Educational Leadership, Ms Andrea Connell, Principal of SGHS, Ms Anna Egeressy (President  SBHS P & C), Professor Ron Trent (President SBHS School Council), Mr Paul Harapin (President of the Sydney High Old Boys Union), Ms Judite Santos (Chair of Sydney High School Foundation Ltd.), Mr Vince Delzio  (CEO, Sir Roden & Lady Cutler Foundation), Life Governors Mr Geoff Andrews, Mr Dennis Briggs, Mr Phil Lambert and Dr George Lewkowitz, guest presenters, special guests, Old Boys, staff, parents and prize winners – thank you all for joining us this evening.The biggest accomplishment for the school in 2020 was to see out the year without being closed due to a positive test by staff or students. We also completed construction of the long-awaited Governors Centre in which we now gather. It has been ten long years, during which patient donors were sown a visionary promise and can now reap a realised dream. I believe this self-funded project by two state schools is unprecedented in NSW. I want to thank Andy Watts for his great project management and Andrea Connell and Chris Graham-White from SGHS for their contributions to the project. I want to thank my current team of John Prorellis and Jamie Kay for all their hard work and to David Isaacs and James Rudd for their inspiring leadership in technical specification and infrastructure deployment. Thank you to our many wonderful donors across the two communities who maintained the faith, even though it was tested sorely.

'I must commend the High staff who transitioned to the CANVAS learning management system so rapidly and effectively in the first half of 2020. Thanks to Brett Jackson, George Barris and the CANVAS Leads in each faculty for the work that they performed on behalf of staff and the boys. In what was a unique and extraordinary year, requiring a willingness to learn and move out of comfort zones, to be resilient in the face of additional restrictions and rules of behaviour, and to be supportive of students stripped of their rites of passage, our staff stepped up to the plate.

'The HSC results for 2020 were better than 2018 but not as good as 2019. The ATAR average for 2020 was 92.47 calculated for 213 candidates. Melvin Chan earned a maximum ATAR. 33 candidates were ranked at 99 or above; 72 students earned ATARs between 95 and 98.95; 157 overall scored 90 or above. Forty-six students who enrolled after Year 7 by means of our local selection scheme, averaged 90.13 ATAR. The 167 who enrolled in Year 7 earned a mean ATAR of 93.11. The HSC results were weakened by 9.39% of students earning an ATAR below 80. State ranks were earned in Mathematics by Joseph Shao who placed second in Extension 1 and ninth in Extension 2. Lachlan Ho placed 3rd in engineering studies and 6th in Extension 2 mathematics. Toby Wu came 5th in music extension and Alan Wong 8th in physics.

'Our 2020 HSC nominations for possible inclusion in ENCORE were: He-Shyan Balnave (12T), Andrew Gu (12F), Kent Gu (SHS-2020), Yung Kim (SHS-2020), Yeongmeng Li (12S), Kalaish Stanley (12T), Julian Waring (12R), Toby Wu (SHS-2020) and Alex Zhou (SHS-2020). For ARTEXPRESS, Prathik Subbhana (SHS-2020). For SHAPE, Justin Lee Nonis (12R). Students invited by the Australian Maths Trust to attend the summer ‘Informatics School of Excellence’ were Ryan Ong (12M), Cyril Subramanian (12E), Blair Zong (12E), Brendan Alcorn (11M), Klimenty Tsoutsman (11S) and Andy Xia (11R). For the National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS), Nicholas Arvanitellis (11T) and Harry Wu (11R). Andrew Nguyen (SHS-2020) won the 2020 Games category of the Bright Awards. In the Australian National Geography Competition, equal first in NSW for Year 7 went to Andrew Pye (7R) and Leo Zhuang (7M), and for Year 8, Eric Scholten (8R) and Daniel Nguyen (8M). Our senior chess team represented NSW again in the JCL Nationals.

'In sport, volleyball was again highly successful. High teams won the first and second grade GPS competitions. Target Rifle Shooting-won the All-Schools competition. Tennis delivered a second-grade premiership. High dominated CHS Rowing with eight gold medals. I have included a snapshot of High sporting achievements in your programs on the final page.

'Tonight, we bid farewell to the Class of 2020 for the final time. Before I do, I want to pay tribute to the 25 years of service that our former Deputy Principal Bob Dowdell (2001-2020) dedicated to High.  His major contribution was the development, management and upgrading of his Student Information System (Find a Student) underpinned by S Records and Information Organiser.  He also constructed a system for assessment data that allowed comparisons to be made among students and between academic years.  He constantly refined the Student Reports as elements were added and formats changed. He had many other apps and programs. The value of his proprietary systems to us was at least $550k during his time at High. As the song says, ‘you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone’. Thank you from all of us, Bob.

'In recent years, we have seen in play in international politics, the principle of Baron Acton (1834-1902) “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men.”  On both sides of the Pacific rim we have seen reckless, unprincipled, unethical and extreme behaviour, characteristic of Acton’s principle in action. Demagoguery appeared to be the strategy of choice of the leaders of North Korea and the United States of America.  As American democracy appears to be fracturing, states like China are emboldened by US self-absorption and schismatic partisan politics.  Consequently, as Aristotle observed, ‘horror vacui’, China moved forward in Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia and arced up against Taiwan, filling the power gaps.

'As a client state of a nuclear power on whom we must rely, Australian diplomacy ‘craves wary walking’ in dealing with Chinese expansionism.  We need to assert ourselves in the Pacific and in trade, but not enough to get China really angry. Perhaps, in time, pandemic and climate issues might alter world focus from nationalism to internationalism, from arms for aggression to alms for the less fortunate nations and from jingoistic tirades to trade deals to benefit more people around the globe.

'I want to extort the graduating class of 2020 to think of their moment in history – 100 years since a really serious global flu pandemic and now another. The world’s climate may be irrevocably changed by the end of this century. To face our problems together we need civility – in utterances, in commerce, in relationships, in diplomacy. We need to act with integrity.  Civil discourse is the key attribute of a civilised society. Bob Outterside used to say frequently ‘you can disagree, without being disagreeable’.  Without a convention of political, diplomatic and commercial civility, international democracy might well subside into strident factionalism. The next quarter century is in your hands. Save us from ourselves, in international relations and climate change. In this Year of the Ox, pursue your opportunities boldly and eschew negativity. I was proud to serve you. May the red envelope be with you!’
Dr K A Jaggar
Principal

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