High Notes, Vol 16 No 2, February 06 2015

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From the Principal

High Talent
Congratulations to our GPS 4x 100m medley relay team for their second place at the GPS event held after the High Swimming carnival on Monday. Well done to Kevin Guo, Kalem Best, Jake Rowlands and Christian Haddo on a great swim!  Only two records were set at the school swimming carnival this year– Kalem Best in the 16 years 100m at ’59; and Christian Haddo in the Open 100m backstroke at 1’10.54. Congratulations, boys!

High’s first and second grade basketball and first grade tennis teams all won well in away games against Scots last Saturday. It’s great to see the results attainable by boys who play for each other and for the cause and leave their egos in the change room. That’s High spirit!

Welcome to New Parents
On Tuesday evening several hundred parents, Old Boys, staff and students gathered in the Great Hall for the welcome to new parents. Mr Glenn Schofield was MIC of a multimedia presentation including Year 7 Adviser, Michael Aldous, MIC cricket and football, Geoff Tesoriero, Old Boys Paul Almond and Geoff Andrews and parent Ian Sweeting. The message to the parents was to encourage their boys to get involved in school life and for them to do so, too.

The Year 8 parent group, the P & C Executive and the Sailing Committee contributed to the success of the evening. Thank you so much to all who helped and to all who came to share in the excitement of embarking on a new journey with a cohort of new High boys and parents.

My speech to the new parents is reprinted below:

"On behalf of the High community I extend a warm welcome to all new parents to High. The purpose of this evening is for you to get to know each other and to gain an understanding of the school and its culture. We would like you to feel that you are welcome among us and that your family has now become part of our School Family. Just as we want your son to engage with the academic and co-curricular life of the school, we also hope that you will too. We want to persuade you to get involved in the life of the school. It is a mutually rewarding experience.

"Ours is a great school with a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence, co-curricular achievement and involvement in community service and social justice programs. It has always been an individual, unique state school. High has faced many challenges.

"These have included: withstanding private school criticism of the original 'experiment' of state-administered secondary education in 1883; the struggle for new premises in Ultimo in 1889; the fight for survival in the Depression years of the 1890s; the deal with the Minister to trade a new site and building against self-help with sports fields in 1927; the move to Moore Park in 1928 with 50 places reserved for sons of Old Boys; the fight for selective school existence in 1977-78; de-zoning under Greiner in the eighties; being stripped of two staff for GPS sport by the Minister in 1995; the controversy over the ‘ethos enhancement’ class in 2002; and the changes to the SSET with a writing component added; and since 2006, the challenge of scholarships offered by Independent Schools who entice many of our natural constituents away before Year 7 entry.

"High has overcome our ‘tasks severe’ and remains true to itself as an institution. We have been nurturing scholar-sportsmen since 1883. We prepare boys for university and nurture them as sportsmen, individuals and citizens. We are proudly a state school operating in a market dominated by private schools. We know it’s tough but it’s also the best standard to compete against.

"High has been resilient for so long because of the strength of its partnerships. The school has been a self-help institution for extra-curricular activities since 1886. The boys originally organised activities for themselves. Old Boys have influenced the development of the school significantly. High ranks 3rd amongst Australian schools for Who’s Who entries for achieving alumni. Our environment breeds initiative and self-efficacy. Academically, we are a top 10 school in the HSC, despite being the largest selective school candidature.

"Since June 11, 1925 the school has also relied heavily on its Parents and Citizens Association to provide assets and equipment not supplied by the Education Department. Since 1951, The Sydney High School Council has supported the school in asset acquisition and maintenance. The Sydney High School Foundation Inc was incorporated in 1986. It is a partnership of the P & C, Old Boys and the Principal. The Foundation took over the assets of the Sydney High School Council. It owns the Outterside Centre and maintains the Fairland Pavilion under licence, holds money in trust for the school and manages access to playing fields in Centennial Parklands. The Foundation runs the High Store and the Tennis Courts and shares management of the Great Hall and Cricket Nets. The High Club founded in 1957 assists High financially. Most of the important initiatives taken by this school over the 129 years of its existence have come about through the partnerships of parents and Old Boys. Our Joint Project to establish the Governors Centre is the latest example. You have the opportunity to make this vision a reality within the next six years.

"We are driven by our need to compete with Independent Schools in the GPS since 1906 – a unique feature of High’s history as a state.  In addition, since 1913, High has competed in various CHSSA competitions. We need access to playing fields, facilities and expert coaching in depth in order to compete in the GPS. We are serious about sport and all the other co-curricular activities we engage in.

"I warmly welcome you tonight and hope that you and your sons derive the satisfaction and enjoyment from school life which the staff and generations of active students and their parents have derived from being associated with High."

Early Bird Discount ends Friday, February 27
In order to help all areas of the school we offer a substantial discount to parents who pay their complete invoices before 27 February. It is not only a great demonstration by them of their commitment to the ethos of the school but also it’s an encouragement for others to follow their lead and helps to create a critical mass of financial support for our programs.

The annual cash contribution by the DEC finances less than one quarter of our programs at High. The rest comes from the support of parents and the efforts made by School family volunteers, helping out in fund raising. Having substantial funds early in the year allows us to make sure that capital works are completed in the holidays, orders are made promptly and that the boys get the maximum benefit out of equipment and services deployed for them this year. Quality services, extra staff and high standards come at a price.

A very large number of parents see the package as value for money and contribute in full. Last year, 571 families (48%), saw the benefit of supporting the school in all of its activities early in the year and thereby earned the discount. We thanked them for their support and reset our target to attract 52% of parents this year. Let’s carry on High’s self-help culture to make sure we achieve our goals for your sons in 2015!
Dr K A Jaggar

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