High Notes, Vol 16 No 21, July 17 2015

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From the Principal

Welcome Back to Term 3
I hope staff and students are refreshed after the vacation and ready for a really busy term.  We have much work to do to set, mark and report on the Year 12 HSC Trials  and then work up references and scholarship applications, winter sport, process the enrolment applications for Years 8-12 and then set and mark the final Year 11 Preliminary Examinations. Our Staff Development Day on the 7-10  literacy continuum was very informative and collegial.

High Talent
Congratulations to Brendan Kong (Year 12) on his selection in the NSW U-18 Ice Hockey team to contest the national Syd Tange Trophy to be held in Adelaide later this month. James Siu (Year 9) won gold at both the Schools championships fencing competition and at the National Cadet Championships in the discipline of sabre, with Garry Huang (Year 11) gaining a silver medal in that event. Roy Zheng (Year 9) and Patrick Han (Year 10) won bronze medals in the U-15 epée at the Schools Championships. Congratulations, boys!

Properties Update
Some recent improvements around the school include: replacement of the fabric roof of the COLA in the canteen quadrangle; the construction of a concrete ramp to provide wheel chair access to the ground floor of the main building, the painting of car spaces in the Anzac Parade car park and the preliminary relocation of English textbooks to the first floor drama store.

Debating, Rifle Shooting & Volleyball Assembly
My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Special Guest the Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley AO, staff, students, coaches and representative teams, welcome to our debating, rifle shooting and volleyball assembly. GPS winter competition has concluded for rifle shooting, commenced for volleyball and yet to begin for debating. We gather together this morning to recognise and acknowledge all our teams competing in winter GPS competition.

"High’s highly regarded debating program is being expertly managed by our DP Rachel Powell again this year. I thank her again on your behalf and commend our expansion into legal and UN debating competitions that she initiated. So far, High has won the Year 12 Eastside competition and the Year 10 FED. Thank you to Rowena Barr, Madeleine Rigby and Jeannette Cook for their assistance with PDC teams. Thank you for all your efforts to our long-serving Debating Supporters Group President, Craig Phillis, who is in his last season. Dora Shapiro has managed the renowned High suppers with a dedicated team of helpers. Thank you so much Dora. Head Coach, Justin Chan (SHS 2010) provides invaluable organisational assistance to the program. Second grade GPS is coached by Chris Chiam (SHS 2012) and Angud Chawla (SHS 2010) is mentoring our first grade team. Thank you Chris and Angud.

"The influential TV journalist and experienced interviewer, Diane Sawyer, provided a good insight into debating skills when she said: “I think the one lesson that I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention”.  Good debaters listen intently to what the other speakers are saying and if they think of a useful rebuttal idea, they write it down for their appropriate speaker. Inattentive teams frequently miss key statements by the opposition, strong or weak, and may put themselves at a disadvantage as the momentum of persuasion of the contended issue flows back and forth with each speaker. Acute listening skills really assist debaters to succeed.

"Debating and public speaking skills increase self-confidence and promote self-efficacy - supporting participants with capacities to persuade, inspire, motivate, or move others. History’s great leaders gathered people to their causes by espousing clear ideas charismatically transmitted through powerful speech. The rhetorical arts were highly prized in classical Greek society as fundamental to the democratic process. Politicians today have the startling ability to persuade themselves (and intermittently the majority of the public) of contradictory policy positions – without the blink of an eye, hesitant falter in the voice, or guilty flush of the cheek. Speaking persuasively is a vital skill for debaters.

"We all need to develop better our capacity to understand an argument. Debating helps students to do that. Debating as an art derives much of its challenge from creatively imagining the opposite possibilities inherent in any proposition. It requires the ability to take on a role, to dissemble as a true believer in a cause, and to propose arguments and feign emotions that may be antithetical to what you really think, argue, or feel. You are asked to be an intellectual chameleon. You need to be an instant expert on current affairs, economics, sociology and psychology. Debating training and participation provide students with a balanced understanding of the inherent complexity in life and an enhanced proclivity to perceive alternative points of view and approaches to problems. These skills are highly prized in the world of work. Because of its educational benefits in building reasoning, problem solving, creative thinking, precise listening, persuasive arguing and confident speaking, our debating program is very important at High.

"Our volleyball program has been the most successful sport at High for a decade. This year the glacial pace of GPS change finally recognised volleyball as an official sport. We have started the competition well with a couple of GPS wins. Earlier this season, our teams won the NSW All Schools Tournament in U15, U16 and Open Divisions – a very impressive achievement. Thank you to our long serving MIC and master coach, Michael Kay and to Patrick Parker, Everett Coan, Kerryn Ibbott and Wayne Baldock for their work for the boys. A special thanks to our Old Boy coaches: Pinyan Gao, Kevin Lu and Gordon Qin.

"Our target rifle shooting program has great depth and is ably led by MIC Cathy Meaney with great support from Daniel Comben. First grade won the All Schools Competition this year but were runners up again at the GPS two-day competition this week. The boys won the NRA Shield which has been contested since 1885 but won by High now for the sixth time only in that time. The boys had a strong season and achieved very well, despite this week’s disappointment. John Huang, James Jiang and Julian Tu were selected in the Combined GPS team, comprising the top twelve shooters in the tournament. The second grade team premiership match has been in operation since 1918. High had never won that competition until 2013 but now has a treble, given this year’s success by our boys. Congratulations to our dedicated second grade boys who won comfortably. Thank you to our specialist coach Jennifer Hausler who travelled from Queensland to coach our boys and is making a difference. The voluntary hours worked by Sam Kremer and Brendan Leo over recent weeks to make all the competitions in Cessnock, Wingham, Canberra, Malabar and Hornsby, have been awe-inspiring. The Rifle Supporters Group is a great team of parents headed up by Keelyn Mascarenhas and Aimee Cao. Thank you to everybody who gave of their time so willingly to make such great experiences possible for the boys.

"Our school believes strongly in the educative value of team endeavours. The boys who dedicate their energies to the varied team pursuits that we honour today are learning a great deal about how to lead a directed, purposeful and successful life, which is a primary moral aim of education. Future-focussed earning skills, dispositions and values are being nurtured through participation in these people-centred activities. I congratulate all boys who have been selected in GPS teams and wish them good fortune in the weeks ahead. "
Dr K A Jaggar

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