High Notes, Vol 17 No 28, September 09 2016

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From the Principal

High Talent
The Louat Shield was retained by High as champion GPS debaters. Kai Matsumoto, Max Koslowski, Thomas Shortridge and Hugh Bartley negated the proposition: That we should ban fracking. Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. In the Great Hall a crowd of several hundred enjoyed a high quality debate with two NSW representative debaters slugging it out at third speaker. High prevailed in a split decision even though it was ‘fracking obvious’ to Max that High had won the argument. It was the 17th time High has won the Shield and our first back to back success since 1938-39.

Congratulations to Stephen Young (11R), Matthew O’Sullivan (10S) André Putilin (9S) and Samuel Yu (9T) who were members of the victorious Sydney East tennis team which won the CHS inter-regional championships for the first time since 2002. Great work by Luke and Jayden Schofield as members of the champion NSW Cross Country team which won both the National Teams events – the 6 km race and the 5 x 3000m relay – retaining the Cross Country Shield for NSW. Luke was honoured with the captaincy of the team. Congratulations to Dibyendu Roy (11E) and Kieran Shivakumaaran (11E) who have been invited to attend the prestigious National Mathematics Summer School in January.

Subject Acceleration and MOOCs
More than 160 students and parents attended the Subject Acceleration Information Evening held last Tuesday in the Great Hall. The rationale for and current context of the subject acceleration program at High was presented and how boys qualify to access the intervention. A variation to the Year 10 Elective offerings for Year 10, 2017 was explained. This involves boys completing 120 hours of MOOCs. For any other interested students and parents, the power point presentations are now up on the school website at www.sydneyboyshigh.com/curriculum.

Open Day
Our annual Open Day was held on Thursday this week. Louise Graul coordinates all the stalls, activities, volunteers and promotional material packed into a High shoulder bag. Our thanks go to her for her very efficient organisation and to all the teachers, coaches, parents and student volunteers who participated in the activities that showcase our school. Our aim for the morning is to show visitors the school in operation. The format includes an assembly to listen to information about High followed by a Q & A with the Principal. Visitors are then invited to attend classes in various subjects in multiple locations around the school. Other groups are taken on a school tour. There are Club and group displays, musical performances and morning tea by the P & C. Sports displays were held in the gym.

Athletics Assembly 2016
The special guest at our athletics assembly was Brandon Starc who recently represented Australia in high jump at the Rio Olympics. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Special guest Brandon Starc, staff, parents, students and GPS athletics representatives, good morning and welcome to our annual athletics assembly. 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. This is our first athletics season scheduled back in the Spring after many years wedged between summer and winter and we are still adjusting to the super short season. On behalf of the High community I want to thank Kurt Rich for his great work as MIC of athletics. He has gathered a strong group of coaches around him.

"Christian Lozada has continued to make a big difference to our hurdling performance. Neil Song (SHS-2015) has taken over from long-serving Joshua Tassell in our sprints program. Thank you to Neil and to Joshua Leo (SHS-2014) and Rick 

"Saha (SHS-2015) helping out with sprints and hurdles. Lachlan Youll has returned to head up the long and middle distance program. Thanks again, Lachlan. He is supported by stalwart Adam Booth (SHS-2012), Ned Anson (SHS-2014), James Tinker (SHS-2015) and Kenneth Liu (SHS-2015) who backed up from the cross country season. Thank you also to Davina Strauss, our coach for long-jump. We have been fortunate to have access to her expertise for many years. Andrew Walters (SHS-2003) is coaching our shot put competitors and Myles Cole-Clark is working on our few high jumpers. It is great that we have such support for our athletics program. We have a context that allows boys to flourish and reach a standard to win.

"Laurie Lawrence, legendary swimming coach, spoke at the National Press Club in 1988 about what it takes to be a winner.  He talked about the East German successes winning 37 gold medals and spending ten times more on sport than Australia.  After the Rio Games, Australians are again stressing about more money being needed to bridge the gap between our performance and the great success of Great Britain winning 27 gold medals and spending three times as much as Australia on Olympic preparation.

"Back in 1988, Laurie said, “I can tell you now, money doesn’t buy an Olympic gold medal. That’s something that comes from blood, sweat and tears.” Laurie would tell his swimmers what it takes to be a champion.  “…If you want to be a winner, you’ve got to do the things normal human beings don’t do, or are not prepared to do…  Champions are prepared to do the things that are necessary.” I think the context around sport has changed since Laurie’s heyday but the essentials of his theory probably still hold true.

"Laurie recounted a dinner conversation with Debbie Flintoff-King during which he was admiring her biceps saying that he wished some of his swimmers were as well muscled as she was. She said, “I go to the gym a bit but for the last six years, every day of my life, every day, I’ve done 100 sit ups, 50 push ups and 50 dips…if it comes down to the wire at Seoul and I’m beaten by a hundredth of a second, I’ll be sorry and I’ll always think it might be the sit ups or the push ups or the dips I missed.”  Debbie won the 400m hurdles by 1/100th of a second in Seoul. Self-discipline, grit, determination and focus are still hallmarks of champions.

"If we scale the routines of great athletes down to a school-level athletics program, the lessons of doing that little bit extra still apply. The boys who never miss training and who do additional sessions of physical preparation on their own initiative, are the ones who enjoy success. What success looks like differs to every individual but the constant is to perform up to or better than your PB when it counts most. In our context, that is at the GPS Athletics Carnival. Against us we have GPS schools with more people training athletes and more money for facilities and equipment, but in the end, on the track, it is the athletes who must perform up to their potential. They must have done what is necessary to win. Now that we have such a short GPS season more boys will have to take personal responsibility for their out of season training and be prepared for a daily routine that will prepare them during the winter season.

"I know that many of our team have been competing at the CHS Championships since Wednesday. We are missing the athletes who have made finals from our assembly today. I appreciate that it is very difficult to try and peak twice within a few days and still do your best, but I know that our boys will give it their all on Saturday. All that we can ask of you and all you can ask of yourself is that you tried your utmost on the day when it mattered. I hope that many High boys will make the effort to go and support our team at Homebush. Congratulations to all our boys who have qualified for the championships team."
Dr K A Jaggar

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