High Notes, Vol 22 No 15, May 28 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to our successful fencers at the NSWFL Epee Individual Championship. In U19, Nicholas Chen (11M) won gold, with Jarrod Su (10R) and Brendan Alcorn (11M) sharing bronze. In U16, Brian Wei (10F) scored a silver medal. In U14, Hudson Cai (7M) and Jamison Lai (8E) shared the bronze medal. Well done boys!

National Sorry Day – Wednesday 26 May

Wednesday 26 May marks the date on which the ‘Bringing Them Home’ Report was tabled in Federal Parliament in 1997. On the same date in 2008, Kevin Rudd delivered an apology to ‘Australia’s Indigenous peoples’ National Sorry Day, or the National Day of Healing, is an annual event that has been held in Australia on the 26th of May since 1998, to remember and commemorate the massacres, the stolen children and the institutionalised mistreatment of the country's Indigenous peoples, as part of an ongoing process of reconciliation between the Indigenous peoples and the settler population. It acknowledges and raises awareness of the history and continued effect of the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their families, communities and culture. Our indigenous art collection, ‘Na Ngara’ contains many works that go to the issues of Sorry Day and reconciliation in general.

National Reconciliation Week. Thursday 27 May – Thursday 3 June

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision. It celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More Than A Word. Reconciliation Takes Action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

Interpreting Year 7 Reports – Semester One 

Year 7 boys received their reports this week. Parents need to know that with scores for grades – HD (6), D (5), Credit (3) PM (2) P (1) or U (0) – boys are expected to score thirty points or 10 credits equivalent, in order to reach the school standard. Proficiency levels for future-oriented earning skills, such as problem solving and evaluating, critical thinking, working with others, communicating your ideas and being creative, are also reported. Parents will be able to trace the growth of their son in the five reported skills as he progresses through the Junior School. These skills are reported in their own textbox and are distributed among the Faculties. For more information on PEWCC skills reporting, go to: www.sydneyboyshigh.com/curriculum/pewcc-reporting and click on Information About School Reports to peruse the skills continuum for each subject. We understand that boys transitioning into Year 7 face many adjustment challenges. Positions in the grade will not be disclosed to Year 7 students for their first two reports. The top group of boys are acknowledged on the Academic Achievement List. Unless special circumstances preclude it, letters are sent to the parents of the boys in the Academic Support Group (those boys with scores less than 30). In Year 7 only, we send letters to parents at the score of 27 or less. Boys scoring 27 points or less may be offered a special workshop presented by an outside provider; they may join ‘Diary Club’ to learn how to organise themselves better to complete tasks and submit work punctually; they may just receive an encouraging chat from their Year Adviser; they may be referred to the Counsellor; or they may be referred to an outside agency with their parents on very rare occasions. Some or none of these interventions might be judged appropriate in your son’s case. It is our obligation to let you know of our interventions on behalf of students so that you may accept or decline our help. We want to help our underachievers using the most effective means possible. Parents are requested to talk over their son’s report with him ahead of booking Parent-Teacher interview time slots.

Winter Sports Assembly

Last Friday, Canterbury Bulldogs league legend Paul Langmack spoke to our assembly about male mental health and of the necessity for students to reach out to somebody when they are feeling overwhelmed or depressed. He argued that it was showing toughness to communicate with others and weakness to bottle everything up inside. My address to the assembly is reprinted below:

'Special guest Paul Langmack, parents, staff, students, welcome to our first Winter Sports Assembly, honouring football, rugby, volleyball and cross country. As usual, we gather together before the first official match of the GPS competition – winter season - to introduce some of our winter teams and acknowledge the work of our staff, coaches and committees. Our second assembly next term will complete the process for the other winter sports.

'Our volleyball program is a highly successful one. Since 2003, Michael Kay has coached a winning first-grade premiership GPS team in every year but one. In second grade since 2006, he has only missed out twice. His record as an MIC, team manager and coach for two decades is outstanding. Thank you to Everett Coan for his support. The team of Old Boy coaches is a great asset. Stalwart  Pinyan Gao (SHS-2014), Ray Gu (SHS-2017), Nathan Trinh (SHS-2018), Siyu Han (SHS-2019), Adrian Panas (SHS2019), Samuel Yu (SHS-2019), Kent Gu (SHS-2020), Weixuan Li (SHS-2020) and Oliver Yang (SHS-2020).

'Thank you again to Rebecca Dam, MIC cross-country, who has managed a competitive cross-country program for our boys for many years. Thank you to Mr Prorellis for his assistance and to our Old Boy coaches Eric Holmstrom (SHS-2019), Thomas Schanzer (SHS-2019) and Kelvin Meng (SHS-2020). Thank you to the cross-country parents who did so much work to make the High host event a success this year. Cross-country can take up to 100 students, but they have to be prepared to do the scheduled training sessions to remain in the sport.

'Our Football program at High has great participation and coaching enthusiasm, but it is not yet as competitive as we would like it to be at GPS level. As well as attending scheduled school training sessions, students need to be responsible for their own personal fitness levels. They ought to be working on their core strength in the weights room also. To be successful at any sport requires a willingness to suffer - to make the sacrifices necessary – for your personal contribution to the contest and for the good of the team’s performance. I would like to thank our continuing leadership team of MIC Sam Higgins and Football Coaching Coordinator, Dylan Deep-Jones, for moving the High Football program forward. Thank you to Dylan for also coaching the 1st XI this year and to Dilan Pais for his work with second grade and to our lower grade coaches. Thank you to our dedicated Football Committee members Andrew Williams, Michael Girdis, Utpal and Hui Ching and Gary Fiene. I acknowledge and thank our football staff members for their service to the program: Mr J.Kay, Mr Rich, Ms Eggleton, Ms Manolios, Mr Ohlback and Mr Davis-Frank.

'I want to thank the versatile Matt Cotton for his work as Rugby MIC again this year. George Barris has backed up to coach the first XV, assisted by Steve Comninos. Thank you both. Our Old Boy coaches – James Appleton, Jack Bowditch, Elliot Love, Matthew Ng, Edison Dorahy and Jia-Jie Sheng helped out with the program. Thank you all. Staff members Geoff Stein, Sid Gurjar and John James helped coach and supervise. Thank you to the High Rugby Association, and all parent helpers, in particular, Greg and Brigitte Gerstl, Helen Morris, Mohit Singh, Andrew Hybler, David Britton and Wendy Dar, who have contributed their time to assist in activities that enrich the program for the boys. Rugby has a focus on safety for its players. It needs more support from boys at the school who are not involved in GPS sport this winter.

'John Wooden was rated the greatest coach of the twentieth century in any sport. He used a statement to inspire his teams that applies to us at High with particular force. He said -“success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is courage that counts”. He stole the quote from Winston Churchill and edited it. The ideas should resonate with us. We are going through a period of our history where we are taking some big defeats in some sports. We are being tested for that ‘courage to continue’ that Churchill praised. I have long admired the resilience of High boys, how they back up week after week to represent their school and play with their mates, irrespective of the outcome.  It takes a particular kind of courage and perseverance to do what our boys do, and it counts. It is worthy and it matters. After the experience of sport at High, whether it was a winning one or a losing one, you will be better prepared for the ups and downs of life. You will be trained to take life on… with courage, integrity and dedication. Developing those life virtues, is reason enough to compete in sports at the highest level that you can, rather than taking an easier option.

'On the other hand, teams that are used to winning, like volleyball, need to learn to win with grace. As a legendary coach once observed, ‘each victory brings you closer to your next defeat’. Enjoy the high while it lasts but keep in mind that success is transient, so always work hard. Always try to improve. Learn how to win with humility and lose with dignity. Sport is life under pressure. Live it fully. Congratulations on your team selection.'
Dr K A Jaggar

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