Address to the school by Principal Dr Kim Jaggar – Presentation Night 2018

Presentation Night 2018

Special guest Dr Louis Wang (SHS-2000), Mr Richard Skinner, Rlvg./Director Port Jackson Network, Councillor Linda Scott (City of Sydney Council), Mr Henry Leung UNSW school of Business, Professor Ron Trent (President SBHS P & C Association), Mr Geoff Andrews (Chairman, SHSF Inc.), Mr Paul Almond (President of the Sydney High Old Boys Union), Mr Vince Del Zio (CEO Sir Roden & Lady Cutler Foundation), Life Governors Phil Lamber, George Lewkowitz and Dennis Briggs, guest presenters, staff, parents, Old Boys, and prize winners – thank you all for joining us this evening.

Dr Kim Jaggar with guest speaker Dr Louis Wang (Class of 2000)

During last year, our major properties project was to expand our IT centre to accommodate our three IT staff who were made permanent employees under the Government Sector Employment Act (2013). A major expansion and refit of room 703 was undertaken. The projection, sound and lighting project for the Great Hall was completed. This has been a three year project in partnership with the P & C Association which funded the A-V component. The Casey COLA upgrade was commenced last year. A new shed was constructed to secure expensive kit for cricketers and fencers. New roller doors were added to the four sheds and a barbecue shack built for special events. In week ten of term 4, Year 10 boys, under the direction of Ms Cradock, completed a major restoration of the bank at the eastern end of the COLA. Air conditioning was installed in Room 901 and in the new IT centre.

The HSC in 2017 was dominated by High in chemistry. Our chemistry teachers, led ably by Ms Manolios, pushed the students hard. Danny Yu topped the state and Jeffrey Zheng and Daniel Tian completed the trifecta. Kevin Zhang was 7th, Hin Huang 11th, Jake Kim 16th and Dharmesh Sharma 19th.These were unprecedented results. In physics, Kieren Shivakumaarun gained top honours in the state, as did Dibyendu Roy in engineering studies. Kieren was also second in mathematics extension 2. Overall, the school improved on its 2016 HSC performance. The ATAR average was 93.52 calculated for 213 candidates. Three maximum ATARs were earned. Forty-eight boys were ranked at 99 or above. 171 scored 90 or above. Thirty-seven boys who enrolled after Year 7 by means of our local selection scheme averaged 90.1 ATAR. Samuel Zheng had his HSC work selected for exhibition in Art Express. Andrew Guang was the National winner of the Australian Business studies Competition. Dharmesh Sharma was equal first in Australia in the Australian Geography Competition. Jaspar McCahon-Boersma and Louis Saunders won the NSW Dr Evatt Competition. Nicholas Ma won a medal in the ICAS English competition.

The big GPS sporting success story was in tennis – 1st and 2nd grade premiership double – the first time in High’s history. This was our first second grade premiership win since the competition started in 1972. Our boys also won the Stan Jones Cup, the NSW state schools Knockout competition. Stephen Young was selected in the All Schools team and was a member of the victorious Pizzey Cup team representing NSW in the National Schools Competition.

Volleyball had a great year, too. Our boys registered a clean sweep in the All Schools Championship – U15s, U16s, U17s and Opens. At the National Championships, every representative team won a medal in their Division. There is great depth and a growing maturity in the program.

In Basketball, our first grade team won the CHS Knockout Competition in both Open division and U15s. Second grade won the GPS Yeend Shield. Our rifle team won the All Schools championship and were runners up in GPS.

Our CHS Table Tennis team won the CHS NSW Knockout Competition for the 3rd year in succession. Our fencing team won the Roberta Nutt Shield competition. At the Fencing National Schools Team Championships, our epée and sabre teams won gold and earned silver in the foil. The senior chess team retained the GPS Chess Trophy. Our Junior chess team won the Metropolitan East Championships. Our first grade debating team retained the prestigious Louat Shield for GPS competition, our third victory in as many years. Hugh Bartley and Alexander DeAraujo were selected in the NSW CHS team. Our Year 11 team won the UNSW Debating tournament and were co-premiers in GPS.

Combined GPS Representatives in 2017 were: Sabesh Murugananthan (first grade cricket); Luke Schroeder and Sebastian Diaz (1st), Oscar Dumas and Tim Jeffrey (2nd) (basketball); for swimming, Kevin Guo, Adam Feng, David Goh, Ike Matsuoka, Patrick Yee, Alexander Lee and Jake Rowlands (combined GPS captain).

CHS NSW representatives were: Benjamin Coan and Jerry Chang (volleyball); Matthew O’Sullivan, André Putilin, Antonio Li, Samuel Yu and Stephen Young (tennis); William Choi (U16 rugby); David Chen, Adam Yang, Connor Fisher, Nicholas Katsilis, John Zhao, Ryan Ho-Shun, Eric Holmstrom, Sudaraka Pieris, , Matthey Moloney, Eric Cao, Dylan Huynh, Rhys Shariff, Rowan Tan, Joshua Suto and Jack Yoon (athletics); Nathan Wong & Frank Zhou (rifle shooting).

Sydney East Blues were earned by: Benjamin Coan and Jerry Chang (volleyball), David Chen (athletics) and Eric Holmstrom (cross country). There were many other notable achievements, some of which are printed at the end of your programs. Now I address my closing remarks to the Class of 2017.

Migrants accounted for 10% of Australia’s population in 1947. The last few decades of immigration growth has changed that figure to 28% in 2014. Sydney, Perth and Melbourne have rates above 35%. Migrants are younger and better educated than those of the 1970’s. The last decade when migration was responsible for more than half of Australia’s population growth was the 1850s. Why are these statistics important? George Megalogenis, in Australia’s Second Chance (2015), contends that the political system has been very slow to grasp the significance of the shift in population mix. Politicians, he asserts, pose the greatest threat to Australia’s second chance to become a great nation, since the post gold rush opportunity was lost.

Recent failures in policy nerve (Rudd, Gillard, Abbott, Turnbull), have left the nation on the wrong side of international debates. Climate change policy is a glaring example. We once relied too much on wool, now we rely too much on coal. In previous reform eras, common ground was found between labour and capital. These days, if one side nominates a national issue, the other side feels compelled to deny its importance, or ridicule the proponent’s rationale for change. We are suffering a milder version of America’s gridlock, caused by partisanship. Nation-building policies like urban infrastructure and renewable energy have also been lagging. Our policy settings have not coped with an increase in population of three million (2001-2010). Megalogenis claims Australia has a fragile duality – a seeming confidence when boosted by wool, gold or iron ore, combined with a lingering anxiety that migration might reduce our standard of living by taking our jobs. Our second chance to be a great nation is to focus on our people as our future (not on our resources). We need to use our strengths, such as our relative social cohesion and a long tradition of pragmatic policy innovation. A globally minded Australia will continue to thrive, because “the world will project its best self onto us”…” We need to think big in a neighbourhood of giants”. Immigration is good for us.

As a nation, Megalogenis exhorts us to grasp the opportunity of the second chance and to act boldly and with greater consensus, to lead the way as an open, globally-focussed, liberal and socially just society. In short, don’t let our politicians squander this chance. You young men can help Australia not to surrender its second chance to become a great society. I sincerely hope your years at High have equipped you with the background in academics and modelling in social cohesion, to grasp the challenges of the critical next decades. Play your part in making Australia what it would like to imagine itself to be – the lucky country characterised by affluent egalitarianism.

Congratulations to all our award recipients this evening. I wish you good health, good luck and good relationships. I was proud and honoured to serve you as your Principal.