Principal’s Farewell Address to Year 12 – 2017

Good afternoon Year 12, parents, students and staff. Welcome to our Farewell Assembly for the Class of 2017.

It is with a mixture of pride and sadness that the High staff and I can host your visit to the school today to participate in our annual celebration. We are proud of our graduates for what they accomplished and sad that this is the last time we will see them all together as a cohort of students.

The Class of 2017 will be remembered for the video that sparked so much interest in a male-as-female perspective on women’s issues. It has been a cohort that should be proud of its undoubted achievements in a range of co-curricular activities. I have listed the most significant of these in my ‘Principal’s Message’ contained in your program.

Missing in your program is the historical ‘threepeat’ by our undefeated first grade GPS debaters as Champions, retaining the Routledge Louat Shield for the third time. Such an achievement is unprecedented in High debating.

Whether in sports, community service, music, chess, social justice, debating or public speaking, participation is our key cultural message. The Class of 2017 certainly did participate. I thank each one of you for that. We have had promoted our distinctive ethos through the slogan – ‘You can’t buy spirit’.

The implied strength of our sporting culture is in its belief in mutual support and group perseverance in adversity. We know what you can buy – facilities, equipment, technology, coaches, tours, talented players. These are advantages and head starts but they do not make teams. Team work, shared goals and camaraderie make teams. The joy is in the mutual struggle. Our students participate because they want to. They know it is good for their character and for their personal balance in life; helpful to their team mates; and important for the strength of the reputation of the school.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the senior leadership group for their support: Hugh Bartley, Lucas Wong and Dharmesh Sharma were very committed to their roles. Together they moved the school along a continuum towards greater awareness, understanding and tolerance of diversity in our micro community and the wider world.

Our community service efforts remained impressive. Our Prefects this year supported High’s involvement over recent years in social justice issues. Our Equality Committee is an important structural statement about what we want to stand for as a school.

Thank you for being our student leaders. I want to recognise and acknowledge all the Year 12 parents who are coming to the school for an event for the last time. Thank you for any help you have given to our programs over the years. We value your contributions highly. Without you, we would not be able to deliver such a wonderfully diverse range of activities. We are proud to honour our scholar-sportsmen. We really appreciate those who care enough to plan their busy lives around academics and sport. Such a disposition to find successful balance is the hallmark of the High boy.

We always need more boys prepared to compete in two sports in their final two years at High. I want to thank Ray Gu, Jonathan Zheng, Jake Rowlands and Nicholas Katsilis who competed in three GPS sports each year they were at school (2016 – 8).

Fifty boys participated in two GPS sports each year (2016-49) and seventy-five played one GPS sport each year of school (2016-61).

I want to thank the 97 Year 12 boys who showed such great pride in their school and represented High in at least two sports in their final year at school (2016- 92). Another 80 played one GPS sport (57-2016). More than 81% of the cohort showed their commitment to our ethos right to the end (2016- 71%). That is a statistic to be proud of in a school where participation is voluntary.

Thank you to all our scholar-sportsmen for maintaining and strengthening our ethos. There were 17 boys from Year 12 (2016-19, 2015-14) who competed in GPS first or second grade in two seasons of sport this year. Congratulations to those highly committed boys who represented the school at the highest levels in multiple sports in 2017.

Our ‘Triple Firsts’ this year were: Jake Rowlands and Nicholas Katsilis. Our ‘Double Firsts’ were: Sabesh Murugananthan, Louis Saunders, Alvis Leung, Corey Won, Kevin Guo, Isaac Haddo, Andrew Li, Dominic Leal-Smith, Wanyu Tang, Ray Gu, Daniel Hamilton, Connor Fisher, Jaspar McCahon-Boersma, Kevin Chung and Dallas Yan. In the ‘OneTwo- Club’ were: Matthew Whittaker, Ben Coan, Adam Yang, George Ge, Kurt Wang and Conor McGrath. Our only ‘DoubleTwo’ sportsman was Joshua Ng. Thank you all for your fine efforts!

In my Principal’s message in your program, I referenced the timeless Meditations by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Rather than repeat what is written in the program, I offer you another wise thought from Book V. “Luck is the good fortune you determine for yourself: and good fortune consists in good inclinations of the soul, good impulses, good actions”. A modern equivalent of what Marcus Aurelius was saying is – ‘You make your own luck’. His exhortation is for you to make your own lucky life by living life well. If you present a general feeling of goodwill towards others; if you take heed of the better side of your nature which wishes good things for others; and if you follow up your right thinking feelings with moral actions, you will in all probability live a lucky life. Believe in the power of optimism. Employers like to converse with people who want to contribute to organisations as their first priority, who want to make a difference in some field of endeavour, rather than with those who can only talk about themselves and what they want to get out of life. As you leave High, as a cohort I urge you all to be outward thinking, positive in attitude and ready to embrace the challenges to come. Listen to your ‘directing minds’ and become upright men. It has been my great privilege to serve you as your Principal. Dr K A Jaggar