Dr Jaggar, staff, students, parents and special guest, Mr Jon Isaacs. I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.
Today we formally recognise the induction of the new Prefect body to lead the school in 2018. I
am excited to be working with these boys to give back to the school that has given so much to me
over my five years here. Each boy recognises the honour and privilege of being handed the navy
tie, and what that symbolises within the school – leadership, character, and spirit among many
other things. But most importantly, we realise how much of a responsibility being a prefect
entails. Since our election, I have asked the prefects what their vision for the school was. What
could we do, to make High a better place?
No one would feel
embarrassed to seek help for a broken bone, yet seeking help when we feel like this carries a
stigma of shame.
We feel it’s necessary to strip away these impressions of getting help, and we aim to create transparency in a society where mental illness is an increasingly prevalent issue.
This conversation needs to happen.
In a position of leadership, we are not aiming to dictate the terms for our fellow pupils to follow.
Instead, we should be inspiring leadership from all around us. We want every single High Boy in
this hall to be a leader. This is an idea that I was introduced to on the Rugby field this year.
Instead of having to follow the others, all of us should feel comfortable to make our own decision,
and back ourselves to follow it through. To stand up for diversity. To lend an ear to a friend. The
camaraderie this built in our rugby team helped us move forward together as a unit, and I know
that our school can do the same.
I could not be prouder of the boys that will stand beside me to support me. And working with
such a diverse group of people, from various backgrounds, with different passions and all with an
open ear, will make this much more achievable.
The first time I met my Vice-Captain, Alex De Araujo, we were five-year- old boys at St Anthony’s
Clovelly School. I find it extraordinarily comforting to have come this far, and now to find myself
working together with an old friend, to leave our mark on the school. Senior Prefect, Justin Lai has
already made my life easier. Organising Prefect rosters to help with the Open Day, GPS Athletics,
and just generally, making everything so far run smoothly.
Last year’s prefects set a tone for us. They made a statement about acceptance of
multiculturalism with their satirical video on xenophobia, and sparked a worldwide conversation
about feminism that desperately needed to happen. I must thank them for inspiring us to be
leaders, and for being bold enough to act on issues they were unhappy with. Now it is our turn.
Boys I know you will do a great job, and I’m so excited to be privileged enough to have this