Been doing a lot of reading lately. More on that some other time. Meanwhile, continuing the 2017 series with October.
Among the many things I have been reading lately has been the 2016 edition of The Record, the magazine of Sydney Boys High, where I was a pupil 1955-1959 and a teacher variously between 1985 and 2005. See posts tagged Sydney High.
The latest Record really impresses me, capturing as it does the transformation — much for the better, in my opinion — of the school in recent years. I really recommend you have a look for yourself on the link at the beginning of this post.
And how about this!
Proud of the old school! Let me quote brilliant ex-student Raymond Roca:
I would like to begin by saying how privileged I feel to be able to talk to you on this occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. It was less than ten years ago (2007) that I was sitting on the other side of this podium, just like you, and it never would have crossed my mind that I would be back here at a school assembly so soon after graduation, and particularly at an assembly on the issue of homophobia and transphobia. This inaugural event is an indication not only to how far things have come socially in relation to LGBTI equality in this country in the past decade, but also a testament to the leadership position that Sydney Boys High School has held on issues of social justice and more broadly. There are still so many schools out there where an event like this would simply not be possible. So the fact that we are all here today is a testament to you and to this school, which has always been a beacon for leadership and for a progressive, well-rounded public education accessible and inclusive for all.
I would like to talk to you today about the importance of a positive recognition of diversity…
The greatest lesson that I learnt at this school was not in the classroom – great as those lessons were – but rather in the unique and fantastic exposure to difference that I received here. An exposure to and understanding of diversity that will better prepare you to be the leaders of the future that this school is so well regarded for. Thank you.
The Record 2016 page 83
From the previous post you could — correctly — get the idea that SBHS in 2017 is a pretty progressive place. I spoke of the school being “transformed” in recent years. And it has been, not least because of the vision and leadership skills of the Principal, Dr Jaggar. He’s had his share of challenges too. Early on in his being in the job I was involved in one of them.
What strikes me though, having thoroughly read the 2016 Record and browsed back as far as 2010, is how tradition has been preserved, indeed augmented, while embracing change.
Let’s go back sixty years: and yes, I was there. See my post 1957 or MCMLVII.
Edgar Bembrick was the legendary Latin teacher of us mob in 3B. I was 14. He, I suspected, personally knew Julius Caesar, in fact probably taught him. In fact it appears he was born in 1890. In 2007 I wrote, referring to 1959:
Edgar Bembrick, my Latin teacher in my last year in high school — his last year too as he died before that year was over — was in some ways as boring a person as you could hope to meet, and with a face remarkably like a prune. However, there was a twinkle in the eye and an awesome reputation in his subject area: “Don’t use that crib, son; I wrote it.” He would also come into the lesson without a text book and tell us what page to turn to and would then proceed to his exposition without recourse to anything other than his memory. He once claimed to be able to complete any line of Latin or Greek verse we could throw at him. We never caught him out.
The French teacher was truly ancient, speaking a strange kind of French he apparently honed among the poppy fields of Picardy. He was quite awful, actually, so I will pass over his name.
Now English with Mr Harrison was a delight.
In 1958 I and some classmates — one Lionel Laurie among them I recall — went to Sydney University to participate in a Latin Reading Competition. My effort was no great shakes, but it was the first time I ever visited that magic quadrangle. I was to return: Random Friday memory 18 – Latin at Sydney 1960.
Now speaking as I was of tradition. Look at this from The Record 2016. And look at the names.
On Friday June 3, Years Ten and Eleven participated in the Latin Reading Competition, held annually at Sydney University and organised by the Classical Association of New South Wales. Entrants had to recite a passage from the works of Virgil and Ovid. Students were judged by leading academics in Classics.
This year, Sydney Boys High achieved excellent results. Two students, Roy Wu of Year Ten and Sanishka Balasooriya of Year Eleven, have been selected for the final of this prestigious competition. In addition, Edward Heaney’s presentation impressed the judges and has been awarded a Highly Commended. Edward was presented with his Certificate on the night of the final in the Law Building, University of Sydney, on 1 August. Year Ten Latin presented a choral piece on the night, as normally happens when a Year Ten student reaches the final.
After their recitations, the students visited the Nicholson Museum, which currently has an exhibition on Pompeii, and then attended a lecture on the Greek and Roman Oracle, a prophetess who presented “the future” (albeit ambiguously) to those who sought her guidance.
Mrs D Matsos, Latin
But here is something 2016 offered which 1957 could not!
March 28 was a day filled with triumph. As a student who has participated in the National Chinese Eisteddfod (poetry recital) every year since 2013, I can say without a doubt that this year was the most exhilarating and competitive of them all. From the lunchtime rehearsals to the last minute alterations, every single High contestant was able to demonstrate the focus and hard-working ethic, which provided Sydney High with outstanding results.
The National Chinese Eisteddfod comprises of an individual and a group based competition. In terms of the results from the individual category, I would like to congratulate Vitaly Kovalevskiy (Year 7) who came third in the eight to twelve years age group for non-native speakers, Yeong Meng Li (Year 8) who came second in the ten to twelve years age group for Cantonese speakers, Royce Xiao who came third in the thirteen to fifteen years age group and Justin Liu who came second in the thirteen to fifteen years age group for Mandarin speakers…
Took this when I revisited the school in 2012: