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December 15, 2011

I guess I feel obligated to congratulate North Sydney Boys for their excellent results in this year’s HSC. After all, #2 in the biggest state of one of the best educated nations globally is about as good as it gets.

I’d like particularly to congratulate my former principal, Robyn Hughes, who has done much to inspire such a result. I’ll let the woman speak for herself:

The principal at North Sydney Boys’, Robyn Hughes, said selective schools would ”share the love”. ”The selective school principals are an incredibly collaborative network,” she said. ”We meet on a regular basis through the year and we share in each other’s successes.” But Ms Hughes rejected any suggestion her school was an ”academic hothouse”. ”It’s not about that coaching culture; it’s about the holistic development of these young men, really getting them engaged in a wider world and seeing beyond themselves. ” This group of young men have done a lot outside of just pursuing academic excellence and that’s what I think is the secret of their success. It’s a balancing act, but that’s where they get joy and engagement and, ironically, the busier they are the more organised they have to be with their study.”

I’m glad Robyn feels that way about our school, that it’s not just about results but developing strong young, diversified men. Which is I suppose why drama classes weren’t allowed to form in year 11, despite having at least four students, and why its budget has been always been so low. After all, why spend money on students when one can jazz up A-block and the car park with impressive signs and pictures.

It also reminds me of a day, fresh from my HSC results, where I walked into my school, to talk to fellow students and teachers, where we awaited our principal, who was conspicuously absent. Eventually she arrived, delivered a dispassionate speech, before promptly leaving again. Apparently 14th in the state isn’t good enough for some principals. It appears it’s less about developing young men and more about competitive gain.

Congratulations students of 2011. You deserved it. Your principal didn’t.

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