Friday 4 March 2016

A Gold Cup Weekend

The pageantry of yesteryear was on display in abundance throughout the course of the Gold Cup, which was re-enacted on the Lane Cove River on Saturday, as it has been over the course of its 132 year history. This is one of the premier rowing events in New South Wales and it drew crews from schools across the state as well as the heavyweights in the code, including Sydney University and the Sydney Rowing Club. History records that in 1885: “The weather was bright and cheerful, the attendance very large and fashionable, and the different events were contested by the competitors in an animated but friendly manner …”. That same script was enacted over the weekend and each and every element of the occasion was something of a facsimile of its historical counterpart. To all who made the day such a stunning success – the coaches, the parents, the Old Boys, the member organisations, the visitors to the property, and of course the athletes who have laboured over the summer to reach maximum performance, a statement of sincere appreciation is extended. And, special thanks are extended to the theatrics of the Drumline which entertained the large crowd on the steps of the Lane Cove River among the splendour of activity on the water. All augurs well for the continuation of this event which not only engages those with a passion for rowing, but those who belong to a community that recreate history on a perennial basis.

Open GPS Cricket and Tennis teams have enjoyed a wonderful season to date and on Saturday they squared off against Sydney High and Newington, respectively, to see if they could take line honours in both codes of sport that have been fiercely contested over the summer. A feature of both games was the number of boys who came to support the athletes on the field and they did so in a spirit that resides at the heartland of the College. The 1st X1 Cricket has a resounding win and the Open Tennis fell short by one rubber in a game where momentum swam the tide of each point and each set. In many ways the outcome is something of a metaphor of life where success can produce exhilaration and a fractional defeat leads to heartfelt disappointment. But, on both counts the outcomes need to be managed with grace and dignity. And, beyond the immediacy of the these two competitions, boys pulled on the blue and white and represented the College in a wide range of activities, from Surf Life Saving at Manly to Basketball, Baseball, Sailing, Futsal, Athletics, Swimming, Water Polo, and, the list goes on.

Another of those events which takes place relatively early in the year is the Year 7 Camp, which is aimed to build the newly formed community who have joined the secondary school. Held at Narrabeen amid the pristine waters of Sydney’s northern beaches, the boys immersed themselves in a wide raft of activities that build relationships in pursuit of common goals. There was no shortage of challenges, from rope-walking, archery the flying fox and rock climbing to water sports including surfing, swimming and canoeing. It is a sobering thought to project that these young men are the graduates of 2021 in waiting and the years ahead hold so very much for them. They will mature from young adolescents to men and in the process traverse the great journey of the thousands of boys who have gone before them, adding to the rich stock of history that is part of the Riverview story. The boys are to be commended for the way that they approached their camp and the many activities that were part of it. Special thanks are extended to the staff who facilitated such a memorable time.

I had the pleasure of attending the Old Ignatians’ Union (OIU) meeting during the week and hearing of the many social justice causes that the OIU undertake on a weekly basis. From supporting St Luke’s kitchen in Kings Cross to the mentoring program with the Indigenous and Refugee students, from the prison ministry to activism in support of refugees, the Old Boys respond in manifold ways to the marginalised and the alienated, taking the teachings of the Christian gospels to the lived reality of Sydney. There is no biblical scholarship as such here, simply a genuine and committed response to a faith that does justice in the world. It is always instructive to see the impact of the educational program years beyond its immediate delivery and this is an area where all members of the school community should feel very justly proud of.

Indicative of the fact that the year is progressing rapidly is the construction of Year 11 Interim Reports, which summatively account for an intense period of both learning and assessment over last six weeks. There is little down time at senior secondary level and the boys in Year 11 are cognisant of both the demands on them and the response that needs to be forthcoming in the area of homework, revision, drafting of assignment work and research in order to maximise outcomes. Interim reports will be accessible on the portal from Monday of next week. Similarly, Year 12 Parent Teacher interviews were held on Monday night to provide an opportunity for parents to get a more detailed picture of progress and to make qualitative judgements about the degree to which their boys are embracing the many and varied challenges associated with the rigour of the HSC. It was very instructive to see the richness of the discussions in the Ramsay Hall, all designed to provide the best information to assist the boys and their parents in not only understanding the current academic profile, but where areas of growth and improvement lie that will produce maximum efficacy. And, in just 10 schooling days the mid-year examinations for Year 12 feature so we move with exponential speed as we approach the latter stage of the term.

Dr Paul Hine