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April 2009 - from the Principal

posted Apr 10, 2012, 5:10 PM by Eddie Woo
Our 50th anniversary fete on 4 April has been an outstanding success. Six thousand people joined us in celebrations during the day. The food stalls cooked all day. The non-food stalls were popular. Three separate stage areas saw different groups of students performing all day. The multicultural concert in the evening played to standing room only. The fireworks display highlight was the big 50 lit up and then followed up with a massive outburst of light and sound. The whole day was a wonderful demonstration of the spirit of James Ruse AHS, from the students of 1956 – 1959 to the classes of 2009. We are a very strong community. 

We welcomed a few new staff this year. Mrs Sandra Fernandez joins us in Science, Mr Trent Wilson in Languages. Mrs Sofia Hameed and Mr David Pronger join us in Agriculture as permanent appointments. We also have Mrs Elizabeth Lemesurier in HSIE and Mr Jason Driscoll in PD/H/PE. Mr Gerard Yeo has been appointed as our new Head Teacher Secondary Studies. Mr Yeo comes to us from the position of Head Teacher, Social Sciences, at the Open High school where he has been for four years. Previously, he was a member of the HSIE staff at James Ruse. We farewell Mr Ray Browning, from our Science faculty, after a career of nearly 40 years teaching. In his farewell address to the students he explained that this means he has taught 40000 lessons to over one million students. What a fantastic achievement! We wish Mr Browning good health and happiness in the next stage of his life. 

Congratulations to Joanna Fan, whose literary work has been published in the December 2008 edition of Oz Kids in Print, along with being posted on the internet site 

Congratulations to Aditi Halder, who has been selected for the Australian team which will compete in the Asia-Pacific Regional Geography Olympiad in Tsukuba, Japan, 2-6 August. 

Congratulations to Kenneth Wong and Evgeny Martynov for their success in FARIO – French Australian Regional Informatics Olympiad. Kenneth can 2nd in Australia and 5th in the world; Evgeny came 3rd in Australia and 9th in the world! 

Congratulations to the five students who hve been selected to attend the Scholar School in Informatics in April: Evgeny Martynov (10), Kenneth Wong (11), David Tian (12), Joseph Wang (12) and Steven Fan (12). 

Congratulations to the following students who have been invited to be members of this year’s AMOC mathematics Olympiad Selection School: Raveen De Silva (11), Chris Gu (9), Victor Khou (9), Stacey Law (11), Sampson Wong (11). The school will be held at Macquarie Uni from Monday 13 April to Wednesday 22 April 2009. Let’s hope our students get into the Olympiad team going to Bremen, Germany from 13 – 22 July 2009. 

Congratulations to the students who successfully participated in the Second Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO) 2008 NSW State Round. The competition was incredible. There were 37 teams. The results were classified as GOLD (over 80), SILVER (70-79), BRONZE(under 70).First place getters were Wallace Chow, Fei Pan and Howard Ma, GOLD FIRST PLACE perfect scores on questions 1,4, 5. GOLD also to Grace Liu, Rida Sen, Regina Hong with perfect scores on questions 2,5. This team came eighth. The first place students will go to the national round on 1 April. The International Olympiad will be in Poland. We welcomed the principal, two teachers and seven students from the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, UK (founded in 1327). This is a selective specialist science and language college from Lincolnshire. The visitors enjoyed their farm tour, observed Japanese, Physics, IPT and History lessons and shared leadership programs. 

Congratulations to Bob Liang from the class of 2006. He has been awarded two Aisling Society Prizes from two schools at UNSW: the School of English, Media and Performing Arts and the School of History and Philosophy for two different theses on Jonathan Swift. Bobby is planning to do his PHD in post colonialism at Harvard or Yale, after having already accelerated and completed his English major. 

Aryan Shahabi-Sirjani (12) recently participated in the 2009 Youth Science Forum held at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). In recognition of his participation in this event, and as a high achiever, he was offered a UWS Academic Excellence Scholarship worth $ 5000 to support his first year of tertiary education. Congratulations Aryan! 

Congratulations to Edward Lo-cao. Edward won the open doubles table tennis Division 3 competition run by the NSW Table Tennis Association. 

We have had great success in the fourth Australian Invitational Informatics Olympiad 2009. We had the two highest scorers, Evgeny Martynov (10) and Kenneth Wong (11) , both with a Gold. Joseph Wang (12) received a Silver, and Steven Fan (12) and David Tian (12) both with a Bronze. This means we got half of the top ten results! Congratulations to all these students. 

Congratulations to our swimmers in the Zone Carnival. James Ruse is becoming a force to be reckoned with in sport. Our boys came first, and overall we came third. This is a wonderful result, due to both extensive participation and some dedicated training. 

Congratulations to Sonia Cheung, who has been selected to represent NSW at the Australasian Under 17 Badminton Championships from 10 – 18 April in Ballarat. 

Congratulations to Natasha Pegler and Tanya Sinya for conducting the interviews at the filming of the Tall Poppy interviews at Monday’s seminar. I received the following from Mark Grady, the coordinator of Lachlan Macquarie College: The young ladies did a wonderful job in representing both themselves and their school through the interviews conducted. It was great to see the girls developing their own questions, taking other peoples views on board and delivering the questions in the most unnatural of settings, though in a very natural way. The opportunity certainly provided the girls with a very different experience (in front of several cameras) and by all accounts was thoroughly enjoyed. Once again, thankyou for the promotion of this activity within your school and when the final material becomes available through CLI (6-8 weeks), copies will be forwarded to the school and the girls. Sixty of our Year 11 girls were in the audience as three scientists were interviewed – a celebration of International Women’s Day! 

On Friday 6 March, Ms Marilyn Parker, a journalist with The Telegraph visited the school to interview Ms Hameed about why and how she became a teacher in Australia. That story appeared in the careers section on 17 March. I also gave Ms Parker a tour of the school as she sometimes mentions us in her Wednesday column, and I thought it was good for her to see some of the extracurricular life of our school. 

Edition 1 - StateTUE 17 MAR 2009, Page 051 

Demanding English exam tests teachers 
By Maralyn Parker 

TEACHERS with degrees from other countries who are not native speakers of English must pass an English test at professional level before they can teach in NSW public schools. The test is so difficult and comprehensive that 80 per cent of people who sit for it fail at their first attempt. Aspiring teachers often have to sit the different sections of the Professional English Assessment for Teachers (PEAT) test -- reading, writing, speaking and listening -- several times before they get the A-grade level they need to get teaching accreditation. And of course this is great for public schools as it helps assure only the highest-quality teachers get through. However, the process may be onerous for people with degrees from non-English speaking countries who want to teach in NSW public schools. So when I asked the NSW Department of Education and Training to put me in touch with a teacher who had passed the PEAT test and is now teaching in a public school, I expected to meet at teacher who would tell me just how hard the test is. 

Little did I know when I travelled out to James Ruse Agricultural High School in Carlingford to meet agriculture teacher Sofia Hameed that I was about to meet a legend. Hameed is one of the rare teachers who passed all sections of the PEAT test in her first sitting. ``It was not hard for me,'' she says. But Hameed is also a legend for her amazing dedication to teaching in public schools. For two years she travelled from her home in Drummoyne to teach agriculture at Mount View High, a public high school at Cessnock. That is about a 2 1/2 hour drive -- each way. Hameed says when she was with her students she was so immersed in her teaching she would not even think about the drive. ``When I parked my car I forgot about it and did not think about driving again until it came time to go home,'' she says. She grew up in Peshawar in Pakistan and graduated with a Bachelor of Science with honours from the Agricultural University in Peshawar. 

Fluent in Pushtov, Urdu and English, Hameed did an 18-month accelerated teacher training course for graduates at Charles Sturt University. She had to complete the interview and selection process, do a pre-employment orientation course and sit the PEAT tests before finally getting her first job in a public school. Now teaching agriculture at James Ruse Agricultural High -- a dream job for most teachers -- Hameed is quick to say all of her teaching positions in public schools have been very rewarding. ``Children everywhere are similar -- you have to be prepared,'' she says. ``I am one of those lucky people who is welcomed by teachers and parents in all the schools I have taught at.'' I suspect James Ruse Agricultural High may be lucky in turn to have her on its staff. 

Larissa Treskin