Hello everyone and you will note a new name at the bottom of this column. It is a pleasure and an honour to be formally part of the James Ruse ex-students community as your President. This is especially true at this time as the school is fast approaching its 50th anniversary celebrations and the 250th anniversary of the birth of the convict and pioneer farmer James Ruse in 1759 from which the school draws its name
It would be remiss of me not to mention the contribution over a number of years of our immediate past President, Alexandra Streeter and wish her well in her new venture overseas in Hong Kong. Thank you, Alexandra and best wishes!
And so to me. I guess you would call me truly an “old boy” coming as I do from the year of 1979 and approaching my own 30th anniversary, from a period in the school’s history when it transitioned from being a boy’s school to a co-educational school. So what of 1979? A time of academic and sporting excellence as the first XV won the Waratah Shield state knockout. A time when the new girls were still finding their feet in the school, very much a minority group with the boys, literally, cleaning up their act so as to try and impress. The first year that completed their HSC on the school grounds in the newly commissioned James C. Hoskin auditorium, previously the tennis courts. The first year without “The Boss” as principal. Truly a time of change for both the school and its graduating year.
I had the pleasure of meeting with Larissa Treskin, the school’s principal a couple of weeks ago and as we mused over my time at the school I also heard about the exciting and burgeoning plans for the anniversary celebrations and initiatives for the development of the school’s facilities and its non-academic curriculum . It was also good to hear that at least two teachers from my era have “stood the test of time” and are still imparting their wisdom and knowledge, one being Alan Best in the music department and Ray Lees my old commerce teacher and probably the one I blame (some days) for me ending up an accountant!
Our school is still young in years despite approaching its 50th anniversary and we have a reputation that is second to none in many academic, community and sporting domains and the approaching celebrations will be time for you to also reconnect with your past no matter how many years ago this is. I urge you to get involved in the celebrations as they become advertised. It is also an opportunity for the school to “find” you and potentially leverage off each others experiences, skills and resources.
Integral to this is the role of the ex-students union within the school and the “old boys” communities. The union can be many things to many people but ultimately it is your union to take advantage of and I will be working in the future to try and gain a sense of what it is currently and what it could become. The anniversary celebration is a logical and unique opportunity to progress this and initiatives will be incorporated into the anniversary year to reignite the role of the union. Your thoughts are welcome on this at anytime and please feel free to drop me a note on my email address, email@example.com.
I look forward to meeting with many of you over my tenure as union President.
Lastly, this brings me to the parting words of the Year 12 farewell lunch in 1979.
“If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then, this parting was well made” (Julius Caesar, Act V)
Till next time.
Paul Harris (1979)
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