February 20, 2017

Address to the College on the first assembly for Term 1, 2017 on Tuesday, 1 February, 2017.

A special welcome to new boys and new staff. A special thank you to staff for providing many wonderful opportunities over the holiday period including the Nepal Tour, Basketball Tour of USA, Water Polo Tour to New Zealand, European Music Tour, fixtures against other schools, preparation camps for sports, language exchanges or service learning opportunities and the Bundanon Art Camp.

I am sure you realise how fortunate you are having staff willing to give up their break time to provide you with such opportunities.

I always ask staff who were the boys on tour who helped out without being asked, who were supportive of others, who said thank you many times and who made the trip more enjoyable.

I hope Year 7 enjoyed their camp that is designed to help with your orientation into the secondary school.

I hope the Meet the Mentor session for Year 8 to Year 12 was beneficial to your goal setting for 2017.

There are 2 old sayings that are relevant to the start of another year.

a) Doing the work
b) Empty your pockets of excuses

Doing the work is all about focussing on the processes rather than the end results. Perseverance will usually always beat the talent alone – it applies to school work or sport or music or whatever. Nothing beats consistent work.

Empty your pockets of excuses is resisting that small voice that says “Give up” or “Avoid the difficult task” or “turn back” or “Don’t attempt” or “i don’t want to be seen to fail” or “I’ll cut the corner with fitness” or “They won’t notice if i….” Or “i’ll do it later”. Fight that voice – display resilience and grit – just have a go and bounce back again and again if success does not appear. Empty your pockets of excuses.

The Year 12 results of 2016 were spectacular. We will have an academic assembly in a few weeks to acknowledge our stars.

They include:

  • Equal dux – Michael Li, Eric Sheng, Sebastian Iannuzzi
  • 14 boys over 99 ATAR all with a world perfect 45 for the IB
  • 38% in the top 10%
  • 79% in the top 30%

But I prefer to look at the individual stories of boys who triumphed and did a personal best. Some of who achieved it against huge adversities.

  • Boys who got an ATAR in the 70’s yet early predictions were in the 50’s.
  • Boys who did personal bests in every subject.
  • Boys who encountered tough family or personal situations and yet secured their HSC or IB.
  • Boys who did not fall into the trap of giving up co-curricular so they could do more work. Yet again we found boys who were great co-curricular contributors did exceptionally well – there was a very high correlation between the two.

People like:

  • Sam Mehmet – Football Captain (98.7)
  • Jack Jacobs – Senior Prefect (99.7)
  • Tom Serhon – 2nd XI Rowing, 1st XV Rugby (95)
  • Max Mckay
  • Nick Laptev – 6th last in Economics in Year 11. All Rounder Award in Year 12 (Music, 5ths Football)
  • Isileli Halaufia – Educational disadvantage (67.5)
  • Makuach Maluach – Improved every report since Year 9 (54)

Finally, I should state how at Newington we love our diversity.

  • We have always welcomed boys from all faiths or no faith.
  • We welcome boys who are tall or short or big or thin.
  • We welcome boys pursuing whatever interests they like – we hate stereotyping or labelling someone.
  • We welcome you whether you are heterosexual or gay or from a blended family or a single parent family or no family.

If you are a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Sudan, you are welcome here.

If you are a citizen of Hong Kong or Singapore or India or Sri Lanka or China or Tonga or South Africa or wherever, you are welcome here.

If you are fair or dark skinned, you are welcome here.

As a result of all of this we loathe bullies. We encourage you speak up if you are being bullied or if you see someone else being bullied. Make a stand. We will follow up.

We want all boys to enjoy being Newington.

  • We want all boys to thrive.
  • We want all boys to discover what’s possible for them.
  • We want you to be yourself at your best.
  • We want to turn boys of promise into men of substance.

I am looking forward to 2017 very much.

Dr David Mulford

Feburary 1, 2017