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Principal's newsletter, week 10, term 4, 2014

posted Dec 13, 2014, 1:51 PM by Unknown user

It is with great pleasure that I announce that our newly appointed Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts is Ms Amy Murphy. Ms Murphy is a superb teacher of Drama and English and is looking forward to the challenge of uniting our Drama, Music and Visual Arts teachers to create our newest faculty. We will locate our new CAPA faculty in the Visual Arts Staffroom. In 2015 Mr Patrick Wong is taking a year off to concentrate on completing his studies. We wish Mr Wong all the best and welcome Mrs Rachel Han, an experienced music teacher, to JRAHS. We also say goodbye to Ms Kate Boatswain and Mr James Kennedy who have been fabulous assets to our school and PDHPE faculty in 2014. Mrs Maria Kowalski is taking a year of long service leave in 2015 and we wish her well in her travels.

We also say goodbye to two very special teachers – Dr Carmelita Maitra and Mr Bill Perrins. Dr Maitra and Mr Perrins are both fabulous teachers who are experts and leaders of their field. We wish both Mr Perrins and Dr Maitra a wonderful time in retirement. Mr Greg McNulty has accepted a transfer to Crestwood High School.

We recently received a visit from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics who came to the school farm to test MAMMOTH – there agricultural robot. Our Year 9 and 10 Agriculture students enjoyed the demonstrations and our Robotics team gained valuable experience as they moved into the finals of the National Robotics Competition last weekend. Our teams competed fiercely over the weekend and our junior team, comprised of year 8 and 9 students, became the Australian Champion and have been invited to represent Australia at the World Championships in St Louis, USA. The role Mrs Sheila Pooviah plays as the team mentor, guide and organiser cannot be underestimated. Mrs Pooviah and Ms Kong devoted many, many hours and many weekends to preparing the students. Thank you so much Mrs Pooviah and Ms Kong.

SPONSORSHIP NEEDED – To campaign at an international level the JRAHS Robotics team need sponsorship. If you have any ideas or connections please contact either myself or Mrs Pooviah. or

During the week we heard the spectacular news that Emily Burke (class of 2007) has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar for 2015. Our third Rhodes Scholar, we are so proud of Emily’s achievement. Emily completed her undergraduate degrees in Arts and Law at the University of New South Wales in 2013. She was a Scientia scholar, Valedictorian of her graduating class and was awarded the University Medal in Law. Emily was heavily involved in the UNSW Law School community, including as Executive Editor of the UNSW Law Journal, an intern at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, and a tutor of Indigenous and disadvantaged students. Emily was also a keen mooter, and won Best Oralist at the international rounds of the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition where over 600 teams competed. After graduating, Emily volunteered at Chalk & Fitzgerald, a law firm which specialises in advising Indigenous clients particularly regarding land rights and environmental law. Emily is currently working as an associate to Chief Justice French AC at the High Court of Australia. At Oxford, Emily plans on studying the Bachelor of Civil Laws and Master of Public Policy, with a view to focusing on natural resource management and sustainable development. Emily hopes she is able to visit the school before she leaves for Oxford.
Justin Wu (10) is a member of the Western Sydney Junior State Debating Team who competed at the state finals last week. The team was fabulous winning two of their four debates.
Santa came early to JRAHS and surprised a recent Year 8 assembly. The assembly was a fabulous student led celebration of the achievement and talents of Year 8. Year 8 have their own rock band who were a spectacular success. Their proud year advisors, Ms Brooks and Ms Ng, enjoyed every minute.

As mentioned last week, the Indian and Sri Lankan Food Day was a huge success due to the enthusiasm and dedication of our fabulous parents. Our volunteers  and donators of goods include:

Abha (Ria and Eva 10); Sandya (Upeka 11), John and Shirani (Niresh 7), Patricia (Richard 12), Loganathan (Ajaey 7), Namal (Nisalya 9), Mala (Mudith, 12), Kishani (Anisha 11 and Rehan 7), Ann (Timothy 11), Sudamathi (Praveen 11), Kane (Ashvin 11), Tanya Sinha (James Ruse 2010 Vice Captain and sister of Ria and Eva), Ash (Bobby 9), Anne (Lakshana 11), Shane (Asnith, 7) Tilak (Upeka, 11), Gavin (Nicholas, 8), Dimuthu (Supuli 10, Lalanthi (Aron 10), Manoj (Dharma 10),Lalitha (Haresh 10), Shanthi (Vishni 11),Pradnya (Abha 7), Sri Lakshmi (Aniruddh 8), Sonia (Sanchit 9 and Esha 8)), Kane (Ashvin 11), Para ( Kajanan 12 and Balaki 10), Nilu (Thevindu 7),Trevor (Kimberley 2009), Karen Lim (Andre 10), Jan (Nicholas 8), Angela (Lucas 9), Jennifer (Dominic 9), Lisa (Joanne 10), Sharon (Yon 8), Lisa (Eric 9) and Rita (Bright 11).

Not only did the above volunteers give their time they also generously donated most of the ingredients - rice, paratha roti, cooking caps, gulab jamun, milk, vegetarian korma, chole, raspberry jelly, rose sherbet syrup. Vegetarian puff pastries, Sri Lankan milk rice and curry puffs.
Pictured above our Year 7 debating team who competed at Hurlstone last week in the Janene Best Memorial Debating competition. Ms Brooks is full of admiration for this fabulous team of Rehan Gunawardhana, Chelsey Teng, Calla Lee and Charlie Yang. In a recent email to me, Ms Brooks wrote:
“I can't emphasise enough how dedicated and enthusiastic this year 7 team have been this year. They show up for an hour and a half every week for training, come in on weekends at times, listen and learn and put what they learn into practice. And, they have been up against may year 8 teams over the course of the year; they win some, they lose some, but they are always gracious winners or losers.”
The Year 10 formal was held at The Epping Club on Friday night. The students looked spectacular and very grown up. They appeared to have a fabulous time, dancing the night away. Thank you to Mr Trent Wilson and the Year 10 Formal committee who did a wonderful job organising the event.
7A had the privilege of working on a STEM project (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) during the week. Below Year 7 are pictured solving a crime via blood matching.

This week the JRAHS Cadet Corp left for Victoria where they will hike the Great Ocean Coast. We wish them a wonderful time and thank their dedicated teachers – Mr McFayden, Mr Lowe, Mr Best, Ms Jenns, Ms McKenzie and Ms Burgess.

Presentation Day was held on Tuesday afternoon. Thank you to the many parents who attended to celebrate the achievement of their children. Over 300 students received awards. Thank you to Ms St Louis, Mrs Haselhust Smith, Mrs Hayes, Mrs Ryan, Mrs Mayers, Ms Annetts, Mr Driscoll and Mr Goggin for working so hard to produce a fabulous and fast paced event.

The James Ruse Calendar which is located on our intranet is a wonderful source of information and guide to planning for 2015. The link below should take you to Term 4 2014 and then if you click on the top right hand icon you can move into Term 1 2015.

The calendar is updated regularly so please book mark it for next year’s information.

On Tuesday we will issue students in Years 7 to 10 their semester 2 reports. Our Prefect Christmas Concert will be held in Period 6 and 7.

This is our last newsletter for 2014. I wish all students and families a wonderful holiday. Please encourage your children to meet up with their classmates – going to the movies, bowling, picnics are wonderful ways to develop independence and social skills in your child.

Wishing you a safe holiday and wonderful Christmas. Looking forward to an exciting 2015.

Megan Connors


Presentation Day Speech 2014 – Megan Connors

Good Afternoon students, parents and staff – thank you for attending today’s presentation day assembly. We are here today to celebrate the many achievements of our talented students and to celebrate our school’s successes.

James Ruse is a dynamic and flourishing community and our students are exposed to wonderfully diverse learning experiences. In 2014 our students have immersed themselves in an indigenous school, competed in the national final of the Science and Engineering Challenge, continued to develop leadership skills in our High Resolves programs, supported many charities, raised awareness of social injustice and enjoyed many camps and wellbeing programs. Two of our students have represented Australia in pole vaulting and table tennis respectively. We have had more students than ever invited to attend the Olympiad training schools of excellence. We achieved two gold and two silver medals in the International Olympiads and Ishraq Huda of Year 11 came 1st in the World at the International Informatics Olympiad. Two of our ex- students, of the class of 2007, have received the honour of becoming Rhodes Scholars in 2015. Only last weekend Jessica Guo of Year 9 competed in the Australian Athletics Championship and came 3rd in the Under 16, 3000m event. Also our Year 8 and Robotics team became the National Champions and have been invited to represent Australia in St Louis next year.

We have welcomed our new Deputy Principal, Mr Mark Long and new teachers Ms Ashlee Walker in Visual Arts, Ms Daisy Kong in Science, Mrs Katie Twomey in Agriculture and Mrs Margaret Ramsey and Mr Garry Ng in Maths. Ms Jen Burgess has become a permanent member of our staff and Ms Amy Murphy has earned the promotional position of our very first Head Teacher of Performing and Creative Arts.

This term, we also say goodbye to two very special teachers – Dr Carmelita Maitra and Mr Bill Perrins. Dr Maitra and Mr Perrins are both fabulous teachers who are experts and leaders of their field. We wish both Mr Perrins and Dr Maitra a wonderful time in retirement. Mr McNulty has also accepted a transfer to Crestwood High School and we wish him all the best.

During 2014, our school lost a treasured member of our community. Colin Anderson taught here in the 1960s and 1970s. He was chosen by Mr Hoskin to put the “culture” into an agricultural high school and he certainly achieved that by working with Leslie Lino to create the Musicals that we know so well. Colin was an inspirational man and teacher who touched the hearts of so many of the students he taught. His legacy is still very much alive in our ex student community and in our school today. Our creation of a Creative and Performing Arts faculty seems a fitting extension of this important legacy.

Learning about the life of Colin Anderson, revealed a man of the highest integrity, that loved life and overcome many obstacles to achieve considerable success. Colin is a wonderful role model to us all.

When asked about legacy, Isaac Newton commented “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Our school community is great because we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, let us do them proud and strive to see further.