Monday, December 31, 2012

Some assembly required

The end of year assembly at school is always a big gig - its taken me several weeks to recover to the point where I can write about it. This was also the new principal's first EoYA, so we all waited to see how she would go. Past editions have been long and windy with unnecessary amounts of Scottish country dancing.

We had been asked to attend which usually means Someone Is Getting Something. I knew I would be presenting the inter-house chess trophy, so I was going anyway.

 [A quick digression on the chess - Rodney and I agreed that we needed a trophy but that modern trophies are yuk. I was casting around for something simple, inexpensive but ingenious to serve as a perpetual trophy, when Mum suggested a sandblasted-glass chess board she found cheap at a jumble sale. I bought a plate stand for it and bingo, we had a trophy good for the next 32 years of winter and summer competitions. Then, just two days before the EoYA, Elf and I were standing in the hallway at school by the trophy cabinet when she said "Look - there is already a chess trophy!" It was inaugurated in 2008, and only awarded once before being forgotten. It's a standard modern trophy ie ugly, but it exists, and so we gave back the glass chessboard and went with it. Derwent made a stirring comeback on the final day to beat Wellington. In all about 52 kids took part, which was huge.] 

Elf was called to the front for a thank you for running the Saturday Sausage Stall for 4 years, and awarded a fine box of chocolates. Rodney and I presented the ugly chess trophy to "a representative from Derwent" who turned out to be Tully, who had in fact been tricked into playing for Wellington. Then it was time for medals. Here's where it starts to get braggy.

The school does very well in the various academic competitions. This year both our boys got High Distinction certificates in the UNSW Competitions for Maths and Science. Last year Marcus got a medal at the end of the year for being in the top 0.3% (or smidgen) nationally in the Grade 3/4 Maths competition. This year Michael was called up and given a medal for being in the top smidgen in Grade 3/4 Science - and he's not yet 9! Then Marcus was called up for a repeat of last years' effort - another Maths medal, this time for being in the top smidgen in Grade 5/6/7, and he's not yet 11!

The loot
The boys are undoubtedly gifted in Maths and Science, and it's worth remembering what gifted literally means. They are lucky kids to be able to achieve on this level without any visible effort. But it's to their credit that they love learning and long may it continue. I refer to them for now as The Medallists, eg "Have you brushed you teeth yet, Medallists?"

Eleanor in Grade 6 also won a medal in spelling, and that was it - Reeses provided 2 of the 3. I was probably puffed up like a bullfrog, I was feeling so proud. Karri won the Grade 6 Principal's Award, for her excellence in ALL AREAS. All three grandparents were there, which was even better. Bill would also have been very proud, but fortunately he had plenty of opportunity to see the boys and Karri and Miah succeeding in music, sport, and academically before he died in mid-2012.

The golden glow of the boys' success was enough to carry us through the Valley of Darkness that was the senior brass ensemble's performance. Parp. Wah wah waaaaaaaaaaaaah.

This year the Grade Sixers had written a song with 2 lines for each leaver, to the tune of Gangnam Style (of course), and after that they marched out of the life of the school to (strangely) Aussie Jingle Bells. And, another school year was over.

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