View From the Hill
Founders Day Assembly and 60th Anniversary Mosaic: November 22nd at 10.15 amAs our 60th anniversary year comes to a close I am happy to announce a Founders Day assembly on Wednesday November 22nd with David Jacobson as the guest speaker. David is an alumni as well as former parent of the school. He was a student at the school’s original site in Pymble called Dalcross and then through to Year 10 at Middle Cove. He is an architect with a long term practice in Manly, a former councillor on Manly Council, and the Glenaeon school architect for many years. In this capacity he was designer of the Middle Cove campus Masterplan as well as the Marion Mahony Griffin Hall in Castlecrag. He also played a key role in gaining approval for the Masterplan DA from Willoughby Council. He will speak on his memories as a student, the impact of the school on his professional practice, and his guiding vision for the design of the Middle Cove campus.
The Founders Day assembly will be for Years 7 to 11, and parents, former students, past parents and friends are very warmly invited to come along to enjoy the assembly and to join us for morning tea afterwards. We have invited Mr Trent Zimmerman, Federal MP for North Sydney to attend. There will be a letter going to all parents next week with a link inviting you to RSVP your intention to attend.
60th Anniversary Mosaic: the high school Students Representative Council expressed a wish for students to be involved in the anniversary celebrations and together we developed the idea of creating a 60th anniversary mosaic. The obvious choice for a mosaic theme was the Glenaeon logo that will be a contemporary take on the historic mosaic made in 1972 (the one on the front wall of the Alice Crowther building). This original mosaic was a Year 12 Visual Arts project by student Madeleine Van Leer and it so impressed the teachers that it became our school logo sometime after 1972, and it has served the school very well ever since.
Brendan Strobl, our Class 6 teacher, is also an accomplished ceramicist and he has prepared an impressive large design for a mosaic to be placed above the main entrance to the Sylvia Brose Hall. Next week Brendan will commence construction of the mosaic with the plan that every student in the school will put some tiles into the mosaic as a contribution to the anniversary. It will be in place by November 22nd and the assembly will serve as its “official opening”.
Learning To Draw at Glenaeon
Thinking of this art work by a former student, one that has lived on for generations, made me think of the power of art generally in human life, and its impact on how we see the world. It brought back to me a piece written by Andrew Keyworth who left Glenaeon in 1977. He has been a GP running a family medical practice in the Hunter Valley for many years and he spoke at our GlenX night in 2016. He wrote this reflection on the impact of his Glenaeon education some years ago but it stands as a significant statement on the power of art in our lives, both professional and personal.
"I really enjoyed the classical side to the Glenaeon curriculum -- the history and the mythology. More and more I feel it is important to give children a sense of their place in history and society. It seems that a lot of modern education and life is focused on the here and now, without a sense of where our society and culture has come from. There seems to be little value placed on our cultural heritage or the mystical history that we all share.
I feel that Glenaeon imbibed me with a sense of wonder about humanity and society through the retelling of a huge range of myths, legends and stories that at the time were more real than much of my contemporary world. I'd like to think that I carry this sense of wonder with me still and will be able to pass it on to my own children.
Glenaeon also changed my outlook on the physical world. As a pre-schooler I remember drawing pictures of my world with thickly outlined figures. At Glenaeon, we were taught that there really are no outlines, or boundaries that are clearly defined. The shaded edges of objects blended and blurred with their background and everything was connected. This sense of connection, and being part of a wider world and society gave a sense of security. On transferring to a state high school in Canberra I remember feeling that I viewed the world differently from my contemporaries: I saw it without boundaries.
I'd like to think that I still look at the world in this way. It seems that when a lot of people examine a situation they focus on the boundaries, and set themselves artificial limits because that is convention. They look for the outlines, the rigid edges. For me, maybe because of Glenaeon, the edges of all situations, ideas, arguments, problems, solutions will always be shaded and blurred.
As a Medical Practitioner, this view is a great help. Many decisions in medicine have blurred edges, problems flow from one to another, nothing is isolated. I'm comfortable with this "grey area" that exists in my work, and in some ways I feel I started to develop my tolerance for uncertainty when I learned to draw trees without a fixed outline at Glenaeon.
Other aspects of Glenaeon I loved: the Craft, the close relationship and security of Class Teachers, the bush walks, the bamboo patch (alas, no more: ed.), the dams, the Annual BBQ, Artist's Holiday (precursor to Craft Expo: ed.) -- the sense of school community. 25 years ago Glenaeon was blurring the traditional male/female roles: everyone did knitting, everyone did woodwork. I still knit, and enjoy watching the public's reaction as I sit knitting on the two-hour train trip to Sydney.
Glenaeon's curriculum laid the foundation for how I see my role as a man, father and husband. It lifted my horizons, blurred my edges, instilled in me a sense of being part of a rich and mystical society, taught me to mix metaphors and is responsible for a lot of what I am today."
With best wishes,
Head of School