Defining ‘school spirit’
Recently, our Chairman of Trustees, Emeritus Professor Richard Henry, asked me (during the course of one of our weekly conversations) to define what the notion of ‘school spirit’ particularly means here at Grammar. In essence, the question emerged in the context of how a Grammar education is founded on a fundamental fusion of academic dedication, musical and artistic passion, and a vibrantly healthy sporting life. Thus, answering slightly off the cuff, the definition I recall offering the Chairman was of a somewhat haphazard yet inevitably variegated one. Think of events like Grammarpalooza, I suggested, and its attendant intellectualism, respectful hilarity and lashings of French rap, or perhaps the spectacle of the Firsts basketballers living every minute as their compatriots in the Seconds basketball achieved a famous victory over King’s, the almost minute long applause for senior cellist John Wu for his solo performance in Assembly, the fevered enthusiasm of House Sports Day at Weigall where every placing from first to eighth is treated with a brand of near histrionic applause that never takes itself too seriously. Indeed, picture our St Ives Preparatory School Presentation Day as we witnessed the effusive admiration for the boys who were presented as NSW State Swimming Champions, who were immediately followed by the State Chess champions to equally enthusiastic applause.