Introducing the SLC
Meet the Senior Leaders
Class of 2014
Peter Overton Class of 1983
September 2018 The Leadership Issue Philip Han
NSBHS Visions Executive
Strawberries contaminated with needles have been found in all six Australian states. Isolated incidents of needle contamination have also been discovered in a banana, an apple and a mango. In Queensland, where the first case of strawberry contamination was found, the State Government is offering a $100 000 reward for any information which leads to the arrest of the person responsible for inserting needles into the strawberries. Many of these incidents are believed to be hoaxes or copycat attacks, with one being committed by a child who admitted the “prank” to police. The Federal Government has announced that tougher penalties for food tampering are being introduced, with the maximum prison sentence being increased from 10 to 15 years. After an initial plummet in strawberry sales due to these contamination cases, business is bouncing back after strong support from State and Federal leaders for the strawberry industry and social media campaigns. This is especially comforting given that farmers have been forced to dump tonnes of fresh produce, with strawberry growers facing significant losses due to this contamination crisis. The general message to the public is to continue to purchase strawberries, with one viral social media sketch telling people to “Cut ‘em up, don’t cut ‘em out”. In this month’s issue, learn all about the Senior Leadership Council (SLC), including information on what it is, why there needed to be a change, the new structure and interviews with the new Senior Leaders for each portfolio. Holding such a role is a substantial responsibility, and I have faith that the inaugural members of this Council will uphold our school values, exhibit Falcon Pride, make significant contributions to the school and the community and lead to the best of their ability. Also in this edition, have a read of our interviews with two of our school’s alumni, 2014 School Captain Jacob Masina and famed journalist and current Nine News presenter, Peter Overton, from the Class of 1983. Both are admirable men and I found their interviews to be most intriguing and insightful, and I am sure you will enjoy them as well. A huge thank you to all our writers, editors and formatters for making The 4U Paper such a marvellous publication. We couldn’t have done it without you. Remember to keep sending your articles to email@example.com and follow our Facebook page NSBHS Visions. To view all past editions, visit issuu.com/the4upaper. Do keep in mind the views and opinions expressed in these articles and interviews and do not necessarily reflect those of NSBHS Visions, North Sydney Boys High School or the NSW Department of Education.
What is the SLC? In 2017, a working party was established to review the student leadership model within NSB. The Principal, Deputy Principal, Head Teacher Student Wellbeing and 2018 Prefect Coordinator conducted an internal evaluation and external research of various selective, partially selective, co-ed, single sex, government and non-government schools, in order to determine ways to adjust and improve our student leadership model. The team had a goal of creating an enhanced system that would more closely reflect aspects of the ‘real world’ today. There had to be greater communication and collaboration within the learning community, practical life experiences and encouragement for students to build skills and display initiative, continuity of passion and commitment, and Prefect positions to not be seen as a reward for students or parents. It was decided that a Senior Leadership Council (SLC) was to be formed with Senior Leaders holding portfoliobased positions, uniting the existing causes and addressing other areas of importance. Merit selection procedures would also be implemented, with applications and interviews for positions. The SLC will replace the Prefect model and be implemented for the first time with the Class of 2019.
Why did we need to change? After conducting research and analysing survey data, the team found that student leadership groups within NSB were disparate and had unequal profiles. Prefects were seen as the pinnacle position with elitist and authoritarian values. Other problems included: a growing disconnect between the work of many students in the lead up to election as Prefect and that following, the popularity contest and voting process denies some students with much to offer, and continuity of any passion for a cause diminishes at best and often ceases. This was an opportunity to enhance the ‘Prefect’ leadership position. The 2017 Tell Them From Me Survey (TTFM) targeted question data and responses supported change and confirmed that greater communication between all groups was necessary. The student leadership models investigated ranged from having an SRC only with no captains to highly structured systems based on students collecting merits across a range of specific areas in and out of the school to qualify to run for any position. Many schools had Senior Leaders responsible for portfolios. These ‘captains of causes’ came together, ensuring a big picture understanding and a shared responsibility for whole school improvement.
The new portfolio structure
New portfolio areas
Existing portfolio areas 5
ARTS Luca Thomas
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? In Year 11 I did English Extension 1, Mathematics Advanced, Modern History, Ancient History, Chemistry, and Drama. I really enjoyed them all, but wasn't keen to do four units of history for the HSC, so I’m keeping Ancient and dropping Modern to do English Extension 2. A nice, broad choice - nothing is from the same department!
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? Mathematics Extension 2, English Advanced, Physics, Engineering Studies and German Extension.
What are some of your hobbies and interests? Growing up I have tried lots of different things; Surf Life Saving, Rugby, Basketball, Italian, and Drama, which is definitely one of my main hobbies. I’ve done countless productions outside and inside of school, including school musicals, drama ensembles, professional productions and even the state drama ensemble, i.e. a lot.
What are some of your future goals and aspirations? Doing Engineering at UNSW (either Civil, Surveying or both) and ending up with enough money to live comfortably doing what I love.
What are some of your future goals and aspirations? Well the dream for me is to study Medicine, because you literally get paid to save people’s lives and isn’t that a dream job? But with the ATAR and UMAT requirements, who knows? What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? With the SLC Arts portfolio, I hope to really build on the current Arts programs and expand student involvement with the Arts at NSB. A big part of this will be creating grassroots interest in the Arts within the Junior years, so get involved - they're great fun! What’s an interesting fact about you? I like Avacados ;) 6
What are some of your hobbies and interests? Playing the clarinet, video games, listening to lots of music (like lots, I have my own vinyl collection and everything), cycling and watching television.
What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? Arts is such a new portfolio that there hasn’t been anything done on this scale in terms of student involvement within the Arts in our school. However, I hope to increase student involvement with the current initiatives that the CAPA department offers, both in and outside of school. Starting with Year 7 2019, having extra initiatives to focus on music and the Arts from early on in their school life. What’s an interesting fact about you? When I was younger, I used to receive lessons from one of the members of Justice Crew (the Australian dancing group/boy band who won Australia’s Got Talent and went on to release hits), which explains my ‘aptitude’ for dancing (as showcased at my many performances at SYTYCDS).
COMMUNITY SERVICE Hirun Bandara What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12, I’m continuing all my Year 11 subjects, so 12 units. I’ll be doing Mathematics Extension 1, English Extension 1, Legal Studies, Economics and Chemistry. I’m attempting to keep all 12 units until the HSC but who knows how hard I’ll be hit by the workload of Year 12. My favourite subject would probably be Economics, just because it’s interesting to see how the world around you operates. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Soccer probably is one of my main hobbies. I’ve been playing it for a long time and it’s something I love to do with mates. Soccer for me has always been something that takes the pressure off studying, allowing me to keep fit and ultimately have fun during stressful times. I also love to volunteer around the community. My Dad and I often help out at local events and it’s good fun to interact with and help out the community. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? Dreams and aspirations… I’m honestly not sure, but hopefully something to do with entrepreneurship and business. Thinking about the future is pretty daunting, and I’ll probably go with the flow and see what opportunities are going to be there for the taking in the future! What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? So I’ll be representing Community Service alongside Nicholas Liu. My dream for NSB is for us to be more connected with our local community. In order to achieve this, we’ll be launching many new initiatives (aged care help, Salvation Army and endorsing various other initiatives) and hopefully by the end of our run we’ll have been able to develop the beginnings of a very strong relationship with the community around us with which the future SLC teams can build on. What’s an interesting fact about you? Honestly, I’m not a very interesting person, but if I had to pick something, it’d probably be that I spent the first couple of years of my life in Sri Lanka. I can’t remember much about my time there, but nonetheless, I still love the country.
Nicholas Liu What subjects are you doing in Year 12? In Year 11, I did English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Japanese Continuers, Chemistry, Economics and Legal Studies. Quite a broad selection I must say, and also very challenging to balance it all out. In Year 12, I’ll be doing English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 2, Japanese Extension and Chemistry. It’s nice to drop a net total of 2 units as I found 13 units to be pretty intense. But then again, things are definitely not slowing down for a second in Year 12. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Sport would definitely count in my hobbies. I love playing basketball and volleyball and tuning in the NBA. It’s such a good way to relieve stress from study and it’s just fun! I enjoy just having a go and it feels great to learn something new or gain experience from just doing things like that. Other than that, I enjoy just chilling, reading Wikipedia or Reddit, playing computer games, just chatting with people and sleep (you’ll treasure it much more in senior years!). What are some of your future goals and aspirations? Right now, I’m hoping to get into Commerce/Law at USYD (such a high ATAR I know), but as a future career I kind of want to work for DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), but then again I want to stay in Sydney for my career. I’m not entirely sure at the moment, and it’s okay to not be completely set at this point as the school, especially Mr Miller, provides a lot of help in regards to this. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? My portfolio in the SLC is Community Service, which for me has been a big ‘sidequest’, you might say, alongside studying. From being in the SLC, Hirun and I will strongly advocate for more participation in the various initiatives offered by the school committees (LEAP!) and even volunteering at organisations outside of school (e.g. Anglicare, Salvos). Personally, I have very fond memories of doing the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal Doorknock annually and I’ve not only got the chance to help out, but I’ve learned to gain a lot of confidence to just get out there! Recycling with the boys for Enviro was also great fun too! I’ll be very keen to share the various volunteering events the school will offer. What’s an interesting fact about you? Until the beginning of Year 11, I attended Chinese school because my Mum was the ‘don’t forget your culture/ heritage’ sort of parent. And during my time there, my teacher would sign me up for random eisteddfods and events BEFORE asking me (which was so redundant). Anyway, once my eisteddfod group did surprisingly well in a competition and came first, and we ended up in a Chinese newspaper and apparently we kinda gained some traction in China. Luckily, I quit Chinese school before things got too hectic! 8
Theo Ke What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12 I chose Mathematics Extension 2, Advanced English, Physics, PDHPE, and Modern History. This seemingly unusual combination has drawn a lot of surprised reactions, but ultimately, do what you enjoy and interests you! What are some of your hobbies and interests? From a young age, sports has always been a hobby I regularly involved myself in, and something I spend substantial time on outside of study. I enjoy playing and watching all kinds of sports, in particular, basketball, soccer, and even the footy. I can be a bit competitive when it comes to sport, but a little competitiveness has never hurt anyone! Aside from sports, I also love hanging out and chatting with mates, as well as eating good food. Oh, and I play a bit too much Clash Royale. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? When it comes to future aspirations, I seek careers that I wholeheartedly enjoy, and have a strong passion for. Personally, the dream would be becoming a physiotherapist. Having my fair stint of injuries, I often had to see physiotherapists, and would always dream of becoming one in the future! If not, however, I still hope to do something in the health fields and make a difference in people’s lives :) What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? I’m part of the Sports portfolio along with Jarrod, and together, we hope to improve and make all aspects of sport enjoyable within NSB. Due to its fresh beginning, Jarrod and I plan to commit and dedicate a lot of work into this portfolio, to ensure it remains in the SLC for years to come. We have established that one of our main goals is to increase the participation of all students, particularly in carnivals, and also want to stress the idea that sports is for everyone, regardless of your ability! The two of us have already compiled a list of new and exciting ideas, so keep your eyes peeled for those! What’s an interesting fact about you? Watching horror movies results in countless sleepless nights, yet, I just can’t seem to stop...
Jarrod Li What subjects are you doing in Year 12? So I’ve selected English Extention 1, Mathematics Advanced, Modern History, Legal Studies, PDHPE and History Extension for Term 1 of Year 12. As for a favourite subject, it would have to be Modern History because we get to learn about the people and actions that shaped the world that we live in today, which, in my opinion is just super cool. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Reading all sorts of stuff I guess? Sport (Athletics is probably the thing I’m most infatuated with right now but I do love playing pretty much any sport), Music (who doesn’t love music?) and I would say gaming but the amount of time that I spend playing games has been slowly diminishing over the years. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I’m really interested in Psychology and I’ve pretty much set my goal to be a clinical psychologist, but who knows what will happen? I don’t really have too many hefty goals like changing the world, but I do want to make a difference for the better where I can. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? So my portfolio is Sport, and it’s pretty much the first time that Sports as an area has received its position in the Senior Leadership at NSB. Theo and I will definitely be looking to make sure that we can cement the role of a Sports leader within the leadership structure at NSB. Honestly, one thing that we would love to see is more participation in all forms - whether it be at the Carnivals, trying out for a Grade Sport, Falcon Sport or even just in PDHPE class, so I guess that would be the main goal for the 2019 Sports SLC portfolio. What’s an interesting fact about you? I absolutely cannot deal with horror movies and games. I just can’t. The amount of times that I’ve ditched a meetup simply because of the fact that they were going to watch a horror movie… But, I can deal with scary situations in real life really well.
ENVIRONMENT Alex Burfoot
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? My selections are English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Physics, Chemistry and Latin Extension.
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12, I’ve continued all 13 of my units consisting of Mathematics Extension 1, Biology, Chemistry, English Advanced, Economics and Geography! At the moment I’m probably looking to drop Geo or Eco, but that’s SUBJECT to change!!
What are some of your hobbies and interests? I am interested in soccer and futsal, especially the position of goalkeeper, as I have represented NSB in first grade for both soccer and futsal. I also have a great interest in environmental awareness, hence why I joined the Environment Committee and then channeled that interest as Vice President. Now in the Environment portfolio of the SLC, I hope to further help the environment. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? At this point, I’m just keeping my options open. The entire medical field has always been of great interest to me, not just being a medical doctor. The field contains many interesting, beneficial and exciting careers. With technology becoming continually more advanced, the field of medical research is very appealing, especially since it has the capacity to help so many people. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? My portfolio is Environment, which I am really excited about. The environment is extremely important in our modern world, where humans need to be conscientious about their actions so they do not have negative repercussions on the environment and ensure that adequate resources will be available for future generations. I am excited to represent the environment both in and beyond the school community. What’s an interesting fact about you? I have lived in Australia my whole life and have not left the country once, not even for a holiday.
What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love sport, in particular football and oztag. I’m a staunch Arsenal fan and you can often find me awake at 2AM watching them play. I have a deep appreciation of the world around me and love political geography. Finally, I enjoy listening to music, with my favourite artists being Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? While I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do at Uni, I really enjoy Biology and Geography and hope to combine these two passions. The world around me, and the people that fill it has been one of my greatest interests. After visiting South-East Asia and India, I’ve seen some of the poorest conditions and standards of living, which made me realise how privileged I am. It has inspired me to travel the world and make a positive change where I can. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? North Sydney Boys is about to launch one of the biggest environment projects it has seen in recent years - Bottles and Cans recycling! Starting soon, new bins will be introduced around the school with the sole purpose of collecting plastic bottles and aluminium cans. What’s an interesting fact about you? I learnt how to drive a stick shift car in India when I was only 13 years old!! My parents only have an automatic, so I guess I’m stuck driving that :( 11
STUDENT WELLBEING Isaac Brooke What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12 I’ll be studying English Extension 2, Mathematics Advanced, Chemistry, Economics and French. I love all my subjects because they are so diverse but if I had to pick a favourite it would be English. I love both the creativity and analytical thinking that English allows. What are some of your hobbies and interests? In my spare time I love reading, particularly fantasy novels and books on psychology. I also enjoy sport (mostly basketball) for some solid stress relief and vibing out to whatever music I can find. Finally, I absolutely love anything to do with the beach, whether it’s swimming, surfing or just chilling with family and friends. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I’m really interested in the finance industry and I find it’s dynamicity really fascinating. At the moment, I’m looking at both investment banking and strategy consultancy but I’m sure if you ask me again in a few weeks, my answer will be different! For now, I plan on applying for the Commerce Coop at UNSW and seeing where that takes me. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? I’m a part of the Student Wellbeing portfolio, alongside Ben. Student wellbeing has always been a big part of the NSBHS community and we plan on continuing to reinforce the importance of wellbeing through the SLC. In particular, we would like to focus on improving the balance of the lives of students, with a greater focus on aspects of life outside of academics. What’s an interesting fact about you? The free market is amazing <3
Ben Sun What subjects are you doing in Year 12? This year I will be doing Mathematics Extension 2, English Advanced, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. I enjoy all my subjects. Although Mathematics is very hard, at the same time, it opens you to a variety of new perspectives and ways of thinking which I quite enjoy and find interesting. Learning about Chemistry, Physics and Engineering has brought together so much knowledge about the world and applying it to the real world makes it real and tangible. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what subjects you do, so long as you enjoy them and find them interesting. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Table tennis, piano and maybe speedcubing, although I haven’t touched a Rubix’s Cube in a while. I enjoy hiking, which the Duke of Edinburgh program has given me the chance to go on a variety of hikes, with many interesting people from all walks of life and amazing life stories. It’s a great opportunity to reflect and learn from others. Plus you get to see some nice views and have great laughs and memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? When I was young, I had a really close family friend whom I would frequently visit. His father unfortunately passed from liver cancer when he was just 5 years old. Looking back at that period of time and how it affected not only my parents but also my friend, it gave me the motivation to do more, to help those less fortunate than myself, and to provide help where I can. I’ve been looking into pursuing a career in surgery, and although it would be an extremely challenging journey, it is one that I believe will make me a better person because of it. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? Being a part of the new Senior Leadership Council is a huge honour and privilege, and with it comes exciting new changes. As part of the Student Wellbeing portfolio, Isaac and myself hope to enhance and enrich the lives of students overall. Wellbeing isn’t just limited to mental or physical health, but a balance between the two. After much discussion, we have a variety of exciting plans and events for the upcoming year and will be working hard to ensure that as students we have a safe and thriving Falcon family. What’s an interesting fact about you? Well an interesting fact about me would be that I spent a few years in China before coming to Australia in Year 7. During that time, I couldn’t speak a lick of Chinese, much less write a full character. It was a rough few years to say the least, but I think I learned a lot from the students and teachers around me and I continue to do so to this day.
Samarth Shrivastava What subjects are you doing in Year 12? In Year 12, I am taking English Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 1, Physics, Modern History and German Extension. My selection has raised a few eyebrows, firstly because I am doing 13 units and secondly because it is aligned to neither the Sciences nor the Arts. However, I feel that if you study subjects that you like, the workload always seems to be less. At least I hope that’s the case! My favourite subject is probably German, as I enjoy the challenges of learning a foreign language and can see the practical benefits of doing so. Moreover, the Extension course involves studying a German film in depth, which is quite interesting compared to the daily Maths and English grind. What are some of your hobbies and interests? My favourite hobby is cricket - playing the sport, watching games and reading about them. Until this year, I was playing cricket five times a week for three different teams. With the HSC coming up, I have scaled back somewhat, only representing the school team. My other main interest is geography, which has engrossed me from even before primary school (I think I still remember all the world capitals). As I grew older, this translated into an interest in the human rights abuses that occur across the globe, explaining my passion for social justice. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? At this stage, I am thinking about studying Law and Science, hopefully at Sydney University. I am not entirely sure though, so I have a lot of discussing to do with Mr Miller over the next year! More broadly, I see myself living close to my family and continuing to help others in the future. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? As one of the Senior Leaders representing Social Justice, I hope to act as a link between the school executive and student leaders - not just those from the SJC, but anyone organising an initiative to raise awareness of the inequities in our world. In particular, Josh and I would like improve the publicity of such events, as the primary goal of social justice is to get a message across to a diverse group of people. What’s an interesting fact about you? In Year 6, I was the state runner-up at the Premier’s Spelling Bee. In hindsight, it was not the most enriching experience, as it is one thing to remember how to spell thousands of words, but another thing to know what they mean! 14
Joshua Arackal What subjects are you doing in Year 12? I am basically keeping everything I did this year, with the hopeful addition of German Extension. That sets me up with English Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 1, Chemistry, Legal Studies, and German Extension next year. 13 units, which I’m sure will be a trek, but a wide variety of subjects that I enjoy. What are some of your hobbies and interests? I tried a whole bunch of things growing up, most of them only for a year or two. They included drama, dance, public speaking, debating and a whole bunch of sports, many of which I still enjoy. However, the hobbies I have maintained have been piano and swimming. And of course reading, but there’s hardly any time for that anymore. I have never really been a gaming person (unless you count Clash Royale) but I enjoy an MMO from time to time. Finally, social justice, and just helping people in general has been a big part of my life and goals, and I do take part in those kinds of things once in a while, whether it be from church, clubs or even the Social Justice and Charities Committees here at school. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I have wanted to do medicine for as long as I can remember (at least after I got past the astronaut stage), but getting to the actual HSC, I’m keeping my options open. Who knows? Law, psychology and business are all quite attractive at this point. Sadly I’ve been told that cookery is not a financially responsible profession. Though perhaps one day when I’m already rich and famous… Apart from that, I would really like a career that allows me to travel. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? I see the Social Justice portfolio as an opportunity to bring together the existing committees that are doing good work at our school, and streamline their activities to better help the desired and unfortunate groups in our society. I hope that Samarth and I will be able to get students more actively involved in these solutions, getting out into both the school and wider community and spreading the word, educating people and making a quantifiable difference. What’s an interesting fact about you? I have what seems to be vermiphobia, though specifically an irrational fear of leeches. It made for a very ‘interesting’ Year 10 camp... 15
Arasa Hardie What subjects are you doing in Year 12? So for Year 12, I’m going to do English Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 1, French Continuers, French Extension and Chemistry. I really enjoy all my subjects and try to maintain a diverse range; something that I think is very important for the HSC. I always struggle to pick my favourite subject because they are all engaging in different ways, but I would probably say French or English (which I know is contrary to the NSB consensus). I enjoy French because it deals with the widest range of content as languages tend to stray away from the normal HSC conventions and I feel you get to engage with a different type of learning. I enjoy English because I love analysis and forming an argument and I feel it is one of the few subjects that you can get really creative and have fun with. What are some of your hobbies and interests? I’m interested in politics and as such I love debating and public speaking. I’ve been in the debating team since Year 7 and made it to a state level for both debating and public speaking and participated in Youth Parliament this year. I really enjoy the critical thinking and analysis part of it and forming an argument. It is also a great way to express yourself and to have your voice and opinions heard. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I’m really interested in the Law and would love to study Commerce/Law or Science/Law at university. The law is a really broad and interesting area as the problems within it are constantly evolving with society. It is also a great opportunity to help people and help fix tangible issues in the community. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? Within my portfolio, I wish to facilitate every NSB being integrated to a greater extent within the community. I think enrichment opportunities are a great way to not only develop and learn, but to make new friends and feel part of a broader community. I’ve always tried to involve myself with enrichment activities like debating, public speaking and mock trial and have found them all very beneficial. This year, I would also like to help those who wish to start clubs and extracurricular activities within NSB to do so and help foster a positive environment. What’s an interesting fact about you? i’M hAlF wHiTe 16
Matthew Tsang What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12, I’m doing English Extension 1, Mathematics Advanced, Economics, Visual Arts, and Software Design and Development. Each of my subjects are from different faculties and I think it’s important to diversify the subjects you choose, but most importantly, do the subjects that you enjoy. For me, VA is my favourite subject which isn’t what most people expect, especially since I’m not your typical arty person. I remember in Year 7 thinking that I never wanted to step foot in J Block again, but now I’m there almost every day. It’s just a great subject that lets you be creative and do whatever you want (as long as it’s within NESA’s boundaries of course). What are some of your hobbies and interests? Well my LinkedIn description says I’m passionate about ‘graphic design and digital media.’ That’s a bit generalised but I think design is such a hidden part of our world but at the same time, it’s so important. Think about all the advertisements you see, the logos in those ads, the devices you use everyday - someone designed it and I think it’s important to appreciate that. I also love visiting museums and art galleries. They’re always undervalued but the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) sector plays an important role in connecting communities and telling their stories. I also really love Apple! What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I’ve always wanted to be a journalist but I think it’s just not a very good time to get into the field. There are so many job losses and budget cuts, and also increased persecution of the press in many countries overseas. I’ll probably do something business related first, such as marketing or IT, or maybe become a UX designer. That’s a pretty popular emerging career. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? One of the things people first asked me when I got selected into the SLC, was ‘What’s classifed under Enrichment?’ I think that’s the first thing Arasa and I will need to address. I also want to work with individual clubs and committees to promote the work that they do and encourage more NSBs to participate. What’s an interesting fact about you? I’m a bit rusty at it now, but I used to be able to identify a lot of fonts just by looking at it. 17
Zhong Guan What subjects are you doing in Year 12? This year I did Mathematics Extension 1, English Extension 1, Physics, Economics, Modern History and Chinese in Context. Although it’s quite a trek to do so many units, I do plan on keeping them for now and see how I go for Year 12. Maybe pick up a few extensions as well, if I make it :’). I do like the Humanities subjects a lot, but Modern History slightly over Economics. Content-wise, it’s really interesting and relevant to the real world - seeing how we learn and repeat history. Not to mention that it’s also extremely useful for English, as the contextual knowledge you gain from Modern helps massively, especially in creatives. Often I feel as if I had a double Modern period as the contexts we study in English have already been covered in Modern History. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Sleeping, eating, NCT, HistoryNet, Board games, a little bit of Hearthstone. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? I’ve always been interested in pursuing a dual degree law at USYD, but more specifically I’ve looked into Commerce/Law, International Studies/Law and Arts/Law. Or maybe some sort of medicine degree. (Laughs) But that’s a bit too optimistic. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? Chris and I aim to help direct the 2018-19 SRC through what will hopefully be a series of major yet exciting changes, especially by emphasising a greater focus on students’ needs and concerns. Our motto has always been ‘For the students, by the students’ and this is what the SRC has always aimed to fulfill. Thanks to everyone’s feedback, we have great plans for the future and will be working hard to deliver only the very best for you. What’s an interesting fact about you? I was a leftie but my parents made me write right handed, so now I can’t write left handed anymore :( 18
Chris Kim What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 12 I have decided to take on a very unorthodox selection of English Extension 2, Mathematics Advanced, Modern History, Legal Studies and PDHPE. You might think it’s a bit over the top with writing but what I like about having really similar subjects is that you’re really able to hone in on the skills required for the subjects. I’m honestly really excited about all my subjects because they’re all courses which are super diverse and engaging, but if I could narrow it down to one it’d have to be PDHPE - it’s a subject that’s probably my most chill but also surprisingly interesting content wise and super rewarding for the work you put in. What are some of your hobbies and interests? In my junior years, I got caught up in the fervour of basketball culture and have been infatuated with the game ever since, but even though ball is life, I do try to get out and do more than just play basketball (and there’s so much more out there)! Sports in general is something that I enjoy, with athletics and soccer being some of my favourites, and I watch a bit of the footy every now and then. Music is another thing that I love immersing myself in, whether it be playing the trumpet (which has been one of my most enjoyable things that I have kept up throughout school), or discovering really good albums from different genres. Of course, I love going out with my mates and spending quality time with family, but I’ve also been trying to read more and broaden my horizons. Unfortunately, sleep often gets in the way. What are some of your future goals and aspirations? There’s definitely been a lot of changes to my future goals over the past year or so, and that means I’ve been keeping my options, more or less, open. It’d be amazing to study something to do with Law, but other career paths like Computer Science and Design have also got my attention recently. I see myself working in a city and a population that is intertwined with technology, and it’s always been a dream to be able to be involved in this advancement, but regardless of what happens, my goal is to stay close to my family and those around me, and be in a position where I can serve others. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? Zhong and I are taking care of the SRC under our portfolio, and our big aim is to be able to invoke broad, but also significant, student engagement and make sure the students have a voice. We aim to bring some exciting changes that will bring the SRC back down to its roots of our motto ‘For the students, by the students’, but will also move the committee forward in serving the school, and most importantly, the students in it. We hope to guide the new committee in the new year and be able to really focus on representing the students. What’s an interesting fact about you? I actually spent 3 years of my early childhood in the US, and even though I don’t remember much, I have this strange, lingering patriotism...
COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
Cameron Chang V I C E C A PTA I N
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? My Year 12 selection includes English Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 1, Modern History, Biology and Chemistry. I am keeping the exact same subjects that I chose for Year 11 as I feel these are my best and most enjoyable subjects. My favourite subject right now would have to be Modern History as I always enjoy investigating significant historical events and understanding a little bit more about the world we live in. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Something I am very interested in is sport. I enjoy playing competitively and pushing myself to the limit. I have played a variety of sports ranging from tennis, basketball and soccer to cricket and swimming. Sport has been something that keeps me motivated and I am always keen to fit some sport in whenever possible! Mostly though, I’m an outgoing person, so I enjoy the company of my friends and family. I am also keen with music and listen to it practically everywhere I go! What are some of your future goals and aspirations? My ultimate aspiration is to become a heart surgeon. From a young age, I have always dedicated myself to pursuing a medical career and North Sydney Boys is going to give me the opportunity to pursue this dream. I relish the idea of helping people and giving back to the community in the most influential manner. That said, I also would like to own a Ferrari some time in the future! What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? My portfolio of Vice Captain (Communication and Public Relations) is something that I recognise as very prestigious and honourable. I am humbled to be in this position, but I also understand that the role comes with a plethora of responsibilities. I am hoping to be able to enable not just the Senior Leaders to carry out their roles, but also the students. I have always believed in cohesion within and between years and would like to see this sense of Falcon spirit carry throughout the school. Ultimately, I see the wellbeing and excellence of students as a major priority and will be looking at making a lasting impact in these areas. What’s an interesting fact about you? One interesting fact about me is that I’m a complete ‘petrolhead’. I love anything to do with cars, in particular Ferrari. I have been an avid follower of Ferrari and my dream is to own one someday (hopefully the 488 GTB)! I also have a particular passion for motorsports and follow Formula 1 religiously, especially the racer Daniel Ricciardo. Although motor racing is a particularly niche sport, I am always captivated by the sheer speed and technological prowess that Formula 1 entails. 20
Nicholas Shalaby C A PTA I N
What subjects are you doing in Year 12? For Year 11 I chose to do English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering Studies and Ancient History. I really enjoyed all of them and I wish I could have also done English Extension but unfortunately you can’t do 14 units. For Year 12 I decided to drop Ancient to pick up Mathematics Extension 2. To be honest my favourite subject changes throughout the year based on what we are doing. One day it will be Physics, the next it will be Maths or Engineering but for the most part I enjoy everything. What are some of your hobbies and interests? I love chilling with the boys, listening to music and watching movies and TV shows. At the moment I’ve been watching Better Call Saul which is just on point. I like playing games but unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I haven’t had heaps of time to do that for a while and I don’t think that is gonna change much for next year. I have also been trying to read more to broaden my knowledge. I just finished reading a book called the Dhandho Investor which I definitely recommend, and sometimes I indulge myself with some wide reading just for enjoyment but I’m not particularly good at getting that done. At lunch times I’m normally air-balling and getting swatted at the basketball courts. If only I was a bit taller… What are some of your future goals and aspirations? At the moment I would really like to get into Medicine, preferably at UNSW, but I am happy to go anywhere that’s willing to take me. I know it’s not going to be an easy road and I’ll have to work hard, not to mention subjecting myself to over a decade of uni, but if I do put in the work and I do get in I think the rewarding nature of the work will be more than worth it for me personally. That is more of a the long term goal. In the short term I would just like to be the best Captain, the best student and the best person I can possibly be. What do you hope to accomplish in your portfolio? I hope that as Captain I will be able to enable everyone in the SLC to successfully run events and achieve whatever goals they set out. I hope that I can lead the school in such a way that the SLC can truly make a difference for the better by running good events and just stepping up and making the school a better learning and bonding environment for everyone at NSB and I am confident that we can. What’s an interesting fact about you? Hmmm... interesting fact? I can’t think of anything that interesting, so this will have to do I guess. I am Egyptian, which I guess probably makes me the first Egyptian Captain. Not particularly interesting but yeah that’s all I really have for you guys.
As a Senior Leader of North Sydney Boys High School, I promise to provide leadership and commitment to the school by: Setting an example to others at all times, Upholding high standards of academic endeavour, Wearing the school uniform with pride, Behaving in a manner to bring honour to my school, And to uphold the traditions of my school to the best of my ability.
SLC 2019 22
NSBHS ALUMNI SERIES
Jacob Masina 2014 School Captain 24
Could you please introduce and tell us about yourself? My name is Jacob. I was an NSB graduate of 2014. I was the school captain of that year and I am currently a board director of the Old Falconian’s Union, the NSB alumni association. I’m currently in my 4th year of an Arts and Law degree at Sydney University, majoring in my Arts degree in Government and International Relations. I currently work at a law firm called Gilbert + Tobin, on the litigation team. At the moment, we are currently looking at the Banking Royal Commission. I also serve as a board director at the University of Sydney Union, which is a $30 million non-profit organisation which looks at providing better services on campus by empowering the community. In high school, I could go on for hours with what I was involved in! I was school captain and the year before I was the SRC president. I was also involved in the Charities Committee, debating and as much sport as I possibly could. I also dabbled a bit in the music field. At university, I heavily pursue my extracurricular activities which are always a fun part of my life. I participated in the law society, sport and everything in between. What aspect of politics appeals to you other than the fact that you can change the lives of other people? I think it is that. I’m a bit fed up sometimes with how things are run and how messages get to people. A big passion of mine has always been education. My parents came from not too much, and they made sure that no matter what, I got the best education I could possibly get. I never expected to get into a selective school let alone NSB and I did, which was fantastic. When I came to the school I always thought I would be a small fish in a big pond but I managed to do quite well for myself which is great. The way I see politics is that it is always lacking in awareness and education in how they can get involved in how they can make the best of their own lives. I think the duty of politicians in Australia is to empower people in their own surroundings and in their own environment and I think that has been lacking from politics for a long time. So firstly, I believe in advocating for Australia and the community and secondly, underlining that moreso, advocating the empowerment of every individual in this country. How did your interest in politics develop at school or at university?
I can give you my origin story in politics. My parents raised me to watch the news and to always be aware. They also told me to have my own opinions, they never swayed my opinions and they would say at the dinner table, “What do you think of this happening?”. Later in high school, I got into student leadership and I loved that. Then in Year 10, I was 15 years old and I was told I had to get work experience and I was thinking what’s a job that will look good in the CV, you know, what would open up more opportunities. Then I thought politics would be pretty cool. I had the problem of what side I would be or whatever. I didn’t know so I went online and looked at the party platforms and I got as much info as possible and that got me thinking. I read the Labor platform about rights and equality and I thought those were really noble principles to follow, but the Liberal platform said rights as well as responsibilities and equality of opportunity over equality, and of the pursuit of individual liberties. That spoke to me and to my values. This I found allowed me to think in a much stronger way. At the time I was living in Epping and the local member was a Liberal. I remember asking if I could do a week volunteering and they said yes. I rocked up and loved every second of it, though I wasn’t allowed to join the party until I was 16. I joined as soon as I could and have been involved in the party ever since. It was hard to be involved especially in my senior year as I went to an academically selective school. You’re rightly told to focus on your studies and that’s your number one priority. Later on, I went to Orientation Week at uni and saw the Liberals on campus. On top of that I was involved with Young Liberals for that two year period since I turned 16 and I never looked back. That has sort of grown my experience and it has evolved since then but my belief in politics is always rooted in my founding principles. That’s my origin story. What is it that you miss the most about NSB? The thing I miss most is certainly the routine. I remember the early morning classes, having a timetable, which was pretty appealing compared to the crazy life I live now. Also for sure, the people and not just my friends and classmates, but also teachers. Towards the end of high school, you get a much greater appreciation of people treating you as their equal. It was just a great environment to be in. I love NSB. When I came from primary school, it was so different and I thrived, no doubt. I just loved the structure and the people and the community. 25
Can you give us an overview of what one day in university is like? My week generally is two days of uni and two days of work then one day to study. I’ve arranged my subjects so I have a packed schedule at university. My classes start at 9 am and finish at 6 pm but I have a 3-hour break in the middle. I still live in Epping, so I do the trek to the city for uni, so to speak. I used to go for a swim before class at the university pool. If it’s a work day, I’ll go for a run. If I go to my class and it’s a lecture, I will sit there for two hours taking notes then I’ll have a break where I will either do some reading or prepare for another class, tutorials or seminars. This might sound a bit strange but there are different types of university classes. Lunchtime, I have a bite to eat, catch up with someone and I usually just go with the flow. Otherwise, there might be an event on campus, for example, a BBQ for a society I am part of or maybe I am not part of it and I just get free food. It doesn’t really matter, it’s always there, and I then have a whole set of tutorials or lectures up until 6 pm then I will either go home, go to the library or whatever event I want to attend. Year 11 and Year 12 are going through Preliminaries and the HSC respectively this year, do you have any advice for them? 26
Number one is balance, beyond anything else. Never let yourself be unbalanced. I came to NSB and was really fortunate that I had a good foundation instilled by my parents. If you put 100% into academics, you will burn out before the HSC and you will miss everything. You won’t enjoy yourself and you will have a bad time. I always made sure as much as I was focused on academics, but also I always had time with my friends and had time for sport. You need to care for your physical health, mental health, and spiritual health which may be your religious faith. If anything, that was important to me especially through the end of high school. Finally, I think you need time for yourself. I didn’t learn this until I got to university, but I think I missed a bit of this in high school. Now I am allocating time to read a book or go out and to do something while just thinking about your own things without thinking about anything around you. The second piece of advice for Year 12 especially is that the HSC is a team effort. Up until trials, the game tells you to play your own game, you get your rank up. That’s all that is important and after trials, we do so well because it is a team effort all the way to the end. We had a really strong cohort 2014. We ended up the second ranked school in the state which was fantastic. Everyone told us we were the ones to beat James Ruse. We were the golden cohort, and we almost did. We ended up having a somewhat 60% to 70% of our economics and physics cohort get
an 86 or an 89 for example, so you needed one extra mark for a Band 6. So we could have done it but I think sometimes people get a bit greedy. Some get a bit anxious, but it is important to rely on each other. That’s speaking as well to what happens after the Old Falconians and the alumni. Do you have any advice for the younger years? Do as much as you can in Year 7 to 10. Year 7 for sure is scary and it’s a different environment. It is insane but after a couple of weeks, you get used to it and then you find your feet. I came to NSB not knowing anyone and for example, managed to make friends and everyone was really welcoming to me but I made it my mission to try a whole lot of things. I think my logic is as you get older your opportunities to expand your knowledge get smaller. Time costs money, whatever it is it becomes harder to get new experiences and every experience is a learning opportunity and the only thing we can do is learn as much as possible. We don’t know what is going to happen in 5 years, so I said I am going to do as much as I can. I sucked at swimming but I tried at the swimming carnival and then I realised I really do suck at swimming so I am not going to do that again. I found debating very interesting and Charities, Leadership and Sport. I think it made me a better person. The school’s mission is all-rounded Falconians, so you gotta embrace it 110 percent because when you’re in university, it is the only thing people care about. A mark will get your foot in the door, but people are looking for all-rounded people. So in terms of my advice to young people, it’s take new experiences if friends are around you and don’t be afraid to take the plunge and ask for help.
Jacob in Year 10, 2012
Finally, once you get into University, you get a lot more freedom, it’s not like high school. Is that always a good thing? Not always good. Absolutely not. Especially with NSB and I think selective school structure in general is we are used to extreme structure and rigidity especially if you pile on the tutoring obligations and music and those sort of things that we all like to do. It’s no doubt, 6 days of the week, the boys have 12 hours of their day mapped out hour by hour and they know where they’re going to be and what they’re going to be doing. But, you come to university and it is completely different. You pick where your classes are going to be, what time they’re going to be. That kind of thing. And you probably have 2 days a week free to do nothing. Hopefully, you study, hopefully, you do something normal with your life. Obviously, the bad one is that people don’t have the study skills, don’t have the motivation to make the most of their time and they waste it and they go out and just waste their time. It’s a great thing as well. It’s the only way you grow as a person. It’s the only way you can take advantage of what’s going on around you and those opportunities. If you’re studying 2 and a half days a week, you can go and get a job or part-time job that will set you up very well. You can go and focus on your passion for coding that you want to deliver to the market and make a billion dollars. The freedom is there to give you the opportunity to explore your potential. Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into politics? Firstly, no-one is a hundred percent sure about what
they think about an issue. The whole point of politics is that it changes day-to-day, month-to-month. You have to have entered it with principles and values that you believe in and even then those can be challenged and evolved and improved upon. That’s the whole point about politics. I also think that politics is very reflective of human nature. It is about growing us as people and that kind of aspect. In terms of getting involved in high school, watch the news, read stuff, debate if you want, hang out with your friends and just talk about the issues. Obviously, the major parties have things to get involved in which I would recommend if that’s your thing and if you’re thinking about the Young Liberals side, feel free to hit me up. Most importantly I think, especially with a young person, we have to embrace the fact that we haven’t had life experiences. I’m not one to go and make some grand statement about how the world can be fixed, I’m just going to try and do my best. In terms of politics, it’s about participating in the discourse and that means conversations and discussions. So start sharing and start listening is my message. In terms of those interested in politics, listen to the world around you not just you as students but podcasts, different information sources and don’t be afraid to share and articulate. I think one thing for education is that we’re failing our younger generation in how we teach them to articulate themselves and their ideas, to the extent that they might get to university when the whole point is articulating your ideas, and we have to wind back the system so that people are coddled or people are told how to speak their own mind. That can’t be right. You have to be brave enough to go out there in Year 8 or Year 9 and start, get it wrong, have someone yell at you maybe, grow up, suck it up and go back next time, next week, next month, try again and improve. Critically analyse that process. To me that’s what politics is about, it’s really, especially to a young person, going out and trying something, critically analysing something you’ve done and what you’ve done wrong and try and improve it. Getting involved in politics is the physical manifestation of that process in a major party. Maybe you’re campaigning or you’re organising policy or discussing things there in a more professional space. Maybe you’d go out and run your own campaigns or you write a letter to your MP and fix the pothole down the road. That’s politics as well. Is there any advice you’d have given to your younger self? I think I’d tell myself to relax a bit. I was always a 28
stressful guy. I always had a good time but I was always thinking, “What’s the next thing to do? I’ve got to do more.” I guess I would’ve told myself to relax. Again, have faith in yourself is the second aspect to that. I’m in my fourth out of six years at university. It’s a long time to be at university. But I’m looking at a five year, ten-year ambitious career path. I’m in that kind of mindset. You have no idea, the saying is that “The jobs that we will work, you and I, our generation, don’t even exist yet.” So how can you start to plan things? My argument always is that you don’t need to plan because if you don’t meet your plan you get a bit sad and depressed that you haven’t met your goals. But you can have a dream. You can have a direction. I always think that no matter where I am in five years time, if I’m there or somewhere completely different, I’ll be doing what I like, what I care about and what I’m passionate about. As long as you stick by those values, you’ll be enjoying yourself. If talking to my Year 10 or 11 self I’d say, it’s great you’re focusing on your studies, it’s great and everything. But just take a moment to breathe and relax and realise that you need to find your direction and motivation. Because to me, that’s what high school’s about and that’s what people struggle with.
Do you have words to the 2019 Crawford team? Smash ‘em. Just go out and crush ‘em. I don’t think you need advice, just go out and win. I remember we won in our year. We’d won on and off a couple of times. I played in our futsal team. Futsal was always one of those ones where we’re expected to lose. They turned up and they were absolute trash and we ran all over them. It was the best thing in the world. It’s a brotherly love between us and Melbourne for sure. Is it in Melbourne this year or Sydney? It was in Sydney this year and next year in Melbourne. Okay, my final piece of advice is to go try Crazy Wings, that’s a Melbourne tradition. I don’t think it still exists but it is this place down in the Melbourne CBD and it sells one of the hottest wings in the world. They’ll come out carrying gloves and stuff. That’s the unofficial Crawford activity, Melbourne versus North Sydney. So get your hottest chilli eaters and go try those because they are absolutely brutal. But it’s good fun.
NSBHS ALUMNI SERIES
Peter Overton Prefect, Class of 1983 30
What was your experience like at North Sydney Boys? North Sydney Boys was the most fantastic school for me and the memories are still as strong as ever. I went there in 1978, I think I started Year 7, and left in I think ‘83. I was a Prefect, I won the Headmaster’s Prize, I did music, I played rugby, I immersed myself in school life. It’s a selective high school, so back then, I was lucky enough to get in, or help me get in is a better way of saying it, as my father was an old boy. He was very proud that his first child followed in his footsteps at North Sydney Boys and I can honestly say that it was the best educational experience of my life and I feel very privileged and proud to say to anyone who asks me where I went to school to say I went to North Sydney Boys High School. Do you remember what subjects you did? Yes, I did all the staples, I remember doing Latin, English of course, Maths, I loved Geography, Music, Science of course, Woodwork, Metalwork, I think it was called Industrial Arts, that’s from memory. You know I still see all my mates from my year. Every year we have dinner and often a teacher will come to dinner. And all these years on, the bond of North Sydney Boys High, and I’m 52 now, remains very strong. It’s interesting that you didn’t mention Economics but you studied Economics at University. Yeah I did Economics as well, in C Block. I should go for a walk through the school. I spoke at the school maybe 10-12 years ago, maybe longer, and I’ve never been back. I spoke at an assembly, talked about my memories, maybe you should invite me back one day. But yes, I did Economics. So you studied that in Uni, how did that lead you to journalism? I didn’t sit the Higher School Certificate, because I had glandular fever. I was very sick, so I got an estimate. And I got into Macquarie University and I had the marks to do economics, and I liked economics, and I thought, “why not?”, it’s a strong degree, BEC, a bachelor of economics, and so I went to Macquarie University and I studied it and I passed and got my degree and it’s just nice to have in the background. I always wanted to do journalism because I love people’s stories, so that was my first and foremost
ambition. But, as I said before, having the economics behind me was a really good fallback position if I didn’t get into journalism, but also I learnt a lot and learning is marvelous and enriching, and I think it has stood me in good stead to have that and I made great friends at university. If you didn’t become a journalist, would you have become an economist? No, no. You know what I would have done, I would have been a primary school teacher. Because I love students like you guys, I love that you have emailed me, you found my email address and I responded immediately, because I love young people with a real desire to learn and expand their knowledge, so if you can be an influence in that and help shape and mould people, that’s what I would have done, is be a primary school teacher. And I still enjoy it. I go to school and talk to mainly the Year 12 boys about why it’s cool to be a good bloke and I feel I’m having an impact because teachers often come back to me and say “They listened to you, they really did”. So I’m sort of getting two bites of the cherry aren’t I. I’m going into the school environment and I’m having an impact on people which is so rewarding but I’m doing my first love which is telling people’s stories. This year is your tenth year since becoming the chief newsreader at Nine News and before that you were with 60 Minutes. What are some of your favourite stories that you have worked on during that time? [chuckling] I can’t think, there’s so many! There’s thousands and thousands of stories, when there’s tragedies, which—I love happy stories because I think our world is dominated by a lot of unhappiness and bad stories. I think some of the major stories was when Donald Trump became President, of recent times. I think the Royal Wedding was a story that brought great happiness, I love a good sports story, and I love a good human story in the news. I’m trying to think of one, there’s so many global events so I can say at 60 Minutes that the stories that remained strong for me are stories that I know have had an impact, like telling stories about mental illness, telling stories about, believe it or not, bowel cancer. You know I did a story about bowel cancer where I had a colonoscopy on the show and that’s one of the biggest mailbags we have ever had at 60 Minutes with people writing in as it made such a difference to people’s lives as they went and got checked. The celebrities, you can 31
take them or leave them, but it’s those kinds of stories like meeting Professor Chris O’Brien, head and neck surgeon, magnificent man who died of brain cancer and being entrusted to tell his story, they are the ones that stand out. Coming back to the news, now that I think about it, I’ve been in Canberra for Kevin Rudd, for Julia Gillard, for Kevin Rudd, for Tony Abbott, for Malcolm Turnbull, and for Scott Morrison. Now I think about the state of Australian politics and the extraordinary turnover of Prime Ministers is a story that stands out for me in the last decade of reading the news. Do you prefer being in the newsroom or being in the field? I really love presenting the news every night, I’m a journalist who can read autocue well. I’ve been in the field for a long time, at 60 Minutes I travelled the world for 8 years. 8 months of the year I was away and then I was a reporter in the newsroom for 10 years before that. I love going out on the road for the news, so when we cover floods or bushfires or cyclones or deposing Prime Ministers getting the axe, I go out on the road and I love that. To answer your question, I still do the odd story for 60 Minutes so I still get my buzz from that but I get a buzz from helming the 6 O’Clock News every night and it has also given me a great work-life
balance with two little children, as I was away, as I said, for 8 years, for 8 months of every year. Fake news has become more widespread now and recently there were photoshopped images of your wife being used in an online scam. How has fake news impacted you both professionally as a journalist and also in your personal life? So the online scam that you’re talking about, it’s irritating and makes you cranky but it’s happening to a lot of ‘on- air celebrities’ and I think people are smart enough, or most people are, to realise that it is fake. It still makes you cranky though, that people will exploit your image. I think professionally we’ve just got to be on our game. Social media is a huge disruptor and you can’t rely on social media to be factually correct and you’ve got to use your journalistic skills to check all of that and often it can be rubbish, it can be fake news, so you’ve just got to have your wits about you. Donald Trump has brought this fake news to the fore. I think for the President, everything is fake news when it doesn’t support him. But we at Channel 9 and my colleagues at the other stations, we are rigorous. If we get it wrong we put our hands up, but we are passionate about delivering the news correctly and with integrity.
Peter, 3rd from left, back row
Channel 9 is a commercial station and is sponsored by various companies who may have vested interests in aspects of the news. Do you think this impacts on your ability to present stories in an unbiased way? Not at all. So Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, all of them, Telstra, Optus, all the big companies advertise with us. So, how did we report the Banking Royal Commission? How did we report Telstra’s outages? We report them as news and we report them factually. You wouldn’t have a news service in commercial television if you didn’t have that approach. People have commercials and we do the news as it is. The Royal Commission, we have reported that as it comes out and you know how bad that has been for the banks, and their profiles and their standing in the community, but that’s life. We are independent of all of that. 60 Minutes is known for paying some interviewees a lot of money to get those interviews. Do you think this style of cheque book journalism is effective and does it affect the ability to report on stories objectively and impartially? Well, look, when you say 60 Minutes is renowned for paying people, it’s very rare. Very rare. But it has happened and it will continue to happen and in an environment where commercially you’ve got lots of programs vying for the one story, sometimes, that’s what happens. But as a journalist, of course, it’s hard. You want to be pure but you’ve got to be realistic as well. So as a reporter, you don’t get involved in any of that. I don’t want to know any of that. It’s up to the executives who run the program and the executives who run the company. But it’s not common. There seemed to be a period a while back when it was getting a lot of publicity but it’s not as common as you think, but you’ve got to be commercially realistic as well sometimes, when you’ve got opposition channels wanting the same story and someone says, “Who’s going to pay me the most?”. You’ve got to know when to jump off the ship and what you value the story at as well. How do you think the media landscape will change in the future, especially with Fairfax merging with Nine? Well, it’s changing dramatically and it’s changing at pace. Technology is a huge driver of change and I’m seeing that in the way we gather news and then there’s 33
all the digital platforms now which are very hungry for news, because it feeds your generation. I bet you don’t sit down and watch the 6 O’Clock News every night. You’re probably busy, maybe sometimes, but probably not. You guys rely on this, [pointing at phone] so the landscape is changing and it will continue to change. And the Fairfax-Nine merger is fantastic because it makes us a big media company that has lots of components to it that I think is about survival. Would you survive on your own? Maybe not. And there will be editorial independence across the board from Nine to Macquarie Radio to Fairfax. And we’ve seen it recently in politics. We’ve had people who are about to become colleagues absolutely butting heads, so a radio announcer attacking one of our reporters, and so on. So, I think that the landscape is exciting but I think you’ve got to adapt to change and if you can’t go with change, you’re not going to survive. What advice would you give to any students who are interested in going into journalism? My advice is if that’s your dream, chase your dream. Be technologically savvy, have a passion for telling stories, and for wanting to learn. But know you are going into a very competitive environment. And what I say to my mates and their children who want to do it, don’t ever give up on the idea of going into law or economics or whatever you want to do, and still you can get into journalism. So I’ve got my economics 34
degree, as you know, but I got into journalism. The CEO of Nine [Hugh Marks] is a lawyer by trade who loves television. He was a lawyer at Channel 9 who is now running the whole company. But if you have got the dream, chase the dream. It’s hard and a lot of young people want to do it, a lot of young people, and you have got to want to do it for the right reasons. A lot of people want now just want to be known, like what I call the ‘supermarket syndrome’ because of Instagram and so on, they just want people to be like “Oh, that’s Peter Overton!” or “Oh, that’s Matthew!”, they don’t understand telling stories, they just want to be recognised. If you’re going in it for that, you’ve got no hope. You’ll be found out and spat out. You’ve got to go in it for the right reasons, and that’s a passion for storytelling. What would you say sparked your passion for storytelling? I’m fascinated by people. So when I met you, I wanted to know all about you. Very briefly I wanted to know what years you’re in, where you live, what your heritage was. I just like to know, I’ve always wanted to know about people and know about stories and still to this day. It’s amazing what you can learn sitting in a pizza shop with an Italian or a Brazilian waitress and you ask them 3 or 4 questions and you’re like “Wow, you’re an architect and you’re from Columbia,”. This is a girl the other night who served my wife and I some
dinner and she’s serving tables, but she has a story and that story fascinated me. What was one of the biggest challenges of your whole career up to now? Great question. I think the biggest challenge is not to be impatient. I’ve started here as a very junior sports reporter and I have had the best job at 60 Minutes and now I have the best job doing the news. Channel 9 is an iconic brand in this country but I think as a young bloke, my father had to say “Hey, put the brakes on a little, you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to earn your stripes!”. So, impatience was probably the biggest challenge and then getting a work-life balance, because when you are ambitious, you can sometimes get that out of whack. Even at 52, it’s better than it was. I’ve been here for 27 years and I think that says a lot for the company I work for, but I’ll tell you what. What underpins it all, I’m so proud I went to North Sydney Boys High and that gave me the platform. You know, I did drama at school, I did music. It was a great place to go to school and that has been an integral part of my success in Australian television. Going forward, do you have any ambitions or plans? You know what, I’m pretty happy at the moment. I always want to do better and I’ve got some things outside of work that I will do, but at the moment I’m
mentoring a lot of young people in the newsroom and that gives me great satisfaction, so I’ll keep doing that and I’ll do some courses outside of work as well, and just being a good dad. So I’m breaking away from professional ambition to personal ambition is to be a good father and see my children grow into good people like you three. A lot of students face a lot of struggles trying to balance their personal life and also their lives at school. You’re very active at your work but you seem to have a great personal life as well. How do you manage this balance? My wife has been very strong at driving that and since I’ve become a father and come off the road at 60 Minutes, it’s been a lot easier, but I still haven’t got it right. When I was at 60 Minutes I was out of whack, I was away the whole time. I was living work every second of the day. Becoming a father has changed that. Work is important but so are your children and to me, I’m better at work by having the balance right with the family and having that makes me a better father and it also makes me a better journalist. At age 52, I’m only just getting that right and I’ll probably never ever get it entirely right because work is a hungry master but I’m getting a lot better at it, I promise.
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The 4U Paper - September 2018 (Issue 31) Designed by Matthew Tsang Interviews coordinated by Rodger Liang Photographers: Matthew Truong, Derrick Chong, Dylan Shadbolt, Gabriel Phua, Ajhor Wriddho With thanks to: Philip Han, Nicholas Till, Simon Lin, Benjamin Nguyen, Jayath Gunawardena, Anthony Huang