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Artarmon School turns out winners

Daniel Selvadurai is passionate about communicating. This year alone he has won the Artarmon Public School (APS) public speaking competition and the Northern Sydney Region Multicultural Public Speaking Competition beating 81 other finalists to take the title. Now his skills have been recognised by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Daniel was awarded the PM's NAIDOC Medal for a poem he wrote to celebrate National Aboriginal and Islanders (NAIDOC) week.

Each year, 20 PM Medals are awarded to primary and secondary school children in each state or territory. Daniel's lyrical poem was judged by a panel of elders from the Aboriginal community, representatives of government and Koori TAFE students.

According to NAIDOC Week executive director, Daniel's entry was one of more than 52,000 in the poetry section of the competition.

Daniel was presented with his medal by Aboriginal affairs minister Victor Dominello. who said he "was extremely impressed with the vibrant imagery Daniel's poem created. "It showed a depth of understanding that reminds us all to stop and remember," he said.

Also standing on the winner's podium, awarded for their powers of persuasion, are the Year 6 debate team. Robert Ilin, Ruby Hamersley, Meera Hardie, Ethan Allen and Tong Zhang defeated Bilgola Plateau Public School to win the Northern Sydney Regional Debating Championship. Each team had one hour to prepare their debate with only a dictionary, pens and paper allowed in the preparation room.

APS Principal, Louise Green, says these rules ensure a fair contest. "It's an honest debate because you see what the children really know," she told the Gazette.

APS teacher Greta Lewis coached and supported the team with assistance from Kristina Gollan and Michele Symonds. The children in the debate team are dedicated; learning debate technique and practicing during lunchtime at school. In fact, lunchtimes at APS are jam-packed with activities, in particular for the J Rock team members. For four months, 85 APS students, turned actors and stage crew, perfected their performance piece for inclusion in the J Rock concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Entitled I've Got the Magic in Me, the J Rock team told the story of the clueless "new kid at school" dealing with a bossy teacher and trying to find their feet.

Mentor and teacher, Catherine Yeo was delighted with the results. She said: "Students embraced the theme of the performance which highlighted that everyone is unique and we each have a little bit of 'magic' inside us which makes us who we are." Joining about 2,600 other students from all over Sydney, APS students performed their inaugural J Rock piece. APS is committed to entering J Rock in 2012.

While one group of students was rocking the Entertainment Centre another equally dedicated group was wowing audiences at the Opera House. Senior students from the APS String Group joined 200 other string players in a massed concert, The Festival of Instrumental Music.

The enormous group played four pieces from memory with a professionalism and skill level that delighted the audience.

Teachers as tutors are also a feature of Artarmon Academy. Over five weeks students will study subjects as diverse as botanic drawing, Australian reptiles, space science and animation; all taught by APS teachers who have a particular skill, qualification or interest in the subject matter.

Deputy Principal Ryan Shepherd says there are a number of benefits to students in addition to introducing them to a broader range of subjects. "For senior students, it works well as a transition to high school. Children from different grades are mixed together in classes and they have to be organised enough to make their own way to the class they have chosen. It's a very different organisational model to their usual primary school experience."

Claire Eaton, Lewis Clabburn and Kevin Yang have proved they have a talent for athletics. They were all selected to join the NSW state team to compete in the School Sports Australia Annual Athletics Championships in Darwin. Kevin won gold in the shot-put while Lewis was awarded silver and bronze in the 100m and 100m relay respectively. Claire was just shy of a medal with a commendable fourth in discuss and shot-put. Remember those names - you may be cheering for them one day as they wear the green and gold!

Another person who deserves a standing ovation is Margaret Heppell, APS volunteer canteen convener and treasurer, who is stepping down after two years. The hunt is on to find her replacement. It is not an easy task and the Parent and Citizens Committee is concerned the canteen will be unable to operate in 2012 without filling the position. "Parent volunteers provide great support to the school and I'm hoping the canteen will have an eager group in place for 2012," P&C president Ian Dyson said. Anybody who feels they can make the commitment to supporting this valuable service is welcome to contact the school for further details.

by Jane Rowley

Courtesy of Gazette November 2011
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Caption: PM's medal winner Daniel Selvadurai, 4th from L On his L: Artin Etmekdjian, Ryde Council mayor; Dylan Williams, executive director NAIDOC Week Initiatives; Dr Nilourfer Selvadurai. On his R: Victor Dominello MP; Clinton Braddock, Naidoc Week Initiatives; Louise Green, APS Principal; Dr Hiran Selvadurai





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