Firstly, I would like to congratulate Marcus Nguyen, Owen Zhang, Lachlan Ho and Aaron Martano for their outstanding achievements in the NSWFA U18 team foil competition over the weekend. The boys formed their own independent team and worked hard throughout their competition to win Silver.
I’d like to take this opportunity to bring the issue of school representation to attention.
At the beginning of this season, the school was faced with a challenging task of working out if the NSWFA multi-week program was something our school would participate in. With extensive consultation and reflection on what we want our SBHS Fencing program to be, I decided as MIC (with full support from the school) that we would not be participating in the NSWFA multi-week program for this season as it did not meet our needs. As a consequence, I have been working hard to provide an alternative inter-school activity for our students by working directly with other schools to establish a NSW Schools’ Fencing League, which fulfils our inter-school competition obligations and meets the schools’ needs.
Students were advised as such and were told that if they chose to enter the NSWFA multi-week events on their own accord, they do so without official school support. As it currently stands, the school does not recognise the multi-week NSWFA program as a school endorsed competition for this season. I am keeping the dialogue open with NSWFA upon the conclusion of the season and will review our options for next year.
For any fencing competition/activity to be officially endorsed and supported by the school, the school will provide financial and coaching support by paying the entry fees and have staff on site to supervise and coach our students. As such, teams and individuals who wish to represent our school are required to be vetted through our selection process. The selection policy for school representation must be fair and transparent across all sports. In the SBHS Fencing program, we select our teams based firstly on focus and dedication in training, followed by determining ranks through internal competition and assessment by our coaches so that we select our representatives based on merit.
Thinking about future seasons, It would be detrimental for the program, school and students’ morale and integrity if we allowed teams to be entered based on a process of whoever chooses to enter and can afford to pay their way on to a team. To maintain the integrity of the fencing program and my role as MIC, I will uphold the selection policy that requires the school to endorse students representing the name of Sydney Boys High through a selection process based on merit.
I have done my best to factor in the conflicting scheduling with the new NSW Schools’ Fencing League program and aimed to minimise disruption to students who wished to be involved in both programs. I have advised all students who have entered the NSWFA multi-week events to do so as independent fencers or representatives of a club/private team so as to make that distinction of responsibility clear.
As such, I will be asking NSWFA and the relevant teams to change the team name/representation to something else other than ‘SBHS Team’. This should be theoretically possible as the NSWFA program is not recognised as an official inter-school competition – they are a ‘school-age’ competition. Regardless if the name change request is successful, the school will maintain its distance from the NSWFA multi-week program this season and will not endorse the use of our school name or take credit for the results.
I know this decision will affect some a lot more than others and I want you all to know that it was not an easy one for me to make. At the core of my role, I aim to be fair and transparent in all of my tasks. I have the responsibility to lead the program in a clear direction that will benefit the many over the few and uphold the integrity of the school’s High Spirit and sportsmanship.
To support this position, I have released the official SBHS Fencing Team Selection Policy, which can be found on the SBHS Fencing Program page.
Please let me know if there are any issues or questions.
– Dat Huynh