Mercurius issue 7 – June 2020 - 15 Jun 2020
Principal’s Report

Principal’s Report

Dear Fortians, Parents and Carers,

Additional school activities able to recommence:

With updated health advice and changes to state and national restrictions, there are some school-based activities that are able to recommence from either 15 June or the start of Term 3. Unfortunately, non-essential adults are still not permitted on school grounds or at schools events – this includes parents/carers unless specifically approved by the principal. Parents/carers who need to be on site for canteen or uniform shop purposes or for important face-to-face meetings will need to sign the visitor acknowledgment form.

Activities allowed from Monday 15 June

  • Choirs and performing arts within the school setting only at this point (no inter-school activities). All IMP ensembles and music tuition can now recommence along with drama performances (unfortunately audiences are not allowed until further restrictions are lifted).
  • Community use activities used by students outside of school hours with limited adult attendance.

Activities allowed from beginning of Term 3

  • All school sport and activities including competitions aligned with current health advice.
  • Inter-school student events and competitions (choirs, sport, debating, public speaking, performing arts)
  • Incursions involving external providers maintaining distancing and hygiene aligned with health advice
  • SRE volunteers
  • P&C meetings – strong preference for on-line where possible
  • Work experience for students
  • VET work placements
  • Community use activities involving general adult attendance at which the organiser remains responsible for compliance with distance and hygiene requirements.

This means that the regular timetable will return for Tuesdays with all students participating in either SRE or non-SRE period 4 and Years 8-10 participating in sport after lunch.

Activities under consideration for Term 3 but not yet approved

  • School Camps (Year 9 Duke of Ed had been scheduled for week 9 Term 3)
  • Excursions
  • Parent attendance at assemblies and other school events
  • Interstate excursions
  • School based activities that involve large gatherings of adults are not permitted at this time. These include parent/community gatherings such as parent functions, fundraisers such as Fort Fest, school BBQs, large parent information evenings. These large gatherings will continue to be reviewed and may be permitted at a later date.

Cancelled or delayed until further notice

  • International excursions
  • Certain large arts and sports events such as the Festival of Instrumental Music and Festival of Choral Music, State Wind Bands – rehearsals and performances, State Choir, State Dance Festival, NSW Public Schools Performing Ensembles, The State Drama Festival, NSW All Schools cross country, NSW All Schools touch football trials, NSWCHSSA athletics championships, NSW All Schools football tri-series, NSW All Schools opens netball tri-series, Secondary Water Polo trials and Secondary Boys Cricket trials.

Fort Street HS will maintain existing infection control protocols (enhanced cleaning, hand sanitiser in all learning spaces, hygiene posters and reminders etc) and will continue to operate in line with AHPPC NSW Health guidelines.

School Reports and Parent Teacher Nights

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Year 11 parent teacher night scheduled for Term 1 Monday April 6, was postponed. Parents of Year 11 students will receive an invitation via email shortly, to contact the school if they would like to participate in an online or phone interview with their child’s teachers. The school will then arrange appointment times for these interviews.

The Years 7 and 10, parent teacher night, scheduled for Term 2, Wednesday June 24 and the Years 8 and 9, parent teacher night, scheduled for Term 2, Monday June 29 are postponed and hopefully will be held at school early in term 3. If this is not possible

Year 12 students have received their semester 1 reports already. Year 7 and Year 11 students will receive their semester 1 reports by the end of this term and Years 7, 8 and 9 students will receive their reports in the first two weeks of term 3.

Grant Application

I would like to thank Elizabeth Kenyon for putting together an application for a Community Building Partnership 2020 Grant on behalf of the P&C. If successful, this grant will complete the library renovation project by refurbishing the foyer and entrance, providing a welcoming, colourful and functional entrance to the heart of the school. The library foyer refurbishment would brighten and refresh the space and provide security cameras as well as sufficient bag storage for all library visitors.

Elizabeth has also registered Fort Street for the CBP Grant to obtain two more drinking water stations for the school playground.

Before and after school pick up

We are currently experiencing higher than usual traffic on Palace Street before and after school during pick up and drop off times. In order to reduce congestion and to keep students safe, can you please consider the following points:

  • Year 7&8 students are being dismissed at 3:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, in order to help us stagger departure times. If you are picking up a Year 7/8 child, it would be helpful if you can arrive promptly at 3:00pm so that you are not contributing to congestion at 3:15pm when the rest of the school is dismissed.
  • If it is convenient, consider alternate pick up/drop off points such as the Andreas Street gate near the canteen or Elwsick Street, near the pedestrian footbridge on the other side of Parramatta Road. Parents might also consider arranging to meet their children a block or two from the school, for example at Petersham Park.
  • Most of the traffic seems to have cleared by 3:30pm. If it is convenient parents, especially of senior students, might consider waiting until after 3:30pm to collect their children.

Students walking to Petersham station have also been asked to walk all the way down Palace Street before crossing the road, so that they can avoid the heaviest traffic and stay safe.

We understand that at this time there is caution about using public transport, and we ask that parents driving their children to or from school consider the points above, and exercise caution when driving near the school.

Congratulations – Mr Wilkinson

I would like to congratulate Mr Joshua Wilkinson on gaining a permanent teaching position at Fort Street High School. Mr Wilkinson has been teaching at the Fort for the past year and a half on a temporary block, in that time he has become the current Year 7 Assistant Year Adviser, he has coached the baseball team and has attended almost every camp the school has offered during that time. I would also like to thank Dr James Edwards (parent of Leo in Year 9) for participating in this merit selection panel to hire a new member of the teaching staff.



Thank you Fort St High School Teachers and Staff
The Fort Street High School community feel a great deal of gratitude towards the school’s teachers and staff for all the extra work they have done over the past few months of the pandemic. The P&C would like to help express this thanks and also assist the school canteen by setting up a tab at the canteen to allow teachers and staff to treat themselves to a thank you coffee, muffin, sandwich, etc.
Please consider donating to the tab, as much or as little as you like. Even a $5 donation would be awesome. We understand that due to the current economic situation some families will be in a better position than others to donate, so please don’t feel obliged to contribute.
If you can help, it’s super quick and easy to donate and there is an opportunity to send a message of thanks (you can even include a photograph)

Please feel free to distribute this link among families in the Fort Street HS community.

Second Hand Uniform Stall
Please be advised that as it is still currently recommended by the Department of Education that parents and caregivers avoid school grounds, there won’t be any second hand uniform stall during term 2. We will keep you updated on what the situation will be for term 3. As always families who are having difficulty affording uniforms can be assisted and we recommend getting in contact with your child’s year advisor for further information on this.

P&C Vacancies
There is one remaining vacancy on the P&C executive and we would encourage any member of the P&C who would like to be more involved to please nominate themselves. The current executive is listed on the school website

Unfortunately our uniform shop representative Tracey Chen has resigned from the Uniform shop representative role. We would like to thank Tracey for all her help and support over the past 18 months in liaising between the P&C and the uniform shop and in keeping the uniform shop roster up to date.
Happily in the interim Suzanne Trimmer has agreed to temporarily fill this role, but we are seeking a nominee to fill this role in term 3 and into the future. Traditionally the role involves liaising between the P&C and the Uniform Shop Manager. Some availability on a Wednesday to visit or work in the Uniform shop is desirable but not essential. The representative is required to present a brief written report at each general P&C meeting.

Please email the P&C at if you are interested in either of these roles or have any further questions about what is involved

Staying Up to Date
If you would like to be informed about P&C activities or would like to know how you can get involved, please subscribe to our mailing list at or join our Facebook group at As always our email address is

Recognition Certificates

Recognition Certificates

Recognition Certificates are normally presented at full school assemblies which are currently not taking place due to social distancing regulations. Since recognition of student commitment to studies, leadership and school service remain another important way of awarding merit each semester, certificates are continuing to be distributed despite the temporary situation. Personal, social and educational development of all students very much relates to Wellbeing. We also like celebrating achievement, the efforts, academic success and contributions of Fortians.

As a shining role model,Year 12 student, Alana Hodzic, has received the most nominations in her cohort after the latest reporting period. Congratulations to all!

Mark Backhouse, Recognition Certificates Coordinator


ASX Competition

ASX Competition

This semester, 202 Fortians from years 7-12 participated in the ASX Competition. This competition encourages students to learn about finance, business and economics by investing $50,000 of pretend money into the sharemarket and trading shares over a two month period.
Congratulations to Jason Dinh of Year 10 who achieved the fourth highest result across Australia, and the third highest profit of students from NSW! He finished only just out of the monetary prizes for the competition. Jason finished his trading with a portfolio worth a whopping $108,003 – more than doubling his portfolio over just two months! Amazing work Jason!
Jason did a lot of trading in the first two weeks of the competition, and then held his positions for the rest of the competition. His biggest shareholdings were Afterpay, Kogan and Westgold, which all benefited from the economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atul Kolla of Year 7 was the second highest profit maker at Fort St, and came 10th in NSW. He finished the competition with a portfolio worth $91,565, an exceptionally impressive result for a Year 7 student. Atul used a buy and hold strategy, and invested in Afterpay, Wisetech Global, Flexigroup and Flight Centre.
Namsemi Limbu of Year 11 achieved third place at Fort St with a portfolio worth $85,709. Namsemi was a frequent trader in the competition. His big shareholdings were in Ive group, Ardent Leisure, Ooh media (all in the media and entertainment industries) and Mesoplast, a pharmaceutical company.
The conditions that were faced in the game this semester were very challenging, with unprecedented falls in the marked due to pandemic fears, followed by a faster than anticipated recovery. The ASX All Ordinaries Index rose by 5% over the game, making the 100% gains by our top students even more impressive! The best performing sector was energy up 34% and utilities up 26%. The worst performing sector was industrials down 7%. The top stock was Mesoblast up 148% followed by Kogan up 126%. 72% of syndicates across Australia finished in profit with the average portfolio value being $53,541.
All participating students should be congratulated for their participation in this competition. Fortians are encouraged to register in the Semester 2 competition next term.
Ms Jerrems
Year 9 Commerce

Year 9 Commerce

Year 9 Commerce students spent term 1 learning about how to make sensible consumption and financial decisions as they approach adulthood. All students produced a website to educate their peers about a consumer or financial issue that affects young people. The best of the websites are featured in the table below. All Fortians are encouraged to browse these websites to learn more about these important issues!
What influences our choices? Aden Nguyen
Comparison shopping Emma Zhao
Refunds and Returning Goods Archie Handler
Know your Rights! Peiheng Liu
Consumers and Gaming ttps:// Jacob Skurnik
Romance & Dating Scams Joey Huang
Multi Level Marketing Mary Koutalianos
Debt financing Celina TRANG
Debt Justin Xu
Bankruptcy Alicia Trinh

Ms Jerrems
Year 9 Commerce teacher
Year 8 Visual Arts

Year 8 Visual Arts

During the time away from school, Year 8 have been given a task to make an artwork consisting of eight A5 panels. Each panel expresses the everyday objects around the home, celebrating them in the style of Pop Art. They began by doing some thumbnail sketches things and then producing a small picture. We designed this task to suit students without much in the way of art materials at home. Since we have been back at school there has been a hive of industrious activity, producing lots of snappy Pop Art pictures. There is a gold mine of artistic talent in Year 8 and the students enjoy being so creative.

Some of the subject matter examples includes:- flags, logo’s, household and electrical appliances, cleaning products and ‘healthy selfies’. There is plenty of parody, social commentary and observations contained in these works that are largely about consumerism and mass-culture.

Carolyn Mattick
Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts
Drama Teacher


Year 7 Visual Arts

Year 7 Visual Arts

During our time away from school Year 7 Visual Arts students quickly accommodated the switch from learning about Ceramics to learning how to draw. We focussed on still life and looked at how to create tone, drawing things to scale and proportion, drawing ellipses and looking at light and shadow on objects. I congratulate Year 7 Visual Arts students for the many great drawings they submitted during remote learning. I wish I could fit more examples here. It is great to be back in the classroom with Year 7 students who are now drawing large scale still life using pastels, charcoal and graded pencils.

Year 7 Visual Arts Still Life Drawing

Penelope Starr
Head Teacher Wellbeing and Visual Arts teacher

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Congratulations to all Fortians participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Congratulations in particular go to Edmund Derwent of Year 12 who has now completed all the requirements of his Gold award. Well done Edmund!

It hasn’t been easy participating in the award program under the current conditions, with many organised activities shut down. Many students have pivoted to personal workout programs, home based skills such as cooking and online service such as Zooniverse to continue progress on their award.

The Governor General of Australia recorded a message of support for all Duke of Ed participants, parents, assessors and leaders.

Participants may also be interested to watch a video for volunteers’ week, from the HRH The Earl of Wessex, Patron of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Don’t forget to contact any member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award student leadership team if you need help choosing activities, getting paperwork filled out or using the online record book.

Ms Jerrems
Fort St Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Coordinator

Girl Up

Girl Up

Girl Up website:

No matter their background, girls have the power to transform themselves, their communities, and the world around them. Girl Up is a global movement of empowered young women leaders who defend gender equality and equal rights for every girl. Through leadership development training, Girl Up gives girls the resources and platform to start a movement for social change wherever they are. And for those that stand with us, there is no rest or compromise. Because when girls rise, we all rise.

Girl Up is hosted at the United Nations Foundation, working within a larger community that supports our efforts for gender equality worldwide.

Girl Up’s Teen Advisory Board leads our ‘by girls, for girls’ movement; advancing our mission, providing feedback on key strategy, representing Girl Up and the United Nations Foundation at major events during critical moments, and energizing others to take action for girls around the world.

Each Teen Advisory Board comprises a culturally and globally diverse group, who serve as the face and voice of the Girl Up movement. Teen Advisors serve a one-year term with Girl Up and share the common goal of creating change to advance global gender equality.

Since its inception in 2010, more than 150 girls have gone through this global program. Collectively, Girl Up Teen Advisors have raised more than $500,000, completed more than 7,000 hours of community service, hosted hundreds of events in their communities around the world and performed thousands of advocacy actions at local, national, and global levels. They’ve also represented Girl Up on some of the world’s biggest stages, been integrated in critical global moments, and featured in some of the top media publications.

Girl Up Teen Advisor bio: My name is Danielle Villafaña. I’m a 16-year-old first-generation Filipino Australian and a senior at Fort Street High School in Sydney, Australia on the Gadigal land of the Eora nation. I acknowledge the connection to country of indigenous Australians and pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging. Social justice cannot be achieved without justice for first nations people.

Currently, I lead Girl Up: Believe Survivors. We are a community-based Girl Up club in Sydney, Australia. As a survivor of sexual violence, I am incredibly passionate about the rights of survivors and ensuring that all survivors access justice. We are fierce advocates against gender-based violence and fight to raise awareness of the sexual assault epidemic by amplifying survivors’ voices and fighting against institutional inequalities and policy.

I am also an organiser for School Strike for Climate and Polluters Out. Last year, we organised Australia’s largest environmental protest mobilising 330 000 Australians!

I believe that climate justice, social justice and gender equality are inextricable; we cannot fight one without fighting the others. To me, gender equality means radical acceptance and empowerment. I want you to be angry, and then I want you to act. Together, girls can change the world!

Danielle Villafaña


Instrumental Music Program

Instrumental Music Program

The IMP is very excited to recommence rehearsals from Week 8, Term 2. It will be exciting to hear how music sounds that has been prepared in isolation, as part of our weekly online IMP activities. Look out for streamed performances from IMP ensembles, coming your way in Term 3!

Earlier this term all IMP members were invited to take part in a group isolation recording of Gaudeamus. This involved IMP musos recording themselves along to a backing track and submitting these recordings. Lots of IMP members rose to the many challenges presented by isolation recordings, and learned a lot along the way. Nearly 200 tracks in total were mixed and edited by the IMP conducting team and the finished product is now up on YouTube.

Matthew Manchester
Fort Street High School
IMP Coordinator
Director of Bands