The Empress, E, Sirdan’s neighbour and I had our post-election Sunday lunch today. There was no weeping or gnashing of teeth.
The conversation did get around to a remarkable story that was front page news in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald even with that day’s election dominating: Lesson for the school of hard Knox, concerning the young man above.
IT TAKES a lot of guts at the best of times to stand in front of 1350 fellow students, 150 teachers and 600 parents in the school assembly hall and tell it as it is.
But when it involves accusing some of your year 12 classmates of being cheats, and fingering influential parents for bullying the school authorities into giving prestigious positions to undeserving sons, the effect can be nothing short of sensational.
Especially when the school is the well-respected North Shore institution Knox Grammar, which counts among its alumni the veteran broadcaster John Laws, Macquarie Bank chairman David Clarke, former editor of the satirical Oz magazine Richard Neville, Hugh Jackman and ethicist Simon Longstaff.
The 20-minute speech by the Knox 2007 school captain, Mitchell Donaldson, was delivered to a packed “Leavers Assembly” – an occasion intended to celebrate the departure of this year’s 230 final-year students. Mitchell told the hushed hall: “Teenage boys have been forced to face up to the pressures of power-hungry parents.
“Those hypocrites who have slung the most mud do so because of a deep-seated sense of paranoia, inferiority and the unquenchable desire to social-climb. There have been people in our year group who have stolen, who have belittled, and who have cheated their way through the past six years. It is well known, as a year group, we have arguably lost more people to expulsions than any other.
“Sitting to my left will be people who have done the school, their families and themselves a tremendous disservice. Even so, these people will have, by and large, escaped official sanction – feeding off the mercy of the people in charge, exploiting the school’s insistence on their own protection.”
When Mitchell finished the speech, the hall rose to its feet. “Every boy, every teacher, every parent gave him a standing ovation: it was spine tingling,” Knox’s principal, John Weeks, told the Herald yesterday…
I suspect Mitchell will go far.
It was of great interest to The Empress, who used to go to this school.
I can’t say much about it, but The Empress is facing a very grave health issue at the moment. Very grave.