But they’re not just stats, are they?

Yesterday I posted some statistics relevant to LBOTE students in selective high schools in NSW.  Ten years ago such stats were my bread and butter, but they were never really just stats. Rather they were and are a whole series of often utterly remarkable people whose lives have intersected with mine over the years. And it’s true: when you become a teacher by your pupils you’ll be taught.

I see that 25% of my Facebook friends are ex-students ranging from the Class of 1974-5 (Trevor K!) to the class of 2004 (Mian!). And here is where I was for most of 1985-2005:

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And there were some very clever people there during those years.

For example, a 2004 story:

Australia has won its first gold medal in Athens. In an olympics of the mind rather than the body, held in the Greek capital last week, Sydney schoolboy Ivan Guo beat hundreds of the world’s most mathematically gifted students to bring home gold. Other members of Australia’s team won a silver and two bronze medals at the International Mathematics Olympiad, in which 486 students from 85 countries competed.

Ivan, who is in year 12 at Sydney Boys High, said socialising and sightseeing in the Olympic city made the event a lot of fun, despite the intense competition. "We got to meet lots of people from around the world with similar interests," he said.

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Just how remarkable that is becomes clear if you watch a brilliant documentary called Beautiful Young Minds (2007).  ss10

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This documentary tells the story of some of the brightest mathematical brains of a generation. Each year, exceptionally gifted teenagers from over 90 countries compete for medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad. The film follows a group of brilliant teenagers as they battle it out to become the chosen six selected to represent the UK.

The documentary also serves as an introduction to Asperger’s – a condition I knew nothing about until the last few years of my time at SBHS when I mentored three very varied examples of the condition. There is a very good blog called The Wonderful World of Autism which I found when checking the documentary. It has a lot of information about Daniel Lightwing (above) and the others shown in the movie. About the blog:

I am a 23 year old film, media and journalism student at University of Wales, Bangor. My passion in life is film and i actively pursue this interest through both watching and reviewing films and making them. I have a condition called Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of Autism that affects my ability to socialise and function in the world and makes it difficult for me to make friends.