Assembly Address by Tshinta Kendall (Year 12)

Below is a speech delivered at the PGC Centenary Assembly on Tuesday by Girls Boarding Captain, Tshinta Kendall.

Tshinta (left) is pictured above with past student Heather Ballinger (1995-99) who was School Caption in 1999.

Good morning everybody, my name is Tshinta Kendall, I am this year’s Girls Boarding Captain. This is my fifth year at the college. I started here in year 8. I didn’t have many expectations of what boarding school or the ‘city’ was like because I’d never known any different. I come from a community that’s only slightly bigger than the school, and we’re about an 8 to 10-hour drive from Cairns. The reason we are so far away from home is that our mum was a PGC girl and she loved her time here so much that she sent us here. Coming here, I was so nervous, so I was walking through school with my dad thinking ‘Wow! This place is huge!’ and whilst I was off thinking that I heard ‘so we were wondering if you could play basketball for us tonight?’ and I went ‘nah’. The day I started was the day that everyone had come back from camp, so everyone had gotten to know each other and became friends and I just came and I didn’t want to talk to anyone let alone go play basketball. So eventually, dad convinced me and I spent the entire trip up ‘Dad I can’t do this, don’t make me do this’. Long story short, we got up there I got on the court we played I came back on the bus and dad asked me if I wanted to go and stay at the motel with him and I said ‘No I think I want to go stay in boarding tonight’ and the rest is history.

Being so far away from home was a bit of a gamble but I tell you what, it is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Being here has given me opportunities I never thought I’d ever had. That’s one of my favourite things about the school, is that there are people here who genuinely care about you, your education and your other endeavours. I and many others have been able to achieve some extraordinary things in our time as PGC girls and I am confident that we will continue to achieve great things because of what we have learnt and what we continue to learn here.

Being part of this school means so much, being part of boarding is even better but I’m a bit biased. Being a boarder is hard to explain, at first you move into a house with all these random girls, then you have these people who aren’t your parents but they act like your parents and then there are all these rules. Eventually, you become more accustomed to those girls until they are basically your sisters, the people who act like your parents pretty well become bonus parents and the rules are rules and you still need to follow those. Seriously though this place is quite spectacular and if you have ever had the privilege of being able to call this place home then count yourself lucky because it is gorgeous.

I am nothing if not grateful, so I just wanted to quickly say thank you to Mrs Wheaton, Mrs Kriedemann, Mrs Brown, Mrs Clarke, Mrs Holmes, Mrs Baistow, Mrs Cartmill, Mrs Bellingham, Mrs Hobbs, Ms Reading, Mrs O’Grady and our gappies, Kim, Laura, Franzi, Maria, Freya, Fabienne, Abbie and Alina the and of course Mrs Hart, who by the way, still hasn’t taught me how to knit. Thank you, ladies,, in my time as a PGC boarder you have given your time, energy and effort into making sure we were healthy, happy and had our phones in on time.

Looking forward I hope to leave behind a message of love and friendship. To all students of the college, we are lucky to be here we are lucky to have these people around us please take the time to reflect on this and appreciate everything you have. To all the college staff, thank you for educating us, feeding us and cleaning up after us. To all the boarders, being a boarder is special because you are a part of something special always remember that. To all the girl boarders and staff, wow 100 years, I feel like we’ve achieved something and we really have. I would like to say that as we walk back through these doors this afternoon, take a moment to remember and try to fathom the 100 years of girls that walked through those doors, think about moment you drive in the green gates and the roses are in full bloom, everything is bright and green, it never fails to leave each and every person who sees it in complete and utter awe. This beauty is radiated throughout the walls of Glenbrae, WRB, Mackness, Deane Butcher and into every girl that has walked through those doors. 100 years. It is amazing to walk through those doors and think that 100 years of girls walked through there before you. There is 100 years’ worth of tradition, friendship, laughs and love echoing through those halls. Through all the good times and all the bad times, we have always stood together bonded by the love that we share for the place that we call home and the people we call family. Here’s to 100 more years. Thank you