Director of Boarding
The return to Boarding, in all boarding houses, has been smooth and we generally have happy, excited students who have slipped back into boarding routines seamlessly.
We have also kept our boarders busy, especially over the Australia Day weekend. Our newly renovated pool at Girls Boarding was a hit on Friday with the boys coming over to join the girls for a day of swimming, jumping castle, slushies, backyard cricket, playing cards and a BBQ lunch. The weekend activities also helped our new boarders get to know each other and the other students better. They had so much fun that their homesickness lessened as they found new friends and realised what a great time they can have with so many other children around. We have 15 new girls and 16 new boys in the boarding houses with several other enquirers from students who would like to join us this term. These students come from far and wide and add another dimension to their respective boarding houses as they settle in and share their stories and personalities.
The academic rigour, both in the day school and boarding houses, started from day one and the students have quickly become engaged and excited about learning. I have been particularly impressed with the way the boarders have embraced the more stringent prep regime that started last year. They seem as a body to have returned with a commitment to their studies and a willingness to use the prep time, the prep facilities and the academic staff on offer to ensure they attain the best learning outcomes possible. We intend to build upon this again this year, particularly for our senior students.
Of course, with the tragic passing of Dolly Everett over the holidays, there has also been sadness and a community sharing of emotions.
Dolly was a very caring girl who touched the lives of her friends and staff in so many ways. In the Girls Boarding house we have had many ‘Dolly’ moments as something has triggered a story which involved her. I have been touched especially by the younger girls who at times tell me stories of how Dolly helped them when they were new to the boarding house. Her Year 10 cohort in particular is feeling her absence and I know that she will always have a place in the hearts of us all.
The College has worked with an organisation called Axis who have psychologists especially trained in dealing with crisis management in a school setting. Staff across the College have received training in how best to manage and help those students who are struggling with Dolly’s death. We have successfully put strategies in place and have been proactive in talking with individuals and referring them onto additional assistance if required or requested.
I spoke with the Year 10 boy boarders with the message that, although it is the Australian way to ‘man up’ and just get on with things, in the long run burying emotions doesn’t help either now or into the future. I told them it takes ‘guts’ to put your hand up and say they needed someone to talk to. Dolly was their mate and they need to understand that it is OK to ask for help. Brady Retallick and I spoke about alternatives for making contact with a staff member and I would encourage you as parents to also have that conversation with your boys. Please ring me if you have any concerns.
Finally I would like to remind you all, and especially new parents that you need to pick up the phone and speak to the Head of House for your son or daughter or to myself if you have any concerns or queries regarding your child. We understand what a precious person your child is and we are doing all in our power to ensure they are receiving a well-rounded education and also being cared for emotionally. We have a truly wonderful environment for your child to become the best they possibly can be.