Senior Boys Boarding

Those of you who have noticed the windy weather this week may not have realised that it could be attributed to the collective sigh of relief being breathed by our College community as we reach the end of another busy term. Now that exams are but a distant memory, I am certain that the young men of Hawkins House (and the weary residential staff!) are eagerly planning their holiday pursuits.

In the United States of America, school holidays are commonly referred to as ‘vacations’. It is interesting to reflect upon the etymology of this word, which was first used in the fifteenth century to specifically describe a formal recess from school activities. Its origins lie in the Latin word ‘vacare’, which literally means ‘to be unoccupied’, which developed in medieval French into the word ‘vacacion’, which can be translated as meaning ‘freedom from obligations’, ‘leisure’ or even ‘release’. It is quite easy to see how, even many centuries later, this word is an excellent summary of all that we can hope for over the next two weeks.

For students who are living in the boarding house, the holidays are so important because of the opportunities they provide for reconnection. I hope that our boys will make the most of chances to reconnect with their families by fully engaging in the minutiae of life at home – whether that’s unloading the dishwasher, kicking a football with siblings, having a conversation around the dinner table, doing the mowing… or any one of the thousands of regular aspects of family life that are so sorely missed when living away from home. It is essential to try to reconnect with nature, and especially with the landscape of ‘home’ – so our boys might like to walk the paddocks with their dog, sleep under the stars, swim in the ocean or enjoy riding their horse. I know that those of us who have felt a little ‘under the weather’ over the past couple of weeks will be looking forward to some fresh air and sunshine! Finally, it is invaluable to set aside some time to reflect and reconnect on a personal level. Perhaps this might mean devoting some time to reading, playing the guitar, drawing or even having a few early nights to catch up on some rest. I’m certain it will entail some great chats with family and friends, and I hope it will provide a chance for our boys to think about their hopes and aspirations for Term 4.

In whatever form they take, I hope these holidays provide all our Hawkins House families with a chance ‘to be unoccupied’ and reconnect to those things which matter the most. I will look forward to hearing about what you’ve been up to when boarders return to the College on Monday 8 October.

Mr Fraser Bolton