Fraser Bolton – Head of House
Welcome to all of our Senior Boys’ Boarding families for 2019! As we power our way through Week Two, I can’t help judiciously paraphrasing T.S. Eliot when I mention that this term has started both with a bang and a whisper. It would be impossible to avoid the ‘bang’ as we all become reaccustomed to the routines of school life – busy days and a full schedule of both academic and co-curricular commitments do ensure that lazy summer days are nothing but a distant memory. Many of our senior boys have leadership responsibilities this year, and our Year 11s have the privilege of being the first cohort to work through the new Senior Curriculum. It’s also been great to see boys signing up for Cricket and Basketball teams and to be wholeheartedly committing to their training sessions and matches. For students who are new to the College, and are experiencing boarding for the first time, there is also the adjustment of adapting to a whole new reality. We have certainly started 2019 with a bang in Hawkins House.
However, what I’d like to focus on is not the aspects of life in boarding which are loud, proud and obvious. Instead, it’s the quiet and unassuming moments – those which ‘whisper’ past if we’re not paying attention – which distinguish the exceptional young men who constitute our Hawkins House community. At the end of 2018, I was full of pride with the way that our boys collected toys to donate to underprivileged children for Christmas presents. This was done quietly and humbly, and not done with any expectation of recognition or reward, but simply because our boys recognised their good fortune, which they wished to share with others. Despite my own loyalties as a former Cunningham boarder, I must admit that the School House shirt we have hanging in our Common Room, with its house motto of Noblesse Oblige (roughly translated as “someone with power and influence should use their social position to help other people”) pretty much sums up the Hawkins House boys’ attitude in this regard.
I was also so proud to hear about the exceptional academic results of our 2018 Year 12 Hawkins House boarders, whose dedication and tenacity has provided them with wide open doors for their futures. To this end, it has been so heartening to see our students so quickly adopting positive study habits as they work so diligently during prep. Again, this has not been with great fanfare or with the expectation of extrinsic rewards, but simply another example of how – quietly, and without fuss – our boarders continue to maximise their opportunities. Cameron, our Boarding Captain for 2019, has embodied this humility in the calm and capable manner in which he has started the year, and Chase, who is one of the JAM Prefects, has made a strong impression as he has helped some of our youngest College students to settle into life in the Junior School, as well as assisting them at the Swimming Carnival. Since the term commenced, I have also been fortunate to witness true acts of leadership by many others in Hawkins House – those who have helped members of staff and their peers in a myriad of small yet significant ways. This is embodied in the boy who signs up for Cricket, despite not knowing how to play because he knows that then there will be enough for a team. It is also evident in the boy who welcomes someone new to his table at dinner because he remembers what it was like to start at a new school. And, most of all, it whispers past us when boys take the time to smile at each other, have a conversation and check that they’re helping others as best as they can – because I see, every day, boys in Hawkins House being remarkable in the most unassuming ways.