Boarding Report - August 17, 2017
author: Mike Silcock
It has been a challenging commencement to Term 3. As our unique Ballarat weather begins to unfold, its effect has been felt by all within our boarding community. An illness has swept through our boarding halls and dorms taking no prisoners. It is at times like this, for staff and students, that showing compassion, support and resilience is critical. Tempers can be short, tolerance levels low and a shortage of sleep can make for a somewhat fractious environment. Ultimately though it is when we are challenged that we have the opportunity to respond positively and look for ways to move forward. A boarding education should prepare you for these challenges – and that education is as prevalent for our staff as it is for our boarders. There have been times in these first few weeks that have been difficult for our staff, as behaviours have been questionable from our boarders and stern words have been needed. This can create an air of ‘negativity’, however I applaud our staff for their diligent professionalism and unwavering support for the wellbeing of our boarders at this time. I had to confess to a boarder the other day, who was not enjoying boarding at that time, that neither were members of our boarding staff team, however how the whole community has bounced back in these past few days is a hallmark of being at St Patrick’s College, especially as a part of our boarding community. Considerate of all this it did not come as any surprise to me that our staff highlighted the coming EXEAT weekend, a time for all to rest and recharge, alongside loved ones before returning next week to meet new challenges that await. It is a weekend that I wish all the very best and thank all for their efforts so far this term – and I extend this to our parents and guardians. It can never be easy to be faced with a son who is unwell, at a low ebb, whilst they are so far away. I hope the chance to be reunited this weekend brings warmth to all.
With that said much has been accomplished in this past fortnight. There have been celebrations of accomplishment, both within and outside of the classroom, thoughts cast to future pathways, which brings excitement and an element of nervousness, and, as we do glance to 2018, we all await the conclusion of our Boarding Leadership process, which commenced this week. This year I challenged our Leaders to be authentic, to wear a badge that reflects honesty, integrity, support and respect. Harry, Charlie, Ossie and Sam do this. Being a member of the College’s Student Leadership creates opportunity to not only drive Boarding forward, but also be an integral part of the strategic and operational running of the student body. Part of my EXEAT weekend will be to read the letters of interest from our current Yr11s. Leadership must not be thrust upon anyone – encouraged, nurtured, developed, yes, however not forced. For it to be authentic it must come from within. I believe there are a number of our Yr11s that possess such potential and look forward to them leading us into the next exciting chapter of Boarding at the College. Leadership though is not confined to those with a badge or, to use a sporting analogy, with a ‘C’ next to their name. My wish for next year is for all our current Yr11s to lead us and be an active part of Boarding in their Yr12 year.
As we look to the future I would ask you all to note a couple of key dates that we would love to see present at:
Term 3 Tuesday, September 19th – College ‘Leadership Transfer’ Assembly
Term 3 Friday, September 22nd – Boarding Parent/Student/Teacher interviews
Term 4 Sunday, October 22nd – Yr12 Boarders’ Farewell Mass & Dinner
Whatever this coming EXEAT weekend may bring for you or your son, I wish you a safe and peaceful break, and look forward to our boarders return on Monday evening – ready to face the challenges of the remainder of the term, to face the challenges with us by their (and your) side.
Congratulations to all on what you have achieved in this first part of Term 3.
Look after yourselves.
Director of Boarding
I It is certainly obviously that this term is quickly drawing to a close when you see the boys gearing up for footy finals, the weather is great one day and very average the next, and the boys are busy putting final touches on projects and assignments.
Among many things, one of the highlights of this term would definitely be our recent Family Mass and Dinner. It was a wonderful evening and was lovely to see everyone that was available to attend, in fine spirits and together as a group. We had many of our new families join us on this night and I offer my many thanks to all that work so hard to make these evenings possible.
I recently assisted some of our year 10 and 11 boys in selecting subjects for next year. It was interesting to see the differences in how these choices were made, and even how the boys themselves dealt with the choice in front of them. Some were extremely excited, while others were nervous and unsure. With all of the boys, I stressed the importance for all to remember that no matter what, they should look to do something they enjoy. This might not necessarily be the first thing they choose, but it should ultimately be what they aim for.
We have so many wonderful events and celebrations to look forward to, but it was pleasing to see a number of our boys awarded with a prestigious Chris Nolan Award at the recent school assembly – well done to Lou White, Tom Millard and Zak Wilson.
Tom Millard was also announced as the 2017 VCE, Unit 3, Headmaster’s Excellence Award recipient, for the subject, History Australia. What a wonderful recognition for all of the hard work these boys are putting in.
Speaking of hard work, it is certainly a credit to Regan Champley and his dedication to Rugby, that he was selected for the upcoming VSRU Tasmania Rugby Tour. We wish him all the best and know that he will represent himself, his family and the college to the best of his ability.
I’m sure that our boarders are looking forward to a well earnt and relaxing EXEAT weekend coming up, which for some, also indicates the beginning of the selection process for the 2018 Boarding Captain and Vice-Captain. It is wonderful to see the calibre of students coming through, displaying many leadership qualities that make boarding at SPC such a wonderful experience and I have no doubt that whoever is successful in their application, they will follow on from our current leaders and do a fantastic job for all.
Football finals, Year 12 exams and year level socials have all led to a tired but busy house. The boarders have responded well to these pressures allowing for space for those in need and offering support likewise. Adding to this, boarding shuts down this weekend. As always, the weekend and week leading up to an EXEAT weekend has been full of plans; boys trying to get home or find a friend’s house to spend the extended weekend at. These weekends allow the boys to get some welcomed family time or just a change of scenery. While also it must be admitted allowing staff to recharge their own batteries preparing for the tail end of Term 3.
Being almost halfway through the third term of the College year and my first serious and full time job I have had many moments to reflect upon my own performance and my interactions with the boarders here at the College and building relationships with them to reach mutual grounds, from where we are then able to aid the boys in their endeavours and goals at the College. I have found that for the most part the job has been one massive challenge, a really eye opening for me and that with all the great things that go on in the lives of these young men, who so much remind me of myself, I am able to be most proud of the things that they have achieved, I have had to remind myself time and time again that these guys are just young men trying to figure it all out and are going to make mistakes but for all the small bumps in the road that the achievements and their genuinely good natured ways and behaviour far outweigh and overshadow the small bumps.
Being on both sides of the fence as I often refer to it as, going from boarder to boarding staff, I have some sort of insight into the finer points of being a boarder here and this has aided me greatly and even when I do have to be the authoritative figure I must remember that to chew these guys out is sometimes never an option because of the way they may respond or shut themselves out, so always remembering my time here and how I responded to things is a great help for my work life now. To date my greatest and most enjoyable times have been those where I have been able to have conversations with the boarders in those tough times and really work out a resolution as opposed to letting things get too far, because as much as this has been a benefit for the boys it has benefited me in my own professional development.