Boarding Bulletin Board

March 19, 2020

By Director of Boarding, Mr Mike Silcock

‘Boarding Bulletin Board (T1 18/03/20)

News around the Boarding Precinct

                Reflection – Director of Boarding

  • People may have been forgiven, this past fortnight, for not having their full focus on the essentials that we are tasked to fulfill. Whilst the world remains gripped by the current global pandemic, we must not lose sight of our responsibilities, nor have we or will we. Ours is a relational business, ‘social distancing’ (the new buzz phrase) is a challenge within itself. That said, we are not dismissive of genuine concerns that our community has. We must not limit our thinking to just what is happening with the confines of the College. We are acutely aware of the ‘all-consuming’ nature of this situation and would invite all to reach out if we can assist in anyway. I would take this time to thank all our Boarding staff for their unwavering professionalism at this time. Finding the balance between supporting our Boarders, looking after themselves, their families and other responsibilities has been challenging and yet they have done this with distinction. I would also congratulate all of our Boarders. For those who have remained with us this past week it has been a very different environment and yet they have not wavered from their tasks, both within the College and back in Boarding. I would add that I have been impressed with how our Boarders, who have remained at home have managed this changing learning environment to maintain continuity of learning and ensure that they have met all that is expected of them. I want to also thank our parents. Difficult decisions were made over these last days and I have learnt a lot (as a fledgling parent) as to how to balance the nuances of so many perspectives. I hope I was able to support you all at this difficult time and will continue to do so. No one knows what the coming days, weeks or months holds for any of us, inside the College or much broader. The College will continue to inform our community as best is possible and make decisions based on all available information. Ultimately, that is all we can ask of ourselves, in all that we do.We are somewhat limited within Boarding with what we can offer, in terms of ‘value added’, in these most recent days, but, when I thought on this, I realised that, most of all, our Boarders need(ed) stability, support and an element of normalcy. It was wonderful to capture a moment a few nights ago when our Vice Captain of Boarding organised an impromptu house basketball competition. In difficult (challenging) times it was so pleasing to see the camaraderie of our Boarders and the support they garnered from each other in that moment. I do also want to highlight that, even as we tackle this current situation, it must not be forgotten the wonderful accomplishments by all within our Boarding Community in Term (1). A disjointed finish does not overshadow the marvellous achievements of our community across the many areas of College life.Let me finish by again offering our support to you all, now and moving forward. Whatever comes, will come, but I am certain that only in support of each other can we meet this challenge head on.
  • This past week we farewelled Senior GAP Tutor Joshua Weidlich. Due to the current global climate the decision was made by Josh and his family for him to return home to South Africa earlier than expected. We thank Josh for all his hard work over the past three terms and wish him all the best in the future. As a keen soccer coach Josh returns home to pursue coaching opportunities. All within the Boarding Precinct have been acutely aware of his passion for soccer (and Manchester United) so we hope he is successful in his endeavours. At this point in time we don’t have an immediate replacement for Joshua, due to his departure falling outside normal engagement time periods for GAP Tutors. That said, we are working closely with Letz Live and have contingencies in place for the start of Term (2). We would hope to make an announcement on all staffing over the forthcoming holidays.
  • At this time many of our Boarders are unable to follow their usual, weekly sport program, with local sport training postponed indefinitely. This decision has been made by their clubs in line with government directives and is one of the most challenging aspects for our Boarders. We have spent time encouraging all of our Boarders to look at ways to maintain their fitness and skills during this time on the College ovals or in the surrounding areas (such as the Lake or Victoria Park), which will also assist them with their own physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Last weekend we had our first EXEAT weekend for the year. EXEATs provide an opportunity for all within our Boarding Community, not just our Boarders, to enjoy an extended period of time off and thus leave the Precinct. Although not all our Boarders returned, it was great to catch up with those that did and hear the stories from their time away. Some did stay with us over the weekend and it was great for our staff to spend a different sort of time with them, with no obvious structures to follow. We thank and recognise the efforts of all our staff who worked this EXEAT weekend, especially Housemaster, Ewen Larsen, who used his time in the Precinct to organise a series of house games, which our Boarders thoroughly enjoyed.