Boarding Bulletin Board

May 8, 2020

by Mike Silcock, Director of Boarding

Boarding Bulletin Board (T2 08/05/20)

I often speak to Boarders as being ‘yes’ people. If Boarding is a springboard to the opportunities that this great College offers then our Boarders must adopt a positive, embrace-all mentality to gain the full benefit of being in Boarding. I have no doubt that we shall all be back as one very soon. As a nation we have, for the most part, embraced our individual and collective responsibilities and, whilst it would be foolhardy to suggest that we have met and conquered COVID 19, it would be fair to say we are on the road to recovery. I chaired a Boarding Reopening Planning meeting today. It brought together people from all corners of the College, all who brought a high degree of expertise in their field. We shall leave no stone unturned, no consideration unquestioned in the process of enabling your sons to return to us. We will never be able to remove all risk, however it is our duty and responsibility to mitigate risk where practically possible – and we shall. Tam and Ryan will speak to how well our Boarders are fairing and I would concur, but nothing will be able to truly replace the human (physical) side of being present with each other. I look forward to this point and it is with this motivation that I am driving our team towards bringing your sons ‘home’ to us safely. We must be careful that we do not see a return, in whatever guise it will be, as an indication that we have returned to normal. I am not sure what normal really is, but I was forwarded the minutes of Wednesday night’s Term 2 Boarders’ Student Council meeting. I firstly applaud our student leaders for having the capacity and foresight to bring our council together, however it was the what they discussed that was most eye-opening and a good indicator that our Boarders understand the severity of both the current situation and what their return to Boarding must look like. To a person (across all year levels) they discussed the need for increased hygiene awareness and good practice. Phrases like social distancing, hygiene habits and the like will not be a passing phase. To ensure the longevity of our return these must become habitual, but (again) I am encouraged by our Boarders awareness of these. This coming Monday will serve to offer direction to the coming weeks, please be assured that I shall continue to keep you updated. I don’t think I am desperate to see the back of this period, it has brought with it many positives and offered guidance to things that we shall certainly continue into the future, but what is a home without people to live in it – and I am certainly tired of rattling around in an empty Boarding Precinct. Thank you for your continued trust in us. We wish you and your loved ones well.


Reflection from Tamara Westwood:

Another fortnight has passed and while the days seem to blend into one and we are all a little unsure as to what month we are currently in; I am still consistently impressed with how each of our Boarders continue to adapt to this situation.

It would be naïve of me to think that it is all smooth sailing and every Boarder is coping brilliantly with online learning, however it is the resilience, the determined attitude and the mental strength that all Boarders are displaying to make it through, one day at a time, that is impressive.

After speaking with several Boarders, it is evident that the novelty of online learning may be wearing thin for some. This was to be expected. There are going to be tough days. There are going to be days that are harder to get through than others. There are going to be days that just don’t work. The message I am continually sending to our Boarders is that they can only do their best. They can only do, what they can do, when they can do it. That is all we are expecting of them. 

It is heartening to see our Boarders reaching out to each other, organising virtual catch up sessions, sharing ideas and just chatting amongst themselves as they navigate through this time. It is evident that the bonds formed throughout their time in Boarding are strong and something many will cherish for years to come.

I for one, am certainly looking forward to the day that our Boarders can return to the Precinct. While it is quiet and clean here at the moment, it is the laughter, the conversations and the jokes over dinner that I’m missing the most. Fingers crossed that a decision will be made shortly and we can all look forward to some sort of normalcy returning, sooner, rather than later.


Reflection from Ryan Bullock

I had hoped that by the time I had to write this Crest report I would be able to report on how your sons are settling back into Boarding and College life. Sadly, this is not the case, but with every day that passes it means that we are a day closer to welcoming your sons back.

One thing that I have found quite interesting over the past four weeks is the general mood of the conversations I have had with your sons. When the term started everyone, for the most part, said it (the new situation) was great and they wished they could do classes like this all the time. I compare that to my conversations this last week, when the general mood was “when can we come back to school; I want to be in a classroom again”. I hope that the one positive that comes out of all this is that our Boarders have a greater appreciation for the opportunities they have available to them. We often say that Boarders have the most opportunity out of anyone at the College to succeed and be involved. My hope is now that when we return our Boarders will look to make the most of these opportunities as a result of not having everything at their fingertips.

As we now await the Premier’s message at the end of the State of Emergency this coming week, I hope that by the time I write my next report we will have a return date and have even opened Boarding to many, if not all our Boarders.

Please stay safe and I look forward to connecting with you all soon.