Boarding Report – August 3, 2017
August 2, 2017
Twelve months ago I wrote our first -‘Boarding’ contribution to the College’s fortnightly newsletter and highlighted the importance of our College holidays -“ as time to take stock, reflect, refresh -“ and spend quality time with family and friends. It was interesting to re-read this contribution to reflect on what has changed in the past year and the many things that remain the same. Twelve months ago I spoke of spending part of the holiday in Sydney with Ainslie and Banjo. We were able to catch up with old friends and former boarders -“ observing firsthand the camaraderie that is created by time in boarding school. As I now look back on this past holiday I am left with the same conclusion. This year has been particularly difficult for my family and I, with the passing of my stepfather, Bill, in June, and as I raced back to the UK I was reminded of the great community that exists here at St Patrick’s College. I wish to thank my right arm, Tam, for both her unwavering support and the expertise she demonstrated in running our boarding community in my absence. I know though that Tam would wish to thank all our wonderful staff for their outstanding work at a challenging time. I would also like to acknowledge our boarders -“ for their personal touch with a card and many well wishes -“ and for their behaviour upon the conclusion of a busy term. Our boarders are excellent young men -“ young men who face adversity, are regularly challenged and occasionally do the wrong thing -“ however are well intentioned and, for the most part, do the right thing.
The extended time in the UK made me reflect hard on my life in Australia -“ and my conclusion was an easy one to draw. I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunities I do and thoroughly enjoy all aspects of my day to day life. Returning from overseas was somewhat easier than I had expected. Part of that was the recognition and appreciation of what I was returning to, my family, my life in Ballarat -“ part of that was because I was returning with my nephew, Zac. Zac has just finished his national examinations in the UK, which are held at the end of our Yr10 equivalent and then again at the end of a Yr12. It meant that he has an extended summer holiday and came to see all that I have spoken about for ten years. Instead of regaling you all with tales of his (and our) exploits I thought I would ask you all indulge me and let him write a little something for you. Our boarding community has warmly embraced him -“ and he has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of our College.
Speaking of welcomes -“ we are delighted to welcome a new GAP Tutor, Arras. Arras has joined us from Scotland and has already made a favourable impression with both our boarders and staff -“ although, there have certainly been some interesting moments as both boarders and Arras have navigated the challenge of each other’s accents. Three new boarders and their families have also joined our community this semester and we extend to them the warmest welcome. As I write this I have just come from our fortnightly Site Meetings for the new Boarding Facility. I hope you are all following the incredible progress available on the College’s social media sites. The time lapse videos show the remarkable transformation. All within the College’s community are excited by this new chapter in Boarding’s history and the opportunities and experiences this new facility will allow. The College is currently planning for an opportunity for our boarders and their families to look through this new facility as it enters its final stages of construction -“ more information should hopefully follow in the not too distant future.
Term (3) is a hugely influential term for all within our boarding and wider College community. It is our goal to do all we can to assist our boarders at this pivotal stage of their academic year. We of course extend this offer to our families, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Look after yourselves.
Director of Boarding
For me, these last two weeks at St Patrick’s have been incredible, and have certainly been two weeks that I will not forget in a very long time. I had no idea what to expect, coming to Australia for the first time, but I have definitely not been disappointed. A large reason for this is because of how welcome the College has made me feel, and not just the staff but also many of the students.
I have many highlights of my time here. A major one was watching the St Pat’s 1stXV rugby team defeat the undefeated team at the top of the table, especially after avoiding a potential stumbling block when the opposition made the game equal towards the beginning of the second half. The team played incredibly well, and everyone worked hard to get the win. It was also very special for me because the players did a minute’s silence for my grandad Bill, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago. This was an emotional, but very special moment for me, and all my family back in the UK, and It was all due to the kindness of the rugby team, the coaches, parent supporters and opposition.
I also loved participating in the Boarders’ (2nds) basketball team’s victory last Thursday evening. It was an enjoyable game and I’m proud to be able to say that I’ve now officially represented the College (and the boarders!!).
I like to thank Paul Nolan for allowing me to work with him, to learn from him and get such valuable work experience, whilst helping with aspects of the College’s media. To Howard Clark for allowing me to be a part of the 1stXVIII’s Herald Sun Shield semi-final (good luck in the Final!!) and to Tony Beggs and the 1stXI. These moments have added to the enjoyable time I have had.
I can’t thank the whole community at St Patrick’s enough for giving me an amazing three weeks here, and I hope that one day I will be able to come back to visit the College again.
(Director of Boarding’s nephew!!)
It was wonderful to welcome back the Kenny boys for Term (3), as I am sure it was wonderful for them to enjoy their three-week break!! I always look forward to hearing about all of the many different things that these boys get up to away from school, but this break was especially exciting for some as they completed a week, sometimes more, of work experience. It is amazing the different interests and talents that are shown throughout our boarding cohort.
For our other students, the term break meant going back to work on farms and in family businesses, looking after younger siblings and most importantly, spending time with family and loved ones. The commitment that some of our boys have made with sporting teams did not cease over the break, with many travelling distances to train and play.
At the beginning of this term, we had the pleasure of welcoming a few new faces to our boarding community -“ Yr11 student Connor, Yr10 student Mitch and Yr9 student, Domenic. Already these boys have settled into the life of a boarder, developing friendships and learning very quickly what it means to be a boarder here at St Patrick’s College. We also welcomed our new Gap Tutor, Arras, who is already proving to be a wonderful help to both staff and students alike.
This term will continue to offer plenty of opportunities and exciting activities for our boarders, including our termly Boarders’ Family Dinner and Mass, which is always a wonderful evening for those that are able to attend.
The holiday break does now seem to be a distance memory with school life now taking priority, especially with our Yr12 students who are very quickly nearing the end of their time here with us at St Patrick’s College. As I continually tell the boys, whatever their achievements or whatever their results, I am so proud of the young men that they are and that they are becoming.
Recently the Yr12 boys have had to do their oral examinations for English, usually this is a time of extreme anxiety and frantic last ditch efforts. However, this time around the Yr12s seem to be more relaxed and prepared, focused perhaps being a better adjective. The best part of this assessment however, is seeing young men talk about something they are passionate about. This year I was able to help a boarder with his speech concerning online gambling and its sudden rise in advertisement. After wading through some generally frightening statistics concerning the average age and the money involved the boarder stated his overall contention. Simply put he could see why the industry was experiencing a rise, and he could understand why it was generally considered that this rise was negative to the public. The best part however, was that this young man instead of contending that we should ban advertisement suggested moderation; namely restrictions on time zones and placement of adds. Straying away from the perhaps more natural or knee jerk ban he contended allowed for a legal industry to survive while also restricting the impact gambling could have on a more impressionable youth unable to see the risks inherent risks in gambling. Overwhelming I was struck by the display of empathy and reasoning that the speech contained and how far it showed the young man had come from the boy I first meet in Yr10.
Returning to the College for the third term of the 2017 year I was both excited and anxious to see how the boys had spent their holidays and how they were travelling in general. For the boys, I felt these first two weeks have been a process of settling in and familiarising themselves once again with the rules and protocols of the boarding community once again after being at home for three weeks, and for the most part the boys have done so well.
Reflecting on my own time as a boarder and thinking back to the many times I returned to the College after a break I remember that when the time comes to return to the College and boarding you begin an emotional journey of not wanting to hit the books or leave the creature comforts of home and having family close by. This then changes, or did for me, when I could see my many brothers in boarding, begin to play the sports I didn’t get to over the holidays and feeling the comfort of having many friends to be able to vent to about the similar situations your put through from being a great distance from home.
Being on the other side of the fence now as a staff member I can see the boys coming back from the holidays energised, but struggling with the fact they had to re-join the College after some well-deserved rest. This has become the same situation for myself as a staff member after the three-week break, going from enjoying my days off to making sure I’m up, ready and routinely doing the things we as boarding staff need to for the boys in our care. I know the feeling out process has not yet passed for the boarding cohort yet but I’m sure with the intensity of sports finals, study loads and potential future defining decisions to be made the boys will settle in and be back to their regular routines.