Boarding Report – December 3, 2015

December 2, 2015

The final Crest article for 2015!! I do hope that all within both our boarding community and wider College community have enjoyed these fortnightly glimpses into all things boarding. A boarding education is distinctly unique -“ it provides an opportunity that is very different to that experienced by a day student -“ it allows for an educational immersion that, as biased as I am, lays a platform for well-rounded accomplishment. Boarding is not for every boy or girl -“ or for every family -“ there are times of isolation, sadness and difficulty but, for times like these, there is a support network like no other to provide the care and love required to work through these moments. These moments however are truly eclipsed by the many positive ones -“ the camaraderie built by those within a boarding setting is unmatched and, here at St Patrick’s, our boarding experience aims to ensure that we provide opportunities to experience such happiness and fullness of life. The opportunities really can be life changing as has been the case for one of our Year 12 boarders, Yestin Eades. Yestin’s story is one more suited to the pages of a Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. Yestin arrived in Ballarat during the latter stages of his Yr11 year -“ having journeyed across from Western Australia. He had experienced the ugly side of life and, in his own words, much of it was self-inflicted. Yestin and I had a coffee on his first day with us and his bluntness to my questioning was pleasantly refreshing. Yestin apportioned the blame for his misgivings squarely at his own feet. Yestin was motivated and driven to play AFL football but make no mistake he worked hard at all aspects of his education, receiving high praise from all staff. On the 24th November Yestin’s ultimate goal was realised -“ he was selected in the 2015 AFL National Draft by the Essendon Football Club , his boyhood team. On that night we as proud -‘adoptive’ parents saw not one but three boarders selected in the Draft and we again congratulate Yestin, Jacob Hopper and Daniel Rioli. These young men recognise that the hard work begins now but I am confident they will all continue to go from strength to strength.

In our last Crest article I highlighted the question Nangle Housemaster Mr Michael Murphy posed -“ -How did we get here?- -“ and certainly in Yestin’s case it would be a colourful response but I wonder, as I reflect on the year that is (was) 2015, whether it would be of equal importance for our boarders to ask themselves -What should we do now we are here?- A boarding education does provide unrivalled opportunities for all to excel in a manner of fields. Yestin, Daniel and Jacob have found theirs in a sporting arena but many others have found alternative ways and that is the true beauty of being a boarder. A week last Friday our Year 12 College cohort farewelled us in fine fashion with our Annual Valedictory Evening. A truly splendid occasion that showcases the quality of the young men that have called this College -home- for a period of time. For a record number of Indigenous men, many of whom are boarders, it marked a graduation that sets them apart within their home communities and creates unique opportunities to give back to those less fortunate than themselves. That premise is at the very heart of an Edmund Rice education and should be heralded for its selflessness and high merit.

However being a boarder does not always lead to the aforementioned headlines. This past week we welcomed the fourteen new boarders who will be joining us in 2016. With every new boarder comes a new story and new opportunities. On that evening we celebrated with a Christmas dinner and trivia evening organised by Senior School English teacher Mr Shane Murphy. For a couple of the boys it was their first taste of a traditional Christmas dinner and, in the theme of all things Christmas and wintery, I recall the day that Yestin and I went for the coffee it was the same day that Ballarat was engulfed in a blanket of snow -“ the first time Yestin had seen snow. It is these moments that set apart the boarding experience and I thank all those whose tireless efforts enable them to occur.

The festive period lies ahead for us all -“ I wish all within our boarding community a safe, peaceful and certainly enjoyable time -“ shared with all our loved ones. 2016 will undoubtedly bring many challenges for us all but together within our boarding community we will endeavour that all have a memorable experience.

Look after yourselves.

Mike Silcock

Director of Boarding