Boarding Report – June 8, 2017
June 7, 2017
For this edition of our Crest report I thought I would -‘take stock’ and reflect on the first half of this academic year. It is six months that has certainly had its challenges, for us as a community and for our individual boarders. There have also been many positives as our young men have excelled in many areas of their College endeavours. Always a highlight of mine has been the community events. We commenced this year’s offerings with a -‘Harry Potter’ themed evening, provided by Chartwells, our new Caterers. I would like to publicly thank Nyarth (Chef Manager) and his team for an outstanding semester with regards to the catering of our boarders’ dietary requirements. A boarding community certainly marches on its stomach and we have been able to walk far with the wonderful food Nyarth and his team have provided. On this note we were treated to an exquisite evening this past weekend as part of our Reconciliation Week celebrations. Our guests enjoyed perfectly prepared kangaroo, a delightful main course of barramundi and, for the sweet tooth’s amongst us, a wattleseed tiramisu for dessert. This followed a powerful Mass held in our College Chapel, that we are most grateful to our Director of Mission, Geoff Brodie, for organising. Bringing our community together will always be at the heart of my wishes to authentically live our touchstone of -‘Inclusive Community’. I encourage you all to identify the events in next semester’s calendar and join us if you are able. Your family and friends will always be most welcome. Another of my highlights from this first semester has been the significant number of boarders who have supported our drive of supporting others less fortunate than ourselves. Whether it be through donations, of time, blood or money, or support tutoring others, there is a great awareness of those who do not have the privilege of a boarding education. It has also been our wish to reward those that do, not dwell on those who don’t, so it was a special evening when our Captain of Boarding was able to present the dozen boarders who had supported the many initiatives with a small gift as a token of thanks and recognition. On that note I would like to congratulate and thank our four student leaders for their efforts in guiding and supporting our boarding cohort. They are all remarkable young men -“ as was particularly highlighted this past Sunday evening with their guidance of our dinner.
We wish for your son’s boarding experience to be the best it can be. With this in mind we organised a number of events for our boarders to participate in as part of the recent, inaugural -‘National Boarding Week’. This culminated in boarders from both St Patrick’s College and Ballarat Grammar coming together in a joint initiative to promote boarding and raise awareness for a number of causes. Whilst the elements were difficult to brave our young men looked resplendent as we walked our 1km to the Olympic Rings, round Lake Wendouree, to join our fellow Ballarat boarders. Speaking of -‘value added’ we have also this term continued our tradition of attending the opening night of the SPC/Loreto production. This year it was -‘West Side Story’ and our boarders were dazzled by the expert choreographing and musical items.
I wish to thank and acknowledge the boarding staff this term. Tam, Daniel, Briggsy, Tadi and Josh have been excellent and continue to provide the highest levels of care for your son/s. It was with a heavy heart that we had to farewell both Shelly and Ewen at the end of last term, however our boarding staff have continued seamlessly to limit any impact that the movement onto the main site caused. To see all our boarders together has been a desire of mine for some time and one of the motivating reasons behind the new boarding precinct. I wish to create a sense of togetherness, to create a clear individual identity for boarding. This has certainly begun with all our boarders being in Kenny and this has been achieved by the wonderful work our staff have done. As this is our last Crest edition for this term I would like to make special mention of our GAP Tutor Josh Cook. Josh’s year with us is almost at an end and he will be missed dearly. He has been the consummate professional, a wonderful addition to both our boarding and rugby communities -“ and has become a great friend of mine. On behalf of the College and from me personally I would like to publicly thank Josh for all that he has done. His shoes will be difficult to fill. That responsibility falls to Arras Mathieson, who will join us next semester and we extend a warm welcome to him.
This is a particularly busy time for our boarders. Examinations are on the horizon for our more junior years and our Yr12s are regularly being assessed in SACs and continue to prepare for their fast-approaching exams. Our boarding staff speak of the importance of a balance -“ however, at this time, their academic endeavours must certainly be a priority and, for the most part, they are. Our study supervisors are busy supporting our boarders’ individual needs, to help them prepare adequately and achieve their very best. Once again our study supervisors’ involvement has been an integral part of our study support program.
The forthcoming holidays will be a busy period for many. Our Yr10s will spend a portion of time on work experience, our Yr12s will continue to follow their study programs, however for all it will be a great opportunity to spend with loved ones. Whatever is planned for you and yours for these holidays I hope they are well enjoyed and that you are all safe and well.
Look after yourselves.
Director of Boarding
It is very easy to see that exams have started for many of our students as the house tends to be a little quieter and a lot more heads are down at desks, completing last minute study sessions. As all of the boys are aware, our expectations on our boarders are that they do the best they can do. It is important that they do not stress too much about the exam -“ a small amount of stress is healthy and normal -“ but at the end of the day, as long as they walk out of the exam knowing they gave it their best effort, that is all we can ask.
Along with exams, we have our Yr10 work experience weeks coming up. It is such an interesting conversation to have with the many Yr10 students within the house, listening to the wide range of experiences these boys have planned. Some are looking at trades, plumbers, electricians and builders, some are looking at teaching and construction, while others are a little more abstract with an interest in zoology! Wherever their experience takes them, I know that these young men will work hard and represent themselves and the College with pride.
I know that the boys are certainly looking forward to their term break, looking forward to spending time with their family and friends back home whilst relaxing and taking time for themselves. I must commend all of the boys of Kenny on the way they are finishing off what has been a difficult and disruptive term. I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but one of my favourite things about this group of young men is their ability to include everyone, regardless of their age, background or even footy team they support. It is a wonderful and engaging feeling in the house which I’m sure will continue into Term 3.
The boarding weekends continue to flow easily by with little issue, enriched by activities and boarding community events. This term has been full of new experiences, our first experience of having the full community under one roof, first experience of having staff that work both during the week and weekend and our first experience of having a more self-contained apartment style accommodation for our Yr12s.- Overall I would call the term and the semester a success, but not one, won easily. The boarders have had to work harder to build the current sense of community we enjoy in their new environment. The same is true of the staff as many of us get used to new or slightly changed roles. While it would be easy to coast out the few remaining weeks, with exams around the corner this isn’t possible. And so, we don’t wind down this term but instead sprint to the finish line.
Heading into my final few weeks of the term I take time to reflect on my experiences as a staff member in boarding here at the College and those I have encountered over this time. One that comes to mind is our longest serving GAP Tutor Josh Cook and how at the end of this term he will be leaving us to return home. I reflect on the times spent doing duties with him, chatting about rugby and living in very close quarters with him. I must go on to say that in many ways Josh has become a great avenue for me to release to and has in many more ways lead the way for me in terms of what sort of work ethic I must bring to the job. If you haven’t met Josh over his time here at the College I can tell you that he is both dedicated and passionate about what he holds near and dear to his. One of these things is rugby and not just taking part in playing rugby with the Old Collegians’ team but also being a part of many of the College’s rugby events, for example marking out lines before our GALA Day, assisting coaching, refereeing and being one of St Pat’s biggest supporters on game day.
Although Josh will be replaced come the start of third term I feel the rugby program and boarding will miss him and his many efforts that have aided us in moving forward in his time spent here. I am very thankful for Josh being a part of the team, as I am with all the other members of the boarding team, but to see him go is upsetting, in saying this though I wish him all the best with his future endeavours and many well wishes.- – –