Boarding Report – May 26, 2016

May 25, 2016

There has been a series of articles written in the Australian Financial Review of late on the topic of boarding. I referenced one such in our last Crest edition and I do so again this evening -“ and in keeping with the comments of our housemaster team. On numerous occasions there have been discussions about the attraction of boarding school or reasoning for a family to send their son and/or daughter into a boarding environment. Opportunity is the broad response often given by these families -“ but a recent nationwide study would highlight that the emerging trend is for the academic rigour and support that a boarding school environment can offer. This opportunity is critical to the progress of the young boys and girls who leave their families and join our boarding communities across Australia. In my role as Chair of the Victorian division of ABSA I am privileged to spend time in many varied boarding schools that, despite running quite different programs, share a similarity with their approach to their students’ academic needs. For boarders to be able to access school resources after hours -“ resources that are not just a library or classroom but, in many cases, the teaching staff that are in residence in these school communities as boarding staff -“ provides opportunity that many day students are not afforded. As part of our extensive boarding review conducted last year the staffing model changed here at St Patrick’s College. The impact that this has had has been remarkable and that is a testament to the nature and care of our boarding staff. Although not trained teachers they provide exceptional academic support and are well complimented by the eager and well qualified minds of tertiary students who assist your boys each evening. I would like to thank these pre-service students who have added so much positivity to the academic environment in our boarding community. I would welcome them all back as fulltime teachers here at the College if the opportunity presented. As our boarding staff and I do please encourage your son/s to utilise the presence of these highly skilled tertiary students in assisting them with their day-to-day College work and through the forthcoming examination period.

Kenny Catch-up

Term 2 is coming to a close quickly, with the Year 10 and 11 exams getting underway next week. All of the boys are using their study time productively, with many taking the initiative to also conduct their own private study. It is also pleasing to see the boys helping each other out during what can be a stressful time for some.

It is important that the boys have a healthy balance between their school work and down time, and it is great to see so many of the boys immersing themselves into extra-curricular activities and enjoying various successes.-

I am continually impressed with the manner in which most of the Kenny boys conduct themselves both in and out of the house, with a special mention to Sebastian Paul and Sam Pilgrim who recently volunteered their time to help in one of the Melbourne soup kitchens on a cold, wintery night.

I look forward to catching up with several of the SPC boarding families at Sunday’s Reconciliation Week Mass and Dinner and, as always, look forward to the many wonderful moments, exciting ventures and plenty of successes with the boys of Kenny House.

Miss Tamara Westwood

Senior Housemaster, Kenny House

Another two productive and enjoyable weeks have gone by again so quickly! We recently welcomed a terrific new boarder Luke Grant to our house who is doing very well with the adjustment required to becoming comfortable in boarding. Next weekend we have our special Boarders’ Mass & Family Dinner on Sunday, which is always such a highlight for each term, we look forward to seeing many boarders’ families that are able to attend. We recently had a visit from two former boarders Joshua Clarke and Daniel Abbott. It is so wonderful to have these frequent visits as we see just how much the continual flow on effect and positive impact boarding has had on these terrific young men. Ten Pin bowling was a hit with our boarders last Saturday night with the boys who had not bowled before amazing us with natural talent. The weekends are running very smoothly and all our boarders seem content and very relaxed at their home away from home. Further updates in the coming weeks.

Mr Ewen Larsen

Weekend Housemaster, Kenny House

Introducing James Halloran

Year Level: – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 12.- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Home Town: – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Darwin.

Interests:- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Footy and fishing.

Favourite Food: – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Carbonara.

How long have you been a Boarder at SPC: – – – – – – 2 years.

What made you choose to board at SPC: – – – – – – – – – – To further my education and- better my footy.

Future Plans: – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Hopefully get drafted or be a Ranger in the NT.

Phyland/Farley Catch-up

I was recently reflecting on a conversation with one of our year 11s, Zak Wilson, after we both noted the huge opportunities the internet has provided in terms of our learning. It got me into thinking that our young men are growing up in a vastly different world to the one we once knew. With the advent of the digital device comes the danger of misuse of picture messaging and more broadly social media such as bullying and simply broadcasting mistakes to a much wider audience we can all think of an embarrassing photo of ourselves hidden away in some album or box in a cupboard… So understandably I thought with almost a sense of dread the world my little girl Maddie (recently turned 1) might face and it was scary. That said it is always better to face our fears and challenges than to run from them. I would encourage each of you to have a conversation about responsible use of your son’s digital devices.-

Of course there is a flip side. Returning to the conversation I was having with Zak in year 11, we were talking about the amazing fact of my studies from a university in Glasgow, Scotland. That with the use of technology it was possible for me to complete and entire course with face to face video meetings (like we used to see in the Jetsons)! With that in mind I would encourage each of our boarders to make the most of their device from an academic standpoint to prepare themselves for the post school world that awaits. It can mean using the internet to find how to solve that problem that you aren’t sure of, or to read others essays to improve writing technique. The possibilities are endless!

Finally, from an academic standpoint I have been holding conversations with each of the boarders in the house to see how they are traveling academically and to try to identify their strengths and areas of improvement. The main idea being that hard work is important but so is smart work. I hope that with a little bit of tailoring and adjustment our gentlemen will be preparing as well as they can for their SACs.

Mr Michael Murphy

Housemaster, Phyland/Farley House

Recently I had a conversation with a fellow boarding staff member, about the benefits of collaborative learning. We both found it strange that while the education research is quite definite on its positivity it is yet curiously often not embraced. This may because of two perhaps outdated. Namely that asking for help from one’s peers is somehow considered adverse to learning progression. Even more alarming there exist an idea that students helping students could be considered cheating. Thankfully these conclusions are largely laughed at by any teachers we had worked with. Yet collaborative learning still seems to be lacking in the classroom. One thing we did agree on however, was that the nightly boarding study sessions are full of collaborative learning. Of course there are some obvious reasons for this, the less formal setting then the traditional classroom being one. Moreover, on any given night there may be up to 12 different subjects at different stages of progression being studied. I find myself that it is difficult for staff to answer all the different questions that come their way. My private example of this is physics questions that I am woefully unable to answer with any form of certainty or sometimes even able to understand. However, we bother considered that the inclusive nature of boarding at St Pats as a decisive factor for fostering collaborative learning. Boarding students live, attend school and study together as such its natural for them to develop lifelong friendships. Furthermore, they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses allowing them to pool their collective knowledge to progress (as the research supports) further then they would individually. Personally I think that the benefit of collaborative learning goes further than academic prowess. In the workplace working well within the team is often an important factor on who gets hired and who doesn’t, I can’t remember an interview when it wasn’t a question requiring an example.

Mr Daniel Willey

Weekend Housemaster, Phyland/Farley House

Introducing Daniel Richardson:

Why do you board at SPC?

I live about 3 hours away from Ballarat, so to come to SPC I have to board. I’ve come here for a better education having more opportunities here than in my old school.

What can you offer SPC?

I want to be a role model to young boys. I try to do all the right things, and work hard.

What has been your highlight in boarding?

I have loved making new friends, there hasn’t been just one highlight.

What would you change in boarding?

I would enjoy having breakfast in the house, instead of going over to the main site each day for breakfast.

What do you want to do once you finish school?

I want to go study at university, I’m interested in sports engineering at one of the Melbourne universities.- –

Look after yourselves.

Mr Mike Silcock

Director of Boarding