Boarding Report – October 22, 2015

October 21, 2015

Director of Boarding

Today marks our Year 12s final College day -“ this past Sunday we were able to offer an early farewell to our boarding Yr12 cohort -“ an evening shared by our boarders, their parents, invited guests and all our fine staff who have helped guide our boys through their time at the College. I would like to thank everyone for making it the occasion it was -“ and reiterate my thanks to those staff who will not be continuing in their role next year. In my recent weekly email I referred to attaching my speech from the evening for those who were unable to join us.

Look after yourselves.

Mike Silcock.


Good evening Headmaster, invited guests, staff, parents and of course our boarders.

I stand here before you this evening with a sense of melancholy. Tonight is to be a celebration of all that our Year 12 cohort have achieved but, from the day I left for boarding school at the age of seven, I have never found saying farewell easy and none more so is this case for the 24 Yr12s who will leave us for the last time this term. Their collective and individual accomplishments are varied and too many to list at this time. I can empathise with our parents this evening because as they passed on the responsibility for their son’s welfare and education to us, we now pass them on to the -‘big wide world’. I am confident that they all leave these four walls equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in all they undertake. Many of these said skills have been fostered and developed during the College day but I am acutely aware of what being a part of our boarding community has done for them too.

I spend a significant amount of time during this and our previous term interviewing prospective parents and boys with the possibility of enrolment at this fine College. For all of the interviews I conduct I speak of what a boarder can expect -“ I dispel the notion of it being akin to prison conditions (although I see some current boarders still debating this point) but highlight the many benefits that are afforded to them. For me the College becomes alive of an evening as our boarders reap the benefits of all that this College offers but only needing to share it with a small fraction of the College’s total population -“ sharing it with their brothers. We are a family (albeit a particularly large one!!) and we look after one another. That is another attraction to boarding and, although I am completely biased, the relationships formed in boarding are ones that will stand the test of time. When you live with someone you build a level of understanding that is not perhaps possible by being solely a member of our day student ranks. So having taken all the opportunities presented to them, having formed friendships that will defy time and distance -“ I look to this Year’s Year12 cohort and see a group of fine young men who can leave our community with much to be thankful for, much to cherish and much to be proud of as they reflect back on their time with us.

I have said it before and I shall say it again but on occasions such as now I wrongly receive the lion’s share of plaudits for the obvious delight our boarders have with their experience of boarding. This year has been a particularly significant year for me personally as Ainslie and I welcomed Banjo into this world. At times of great change any program, relationships, etc. are tested, however boarding simply continued seamlessly and that is, in large part, thanks to the wonderful staff we have. In particular I must offer my most sincere thanks to firstly Ains and then Ash in their role as Boarding Administrator, which so often presents thankless tasks, overseeing, for the main part, our boys’ academic endeavours. To Tam, well what can I say of Tam but that there is not a role or responsibility within boarding that she has not undertaken and completed with distinction. I could not do this job without her and was delighted when she was appointed Senior Housemaster, my right hand lady, for 2016. Can I ask that you all join with me in acknowledging and thanking Ains, Ash and Tam for all the work they do for and with your sons.

Of course the reality is that behind us stands an altogether much stronger team. This year we have continued to stress the importance of community, a collective approach -“ the boarding community team for me stands apart as the finest collection of professionals, of educators, of people committed to our fine young men, that exists within the College and if you will indulge me I would like to make mention and express our gratitude to them all now.

(1) The Housemaster Team -“ to Ross, Tam, Michael and James -“ and to the families of these four who are also an integral part of what we do.

(2) The Residential, House and Weekend Tutor Team -“ to Shane, Liam, Ewen, Matt and Dianne.

(3) The Housekeeper Team -“ led by Brenda, to Helen, Jo, Janine and, numerous occasions this year, Leonie -“ certainly our -‘mum’s’ within each house.

(4) Our GAP Tutors -“ to Jan and Julian.

(5) The Catering Team -“ led by Bernie, to Rosie, Anthony, Letitia, Glenda, Barb and the many individuals who have assisted over the course of the year at dinners and other special functions.

(6) Study Supervisors -“ to Hamish, Victoria, Michael, Anthony, Art, Caroline, Daniel, Eamonn, Kate and Tracy.

(7) Meal Supervisors -“ to Jarrett, Brendon and Peter

(8) Mission Team -“ led by Geoff, to Anne-Marie, Mitch, Helen, Father James and of course Bishop Peter.

(9) To the many others who offer their invaluable support -“ to Tony and his maintenance team, Shirley, Elizabeth, Neal, John, Glenis, Tina, Rachel, Michelle, Craig, Trudi, Maureen, Ebony, Ang, Kerrie, Sharon, Howard, Rick, David, and Kate.

(10) Staff who have left us at some point this year -“ to Steph, Dermot, Justin, Sofia, Arabella, Ben and Dom.

(11) Finally it would be remiss of me to not thank our two Deputy Headmasters, Mr Stephen Hill and Mr Jon Franzin, for both their support of our boarding community and their support of me. If you may indulge me for just a short while longer I would like to take this time to make special mention of Jon. Many of you will be aware that at the end of this term he too leaves us and although he may well be remembered most by our boys for his meticulous attention to their dress code and general appearance he has been a wonderful support to our boarding community and to me both personally and professionally. Jon, on behalf of the entire boarding community, thank you for all you have given to St Patrick’s College, to our boarders and we wish you the very best in Sydney, next year and for many years to come. Can we please show our appreciation to Jon.

(12) This time last year I thanked our outgoing Headmaster, Dr Peter Casey, for his pivotal role in -‘saving’ (for want of a better word!!) boarding. Well, twelve months on, if I may be so bold, I believe that Dr Casey’s endeavours have almost been eclipsed by those of his successor’s, our Headmaster, Mr John Crowley. From the first occasion that John and I met he has spoken passionately of his desire to support boarding in all the ways that he can. Quite simply, with the plans in place for our new boarding facility, to be opened in 2017, I believe he has done just that and put in place a lasting legacy for boarding at this College. Whilst many in this room may not have the opportunity to sample firsthand these new facilities, when they do return to visit us they will witness the future of boarding in first class facilities. I would like to personally thank John for all his support -“ he has created a great deal of excitement for us all.

I do the job I do for one simple reason -“ the wellbeing and care of your son/s. The pleasure I get from the many triumphs your sons enjoy here at the College, whether academic, sporting or other co-curricular means is the greatest satisfaction I take. Most of you are well aware of my own years in boarding and I am fortunate to say that my love of this lifestyle was fostered from my own experiences. I hope that all our boarders share or will share this same passion. I have often said that the decisions I make will not always be liked (for want of a better word) by all but the boys will know they are done with their very best interests at heart. At this point I must acknowledge the leaders amongst our boarding student body who have provided me with invaluable support and who have embodied all that we as a whole boarding community can hope to achieve. I speak first of our Captain of Boarding, Will Jury and our Vice Captain of Boarding, Jett Herrmann. Both Will and Jett are exceptional young men who I cannot speak highly enough of. They are fine role models for both their peers and those in the years below them. As a result they enjoy the respect of all and perhaps the greatest accolade I can give them is that they leave behind large shoes for their successors to fill. Gents you have been a strong partnership all year and provided me with an honest appraisal of all things boarding. Whilst I continue to drive boarding forward you have both been most able passengers offering sound wisdom that has reflected the feeling of the general populace. For this, above all, I am most grateful.

Both Will and Jett would be the first to acknowledge that they have been ably supported by the three House Captains. Cam, Jacob and Josh have not only led their respective houses with distinction but supported Will, Jett and the staffing body with dedication and respect. A respect for their boarding house and house team, a respect for the whole boarding community. When an example has been needed, they have been willing-¦when a message needed to be given, they have delivered it with a maturity that defies their years. Our Year12 cohort is exceptionally talented and these five gentlemen and our two Vice Captains, Sam and Damon, stand as proud leaders of this group. Thank you gents for all that you have given so selflessly throughout the year.

2015 has been a remarkable year, for our boarders independently, our Yr12 cohort specifically and to the boarding community as a whole. The accomplishments have been unprecedented and I am very grateful to all of you here this evening and to those unable to attend on this occasion for your unwavering support. It is only through this unity that we have been able to achieve what we have achieved. I look forward with much excitement to 2016 and beyond.

I would now ask Mr Crowley to come forward, with the assistance of Miss Tamara Westwood, Mrs Ainslie Silcock and Miss Ashleigh Knight to award our Yr12s with their certificates and give them a small token as appreciation of all they have achieved and given to boarding in their time at the College.

Thank you very much.