Boarding Report – October 24, 2017

October 24, 2017

A celebration of our Year 12s in Boarding

Last Sunday we enjoyed our annual celebration to mark the conclusion of our Yr12s Boarders time here at SPC. It was a wonderful evening, well attended by so many within our community. As always though I acknowledge that it is not always possible for our families to join us at this time so I thought I would share with you all my address, however, more importantly, the first address of our new Captain of Boarding, James Richardson. What an exciting future lies ahead of us in the capable hands of -Richo- and all within our boarding community.

-Good evening Headmaster, special guest, OCA President, Mr Allan McKinnon and his wife Noemi, Deputy Headmasters Mr Stephen Hill and Ms Elizabeth Ryan, our invited guests, staff, parents, our boarders and, particularly this evening, our Yr12 boarders.

I wish to firstly acknowledge the custodians of this land, the Wathaurong people and their Elders past and present. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Let me start this evening by offering an apology. To those who came this evening with the hope of being regaled by another star-studded staff performance -“ you will be left somewhat disappointed -“ whilst not wanting to consign our musical talents to the unwanted realms of -‘one hit wonders’ perhaps the premise will become a bi-annual event or likened to the Olympics, rolling around every four years. Truth be told my three piece suit no longer fits and Helen’s doctor has advised against -‘dabbing’ for the foreseeable future!! In its place I thought it particularly prudent to bring together many who made a permanent impression on our boarding community -“ and, as I always say, a bright future is built upon strong foundations. Our Guest Speaker this evening, President of the OCA, Mr Allan McKinnon, our returning leaders from my time in boarding, our departing staff and our current Yr12 cohort, all represent those strong foundations -“ and our future has never looked so bright with the construction of our new Boarding Precinct that is just weeks from completion. I extend my warmest thanks to Allan and those who have returned this evening to help celebrate the accomplishments of our current Yr12s, who are now on the threshold of becoming Old Collegians. At this point in their journey through St Patrick’s College they are understandably ready to tackle the next new exciting chapter in their lives, however they only need speak to our returning boarding leaders who will testify to the pleasure that it brings them to reflect back on their time with us, their time at SPC.

I recently completed a unit of work in Humanities with my Yr9 class on life beyond the school gates. To those young men it seems an eternity away -“ to our Yr12s it is an ever closing reality. It is not though a reality to be fearful of. I look around the room and see most of our Yr12s thinking -we’re ready- -“ ready to move on, ready to tackle whatever their futures hold -“ and I would say -yes you are-. It is truly a personal highlight to see the development of our young men from when they join us, to when they leave. I have yet to see one of our Yr12 boarders not leave better equipped to tackle life’s challenges than when they first arrived. There have been difficult, challenging moments along their individual journeys that have tested their resilience and perseverance, however these moments are some of those that enrich the boarding experience and shapes the young man that leaves us. I was recently interviewed for the Weekly Times on what sets a boarding education apart and I stressed that a boarding experience was one that was not singularly focussed, that it encompasses the full gamut of what is available to a student at school -“ academic rigour, co-curricular pursuits, spiritual enrichment and pastoral wellbeing. The boarding component also extends to include valuable and essential life skills from completing mundane day-to-day tasks to the challenge of living in a small community, embracing and recognizing the needs of each individual. For our SPC boarders it is also an experience that is quite unique to many for our boarders are able to be a part of a wider community, the Ballarat community -“ and many of our Yr12s will not only be farewelling the College in a few weeks, but also friendships and connections with local sports clubs, communities, local business and the like. This is an aspect we shall continue to celebrate and one I know our Yr12s continually gain greatly from. The 2017 Yr12 Boarding cohort has not disappointed. They have grown into great men that our College community can be incredibly proud of -“ we within boarding certainly are. We wish them every success over the coming weeks and beyond. As always we only ask that they are not lost to us, that they continue to -‘check in’ and, in whatever they do, know that we will always be here for them should they need us. Once an SPC boarder, always an SPC boarder.

I know that I can speak for all our boarders, however especially our Yr12 boarders when I say that they have all been helped through their journeys through the College by a hugely supportive staff and, as always at this time, I wish to note these staff and thank them on behalf of a grateful community:

(1) To our Senior Housemaster -“ Tam -“ the strongest supporter of our boarders.

(2) To our Weekend Housemaster -“ Daniel -“ who leaves our Boarding Community at the end of the year, however is not lost to the College -“ thank you for your tireless endeavours to support our boarders, especially with their academic studies.

(3) To our Boarding Assistant -“ Briggsy -“ an outstanding boarder in his own time -“ and now an outstanding boarding professional -“ whose addition to our staffing ranks this year has been well received by all. His professionalism and understanding of -‘Boarding’ has provided so much to our community. Long may it continue.

(4) To the Housekeeper Team -“ to Jo, Brenda and to Helen -“ certainly our -‘mum’s’ within each house.

(5) Our GAP Tutors -“ to Arras and Ryan.

(6) To our Catering Team -“ to Chartwells -“ led by Nyarth, well supported by Rosie, Letitia, Barb, Louise, and the many individuals who have assisted over the course of the year at dinners and other special functions like this evening. Our Catering this year has truly been a highlight of our -‘offerings’.

(7) Our Study Supervisors -“ to Emily, Natalie, Austin, Laura, and Emy. What a wonderfully beneficial addition they continue to be to our study program. I can only offer them the highest compliment to say that I know all will make excellent educators in the coming months and/or years.

(8) The Mission Team -“ led by Geoff, to Anne-Marie, Mitch, Helen, Father Anthony, and, of course, Father Rupert for assisting again this year with our Liturgies.

(9) Our chief first aider, the first port of call when our boarders are unwell, Tina McManus.

(10) To the many others who offer their invaluable support -“ to Andrew, Craig, Elizabeth, Michael, John, Gerard, Glenis, Rachel, Michelle, Trudi, Kathryn, Caitlin, Maureen, Ange, Kerrie, Sharon, to Howard, Rick, Fiona, Nathan, Julian, John and Tony.

(11) Our boarding community has once again been enriched by our Monday night guest speaker program -“ I acknowledge their wonderful contribution. The insights they have shared have been enlightening and beneficial to all our boarders (and staff!!)

(12) We thank the staff who have left us at some point this year -“ to Shelly-Ann, Ewen, Ed, Josh, Tadi and Carolyn.

(13) Finally it would be remiss of me to not thank our two Deputy Headmasters, Mr Stephen Hill and Ms Elizabeth Ryan, for both their support of our boarding community and their support of me personally.

(14) Testament to the ongoing priority that our Headmaster, Mr John Crowley, places on the importance of boarding at St Patrick’s College is reflected by his very attendance this evening, with his wife Marcela, as he is currently still on Long Service Leave. John thank you for your support of our boarders, their families, our boarding staff, their families, all within our boarding community.

Finally, I wish to thank families. My own, those of our staff, our boarders’ -“ all who selflessly acknowledge the commitment we have to our boarders -“ and the sacrifices that will always be felt by those closest to us.

Ladies and Gentlemen: even if we were to ignore our outstanding teaching staff and all they have done to support our boarders -“ at a quick count, over 60 wonderfully diverse, committed, passionate individuals have supported our 42 boarders, particularly our 14 Yr12 boarders this year. That is remarkable. Can we thank them all now.

It would also be remiss of me not to make special mention of our Yr12 boarding leaders. To our Captain of Boarding, Harry, Vice-Captain, Charlie and our two House Captains, Sam and Ossie. Almost twelve months ago I sat with these four young men and challenged them to authenticate the boarding leadership. To ensure that it was never simply a badge on a lapel. They have followed in strong footsteps, laid before them by many who sit in the room this evening -“ can I say that all four have raised the bar on our expectations of a boarding student leader. Whether as advocates for boarding, for our boarders, role models, -‘a shoulder to cry on’ -“ they have performed outstandingly and deserve our recognition tonight.

Upon conclusion of Week (2) of Term (4) it seems somewhat strange to speak of 2017 as if we are resigning it to our memories, however, even if we were to, our boarding community can be proud of what it continues to stand for, to represent and what it has accomplished. We do stand on the brink of a new chapter in this College’s rich boarding history, however tonight we shall simply sit back proudly and recognise the brilliant boarding careers of our Yr12s. Gentlemen, congratulations.

I would now ask our Headmaster, Mr Crowley, our Guest Speaker, Mr Allan McKinnon, with the assistance of our Senior Housemaster, Ms Tamara Westwood, to award our Yr12s with their certificates, a small token of appreciation for all they have achieved and given to boarding in their time at the College.


James Richardson -“ 2018 Captain of Boarding:

Welcome, Headmaster & Mrs Crowley, Mr & Mrs McKinnon, parents, invited guests and fellow Boarders.- Thank you for being present with us tonight.

At the outset, I would like to acknowledge the Year 12 boarders here tonight. Throughout the year, you have demonstrated to our boarding community that everyone can contribute to leadership, assisting us on the journey that you not long ago embarked upon and travelled yourselves. On behalf of all your fellow boarders, I wish you all the best of luck in your forthcoming exams and every success and good fortune for your futures beyond these gates.- Whatever course life takes, remember that you’ll always be a lifelong member of that special group of men who are St Patrick’s College boarders.

I would also like to make special mention to our 2017 boarding Captain, Harry Hobbs. -‘Hobbsy’, you have left a strong legacy behind. During the year, you have led our community by example and actions.- We thank you for the strong leadership you have provided to our community; and both Ethan McLaren and I look forward to continuing to carry that torch forward.

I began my journey as a St Pat’s boarder about 18 months ago.- In that relatively short period of time, I have come to recognise just how much boarding life has helped me grow as a person and how it continues to shape who I am.- It has provided me and my fellow boarders with opportunities and experiences that are unique to a boarding community, and I am sure we will only realise some of those intangible benefits long after we have left our school days behind.

We are fortunate at St Patrick’s College to have boarders who join us from all corners of Australia, and some who also join us from international locations. Each and every one brings with them their own story from a multitude of backgrounds. This diversity is merged within our boarding community and serves to bind us as one and to enrich our experiences.

As a Boarder I have come to realise the significance of community. It has shown me that it’s not about -you-, but rather it’s about -us-.- To me, boarding is about mateship, it’s about respect for others, and it’s about building resilience and self-reliance.- A fine example of this was those who gave their time this morning to participate in the Run Ballarat event to raise funds for those less-privileged in our community.

No matter the dreams or visions each boarder has: whether it be participation in the wide range of co-curricular sporting activities, the diverse music and performing arts schedule, or the integrated social justice program that works for the good of the wider Ballarat community, we are all fortunate to be at a College that provides such opportunities.-

In 2018, we begin a new journey with a fantastic new boarding facility that has been under construction this year. No doubt, this will also pose new challenges as we settle in, however, I’m excited about the prospect of continuing to maintain and grow the positive boarding culture of this College.- Both Ethan and I are honoured to lead our boarding community in the College’s 125th year.

It would be remiss of me to finish without some important -Thank You’s-: to Mr Silcock & family for your continued dedication to our community and welfare; to our house masters and Gap Staff, Ms Westwood, Mr Willey, Daniel Briggs, Arras, Ryan and Tadi for your unwavering support; and, to our fantastic housekeepers who clean up our mess when sometimes they shouldn’t have to!- And, finally, thank you to our parents for providing us with the opportunity to be part of this boarding community.

I close with a comment about gratitude made by John F. Kennedy, who said:

-As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.-

Thank you very much.


Look after yourselves.

Mike Silcock

Director of Boarding