Settling into boarding

Year 10 boarders head off to dancing classes

The start of the School year is always busy, but particularly so in the Boarding Precinct. This year 31 new boys joined our boarding community, drawn from country Victoria, interstate and overseas.

“The first few weeks of boarding can be challenging for new students,” says Mr Geoff Guggenheimer, Director of Boarding. “They are dealing with a new school as well as a new ‘home’. We want then to feel happy and safe as quickly as possible. Our first step is to focus on establishing friendships and routines as these have an immediate impact on the boys’ comfort levels.”

House Captains play a key role during the ‘settling in’ period. “We want to make sure the year starts well for all boarders,” says Year 12 student, Vincent Boentoro, Captain of Perry House. “We work really hard to make sure new boys feel welcome and know they have got people around them who have got their back.”

Captain of School House, Year 12 student, Scott Baker, concurs. “We’ve been through what the new boys are going through now, so we are in a good position to help them through the first few weeks,” he says.

There are formal and informal mechanisms in place to assist with the transition. Activities like the ‘Amazing Race’ – where groups of boys explore the local environs – help new boarders to become confident and safe urban travellers. Weekend trips to places of leisure promote friendship. Inter-House games foster a sense of being part of a team and establish pride in their ‘home’.

“Boarding has been heaps better than I thought; I really like it,” says new Year 8 boarder, RJ Farnham. “The best things are all the activities, meeting new people and how much the staff care. The hardest part is not having as much freedom as you do at home. Living with the boys is fun and we get to be with boys from all year levels.”

“It’s important that parents are also comfortable with the shift, so we invite them to the School to spend time with their son, and to meet other parents in the same situation, early in the term,” says Mr Guggenheimer.