Home' Capricornus Quarterly : Dec14Jan15 Contents 1818
Dear Year 7 and 8 Boarders for 2015,
Welcome to Rockhampton Grammar School boarding
for 2015. At the start of 2014, I was a bit homesick
but ready for all the fantastic academic and sport
opportunities this great School has to offer.
Coming from a small town called Banana on a cattle station
called ‘Banana Station’, it was a massive change. Going from
a school of 40 kids to a school of 1300, it is very different.
One of the main things getting use to in boarding is the
routine. When you get a bit homesick, always remember
that your friends are there to help you and you are
also there for them when they are feeling down.
I learnt many things at School this year like how to use
the computer a bit more (and I’m sure you will too), how
to play the fantastic game of water polo an d cricket.
I made the A’s team and this is only my first year.
Once footy started, I didn’t get homesick really
at all. I remember the first day of footy when they
put me in the C’s in centre. That game I saved four
tries an d scored two. After that, Mr Saunders
and Mr Milburn put me in second row for the
A’s and I stayed there for the rest of the season.
They said I was the A team’s inspiration even
though I didn’t hold the captain cy badge.
Don’t be afraid of coming to boarding because
it really is a great time with lots of things to do.
And if you put it one way, it is just one massive
sleep over with all your mates at once.
Almost 100 new Year 7 and 8 boarders will start at RGS in Term 1 2015. No doubt it will be hard for children and families, but
experienced boarders and parents say new students will have plenty of support, love and opportunities to make School home.
The Rockhampton Grammar School,
will welcome at least 365 boarding
students in Term 1, the largest cohort of
boarders ever at the School due in part
to the 2015 double-year 7 and 8 intake.
New students and families prepared
for the transition to boarding during
a three-day overnight orientation
programme in November that was
designed to introduce the “boarding
lifestyle” to boys and girls before they
take up residence at the School.
At least 94 new students,
almost all in Year 7 and 8, met
future housemates and friends
and became acquainted with
staff who will care for them.
The student programme
included informat ion sessions
on boarding routines and
health care as well as co-curricular
opportunities and a day-long trip to the
School’s Outdoor Education beachside
campus, Ritamada, at Emu Park.
Parents also gained benefits
from their campus tour and a
comprehensive information session.
Megan Storey, of Capella,
is preparing her third child,
Nicholas, for Year 7 boarding.
Mrs Storey said the weekend was
worthwhile for both children and
parents to have a look around and
to hear things further explained
by the Directors of Boarding.
“It just makes you feel more
comfortable,’’ Mrs Storey said.
“Nicholas loved going to the pool, the
barbecue and the beach and also told
me I would be proud of him because he
had some broccoli and carrot at dinner.’’
The weekend included numerous
social opportunities including a
masked supper and plenty of sport.
Another feature of the weekend
was a tour of the School’s new
purpose-built Year 7 classrooms in
the Birkbeck Building, also home to
the School’s new health care centre.
“A substantial team effort over the
weekend provided a head-start for
our new boarders,’’ said Mr Stewart
Norford, Director of Boys Boarding.
Director of Girls Boarding, Mrs
Dorothy Skilling, explained the
weekend orient ation would help
minimise homesickness and enable
students to get off to a good start.
Experienced Year 7
boarders (2014) Walte r
Wilson and Grace Sypher
said they are stronger and
more confident students
at the end of their first
year of boarding. The
pair – Walter, from
Banana Station, Banana, and Grace,
from Karamarra, Dingo – will provide
experienced support for newcomers.
“This year has flown past. It only
seems like yesterday that I was saying
goodbye to all that I love about home
– Mum, Dad and my two younger
sisters for the first time,’’ Grace said.
Grace’s parents said having watched
their daughter mature and gain
independence over the year the family
felt more comfortable they had made
the right decision in sending their
eldest daughter to boarding school.
“It’s been a credit to the School how
they involve us as parents and keep
us up to speed with everything that’s
going on,” offered mum, Kim.
“This time last year we were
torturing ourselves wondering if
we were doing the right thing.”
Grace’s enthusiasm and motivation
to capitalise on opportunities
involving herself in sport and other
activities were vital to her settling
into School and life as a boarder.
“The opportunity was there for Grace
to complete her final year of Primary
School at Grammar and we have been
in total awe of the School enabling
her to achieve that and more.’’
Grace was elected a 2014
Primary School Leader.
Logistics, too, was a significant
factor in the Sypher’s decision to
send Grace to board at RGS.
“Education in the bush is a
constant challenge,’’ Kim said.
Fellow boarders, according to
the Sypher’s, are instrumental
in helping children make living
away from home easier.
“The Year 12 buddy system is
wonderful. The older girls certainly
understand where the younger girls are
coming from. Meg Garside was Grace’s
buddy this year and she was absolutely
wonderful in ensuring her transition
into boarding life was a smooth one.”
Walter arrived from a school of
40 students and like many other
new boarders overcame his bouts
of homesickness to mature and
grow in confidence largely due to
his love of sports including water
polo, cricket and rugby league.
Mum, Belinda, credits School
staff and Walter’s Year 7 mates who
helped him adjust to the change.
“The boarders comforted him. The
support was there, the School kept an
eye on him and I was made aware of his
homesickness with emails and phone
calls. We all worked through it together.’’
It is important to remember every
child is an individual, she said.
“Now Walter has become an extremely
confident child. He threw himself
into sport, going to the cricket nets
in the morning and swimming in the
summer. He’s at ease now. He knows
his way around and knows the support
is there at School if he needs it.”
Parents need to be confident in
themselves and in their decision
to board their children, according
to Belinda, who advises dads and
mums to keep phone calls to
daughters and sons upbeat and
that parents encourage children to
seek advice from older boarders.
Ultimately, though, she believes parents
just need to “be there” for their children.
Grace and Walter will look after
incoming students when Term 1
starts. Until then they have shared
some advice and penned open
letters to new students, below.
This time last year we were torturing ourselves
wondering if we were doing the right thing.
Boarder parent, Kim Sypher
ADVICE FROM STUDENTS
Experienced boarders Grace Sypher and Walter Wilson will lookafter new students in Term 1 2015.
Dear Year 7 and 8 Boarders for 2015,
I’d like to share a little of it with you knowing exactly what you
might be thinking and wondering as I was this time last year.
Home for me is on a mixed grazing and farming property an
hour north east of Dingo on the Mackenzie River. For my first
seven years of primary school I travelled 90klms one way to
attend Dingo State School, which had 34 students and I had
been the only girl in my grade since prep. So needless to say it
has been a real eye opener and a little overwhelming to then be
boarding with 50 girls and attending a school that has three
times the students of my last school in the one grade....
Girls, definitely pack your favourite bear and whatever else
you will need to decorate your room to make it feel like home.
I certainly wasn’t looking forward to being separated from
home, Mum Dad and my two best friends (younger sisters) but I
can definitely say it was harder for them than it was for me.
Within the first few weeks I felt like I had been given a
golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! The endless
list of activities for me were like looking at the delicious
choices of Willy Wonka’s chocolates. Keeping yourself
busy and getting involved by trying new sports or other
activities always helps take your mind off home or any
other challenge that is bothering you within the dorm.
The food is perhaps not as good as Mum’s cooking and you may
become homesick, however just remember you are not alone as
everyone is experiencing the same things and you are surrounded
by awesome staff and fellow students who are always willing
to support, encourage and even provide that much needed hug.
I am fortunate to say I have many highlights from my
first year of boarding at Grammar but if I had to share
one, it is the wonderful new friends I have made along the
way, who were strangers to me this time last year.
See you soon,
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