Living away from home can be a daunting concept. At the beginning of the year boarders spend a considerable amount of time getting to know each other and the staff at the Boarders’ Welcome Weekend.
St Catherine's boarding house is purposefully small with 70 boarders. This enables the trained staff to care for each girl as an individual. Mrs Wilson, Director of Boarding, knows that Lisa likes to sleep in and loves horses. Just like in any family girls can voice their opinion on dinner menus and weekend outings.
Having her own space means she can enjoy privacy and personalise her room with precious photographs of family and friends and favourite pop stars. Each section of the boarding house has a kitchenette where girls can make after school snacks, popcorn for movie nights or a cup of milo before bed.
Food is important. Meals are tasty and healthy and each dinner has a variety of options. Girls and staff eat together in the dining room and regularly enjoy casual theme dinners like ‘fancy hat nights’ or ‘teddy bears dinners' and ‘birthday girls’ choose dessert.
"The other boarders became not only my friends, but they were like sisters."
- Sze Wing Wai, international student from Hong Kong
When girls of different nationalities and backgrounds live in the same community they learn to accept differences and respect each others culture. Girls come to the boarding house from rural NSW and Sydney itself as well as from Asia and the Pacific.
The Boarders’ Council plays a vital role in the community as it is the collective voice of the girls. Members of the Council are elected by their peers to represent each year group. They meet with Mrs Wilson every week to discuss matters relating to food, upcoming events and so on.
Remaining connected to home is important. Parents are in constant contact with their daughters and the school via email and telephone. Mrs Wilson highly values connecting with parents and encourages a working partnership.
When talking about her role in the boarding house, a staff member commented ‘It comes from the heart; you have to love what you do.’
St Catherine’s recognises and delights that girls are girls. They want privacy, they like to laugh and learn and sometime they just need a hug.
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