Boarding Monday, 29 May 2023

Boarding Update

After the cancellation of last year’s event due to COVID, it was wonderful to see the Boarding Parent Sundowner resume its place in the calendar. This event was held outside the Churack Pavilion at the same time as the Brother Clery Cup cricket competition, with the Senior School matches played on Nunan Common and Middle School games on the new boarding basketball court. The boys looked great in their Clery Cup House Uniforms and ran the competition very well while staff mixed with boarding parents during a very enjoyable evening.

The highlight of the night was the unveiling of a 132-page photobook showcasing the homes and communities of our boarding families. This project was the result of many hours of work from our Boarding Parent Committee, particularly Trin Suckling (mother of Judd '22), Reeve (Year 10) and Tait (Year 7) and Kate Caughey (mother of Tom '29) and Digby (Year 12). The final product is simply beautiful and became available to purchase among the Aquinas College community on the final day of Term 1. You can scan the QR code to purchase a copy. Limited quantities are left.

Proceeds from the sale of the photobook will go towards funding some of the “creature comforts” for the boys within boarding, as will money that was raised from the Farmers’ Food Festival during the Athletics Carnival held at the end of Term 1. Donations from boarding families and local businesses were sold or auctioned by boarding parents. Some of our boarders also assisted D&T staff with the creation of chopping boards made from recycled wood that was removed from the boarding houses during the 2017/18 renovation. Sincere thanks from Aquinas Boarding goes to our parents for supporting these events.

By Ross Meadows
Head of Boarding

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Community Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023

Coming Home

The Journey of a Boarder

There's a space in time where we stop helping get the sheep in or climb down from the cattle yards, we get off a tractor or lean the fishing rod up, maybe we put a horse in the stable or a motorbike away and have a last kick of the footy with a sibling left behind, tidy our rooms? Nah... whatever, we always stop and have a good look around.

It's time to get back to school.

Bags are packed, plans are made and goodbyes are said.

The family pets get a squeezing hug or an absent minded pat on the head.

There's always a lecture or two.

Cars pull out and often stop to quickly swing back past the clothesline for a forgotten pair of socks or a dash inside for an 'it was on the bench'.

More often it doesn't and 'a halfway there' realisation is revealed.

Tree lined driveways, winding gravel roads, long bitumen straights, 'planes, trains and automobiles' take us back to our home away from home.

The day between is an anxious one. Stuck in the middle of leaving one home and returning to another.

We always feel better after a day or so with our brothers, comforted by our boarding family.

Learning, experiencing and cared for, this is our other place.

And then we go back.

Come with us on a journey to the places we call home...

Aquinas College Boarding Community

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Boarding Tuesday, 21 Sept 2021

Boarding T3 2021

At the start of Term 3 we moved into our new rooms. After that, the whole term started moving quite quickly. It was good to see all our old mates after a whole two weeks without seeing any of our friends. The recs were as good as usual, including Skate parks, Carousel, The Wembley driving range, the WAFL and so much more! This term has been flying past as it has had so many fun times. With the end of Term 3 coming closer each day, we are all excited to get home to our family’s.

The bike track has had a bit of upgrading done as well a few kids made a few jumps to improve it. This term it was Father’s Day and around half of the boarding house saw their fathers to celebrate this wonderful day.

The boarders have an event where all the Brothers House kids get put into one of the bigger boarding houses and you compete against all the other houses for the Brother Clery Cup. To finish off the event we had a tug-o-war a which Nunan won but in the end, Pinder boor beat Nunan by one point, putting Nunan in second by one point and Gibney in last place.

Thanks for reading, bye!

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Boarding Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Boarders Got Talent 2021

In Week 4 the boys showed off their skills in our Boarders Got Talent (one of our many Br Cleary Cup events) where Sam Cowcher and Euan Cobley led Nunan to a victory by making impersonations, the best one being an impersonation of Mr Van Dyk by Sam Cowcher.

The following boys from Nunan participated in the event, Jonty Petchell, Euan Cobley, Sam Cowcher, Aki Poasa, Jack Hughes, Lachlan Tippet, Riley Chitty, Carlo Moltoni, William Hughes and Jared Mackay.

From Gibney house, all the Year 8s and 9s performed, along with Lachlan Kerin, Angus Hardey and Hamish Dearlove who, arguably, had one of the best acts.

Out of the Pinderboor acts, Matthew Connaughton started the night off by playing Fur Elise on the piano, which certainly set the bar high. This was followed by Banjo Young, Max Skerritt and Jay Mutter who played as a band, and Trent Riley with a solo act. To end Pinderboors performance the Year 12s, led by Tom Mackay, sung “Tequila” which didn’t score as high as Tom would hope.

At the end of the night, Nunan came out on top, followed by Pinderboor in second place and lastly, Gibney.

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Middle School Friday, 14 May 2021

Life in Boarding

Life in boarding can’t be described in one word. It can be described as fun, exciting, happy, lively and so much more. At the start of Term 2, I couldn’t wait to get back into boarding life because I knew I would be safe and happy there.

On the weekdays there is certainly no absence of excitement. Some of the kids wake up pretty early and turn on the TV. When I wake up I start off by having a shower and then I go to the main area and sit down and wait until everyone goes off to breakfast. After breakfast, we sit down for a little longer and watch the TV. Once Brother Robert gets here we go and clean our rooms and then we get him to check our rooms. After Brother checks our rooms we are allowed to get our phones.

Before school, we can do whatever we want as long as it is around the boarding community. We then head to school. After school, if we have sport we do that but if we don’t then we can do whatever we want. Dinner may be anything from nachos to penne pasta. Then we get back and have a meeting.

Finally to finish the day off we do study then go to bed. On the weekends we have an even better time, we do recreational activities which may range from going to aqua park to going to a museum. All in all I think boarding is a good experience for anyone.

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Middle School Saturday, 10 Apr 2021

Life At Aquinas - Reflection of a Year 7 Boarder

Hi, my name is Logan Nixon and I’m one of the new year seven boarders of Brothers House.

The first week at Aquinas was very unusual, unfortunately, a small COVID outbreak hit, and we had to go into lockdown. I found home-schooling very hard and frustrating as I couldn’t just ask the teacher what I need to do, I had to figure it all out myself.

Once that was all over, in week 2, I could finally start boarding. It wasn’t too nice at the start because we still had to wear masks. I also got a little homesick, but after the second week, I was fine. The school part was amazing as we got our own iPad, at my old school we had to go to the computer room and get a laptop.

The first weekend recreation was really amazing. We went to Adventure World, there were so many rides and slides. My favourite slide was the Kraken.

Week 3 was very chill, and I started to settle into the boarding and Aquinas life. Week 4 was camp, and it was really cool. My favourite part was the search and rescue as we got to explore in the bush and try not to be captured by the organisers. After camp was the boarder’s weekend or 'exeat', I got to come back to my home in Kalannie (three and a half hours northeast of Perth). I got to catch up with all my family and friends.

Once we came back it was week 5 - again a very chill and easy week, though the next week started getting a little harder as we started studying for our CATs. Once we had finished all our CATs in week 7, I felt very relieved.

Aquinas has been a big step for me, the sport, the facilities, the boarding, it's all amazing. I’m very excited to see what I can accomplish in the coming years.

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Community Thursday, 18 Feb 2021

Boarding: A Mum's Reflection

I’ve spent some time pondering two things since our family started boarding in 2017, will I ever get used to them being away from home and will my name tag sewing skills ever improve? While I am still not used to my children being away from me, I can say I am better at it, the sewing skills remain dubious.

We have two boys boarding at Aquinas and one eager future Aquinian at home, which for us lies an hour’s drive north of Geraldton in Ogilvie. We’re broadacre farmers, have a handful of cows and a few ‘pet’ sheep. We are a close-knit family, farming with my Brother and Sister-in-law, who have three girls and started their boarding journey with Santa Maria this year.

Many people ask what it is like to have your children away at school, the best way I can explain it is, uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable, but what makes this subside is hearing your child on the end of the phone when they’re loving life with their friends, the opportunities they’re experiencing and the connections they make with their boarding family. And it’s not just the kids who get to broaden their horizons. We've met amazing people through the College and ticked off a bucket list item, travelling the Gibb River Road, with two of our boarding families last year. This is the comfort.

When my children started primary school, a departing parent encouraged us to linger - we focus on settling our children but forget to settle ourselves. This is what I have found helps at drop-offs, the boys shoot off to their friends and stories of EXEAT and holidays, but I’m not quite ready to go. So, I linger, that’s when I see the happiness on their faces and their interactions with their house ‘Dad’ or house ‘Mum’ and it makes it that bit easier to get in the car and drive home without them.

I’ve always loved and believed in the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”. We are so lucky to have our boarding and school community as part of our village. The most endearing thing we find in our Aquinian village is the culture. Simple things that build the boys into the men they will be. I love the way the boys spend much of their school life bemoaning Sunday night chapel but then return as Old Boys, sneaking in the back on the odd occasion to find some solace and re-grounding. Aquinas is a forever place.

There have been the best of times and the worst of times and navigating them from a distance was, at first, very overwhelming, but we have complete faith in the people who share in raising our children. We appreciate the times they tell them something they don’t want to hear, encourage them to have faith in their potential, pat them on the back when they deserve it and remind us, as parents, to go a little easier at times.

On our first drive down to Aquinas, I sat and read aloud the boarding handbook. The kids sat in the back laughing as I cried intermittently and tried to read through it. Three years on I still cry, much to the amusement of my boys. I was once told boarding isn’t about you, it’s about your child, I’m not sure I agree, it’s about us. So, I cry, and they laugh but know they secretly love knowing they are missed.

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Boarding Thursday, 11 Feb 2021

Leadership in Boarding

Being a leader in boarding is such a privilege and will always be a time in my life that I will look back on with gratitude.

Aquinas has a rich tradition within boarding which has seen many generations of families and has upheld its strong boarding reputation, which in essence is the leader’s responsibilities to uphold. Leadership in boarding does not stem from one person but rather the whole Year 12 cohort, which encourages the idea that boarding is a “different type of leadership.” Boarding for me is a home away from home, and that is the environment that is encouraged throughout our community, with acceptance a key factor. Leadership in boarding is an honour to me as it is using my six years of experience to help the younger boys make a new family here at Aquinas College.

From my experience in boarding, I am able to pass down skills such as; budgeting of funds, organisation, excellence in academics, communication, following rules and learning to be considerate. I believe leadership in boarding isn’t about solving the problems surrounding the boarding but rather encouraging the boys to take advantage of the opportunities granted to them by living onsite. My role as a leader in boarding is not only to help boys succeed in their academic lives but challenge themselves to grow into good men.

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Middle School Wednesday, 10 Feb 2021

Transitioning into Middle School

About school

So far it has been fantastic the size of the school is a bit worrying when you have a class on the other side of the school you might be one or two minutes late. My old school had all the classes in one class so it was a bit different moving between the 6 periods we have for the one day. A good thing is having the older boys helping you to your class and risking them being late for there class and getting there self in trouble.

After school activities

The best thing is having us do sport every week. Like on Monday we could do co-curricular activities like skill-based training, sprint training, strength and conditioning, drumline, drama club, art club, media, music, dance, photography and welding. With a game on Friday against a different school, like last Friday, we played against Scotch.

About the boarding community

The boarding community is a good place with our mentors coming and checking up on us when we are not feeling the best. We get to stay and talk to the year eights and they will tell us how things go up in the other year so we are ready for it. The Brother House was a good idea because it doesn’t put the year seven and new year eight in the big boarding house yet so we can get a feel on the community before we move in with the senior and older kids.

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