Year 12 Boarder, Sofia Brew: The Joy of Boarding at MGGS

Year 12 Boarder, Sofia Brew: The Joy of Boarding at MGGS

This week is National Boarding Week and our boarders are out and about, proudly wearing special ribbons and socks to identify them and celebrate the vibrant boarding family that fill the rooms of Phelia Grimwade and Gilman Jones buildings every day. Our boarders bring incredible warmth to our School, and thanks to the Boarding team including Director of Boarding, Mrs Amanda Haggie and Assistant Director of Boarding, Ms Kerry Bacon, our boarders form a true family. 

At a special Assembly, our boarders sat front and centre, excited to share their boarding video which gave day girls or ‘day rats’ as they call them (endearingly) an insight into boarding life at MGGS. Our boarders are important role models in our community, and each day they demonstrate the strength and independence required to not only take care of themselves, but their sisters in the Boarding House too. 

Year 12 boarder, Sofia Brew, who’s family is almost 30 hours away in Colombia, spoke beautifully about her boarding experience at MGGS. Sofia joined the Boarding House in Year 9 in 2021. 

I’m torn between telling you about the mischiefs we get up too and the reality of being so far away from home. So, I’ll do my best to give you the best of both worlds.  

I began my boarding adventure halfway through Year 9 when I was described to ‘be a little bit weird’ according to one of my, now, closest friends and I can confirm that I’ve only gotten weirder from there. When my parents dropped me off, I was far from excited when I realised MGGS was not, in fact, Hogwarts. Nonetheless, my parents left me at Gate A with tears in their eyes knowing that for the next four years I would only see them six times in total. I live three planes, two layovers, and 28 hours in the air away from my family who live in Colombia. Other boarders live two hours away from home in places like Bendigo or Woodend. As boarders we’ve come from all over the place. We’ve left our families, said goodbye to our pets and begun anew away from everything we know. Yet, through the loss there has been a gain as we’ve found our new family.  

The love and friendship that has surrounded me over the past few years has made that longing feeling evaporate. Knowing that that the tears I shed after leaving home are going to be replaced with laughter that I know waits for me at top floor Gilman makes it 100 times easier to come back each term. And, whether it be through Kerry’s British quirks or Amanda’s roaring laugh when I walk through the door, I know that each term holds something new for us as boarders. The privilege to be a boarder at MGGS is shaped by the effort made by everyone within the House during our schooling years. It is also shaped by the teachers and parents who show us their support.   

Year 12 Boarders Olivia, Emelia, Sofia, Charlotte and Lucy.


Knowing the tears I shed after leaving home will soon be replaced with laughter, makes it a hundred times easier to come back each term.


So, to those who have plenty of questions, here’s the rundown:  

  • In Year 7,8, and 9 we’ve got the ‘Resies’ (residential staff) hot on our tails when it comes to devices time. And yes, many of us have attempted and failed to keep them for the night which often results in warnings, but the risk is worth it. 
  • By the time we reach Year 10, sharing a room is the norm and the new privilege of being able to go out alone in the city is almost too overwhelming 
  • Year 11 is bliss because we get our devices at night and our curfew has been pushed to 10:30 pm! Yet, you find yourself wanting to come back sooner because your roommate has become your rock and if you’re like me you’ve developed separation issues from your best friends. 
  • Now in Year 12; I cry at the thought of not having my friends a 30 second walk away and I look forward to the weekend’s movie nights where an unnatural amount of snacks are consumed. 
Boarders Olivia, Charlotte, Sofia, Lucy, Gabriella, Georgie, Emily, Sienna and Zoe.

As boarders, we learn to push through the pain. Yet, on the days we can’t, we know we’re not alone. When the home away from home gets overwhelming and Mum’s not picking up the phone, we know we’re not alone. People often ask, ‘isn’t annoying not having your own space?’ And I think that at one point I would have gone on a tangent about everything that irked me in the Boarding House. But now that I reflect and acknowledge the support base that has been built around me, I realise that, no, being a boarder isn’t a pain, instead I think, it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Year 12 Boarders Lucy, Sofia, Olivia and Charlotte playing tennis after school.

So, to the boarders missing home and to the ones who are counting down the days until you are home. Keep the countdown going, but along the way look around you, because it goes quickly. You’ll wake up one morning with the realisation that you’re in Year 12 and there are only 165 days until your final assembly. Say thank you to Manz (Mrs Haggie) and Kez (Ms Bacon) for never letting us down and your friends for letting you become a part of their family.  

To everyone else, the reality is that boarding isn’t easy, it changes you as a person. You become more independent, you grow thicker skin, you learn to let go of a grudge and to cherish the time when you’re home and getting a home cooked meal. Yet, it can also feel like the easiest thing in the world when you’re having a debrief every night with your closest friends or when your year level comes together for supper.  

Whilst we’re here during the term, there’s an energy about us boarders, because we’re united in a way that I know I’ll hang onto for the rest of my life. So, thank you to the staff, to the Boarding Captains and every member of the MGGS Boarding House – I’ve only made it this far because of you.