Reflections from our Boarding House Directors – Amanda Haggie and Dimity Harris
During term time, our Grammarians absolutely love their Boarding House. Acting in ‘loco parentis’ the senior and residential staff, however, are completely aware that we are seamlessly replaced when it’s holiday time. That’s the way it should be!
On any given school day, boarders try their luck getting into the Boarding office, more for a chat than anything else, and by the afternoon our gregarious girls fill up the house with noise and excitement. They are connected to this House in so many ways, it is their home away from home.
Air hugs became the new embrace and one by one throughout the week, our 80 boarders were en route to a safe home.
As the situation with COVID-19 developed, girls were faced with their first weekend of restricted social gatherings. This suggestion, coupled with instructions in the media for students to keep attending school, caused understandable confusion. Our microcosm within the Boarding School walls mimicked that of societies everywhere. Questions flooded in: “Will we be able to go home?”, “Can we stay in the Boarding House?” “What happens if someone gets coronavirus in the Boarding House?”, “If we must limit our activities, how come staff get to come and go?” These were all very valid queries.
Anxiety levels were high, right up until the Principal’s announcement, which then of course eased their tension. Action could now begin. Despite their devotion to the Boarding House, when the announcement came on Tuesday 17 March for the students to switch to Remote Learning, our girls were ready to go home.
The boarders did what the boarders do best – they switched into organisation mode. Parents and care givers were called, accommodation confirmed, suitcases packed and books organised. Air hugs became the new embrace and one by one throughout the week, our 80 boarders were en route to a safe home.
One boarder, from Darwin, couldn’t leave fast enough. Case in tow, she performed a spectacular stack flying out the Boarding House doors. We rushed to her aid and were relieved to find her hysterically laughing. This symbolised to us, how incredibly resilient the boarders are.
We continue to be impressed by the adaptability of our girls to learning in a new environment and in making the most of this quite unusual new world order. We have been incredibly encouraged by their strength of character as they take the time to stay connected with photos, video conferencing and messaging. One of our Year 10 boarders from Foster even quoted with her usual positivity, “I’ve been doing all the things I used to wish I had time for, and I’m kind of enjoying remote learning!”
So, our focus as a Boarding House, is to maintain that connection, because we all know that staying connected is very important for the health and wellbeing of our girls. As such we will be offering our support through various avenues. During the school holidays – we ask that the girls rest and recharge and return to their home away from home eventually. Some wish it was sooner rather than later, but at the moment we focus on everyone’s health and safety as the priority.