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Boarding Week Launches at Santa Maria College

Boarders entering assembly in their town tops

Boarding Week runs throughout Australia and officially launches this Sunday 14 May. Here at Santa Maria, we launched Boarding Week on Thursday with a special assembly hosted by our boarders.

The girls paraded into the McDonald Building in front of their peers and staff, proudly wearing their town tops, showing off where they come from.

This year’s theme for Boarding Week is The Patchwork of Boarding. Boarding school is a rich tapestry with girls coming from all over Western Australia and overseas and woven deeply into the fabric of our school. The following video shares some of the locations our boarders come from.

The Assembly commenced with a great dance routine from our Year 7s, which even included a pillow fight!

After this, some spoke about their time as a boarder so far. They shared where they are from, how long it takes them to get to school, what they love about boarding and what they have struggled with.

Ebony shared with us, “To get to boarding, I have to travel in my car, and it takes four and a half hours, but if there’s traffic, it can take up to five hours. I come from Newdegate, which is a small country town with about 35 students in the school. My biggest challenge this term was starting at a new school, getting used to boarding, meeting new people, and getting around with a moon boot and splint. The thing I love about boarding so far is being able to hang out with friends, all the fun rec activities, and playing lots of sports.”

Year 7 boarder Ebony

Kiara said, “I have to travel along the great Northam Highway for two hours and then another one and a half hours on some other roads to get to Perth. I come from a small town where everyone knows each other and a small school with 19 children. My biggest challenge was trying to find my classes because my old school only had three classrooms. The thing I love about boarding is all the new opportunities and all the memories.

Year 7 boarder Kiara

The boarders asked our Principal, Jennifer Oaten, how boarding shaped the person she is today. Here’s what she had to say. “When I was a boarder, we had students from remote stations, farms, country towns and overseas. Everyone had different stories and experiences, like driving tractors and riding horses. This helped me to be more understanding and accepting of others, their challenges, and their successes. Boarding also made me appreciate my mum and dad. They sacrificed a lot for my education, and without them, I would not be where I am today…”

Jennifer Oaten reflecting on her time as a boarder

Alice Gosper, Head Boarder and Grace McLean, Deputy Head Boarder, gave a heartfelt speech about their love of boarding and shared, “Being sent away from home when you’re 11 years old isn’t something most people would get to experience, but when you come from a tiny town, which you probably haven’t heard of, there isn’t much choice, and it’s the reality for all of these girls. However, this unique experience is something none of us will ever forget, and the qualities we develop here over the years will never leave our side. We’re sure we speak on behalf of everyone when we say this, if we were given a choice to be a boarder or not, we would say yes, because nothing could replace the memories, laughs, and simple joy this experience has given us.”

Grace, Deputy Head Boarder and Alice, Head Boarder

To finish the Assembly, the Year 12s boarders sang their own version of John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ accompanied by Music Tutor Nat Ripepi and Year 9 boarder Pippa Taylor. “Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong, West Australia, Margaret River, take me home, country roads.

Thank you to our boarders for everything you bring to our school. Enjoy this celebration week.

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