Getting to Know our Boarding Supervisors: Catherine House


Why did you become a boarding supervisor and how long have you been one?
When my daughter went to high school she became a boarder at Santa Maria. She graduated in 2000 and then went on to uni. As she needed to have a job to support herself, she took up a position as a boarding supervisor at Santa Maria. When she finished uni and gave up her job as a boarding supervisor, she said to me that I would love this job and encouraged me to apply when a position became vacant. My neighbour also had a daughter boarding here and let me know when in 2006 a position was to become vacant. I applied and my first impressions were that I would really love it here. Coming to work here in July 2006, I immediately knew it was the right decision. At the time, I had already had a connection with 15 of the girls in my house. They were either daughters of friends or I had gone to school with their parents or had played sport with their parents. Country people have a vast network of friends and family and the boarding house was just the same. I have been working in the same boarding house ever since and always enjoy coming to be with my girls. I have been at Santa Maria for almost 12 years.

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a boarding supervisor?
Every day has it’s challenges and every girl has their own issues and personalities. The times my own daughter was away at boarding school was very stressful and worrying and I often wondered if she was happy and was she lonely at night. It’s a terrible thing to have to send your child away from home at the age of 11. You spend countless hours worried and having feel guilty. With this experience and the knowledge that parents would be having these thoughts, I challenge myself every day to make sure their daughters are happy. They need to try their best at school and be nice to each other, but the most important thing they can be is happy.

What makes you smile in the boarding house?
Girls. Girls with all their different characters and personalities make every day a delight. They constantly amaze me with their antics and actions, and are sometimes very funny.  The smile on their faces when they achieve their best and are proud of themselves. Their caring nature and how well they treat their friends when they feel down. Seeing photos of their family life and how they love sharing their lives and experiences with each other.  Having at least one of the 38 girls give me a smile and bright hello in the morning. Sometimes when I am struggling to keep up with all my tasks, having one of the girls offer to help out. When we go out as a group, watching them be respectful of other people and their beautiful manners. Being there when they see their family at the door and are so happy.

What is your favourite Movie?
Pricilla, Queen of the Desert.JEN SULLIVAN

Why did you become a boarding supervisor and how long have you been one?
I first became a boarding supervisor working with boys at Hale school, before being enticed to move to Santa, to work with girls. In all I spent seven and a half years at Hale initially as the Technician in the Visual Arts Department, then as the Boarders Recreation Officer and Boarding Supervisor in the Junior Boarding House and finally as the Admin Assistant to the Head of Boarding. Having been a boarder myself, for five years, I felt I had lots to give to young people living away from home and an understanding of just how difficult it can be at times. I am energised by the vitality of young people and being around them is a delight. I also felt it was a “karmic pay back” for being a high spirited young girl. I kept the nuns on their toes! I have been at Santa Maria College for 10 years and have loved “nearly” every minute of my time with the girls.

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at boarding?
One of many favourite memories of my time in boarding was being the compare and judge for my year 7 group of last year, when they put on a spontaneous fashion parade and skits night in the Catherine House corridor. They showed such creativity and it was loads of fun, with lots of laughter.

What makes the boarding girls special?
I think the diversity of the girls and their connectedness to the part of this huge state that they are from, makes them so incredibly special. Their energy and spirit is infectious and a joy to be a part of. We also have three International girls and they bring something special to the lives of our girls, which I’m sure is reciprocated.

What is your Favourite quote?
My favourite quote is Carpe Deum……seize the day! Especially now we need to encourage young people to seize every moment and really live in the moment.

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