Tuesday, 5 April 2011

An Interview

Yesterday was Sarah's Secondary School interview.
Sarah's Secondary School.
Sarah's Secondary Boarding School.
The place Sarah will 'live' for the next five years, where she will forge friendships that will stay with her for a lifetime, where she will grow from our gorgeous young girl into a beautiful young woman.  Where she will be given opportunities never before seen, where she will learn, play, grow and develop.

The interview went really well. 

Sarah came away from it excited about this next phase of her education.  From a school of twenty-five students, where for seven years her only fellow class-mate has been one little boy named Eli to a school of eight hundred and eighty students, it's quite a step.  One I am certain Sarah will handle with confidence.  A calm and serious child, I've no doubt she is going to thrive in this new environment.  I listened smiling, as she relayed to her siblings everything she'd seen, from the layout of the twin-share room, to the pinboard above the bed where she intends to pin photos of the pigs, dogs, Mum & Dad, horses, cattle, and finally agreed at a pinch to include a photo of her brother and sisters.  She was most impressed with the rec-room, lined with bookshelves full of books just waiting to be read, the beautiful palm-tree surrounded swimming pool, tennis courts and even gymnasium.

I came away from the interview feeling confident that we've made the right choice with this school.  There is so much more than just the education involved when choosing a boarding school for your child.  It is a huge and worrying task to hand over the day-to-day responsibility of your child to somebody else.

You worry about safety and security foremost, will someone always know the whereabouts of my child, will someone be making sure her name's ticked when she steps off the bus from the school campus every afternoon, will someone make sure she's cleaned her teeth every night? Will someone sit on her bed and tell her it's alright to be feeling homesick?  Will someone tell her when she has milo on her chin after breakfast? And will someone make sure she packs a piece of fruit in her lunchbag every day?

The Head of Boarding with whom our interview was with, took us on a tour of the residence.  I was amazed by how 'homely' it was, not the sanitised hospital feel I'd dreaded.  The Year 8 and 9 facility has only very recently undergone a refurbishment and is very comfortable.  The girls (and boys) are responsible for ironing their own uniform every night, they pack their own lunch every morning and are given various duties including bin duty, packing dishwashers, much the same as home really.  The Head of Boarding with his wife and family live on site, their two year old daughter apparently a regular visitor, wandering the corridors, playing with whoever will let her.

The school itself is a co-educational facility, with girls and boys boarding at separate residences a short distance from the school campus.  The best of both worlds I think.

Sarah will go in for a three day orientation visit later this year.
I'll be sure to spit on my finger and wipe her face before she leaves.


  1. What a time of mixed emotion this must be.
    I can imagine that the process of deciding upon the 'right' school was huge but it must have been truly reassuring to have had such a successful visit with Sarah.

    This is just one more example of the many sacrifices that people 'on the land' make to help bring us the produce that keeps our country rolling.

    Thank you for this reminder and for the lovely photo of Sarah, it so beautifully captures this special time of transition.

    xx Felicity

  2. Boarding school is one of the realities of life for us too. Even though our children are still young we are putting names on lists etc. It is such a wonderful opportunity in so many ways, but so hard as well. (I think I will be hopeless because I am sitting here with tears in my eyes just writing this...!)

    It does sound like you are very comfortable with your choice of school which I think is the most important thing. It also sounds like a school that will suit Sarah.

    I hope it goes very well for all of you.

  3. This is such a huge turning point in Sarah's life and yours too. Sounds like a wonderful environment and having attended a boarding school too (although as a day girl) I saw so many close friendships forged between the boarders... they essentially become each other's family. Mr SJW and his brother both went to boarding school and his parents insist it saved them money in the end not having to buy the copious amount of food two teenage boys can devour! Georgie x

  4. The bording school issue has been playing on my mind for some time now, although we're still a few years off. How do we choose a school? What should we be looking for? How will our boys cope being away from us? How will I cope? I don't want to be part of the Friday afternoon convoy to Brisbane every week but can I bear to not be close to them? I wish you the very best of luck and I hope it goes well for you all!

  5. With a past as a school boarder myself, I smile with joy for Sarah. As a mother? I blink tears for you.

  6. me too, echoing what everyone else has said - a past boarding school kid of five years duration...but as a mother now, oh the prospect is scary - they are doing their growing up away from US!

    I'm so glad you've found a school that gives you the right feeling of confidence - and that she likes it. And hopefully close enough that an odd weekend of home time can be squeezed into what will no doubt be a jam packed and busy time.

    And while my youngest starts school next year, and your oldest heads off on the next phase away from home, you can use my shoulder too! ;-)

  7. Hugs to you Fiona, as a mom of a boarder, I know there will be days your going to miss Sarah terribly, that's normal. My eldest boy went to boarding school.
    I went to boarding school myself for 4 years and loved it, even as a little class one baby, there was no english school in our town. Then later in my high school years I wanted to go back to boarding school, so I caused a heap of trouble cause Mom kept threatening to send me back (YES)if I didn't behave lol

  8. I know it seems very daunting having your first child go off to boarding school, but you'll be surprised how resilient Sarah will be! You will see an instant difference in her at the first school holiday break - more responsible and grown up! Boarding school has done wonders for our three kids, so I'm a big fan of a boarding school education! It's usually the hardest on the mums when the kids go away but you have to be strong for them, and then you can go have a good cry alone in your bedroom! Donna x

  9. How exciting for Sarah!! I went to boarding school and so did my 2 sisters. Our parents wanted us to expereince all that we could - They wanted us to see that there was so much more out in the world than what was just in our little country town. You have defintely made the right choice!! She will have a ball and meet so many great people and do some great things!! I know I did when I was away at school! :o)
    Ellie x

  10. Oh Dear...and so it begins. Blink, and it will be here. Sarah will love it; it may take a little longer for you :) My only bit of wisdom on the topic - the Anticipation of the separation is much worse than the Actual. When you see how much they enjoy their new environment it makes it slightly easier for you.

  11. Oh, my, Fiona! What a big milestone in your lives. It sounds just delightful and I'm sure she will flourish there. But I can't imagine what you're feeling. Thinking of you. J x

  12. Wow that will be tough with her gone, but it sounds like a excellent school with lots of oppertunities!

  13. What a HUGE milestone for you and your family and your daughter. It sounds like a good place and one that will help your daughter achieve great things in her life. Mare probaly has it right. You must keep us posted.


  14. Wow, the school sounds great and your frame of mind is sound. lovely, i hope she will enjoy it.

  15. She'll have a wonderful time at boarding school! She'll miss you all, but she'll love it.

    The country girls were always the nicest at my boarding school.

    I hope she has a marvellous time!

  16. Just love this post. So beautifully written. I also went to boarding school (in Toowoomba) and absolutely loved it. I was always in tears at 'good-bye' time but the sadness was short lived. You are right in saying she will form friendships for life. I did. Our group of 8-10 girls are still in regular contact and have visited each other all over the world, shared weddings (bridesmaid duties), family births and deaths...they are the ones who know you best, after all you grow up together for 5 years. She will LOVE it Fiona, promise you x



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