Head of Boarding Services

One of our new boarders this year recently commented on returning to Illawarra that “this house wraps its arms around you and gives you a hug when you walk in after school”. This comment sums up our approach to wellbeing at Illawarra and certainly supports our weShare approach in that we share our home, our stories and our world. Being a smaller boarding house where all year levels live together enables the boarders to develop close friendships with girls from a range of year levels and nationalities.

During May, our boarding community has participated in the first National Boarding Week coordinated by the Australian Boarding Schools Association where boarders from all over Australia have participated in a number of projects. There are approximately 25,000 boarders in Australia and the perimeter of the Australian mainland is also roughly 25,000 kilometres. Their goal, called Boarders Run Australia, is for all boarders to walk or run 1 kilometre each. Together, all boarders have been asked to donate a gold coin to Boarders Support Australia. The money raised will go to children’s brain cancer research through Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer. This project could easily raise in excess of $50,000 to support ABSA’s national charity. Our boarders completed this task on Monday 15 May.

Last week, we were also the guests of the Scotch College Boarding Community when 18 girls participated in their Boarders’ Trivia Night to raise funds to build homes in Cambodia. During the final week of May, (before exams start) we will again celebrate Random Act of Kindness Week, where everyone is designated a secret person to treat to a special act of kindness (often a thoughtful card, flower posy or box of chocolates) during the week. Our Gratitude Tree will again be in operation where everyone gets the opportunity to post a note about something that had gone well that week.

A major feature of the lobby at Illawarra is our puzzle table. Each term we complete at least two large puzzles (minimum 1000 pieces) and everyone (including visiting parents) can join in the challenge. Many wonderful conversations take place each day as we work on these complex puzzles and it gives us the chance to talk, laugh and share experiences. We also enjoy thanks to the generosity of our parents, a number of new games and sports equipment, including a free-standing basketball ring. Finally. we would like you to thank the Gullifer family for donating their large fish tank and fish to Illawarra – we love sitting watching the antics of the variety of sea life in the tank and our younger boarders enjoy the opportunity to look after them.

During the final week of Term, we shall again host the Annual Staff/Boarders’ Dinner where the students invite their teachers to join them for dinner at Illawarra. Our Boarding Captains decide on the theme of the evening and the trivia challenges each year are certainly one of highlights on the Boarding Calendar.

Ms Sue Collister, Director of Boarding Services