An interview with current St Catherine’s boarding parents Chris and Toni O’Brien (who live in Bright, Victoria). Their eldest daughter, Morgan, commenced in Year 9 in 2013.
Why did you choose St Catherine’s School?
We wanted an all-girls boarding school in Melbourne. After internet searching, we narrowed our choices to two schools. We then visited both campuses and the girls walked out of St Catherine’s saying, “Can we go there?” We liked the way the staff addressed the girls directly, we were impressed by the facilities and the homely feel of the Boarding House.
How did Morgan find the ‘settling in’ process at St Catherine’s?
To be honest, the first six months were a challenge – our first daughter away at boarding school, and it was also Morgan’s first experience of living away in Melbourne. Coping with transport, living with other girls, and a new curriculum brought with it expected difficulties. However, it was all handled in a supportive environment and after the first semester Morgan loved being at St Catherine’s.
In what ways has boarding at St Catherine’s been beneficial for Morgan?
We come from a small rural town so Morgan has gained independence and skills that she would not have gained for many years living here. The subject choices available at St Catherine’s have broadened her interests and allowed her to find subject choices not available at home.
How do you feel involved in the life of the School as a Boarding parent?
We feel very informed with the School’s weekly Newsletter, The Blue Ribbon, and Boarding House term newsletter, Illawarra Tower. Being four hours from Melbourne, we cannot attend all functions, but we try to attend the Year level functions where possible. All the teaching staff are available by phone or email.
We are looking forward to our other daughters becoming St Catherine’s boarders in the coming years.