Tamworth students tell about life at boarding school

GREAT TO BE BACK: Pip and Charlie Traill at Calrossy Anglican School's Brisbane Street campus. Photo: Peter Hardin 070218PHC007

GREAT TO BE BACK: Pip and Charlie Traill at Calrossy Anglican School's Brisbane Street campus. Photo: Peter Hardin 070218PHC007

THE city’s boarding school students have settled back into their term-time routines as the 2018 school year continues.

Boarders at Farrer and the two Calrossy campuses arrived at their schools in time for classes to resume early last week, with an 11-week term ahead of them.

And while the stereotype might be the problem child unwillingly shipped off to school, The Leader chatted with four boarders who were happy to get stuck back into school life.

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Pip and Charlie Traill come from a 7000-acre sheep and cropping property at Bundella, near Premer, and board at the Calrossy girls’ and boys’ campus.

Pip, 15 and in Year 10, said it was “quite exciting” to return and see all her friends again, and she was happy to be a boarder.

“Our local high school is an hour away, so it’s a long trip on the bus, and also it’s a really nice atmosphere here; everyone’s really friendly,” she said.

Charlie is 13 and in Year 8, volunteered that the “food’s pretty good”.

He said the first thing he did each new term was drop his bags in his room and go catch up with mates.

He said his method of preparing for the year was to “write lots of lists on what to pack”.

Pip said what she’d miss most about home this year was her new horse, Black Jack; Charlie said he missed “having my own space”.

The teens have grandparents in Tamworth they get to visit during the term, and their parents pick them up for the school’s regular mid-term, three-day leave weekends.

They usually spend their school holidays helping on the farm or visiting relatives.

‘Not as hard as it sounds’

Out at Farrer, Year 8’s Darcy Devine and Year 12’s Charlie Shadwell are back into the swing of things, too.

NEW TERM: Charlie Shadwell and Darcy Devine said catching up with friends was a priority when they returned for a new term.

NEW TERM: Charlie Shadwell and Darcy Devine said catching up with friends was a priority when they returned for a new term.

Darcy lives on a property at Willow Tree; he’s at Farrer in the footsteps of an older brother, and a younger brother will follow in few years.

“Every time I’d come here I’d be excited to visit, and I always got good reports from him about Farrer,” Darcy said.

School vice-captain Charlie said boarding was “not as hard as it sounds”.

“Once you’re in your routine, you keep organised and it teaches you so many different skills,” he said.

“I don’t think we’d learn to be as independent, otherwise.”

Darcy’s school holidays were spent getting an old Fordson tractor going, and Charlie worked for a cousin in the metal fabrication trade.

Darcy’s favourite subject was technological and applied studies (TAS).

Charlie said he just enjoyed all of his schooling, but ag in particular.

Excitement and a little homesickness

Calrossy head of boarding Courtney Coe has been in that role for about 14 years, and said she loved seeing “the excitement and joy” of returning boarders.

“It’s very much like a family – and it’s very loud in here on the first day,” she said.

“For new boarders, it’s quite an adjustment.

“It’s not just a new school, it’s a whole new lifestyle: what you do, who you see, what you eat, where you sleep.”

Farrer publicity officer Jennifer Goodridge said the school’s swimming carnival in Week 3 or 4 was usually the first time during the term the boys would see their families.

She said the school allowed few phone calls home to parents early in the term, especially from younger students.

“There is minimal contact, because the boys are all homesick together, and within a few weeks they’re over the worst of it,” she said.

“They support each other and the parents don’t become unnecessarily worried.”

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