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Boarding is a sacrifice. While there is an obvious financial toll on families to choose boarding school, it is the emotional cost of having the family unit disturbed for 38 weeks that undoubtedly has the largest impact. The young men who board at St Peter’s College have many things in common, first and foremost are loving families who have made the decision to provide the best possible education for their sons despite the tyranny of distance.

For young men to demonstrate gratitude to their families can be a challenge. What all parents simply ask their boys to do, is challenge themselves, do their best and make the most of every opportunity. It is however ingrained in the adolescent male brain to produce something measurable or visible to quantify their achievements. In 2018, it has been through service and awareness that the boarders of St Peter’s College have largely been able to accomplish this.

Many of our boarding students travel from rural and remote Australia to attend School. Almost all of these boys rely heavily on the Royal Flying Doctor Service for an assurance of access to medical services. With the RFDS helping one of the 8 million rural and remote Australians every 2 minutes, this was a service close to many boy’s hearts. During our annual Boarders Week celebrations, School & Allen was able to raise $2000 for the RFDS through bringing in a flight simulator and promoting the cause to the wider school community.

Our boarding community is extensive. With boarders attending Saints since 1853 our current boarders are proud to be part of such a unique alumnus. When tragedy strikes a member of our boarding family it sends shock waves through the community.

In 2014, recent graduate of School & Allen, Adam Dixon was tragically killed in a car accident on Kangaroo Island. In memory of Adam, a memorial prize was established in his honour by the Dixon family. As a fitting tribute to Adam, a year 12 boarder who demonstrates character and is a great mate to all is awarded this prize that also comes with a bow-tie donated by the Dixon family. This is a highly cherished award amongst the boys as it keeps the legacy of one of their brothers alive within the House. Each year the boarders are asked to fundraise to maintain this prize and this year our House Celebration Day was used to raise money for the Adam Dixon Memorial Prize. The boys were able to raise over $500 with an additional $1200 being donated by members of our boarding community.

Year 10 Boarder Tom Castine, from Horsham, Victoria tragically lost his father to brain cancer when he was only very young. This year Tom bravely spoke to the House about his heartbreaking story and promoted the Walk4Brain Cancer event held by the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Following this, we did not have shortage of boys and staff willing to be involved.

Early in the year, The Mary Potter Foundation contacted the Boarding House asking if we could assist in their ‘Walk for Love’ event. Each year family and friends walk in honour of those who have been cared for by the foundation. With many unable to travel to Adelaide or walk the 7 km distance, the Mary Potter Foundation asked if our boarders would be available to perform this incredible honour on behalf of those who could not. Without needing convincing, over 40 boarders proudly walked the 7kms one Sunday morning for those who could not make the journey.

Boarders love their mums. Often being away from mum is the most challenging aspect of being a boarder at an all-boys school. When White Ribbon day approached in Term 4, the boys were shocked to hear that 1 in 4 women have experienced a form of abuse since the age of 15. That, on average one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia. With shocking statistics like this the boarders were keen to make a commitment to break this cycle. On White Ribbon Day, all boarders and staff formed a human white ribbon on Main Oval and took an oath to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women. This pledge was made on behalf of all of our mums and sisters.

Inspiring young men to sacrifice their time and effort for selfless reasons may be a daunting prospect. However, when an opportunity to make a difference to a cause that has impacted them or one of their brothers, the boarders at Saints are always up to the challenge. Similarly, taking the opportunity to say thank you through service is special to observe and be part of. I congratulate the young men of School & Allen on how they approached 2018. Without question, their appreciation of the wonderful opportunities they have been given has been expressed and quantified with pride and passion.

Ray Pearson
Head of Boarding