Boarding Community Celebration Dinner

Posted July 21, 2021 in Opinion By Community Relations

Staff, students, parents and special guests came together at Monday night’s Boarder’s Celebration Evening.

After a hiatus for a year, it was great to hold one of the highlight events of the year and strengthen our community. Captain of Boarding, Ben Woodruff, spoke at the event and below is his speech for you all to enjoy.

I started my boarding journey in Year 10, coming from a small country town called Narrogin, around two hours south-east of Perth. It is funny to think I once thought that this was such a long drive, but once hearing about the long trips other families have to make, I consider myself pretty lucky. Having students from Western Australia, Inter-State and overseas creates a great range of diversity and is one of the things that makes boarding at Wesley so special.

The transition from a home of five in a small town to a home of 150 in the centre of South Perth, where your nearest neighbour is a mere half meter away, was a massive change. However, one that has come with great rewards. The opportunities that Wesley have provided me with have changed my life forever, whether that be in sport, academics or my relationships.

Even though it has come with ups, it has also come with downs. It is not easy choosing to move away from home and this can sometimes be tough on everyone. So, this is why I would like to take this time to thank my parents for the amazing support you have given me, and, on behalf of all other boarders, thank every parent and guardian who have helped their child through their journey – it doesn’t go unnoticed.

As a latecomer into the boarding cohort, I was once afraid I would find it hard to fit in; to be accepted into the strong year group and create the same bonds as boys who had already spent years together. However, within the first night, I had already made great mates who helped me get through my first few weeks unscathed. There is a brotherhood between all 150 boys in the Boarding House, a sense of family, which helped me, and many others, find their feet at the beginning of their boarding journey.

Now, whenever I pack my stuff to come back at the end of each holiday, I remember the feeling I had, coming into the Boarding House, and I am reminded that no matter how you feel, you have amazing people around you to help you through.

I found it hard as a Year 10, so I could only imagine what it would be like as a young Year 7 or Year 8 making the same transition. I admire how they handle themselves at such a young age and act with maturity. So, my message to you is, keeping working hard as it will only get easier from here.

Tonight, we are back again. For some Year 12s, it is one of the last “first night backs’. There is always a buzz around the boys on the first night back, and I felt it again tonight. We all catch up and tell stories (most of them severely exaggerated) about our holiday adventures, cracking jokes and laughing.

As a Year 12, the year is full of what we call the ‘lasts’. The last Boarding House Adventure World trip, the last Darlot cricket match (which didn’t exactly go to plan), or the last time we pack the back of the car and unload our stuff to start a new term.

As my journey comes to an end, I think back on how quickly it has gone, the fun I’ve had and the friends I have made. But as I take a deeper look, I try to comprehend how boarding at Wesley runs so smoothly? You can of course think about the tremendous work that Mr Steer and all the Year Coordinator’s do, but a dynamic like this can’t be solely run by a few people. Rather, it’s a collective effort from everyone and their constant application of the core values of Wesley that helps it run the way it does.

  • Courage. The way boys go outside of their comfort zone and seize all the opportunities that come their way.
  • Compassion. The sympathy and kindness that each boy shows for one another.
  • Integrity. The way boys take ownership for their actions, even when faced with negative consequences.
  • Respect. Living in a house of 150 boys can be hard as we can get on each other’s nerves but the way each boy knows how to respect each other and their feelings is tremendous.

These values are not just words on the wall – we should be living our lives by them.

So, as I conclude here tonight, I encourage you to continue to use these values to make your journey here as memorable as possible as it will be over before you know it.

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