It is 5.56pm and the excitement among the lines of hungry boarders leading into the dining hall has reached fever pitch. Today’s specials are spaghetti bolognese and shepherd’s pie and its peak service.
For Old Collegians and Residents on Duty (RODs), Mr Adam Edwards (17-18), Mr Dylan Dear (16-17) and Mr Kyle Hamersley (16-18), eating, sleeping and living within a 200-member Boarding House has been a reality for years. Considered trusted mentors, these three RODs impart wisdom from their own journeys at Wesley College, giving tips to our boarders on how to live away from home.
Originally from Esperance, Mr Edwards said that making the boarders feel comfortable is the best quality for a ROD. ‘New boarders tend to have their barriers up when they start, but by listening and talking to them, their barriers slowly breaks down,’ he said.
Lawson Marquis (706), who commenced at the College this year, is also from Esperance. Lawson’s mother was Mr Edward’s Middle School teacher in Esperance, which he said contributes to the strong connection with Lawson. ‘Coming from the same town, means Lawson and I instantly had a lot in common,’ he said. ‘We know the same families, secret beach spots and have travelled the same road to Perth once or twice! I am also able to put myself in his shoes, because I felt far from home when I first started as a boarder. However, that changed pretty quickly with all the support I got and the friendships that I have made in the Boarding House.’
For Mr Dear and Maxwell Nield (11T), their connection started when Mr Dear’s final year at the College was Maxwell’s first. ‘Dylan is best mates with another student from my home town,’ said Maxwell. ‘He’s a great ROD; he really listens to us and provides lots of advice.’
There is no doubt that sport is a huge element of the Boarding culture at Wesley. Each afternoon, Rossiter Oval comes alive with AFL and cricket players practising for upcoming fixtures. For Mr Hamersley, his interest in sport is how he ignites passion in younger boarders such as Howie Clegg (806). As a keen football player, Howie watched Mr Hamersley’s games when he played in South Fremantle’s West Australian Football League team, and continually learns from his experience.
Mr Hamersley reflected on the importance of mentoring the boarders. ‘Living away from home is a massive change, and as former boarders ourselves, we have so much experience to help with that transition,’ he said.
While their families may be hundreds of kilometres away, the boarders are lucky to have such a supportive community in the Boarding House.
This article first appeared in the Wesley College magazine, The Wesleyan. To read more articles from the Winter 2021 edition, please click here.
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