When Wesley College is humming along at its best, it runs like a well-oiled machine. Of course, like a machine, there are a lot of cogs — that you can’t always see — working smoothly together to make the passing of the hours seem effortless for the students.
But it is this commitment — from the teachers to the maintenance team — to create the best possible environment for learning that makes the Wesley community what it is.
To give you a sense of the scale, alongside the 144 members of the teaching staff are 266 support staff making their contribution.
The day at Wesley starts surprisingly early. Before some students are even out of bed, the ground staff are hard at work, ensuring that the College grounds are in pristine condition. Reverend Nalin Perera is also an early riser, already circulating the school with his blessings after arriving at the College at 5:45am.
For Reverend Perera, the dawn start is a joy rather than a chore — an opportunity to check in with the boarders over breakfast and offer any pastoral advice that might be needed. It’s just one of the many ways that Nalin helps every child navigate their school years, a task he takes great pride in: ‘There is a uniqueness to this place, with the incredible relationships that are built here. It is a community of faith and love and it is a privilege to be part of it.
‘My commitment to the Lord comes first, but my commitment to the College is grounded in our mission. I believe in the mission and my passion for the work comes from there.’
In these early hours the kitchen staff are also in full-flight, working tirelessly to ensure that the Boarding House staff and students are fed before the school day. However, it’s not just breakfast they are preparing. As breakfast is being served, prep work for lunch has already begun. It’s a non-stop effort with the kitchen staff having to prepare 5,495 meals per week to ensure that each boarder is fed five times a day.
It is the teaching staff who arrive next at the College, eager to deliver the classes they prepared months in advance.
Every teacher deserves an individual mention, but this year marks Mr Peter Trend’s 45th year as a staff member at Wesley College.
In that time, he has served as Deputy Head, Acting Headmaster, and Head of Mathematics. Peter’s primary reason for staying committed to Wesley College for so long comes down to the relationships he’s formed: ‘I have built fantastic connections with Old Wesleyans, current and past parents, and members of the local hockey club. I’ve stayed here because I enjoy it — I’ve never had the desire to move elsewhere.’
The school day starts and the Wesley College machine goes into overdrive. Our psychologists have their doors knocked on by students in need. The College reception is peppered with visitors, while our Community Relations team are busy providing an important link between Wesley and our past, current and future families.
Enrolments Managers, Mrs Kelli Henning and Mrs Ceili Mitton, are often the first faces introduced to prospective parents, so they go above and beyond in trying to make sure that every call, every email and every tour is taken in a way that shows just how special life at Wesley is.
‘We’re committed to ensuring that every member of our community feels welcome and valued,’ says Kelli. ‘But, most importantly, we want to make sure our newest members feel connected and excited about the journey ahead.’
Meanwhile, our library staff and laboratory technicians are eagerly handing out advice and resources. The hard work involved in completing these jobs, and completing these jobs well, often goes unrecognised. In the library, there are more than 20,000 books (including e-books, magazines and audiobooks) for students to enjoy. The maintenance of these resources is no simple task according to Teacher Librarian, Ms Jane McGrath: ‘We try to pre-read all of the texts that we bring in. That way we have a better understanding of what the students might like and it assists us in organising them into age-appropriate categories. We believe that everyone can read a book and enjoy it. Our role is to match the student to that book.’
Those in charge of the uniform shop are paraded with students needing an upgrade to their attire. The laundry staff are working tirelessly to ensure the boarders have clean clothes for the week to come; this includes washing 700 shirts per week, with over 25 loads of washing per day. The list goes on.
After school, the machine does not stop. Coaches put the students through carefully planned training drills. Parents are busy organising fundraising efforts and events that facilitate community interaction. Boarding House staff are ensuring that the boarders are safe and happy as they partake in their afternoon activities. Boarding House Admin Support, Mrs Sharyn Lynch, is the glue that holds the Boarding House together.
She says: ‘My commitment to Wesley is about keeping the boarders safe. For holiday breaks, I have to coordinate all of the flights, trains and buses for the boys. If they get home to their rightful mothers and fathers, I have done my job.’
There is no doubt that a huge amount of commitment goes into every detail of the College’s life. This commitment is shown in different ways and, in many cases, it is subtle and unnoticed. To all the members of the Wesley College community that do things both behind the scenes and in the spotlight, we thank you for your commitment. This machine of ours would not run without you.
This article first appeared in The Wesleyan. To see the magazine in full, click here.
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