Celebrating our Boarding community

In celebration of National Boarding Week, our Headmaster Dr Alec O'Connell discusses the importance of nurturing community and how we support our Boarding students to excel at school and beyond.

While an integral part of our school, academic success only scratches the surface of what makes us great. Our passionate community is what sets us and the experience of our families apart.

For many of our boys and young men, a sense of community is created not only by attending school each day but by our vibrant boarding community, where many of our students live and interact well after the school day ends.

Our connections to rural, regional and global communities and our boarding offering are part of our College's DNA. Scotch has welcomed boarders since 1897, and while things have changed since then, our community has remained strong. Boarding today has expanded to international and metropolitan students, too.

In 1972, George Seddon wrote 'Sense of Place', recording his research of the Swan Coastal Plain and articulating what a contemporary sense of place means. He remarked that when we connect to a place, we are enabled to belong, and by belonging, we can contribute to the communities around us.

The importance of belonging is succinctly captured by Hugh McKay in his 2021 book,  The Kindness Revolution: How we can restore hope, rebuild trust and inspire optimism .

"We thrive on our sense of belonging to families, neighbourhoods and all kinds of groups and communities. We utterly depend upon our social connections for our emotional and physical security, for our sense of well-being, being accepted and taken seriously."

At Scotch, we must continue to foster a boarding environment and community that enables a sense of belonging. Students who feel like they belong are free to grow, excel, and create lifelong relationships. Years from their schooling days, our boarders are still closely connected from their shared experiences.

When a student begins his boarding journey at Scotch, he embarks on a lifelong journey and graduates into a community for life. Boarding school is a holistic approach to education that offers boundless opportunities for personal and academic growth. It allows boys to develop new interests and make friends while acquiring the life skills needed to succeed.

Our boarders, with the support of their families and our staff, experience many exciting milestones, such as our Bibbulmun Track Programme, which signify their growth and journeys. This thought is beautifully captured in an extract from Bishop Oscar Romero's prayer, 'A Step Along the Way'.

"We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise."

As we celebrate National Boarding Week in Australia, I thank our supportive boarding families and staff, who allow us to provide enriching boarding opportunities to students from across the globe.

Dr Alec J O'Connell

Discover Boarding at Scotch

Learn more about our Bibbulmun Track Programme