Author: Darren Roylett (Director of Boarding & Boys’ Education PAC)
The Transition Program in the PAC boarding community – breaking the ice!
At the end of each year it is quite a reflective occasion to say our farewells to the departing Year 12s. Many of these boys have been with us in boarding for 3 to 5 years and have spent a significant part of their student life within the care of the boarding staff. Undoubtedly it is emotional and I know that all of our caring staff feel a sense of pride in the achievements of the boys and new school year sees a fresh group of new students join us at Princes in boarding. At the commencement of 2017 we welcomed 35 new boarding students to the community, bringing a refreshed energy and to a certain degree a changed social dynamic within the cohorts. This isn’t always easy, so we have a structured approach to easing this transition.
We have some significant strategies in place which assist the process of transitioning into the College for our new boarders. The first stage of our Transition Program occurs late in Term 4 which sees our newest students spend a night in the boarding house where they are buddied up with an existing student, attend our induction seminar and take part in activities. The next day, the new boys walk across to school with their new “boarder buddies” and then have their transition program in the day school.
The second phase of our Transition Program is the Team Building Day which is always held on the first weekend of the new year. This day sees a structured program of activities which enhances team spirit and inclusiveness. Activities include both physical and mental challenges which promote teamwork and are fantastic “ice-breakers”. Games such as Pictionary, Ultimate Frisbee, Dodgeball and Pool activities which are all able to be done on site in our fantastic RED Centre. The afternoon is well organized and run by the Boarding Prefects and our senior staff. The activities provide the new Prefects with an opportunity to exercise authentic leadership and to build positive relationships with the new students. Appealing to the competitive nature of boys, we award prizes for engagement and participation.
There is no doubt that transitioning to a new boarding school can be a challenge, but our proactive approach to alleviating some of the uncertainties goes some way in making things as smooth as possible for the boys who quickly become proud Reds!
Director of Boarding & Boys’ Education
A Boarders view point
I started as a boarder at Prince Alfred College at the beginning of this year. I had visited the College numerous times before I started, as I have visited my older brother since he started here in 2015. One of these visits was the orientation day towards the end of last year. This was a great opportunity for me to meet and make friends with, my future school mates. The orientation day helped me make friends and set me up for the new chapter of my life at PAC. When the time finally came to start at PAC, I was nervous but excited at the same time. It was great to see some familiar mates and sad at the same time, saying goodbye to my family. It was nice to realise that there were plenty of other boys going through the same thing. Now, PAC feels like a second home to me!
Year 10 Boarder – Maitland