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Our Boarding Experience

22 February 2024

Choosing to send your child to boarding school in Adelaide is a big decision for many families. It can be an unknown, with extended time away from home, family and friends, in a new environment. Today, our 2024 Captain of Boarding, Will Manuel, and his mother Merridy, share their experience of choosing to join our boarding community at Prince Alfred College.

Will Manuel
2024 Captain of Boarding 

My arrival at the boarding house in Year 9 was a mixture of excitement and nerves. My first night in my new bed felt weird, and I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision to leave friends and family behind. However, as I settled in, I began to connect to the inclusive culture of the boarding house and forge friendships with boys from all over Australia and the world. Suddenly the prospect of living away from home wasn’t intimidating but a chance to meet people and make new friendships.

Boarding is like a country town in that community is everything. The camaraderie among fellow boarders was simultaneously comforting and challenging as we navigated forming bonds and adapting to communal living.

Over time, initial homesickness gave way to a deep sense of belonging. Shared experiences, late-night conversations, and mutual support fostered a tight-knit community that transformed strangers into friends and then into a second family.

The sense of community instilled teamwork and collaboration, creating a conducive environment for academic focus with dedicated study hours and tutors, along with peer support. The boarding house at PAC offers a diverse range of activities and events that foster exploration of new interests and the creation of lasting memories.

My appointment as Captain of Boarding this year, was marked with excitement and nervousness, accompanied by honour and responsibility. Leading and contributing to fellow boarders’ wellbeing has proven both humbling and challenging. I enjoy building relationships with the new boarders and helping them learn the boarding house systems and to feel a part of our big family. 

The warmth and care within the boarding house, plus the fun and amazing opportunities, is an extraordinary environment to grow up in. Our Director of Boarding, Mr Noble, and all the staff make boarding a positive experience.

From initial trepidation to a current sense of belonging and accomplishment, the boarding house journey has been transformative. 

Reflecting on my boarding house journey today fills me with gratitude and fulfillment. Academic achievements, personal growth, and leadership experiences as Captain have shaped me into a more resilient and capable individual. 

Merridy Manuel
PAC Boarding Parent

I had no experience of boarding prior to our son starting at PAC three years ago. Growing up in Peterborough and attending a local public school, the idea of boarding was foreign to me.

Fast forward 30 years, we were living in the mid-north and navigating the world of education for our own children. My husband Andrew’s career was firmly entrenched in the country, owning several rural newspapers across the state. Boarding has allowed us to continue living in the country, raising our youngest two in a small country school, whilst giving our eldest, William, an amazing jump start into life. We have watched Will’s maturity, leadership and independence grow and we are very proud of the young man he has become, and I believe boarding has contributed to this. 

We first began considering PAC when we saw them advertise at the Paskeville Field Days, and we had, of course, driven past the amazing grounds on Dequetteville Tce in Adelaide. But it was hearing powerful stories about the opportunities afforded by the College through friends, that led us to enrol. And how glad we are that we did. We could not be happier with the learning, leadership and living environment boarding at PAC has given our son. 

We feel very proud to be a part of the Prince Alfred College boarding community and tradition. PAC makes supporting boarders and connecting with country communities a priority. Certainly, the magnificent, state of the art facilities helped us choose PAC. But more importantly, is the wonderful and supportive staff that understand the pressures on boarding families and their sons and do all they can to build strong relationships. The decision for Will to join the PAC community has enriched our lives immensely. We have built new friendships, and seen our son flourish in this positive learning and boarding environment.

The consistent and easy communication between the College and home ensures we always know what is happening, helping us feel connected and a part of our son’s experience. Weekly boarding news and the yearly Boarder’s Herald newspaper is a welcome part of this communication. The Boarder Parents’ Consultative Committee, also organise the annual boarding parents’ weekend which is well attended and allows families to connect.

We have been very grateful for the flexible visitor policy which allows families to spend time with their boys when it suits them. There is always a receptive and supportive person on the end of the line for those impromptu, day-to-day needs. The online “reach” platform means we always know what our son is doing and there are clear, logical boundaries to maintain our son’s safety and manage the many opportunities. The superb boarding facilities, approachable, caring staff and amazing array of extra-curricular activities make it almost too good to be true.

The decision to board was driven by our son, Will, and we couldn’t be happier with the opportunities, learning and supportive environment he has had the privilege to be a part of.