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Outstanding new boarder from Capella shows the way for 2020 boarding arrivals

Outstanding new boarder from Capella shows the way for 2020 boarding arrivals

‘Welcoming’, ‘helpful’ and ‘down-to-earth’ were the words used by Blake Conway from Capella on the Central Highlands to describe the St Brendan’s College community, on his arrival as a new boarder in January 2019.

Arriving to start Year 10, Blake has certainly made the most of his first year and was recognised at the College’s annual Awards Night over the weekend with the Principal’s Prize for Outstanding Effort from a New Student. 

The son of Old Boy Scott Conway (Senior 1992) Blake was fortunate to have a network of ‘Old Boy’ connections to call on when he arrived, but found the transition an easy one with ‘welcoming and friendly’ students across the boarding school to call on for advice, and an attitude of ‘get in and get involved’. 

“There are heaps more subjects to select from here, and I have enjoyed my subjects in Manual Arts and Sports Academy and am looking forward to starting Automotive, Engineering Pathways and Construction in 2020,” said Blake. 

“The facilities are great, the teaching staff have been very helpful; there are tutorials available and if you need extra help, you just have to ask,” he said. 

“I was looking forward to playing more footy when I arrived, with stronger rugby league competitions across school and club at St Brendan’s,” he said. 

And Blake has certainly started his SBC sporting career on a high note, signing up for rugby league on arrival, being selected in the Year 10 Aaron Payne Cup Rugby League Squad and winning the SBC Under 15 Cross Country, before an unfortunate injury near the end of Term 1, a broken ankle in an SBC rugby union game, ruled him out of sport for the majority of 2019. 

Despite being out of action for 19 weeks, Blake’s advice for new boarders, and indeed all new students, is to “just get in and get involved”. 

“Whatever you’re interested in, whether it’s footy or music or ag, find out what’s available and get in and get involved so you can meet people easier and settle in quicker.” 

St Brendan’s College Principal Mr Robert Corboy congratulated Blake on his award, recognising his contribution as a new student. 

“Blake has applied himself diligently in the classroom, has involved himself fully in College life and has participated in a positive manner across his school, boarding and sporting commitments, and we commend him for his contribution to St Brendan’s College this year,” Mr Corboy said. 

As more than 70 new boarders prepare to become part of a 260-strong boarding community at St Brendan’s College in January 2020, Mr Corboy celebrated Blake’s attitude of ‘getting in and getting involved’ and encouraged all new students to consider this approach as they start at the College. 

“Whether you’re starting high school for the first time or arriving as a new Year 9 or 10 boarder, we know it is a daunting prospect, however the approach of challenging yourself and taking advantage of every opportunity available is the best known path,” he said. 

To support new boarders and new students at St Brendan’s College, St Brendan’s College Head of Boarding, Fr Pius Jones has compiled an invaluable list of tips for parents and students to consider before school starts in 2020:   

  1. Be patient with yourself and others. Remember that you and others are trying to work out who you are. It takes time to make friends.
  2. Don’t force it. Always be yourself, not who you think others would like you to be.
  3. Get involved in what the College has to offer. There are many activities and opportunities available. Look at those activities that you might be interested in, because that is where you will get to know others and enjoy doing something you have an interest in.
  4. Respect everyone. It doesn’t matter what position they have in the College; they are all part of the St Brendan’s family. Just as you want to be treated with respect, so too you must respect everyone in our community.
  5. Remember that not everyone is the same as you! Every individual has their own personality, and that’s what makes the world an interesting place.
  6. Talk to those you can trust. It doesn’t matter whether you are struggling with your school work or adjusting to boarding life, or feeling homesick: it’s important to talk about it. There are a lot of very caring staff in boarding and in the day school. Don’t carry the weight of your worries alone.
  7. Homesickness is totally normal, and a good thing. Homesickness simply means that we are in unfamiliar surroundings and learning different routines. It also means that we are missing those we love, and friends. Homesickness never feels good, but it does pass. And remember, not everyone gets homesick. And not everyone gets homesick at the same time. For some, it happens as soon as they arrive, for others, it can be later in the year.
  8. Stay positive! It’s not a perfect world. There will be people you get on with, and others you will respect, but may not be the greatest friends with. The food may be different, along with so many other things. Focus on the positives, the things that are good.
  9. Get stuck into your education from day one. You are coming here for a good education. That should start the day you begin classes.
  10. Never be afraid to ask for help.

For Blake Conway, he will be an ‘old hand’ in 2020 as new students arrive and is looking forward to welcoming new boarders and helping them settle into boarding life.

“I will just try to be helpful and welcoming like others were to me and encourage them to get in and get involved in everything that St Brendan’s has to offer,” he said. 

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