From our Head Boarder
This past academic year has been unprecedented for the boarding community. Despite living in two separate locations and with some boarders living in their home country, the boarding staff has succeeded in making the community feel like a whole.
We kicked off the year with a team-building afternoon, reuniting with friends and getting to know the new boarders. It was challenging coming up with activities that included each year group bubble while abiding by the social distancing guidelines. Each boarding prefect led their designated year group in an activity. After some intense games of splat, each group sat down and became acquainted with everyone in their year group, with an egg and spoon race at the end. This allowed the newcomers to settle down and quickly make friends.
Moving to the Elms was a significant change for the Sixth Form boarders. Initially, many girls found it hard to adjust, but as time passed, everyone began to appreciate the convenience and facilities we have access to. You can find many girls in the newly furnished kitchen or common room after school. After speaking to many Sixth Form boarders, they expressed that even though we are living apart from the younger boarders, boarding still feels like the same wholesome community.
In October of 2020, the boarding prefect team organised an official ‘Welcome back’ party after most boarders finished quarantining and joined us back at school. We decided to create an interactive quiz with team-building games, making it a competition between the year groups. The quiz had questions ranging from general knowledge, fun facts about staff & prefects to guessing Disney songs. After the quiz, each year group was given uncooked spaghetti noodles and gummy bears to build the tallest tower. Each group came up with unique ways and collaborated with each other.
The evening ended with pizza and ice cream. I was delighted to see all the girls enjoying themselves and laughing with their friends.
For Chinese New Year, the boarders who remained at the boarding house gathered and ate a traditional Chinese New Year dinner. Even though it was an unusual group, with girls from a range of year groups, the evening was meaningful as the theme of Chinese New Year is to spend time with those you love and respect. On Chinese New Year Day, we took part in the festive activities along with the rest of the school.
During the lockdown, boarders received many helpful emails from the boarding staff with lists of activities and challenges to keep us occupied and to de-stress from school. A personal favourite of mine was matching emojis to different countries and the 30-day yoga challenge. The ‘Round the World’ challenge also started in lockdown, which involved boarders logging any exercise they have done, such as walking or dancing, with all the steps accumulating towards one goal.
The aim is to virtually travel to all of the countries where current boarders live by keeping a running total of the distance. Starting in the UK, we have travelled to Wales and currently are on our way to Peru, having collectively travelled 1800 miles. The challenge has allowed boarders from all over the world to participate and encourages everyone to exercise more.
Throughout the year, the boarding staff have done their best to make us feel safe and keeping normality. Through weekly meetings and regular check-ups, they make sure all the boarders are doing well. We are extremely grateful for the staff’s effort in helping us through these challenging times, especially when some boarders are far from home.
This year was a rollercoaster for many of us. Something I learnt from it is to enjoy and appreciate every little moment we get spending time with those we love. With so much negative news in the world and in the media, it is particularly important to cherish every moment of happiness. Even though many of us boarders are far apart, our community has continued to grow and stay strong.
Emily C. Head Boarder
Return to Magnolian 2021