Year 11 boarder Floyd McKay shares his experience of Churchie boarding.
What led to you becoming a Churchie boarder?
My dad was a day boy at Churchie, and the original plan was for me to start in Year 7 as a day boy, but we couldn’t take the offer for Year 7 as we live in Byron Bay. However, Dad went to his Old Boy’s reunion at Churchie in 2015, where he watched Churchie win the GPS Rugby premiership game against TSS. After telling me about the atmosphere at the game, and about the school, we looked at boarding. It was a smooth process from there, as after seeing the school I was convinced by the facilities and the opportunities available.
What were your first impressions about Churchie?
I didn’t know anyone from Churchie, and it seemed daunting at first. Despite this, when I arrived, everyone was really inviting, and I settled in quickly. As boarders you become tight with your mates very quickly and, by the end of the first week, I felt as though I had known some of the boys for far longer than I really had, simply due to how strong friendships within boarding houses became. Also, I noticed straight away that everyone strives to do their best and there is a strong culture of success and achievement throughout every aspect of schooling life.
What has been the highlights of your time at Churchie so far?
There have been numerous highlights in my time at Churchie so far. Being part of Churchie’s first-ever GPS Football premiership this year was been pretty amazing. However, most important to me have been the times I’ve enjoyed in the boarding house with my mates and the close friendships I’ve formed over the years. I can confidently say the friendships I’ve made over the years in boarding will stay strong beyond school for years to come.
What is it about Churchie that encourages all boys to find something they enjoy and excel?
Within Churchie, there’s an obvious culture of success and achievement in whatever a Churchie boy takes part in. What we choose to do, we always do well. Whether it be on the sporting field or in the classroom, everyone strives to do their best. When I came to Churchie, it was most noticeable to me that everyone is a part of this culture. It doesn’t matter how good you are at sport or how intelligent you are, everyone aims to achieve their best no matter their strengths or weaknesses. More so, the facilities at Churchie are outstanding and allow boys to perform at the highest level in whatever they may choose. There are boundless opportunities available at Churchie, meaning that everyone can find their interests and strengths as Churchie will cater for almost anything.
How would you describe a balanced education at Churchie?
The four tenets at Churchie allow boys to achieve an equal balance within their lives between academic, service, spiritual and co-curricular pursuits. Having a balanced education is valued at Churchie, as it is about more than just sport or just academics, rather it is about helping boys become complete men when they leave school. For me, I balance football, academics, service and chapel during the week. I have found that playing sport helps boost my academics as it helps balance my workload and keeps me busy throughout the term.
What happens in boarding to help boys with their academic work?
The prep system in boarding at Churchie is a structured timetable for when boys should be completing their school work. From 6 until 8 pm each night of the week, boys from Year 7 to 10 head to the library after dinner to complete their homework and studies for the day. Tutors and teachers from the school make themselves available and supervise the boys so they can help them with their work and teach them useful study habits for later years. For Years 11 and 12, these habits are already in place, meaning they are given the trust and responsibility of working independently. Also, phones are handed in during prep as well as at night to minimise any distractions for the boys meaning they can focus on their academics.
What service activities have you done? And what have you learned through the experience?
Throughout the year I have tutored younger boys in the school as a part of the peer tutoring programme. I was lucky to attend MRP Rugby at Easts Rugby Union Club as a tutor within the boarding house made the opportunity available for the boys. Also, as part of being in the Firsts squad for football, I helped coach a Prep School team during Term 2. I also took part in the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal and washed cars at Hummingbird House. All these experiences have taught me the importance of community service and helping out those less fortunate than myself. Service is such a rewarding experience and has given me strong values I will hold beyond school.
What’s your message for boys who are considering (or about to start) a boarding school such as Churchie?
The opportunities available are countless, so there’s definitely something for everyone. If you don’t know anyone and are worried about making mates or whether you’ll enjoy your time here, don’t stress. I found everyone to be very welcoming and inclusive. Churchie offers a balanced education where you can discover what works for you and then strive for your best.