Ainslie and Scott Donaldson (1985) live on a property an hour outside of Goondiwindi with their three boys, two dogs and three budgies; not to mention the chickens, cattle, lambs and the odd emu or kangaroo. Their three boys, Sam, Jake and Will all board at Churchie.
With farming being in the Donaldson family for more than 130 years, they love the land while at the same time appreciating the benefits the boys have boarding in the city.
Eagles’ Wings spoke with Ainslie and Scott about Churchie Boarding.
Best part of boarding
Ainslie: ‘Churchie’s recreation programme; it’s fantastic. I love that the school insists on cultural activities being part of the programme.’
Scott: ‘When the chance to see a show comes up, the boys say they don’t want to go; yet they always come away thankful for the experience. It’s something Churchie can offer being so close to Southbank and Brisbane’s cultural precinct.’
Hardest part of boarding
Ainslie: ‘Definitely leaving them. It’s very hard. It’s amazing when the boys come home… I feel complete.
When Sam started at Toowoomba Prep I walked away crying. The Headmistress gave me a hug, reassuring me, ‘he’ll be alright’.
Although you know that, you still worry. Many of the boys are in the same boat, so that makes it a little bit easier.’
Scott: ‘For me it’s missing out on things. When they are playing sport you just can’t get there.
Despite this, boarding was never a question; the alternative is three hours on a bus each day. In their senior years, with the increased study commitments, three hours travel would become completely unmanageable.’
Scott: ‘The main reason for sending the boys to a school in Brisbane was to give them the chance to see what happens on the other side of the fence. The networking opportunities after they leave school are far greater than anything available locally. If they have any chance of doing something other than farming, they have to step out of their comfort zone. For example, if Sam wants to study engineering, he has a better chance of achieving this having gone to Churchie.’
Ainslie: ‘I really like the discipline and appreciate the structure at Churchie. I wanted that for my boys; I wanted them to have boundaries and guidelines to follow. It’s a great approach.’