Boarding has been the heart of Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School since its opening in 1972, with the School being a pioneer in offering co-educational boarding alongside education for students from Kindergarten to Year 12.
For over 50 years the School has provided a popular home away from home for regional families. Recently, the boarding cottages received major refurbishments and renovations offering a more contemporary and homely feel for the boarders.
This year the Big Brother, Big Sister mentorship program was launched, pairing older boarding students, ‘Big Brothers’ or ‘Big Sisters’, with younger peers, offering invaluable support, mentorship, and friendship.
“We know the transition to boarding can be difficult and we will be offering this program in Term 4, to Boarders who will be joining us in 2024,” Mrs Meredith McCarthy, Deputy Head of Boarding stated. “This will enable our new students to create bonds with our current students, ensuring they have a friendly, familiar face to support them when they start in 2024.”
The program aims to foster lasting bonds while equipping students with vital life skills, necessary to live in a boarding environment. The mentors have undergone thorough training and have worked with current Year 7 students to refine their mentoring skills.
Year 10 student Ethan has enjoyed developing innovative ways to help his ‘little brothers and sisters’ develop their independence, while having fun. “Each session we focus on highlighting a life skill and social skill. One topic I have spoken about is personal hygiene and being safe online. I used the Jeopardy game as a way of interacting and getting everyone involved,” he stated.
Mentors work with Mrs McCarthy to collaborate and plan activities, tailoring them to the specific needs and interests of their mentees.
“The program also benefits me as well,” Ethan stated. “I am learning different ways of communicating, as well as developing and building bonds with younger students.”
The younger mentees have also enjoyed the activities.
“It has been helpful and fun learning social skills through games. It helped me get to know the older boys better and I now feel comfortable asking them things,” stated Year 7 mentee Isaac.
The program is centered around student wellbeing, aiming to assist younger Boarding students transition into Boarding life seamlessly. At Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, staff understand the profound impact of positive relationships on personal growth, and our Big Brother, Big Sister program embodies that commitment to fostering holistic development and a vibrant boarding community.