Bruce House End of Year Dinner 2018

October 26, 2018 at 5:52 PM

‘What you boarders offer the world when you leave this place will forever define Bruce House and we hope and pray that you will all be positive contributors when you leave. We take our responsibility to help you become better people very seriously; we want you to be contributing citizens of the world as we work alongside your parents to prepare you for whatever it is that life throws at you. As a boarder, you are unique within the Saint Kentigern family. You can and should be proud to call yourself a boarder.’
Martin Piaggi, Head of Bruce House 

As the College year draws to a close, parents of the Year 13 boarding graduates, staff and Trust Board members joined the boarders at Bruce House this week to celebrate their achievements and give thanks to those who care for them – their surrogate family members during term time. This was a special evening where the invited guests soon gained an understanding of the very strong family bond that pervades the boarding house. 

The evening got underway as Year 12 student, Valance Yates led fellow boarders in a highly charged House Haka before the guests were escorted to their tables. 

2018 has been a year of change for Bruce House but throughout it all, there were some constants. When former Housemaster, Mr Adam Bannister moved to a new school early in the year, Reverend Smith, along with his wife, Karen, stepped into the breach, a familiar figure to the boarders as both their Chaplain and former Housemaster. Matron of 25 years, Mrs Rosemary Capill, who thought she had retired at the end of 2017, also returned to fill a gap, resuming her familiar role amongst the students she so clearly loves – a feeling that is well reciprocated! In Term 2, Head of Sport, Mr Martin Piaggi and his wife Sue returned to the House for a second tenure; one that will become a full-time role in 2019, as Mr Piaggi relinquishes his long-held sports role to become Head of Boarding, incorporating many of Matron’s former administrative chores. Matron has quipped that he will need to take lessons in sewing on errant blazer buttons to complete an otherwise impressive CV! 

The House is well served by a group of wonderful staff who care for our young men and women who choose to board. The shared respect and love became evident during the course of the evening as current Bruce House Head Prefects, Robert Rush and Courtney Griffiths came forward to pay tribute to their fellow boarders and the many staff who care for them amongst the duty, nursing and catering staff. Both students have been excellent role models to the younger students and epitomise all that is good in such a community. They both spoke passionately about their boarding experience. 

Robert said, ‘It was boarding that helped me see how grateful I should really be. I don’t have to cook for myself, I don’t have to do my own washing, I have a roof over my head and I am surrounded by teachers who want the best for me. What I think I’ve learned here, is to be grateful for all the little things we have. Because some people could only dream of being in a place like this. Boarding not only helped me to become the person I am, but it showed me to be who I am. Each of us here have had different upbringings and interests, and come from all sorts of different backgrounds, but when we are all here, we work so well as a community.’ 

Courtney followed with an equally passionate speech saying, ‘Thinking back to the person that I was when I first entered these walls, I’ve realised just how much I have changed. In Year 11, I came to Bruce House as a very shy, self-conscious and timid young girl. But now in my final year of boarding, I can proudly say that Bruce House has shaped me into a confident, brave and outspoken, young lady. This change could never had happened without the beautiful people that make up the Bruce House community. Many of you all sitting in this room have taught me something, without you even realising it; collectively, as a community, you have all shown me the values of a family that loves and respects each other regardless.’ 

Another constant at Bruce House is Senior College Principal, Mrs Suzanne Winthrop who cared for the foundation female boarders when boarding was first offered to girls in 2011. Each year she addresses the boarders with fondness, having a true appreciation of what it means to be a part of their community. She told the boarders, ‘At Saint Kentigern, we believe in an all-round education to learn and develop essential life skills. You couldn’t have a better place to do that, than at Bruce House.’ 

If the parents of our graduates were once worried about the idea of their child leaving home to board at school, their fears would surely have been allayed last night, as they came to fully understand the strong bonds and support networks between the boarders and those that care for them at Bruce House. Those graduating, know those bonds run deep and will last the test of time. 

The evening concluded with Mrs Winthrop presenting the Bruce House Awards for 2018 followed by the announcement of next year’s Bruce House student leaders: Bruce House Head Boy,Tiaan Tauakipulu; Bruce House Head Girl, Seloa Keil. 

Bruce House Awards 2018
The MacFarlan Award for Head Boy:                                      Robert Rush
The MacFarlan Award for Head Girl:                                      Courtney Griffiths     
The McGuiness Cup for Academic Honours:                         Rafe MacDonald
The Morgan Cup for Year 11 Academic Achievement:      Tony Yu
The Bruce House Cup for Top All-Round Boy:                      Robert Rush
The Norma Cowie Cup for the Top All-Round Girl:              Tayla Earle                        
The Marcroft Cup for Sportsperson of the Year:                 Mahina Paul


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