Bruce House Leaders Appointed

February 14, 2019 at 3:33 PM

At the end of the day, when all others have gone home, there are currently 100 students who stay behind on campus and head up to Bruce House to share dinner, do homework and settle for the night. For the 31 girls and 69 boys who board, College life is so much more than a school day – it is a 24/7 immersion! Accordingly, the student leaders of Bruce House have the responsibility and privilege of having a huge impact on their fellow boarders’ lives. 

This year, Tiaan Tuakipulu and Seloa Keil have been appointed as Bruce House Head Boy and Head Girl, having demonstrated leadership, self-discipline, humility, sensitivity and empathy in their time as boarders. ‘Above all,’ said Housemaster, Mr Martin Piaggi, ‘they lead by action and example.’ The pair will be well supported by their fellow Bruce House Prefects: John Kennerley, Hugo Landrey, Valance Yates, Harriette Baxter and Caitlin Dawn-Sugrue. 

Already the prefects have been active in welcoming new boarders, and helping new and old boarders back into the swing of a new academic year. The first weekend of each new year is known as ‘Stayback Weekend’ – a full weekend of activities when all boarders stay onsite to work in teams to build new bonds for the year. The prefect team took an active role in organising this fantastic weekend of socialising and building new friendships.

To read more about Stay Back Weekend, click here.

The leaders received their Bruce House prefect badges at the first formal dinner of the term – a evening that was so hot, blazers and ties were removed for dinner! In addressing the boarders, Seloa and Tiann said, ‘Congratulations to those who have received badges tonight. Though small in size on your blazer, we hope you come to understand and appreciate the significance of that badge.  For us, it gives a sense of belonging, of family and home. What we have in our Bruce House community is something parents hope for when their children board.  In 2019, we want to build on the spirit we have and help you feel at home, in an atmosphere that is accepting, encouraging and supportive, so you are able express yourself as an individual and contribute to this community, our Bruce House family, our ‘whanau’, our ‘aiga’, our ‘famili.’’ 

The Bruce House prefects are well attuned to lead their fellow students and help new students adjust to life as a boarder. They all recall the initial feelings of missing their families but came to learn that the best way to combat homesickness is to get involved. With the College and all its facilities on their doorstep, the capacity for boarders to engage and gain the benefits of our ‘World of Opportunity’ is easy. 

Senior College Principal, Mrs Suzanne Winthrop always enjoys attending meals at Bruce House. For her, it’s a return to the familiar, as she was first Head of Girls’ Boarding at Saint Kentigern when girls were first introduced. She told the boarders that every year brings a fresh start as the returning boarders welcome new boarders into their family dynamics – for Bruce House is one big family! Mrs Winthrop particularly thanked Mr Piaggi for all he does for the boarding community.    

We wish Tiaan and Seloa all the best as they take on the challenge of leading Bruce House in 2019!

Bruce House will be home to up to over 100 boarders this year from Year 8 to Year 13. It is a second home to students from the four corners of the globe, with 15 international students and a number of others originating from New Zealand travelling back from overseas - bringing a vast diversity of cultures to our boarding community. 

The ‘Kiwi’ boarders come from all around New Zealand, many from rural homes, but there is also a large contingent from Greater Auckland. These ‘local’ students live a little too far away for an easy daily commute by bus or car and so, often in their senior years, choose to board to take full advantage of co-curricular activities that take place before and after school, as well as the assistance of tutors during Prep time. A 7am music rehearsal or sports training that finishes at 5pm are much easier to manage when they take place only a few minutes’ walk away! For the senior students in particular, their proximity to the College facilities mean that they are easily able to juggle their academic and co-curricular commitments without spending time travelling to and from school.

Over the years, Bruce House has been the home of some very fine young men and women. There is an emphasis on Bruce House adding value to the College and boarders develop as leaders and willing contributors. Whether academically, on the sports field, the music centre or the stage, there are many boarders who are not only involved, but excel at all they undertake.

Testimonials from past boarders never fail to mention the sense of belonging that living at Bruce House engenders, with many referring to fellow boarders as an extension of their families. 

As well as the student leaders, the Bruce House staff play a vital role in creating and maintaining the feeling of community. House Master, Mr Martin Piaggi lives onsite, as does Head of Girls’ Boarding, Mrs Bridget Anitelea, who has responsibility for the girls. Along with the duty staff, matrons, gap tutors and kitchen personnel, there is a caring team making sure the boarders have a true home base at College when they are away from their own families.

Boarding has come a long way since Bruce House first opened back in 1954. Cold showers, muddy fields and frozen sandwiches at lunchtime are definitely a thing of the past!


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