Bruce House Leaders Appointed

February 13, 2020 at 2:04 PM

At the end of the day, when all others have gone home, there are currently 101 students who stay behind on campus and head up to Bruce House to share dinner, do homework and settle for the night. For the 70 boys and 31 girls 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, Treyah Kingi-Taukamo and Romy Salmond 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. The pair will be well supported by their fellow Bruce House Prefects: Ema Miyaura, Lulu Edgar, Pam Putipanpong, Sacha McLeod, Alefosio Aho, Kaleb Stevens, Ben Canton, Te Rama Rueben, James Holmden and Tony Yu.

Head of Boarding, Mr Martin Piaggi explained, ‘This year we have chosen a leadership team of twelve prefects. Each prefect will lead a dinner table group, with each group a mix of age and gender, giving a ‘family-like’ balance to the dinner table. We have a daily Duty Team that consists of two staff members and two prefects each day, giving each pair of prefects the chance to step up to responsibility. The idea is that, collectively, we own who we are. We own how Bruce House operates, how it feels to live here, how Bruce House fits into the College and how others view Bruce House boarders. It’s ours to influence, ours to own. It’s exciting!’

Already the prefects have been active in welcoming the 34 new boarders to Bruce House, 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 ‘Stay Back 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  

This year, former Head of College, Mr Steve Cole was invited back to hand out the Bruce House prefect badges at the first formal dinner of the term – an evening that was so hot, blazers and ties were removed for dinner! Mr Cole, like others visiting Bruce House for the first time this year, was amazed at the transformation that has taken place in the dining room over the holidays. A fresh new year, a fresh new start, a fresh new look and a fresh new menu! In eye-catching shades of grey and yellow, the dining room now resembles a suburban eatery, and the returning boarders are clearly proud of their café-style dining space!

Mr Cole spoke fondly of his Saint Kentigern years and told the boarders, ‘Ownership and belonging to a place such as Bruce House will stay with you for a long, long time. Remember your time positively and be grateful for the experience it offers. I know I have still have strong emotional ties to this place!’

In addressing fellow boarders, Treyah and Romy said, ‘Like many other students sitting here today, we were both new to Bruce House last year, yet we found it really easy to fit in and make new friends. This year, as a house, we have decided to focus on the values of gratitude and contribution, which both teachers and prefects believe will help unite the house and make each individual a better person. The prefects hope to maintain a legacy, which has a huge emphasis on our sense of family and house spirit. We want to make sure everybody feels a sense of belonging to Bruce House, and as a family, we need to support and encourage everybody’s activities and achievements, whether it’s academic, sporting, musical or personal. Afterall, we are a home away from home!’

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.

We wish Treyah and Romy 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 a contingent of international students from eight different countries this year - USA, China, Korea, Thailand, Japan, New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Taiwan. The Kiwi boarders come from all around New Zealand - including as far away as the Chatham Islands - representing many ethnicities. This combination of students brings a vast cultural diversity to the boarding house.

Whilst our Kiwi boarders come from all around New Zealand, many from rural homes, 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. 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. 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!

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, nurses, gap tutors, and kitchen and laundry 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! With fresh, nutritious meals receiving the ‘Healthy Heart’ tick, constant refurbishments and building additions to ensure comfortable living arrangements, and an all-pervading sense of family amongst the boarders and those who care for them, the boys and girls who board develop skills that will enable them to thrive in life beyond Saint Kentigern; skills such as resilience, confidence, organisation and the ability to work in a team that includes both genders. Living with others helps develop crucial traits such as empathy, tolerance, considering others first, patience, humility and loyalty.

As boarders they may not recognise these advantages now, but like others before them, when they look back on their time at Bruce House, they will remember their College and boarding years as a time of learning , fellowship and fun with ties that will last a lifetime!

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