Flying High - From Hong Kong To Fairholme
MJ Scanlon may be one of the youngest Boarders at Fairholme, but spend a few minutes with her and you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s been a Boarder for years.
“I was born in Perth but Dad already had a job in Hong Kong – and after a lot of deliberating we moved over there too.”
The busy city of Hong Kong is all MJ has ever known. Until last year, when at the age of 12, she moved to Australia and chose to board at Fairholme College.
“It was so weird coming to Toowoomba – different faces, different teaching styles.”
Initially the homesickness was hard for MJ.
“But then you’ve got 20 girls around you all ready to cheer each other up. And the Boarding mistresses are so caring. I still get homesick. Missing Mum and Dad is the hardest part. But my friend Jorja Sloan is always making me laugh. That gets me through it.”
This year’s motto is also helping MJ. ‘Be in the Mix in 21–six’ is this year’s theme, and it’s her favourite.
“It means mixing it up. Getting involved in things you might not otherwise do. So I’m doing a lot of sport because I don’t do a lot of sport. I like singing more. Like the Box of Chocolates evening that I just sang at.”
Getting home is hard for the 12 year old, and it all depends on flights back to Hong Kong.
“Travelling is hard. It’s so hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent hours sitting at an airport just waiting to go somewhere.”
MJ and her sisters, Emma and Grace, who also board at Fairholme, catch a bus to Brisbane and wait for their flight. The most exciting part is when their Dad, who is a pilot, takes them home.
“The last time we went home my Dad flew us. Which was pretty cool.
There’s this thing called the “jump seat” and I got to sit there. I love sitting in the cockpit, cause it’s like flying. It’s really cool. And this was my first time up there.”
In between the exciting flights home, MJ has had to get used to quieter lifestyle, even though she’s boarding with two hundred girls. In fact, she says the business off the Boarding House reminds her of home.
“Yeah I miss Hong Kong. I went to Brisbane on the weekend and it felt really good to be back in a city – the whole hustle and bustle of trying to get around. I do miss the craziness of Hong Kong – getting on a train to get home and it’s just… so… loud. I love it.”
“But then I like being in the country and going out to other Boarder’s homes and their properties.”
MJ admits she’s grown up a lot at Fairholme.
“You have to be independent. You have to remember to make your bed, take your washing down, get an assignment done. I like that. I like being independent.”
But she laughs when she says it all changes as soon as she arrives home.
“When I go home I totally let loose. Mum does all the washing and makes our beds.”
Although she’s only in Year 7 the fresh faced Boarder is already making big plans for the future.
“I’m going to be a pilot one day. Just like my Dad. So Fairholme is helping me get there.”
MJ is pictured back in the bright lights of Hong Kong.