Bourke to Boarding
Remember Katie McGrath? Our academic and Boarding staff travelled to her home last year, where they gained a real insight – not only of Katie’s academic progress, but also of the huge distance between Bourke, and Fairholme. Well the 12 year old (almost 13!) is almost into her fourth week of school at Fairholme College.
“At the start when I had to say goodbye to Mum and Dad it sort of became real, and also the weeks leading up to – I kept thinking I don’t want to leave anymore. But then I got here and I realised I wasn’t the only one and all the Year 8s and 9s are really nice. If someone’s sad or upset no one judges you. We all look after each other. I’ve looked after a couple of my friends who’ve been upset.”
Katie shows us around her new room, she shares with three other Boarders – her space is littered with photos of her with ‘Jazz’, her horse.
“I miss her a lot. I won’t see any of my animals for a whole term.”
The McGrath family farm sheep and cattle. In such a remote town, it’s not hard to see why maybe it’s Mum and Dad who are more emotional about the move, than Katie.
“Yeah Mum was teary when they left the Boarding House on Orientation Day. So was Dad, which was really hard because I never see him cry.”
But settling into the routine of Fairholme – the Boarding House and College life- has Katie smiling.
“The teachers are so nice – you know I was really worried about to school with all the work – but so far I’m finding it really good. I love Science! I hated it at home – but here it’s in a real Lab – and that makes it way more interesting.
I have realised that this is better for me. There’s so much I would miss out on at home. Here you interact with other students. You hear their opinions and learn from them.”
Already Katie has written two stories in English - one about Drought Relief, and another about School Camp.
“The one about Drought Relief was personal, I guess. I pulled all these memories together, and I was really happy with it.”
And tonight she’s playing Basketball. Until January, she’d never played a team sport.
“I really love the sport. I’m playing Basketball and Touch – and I can’t wait for the swimming carnival. I’ll get to see Mum, but I’m also excited to see how the whole school comes together for it. We’ve made up our dance and I’m really looking forward to being part of it all.”
Sure to be an eye opener – and perhaps a little bit loud – for a girl off the land, who’s only ever known School of the Air.