The Life of a Boarder at St Hilda’s

You may have been walking through the school grounds in the evening and seen a stream of girls…

You may have been walking through the school grounds in the evening and seen a stream of girls who are not in school uniform making their way from one building to another. This chattering mob would be our St Hilda’s boarders on their nightly trek from the boarding house to the dining hall, ready for a delicious meal and thirty minutes of conversation. The boarding house is situated in the middle of the school and is home to 120 girls who eat, sleep study, laugh, dance and annoy their house mothers under one roof. This vibrant boarding community represents the furthest corners of WA and even stretches internationally. From Northam to Dirk Hartog Island to Indonesia, the St Hilda’s boarding girls are such an important part of the school fabric.

My name is Charlotte, and I have the enormous privilege of being the Head Boarder for 2023.

I have what you may call the typical boarding story, coming from a small country town called Moora and growing up on a sheep and cropping farm. I attended one of two primary schools in my hometown and had only 12 students in my class. I have 3 gorgeous kelpies called Scout, Pippa and Roxy and I can tell you there is nothing nicer than coming home after 10 weeks to be welcomed by the sloppy kisses and wagging tails of these furry friends.

I was super excited to begin boarding at St Hilda’s back in Year 7, as my sister had gone the year before me, and I had visited the boarding house so many times, so I already felt at home there. But I think what everyone forgets is how young we really are when we begin boarding. At 11 or 12 years of age, it is no easy feat to go months at a time without seeing your family and your pets.

St Hilda’s provides a fantastic education, but for many boarding students, it teaches us about city life and, more importantly about traffic and public transport. I remember taking the bus for the first time; it was a humbling experience. Not knowing I had to press a button to get off, I assumed it would magically stop where I wanted it to but found out the hard way having to walk multiple blocks back to where I was supposed to get off.

Living on campus is very different from the day girl experience, and being so close to everything can be very convenient at times, like ensuring you’re wearing the right thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of my room and seen a hallway full of girls in crazy socks, crazy hair or even just their P.E. uniform and walked right back into my room to change.

Every one of the St Hilda’s boarders knows the power of friendship and the ‘sisterhood’ that exists between us; we are the most loyal and supportive friends you could ask for. However, being a boarder requires a lot of patience, flexibility and noise-cancelling headphones to sleep through the lawnmowers in the morning.

We are more than just country kids with way too many pets who you know will pass their driving test on the first go. We are courageous, independent young women who, together as a boarding community, really make St Hilda’s complete.

– Charlotte, Head Boarder 2023