Leading by example in the Boarding House

Posted 8 November 2019 9:00am

Life in the Boarding House is like one big blended family, with one major difference - no parents. That’s where Head of Boarding, Mrs Tina Twigg, her deputy, Ms Lisa Parolin, and an army of tutors and staff step into model positive behaviours and lead by example.

“When we’re dealing with the girls, day-to-day, it’s about the tone of voice, the respectfulness and making sure that they’re aware that they give respect in return,” said Lisa.

Tina lives by a quote she remembers her mother often saying: “Always talk to someone the way you want to be spoken to.” This is something she strives to instil in all her boarders.

“I always say, you lead by example,” says Tina.

“We choose [boarding house] tutors based on what they can offer the girls and whenever I have staff meetings I explain that the girls look up to them, they’re going to see them as role models. Lead by example.

“Kindness is such a big thing – even when we’re dealing with discipline, show kindness and empathy, compassion.”

Each boarder is member of a ‘family group’, with the idea being that the vertical grouping offers sibling-like relationships, with the older boarders taking the lead and the younger ones looking to them for guidance and leadership.

More broadly, the students who call the boarding house home have an extended family of sorts.

“You’re living with a group of people every day, from the tutors, to the cleaners to the kitchen staff, the way they interact with the girls is showing them how to relate to people from a wide-range of backgrounds,” said Lisa.

“They see the older girls and their achievements at school, and their aspirations as they get older. Then they might be encouraged to take up rowing or a sport, something they would normally not have thought about.”

Perhaps it should be called the Grace Kemp effect.

“They’ve seen Grace [who is a senior player for the ACT Brumbies Super W] go off and train with the rugby team, so all of a sudden there was a big cohort of girls wanting to do rugby!”

One of the best parts of leading in the Boarding House is when the boarders return home and their parents comment on how much they've grown in character.

"It's very rewarding," said Tina.