2014 Bruce House Dinner

October 24, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Each November, as the academic year draws to a close, parents of the Year 13 graduates, staff and Trust Board members join the boarders at Bruce House to celebrate their achievements and give thanks to those who care for them – their surrogate family members during term time. This is a special evening where the invited guests soon gain an understanding of the strong family bond that pervades the boarding house.

After welcome drinks in the girls’ Villa, guests were challenged by the formidable Bruce House Haka, led this year by Year 13 student, Brian Enari, before being escorted to their table for dinner by the graduating Year 13s.

As always, the dinner was sumptuous and the dining room lovingly prepared by Shobna and her team from the kitchen.

In his address following dinner, Housemaster, Reverend David Smith, said he felt it was a privilege to share in the daily lives of 113 young people. He said, ‘As I cast my eyes over you, I see a community, a family, a whanau. It’s a very special whanau that others don’t really ‘get’ until they, too, belong.’ He said that the Bruce House is filled with a myriad characters; each one an individual, yet each one part of something bigger than themselves. He told them that they can be truly proud of all they contribute to the fabric of the College.

He went on to share that for him, the enjoyment of his role comes from the ‘every-day stuff,’ hearing their laughter, observing the camaraderie, hearing their stories and celebrating their successes, as talent abounds amongst the boarders. He said that whilst it was hard to explain the enormity of the responsibility he feels for all the girls and boys in his care, he found it equally hard to express the immense pride he has in his newly ‘extended family.’ He gave thanks to his wife, Karen and the part she plays in supporting him – and for never minding when 2-3-4 times a night, he says, ‘I’m just popping next door…’

Current Bruce House Head Boy, Ridgely Paxton, along with College Head Girl, Hannah Wood (standing in for absent Bruce House Head Girl, Gabrielle Faleto’ese) both came forward to speak in favour of their boarding experience. As those that have gone before, both acknowledged that Bruce House has ‘changed their lives.’ Ridgely said that he struggled to put into words how much being a boarder has meant to him and he would find it hard to move on. Hannah has only been a boarder for two years. She said that, ‘When you find yourself with a 100 or so new brothers and sisters, life is undoubtedly going to change but at the end of the day, it’s easy to feel loved here. Everybody has a respect and affection for each other.’

Head of College, Mr Steve Cole drew the boarders’ attention to the names of the previous Bruce House Head Prefects. He told them that each that had gone before sat at the same tables in the same room. They shared the same sense of family and belonging and created memories that live on in the spirit of the House, in the same way theirs will. He paid tribute to the work done by Reverend Smith and Mrs Juliet Dale this year, and Mr Martin Piaggi and Mrs Suzanne Winthrop before them, to change the face of boarding at Saint Kentigern into a bubbly boarding house with a bright future. He said that whilst the nature of boarding has changed over the years, the students’ needs remain the same – to feel part of a family, to develop resilience, the ability to get along with others and adjust to new situations.

Bruce House is like a family and like any family it takes input from all family members to make things work. An integral part of the boarding house for 23 years, Matron, Mrs Rosemary Capill is regarded fondly by all the boarders and much was said in her praise. As Hannah said, ‘She is the essence of Bruce House.’

Another key member is Shobna who leads the kitchen team. During the course of the evening, we heard about the exceptional role that Shobna plays, not only preparing their meals but also being ready to offer a listening ear and give advice – another member of the family.

The evening concluded with the Bruce House Awards for 2013 and the announcement of next year’s Bruce House student leaders – Head Girl, Sienna Spence, Head Boy, Trent MacDonald and their deputies, Valentina Pons and Charlie Rillstone.

Parent, Fatu Enari offered thanks on behalf of all the Bruce House parents saying that it was not the strength of one but the strength of many that made Bruce House so successful.

Chapel Prefect, Liam Stewart, then closed in prayer, giving thanks for this special community.

Bruce House Awards 2014
The MacFarlan Award for Head Boy: Ridgley Paxton                
The MacFarlan Award for Head Girl: Gabrielle Faleto’ese     
The McGuiness Cup for Academic Honours: James Yang
The Morgan Cup for Year 11 Academic Achievement: William Langley
The Marcroft Cup for Sportsman of the Year: Sam Nock
The Bruce House Cup for All-Rounder Boy: Lloyd David
The Norma Cowie Cup for All-Rounder Girl: Hannah Wood  

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