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ON CAMPUS | Fresh approach to boarding

Updated: Oct 31, 2019


Teacher of 20 plus years returns home from Victoria to take on Head of Boarding role.

STACEY McCarthy has always had an undeniable passion for educating and nurturing the youth of Central Queensland.


It is this natural ability which lead her to work as a primary school teacher for 20 years in the region, before moving onto boarding school work, further south in Victoria.

The transition for Stacey was a natural one with her daughters having attended a boarding school as day girls.


Stacey thrived during her time down near Melbourne, however when the opportunity came along to return to the Central Queensland region and work for an all-girls school, she couldn’t say no.


Stacey is now the new Head of Boarding for the Rockhampton Girls Grammar School.


“Most of my family and friends live in Central Queensland so when the opportunity came up to return to the region to work for such a great school, I jumped at the chance,” Stacey said.


“This is the first all-girls school I have worked in, and as a champion of young women, this appealed to me.”


Stacey said she arrived at Girls Grammar with a vision to make boarding a welcoming, supportive and uplifting experience for the young ladies in her care.


“I think many people underestimate the dedication, organisation and hard-work it takes to run a cohesive and successful boarding house,” she said.


“My team here at Girls Grammar are working with me to make our program consistent, caring and inclusive.”


With nearly 100 boarders at Girls Grammar, Stacey has worked hard to get to know every girl in her care since her arrival nine weeks ago.


“We have a lovely mix of girls from a variety of family and cultural backgrounds. We have girls from PNG, aboriginal and Torres strait girls and lots of girls from the country and nearby towns,” she said.


“I have enjoyed getting to know these girls and enjoyed attending different events and celebrations for these girls this term.”


A typical day for Stacey starts at 6.30am in the boarding house, helping the girls get out to school on time. She usually supervises the dining room for breakfast which is a great way to touch base with most of the girls at the start of their day.


“During the school day I attend meetings – facilities and kitchen, executive, finance, HR, marketing and Welfare,” Stacey said.


“The welfare and wellbeing of the girls is a high priority here at Girls Grammar and something we do particularly well.”


Throughout the day the Boarding Administration assistant and Stacey take girls to any appointments they may have.


“My plan is to take a couple of hours off during the day so I can return at 2:30pm to greet my staff and the girls at the end of the school day,” Stacey said.


In the afternoons and on weekends Stacey’s time is spent chatting with the girls, helping transport them to activities, supporting her staff with facilitating the routine, spending time with upset girls, talking with parents, organising and attending activities, solving problems, liaising with the nurse, transport and kitchen staff, approving leave and anything else that helps the boarding program run smoothly.


Stacey said one of the most important elements of being in the role of Head of Boarding was to listen.


“It is really important to listen to the girls, seriously listen,” she said.


“That’s what they look for, someone who hears what they have to say. We don’t always have to agree and it’s important that they understand that’s ok too.”


Stacey said working with young ladies was truly rewarding.

“I have found if you invest time in young people and treat them with respect, they will reciprocate it tenfold,” she said.


“Girls Grammar has been very rewarding thus far. The school and boarding community have been welcoming and very supportive. Everyone is listening to each other and supporting these girls in all aspects of their wellbeing and academic endeavors.”


Since Stacey’s arrival she and her team have tightened up the routine and structure for the girls and have started working towards gaining their Australian Boarding School Standards accreditation. We are currently having air conditioning installed in our Senior boarding house and the girls are looking forward to returning to Girls Grammar in term 4 to lovely cool rooms.


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