Independence Through Boarding
Year 12 Boarding Captain Emily addressed Assembly this week, reflecting on the ways the Wenona Boarding House has prepared her for the next stage of her journey.
Every story begins with a name. On the 25th of March 2004, ‘Emily Kate Hamilton’ was born in Dubbo Base Hospital.
I grew up in a small country town called ‘Narromine’, west of Dubbo. My farm, my home, is called ‘Gundooi’ which in the Wiradjuri language, translates to “Solitary emu”. I feel an extremely strong connection to the land which runs deeper than the surface, it is in my blood, my bones, my roots.
Growing up, meeting people was easy, especially older people. It was a routine exercise.
“Hello, I’m Emily Hamilton”
“Ahhhh … Hamilton as in Pam and Jim. Are you Ed and Mel or James and Amanda?”
“James and Amanda”, I would reply. Every time, it was a light bulb moment. Their eyes would light up, their head would fall back for a moment and from that moment on, I would be known as ‘the youngest of the three Hamilton girls’.
This strong sense of familiarity and connection, from such a young age, has installed a confidence in me that I take everywhere I go.
When I was 10, my oldest sister Annabelle departed for Wenona. We left her at the Boarding House after the annual drop off barbeque dinner. I remember Dad driving home the next day while Mum stared out the window, mourning Annabelle. Libby and were in the back seat, one man down. We sat in silence for the first hour.
The following year, I lost Libby to the Wenona Boarding House. I was SO jealous. Though I was being completely spoilt at home, dropping the girls off at the Boarding House every Sunday night made me more and more desperate to come to Wenona. I was so eager, that I would attend annual Celebration Days of my own free will.
Two years passed and FINALLY, it was my turn to become a Wenonian! Mum and Dad dropped their three daughters off. I was so eager for my first night in boarding, that I almost forgot to say goodbye. From that day forward, every teacher I met would place me as the youngest Hamilton. It was great. I felt secure, and comfortable - like I belonged.
I have boarding to thank for giving me the ability to develop into a fiercely independent young woman, ready to tackle the next stage of life’s adventures. Boarding has provided me with a sense of community like I have back home, and an acceptance and desire to throw myself into the deep end.
Next year after graduation, I will be taking a gap year where I would like to work on superyachts, as they travel down the Mediterranean. On my own. I feel a mixture of both excitement and trepidation as I come to realise that no one will know my name, my family, or my story. I will be starting from scratch. However, I sense the opportunity to make a name of Emily Hamilton instead of one of ‘the Hamilton girls’.
So that’s a few chapters from my story. Who knows what the future will bring? In the words of Natasha Bedingfield, ‘The rest is still unwritten’.
Emily, Year 12