Two places to call home
Early in each school year, the Captain of the Scotch Boarding House – known as ‘the Captain of the Hill’ – is invited to address a meeting of the School Council. Below is an edited version of the speech to Council by the 2015 Captain of the Hill, Ben Mishricky (12BD).
The concept of ‘home’ is intriguing, particularly because what we call ‘home’ is different for so many people. Whether it is a house, a city or even a football stadium, almost everybody has a unique place that they can confidently say is their home.
Yet, why is it that we call these things home? You could say it is a place that gives us those essential feelings of belonging, security and comfort; it is a place where positive memories are created, a place of hope and comfort. As a result, it often has a profound influence on our identities. So when people ask me, ‘Ben, where’s home?’ I often give two answers: the town of Wagga Wagga, NSW, where I was born and raised, but also right up here, on the Scotch College Hill.
This is my fourth year of boarding, and from my first few days I was able to realise this was home to me. I remember being absolutely stunned by the red brick buildings, the beautiful green grass, and the facilities that are second to none.
I remember I was walking down to the tennis courts one morning, when I overheard a few Old Scotch boys on the Main Oval playing footy, watching us walk by. ‘They must be boarders,’ one said. ‘Man, they’re lucky! They have the best backyard in Melbourne’.
We really do! Yet, beyond the tangible things that make Scotch such a pleasant environment, I was particularly impressed by the strong sense of community on the Hill and the culture that was bred in us as a tight-knit unit. This is cultivated in our day-to-day lifestyle: those subtle greetings we give each other down the hallway, the priceless dinner-time banter over a parma, or even walking into the house after a long day of school and having a quality conversation with a teacher – never thought I would hear myself saying that!
Our community is enriched with excitement and enjoyment, evidenced by the enthusiasm of the boys as they get around some of the big events on the Hill, such as the Wedderburn Cup, the fierce sporting competition between the three boarding houses, and the highly-anticipated Boarders’ Cordner, which is a football match held between Scotch and Melbourne Grammar boarders for the priceless reward of bragging rights.
Other events include the new boarders’ camp held at Cowes early in the year, where this year staff and older student mentors shared their insights on the boarding experience with the 59 new boys, while enjoying sun and surf. There is also a multitude of other fantastic events and programmes, such as dancing classes, socials, day trips to the cinema, and many more.
Being a part of this environment is truly an experience of a lifetime. I can speak on behalf of all the boarders, because I think we can all comprehend just how important the Hill is to each of us.
It gives us a platform to develop ourselves as rounded individuals and to turn our interests into passions. It provides us with the opportunity to live with a diverse range of people who all offer something unique and positive to the community, allowing us all to learn so much about the world. It imparts within us skills such as confidence, empathy and punctuality. Essentially, we are very lucky to be a part of something so special.
As I approach my final terms of school I’m both excited to start a new chapter in my life and at the same time nostalgic. I have an abundance of great memories from boarding at Scotch, and I will definitely miss the unique and rewarding lifestyle on the Hill. I want this last year to be a great one.
And so, as the 2015 Captain of the Hill, I intend to continue to feed those qualities of positivity, cohesion and respect that underpin the Scotch boarding community. I know the Year 12 cohort as a whole will do the school proud and be a good influence on the younger boys. I strongly believe that the Hill is a place that exudes community, comfort and belonging; that it is a place where positive memories can grow, and a place of profound influence for generations to come: a place to call home..
RIGHT: DEAN OF BOARDING, CHRIS BRAITHWAITE ON THE HILL WITH CAPTAIN OF BOARDING, BEN MISHRICKY (12BD, SECOND FROM LEFT), JUSTIN YE (9FS, LEFT) AND SAM BATES (RIGHT).