Concerned about making the right choice for your child’s education? A boarding school could be the ideal alternative. Here’s a glimpse of a renowned boarding school – St Joseph’s College (Joeys) in Sydney, Australia – through the eyes of a Hong Kong-based family.
Home away from home
When your kids are attending school 7,400 kilometres from home, you want to be sure they’re receiving the best care and guidance available. At St Joseph’s College in Sydney, Australia’s largest boarding school for boys, the focus is on creating a familial and productive atmosphere in which students can flourish.
It’s this sense of community that first attracted DAVID and ROSA MCCANN to the College. Hong Kong residents for 12 years, they needed to be certain that their sons Cian and Dylan would be educated in a safe and caring environment. They also wanted them to pack as many wonderful experiences as possible into their school years.
“Joeys wasn’t on our radar to begin with,” says Rosa, who is from Sydney originally. “But when we went over and did a tour of the school, we felt immediately at home. It’s not pretentious like so many other schools – it’s real.”
The encouraging signs continued when the couple met with the boarding coordinators. “They were fantastic,” says Rosa. “They have a huge care factor and they contact us immediately if something’s up. They’ve been great mentors to the boys and have always gone the extra mile for them.”
The McCanns were also impressed by the diversity of the College – the unique blend of city, country and international students, including others from Hong Kong, that makes campus life so special. They could see that Cian and Dylan would receive a well-rounded education that would benefit from interacting with people from all walks of life.
Mrs McCann says the brothers eagerly devoured the many opportunities for self development and adventure the College provides.
“Cian went on an immersion to the Kimberley in the Northern Territory where the boys connect with local indigenous communities and he just loved it so much.”
They also excelled at rugby and played in the firsts water polo team, making many lifelong friendships along the way. Dylan is in his final year at the College and Cian is now at the University of Sydney studying for a commerce degree. Their parents couldn’t be prouder of how they have turned out.
“I feel blessed,” Rosa says. “Dylan and Cian have grown into strong, independent and compassionate young men who are kind and considerate of others.
“When you go to Joeys you become part of a caring community for life. As a parent and a student, it really is such a wonderful place to be a part of.”
Joeys Fact File
Year established: 1881
Student population: 1,100
Boarding population: 500
Boarding population from HK: Five current students, numerous past students and Old Boys
Number of student nationalities: 12
Number of staff: 300 Ages taught: 12 to 18 (Years 7 to 12)
Curricula: Australian Curriculum developed under the auspices of ACARA (the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) and participation in national student assessments such as national literacy and numeracy tests (NAPLAN); education culminates in the NSW Higher School Certificate, which is sat at the conclusion of Year 12
School year dates: 1 February 2022 to 6 December 2022
Key facilities: Boarding facilities for Years 7 to 12; parent accommodation for boarding families; FINA-standard 50m outdoor swimming pool, two gymnasiums (weights and cardio); boat shed; 6.5 hectares of playing fields; Outdoor Education Centre (offsite)
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.