In our boarding schools series, we take a look at different boarding school options in Asia and beyond. Here, we take a look at Loreto Normanhurst, a leading Catholic independent boarding and day school in Sydney, for girls from Years 5 to 12, with boarding for girls from Year 7 onwards.
“Loreto has been a boarding school since we opened in 1897,” says principal Ms Marina Ugonotti. “Parents have told us there is a sense of friendliness, of home; that there’s something really special here.”
Year 11 boarder Emily agrees. She says the welcoming nature of staff and students ensured that she felt like part of the community from day one. “My transition into the Normanhurst community was very smooth, and I love the boarding community for its uplifting, motivating and inclusive nature, as well as the beautiful people and endless opportunities. I know the friends I’ve made here will be lifelong.”
Emily’s family lived in Asia before relocating back to Australia and she says boarding was the right move for them. “I’m extremely lucky. I’ve learnt so much from boarding – from independence and making decisions on my own, to learning to live with over 20 girls with different values and personalities, to learning about myself and how I manage different situations. My smooth transition to boarding also meant my parents felt comfortable and secure with our decision.”
What to expect
Home to more than 150 girls, the Boarding School is located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore, set in spacious grounds of over 25 acres, on the edge of bushland, with beautiful ovals and a large sporting and aquatic complex. It’s a mix of historic buildings and modern learning spaces, such as the state-of-the-art Gonzaga Barry Centre.
The focus at Loreto is on the development of individual students in a holistic sense, utilising the key areas of faith, academic, community and extra-curricular. Boarders are provided with support networks to help them reach their goals including academic support, tutors and extended opening hours in the school’s Learning Resource Centre. There’s a high rate of boarding house participation in a wide variety of sports, the creative and performing arts, debating and oratory, and other activities.
Lara has boarded since Year 7. “I’m so grateful for my experience here, and especially boarding,” she says. “I love being part of a community where I feel comfortable to reach my full potential and be who I am. Boarding has also afforded me the chance to participate in numerous extra-curricular opportunities including sport, music and academic extension.”
A day in the life of a boarder
Lara Ciesiolka, Year 12
“A typical day starts with breakfast followed by sport training, academic support or just taking the opportunity for a walk on the oval with friends.
After school, we can pursue a range of activities, from sport or learning to cook, to games with our year group.
At dinner, we dine together at mixed year group tables, which allows everyone to get to know each other and further helps to create and build a strong sense of community. Some dinners are themed, such as Christmas or the Melbourne Cup dinner, with the best costumes or best table dress-ups winning a prize.
Study time is extremely well supported and we have access to onsite tutors and teaching staff, as well as all the other girls in my year group.
Before bed, we all spend time together talking, watching movies or just relaxing.”
To find out more about Loreto Normanhurst, join one of the live and exclusive online Principal’s Welcome Tours on 14 September and 23 November. Register at loretonh.nsw.edu.au. For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 2 9473 7300.
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.