Boarding at The McDonald College – from a mother’s perspective

Melinda Carlyle is the mother of Rory, a Year 12 boarder at The McDonald College. Originally from Wodonga in Victoria, Rory started with the College in Year 9 to participate in the Elite Tennis program, which is run in partnership with Voyager Tennis Academy.

Here is Melinda’s account of her experience with the College.

It was a big decision for us as a family—financially and because the boarding school had only just opened to boys. Rory was very keen to give it a go, mainly due to the tennis program. The school’s smaller size appealed to us all, too.

We came up for a week’s trial after meeting Rebecca Rogers (Head of Boarding).  We were impressed by the College’s focus on academics. When we met with Ms Kohler, the Principal, it was very clear that Rory would be in good hands.

Rebecca has become like a second mum to Rory. She will text us to let us know if Rory is missing home and follow up by phone. We always feel informed, which is very reassuring. We know that providing all the children with stability and structure is important to her. She knows how to keep the kids in line, and they all respect and adore her.”

Rory started his first term just before the lockdown, and he found the curriculum quite different from his previous school, so it was a bit of a struggle at first, but all the staff were incredibly dedicated and supportive, and he settled in soon after.

The students in the boarding house are like family. They all get along so well, even though many of the kids are performing arts students. I think that they have discovered their passion so young in life is their bond.

Rory is doing very well at tennis and getting lots of exposure to tournaments, competitions, and match play, which has helped lift his UTR (Universal Tennis Ranking). Voyager also provides US college guidance, which is where athletes can keep developing their tennis and gain a degree simultaneously, with the option to pursue a professional career.

The McDonald College school captains and boarding house members

Rory is a College Captain known for his communication skills. I think his leadership skills will put him in good stead for his applications to the US Colleges,” Melinda says.

When asked what she thinks makes The McDonald College so special, she replies:

It is a unique school that values talent while still supporting them with their education. All the kids at The McDonald College are pretty remarkable. And Maxine and all the staff are what makes it special.