There’s always one thing that our boarders overlook and potentially never quite realise: that Fyling Hall is as much my second home as it is theirs, and that they are as equally integral to my way of life as I am to theirs. Because, like them, I am a boarder here.
I have a room, I eat school food, I follow school routines, and I take part on the weekend activities. Like our boarders, my family isn’t here, I don’t go home on an evening or a weekend. I, like them, must wait until the longer holidays for it to be feasible to travel home. Like them, when I get home, I see friends and family that I’ve been away from for so long and it is hard to come back. However, just like them and despite the apprehension, the first week back is full of energy and the excitement of seeing friends again and being back in a place so special.
Sure, there are some differences. I don’t have matrons putting my light out, I do my own washing, and I can go to the pub on a Friday night, but I always end up back at Fyling Hall, determined not to miss a Saturday morning cooked breakfast. And like the boys and girls that live here, I attempt to bend routines most weekends, trying to persuade higher powers to let me out of work early or back late to play cricket or rugby on a Saturday. I then get back from anywhere between Newcastle and Bridlington, sore, hungry and tired, and am greeted by throngs of energetic teenagers wanting me to open the sports hall for them to run around making noise, being energetic… and it’s my favourite night of the week.
Like they do to one another, they can annoy me, make me wish I wasn’t here, make me want to be back home and at other times they make me feel like I’m a part of something special, a part of a big family. I could list the countless times that boarders have wound me up, but those memories are petty and not as vivid as our Fyling Hall Christmas, campfires in the woods, summer evenings on the beach, sledging on 10 acres and even the little things like FIFA tournaments, paper aeroplane making contests and barbecues. We have boarders that come for a term and end up staying for a year having to leave unwillingly because they must return to their home countries education system as well as boarders that came for a year and are still here years on.
Fortunately, my education was complete when I came to Fyling Hall for a year…in 2015. This is because, like the pupils I look after, I found something within these grounds and within the spirit of the school and the people here that is so very gravitating and compelling.