Thousands of Queensland students have headed back to school this week but for some, starting school means leaving behind their ‘virtual’ school of the air classroom in rural Queensland for a traditional classroom in the big smoke.
New boarder and Year 7 student, Lucy Kennedy was the only child on her family’s remote station near Mount Isa but this week started school with over 900 new friends at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School in Brisbane’s inner north.
She is one of hundreds of rural and remote children making the transition to school and life in a city environment as they enter boarding school for the first time.
“On Ardmore I didn’t get to see many other kids that often. I only got to see my school friends about three times a year when we came together for different school events,” Lucy said. “I am excited about being around other girls my age and being able to socialise a little bit.”
She will encounter plenty of new school life experiences, starting with travelling more than 1800kms from home to the school gate.
“I had to drive an hour and a half to the Mount Isa airport, then got on a plane and flew to Brisbane, which took three hours,” she said.
Music lessons and sporting activities will be completely different for Lucy now too.
She has been playing the violin for four years now and the cello for one year, learning to play over the School of the Air phone with no visual aids, just an “amazing teacher” who helped her through it all.
“I plan to continue my violin at St Margaret’s and hopefully learn the piano as well,” she said. “I am looking forward to getting the opportunity to play some team sports too.
“So far in primary school, I haven’t been able to play any team sports because I live a long way from town.
“I think it will be fun at boarding school making lots of new friends.”
St Margaret’s has welcomed 170 new and veteran boarders for the start of school with students hailing from all over Queensland, Northern NSW, the Northern Territory and overseas destinations including Vanuatu and China.