“At home I like to go fishing at the river, and luckily for me, here at SCOTS PGC, I have the river right at my front door too – I spend a lot of time fishing here with my mates from boarding… it’s pretty good.”
Meet Baxter Twidale, a keen fisherman from St George who has just started his second year of boarding at SCOTS PGC College in Warwick.
Baxter is in Year 8 and resides at SCOTS PGC College during the school term along with his older siblings, Mitch (Year 12) and Isabelle (Year 11), and younger sister, Madeline, (Year 7). Their parents, Trent and Anna Twidale, decided long ago that they’d send their children away to board for their senior years of schooling. “We wanted to be able to expose our kids to opportunities and things they can’t experience here in St George. Once Mitchell was in Grade 6, we decided to seriously explore our options for future studies for the kids. When we toured the school, we just really liked the whole set up. It felt right. Especially being from a rural background – we thought it was the right fit for our children.”
The Twidale family are from St George, and they live on a property, close by town that backs onto the Balonne River. The kids have grown up with having lots of wide, open spaces and the comforts of living in a rural community where they are well supported by family and a network of friends who are keen to see them aim high and dream big. Fishing from the backyard riverbank, driving tractors and burning around on motorbikes is a part of everyday life for the Twidale family, so finding a boarding school that could open the door to a world of different opportunities, while still providing some of the creature comforts of home was an important factor in choosing a school.
Each of the Twidale children have settled well into SCOTS PGC but Baxter has hit the ground running. He has well and truly found his feet by relishing the social opportunities school provides and making the most of all SCOTS PGC has to offer.
“In Junior Boys Boarding, we are living in dormitories where we share our living space with other boys. When we move up to Senior Boys’, we have our own room which will be good. It’s really good boarding in the dormitories though, it’s good to have our friends right there, and then when we go to school, we have the same friends there as well – the same people from boarding who we can rely on, and we’ve made good connections with because we spend all our time together” Baxter explains.
A typical day for Baxter starts with an early rise and session at the school gym before getting ready and dressed and having a hot breakfast in the Dining Hall with his mates.
“The food here is pretty good. We often have a cooked breakfast with bacon, eggs and toast. It’s a good way to start the day. Our chef, John, is a good bloke and makes sures we have plenty of different food. As a boarder, my favourite meal would have to be chicken schnitzel and potato bake.”
The school day begins with a Pastoral Care session called ‘Tutor group’. “My teacher, Mr Blake, tells us what is happening and what events we need to be aware of, for the day and the rest of the week. Mr Blake is also my French teacher and my cricket coach. I feel like all the teachers here make a real effort to know who we are as people and where we come from. It’s nice.”
“During the school day I have a range of subjects that I am trying which will help me select the subjects that I want to study in my senior years. My favourite subjects are Industrial Technology and Agriculture Studies. We have a great workshop – you can do everything from woodwork to welding. We have a laser cutter too. In Ag, we’re learning all about sheep this term. I feel like I have a bit of an advantage – I was in the Sheep Club last year”
When the school day is done, Baxter heads off to training for rugby or cricket – depending on what day it is of course. “There’s something on almost every afternoon, there’s no excuse to be bored.” Baxter says. “By the time the evening rolls around, it’s time for dinner and then Prep – which is when we have allocated time to do our homework and work on assignments. I think we’re also pretty lucky that our teachers come in to give us some extra support.”
“Our Boarding House supervisors keep us on our toes but are also good to talk to. I haven’t really had a time where I’ve felt homesick. I guess I am pretty lucky because I have my brother and sisters here at school with me. Mitch is here all the time and I see the girls during the day and on weekends, that’s of course if I’m not busy with my friends or fishing down at the river!”