Read about Year 10 boarding student Willem Allen as featured recently in The Weekly Times Education.

Year 10 Caulfield Grammar boarding student and aspiring swimmer Willem Allen.

Caulfield Grammar boarding student Willem Allen is on track to swim at elite national level, thanks to support from his school.

For Year 10 boarding student Willem Allen, leaving his local school and Mildura Swimming Club to board at Caulfield Grammar School was no small ask.

But the opportunities and world-class facilities, particularly the School’s new Caulfield Aquatic Centre with Olympic-sized swimming pool, were huge drawcards.

“I wanted to further my swimming career and take it to the next level,” Willem said.

“I was looking to join a club within the School and train on campus at their new facility. Being in Melbourne also means I can compete in more and bigger competitions.”

Willem started boarding last year. Although he now represented Caulfield Grammar School on a national stage – recently competing at the 2022 Australian Age Swimming Championships, where he finished seventh in the 200m breaststroke and eighth in the 50m and 100m breaststroke – he kept his connections with his hometown, swimming for the Mildura Swimming Club in the 2022 Victorian Country Championships, where he took away silver and bronze.

As well as participating in competitive APS Sport, Willem threw himself into boarding house life and Caulfield Grammar’s extensive co-curricular programs with enthusiasm.

He is a member of the School’s Caulfield Aquatic Club, aimed at creating a community for country kids, particularly boarders.

Caulfield Grammar students spend time in the Northern Territory as part of a co-curricular program learning about Indigenous languages, arts and crafts and ways of living and surviving on country.

Last year, as part of the Year 9 Expedition Program, he spent time in the Northern Territory, immersing himself in local communities and learning about Indigenous languages, arts. crafts, living and surviving on country.

Boarding house students have after-hours access to Caulfield Campus’s facilities, including its Aquatic Centre, which provide opportunities to relax, pursue interests, and connect with others at the end of the school day.

Although sport is Willem’s passion, opportunities and experiences beyond sport have created a sense of community and belonging.

Caulfield Grammar’s commitment to and focus on the connection between emotional health and learning outcomes is a vital component of its boarding approach, not just for students but also for families.

“Morcom House is a home away from home for 90 girls and boys from years nine to 12, nestled in the heart of our Caulfield Campus,” said Caulfield Grammar head of boarding Tim Gallop.

“We guide each student to take responsibility for their own personal wellbeing, provide programs to facilitate self-care during times of stress, and encourage everyone to seek ways they can support the wellbeing of others. It keeps on coming back to connectedness and care.”

This approach is incorporated into Caulfield Grammar School’s curricular and co-curricular opportunities, which range from cultural immersion, debating, filmmaking and rock climbing to more traditional pursuits.

“Each student is different, coming from a different rural or overseas home, and with unique aspirations,” Mr Gallop said.

“We’re not about moulding them into our ways, rather moulding our approach around each student to guide them in following their own individual pathways and passions – be it academic, sport, music, performing or visual arts.”