From as far as Hong Kong, the Northern Territory, Sydney and Brisbane, almost 140 boys and girls started at The Armidale School this year as part of the largest intake since its founding in 1894.
“We have welcomed 137 students across all year groups to their new school this week, the largest number of new students to arrive together in the history of TAS,” Headmaster Murray Guest said. It was even more students than in the very unusual year of 1942 when wartime threats to Sydney Harbour posed by Japanese submarines caused a huge influx of 120 students from Sydney that almost doubled the school population.
“Close to one third of those new to TAS this year are girls and half of all new enrolments are boarders. We now have 223 students living on campus and it has been more than 20 years since we had this number of boarders at TAS. There have more boys with us this year as well and more new boys starting this year than in eight out of the past 10 years. Our movement along the path of significant but steady growth has well and truly begun.”
Mr Guest said just as the student population has increased to well above 600, so too does the requirement for new staff, and 15 new staff were also welcomed to TAS this week.
“What we all have in common though, students and staff alike, is that we have experienced a first day and week at TAS and that engenders a natural empathy for our new students and I am confident that they will be welcomed in the best traditions of our student body,” he said.
Among the newcomers are Will Warton, a Year 6 boarder from Katherine, NT, who has a brother in Year 12, and Amelia Griffiths, a Year 11 boarder previously a day student at an all-girls’ school in Brisbane.
“I’ was a little bit nervous but still excited. Some of my mates from home were saying how far away it is, but so far it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made lots of new friends,” Will said.
Amelia, whose father and grandfather attended TAS, agitated to continue the tradition “as soon as Dad read in the Old Boys’ magazine that it was going co-ed.”
“I’d been to the school before and it always reminded me of Hogwarts. I love the boarding house and the girls are all so lovely – one I met last year even texted me over the holidays asking me if I had any questions. I’m already in the school musical – I just love the way there seems to be so much always going on here.”