I first heard of the boarding school almost two years ago and the more I found out about it, the more I wanted to be a pupil there. The application was lengthy and I often felt like just giving up. The fees seemed too high, the forms too numerous and sometimes I thought that I should be satisfied that I found out out about the existence of the boarding school. However, I conquered my fears, took the bull by the horns and decided to attend the school.

So, there I stood in front of this time-honoured building on a grey Winter’s day and plucked up the courage to step through the gates. It was like entering a different world. I clearly remember how my heart beat loudly as I had to remove my private things and hand them over under the strict gaze of my new mentor and when I stood for the first time in the large communal shower. I will never forget the nervousness going to the school doctor to be examined and when I stepped into the dorm to put things in my bedside locker. Everything was so exciting and finally I was sitting in the classroom with my new classmates, all in smart uniforms and bright-eyed looking at the Headmaster with his cane in his hand as he explained the timetable, the school rules and so many other things.

And the rest of the school year flew. Many thinks that a strict education just consists of swats and strokes, but that is not true. The structure and rules allow me to be myself. I can trust the teachers to show me the right way without demanding too much from me. With praise and punishments, they help me do better. They took the time to teach me to see things from different perspectives. During this time, I learnt so much, also about myself.

On the last evening there was a big party for teachers and pupils all together. We played games, enjoyed a great meal and laughed a lot. It was a wonderful evening and as the hens crossed the room clucking, I went outside into the night. I had never felt so welcomed, so understood and so free. I had never dared dream that I would find such a community of like-minded people. Then through the darkness came the Headmaster himself, took me in his arms and held me tight as I sobbed tears of gratitude.

Today I wear my uniform with pride, even outside school. The school anthem we had to sing when the flag was being raised is in my head forever. Deep friendships have been formed. I feel a camaraderie and openness with my classmates and great respect and subservience to my teachers. The boarding school experience has been much more for me than education. I cannot wait for the new school year to start and to see my old classmates again and maybe if you pluck up the courage too, I will see you there. I look forward to it.

Martin (class 7b)