Rural ambassadors for Joeys help other parents commit to boarding school.

Story Ken Eastwood  Photo courtesy Jane Schmude

Armidale mum Jane Schmude says there is one question other parents want to know about sending their children to board at Joeys (St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill). “They’re nervous to send their children away, so they ask, ‘Why did you want to send your children away to boarding school when there are good schools in Armidale?’,” she says.

Having had 2 boys board at Joeys (her second, Joe, is currently in year 12), Jane has plenty of ways to answer the question.

“By sending them away they’re gaining so much in terms of discipline and independence,” she says. “It’s a school that’s very well run and been doing boarding so well for so long, and the boys have this really rich experience.”

As well as participating in debating, basketball and music at the school, Joe recently ran a family mass for 1000 people. “And he’s been really engaged in his studies,” Jane says.

But Jane also says she chose to send her boys to Joeys because her family’s long association with the school has shown the sort of men Joeys produces. Her husband Marty and his brothers attended the school as students, and Marty also taught there.  “It was that Joeys experience that turned them into the great men that they are,” she says. “In Armidale, everyone knows the Schmude boys as great leaders.”

Jane is one of about 30 rural ambassadors that Joeys has in about 15 rural communities, including Moree, Singleton and Tamworth. Usually well-connected community members, the rural ambassadors promote the school and help organise events at which they speak about their experience. With more than half the school’s 1078 students boarding, Joeys is the largest boys’ school boarding community in Australia and has many rural students.

This story excerpt is from Issue #155

Outback Magazine: June/July 2024