One of the most highly anticipated traditions of Somerville Boarding is that of Invite Night.  This special celebration, held in Term 3, is when Year 11 students celebrate the boarding journey of their Year 12 sisters.  On this night, the Year 11 boarders present their Year 12 sisters with a special invitation to the Boarders’ Farewell Dinner, which is held on the last night that the Year 12 boarders are in residence in the Boarding House.

Head of Boarding, Mrs Frances Greene, shared a story from one of the boarding mothers, who completed her education as a boarder in 1996.  

“This Old Girl remembers Invite Night as the biggest night of the year and described the format in a way that tells us it is largely unchanged; the skits, songs, dances and format are the same,” Mrs Greene said.

Now twenty-five years on, her two eldest daughters have participated in eleven Invite Nights between them and her youngest daughter, currently in Year 8, is looking forward to her first one this year.

Mrs Greene said the whole event is student-managed.  The girls work with staff support to plan the mystery theme, skits, set design and much more.  Over many months, the boarders organise a range of activities to make this rite of passage possible.  Movie nights, a ‘Manners Week’, which includes a program of fundraising activities and themed dinners, and then a few more weekends of painting, imagining and constructing, culminate in the much-loved event.  

“The girls really enjoy this celebration, and the details of Invite Night are a wonderful surprise for all”, Frances said.  

“The happy faces of the girls, when the theme is revealed year by year, upon their entry into the Bentley Dining Room says it all”, she said. 

Year 11 students are involved in real-life experiences from managing credit, debit and account reconciliation to designing a menu and seating plan, managing a project team and coordinating the event smoothly.

“It is a great opportunity for the Year 11 boarders to develop their leadership skills,” Frances said. 

“The girls are the custodians of this tradition and pass that responsibility from one year group to the next,” she said. 

Invite Night is one example of the celebrated Somerville House sisterhood that is embraced by our boarding community.   The friendships, sense of belonging and shared commitment to growing, living and learning make our Boarding House a true home away from home.