When speaking to the girls who board at Augusta House what becomes immediately apparent is that they view it as a home from home.
They also talk about how boarding makes them feel they become part of a family, and this is exactly what Stephanie Stephenson hoped to achieve, when she became a House Parent at Augusta six years ago.
Mrs Stephenson lives at the house with her husband Jeremy, two girls Gwen and Mary and their dog Copper.
As well as being a House Parent she teaches Biology from Year 9 onwards, and in her spare time (if she has any!) she enjoys climbing in the hills of Snowdonia.
She settled in North Wales after studying marine biology at Bangor University, where she also went on to study for her teaching degree.
“Before I came to St David’s I had spent a year teaching in a secondary school in Bangor,” said Mrs Stephenson.
“When I first came to St David’s it was a very alien world in a way, I remember sitting and watching what was going on in the school grounds during activities and there was falconry happening in one corner, and then a 4X4 vehicle would be going past driven by a one of the pupils-I just couldn’t believe what was on offer.”
She continued: “Then one of the Outdoor Ed instructors came up to me, after having been told I could scuba dive, and asked if I was up for a diving trip-but it wasn’t until weeks later I was discovered that it was in the Bahamas!”
Life at Augusta House is full of activities and cosy nights in, Mr Stephenson takes the girls climbing once a week, and as a house they also take part in a charity run for the local hospice, go on country rambles and bake cakes for cake sales.
On Monday evenings the girls play board and card games together, Tuesday night is brownie night, Wednesday evening is book club, Friday is movie night and a lucky year group will also make their way to the Stephenson flat where they will be served supper cooked by their house mum. Sunday is the popular soup and rolls night again at the Stephenson flat, where the girls help make the bread and soup, and enjoy the wind down after the weekend and gear themselves ready for the week ahead.
“My aim was always to make a home for the girls, and I’m pleased to think we’ve done that,” said Mrs Stephenson.
“I want them to feel like they are going home at the end of the day, and I try and have a catch-up with every single one of them every day.”
A brand-new kitchen has recently been installed in Augusta-but Mrs Stephenson will on occasion close it down if the dishes are not cleaned and put away. They are also not allowed to take their phones to bed with them and TV’s are banned from bedrooms.
Mrs Stephenson added: “I treat all the girls as if they are my own, some of them have been with me for many years and it’s always a wrench to see them go-but more often than not we keep in touch.”