Up Over Down Under


Credit: Tommy Larson

Henry practices his moves on the basketball court against sophomore Patrick Schulman.

By Tommy Larson

Henry O’Neil has traveled across the world from a pleasant town in Australia to bustling New York to learn about American culture and immerse himself in Hackley school life.

He is visiting from the Armidale School in Australia, which is about 500 kilometers North of Sydney. Henry has already visited both Tarrytown with his host family and New York City. In New York, he spent time with his Aunt and saw a Yankee game as well as Central Park.

In comparing the towns and cities, Henry said, “Sydney and New York differ a lot. Sydney is not nearly as busy or as large as New York, and Manhattan dwarfs the Sydney central business district. But, Sydney is a great place which I recommend visiting,” Henry said. “As for Armidale and Tarrytown, Armidale is a little bigger and it’s a rural based town, not so much an outer suburb of a big city like Tarrytown.”

Henry’s opportunity to come on the exchange was not what one would normally expect. Another student in his grade was planning on attending Hackley for the fall semester but he unfortunately had to pull out, and the opportunity was given to Henry’s whole grade.

He looked into Hackley and was interested in the school because it is co-ed, has a boarding program, and has a diverse range of subjects and sports. Henry enjoyed the boarding program at Hackley because he had his own room, and he practiced with the Hackley Junior Varsity soccer team.

It feels, in a way, normal as I have settled into school life here and haven’t really thought about being so far away.”

— Henry O'Neil

Henry also elaborated on the similarities and differences between Armidale and Hackley.

“We have slightly different majors but similar minors. We also have sports such as rugby, soccer, and basketball most afternoons and lots of co-curricular activities like community service and clubs which are similar in some ways to here,” Henry said.

Henry feels that the Hackley community has been treating him very well during his time in the United States, and had an easy time transitioning into the Hackley routine. He has done many school related camps such as Cadet camp, where he hikes and canoes in the outdoors, and has traveled a bit. However, this is the first time that he has been away for a long period of time without his family. “It feels, in a way, normal as I have settled into school life here and haven’t really thought about being so far away,” Henry said.

Unfortunately for him, however, Henry has to continue to do his work from Australia because he has end of year exams upon his return home in mid-October, yet he doesn’t have to worry about Hackley related work in his time in the United States.

Henry looked back at his Hackley experience and said, “At Hackley, everything here has been great so I don’t think I would be able to narrow it down to one favorite event.”