Over 350 guests gathered to enjoy the efforts of our students and staff, as weeks of work culminated in the presentation of The Nutcracker on Thursday, December 14th – a traditional holiday production across much of North America. There were many involved in bringing this year’s production to life. First and foremost, the students themselves. It is always a pleasure to see a schoolwide effort that involves the students of every grade. And, of course, our intrepid team of teachers and parent volunteers who always provide “the engine” for the undertaking.
The Nutcracker is an adaption of a time-honoured story – made famous by Tchaikovsky’s familiar musical score and popularized by ballet companies around the world. While the characters prepare to celebrate a Christmas party, many adventures and dream sequences fill the night as they lead the audience in a story that is really about acceptance, wonder and goodwill – perfect themes to ponder as our small international family school prepares to break for the holidays.
I always love the evening of the “Celebration of Light”. It is heartwarming, and in keeping with the sentiments of the season, to see all of our school families converging on Matthews Hall for one special evening before heading off in different directions for the holidays. The warmth, support, smiles and good wishes of our school families are much appreciated by the staff who know how enjoyable it is for parents to see their children having fun on stage with their classmates.
As I was considering our “Celebration of Light”, I was reminded of how Miss Matthews would have gathered her own students together (albeit on a much smaller scale) before Christmas all those years ago in 1918. In the year of our school’s founding, the month of December would have fallen at the end of the First World War mere weeks after the official ceasefire in Europe. The world, the City of London and the families of St. Paul’s Private School (aka Miss Matthews’ School, aka Matthews Hall) would have gathered in simpler ways in simpler times to express simpler things – things such as gratitude.
And why not? Grateful people are happier. It is also true that gratitude can take effort (…as well as the occasional reminder). I am grateful for our hundred-year-old school that has covered a lot of ground since those wartime years and for the ongoing commitment of our teachers to our students, their school and the families we serve.
Like a nutcracker, gratitude is a gift we can each give ourselves this year! Choosing it will certainly help us to make sense of our past, bring peace for today, and create a vision for tomorrow.
Ric Anderson, Head of School