This week we recognized the Grade 8 class during our annual Founder’s Day reception, a tradition stretching back many years at Matthews Hall and the first time in the school year when our oldest students are officially declared to be the “Class of 2021”.
In a typical year, this occasion is a well-attended evening event held in February with a dinner, musical presentations, and an opportunity for photographs and camaraderie among the students, families, Board, and teachers. Unfortunately, this year’s plan required us to adopt COVID protocols to be aligned with public health regulations. And so we did. But do you know what? It was still an enjoyable and meaningful occasion and one we love to share with the students. It’s our way of helping them to mark an important milestone in their lives as they prepare “to take the next step”.
The timing of this annual event is not arbitrary. It always falls on or near the February birthday of our School’s founder, Kate Matthews, and hence its close association with “Founder’s Day”. In a world that seems to care less and less about traditions, we value this opportunity to help our students understand and appreciate their School’s origins and heritage.
At times, we can be in such a hurry to advance to “the next thing” that we sometimes forget to remember where we are right now. I would bet that a majority of students in our communities often know very little (perhaps nothing!) about the namesakes of their various schools and institutions. At Matthews Hall, we have intentionally linked this important annual event to our founder’s name and legacy to ensure that this never happens. It’s a way of saying “we think you are important” and “we thank and honour you” for establishing our school all those years ago.
During the Founder’s Day reception, the Class of 2021 took time to honour the life and work of Miss Matthews and her dedication to children. And we took the time to show how her life and work lives on in them. Next week, every class in the School will do the same, so that by the time our students eventually graduate, they will have celebrated this occasion for perhaps a decade.
When our students are asked about Matthews Hall in the future, our hope is that all of them will be able to recall the generous lady who started it all in 1918.
The Class of 2021 is a great and diverse group of students with impressive potential. As we persevere and move forward with purpose to graduation day in June, we celebrate their unique talents and their contributions to our school – and look forward with optimism to all of their future achievements!
We also hope, in some small way, that each of them will remember the life and times of a great London lady – Miss Kate Matthews – and credit her for having had a “role” in their future success.
Debeo Possum Volo!
Ric Anderson, Head of School