Let’s just say it out loud: what a relief to be back together learning in-person this September!
On behalf of the staff and students, I warmly welcome each family to Matthews Hall for another year of goal setting, personal development, and achievement, as we serve the children entrusted to us. It goes without saying that our entire school community has experienced many challenges during the past eighteen months, yet we have still managed to demonstrate adaptability and pragmatism in the face of pandemic obstacles. We are cautiously optimistic that the coming year will be one that sees a gradual return to a more normal way of doing things. With your support and a commitment to keeping one another safe, we will accomplish just that. Thank you all very much for carefully adhering to our RETURNING TO SCHOOL SAFELY plan.
How did we get to September? While the first week of school may look smooth from the outside, it’s only because a lot of people have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure its success. Thank you to our whole school team for anticipating the needs of our students and families and supporting the children and one another, as we re-establish important routines – which are crucial after the long hiatus that began last spring. Please never hesitate to ask for help or clarification, if anything seems confusing. Our entire staff is here to help!
Today, we concluded our first week back with the annual Middle School retreat for Grades 6 to 8 – a program intended to inspire and encourage leadership among our oldest students as role models in our student body. This morning we began by welcoming a motivational guest speaker, Canadian Olympic gold medallist in the bobsleigh (Pyeongchang 2018), Alex Kopacz, who joined us live via webcast from South Korea! In addition to discussing his experiences as an elite athlete, entrepreneur, and current coach of the South Korean national bobsleigh team, Alex shared many insights about setting goals in pursuit of a purpose-driven life. He graciously answered questions from many students and teachers and left everyone feeling engaged and energized. Having recently recovered from a serious and critical case of COVID-19 himself, we had the feeling that we were spending time with not only a proud Canadian athlete and accomplished Londoner, but also an exceptional human being.
In reflecting on his own run-up to the 2018 Olympic Games, Alex referred to an expression familiar to athletes when faced with the mounting pressures of imminent international competition: “Remember. Whatever can wrong, might go wrong”. But he was also quick to point out that sometimes, it’s in those moments that the most surprising and unexcepted rewards come along.
Let’s all reflect on that piece of advice as, together, we forge ahead into an exciting new school year full of potential.
We can’t predict the ultimate outcome as we navigate the fourth wave of a global pandemic, but we can bend, and flex, and adapt as the situation demands. And we can do it together.
We just need to remember that flexibility, bend-ability, and adaptability require a “strong core” – the kind of core that an Olympic-Bobsledder has.
Thanks to everyone for a smooth first week. It’s so great to see the students and teachers back where they belong as we gather at the top of the run!
Ric Anderson, Head of School