As we prepare for the final week before the holidays, our students and teachers have been busily going about the work of our school’s December traditions – which, as you know, add much excitement to a very full month. Even in the midst of our pandemic restrictions and “work-arounds”, our teachers and kids have found a way to bring such traditions to life after a long year of cancellations, postponements, and uncertainty. Perhaps the crowning collaborative moment came this week when we staged, albeit under less-than-ideal circumstances, our annual “Celebration of Light”. Presented each December to parents and special guests, this seasonal performance (…featuring excited and excitable children in festive costumes!) is an enjoyable “lifting of the spirits” during the dark days of early winter.
As you know, we were unable to welcome you to join us in person this year. We also had the added complication of a missing class of students and soloist who were unexpectedly required to isolate at home for the week as a precaution against further community spread of COVID-19. Nevertheless, our students and teachers, like the ever-buoyant “Whos from Whoville”, were undeterred. Each class from JK to Grade 8 met the challenge and proved that where there’s a will, there’s a way! Together with their teachers, this year’s program of “Once on a Housetop: an International Holiday Celebration” was presented, recorded, and shared yesterday, complete with cohorts, masks, and a fleet of chimney sweeps. We hope you were able to watch it and find your special person.
While it is always preferable to have a live audience with appreciative parents, I am so proud of the students and teachers for pulling together to make this year’s celebration possible in spite of all the challenges and twists and turns. It says something about their perseverance, teamwork, and longing for a return to normality.
I watched the performance in person and found the traditional opening presentation of Santa Lucía to be particularly meaningful. Like the biblical story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colours, the beautiful tapestry of our school’s children, each in costumes representing their various cultures and traditions, combined to reflect the rich diversity of our student body. The stage was filled with celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and featured angels, chimney sweeps, and lamplighters from Zimbabwe, India, Russia, China, Holland, Pakistan, Italy, Scotland, and Canada – and, of course, we can’t forget to mention the special guest from the North Pole!
C’mon, COVID! It’s time to “stand down”, so we can gather and share our children’s special moments with one another in person! COVID, you are taking a toll on all of us around the world, but we will not be beaten down. We will rally, do our part, outsmart you, and force you back into your dismal little corner. When that happens, the light will really shine.
And that will surely bring us all back together to celebrate! Soon.
Ric Anderson, Head of School