There is one week to go before we gather as a school community at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown London. For new parents and students, it may seem a bit out-of-step to take our whole school offsite to declare the end of the academic year; however, for generations of Matthews Hall students and families, it is a happy and meaningful tradition. As we remember each year, the beautiful red brick cathedral on Richmond Street is where it all began 105 years ago as St. Paul’s Private School.
With only a few exceptions, Closing Exercises have always been planned in a way that honours our school’s heritage in the City of London – and we are very fortunate that the St. Paul’s Cathedral community and the Diocese of Huron open their doors to us each June. In so doing, it’s like having Miss Matthews herself at our annual closing right in the very spot where it all began.
School years begin and end with all sorts of traditions. Don’t forget – a tradition is a belief or a behaviour passed down within a group that has symbolic meaning or special significance with connections to the past. While most schools have graduations and year-end celebrations, many traditions have become watered down with the setting aside of some customs and rites of passage. Each year at Matthews Hall, however, our students and teachers continue to gather in a way that honours our past and looks forward to the future. We couldn’t do it without you, the parents, the first and most important teachers of your children. Thank you!
A special word of encouragement (..and an appeal for help!) this year: the City of London has entered one its most significant “seasons”. It is not spring or summer. It is construction and road-work season and the impact downtown near St. Paul’s will likely make parking more of an adventure than most years. The sidewalks along Queens Street and Richmond are also affected. Next Friday, please allow time to navigate the detours and road closures and various twists and turns, as you wind your way to Closing Exercises. Patience will truly be a virtue!
The next week will go by quickly, making our gathering at St. Paul’s the perfect chance to wish one another well before the summer holidays begin. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize and support the Class of 2023 as they say goodbye to their elementary school, a place which for some has been a ten-year home.
We look forward to seeing you, along with any special guests you bring along to help celebrate your children and another end of the year with their school “family”!
The elementary years are fleeting – just ask any parent of a child graduating from Grade 8 this year.
If you are like me, you might want to start thinking about dragging your heels to slow the circle down (credit to Joni Mitchell).
But that is a topic for another day!
Ric Anderson, Head of School