Junior School Closing Ceremony looks to a hopeful future

In most years, the Junior School Closing Ceremony is an opportunity to look back on the past year, reflecting on the many highlights in the curricular and co-curricular life of Trinity College School’s Grade 5 to 8 students. And, certainly, there was much to reflect on during the virtual presentation of this year’s ceremony on Thursday, June 10th. But, there was also a sense of hope and optimism, that the resilience, determination and sense of community displayed by students and staff alike over the past 15 months of the global pandemic would fuel positive change in the months and years ahead.

Head of Junior School Jennifer Wyatt opened the pre-recorded event by reading from Dan Santat’s After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again. The story of how the egg “got back up and learned to fly” serves as a reminder that, even during the difficult times, we can persevere and keep climbing “one step at a time.” Ms. Wyatt asked students: “How will you choose to remember this school year? How will you be remembered in 2020-2021 by your cohort mates? By your teachers? By your parents? I will venture to say, with love and admiration.”

Closing Ceremony included the presentation of grade completion certificates and “smile with your eyes” pins to students in Grades 5 through 7, and diplomas to each of the members of the Grade 8 graduating class. Each graduate shared some of their proudest achievements of their Junior School careers. Awards were presented to acknowledge achievements in academics, arts, athletics and citizenship.

The ceremony was also a chance to celebrate Mr. Colin Powles, faculty member and director of curriculum, who is retiring after 20 years in Boulden House. As Ms. Wyatt noted, “He is a brilliant, compassionate, caring and honourable educator who will leave a lasting legacy.”

A highlight of the presentation was the valedictory address, this year given by Grade 8 student Kennedy Belfon. She spoke about “a year like no other” that included many wonderful memories but also challenges: from murder hornets to Mr. Powles’ “dad jokes.” She shared the gratitude of all students for those who have supported the students throughout their time in Boulden House. On a serious note, she reflected: “We stared at the images of social and racial injustice, we witnessed global disasters, we endured long periods of time away from family and friends, yet, we persisted. We stood tall, we stood strong and we are better humans for it.” Kennedy gave a shout-out to her fellow graduating students, “43 amazing future leaders; leaders who are committed to making the world a better place.”

Headmaster Stuart Grainger echoed these sentiments, saying to students, “Under the most extraordinary circumstances, you have overcome change, adversity, uncertainty – a pandemic. Make no mistake that your ability to adapt to these circumstances will serve you in good stead.” He added that the promise of vaccines and an end to the pandemic give cause for optimism: “There is much to look forward to. The future does indeed look a lot brighter now.”

Special thanks go to staff of the Junior School, the IT services department and Mr. Rick Traugott from the philanthropy & alumni office for their efforts to create a moving and meaningful ceremony that celebrated our wonderful Junior School community.

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