Thank you, Junior School

Below is the address by Head of Junior School Jennifer Wyatt for Closing Ceremony, June 10, 2021.

Good afternoon and welcome to Trinity College School’s 2021 Junior School virtual Closing Ceremony. We are here today to celebrate every Junior School student, their perseverance, integrity, courage, creativity and compassion. We had high hopes for the 2020-2021 school year, and we are lucky in that we are healthy and that we were able to spend much of our time together, in person. This is not the ending any of us wanted; however, we will not let that deter us from marking the end of this school year that has been anything but routine!

Some of the year’s highlights include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Mastering smiling with our eyes;
  • Tightly-knit cohorts;
  • A focus on the social and emotional well-being of everyone in Boulden;
  • The introduction of monthly French assemblies;
  • Progress in anti-racist education and the development of the Allies Against Racism club;
  • Virtual magicians, guest speakers and scavenger hunts;
  • Wellness Wednesdays focussed on all things non-academic;
  • A dedicated Junior School 401 bus;
  • A renewed passion for outdoor learning and gratitude for our massive green campus;
  • The addition of a disc golf course;
  • Tree climbing and fort building;
  • Valuing the playground, its equipment and being kids;
  • Ice cream treat days;
  • Friendly competitions and lots of pizza parties;
  • Spirit days such as Tropical Friday;
  • Our own servery with a friendly, caring and engaged culinary crew;
  • Burton days;
  • Blocks of skill developing co-curricular activities;
  • And finally, most importantly, being together.

There is considerable light at the end of this tunnel and for that, we should be grateful. So, what does the world do when it has taken a proverbial “fall”? Dan Santat, Caldecott Medal winner, author of After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again, suggests a few ways in which we can pick ourselves up.

My name is Humpty Dumpty. This was my favourite spot, high up on the wall. I know, it’s an odd place for an egg to be, but I loved being close to the birds.

Then one day, I fell. (I’m sort of famous for that part.)

Folks called it “The Great Fall,” which sounds a little grand.

It was just an accident.

But it changed my life.

Fortunately, all the king’s men managed to put me back together.

Well, most of me. There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.

After that day, I became afraid of heights. I was so scared that it kept me from enjoying some of my favourite things.

I walked past the wall every day, and I would think about climbing that ladder again. I really missed the birds and being high above the city. But I could never do it…because I know that accidents can happen.

I eventually settled for watching the birds from the ground. It wasn’t the same, but it was better than nothing. Then one day, an idea flew by…

Making planes was harder than I thought. It was easy to get cuts and scratches. But, day after day, I kept trying…and trying…until I got it just right.

My plane was perfect, and it flew like nothing could stop it. I hadn’t felt that happy in a long time. It wasn’t the same as being up in the sky with the birds, but it was close enough.

Unfortunately, accidents happen… They always do.

I almost walked away, again. But then I thought about all the times I’d spent working on my plane, and all the other things I’d missed. I decided I was going to climb that wall.

But the higher I got, the more nervous I felt. I didn’t want to admit it: I was terrified.

I didn’t look up. I didn’t look down. I just kept climbing. One step at a time…until I was no longer afraid.

Maybe now you won’t think of me as that egg that was famous for falling. Hopefully, you’ll remember me as the egg who got back up…and learned how to fly.

2020-2021 will be famous for the pandemic. Was it an accident? Maybe. We can leave science to debate that. The point is, it did happen. It is still happening. What has made you more determined? More courageous? 

More honest with yourself?

We, but you in particular, have developed and demonstrated more perseverance than could have ever been hoped for. It will be possible to get back up after this challenging, and unexpected school year. Life, or the “wall,” may look slightly different, and the journey is still fraught with unknowns, but, when we summon our courage, it will be possible, slowly and steadily, to rebuild our community the way we remember it. We will continue to rely on each other and to extend a hand, when we fall.

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. Thank you, Junior School.

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