When I reflect on our first term at the Grove, three specific moments come to mind:
In the fall, one of our grade ten students wanted to express her gratitude for our food. To be honest, her original motivation was not gratitude but frustration: she was bothered that so many students complained about food. She wrote to friends and asked them to share photos of their meals. She then put together a presentation to remind our community that we are fortunate to have such diverse, healthy, and tasty meals prepared for us. This led her to an idea – she invited our food service team to chapel and thanked them on behalf of our community.
And then the moment happened. Our students jumped to their feet for a standing ovation for our dining and cleaning staff.
The second moment actually happened numerous times in one week. This fall, our production of Mamma Mia! was beyond amazing. Our little theatre was bursting with energy and everyone jumped to their feet for a standing ovation at the end of each show. What I loved most is that people stayed on their feet, singing and dancing during the last couple of numbers.
The third moment – another standing ovation – was a complete surprise. Our Christmas chapel happens in the evening after students enjoy a formal meal in the dining hall. At the beginning, I noticed that students seemed restless, and, I was a bit nervous about their ability to behave appropriately for the duration of the service. Turns out – they were more than respectful. When Adam Bishop, a member of our Foundation team and a former Head Boy, walked to the front to sing “O Holy Night” accompanied by our pianist, there was a lot of energy in chapel. I know that Adam is a talented singer, and yet I felt nervous for him – no matter your talent, it takes courage to perform solo in front of hundreds of students. But he began, and we were enraptured. At the end, there was a pause. I sometimes wonder about the appropriateness of clapping during a chapel service, and it was as if the entire chapel was pondering the exact same question. And just as quickly, the question was answered. The entire chapel sprang to their feet clapping. The final song that night – Joy to the World – was the most enthusiastic singing I’ve heard in chapel since my arrival.
Now here’s the thing about standing ovations: They are spontaneous. They only happen in groups. They are full of joy.
That combination, to me, is “So Lakefield…”
I hope your year includes moments of spontaneity, community and joy. I hope you might be able to return for a visit this year, perhaps to experience our theatre, chapel or another event. And I sincerely hope you’re really lucky, and you get to be part of the transformative experience of a standing ovation at the Grove.
Happy new year!
Highlights from 2018 at Lakefield College School