What started as nervous energy and uncertainty ended with smiles, new friends, and a fresh start to the year! Opening day in the Junior School is always one of the highlights of the year as we welcome both returning and new students into the fold for an exciting year of learning and this year was no different. Well actually, it was a little different as it was the first year in the last couple where we could meet one another again in a mostly mask-free environment in our current “living with COVID” world! Starting with the whole student body in the theatre, our Junior students were able to hear Mr. Seagram’s always uplifting opening address, got to meet our new Assistant Headmaster, Vanessa Wade, and our new head boy and head girl Levi Spence ‘23 and Lucy Goddard ‘23.
To finish the first part of the morning, our consummate leader of the Junior School, Taya Shields took time to reflect on the inspirational Canadian hero Terry Fox. From the theatre, the Junior students relocated to the historic and beautiful Hensley Memorial Chapel where they were officially welcomed into the Junior School, met their advisors, and then went off to the first steps of their Junior School journey.
After a modified set of classes and a delicious first lunch of the year, we all made our way down to Menzies Field for our annual “get to know ya games”. It was here that our students got a chance to run around together and make connections that will last for years to come. We found a couple “birthday buddies” (students who share the same birthday) and tested ourselves to see how quickly we could arrange 120 students in alphabetical order! We ended our games with the always popular “rock paper scissors royale” where we all ended up cheering for Grade 6 student Altyn Hood ‘29 as he came out victorious in our energizing and friendly competition. Opening day in the Junior School wouldn’t be complete without a round of popsicles from Mrs. Shields, so before heading off to catch the buses or return to dorm, we all met again with our advisor groups to debrief the day and look forward to the fun and learning that lies ahead.
As successful as our opening day was, it likely would not have been as smooth if it wasn’t for the efforts of five of our Grade 9 leaders (Mollybeth Dickinson ‘26, Maran Hawley ‘26, Ezra Choo ‘26, Will Larder ‘26, Ezra Sasaki ‘26) who made up our Junior School welcome team who met earlier in the week to plan how best they could make our new students feel comfortable and then were on hand all day to provide guidance and support. Another key factor to making our opening day successful was the efforts of our very own Mr. LePoidevin (with the help of Will, Ezra S., and recent Junior School grad and current Grade 10 student Gabby Shaw '25) who produced our annual Junior School opening day video which provided welcomed reassurance for our newest students before they came on campus for their fantastic opening day!