This past school year had its challenges to say the least! We navigated the two big C’s: COVID-19 and construction. Both C’s meant school had to be done differently. We stayed in our cohorts (another C word!), and we learned new routines like wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer whenever we moved from one area of the school to another.

We lament what has been lost or missed this year. We know that lament in Scripture is a form of praise, and it is proof of a relationship with God. Lament in Scripture typically includes a statement of distress, a cry for help, an expression of trust, and a realization of hope and joy.

With this pattern in mind, here are some of the things that we lament this year, what we hope for, or have found joy in.

1. We lament the times of illness we endured this year.

Many in our school community had their health directly impacted by the pandemic, including hospitalizations and lengthy recoveries at home. We think especially of Mr. Bill Workman, our grade 6-12 music and band teacher. We also dealt with functional closures of our campus and transitioned to Connected Learning twice. We are hopeful that we can continue to learn in-person and for an end to the pandemic.

2. We lament that we were not able to welcome our grade 5 and 6 students as we hoped.

This was to be a special year with the addition of grade 5 to our campus and we were looking forward to how the presence of grade 5 students and their teachers would add a new dimension to our campus. We celebrate that most of our grade 5 and 6 students felt at home on our campus very quickly, and we look forward to greeting next year’s grade 5’s in September!

3. We lament that many of the grade 8 leadership opportunities could not happen this year.

No pizza days, intramurals, mentorship blocks, or leading us in singing during chapels. However, we thank our grade 8’s for the areas they could show leadership: the hilarious announcement videos, the spirit days, and help with maintaining our PE equipment.

4. We lament that we could not go on class trips.

Trips such as the grade 7 trip to Newcastle Island or the grade 8 sailing trip with SALTS are always highlights for middle school students. We celebrate the creative ways our teachers found to develop new highlights; events like bus trips to the rock quarry, recreation blocks at local sport facilities, and the grade 8 day at Camp Kawkawa were the source of many new memorable moments.

5. We lament that our students had to deal with a small, temporary playground for most of the year (and virtually no playground in June!).

However, our students and staff have found new and inventive ways to play, and we are so excited to see our beautiful new playground taking shape. We look forward to when it opens in the fall.

6. We lament that many of our classes had to move rooms during the school year.

In particular, our grade 7 and 8 classes were most impacted by construction. However, we are thrilled with our new wing and the opportunities it presents for working in classrooms and smaller collaboration spaces.

7. We lament that we could not gather for praise and worship as a campus community.

Chapels are a hallmark of who we are as Christians, and it has been hard on all of us to not be able to come together to praise our Saviour. We discovered new and creative ways to worship and our Director of Faith Formation, Koenraad Beugelink, has been such a blessing with his work on recorded chapels. The class challenges, planned by Mrs. Carrie Lockwood, were a lot of fun and built community for our students.

8. We lament that our students were not able to participate in sports competitions.

Usually, we have a busy year with cross country, volleyball, basketball, soccer, badminton, and track and field competitions and events. However, we are thankful for dedicated staff and athletes, who still found ways to hone skills and work as a team in their cohorts. We look forward to resuming our full athletic program and using a larger middle school gymnasium in the new school year.

9. We lament the loss of our big communal celebrations.

Celebrations such as in-person presentations of learning, Christmas performances, and other events that brought parents into our building. However, we are grateful that we have access to technology that allowed for a recorded Christmas concert, an online school auction, and a virtual Market Day.

10. We lament not being able to welcome parents on campus.

We missed all the ways our parent community blesses us: leadership for X-Block, volunteering for field trips, and helping in our classrooms and library. We are so thankful for the continual prayer support, and we are SO grateful for the Middle School Parent Community (MSPC) for they have blessed our staff with yummy treats during the year!

Lament leads to a remembrance that we are not alone; our Lord walks with us. In all the challenges that this past year has brought, we have found opportunities to trust in Him and to see God’s hand working in our school. What a blessing!