Mission Day Tradition Continues
Our final week of term saw the College unite for Mission Week. Traditionally, the College has run an event called Mission Day each year and in my regular conversations with students, they are always keen to identify how much this day means for them. This event is one where College students come together with great felicity to raise money for a Mary Ward International Charity.
In the light of the restrictions placed around traditional activities, staff and students donned their creative thinking caps to reimagine the ritual we called Mission Day. For 2020, the event was renamed Mission Week and I thank our Year 12 students for their leadership of the many activities that marked this occasion. Such events included cake decorating competitions, a virtual final assembly, competitions to Recreate Artistic Masterpieces, a Free Dress Day themed around fashions from the past and the House Jazz Competitions (with appropriate social distancing, of course!)
In the weeks leading up to the filming of each House dance, I would look out my window and observe a marvellous sense of ‘esprit de corps’ from our Years 10-12 students as they worked together towards a common goal: the House Jazz Competition, a most eagerly anticipated activity of Mission Week. It is, in essence, a Loreto ritual or tradition. The joy on the students’ faces was palpable both during the rehearsals and in performance. The authenticity of our students certainly shone through and I was reminded of Paul Coelho’s observation that:
…It’s as if the threads connecting us to the rest of the world were washed clean of preconceptions and fears. When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you…
It is important that we don’t overlook the importance of this ritual in building our Loreto community, expressing ourselves in joy and sustaining our individual and collective identity. As Mission Day and the House Jazz Competition are celebrated each year, our customs are transferred from one Loreto generation to another. In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, the main character claimed that:
Without traditions our lives would be as shaky as….as a fiddler on the roof!
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked to observe social distancing measures but also to continue as many school traditions or rituals as possible, understanding their importance to our community. Admittedly, sometimes these have taken a different format and I thank our community who have supported our many virtual events including virtual parent-teacher interviews and subject selection evenings, parent groups meetings, virtual music concerts and various fitness challenges.
I was heartened to see that important rites of passages such as formals and graduations have been approved by the government. While it is likely that social distancing measures may still impact these events to some extent, it is most important that we mark significant milestones, especially the transition of our Class of 2020 to the world beyond Loreto.