Rituals are important for a variety of reasons: sometimes they help us to mark time, or indeed to create time, by signifying beginnings and endings. At Lowther Hall, we experienced this on Tuesday this week when we came together to celebrate the start of Term 2 in a Whole School Assembly – a ritual that many of us have come to appreciate even more in the last 12 months when these gatherings have been few and far between. It was joyous to watch the older girls revel in the childlike enthusiasm of their younger peers and be impressed by the composed and insightful contributions from the Year 1 girls. It was equally satisfying to watch the younger girls be awed by their older counterparts as they performed various roles including a segment from the forthcoming production of 42nd Street. Rituals also connect us and foster a sense of belonging, reinforcing for ourselves what we value and who we are. This in turn, contributes to culture. At Lowther Hall we are intentional about developing a positive and supportive culture and we have missed our whole school rituals which provide opportunities to reaffirm our identity and remind ourselves what is truly important to us. On Tuesday at assembly, simply through participating together in this start of term ritual, we remembered how much we value being a Kindergarten to Year 12 school, small enough to connect with each other across the campus. We remembered how much we appreciate each other’s talents and how affirming we can be of each other’s contributions.
In our Senior School Chapel on Wednesday, the focus was on a different kind of rituals, as members of the Faith Committee explained the different religious festivals, ceremonies and events that are celebrated by various members of our Senior School community during April and May, including traditions observed by Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh and Christian families within our school. Being able to participate in rituals associated with our faith provides a way of developing ourselves as spiritual beings and affirming our beliefs. Being able to share our experience of meaningful rituals within the context of a supportive community strengthens our sense of belonging while at the same time empowering us to feel proud of who we are and what we believe, even if it is different from our peers.
The week concluded with solemn rituals across the three areas of the School to commemorate ANZAC Day. Through the laying of wreaths, the sounding of the last post and the singing of the National Anthem, girls and staff came together to show respect for those who have served our country and to remind ourselves of the importance of working for peace.
Over the last 12 months, we have been deprived of many opportunities to share important rituals together within the Lowther Hall Community. This week we have felt truly blessed to participate in so many significant ceremonies and, as a result, we can feel reacquainted with our values and our sense of identity as we move into the remainder of the year.
Ms Elisabeth Rhodes