Friday was a day that highlighted why I am so proud to be working with our girls and staff at St. Clement’s. Three unconnected events showcased our girls’ implementing creative and diverse perspectives, resulting in innovative work. They truly demonstrated that we are developing outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate.
The day started with our Red Reads culminating assembly. Red Reads is an annual event for which our students nominate books or characters that represent a chosen trait or characteristic. This year, students from Grades 4- 12 nominated fictional characters they felt to be the most courageous. Nominations included Matilda from Matilda, Sapphire from the Ingo series, The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thief, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Alice from Still Alice. It was the Nominator for Still Alice who was able to convince our community that Alice was, in fact, the most courageous, and her explanation was thoughtful and powerful. She shared her thoughts:
“I love this book as much as I love books with dragons and curses, but for a very different reason: because it shows that anyone can have courage, and anyone can show bravery in the most painful of times. You don’t have to be destined to save the world from monsters to face your fears – how often does that happen? Being scared and pushing through is something every one of us can relate to, and too often this kind of courage goes unrecognized. I hope that in reading or hearing about this book you have been inspired. Everyone should know the courage they have within”.
It was her last few lines that made me nod and smile and, as I looked around at our girls and staff I thought about how important and powerful it was for our students to be hearing this from a peer, rather than a staff member or parent.
The second event took place at lunch and was a tasty example of creativity and innovation. Our Exercise Science class was tasked with an assignment to research and create the most nutritious smoothies, ensuring that they also appealed to the taste buds. Each group was limited to 5 ingredients. I was lucky enough to be a judge, but the benefit of this was not just having the opportunity to sample three different wonderful smoothies, but also to hear and experience the results of their research, reasoning and products. All three samples were superb, but the one that stood out for me was the one that initially looked the least appealing. Who knew that avocado, spinach, bananas and a little juice could taste so good?! What impressed me was the divergence from the expected–and the strong results.
That night was our student fashion design show Lumina. This year our two producers demonstrated their creativity and innovation through the identification of the show’s theme. As they explained to the audience:
“The theme that guides this year’s designs is Design to Reality, emphasizing the entire process of creation, from an idea to an actual piece of clothing. Shortened, Design2Reality becomes D2R. The word “detour” is defined as an indirect way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route or path is closed. In both design and everyday life, things don’t always materialize smoothly; sometimes taking a detour is necessary to expand and consider why the chosen path is closed. Detours require creativity and flexibility. This theme helped produce the innovative and experimental designs that you will see tonight”.
The results were spectacular, and the theme was evident throughout the show.
I went home thrilled and filled with pride. Not only had our girls demonstrated and reflected our mission in these three events, but it is evident that they are hearing and understanding the important message that things are not always as they seem and that we need to ensure that we are flexible, courageous and creative as we strive for excellence.