It was once merely a curtain tie sold in a department store, but today the St. Clement’s School gold belt is the mark of a true leader.
Many schools and colleges have long had something to differentiate prefects or graduating classes from their peers; a splash of colour, an extra piece of uniform, or a coveted pin, perhaps. In 1948, the SCS graduating class decided they wanted their own badge of honour, something unique to identify their class. Their quest ended in the gracious Canadian department store, Simpsons, where the gleaming gold and dangling tassels of a curtain tie caught their imaginative eyes.
Each September since then, the belts have been presented by the St. Clement’s School principal at the annual Gold Belt Assembly, or this year for the first time, at the Installation and Gold Belt Leadership Service at St. Clement’s Church.
After the ceremony, the proud recipients help each other to correctly tie them and then spend an evening carefully knotting the end of each string. The practical reason is to prevent the belt from unravelling over the course of the next nine months. The time-honoured unofficial reason is that the presence of the knots helps the girls attain entrance to their first-choice university.
While the now iconic gold belts have become synonymous with St. Clement’s School, they are more than merely ornamental. The presence of the belt with its glistening threads and swaying knot is the sign of a leader; someone every girl in the School can look up to, turn to for assistance and mentorship, and aspire to be.