WEB EXCLUSIVE With stay-at-home orders, the struggle of virtual classes and the adjustment to an altered school environment, the community can use the 2020-2021 school year theme “Grace” to find calmness in the chaos.
“We go through a brainstorming process to see what word or theme would most serve and inspire the community for the year ahead,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “This year it felt especially important with the pandemic that we chose a theme that could serve us to find space and room for one another when there was a sense of disconnect.”
Grace can be seen through numerous lenses within the school community while the spread and contaminant of coronavirus is ever-changing, and the concept can act as a constant that students and faculty can adhere to, according to Simpson.
“Grace denotes accepting any unexpected or negative events calmly, and trying to keep a positive attitude,” Sofia Houts, who is in her 13th year at Convent, said. “This is especially important during COVID-19 as so many traditions and events that I was looking forward to have been canceled.”
The administration chooses a school theme based on an idea that may bring the community together in any given year during the annual summer leadership retreat, according to Simpson.
“Grace means finding peace and can be relevant in many contexts including academics, athletics and the overall uncertainty of the pandemic,” junior Anneli Dolan said. “It is super important to find a sense of calm and take some time to focus on yourself mentally and physically and I think ‘Grace’ will help us do that.”
Grace can act as a reminder to be accepting and open while there is constant change and confusion between remote learning and adjusting to safety protocols at school, according to Dolan. With the sense of disconnect in the community during the pandemic, Grace can function as a driving force to bring the school together.
“The administration has always done a great job of finding a theme that really applies to what’s going on at school and around the world,” Dolan said. “School themes have always served as a form of life lessons that have accumulated over the years and have really shaped me as an individual.”
As Grace can help students keep an open mind during the continuous change of the pandemic, in years past, “Heritage” touched on appreciation of community roots and “Robust Vulnerability” hinted at resilience, according to Houts.
“The anticipated or perceived needs of the school year are always different depending on the context of that year and this year, Grace is a way of inviting us to be together in a refreshed, renewed way,” Simpson said.