The sun shone for our bright-eyed, smiling Year 8 pupils who will emerge as the class of 2027; sadly our older students found the weather didn’t smile quite so warmly on them! If the weather was damp spirits weren’t dampened as exuberant sounds of greeting were heard as Year groups reunited after a very lengthy absence from Clonevin Park. Could we ever have imagined such exuberance for a return to school?
When our school family celebrated the end of term in December 2019 the events which were to follow by March 2020 would have seemed the work of an overheated imagination; sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. We’ve witnessed a pandemic, observed panic buying, watched more box sets than was good for us (or our eyes) and we have seen how our Wallace family responded to these “unprecedented times” to use the politicians’ favourite phrase. We have seen teaching online, virtual assemblies, Wallace challenges, tears and subsequent smiles over results and we have seen a relentless determination throughout to make everything work as successfully as possible for our young people.
Now as we return to school we are seeing yet more new sights: students and teachers in masks, a “modified” school uniform, one way signs, footprint signage on the floor, hand sanitising stations and advice about thinking of each other. The phrase “thinking of each other” highlights the continuity of school life. As we move forward in a time of uncertainty we are confident that the practices and values which make us the school we are remain unaltered and unshaken by the events of the last months. We intend to apply our CORE values of commitment, opportunity, respect and excellence just as rigorously as we always have. Keeping our young people safe will, for a time, limit some physical activities but we are confident that there will be gains in emotional intelligence, in resilience and in independence. The heart of every school is its students and its staff and the warmth of student/ teacher relationships is clearly apparent…we are genuinely pleased to see one another.
Wallace’s Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare, is wholly confident that the school family will pull together. In a comprehensive School Restart Update to parents which outlined all the procedures being observed in Wallace she noted:
“This is, and will be, a steep learning curve for all of us…we are here for you all…and we are in this together.”
At Wallace we refer to “the Wallace Way”, our own distinctive approach to educating our school family and remaining in touch with our wider Wallace community. Our motto of Esperance has accompanied us through 140 years of service to Lisburn and we look with hope to the academic year of 2020/ 2021.
Last modified: September 1, 2020