My name is Abbey Ridgewell and I am the Head of Liturgy for 2021/2022. As we get ready to begin our school journey in 2022, I would like to take a moment to reflect on 2021 and something which is at the core of our Sacred Heart education – our goals.
To think that we made it to the end of another unprecedented year is rewarding. If I reflect on what helped me get to this point, I keep coming back to the thought of finding balance. There are always a lot of things we need to juggle, but last year it seemed like it was even more difficult. We had to find a balance between; screen-time and no-screen time; being outside and keeping physically well but keeping distant from people at the same time; keeping connected with others virtually but also having time and space for ourselves. Due to the fact our normal ‘active’ lives were contained and restricted for safety, finding the balance between all of these was at times challenging. It struck me that we see key elements of this balance in our focus goal for the year ‘A personal and active faith in God’. There is a balance between the personal reflection on our faith and the tangible actions that come from it. To me, there are three key areas of this that we must find balance with: faith in self, faith in others and faith in God. This faith is expressed both in our ‘personal’ journeys and in our ‘active’ expression through relationships. Undoubtedly, last year brought about much need and time for such self-reflection but has also shown me the value of community and being active in our presence with one another. There are a few events of the past year that highlight this for me.
If we cast our minds back to June, Sacred Heart Day was the first time that we were all able to join and celebrate our school in such a long time. It is always an amazing day that authentically captures the essence of KRB, but unbeknownst to us, last year’s celebration came at the perfect time, for we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while after it. For me, finding that balance between the specialness of gathering as a community to share in the Eucharist, central to our catholic faith, and then spending time as a whole school collectively watching brave and no doubt talented people perform embodied exactly what KRB is about. I think as students, this day is all about celebrating how genuinely special it is to be part of this Sacred Heart network, where we are linked to girls in all areas, all walks of life by this faith. Whether it’s the honking of horns if you ‘have a sacred heart’, or kite flying with the ELC boys and girls, Sacred Heart Day is a really inspiring day to not only reflect on but also actively live out what it means to be a part of this community. Everyone’s willingness to be present and contribute to the atmosphere is unparalleled and attests to the strength of our school spirit.
Come July, this school spirit was challenged when we could no longer see each other daily. It was here that we really called on faith in self and recognised the importance of relationships, both with others and importantly ourselves. Lockdown brought time for stillness and introspection but also called for a lot of strength. Being separated from friends and the normalcy of the school routine proved to be really challenging at times, and I think made a lot of us appreciate even just the small interactions with our peers that we don’t even think about. Adapting to the challenges of remote learning, and in general, that sense of dislocation meant that students had to build inner self-belief, motivation and resilience. It was a time to reflect on your wellness and the things that are truly important to you. In saying this, if there’s one takeaway from the 3 months we spent in lockdown, it’s that there is a real value in reflecting and actively working to improve yourself, the way you see yourself and your relationships with others. Particularly the relationships between staff and students and the incomparable support networks that our teachers put in place to help us during this time.
So, 2021 presented many opportunities for us as students and staff to live out our focus goal ‘a personal and active faith in God’, taking with us, from lockdown particularly, the ability to find balance. To stop and find quietness in our lives so that we can recognise the strength within, but to also actively appreciate God’s gift of community and the need to be present with one another and value the special relationships we have with peers, family, friends and staff.
Year 12, Head of Liturgy 2021/2022