The day began with registration, locker assignments and enrolment in the great hall, after which students met for the first time in their new homerooms. At 8:40, students, teachers and parents assembled in the hall for the moleben at the start of the school year, served by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, together with the Academy's chaplain, Archpriest Sergei Kotar, the principal, Hieromonk Irenei, and the parent of one of our new students, Priest Constantine of Christ the Savior Church in San Francisco. The moleben concluded with students and families receiving the blessing of the Cross and sprinkling with holy water, followed by the blessing of all the classrooms and the newly remodelled school office.
Classes then began in earnest, with the enthusiasm and excitement levels at a predictable high after the summer holidays. Some students faced the familiar struggles of finding out which rooms they were supposed to have been to three minutes ago, and the school's bell system tried to be uncooperative in the early morning; but these are the normal adventures of the first day of school, and everyone met them in very good spirits.
The new meal program was unveiled at snack time, and then more fully at lunch, with delivery of wonderful, healthy food that was extremely enthusiastically received by students and teachers alike. We are delighted that St. John's is now able to provide healthy, nutritious, and popular meals to our students.
The day carried on with its normal complement of activities: classes, PE, recess, friends and fellowship. Finally, at its end, we concluded our first day in the same manner as each day at the Academy: with prayer before the relics of our patron, St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. Fr. Sergei led the students in their sung prayers at the relics, after which students were anointed with oil from the lampada at the tomb.
Thank you to our many students, families and teachers for the joyous, wonderful start to the new year. May this spirit continue in the days and weeks ahead!