Promotional ceremonies and a play mark a memorable close to the 2009-2010 school year

posted Jun 16, 2010, 9:14 AM by   [ updated Jun 16, 2010, 9:54 AM ]
On the evening of Thursday, 10th June 2010, the St. John of San Francisco Orthodox Academy marked the close of the current school year with its annual Promotional Ceremonies.

Each student who had completed his course and passed his subjects was promoted to the next grade level, while students who had earned honors were awarded certificates, medals, pins, badges and other signs of their achievements. These included numerous Presidential Education Awards, Presidential Awards for Service, awards in science, math, literature, and languages, awards in sport, and the much-coveted St. Elizabeth Award for service, which this year went to Mr. Alexander Nowak.

During the ceremonies, teachers and staff at St. John's were also honored, as well as various individuals who had contributed to the life of the Academy over the current school year, including its Parents Association.

Following the ceremony of promotions and awards, a short, light-hearted film documenting some of the lighter moments in the life of the Academy over the past months was shown. You can view this film on-line right now by clicking here.

Students in various grades receive their certificates and awards.

Following the short film, the Academy's Principal, Hieromonk Irenei, spoke of the school's delight in the achievements of its students, and of the many advances taken by the Academy over the past year. The majority of his talk, however, focused on the future and the contours of the year ahead at St. John's. He outlined a number of exciting new developments in the life of the Academy that will be in effect from the new school year, including a stranded curriculum providing variation in study and honours-track courses at the high school level; a new food programme to provide healthy and delicious catered lunches and snacks to St. John's students; a new Honours System to replace the approbation/demerit procedures; the hiring of new staff to launch an entirely new music and art program, leading toward AP Art in the high school; and a host of other new developments. Further information on all these, and other developments, will be provided here on the Academy's web site over the coming weeks and months of summer.

Left: the end-of-year excitement starts to show; Center: the St. Elizabeth Award is presented
to Alexander; Right: the year ahead is outlined by the Principal.

The evening's celebrations culminated in the performance of 'Silver Finger': a three-part melodrama (and the Academy's first theatrical venture into the 'Wild West') staged and performed by the 6th-12th grade students under the direction of the Academy's Dean of Students, Mr. Seraphim Winslow. 

This performance proved to be one of the great highlights of the evening, as students adopted their roles with a flare and gave astounding performances. No one present will soon forget the lead character's receipt of a 'home-made fly swatter'; the sudden arrival of three gun-slinging cowboys (whose excellent western accents came as a surprise to all); the secret saloon that served poetry instead of 'distilled spirits'; and any number of other memorable moments from the performance.

Congratulations are due to all the students who took part in producing this wonderful play - not only the actors under the lights, but the many students who served as stage managers, prop designers, musicians, and in other behind-the-scenes roles to make the production the success it was.

A few memorable moments from 'Silver Finger'.

The actors receive their applause at the play's end.

Finally, the evening concluded with a pot-luck dinner provided by parents and families of our newly-promoted students. An opportunity for congratulations, photographs, friendly words and fellowship was enthusiastically taken up by all present in our crowded great hall.

All of the faculty, staff and administration of St. John's Academy would like once again to congratulate our students on their achievements over the 2009-2010 school year, and to congratulate as well your families. We are proud of your dedication, hard work, achievements, and - above all - the spirit of Christian joy in which you have brought this year to a wonderful close. We wish you all a blessed, refreshing and pleasant summer holiday, and look forward to welcoming you back to school on September 7th!