Challoner Day

After all the hymn practises, choir rehearsals and email notifications Challoner Day finally arrived. It is the big occasion of the school year and a wonderful opportunity for new students to begin to understand the ethos of our school as well as to celebrate the success of the year just gone and give thanks for the life and inspiration of Bishop Challoner.

This was my fifteenth Challoner Day but first as Headmaster and I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect. All the students looked, behaved and responded magnificently. The choir sang with great vigour and gusto while looking resplendent in their new choral robes. While the staff, all superbly organised and guided by our Chaplain Mr. D’Aguiar, carried out their duties and shepherded the boys with the minimum of fuss. Everyone playing their part and coming together as all families should do on special occasions.

Two stories filtered my way towards the end of Challoner Day that would make any Head smile with pride. Firstly, I was told that due to the volume the choir produced during rehearsals the organist decided that he needed to pull all of the stops out on the organ so that it would be heard during the Mass! Secondly, the organist politely enquired which private school the boys were from!

However, though Challoner day has been the focus of the last few weeks, there has been so much else going on around our school. Not least the incredible number of training sessions and fixtures that have happened in the last few weeks.

This Saturday was no exception and while some slept in on Saturday morning a few hardy souls were pacing the back field and going through stretching routines ready to greet Richard Reynolds School. The Head at Richard Reynolds, Mr Burke, used to teach at Challoner and is a friend of our school but friendships like this always make matches more interesting! Therefore, I was doubly delighted that Challoner won two of the three matches with the U12A team starting to show some signs of playing decent rugby, rucking well and coming together as a team. It is a promising beginning.

Challoner Day often seems to mark the end of the beginning of the school year. New faces have settled in and the rhythm of school life is well and truly underway. Over the next few weeks there will be open evenings and parents’ information evenings; fixtures and drama rehearsals; House competitions and evenings spent studiously preparing for tests and assessments.

However, in amongst all that activity we must make sure that we make time for each other and to develop our relationship with God. Every Friday morning we celebrate Holy Mass in our school chapel to which all students, family and friends of the school are invited to attend. It’s a short but reflective Mass and perfect way to end the week. I would be delighted to see you there this Friday.

Sean Maher