Upper School assemblies have returned to being an in-person affair after over a year on Zoom.
Mr. Risigner plays the piano while the boys file into the Teaching Theater in silence and take their seats (spaced apart). While St. Bernard’s is not a religious school, each Upper School assembly begins with a hymn followed by a student reading from the Bible. Homeroom teachers select stories that they feel every well-educated person ought to know.
Each day, a boy gives a speech on a topic of his choosing. The speech is approximately three minutes long and recited from memory. The student has practiced the speech with Mr. Bowock ahead of time and he is available to offer prompts from the side of the stage. Recent topics have included subjects such as Edward Snowden, “How Goats Can Control Forest Fires,” and “Is recycling worth the effort?” (The answer is yes.) Mr. Clements has been keeping track of each topic for years, and his handwritten notes are stored in the archives.
The assemblies are also a time for announcements from clubs and sports teams. At other times, current events are discussed. The “A O.K.” award is given to a boy who exhibited kindness and thoughtfulness. It’s a nice way to acknowledge the small gestures that can go unnoticed.
At the meeting’s conclusion, boys exit the theater in silence and begin their day. The formality of the assembly provides a calm and dignified start to the busy day that awaits.