Over the last few weeks, although it has at times felt a little frenetic, it has also been so energising and refreshing to have been able to be part of the regular start-of-year activities and events that make this a singularly special school.
Founders’ Walk, the main paved walkway which separates the Prep and the College buildings, is also home to many special memories and significant occasions on our school calendar. Our ‘Scramble’ Bell, situated in the heart of the school, resides here too. Last Friday was one such special occasion where our Grade 8 students, and other new pupils and new staff, were a part of the special ringing-in ceremony. I thought it appropriate to be reminded about the place, and the significance of this event in our annual school calendar.
The Bridge House Scramble Bell was sourced from an antique shop and donated to the school by the Matric Class of 2005. (The Scramble Bell is synonymous with the Royal Air Force, and it was rung to warn of the approach of enemy aircraft. When rung, the pilots and ground crew would ‘scramble’ to get their fighter planes airborne.)
As we do not rely on a school bell in the College, the ringing of the bell is reserved for special occasions and comes with a far calmer approach than its historical intention. As we welcome new students and staff into the College, the ringing-in symbolises their formal entry to their journey into the College and encourages them to take up their rightful place as part of the Bridge House College Community. It is also a timely reminder for the rest of us to determine what defines us or what we wish to attain on our journey in this special place.
The other significant occasions where ringing-in takes place is when students return from their Outward Bound experience, another significant milestone in the process of character-building. And the third occasion this would happen is when there is a new Head of School or Head of Preparatory School.
Another thing worth knowing is that only the Scramble Bell Ringer may ring the bell. This person is an honest, reliable and upstanding member of the school community – someone of integrity, who is proud to be a pupil of Bridge House, as demonstrated by their uniform, behaviour, attitude and attendance. Ben Fisher holds this very important title for 2022, as voted for by his grade at the end of their grade 11 year.
Anyone who has spent a bit of time on Founders’ Walk gets to appreciate the other unique features that have their own special place in our school and school history. As we start to rediscover or remind ourselves about these golden nuggets that add to our school’s story, I hope that each member of the Bridge House community can look forward to their own personal discoveries and very positive experiences in 2022.
Mr Andrew Jones
College Deputy Head: Sport, Boarding and Wider Curriculum