The Assembly Hall
I’ve attended many schools in my lifetime. Each school was different . And I loved them all. It didn’t matter if the class rooms were big or the playgrounds small. I navigated them with ease But the one thing that always filled me with awe and wonder in every school was the Assembly Hall.
[Tweet “The Assembly Hall , in my school girl mind , was one big cavernous Hall where the whole school used to gather for prayer each morning . “]
Soon after the bell rang and we answered the Roll Call, we’d shuffle out of the class room to line up in height order. Then moving back an arm length apart, wed march towards the Assembly Hall in single file .
Waiting outside till our turn, we’d exchange grins and occasional whispers with our other friends in other lines. Then solemnly wed march inside to the beat of a badly belted out Military march on a honky tonk piano.
The head teacher always presided over the assembly but the format changed with different schools along the timeline.
Infant School was just for babies and we assembled just once a week to watch a movie or slide show. I think it was just another activity for the little ones to do.
In the Junior School things became more serious with little skits performed by various classes to mark special festivals or national events. Mummies played an important part in organising these roles. The best part of course was being called out to stand in front with other children celebrating birthdays that week. How I loved standing there in my special party dress!
Our Middle School Assemblies asked for more student participation. The skits were often arranged by the students themselves. It was here that we we’re introduced to the idea of news and current events.
Finally in the Senior school , the assemblies became more grand. More often than not, one of the pupils played the piano. There were School prefects and monitors standing along side keeping an eye on things . And the teachers assembled along with the Principal, like judges on a dais.
The senior students led us in prayer and read passages from various religious texts. Oftentimes, we’d have a guest speaker to address us with a small motivational or inspirational talk.
Basically Assembly was a BIG THING. It represented something sacrosanct and reverently. And the Assembly Hall was appropriately HUGE.
Marching inside the Assembly Hall in a time honoured tradition made me feel I was part of a larger world . I felt privileged , honoured and awe struck as I passed by the boards bearing names of distinguished students and teachers. The frozen stares of headmastes, headmistresses and teachers past were equally frightening. I felt small. I felt humbled.
The Hall today
So whenever I went back to visit any of my old schools, I was amazed to find how small the Assembly Hall really was!
The ceiling didn’t tower over me, nor did it seem so huge .
No longer was I intimidated by the space .
I could actually read the names of the students and the illustrious teachers without a sense of awe and reverence.
My Assembly Hall had shrunk!
Or had I really grown up?
Linking this up with Sanch and Corinne’s #FridayReflections as my response to the prompt :
3. Think about a place you went to when you were younger. Share your memories as well as thoughts on how it has changed.
Ps . The Assembly Hall in the photo is purely representational !