Westminster students welcomed to Upper School in special event

NORTH SHELBY – Students entering the seventh grade at The Westminster School at Oak Mountain marked their transition to the Upper School with a special walk and celebration.

On the evening of Thursday, Aug. 6, students gathered at the Lower School campus, where Head of Lower School Lori Jill Keeler gave them a proper sendoff before they walked to the Upper School campus in the first-ever Westminster Welcome Walk.

“Students made their ceremonial walk across (Shelby County) 14, where they were greeted by Head of Upper School Dr. Patrick Grant and many of their soon-to-be Upper School classmates, grades eighth-12th,” School Events Coordinator Megean Carter said. “Westminster Head of School Brad Baggett saw the vision for this event and the importance of making these new Upper School students feel truly welcome and known.”

Students also found out which of the school’s “Houses” they were assigned to for the remainder of their time at Westminster.

“Because of the unique situation requiring COVID precautions, we rolled out the new Houses using creative videos,” Carter said. “For example, a parody of a home remodeling show and a fun-filled video about a pair of (fictional) Westminster movers who ‘get into’ some crazy antics and top-secret House information.”

The students were brought to the stage and given a “moving box” to open that included their House T-shirt and a treat.

“There are eight Houses, allowing us to have about 35 students in each House,” Carter explained. “Houses create smaller communities made up of students across all the grades in the Upper School. In the smaller communities, we can be more intentional in creating community, making sure every student is seen, known, pursued and championed for Christ. We want all of our students to know they are welcomed and loved at Westminster: House is one tool which gives us a greater opportunity to meet that objective.”

The new seventh graders received a warm welcome from fellow Upper School students, too.

Students in eighth through 12th grades lined the walk from the Lower School to the Upper School, holding signs welcoming each seventh grader by name.

When the seventh graders learned which Houses they are in, the Upper School students ran to the newest members of their Houses to congratulate them.

Confetti cannons capped off the celebration of the new class of Westminster Knights.

“We were pleased to have received lots of enthusiastic appreciation for the event,” Carter said. “I know that the seventh graders felt welcomed to the Upper School, and the parents were appreciative for an in-person event celebrating their children. With great expectation the school is looking forward to what the House System can provide by way of creating strong, healthy friendships, providing leadership opportunities and giving the students a platform for using their gifts and talents in the service of others. All of this is made possible by great faculty who are assigned to the different Houses.”