Lakeview Academy students returned to the Gainesville school Tuesday with bells ringing in their ears.
The day started with John Kennedy, head of school, ringing the hand-held “Captain’s Bell” at the convocation in gymnasium, and later students ushering in the 2017-18 year at the school’s iconic Bell Tower.
John Kennedy rings in the new school year
The convocation was a gathering of faculty and students hearing speakers, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem.
“We are truly blessed by the abundant opportunities offered by this new school year,” Student Council President J.D. Roark said in his prayer. “... Let us go forward with energy to learn and grow.”
New Upper School students then signed the honor code.
“Each one of you has different talents,” Kennedy told the students. “Some of you are great at math, some are great at English and some at recess. But the one thing each of you can do each and every day is live your life with honor, truth and kindness.”
Lakeview’s high school has an Honor Council, made up of students in each grade. The council helps maintain the code, which asks that Lakeview students not “lie, cheat or steal” and act honorably.
“As you sign your name, you need to be thinking about that as like signing a check,” said Michael W McCann, Lakeview’s History Department chairman and Honor Council adviser.
“All year long, when you sign your assignments to turn them in, there’s an expectation there that the work you’re turning in … represents your own work.”
The convocation wrapped up with students passing through a long receiving line of teachers, exchanging hugs and handshakes.
Parents stood at the end of the line with cameras, taking pictures of their children and giving them hugs and last words of encouragement before they headed into crowded hallways.
Jennifer Clark of Gainesville was doing just that with her seventh-grader and twin 11th-graders.
“This is our 12th year (at Lakeview),” she said. “They all started in kindergarten.”
The draw has been strong academics, but Clark said she also views the school as “family.”
“It’s almost like home to my kids,” Clark said.