The opening ceremony began with Westside's Kindergarten class entering the assembly, each new student hand-in-hand with a Grade 12 student.
The oldest of students welcomed and introduced the youngest of students to their new school. As the kindergarteners left the Great Hall, after the ceremony, they were holding onto another new friend: a Westside Bear.
The tradition of gifting each new member of the Kindergarten class with a Westside Bear began six years ago.
The new bear friend helps students feel more comfortable in their new space. Students are encouraged to bring the bear to school whenever they like, to name their bear, and to take good care of it. The Westside Bear has another valuable attribute: it bears (pun intended) the promise of a beautiful future.
Students who complete their schooling at Westside and bring their Westside Bear to the closing ceremony in Grade 12 will receive a scholarship towards their university studies.
While we know that not every student who begins in Kindergarten will graduate from Westside - life happens and families move - it is nonetheless our wish to see every student at Westside grow and flourish for as long as they're here.
The Westside Bear is a symbol of our commitment to our new students' well-being and growth as we welcome them to the Westside community.