On September 4, The Priory's kindergarten students attended their first service – affectionally referred to as "Froot Loop Chapel" – in The Cathedral of St. Andrew. Fruit Loop Chapel is a long-standing tradition at The Priory and a highly anticipated event for the school community.
The senior class spent time during the All-School Picnic last Friday creating lei for the kindergarten girls made from Froot Loops™ cereal. Each year, the seniors present the lei to the kindergarten students as they enter the cathedral for the first time. The older girls guide them through the process of attending their first service.
The symbolism of the circular cereal pieces is the closing of a loop – bringing the entering class and the graduating class together to form a continuous circle that embraces the entire school community. The various colors represent a rainbow, the symbol of God's covenant with us and a reminder of His unconditional love.
Chaplain Annalise Pasalo welcomed the entire congregation to the service, with a special acknowledgment of the youngest attendees. "We have an amazing day as we celebrate this new school year and we're so excited for the kindergartners to be joining us," she said.
During the service, Chaplain Pasalo explained the day's lesson, which was a reading from the Book of Genesis about Noah being called to build an ark and the rains and flooding that followed. To help the younger students understand the story, she related the lesson to the recent emotions many of them experienced recently with stormy weather and threats of hurricanes here in Hawaiʻi.
"When things are changing, and we feel nervous or scared, we can look to the sky and see rainbows and know that God is with us no matter what happens," Chaplain Pasalo said. "The rainbow represents the promise that always stays in our hearts."
Following the lesson, the seniors were called to the front of the cathedral for the Commissioning of the Senior Class. Chaplain Pasalo explained that the seniors have waited a long time to become the leaders of the school community and they are ready to make their promises to serve as role models for the younger children.
Chaplain Pasalo and Head of School Ruth Fletcher alternated in asking the seniors if they will take certain pledges of character consistent with the school's Hawaiian values. Each senior answered that she would:
- Show affection and compassion, representing aloha
- Practice goodness and being upright, representing pono
- Show joy in learning, representing 'imi na'auao
- Be steadfast and patient, representing ho'omanawanui
- Tend to the mind, body and spirit of those around them, representing mālama
- Be gracious and kind in action, representing lokomaika'i
Chaplain Pasalo then led a special prayer for the seniors. Everyone in the congregation raised a hand toward them in prayer. Chaplain Pasalo blessed the entire congregation and then dismissed the seniors to find their kindergartners and hold their hands as they processed out of the cathedral together, while the congregation sang the closing hymn.The kindergarten students exited the cathedral to take photos on the steps. They received a sweet surprise when they were told they could eat their Froot Loops! Encouraged by Chaplain Pasalo, who took the first bite with them, the girls were all smiles as they munched on their tasty lei.