Sir Percy Lake was Shawnigan Lake School’s first chairman of the Board of Governors from 1928-1941. His stamp on the school includes one of the two original boarding houses appropriately named “Lakes” which was founded on May 12, 1927. Sir Percy Lake also served as first Chief of the Canadian General Staff. Little did Sir Percy know that his current source of fame would be his nose!
A bust of Sir Percy Lake greets each visitor to Shawnigan Lake School – the bust is a regal charcoal granite color…except for the nose. For generations students have touched or rubbed the nose as they walk by. Over time each touch has taken a modest piece of this nose away like the gradual wear of steps on cathedral stairs. Legend has it that this began as a good luck activity in preparation for examination. Over time, students, and my admission guide Ian, touched the nose whenever they were passing.
This charming custom also occurs with a similar bust at the Taft School and at Ethel Walker School with the bronze statue of a beloved campus dog. Initially I thought that touching these three noses was a charming custom – the type of activity that makes boarding schools unique. However, it is more than charm. It is a physical manifestation of our desire to touch those who have gone before, those who left their mark on our schools, who knew what they stood for, who brought out the best in others. This is our chance to touch a vibrant past as we step into the future. The comfort of this “touch” shifts a hesitant step into a confident stride. Thank you Sir Percy Lake, and others like you, for providing a canvas for our students to make a mark.
What rituals or customs take place at your school?
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