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Cookstown High School, Cookstown

Thinking about bells

4th May 2020

This week I thought I would have a think about bells. I’m sure, like me, you’re not missing the ringing of the school bells every 50 minutes! But bells are an important part of school life, giving our day purpose and direction. I’m going to use CHS again to focus our thoughts about why bells are used, not just in school, but in other parts of our society as well.

C is for celebration. Bells have historically been used for many occasions of celebration. Church bells were the clearest and widest reaching forms of communication in many towns and villages before social media existed, and different peals of bells could signify such important events as a wedding, the birth of a child, Christmas and Easter as well as other important parts of the church calendar, and of course the end of war. Just last week bells rang out to thank the hard-working NHS staff, along with people in every town clapping a round of applause.

H is for help. Bells are often rung to alert people of an emergency. In school, we know to evacuate when we hear the fire bell ringing. During the Second World War sirens would have been heard to warn of an attack. It is important to respond when we are told to; right now we are in a state of alert and we must respond in all the right ways to remain safe.

S is for structure. In school our day is structured by the bells that let us know when it is the end of a teaching period, end of break or lunch and the end of the school day. Now that we are not being directed by frequently ringing bells it is all too easy to lose track of time and discover that we have spent two hours doing nothing really at all! As far as you can, try to keep a schedule for your day. Decide what you want to achieve and even make out a timetable for your day ahead. And remember to build in time to exercise, to read and to try new things. S could be for skills that you can learn and develop during your time away from the structure of school.

This picture is of the bell at the top of Coolnafranky House, the building where the original Cookstown High School was formed. You have probably walked past it many times and never really thought about it. It was there for ringing out far and wide, to call for attention and to give structure to the day ahead. Until we are all back together in the school building, we remain the community of Cookstown High School. Stay safe.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10: 23)