Torch - 2021 Edition

In this issue, discover how Havergal nurtures positive growth, learn from the Heads of Schools about how the College focuses on developing the skills of authentic agency, and more!

H A V E R G A L C O L L E G E | 2 0 2 1 E D I T I O N


BUILDING Confidence INSPIRING Wellbeing

Attention Readers This is the last printed issue of Torch magazine. Future issues will be sent electronically to community members, starting in March 2022. If your email address is not registered with Havergal, please email

with your online contact details. Thank you and happy reading!


CONTRIBUTORS Claire An Catherine Atkinson Suzanne Bowness

THANK YOU We would like to thank all members of the Havergal community who participated in interviews, submitted articles, contributed photographs and reviewed articles.

TORCH SUSTAINABILITY Torch is printed on Forest Stewardship Council-approved paper. Please help reduce landfill waste by disposing this magazine in your recycling box when you are finished enjoying it.

PRIVACY OF INFORMATION Havergal College is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal information. Havergal’s Privacy Statement is available at Canada Post Publication Number: 40050122 The information contained herein may not be published without permission from Havergal College.

Yvonne Chow Tony diCosmo Alison Crocker

Jennifer D. Foster Caitlin McCormack Andrew McKay Lindsay Norberg Dainah Ramsay Karen Sumner The Art Department


Table of Contents


Principal’s Message Nurturing Positive Growth


Snapshots Photos of Life at Havergal

10 School Profile

Connected Captain 12 Message from the Heads of Schools Making Time for What Matters Most 16 Feature Story Inspiring Wellbeing at Havergal 22 Students Speak Stay Calm & Carry On 24 Student Awards Celebrating Student Success 2019–20 28 Limitless Campaign Opening of New Spaces 30 HC-X For HC-X, Digital Wisdom Is Just the Beginning 31 Advancement & Community Relations The Strength of Community 32 Farewell Saying Goodbye to Our Retirees 35 Old Girls Beyond the Ivy, Virtually 36 Grad Profile 2020

Inside front cover photo: House Captains jump for joy after returning to campus in September 2020.

1451 Avenue Road Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5N 2H9 Tel: 416.483.3519

Thank You

You made a difference in 2020–21

Our sincere thanks to our many amazing donors for collectively helping us raise more than $20 million toward our $21 million goal in support of the Limitless Campaign ! Havergal College is very grateful to everyone who supported the construction of our beautiful new and upgraded spaces in the Junior and Upper Schools. Your contributions have helped the College provide spaces to inspire learning and shape the next generation of leaders.

Thank you!


Principal’s Message

Agency is a process: students need to experience stretch and be provided with opportunities to apply their learning.

Nurturing Positive Growth By Catherine Misson

Generation —provides for the investment in developing a Junior Kindergarten to 12 Wellbeing Program. Our immediate priority is to develop a culture of wellbeing across the College, inviting Faculty, Staff, students and families to be active participants in enlivening our values, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity to support wellbeing and learning outcomes. We are in the early stages of development, learning to fail forward as we understand the needs of our students and listen to those tasked with implementing the Program, trialling and improving as we gather momentum. There is discomfort as we familiarize ourselves with this integrated approach, and there is the uplift of seeing initial work beginning to define the scope and substance of the Wellbeing Program. Central to what we aim to achieve is an enhanced focus on student agency, which is the development of an inner confidence to shape one’s future opportunities. Agency is a process: students need to experience stretch and be provided with opportunities to apply their learning in a context that offers authentic choice and independence of action. Research shows that children who are supported to develop agency are more likely to flourish in their education, build and maintain positive relationships, be effective team members and leaders, and respond constructively to challenges. They also tend to have better mental health in their teen and adult lives. I am encouraged by what is unfolding within Havergal as our community engages with the strategic aspiration to provide a leading Wellbeing Program. Over the coming months, further elements of the Program will take shape. In reading this edition of Torch magazine, you will gain additional insights that I hope will inspire conversations and curiosity, as well as trust in the teams that are leading this exciting chapter of Havergal’s history of providing an outstanding education for our students.

As western societies began to adapt to the 21st-century advent of 24-7 information streams, economies began an accelerated digitalization of work; social media disrupted the curve of adolescent development with online mediation of relationships; and educators, with an eye on the horizon, contemplated the future role of schools in supporting the healthy development of young people. From around 2015, the United Nations and other invested think tanks began producing frameworks and infographics setting out the likely skills and attributes required for thriving in 2030 and beyond. Gazing into the future, there was a need to equip children with the understanding, tools and agency to adapt, for they would be pioneers of this evolving human experience. Speaking at a global conference in Bangkok in 2018, I made the bold suggestion that the value proposition for schools would soon be the development of outstanding wellbeing programs that are infused into the experience of curriculum and community, not added as an adjunct to the academic program. At that time, there was a mounting evidence base that the developmental cycle for children was evolving—including both the positive and worrying implications. It was clear that the division between nurturing the wellbeing of a child and their cognitive capabilities needed to be replaced with a more mature educational model, one in which the whole child is the centre of complex, rich, rigorous and expansive programming that delivers on both academic and wellbeing outcomes to mutually reinforce the healthy, resilient and positive growth of a young person as they learn to transition through each stage of life. The end result is, ultimately, a graduate who is well equipped for post-school destinations. Havergal is committed to this vision for our students. The current strategic direction— Havergal 2020+: Future-Proofing the Next






1. Upper School cohorts meet in outdoor spaces in September 2020. 2. A Junior School student on the first day of school 2020. 3. A Kindergarten student explores shapes and reflections in the classroom. 4. Upper School students on the first day of school 2020.





5. The Gator greets students outside of the Junior School. 6. Prefects welcome new and returning students back to campus in September 2020. 7. Havergal hosts a COVID-19-compliant cross-country country meet. 8. Junior School students dress up in creative costumes for Halloween.






Junior School students design tiles that represent what giving means to them as a part of the Art of Giving project. An installation of all of the tiles, which was revealed at this year's virtual Harvest Festival, hangs in the front foyer of the Junior School.


GRADE 7 Visual Arts

Inspired by the wonderful artwork of award-winning Inuit graphic artist Kenojuak Ashevak, students used ink pens and watercolours to draw their majestic animals as they developed their own artistic style.



GRADE 10 Media Arts

Students explored a variety of techniques, which include Nature & Art and Scale & Public Art. Nature & Art techniques were inspired by the British artist Andy Goldsworthy and the elements of design found in nature. Scale & Public Art pieces were inspired by the British artist Slinkachu and the technical aspects of close-up, macro, wide-angle and shadow depth of field photography.


GRADE 11 Multiple Exposure

Students in Grade 11 worked on multiple-exposure photography, a technique that layers more than one exposure on a single image, combining various photographs into one. Using in-camera and digital techniques in Adobe Photoshop, students combined images and symbols of personal meaning to convey an individual narrative.


School Profile

Connected Captain

Emma McCurdy-Franks champions the community she’ll miss after graduation

By Suzanne Bowness


A s a member of the Havergal Rowing Team since Grade 9, Emma McCurdy-Franks wakes up at 4:30 am every day during the winter and spring seasons. But at an hour about which many teenagers might complain, she instead finds the upsides: the camaraderie that she feels with her teammates, the stress release and energy that she finds in training and the fun of competition found at regattas, held both nationally and across the border. She’s even stoked about starting practice under the stars at the docks of Lake Ontario. “I’ve always loved the spring Rowing season. At the end of March, we take the boats out onto the water when it’s still dark. Then, after a tiring practice, we watch the sun rise over the lake, which is quite remarkable,” says McCurdy-Franks. From the Lake at Dawn to the Top of the School If you think that’s the kind of attitude that might translate well to student leadership in a global pandemic, you’re right. This year, McCurdy-Franks has taken on the role of School Captain, leading the Prefect team, organizing school events and acting as a liaison between Staff and students. Not only is she undaunted by the fact this year’s logistics look a bit unique, she’s enthusiastic about the challenge. “I’m extremely honoured to have this role and to have an incredible Prefect team at my side. Although this year is different from those in the past, we are working together to carry on the Havergal spirit and to make this historic year one to remember in a positive light,” says McCurdy-Franks, adding that she’s already thrilled about some of the activities that have emerged. “In uncertain times, it’s really important to find new ways to connect and new ways to do things. So, as a Prefect team, our mission for this year is centred around creating connections,” she says. After all, she points out, connection is an important part of overall wellness. “Being kind to one another, respecting our differences and staying true to yourself are all qualities that I strongly value. This year, I hope to foster a school environment where students feel comfortable reaching out. We all have an inner strength and, although it’s sometimes hard to find, it’s there. I hope that each individual at Havergal knows they have a community of support around them.” In practical terms, staying connected means recreating school events, having different clubs over Zoom and seeking out ways to maintain connections between the different grades. They’ve organized Wellness Week and tried outdoor activities, like “Footloose Friday,” which is an outdoor student concert where students sing and dance. Yet another substantial initiative was the creation of the Instagram account “Gator Buzz,” where McCurdy- Franks and her team of Prefects post updates on what’s happening in the school, including photos from their various events. Reflective in Her Final Year From McCurdy-Franks’s perspective, while socially distanced activities may be new, they are all in keeping with the kind of community she’s come to know at Havergal. As a Havergal student

In uncertain times, it’s really important to find new ways to connect and new ways to do things.

since Junior Kindergarten, she’s made the most of her time here by getting involved in activities such as the Symphonic Band, the Rowing team and the Swim team. She’s also been head of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club and even co-founded Study Buddies, a peer tutoring and mentorship program for Middle School students. It’s not lost on McCurdy-Franks that all of these roles and activities have helped her build many important skills. That’s especially apparent in this year’s role as School Captain, which she says has pushed her forward as a leader, helped her in developing organizational skills and given her lots of practice at public speaking. She is already confident these will help in her future as she heads toward health sciences at university and medicine as a career. Already, the idea of leaving Havergal puts McCurdy-Franks in an even more reflective mood. “The most significant message I will take with me is from our First Principal Ellen Knox, who asked her students: ‘What will you do?’ This quote really resonates with me. Over the last 14 years at Havergal, I’ve learned how important it is to use the resources available and to seek out opportunities, because you never know what you might like until you try it.” Besides this sense of confidence, McCurdy-Franks adds that she’ll miss the community, not only in the big events like Hockey Day, but also in the small moments. “I am so grateful to have had Havergal as my home away from home. I believe that it’s our little traditions like music in the hallways, the competitive nature of Spirit Week and the sense of community found in Prayers that make Havergal such a special place,” she says, noting that she looks forward to becoming part of the alumnae network.


Message from the Heads of Schools

Making Time for What Matters Most A Contemporary Curriculum Helps Our Students to Thrive in School and in Life

By Laura Franks, Lindsay Norberg, Jennifer Patterson and Kate White

I n the history of education, teaching students how to learn—not just what to learn—has been a relatively recent development. If you cast your mind back to your own schooling, you may not recall a methodical approach to developing critical thinking skills or effective teamwork, though you may have been expected to master both. Today, learning skills are woven more intentionally into the curriculum so that students understand what they are, why they matter and how to use them effectively. The Wellbeing Program at Havergal continues to evolve. This year, we have worked together to ensure even greater alignment and purpose from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our enduring

values of integrity, inquiry, compassion and courage are embedded in everything we do, guiding us in the care we take for one another. A warm and supportive community enhances learning and wellness, and so we deliberately cultivate empathy, kindness and respect for others. Always have, always will. At the same time, as a leader in girls’ education, we must continually examine and improve our processes. Time does not stand still. Neither does our school. A contemporary curriculum ought to reflect the research on student achievement, which shows that a holistic approach to wellbeing supports students in their learning. 1

1 Durlak, J.A., “The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions.” Child Development , Vol. 82 (1), January/February 2011, pp. 405–32. Accessed on 17 November, 2020, via Dymnicki-Taylor-_-Schellinger-2011-Meta-analysis.pdf.

From left: Head of Boarding Laura Franks, Associate Head of School and Head of Senior School Lindsay Norberg, Head of Middle School Jennifer Patterson and Head of Junior School Kate White (photo taken before COVID-19 restrictions).


Students participate in Wellbeing programming activities several times per week as a part of the curriculum.

It also leads to healthier social behaviours, increased care for others and higher life and career satisfaction. 2 Great schools do more than immerse students in an enriched academic and co-curricular environment. They also empower students to flourish in every personal dimension: cognitive, social, emotional, spiritual, physical and environmental. That’s why Havergal’s Wellbeing Framework is being implemented from Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 12. Our goal is to equip students with the understanding, skills and strategies to be resilient and able to thrive throughout their lives. We Make Time for What Matters Most If family matters to us, we make time for family. If our physical health is important, we make time for sleep, exercise and nutritious foods. Similarly, if wellbeing is a priority, we dedicate the time as a school to cultivate it, not just throughout general daily life, but also in periods earmarked especially for its development. The Junior School makes use of a dedicated block of wellbeing time from 8:25 to 9 am every day to give our students a strong start to the day and support their growth and development. During this time, they may attend Prayers as a whole Junior School community or participate in activities such as enjoying picture books with their classmates, an activity that helps them understand what it means to be and have a friend. Alternatively, they may learn about strategies to help with their self-regulation, enabling them to notice and name their feelings and better sustain focus and attention.

They may participate in physical activities, such as a run through the Lisa Hardie Woodland Trail, or engage in guided meditations for mindfulness journaling to calm and balance themselves and help them better understand their thoughts and feelings. They may also explore student rights and responsibilities and then work together to co-create classroom agreements that support learning, communication and respect. In each of these activities, and in monthly themes like “Connection and Belonging” or “Understanding Personal Strengths and Challenges,” the first step with our youngest learners is to help them to see and name their experiences. Through finding the words that best express their identity as a learner, a friend and a member of the community, our students build self-awareness, which is the foundation of wellbeing. In the Middle and Senior Schools, students have an hour of dedicated Wellbeing programming each day. That time may be spent in Prayers, athletics or arts activities, guidance sessions, advisory groups, clubs and many other opportunities. The aim is to provide balance in students’ lives, attending equally to their cognitive, social, emotional, spiritual and physical health. In addition, students explore individual wellness topics in depth, such as stress management, conflict resolution and mindfulness, while the Grade 12s also focus on university pathways and applications. Our older students develop deeper self-awareness and a more sophisticated wellbeing vocabulary. Knowing themselves and being able to express who they are equips them to become agents in their

2 World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Health & Well-being. “Well-being and Global Success.” 2012. Accessed on 17 November, 2020, via


Message from the Heads of Schools

Upper School students build community through a variety of co-curricular activities, including sport.

Building the Skills of Wellbeing Wellbeing is not something we can have on demand. We can’t will ourselves to become capable, resilient and reflective. We can’t purchase effective communication or collaboration. We can’t put on emotional awareness like a pair of shoes. We teach our students that wellbeing is made up of skills and attributes that require attention and practice. We cover the attention part when we help them develop awareness, understanding and a shared vocabulary. And then we build time for them to weave these lessons into their days, so they can learn and improve their wellness by doing. What does that “doing” look like? One method we use is role- playing. For example, our Grade 2 students have spent time working through what it means to make a mistake. How do you respond? What language can you use to talk about it? What actions can you take to address it? With experience, they learn how to resist the trap of perfectionism, develop a growth mindset and take responsibility for their choices. We take students through a similar process with other topics, like how to identify the size of the problem they are facing and learn strategies to address them in a productive way. With that exercise, our students develop greater mental strength and emotional agility.

own lives, increasingly able to guide themselves in their academics, relationships and life goals. Ultimately, they develop into stewards of their own health. Those students who live in Boarding benefit from additional Wellbeing programming. The Boarding Pulse Check surveys our Boarders completed earlier this year provided feedback on their wellbeing in the areas of general mood, physical health, academics and friendships, with overall scores in the “very good” or “excellent” range. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do. Our Boarders also asked to learn more about how to deal with distraction and stress and how to build a positive mindset, so we are addressing these topics with them. Two evenings a week, our students and Dons meet in their cohort, with time devoted to the Wellbeing Program. The focus in the first semester was on social-emotional and communication skills, to help students manage themselves, resolve conflict, prevent bullying and develop prosocial behaviours. In the second semester, the program focuses on cultivating hope and optimism. Contrary to common understanding, hope and optimism—two established pathways to wellness—can be taught and learned. In all areas of the school, our first priority is to help our students see, understand and put into words the many dimensions of wellbeing. Then, we work with them to develop the skills of each dimension.


Role-playing helps our older students, too. They may work through some of the topics presented through our Diveristy, Equity and Inclusion programming, such as examining their own beliefs and value systems, reflecting on the importance of their name as an identity feature and critically examining the language that supports privilege and bias. Through role-playing, our students explore how a community made up of different values, cultures and identities can be inclusive and closely bonded. Similarly, when our Guidance Counsellors engage students on an important topic like resilience, they can practise how to manage adversity and develop the internal mechanisms that protect against despair. The Boarding Program provides additional opportunities to develop wellbeing. Students work through the Seven Skills of Conscious Discipline, an evidence-based approach that builds awareness of the internal states that drive behaviour. Students learn to consciously manage their thoughts and emotions so they can better self-regulate in the face of conflict and stress, which then improves their learning, problem-solving, co-operation and goal achievement. The seven skills are named—composure, encouragement, assertiveness, choices, empathy, positive intent and consequences—and then exercised in small groups so they can internalize these lifelong skills. Preparing for the Future Practising the skills of wellbeing helps our students to engage in a healthy way with present and future possibilities and be prepared for the unexpected. They gain the ability to be strategic—to assess patterns, shift perspectives, weigh options, calculate outcomes. With a reliable framework for making decisions, they are equipped to be proactive throughout life, rather than reactive. They can respond to life’s challenges by pulling from a toolbox of inner resources and being intentional about how to proceed, with the confidence that comes from preparation.

A warm and supportive community enhances learning and wellness, and so we deliberately cultivate empathy, kindness and respect for others.

We see our academic, co-curricular and Wellbeing Programs as mutually supportive of one another. And, as in any domain— whether math, science, drama, sport, music—we teach our students that proficiency comes from effort and rehearsal. No one expects to play varsity soccer without putting in the time; or graduate with a degree in chemical engineering without countless hours in the lab; or drop into a symphony orchestra without intense musical study and performance experience. We look at wellbeing the same way. For our students and alumn to thrive in life, and not just in school, they need to understand and apply the skills that build health and wellness. With that preparation, they are ready to make a difference as individuals, citizens and leaders. “

Boarders build community by participating in on-campus Wellbeing activities, such as this weekend tie-dye workshop.


Feature Story

Inspiring Wellbeing at Havergal Learning the Skills of Authentic Agency

By Caitlin McCormack

A t Havergal College, wellbeing isn’t just an afterthought, it’s woven into every aspect of the school’s programming. While this is the first year that the school has included Wellbeing Time on a daily basis in student schedules, Associate Head of School and Head of Senior School Lindsay Norberg says that a focus on health isn't new to the Havergal team. “We’re taking a different approach to it at the moment and we’re really looking forward to the future as students grow through this program.” Norberg notes that the school’s programming focuses on wellbeing in several key areas, including: cognitive, social, emotional, physical, spiritual and environmental/ecological.

“The College understands and supports this idea that what’s going to help our students reach their goals is not just academics, but also this broad-based set of skills that they can use to access their education. “What we try to do from that framework is build all of the different skills, whether they’re social skills or emotional skills, into what we teach,” she says. Norberg notes that this focus on student wellbeing is directly linked to the school’s Strategic Direction Havergal 2020+: Future-proofing the Next Generation and Havergal’s Portrait of a Grad (see page 30). She says it’s important that the College supports students as they develop the skills and attributes to be resilient and to thrive throughout their lives.

School Lead Nurse and Manager of the school’s Health Centre Gillian McRae agrees, adding, “The school is looking to develop a resilient and adaptable leader, which is the real driver behind the Wellbeing Program. There’s a commitment to including it on a daily basis. “All of the administration, Faculty and Staff have tried hard to take this focus on health and incorporate it into everyday life for our students, which I think helps to benefit our students for success moving forward.”

In fact, a United Kingdom study by Nuffield Health found that having a

dedicated wellbeing expert in schools can achieve marked improvements for both students and staff. 1

1 Kelly, Dr. B., et al. Improving wellbeing in schools . November 2018. Accessed on 26 November, 2020, via our-research.


A Dedicated Curriculum Part of the curriculum is devoted to Wellbeing Time in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6, where the Homeroom teachers run related activities in the morning. It could be a lesson or a topic that’s discussed in Prayers, followed by a small group exercise in their classroom. Or, it could be specific in terms of a topic, such as navigating friendships or having a challenging conversation with a friend. There are also physical challenges and mindfulness exercises that help students focus and boost their energy. In the Upper School, the Wellbeing curriculum is run by the Guidance Counsellors for students in Grades 7 to 12 and encompasses a variety of concepts. Norberg says it could be something like executive functioning skills in terms of how to plan your schoolwork for three weeks by chunking out your assignments—from utilizing different strategies to manage time appropriately, to identifying different aspects of a growth mindset or how to choose hope in times of difficulty. She notes that some of the themes repeat themselves, such as how to navigate difficult opportunities with friends, start a conversation with a peer or sustain a conversation with someone you don’t know. “It encompasses everything from fun activities where the kids are performing in drama activities, participating in badminton and spikeball competitions or using their artistic skills for a project, such as painting our outdoor equipment shed,” she explains. “These experiences allow students an opportunity to build social relationships with one another in a playful manner.”

This playfully decorated equipment shed was a collaboration of student artistic talent.

and system,” she says. This includes helping the administration determine the most basic ways of figuring out how to incorporate academics safely during a pandemic. In a regular year, McRae works very closely with the Boarding population at Havergal, helping to foster and develop resilience, coping and health- management skills. “Teaching life skills and coping throughout one’s lifespan is a huge aspect of how we are helping students to manage their health,” she says. “A big part of our role is really teaching them a lot of the skills that they need to manage their health while at school and into adulthood, and as leaders in our world.”

Physical Wellbeing Top of Mind When it comes to the physical health of students at Havergal, McRae is at the forefront. “We work one-on-one,” says the Lead Nurse, adding that because of 2020’s unique challenges presented by COVID-19, physical wellbeing is interwoven into every aspect of school. She and a team of nurses are largely managing the COVID-19 response as they help students and their families navigate all that it entails. “We try to give both parents and students the tools and understanding to navigate this new, changing world


Feature Story

For example, something like an immunization program is done in

athletics and co-curricular involvement. “That aspect of school life is so important for wellbeing and helping to establish a community that supports one another,” she says. “Being on a team or a part of a club is unique within a school and key to building a community. A feeling of belonging is important.”

adequate knowledge and education to manage their own mental health.” She notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has especially highlighted the need to take care of our stresses and anxieties. “Mental health and the peer aspect have been a very large part of our response,” she says. “Normalizing that those feelings and emotions are very prevalent—and are present across our community and throughout the world— as we are all adapting and learning about life during this pandemic.”

partnership with Toronto Public Health. McRae says that while part of her role is to give the vaccine, there’s more to it than simply administering the injection. “Things like helping our students understand what these vaccines are. Teaching them that they actually need to keep a record of this, because it will help them for the rest of their lives. If they’re pursuing post-secondary fields such as medicine or child services, they will need to present those vaccine records later on and provide proof that they’ve had them. Being able to understand and provide history about your personal health is equally as important to us as just giving the one-off, episodic service.” Beyond standard health services, McRae is quick to highlight the importance of physical activity as an important aspect of student health within the school. While it might not look the same this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s still a large focus on

Emotional Wellbeing

Just as important as the physical—and perhaps even more so this year—is the emotional health of students. McRae says her team supports sleep, nutrition and basic life skills so that students learn to make decisions that will benefit them physically, emotionally and socially moving forward. “We work with our School Social Worker, as well as our Boarding population, to make sure that students have the

Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Another new initiative in the school’s programming for the 2020–21 school year is a K–12 approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Following the murder of George Floyd, as well as some student forums, it was clear there was an opportunity for growth in this area.

On display are examples of Junior School self-portraits, which students created during Wellbeing Time to help them explore their identities and build self-esteem.


The school takes much of its framework from the Social Justice Standards ( justice-standards) by Teaching Tolerance. This non-profit organization provides free resources to educators to help emphasize social justice and anti-bias from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. The need to start these conversations with our youngest students is supported by a 2020 Unicef report that found that babies notice physical differences such as skin colour from as early as six months, while studies have shown that by the age of five, children can show signs of racial bias. 2 Teaching Tolerance outlines a focus on four domains—identity, diversity, justice and action: • Identity centres around developing one’s self-awareness of who they are. • Diversity looks at how one expresses and interacts with human diversity. Things such as using accurate language for differences and the ability to make caring human connections are covered. • Justice looks at one’s ability to recognize unfairness and its implications in broader society as well as school society. • Action explores a student’s ability Although all grades participate in DEI programming centred around Teaching Tolerance’s framework, activities vary depending on age and stage. At the Junior School, for example, September’s theme was getting to know yourself, with a focus on the importance and celebration of names. Activities such as self-portraits helped build self-esteem across students in the community, while providing an opportunity to recognize how important names are—the proper pronunciation of names and that every name has a story. to demonstrate empowerment— whether acting alone or acting in collection with others—to reduce the harm they recognize.

Resilience and Growth Mindset These pillars of wellbeing education within the school lead to the ultimate goal of developing resilience and a growth mindset within students. Research from the American Psychological Association has shown that children who participate in the types of evidence-based social- emotional learning (SEL) programs, such as Havergal’s Wellbeing Program, have better social skills, behaviour and attitudes, as well as academic achievement gains. 3 The current COVID-19 situation has been especially timely for helping to drive home a lot of these concepts. “It has been an exercise in being flexible and nimble in our responses as an entire community,” says McRae. “Returning to school within this pandemic has created an opportunity for growth for Faculty, Staff, students, families and parents because every day brings us new situations and we are constantly adapting to new information as an entire community.” A lot of what students learn at the school involves developing a fixed versus growth mindset and being open to seeing things in a new way, discovering the benefits of developing mindfulness and reflecting on how they react to stressful situations: are they defensive; do they avoid the situation; or do they acknowledge what’s happening, take accountability, develop a plan to change and move forward? Norberg says that in the Junior School, this skill may look like a student overcoming a very minor problem that they have, which their teacher will coach them on and help them learn that they are capable and able to solve the issue themselves. In the Middle School, it could be something more complex where the student might go to their Guidance Counsellor with a challenge they don’t think they can overcome. Their

Sentiments, like these created by Junior School students during Wellbeing Time, explore empowerment and support.

Guidance Counsellor will help them see that there are different ways that can approach the situation. With coaching and support, the student will be able to conquer the issue and feel empowered to take action, whether it be writing a note to a teacher, asking for an accommodation or discussing a problem. In the Senior School, teaching resilience becomes even more complex, but it’s done by being challenged and feeling success from those opportunities. Ultimately, some won’t be as successful as others and students have to adjust. “We give students the confidence that we know they are capable and can navigate these situations,” says Norberg, “but also that we are here to support them with the tools that they need to navigate through whatever they are facing.” At the core, says Norberg, is building a student’s toolkit so that they have the agency to identify their own needs and can access the strategies they know will support them.

2 UNICEF. “Talking to your kids about racism.” Accessed on November 23, 2020, via 3 Weir, K. “Maximizing children’s resilience.” Accessed on November 23, 2020, via


DEI activities, such as this artwork, empower students to discover more about their unique identities.

“It isn’t about one size fits all—it’s about knowing the best time to use the best resource,” she says. “You need to be able to identify in every moment, ‘What is the best skill or tool that I have that’s going to help me navigate this challenging situation?’” Partnerships The administration at Havergal recognizes that it takes teamwork to ensure the success of each student, which is why community partnerships are so important. Norberg says no matter what aspect of student wellbeing is in need, accessing the best experts in the field is top priority. In the Junior School, Stuart Shanker has led professional development and self-regulation workshops for students and faculty.

McRae connects regularly with Toronto Public Health to support pandemic protocols. “We are in constant communication and consultation in developing our policies and safety measures,” she says. “And that has been vital to being successful during the COVID-19 pandemic.” She also notes that the support of Faculty, Staff, students and parents has been key to being able to have the College run successfully during these unprecedented times. “It has been an amazing experience to watch how everybody rallies and bands together, to adapt and look at new ways that we can still deliver and promote this school experience. It’s really been that strong community support that has allowed us to be successful this year.” Havergal also works with community partners such as the MacIntosh Clinic , which supports students who have

sports-related injuries and need ongoing management. McRae explains that a sports injury such as a concussion often manifests with deviations in sleep or mood, which can heavily influence whether someone is able to be successful in an academic, social and emotional sense at school. Educators Who Practise What They Preach Wellbeing isn’t just important for the students at Havergal, it extends to Faculty and Staff as well—with educators who lead by example. McRae believes that physical and mental health are intertwined and that both aspects need support for the best results.


“For me, a big part of that is exercise and activity. I am an ultimate Frisbee player and I run. Being able to keep my physical shape as part of my daily routine really helps me, from a wellness standpoint, to promote my own mental health.” She says it’s also important that students identify their passions and aspects of their lives that provide them with energy and agency. “For me, [it’s] cooking. I’ve been taking courses at George Brown College— because I’m a lifelong learner,” which is another principle promoted at Havergal. “Continuous learning gives me a lot of joy and grounding.” Putting Wellbeing into Perspective Old Girl Maggie (Coulter) DiStasi 1991 left a successful first career in finance as Vice President, Technology, in the Capital Markets division of a major Canadian bank to become a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) specializing in leadership development, career development for leaders and coaching skills training. As Co-Principal of PeopleDynamics Learning Group Inc., she helps people learn today, and shape tomorrow. DiStasi’s work with PeopleDynamics includes focus on building resilience, reducing stress and practising mindfulness. “We invite our clients to respond to what’s happening in their lives and the world around us with creativity and compassion.” When she started her second career as a Professional Coach in 2009, the world was already a place of increasing complexity and flux. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, DiStasi found that many of her clients were pushed beyond their edges. One way she recommends staying grounded during stressful times is to connect to meaning through purpose and core values, which can provide focus on what’s important in the moment. Wellbeing professionals call

Norberg says that a key aspect of being able to teach exceptional high- performing students is to have Faculty and Staff who can role model resilience and a growth mindset. “Each day, they have the opportunity to demonstrate that even though some things are more challenging, we have the skills to overcome it.” She often recounts an anecdote that resonated with her. “Imagine that going to school is like the most amazing weight-training program. You go to the gym, you lift weights and your muscles get sore. There’s nothing wrong with your muscles getting sore

because you’re building more strength. It is key that you need to know how to take rest days and recover. “In life, you want to stretch and push yourself, but you also need downtime. When something’s challenging, you need to remember that you have the skills to take it on. Remind yourself that it might feel hard some days, but you’re building your strength and resilience.” As our students continue to build their academic, physical, social, emotional and cognitive strengths, Havergal’s Faculty and Staff will continue to offer experiences and support to help prepare future-ready graduates.

this mindfulness, which DiStasi explains is simply noticing the way things are.

She shared her work on mindfulness and

PeopleDynamics’ approach to resilience with the Old Girl community in a virtual session on November 3, 2020. Her goal was to empower attendees to take control of their minds and where they focus their attention: to notice emotions without resistance, judgment or a need to fix things; to observe themselves in their suffering; and to see themselves with objectivity. When people feel stress, taking

way—include becoming more responsive, feeling more accomplished and increasing creativity through new ideas and connections. When we take the time to listen to our minds, our creativity can flourish. “Being mindfully aware is about standing back and thinking about what’s going on without actually being engaged in those thoughts.” Through her career in Professional Coaching and her connections to our Old Girl community, DiStasi has realized her passion to help others help themselves. She encourages everyone to create the support necessary to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in.

a purposeful pause allows a moment to reflect and stay focused before reacting emotionally. “Through pausing and being responsive, we have can act in a way that gives us self-confidence and makes us proud of ourselves.” This provides the opportunity to be in choice, which DiStasi explains means that we can put thought and attention into the areas that need it and make decisions based on our values. The benefits of practising mindfulness— which can be done in only a few minutes a day by slowing down to listen to your thoughts, feelings and senses, and evaluating them in a non-judgmental


Students Speak

We asked members of our Senior School community to answer this question: “When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, what makes you feel better?” Here’s what they said:

“ When I am stressed, I like to listen to music, play with my dog and collect photos for my vision board. Doing these things makes me feel calm, allows me to focus and gives me time to spend on myself. ” —Aimee McCurdy-Franks, Grade 9

“ When I feel stressed, I like to take a step back and do something for my mind, body and soul. I like to read for my mind, play sports for my body and pray/meditate for my soul. This helps me feel better. ” —Noor Khan, Grade 9

“ The friendships I’ve made at Havergal are an integral part of my life, so when I’m feeling stressed or

“ Whenever I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I always turn to sports. Being surrounded by my best friends and playing the sport I love clears my head and puts my mind at ease. My worries vanish and I am my happiest self when I’m active with my teammates. ” —Mika Chang, Grade 12

overwhelmed, I often turn to my friends. Talking through the issue with them or simply playing a game really helps me put things into perspective. ” —Madison Wang, Grade 11


“ When the stresses of life become too much, I like to step back and take a deep breath. I remind myself that although everything seems like it’s collapsing around me, I will come out of hardship as a stronger person—and that makes it all the worthwhile. ” —Sydney Brajer, Grade 11

“ When I am feeling overwhelmed, I turn to reading and writing poetry. I like to self-validate and express my emotions using my creative outlet instead of pushing my problems aside. ” —Stephanie Chen, Grade 9

“ I deal with stress by approaching my problems with a sense of gratitude.

“ When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, my dog, Ruby, always finds a way to make me smile and brighten my day. ” —Lily Haskins, Grade 10

For example, if I am feeling overwhelmed by a challenging class assignment, I remind myself what a gift my education is and how lucky I am to be able to engage with subject material that is challenging. Seeing the problems I face as opportunities to grow and learn more about what I am interested in always fills my heart with gratitude. Being grateful for these challenges always seems to melt away all the stress of the assignment and leaves me feeling motivated to work hard on it. ” —Kate Andison, Grade 12

“ The thing that makes me feel better is getting exercise. It is the best way for me to clear my head. Whether I go for a 15-minute walk or run or do a workout video, I find it super helpful to release stress and calm myself down. I find that after I get some exercise, I am able to focus and plan how I am going to conquer the tasks ahead of me. ” —Kennedy Johnstone, Grade 11

“ When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, listening to some of my personal playlists can really help keep me feel grounded and at peace. ” —Kate Davidson, Grade 10


Student Awards

Celebrating Student Success 2019–20 The Havergal community congratulates the following students for their achievements during the 2019–20 school year. Special virtual awards ceremonies were held on Wednesdsay, June 10, for Junior School students and Friday, October 23, for Upper School students as a way to honour and acknowledge their accomplishments.

JUNIOR SCHOOL GRADE 6 PRIZES AND AWARDS The Levy, Revell, Wilkinson Award: Claudia Flood, Jana Kalbasizadeh The Mohan Award: Olivia Chisholm, Cadyn Rosenzsweig The Ismay McCarrick Award: Sadie Laird, Ruby Jean Rathwell The Hulbert Holmes Award: Kiana Kay, Lilly Simmons The Laurene Watson Award—Visual Arts: Leni Venturelli The Laurene Watson Award—Music: Victoria Lam PRIZE FOR HIGHEST GENERAL PROFICIENCY Grade 9 (Class of 1937 MacDonald Memorial Prize): Nancy Cao, Shelly Cheng, Claire Radin & Cathy Rong Grade 10 (Class of 1937 MacDonald Memorial Prize): Jessica Yu Grade 11 (The Luella Gertrude Lovering Memorial Prize): Sae Furukawa The O’Rorke Middle School Music Award: Band: Kelsey Brajer The O’Rorke Middle School Music Award: Strings: Tara Salehiomran The O’Rorke Middle School Music Award: Vocal: Aniela Stanek Dorothy Bevan Prize for Junior Mathematics in Grade 10: Adrianna Neretlis Dorothy O’Dell Memorial Prize for Mathematics in Grade 11: Ekin Ozince, Alicia Shen, Lindsy Yang, Jessica Yu, Lily Zhou Class of 1937 Proficiency Prize in Science: Jiatong Han Dorothy Symons Scholarship in Canadian Studies: Ekin Ozince The Louise Cholette-Rees Award: Audrey Gage Constance Pudan Prize for French in Grade 11: Sydney Brajer & Sienna Wall The Marcelle DeFreitas and Elaine McGillvray Prize for Modern Languages: Yilin Lu & Madeleine O’Brien UPPER SCHOOL ENTRANCE SCHOLARSHIPS The Wendy J. Thompson Scholarship: Grade 7: Claire An, Jessica Lee, Charlotte Rowand Grade 9: Kelly Chen, Stephanie Chen, Noor Khan, Naomi Mao Havergal House Scholarship: UPPER SCHOOL ACADEMIC AWARDS The Ancerl Prize for Music: Lindsy Yang

SENIOR YEAR ACADEMIC PRIZES The Arts: Band: Aly Marley Strings: Miriam Tam Grade 10 Media Arts: Yusra Rahman Grade 10 Visual Arts, Traditional: Karina Craig, Charlotte Jeffery, Donna Mahboubi, Ekin Ozince Grade 11 Visual Arts, Traditional: Praise Elimimian, Annie Elliott, Alyson McCarvell, Lauren Perri, Caroline Thomson, Jessica Xiong Languages: Grade 12 French: Arriette Kim Advanced Placement French: Sophy Wu Latin: Allison Hall Mandarin: Caroline Hughes & Serina Woo Spanish: Lauren Perri & Sophy Wu Mathematics: AP Calculus and Vectors: Annie Chen AP Statistics: Sophy Wu & Lily Zhou AP Advanced Functions: Sae Furukawa Advanced Functions: Julia DeMiglio Data Management: Jenna Dale Physical Education: Gr. 12 Recreation and Healthy Active Living: Victoria McCarvell Social Sciences: Challenge and Change in Society AP Seminar: Kaitlyn Wagman Technological Education: Computer and Information Science: Allison Hall UPPER SCHOOL SPECIAL AWARDS The Robin Urquhart Beddis & Jean Macpherson Urquhart Scholarship: Sophy Wu Havergal College Parent Association Prizes:

Grade 7: Marlowe Jamael Grade 8: Mackenzie Law Grade 9: Hayden Blakely Grade 10: Erin Howard Grade 11: Victoria McCarvell Old Girls’ Prizes:

Agnes Hansen: Shuyue Liu Frances Ridley: Bona Lee

Grade 9: Tess Van Bruggen Grade 10: Emily McConnie Grade 11: Hannah Tahami The Bets Kiddell Debating Prize: Jessica Xiong

Ellen Knox: Macy O’Brien, Nicole Stanley Kate Leonard: Vanessa Koehler, Asiya Mian

Catherine Steele: Ava Singer Mary Dennys: Han Ngoc Le Marcelle De Freitas: Sophia Carroll-Leong, Ema Nishiwaki Margaret Taylor: Isabel Snare, Errita Xu

The Middle School Award for Leadership: Sadie Landry The Class of ’56 Mary Dennys Torch Award: Sophy Wu The Havergal Award for Exceptional Academic Standing: Sae Furukawa The Josephine Clarke Prize: Fidan Sadig The New Girl Cup: Paige White

Marian Wood: Nicole Young The Principal’s Scholarship: Morayo Osibajo


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