Torch - Fall 2016

School Profile

Knowing and understanding myself makes me confident.

—School Captain Erin Wong

E rin Wong was just 11 years old when she joined the Upper School orchestra. “Her older sister, Kendra, was playing in the orchestra, so Erin had to wait during practice,” recalls music teacher Paul McCulloch. “It’s not really open to Junior School students, but because her sister was there, she was either going to sit in the hall or join in. I said, ‘Bring your cello out. It’ll be challenging, but give it a try.’” She did more than try—she summed up her courage, joined the orchestra and did her best. “She was the youngest person I ever had in the orchestra,” says McCulloch. And if that weren’t enough, Wong continued to push herself and explore her passion for music by learning piano, drums and guitar, joining a string quartet and even starting a rock band, Piggy Goes Wild, in which she sings and plays guitar. It’s a testament not only to Wong’s love of music, but also to her openness and confidence to take on challenges—qualities that help her stand out and embrace her role as School Captain for the 2016–17 school year. A Havergal student since Grade 1, Wong is deeply aware of the impact a School Captain can have on the school community. “When I was in Grade 7, the School Captain and the group of Prefects that year were just such good role models for us,” Wong recalls. “I don’t want to say that we were ‘obsessed’ with the Prefects, but they were so kind and funny that seeing them in the hallway would brighten my day.” That’s why Wong makes a point of connecting with students of all ages whenever she can—from morning greetings at the door to casual conversations in the cafeteria. “I want to be able to have that same influence and positive impact on the school community,”

she says, “even if it’s just saying hi to someone in the hallway and making them feel part of the community.” Reaching out like that takes a certain kind of confidence—a quality McCulloch has seen in Wong throughout the years he has taught her. “She’s confident in the things she knows about,” he says, “but she’s also confident in her unknowing. That makes her very open and brave to step into the unknown.” Wong herself feels that her confidence comes from self-knowledge. “Over the years at school, I’ve be able to develop a strong sense of myself and my interests and things that I love,” she says. “Knowing and understanding myself makes me confident.” She shows that confidence by facing intimidating situations head on, whether it’s performing with Piggy Goes Wild at Celebration Saturday, dancing at the door when greeting students in the morning or not being afraid to ask for help in class. Because she’s open about what she doesn’t know or what she’s worried about, Wong is seen as both approachable and empathetic, McCulloch says. “She’s sort of an every girl,” he says. “She empathizes with every single person in the school.” As for Wong, she hopes her empathy and confidence will encourage other students to pursue their dreams and embrace the challenges along the way—a sentiment echoed in this year’s motto: “1-6-1-7, go get ’em!” “It’s a call to action for the girls and also encouragement—you can do it, you have to go get what you want,” Wong explains. “The opportunities are there. It’s up to you to grab them. I think that’s the message we want to give to the community.”


Made with