Torch - Spring/Summer 2019

This issue highlights Havergal’s 125th anniversary and how far our graduates have come over the years.

H A V E R G A L C O L L E G E S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9



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Diane Peters Leah Piltz Brenda Robson Erica Rodd Karen Sumner GRAPHIC DESIGNER Carol Tsang THANK YOU We would like to thank all members of the Havergal community who participated in interviews, submitted articles, contributed photographs and reviewed articles.

Helen Carayannis Yvonne Chow Natalie Connolly Alison Crocker Miriam Davidson Helena Follows Jennifer D. Foster

Pearl Goodman Cissy Goodridge Catharine Heddle 1989 Heather Hudson Warren Lang Debra Latcham Rosa Mastri Antonio Nardi

Canada Post Publication Number: 40050122

The information contained herein may not be published without permission from Havergal College.

CONTRIBUTORS Kate Berchtold-Wall Suzanne Bowness Naomi Buck 1990

Table of Contents


Principal’s Message Celebrating 125 Years of Empowerment


Snapshots Photos of Life at Havergal


School Profile Havergal’s Learning Resource Centres


Message from School Leaders What Will You Do?


Feature Story Our Graduates: How Far They’ve Come


Havergal 125 A Year of Celebrations


Timeline 125 Years of Havergal College STEM Stories Students CAN Make a Difference


Linking Blockchain Technology and Social Impact Old Girl Cecily Cannan Selby 1943 Opens Science for All Forum for Change Engaging Students Through the Global Learning and Leading Diploma Message from the VP, Student Engagement and Experiential Development Preparing Future-Ready Graduates Traditions Opere Peracto Ludemus : When Our Work is Finished, We Shall Play Advancement & Community Relations Leadership by Example HCPA The Havergal College Parent Association Throughout the Years Students Speak Havergal College Through the Ages








Farewell Principal’s Farewell


Message from the VP, Teaching & Learning EQAO


Old Girls News Reconnections


Reunion Weekend Celebration Weekend 2019

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

Front cover: Havergal’s iconic stained glass windows. Inside front cover: Students rehearsing Havergal’s 125th anniversary song.

Principal’s Message

We focus on empowering girls and helping them to be their best selves now and in the future.

Celebrating 125 Years of Empowerment Helen-Kay Davy

I n the main hallway, opposite the Ellen Knox Library, hang the pictures of the 103 members of our Hall of Distinction. I often see students look at these images of Old Girls and read about these remarkable women as they wait to go into Prayers. At Havergal, we focus on empowering girls and helping them to be their best selves now and in the future. Having role models like our Old Girls furthers that. Sometimes, the girls marvel at the fashion of the times, but they also connect with the faces and each story. They ask the question, “How did she do it?” They take the abstract idea of future success and make it concrete and doable. Havergal is celebrating its 125th year and we were among the first schools in Canada to take the education of young women seriously, preparing them for success outside the home. Indeed, Havergal has graduated a long list of women who have made a difference in politics, business, science and beyond. Of course, education and society have changed dramatically in a century and a quarter. The way we need to empower girls

today is quite different. We encourage our students to study and explore all subjects and question the previously held assumptions related to certain disciplines. What we foster now is the confidence that propels people to achieve personal success as they discover fulfilment on their own terms. Our values of integrity and courage are more important than ever. Outside these ivy walls, our students will face unconscious bias and challenges as they try to fulfill their goals. We need to nurture girls, so they can feel courageous in the face of unfairness or pressure and stay connected to their integrity as they push forward as leaders and become worthy role models themselves. As a final note, this is my last “Principal’s Message” as I conclude my time at Havergal this summer. It’s been a wonderful five years, during which time I’ve felt surrounded by inspiring people and excitement about ideas and education. I shall miss the faculty and staff, as well as these amazing young students who keep surprising me, year after year, with their energy, compassion and love of learning.




1. Senior School students celebrate Havergal’s 125th anniversary. 2. Athletes receive

recognition at the Upper School Winter Athletic Assembly.

3. Exchange students perform at Prayers. 4. Old Girls and their daughters celebrate Havergal’s anniversary. 5. Junior School students make House banners for Spirit Week.










6. Students show their

support for the team at Hockey Day 2019.

7. The Upper School community celebrates the Havergator’s 27th birthday. 8. Attendees at the Father- Daughter Dance 2019. 9. Parent volunteers dedicate their time to the HCPA Bake Sale. 10. Grade 9 students cheer their hearts out at this year’s Grade Cheer Off.





11. Junior School students wear their House colours with pride during Spirit Week. 12. Middle School students present The Perfect Ending . 13. Grade Reps compete during Spirit Week. 14. Grads and Grade 7 students participate in Grad Hunt. 15. A Grade 6 student explores virtual reality on Day 9. 16. Grade 11 students and mothers enjoy a breakfast at Havergal.





16 5




Resource Centres How Our Libraries Became Interactive Social and Learning Environments

By Heather Hudson

The Learning Resource Centres staff (left to right): Tony Nardi, Erica Rodd, Elizabeth Shamess and Debra Latcham.


School Profile

L ibraries have come a long way since 1926, when Havergal unveiled the Ellen Knox Library, dedicated to the memory of our First Principal. Teeming with a rich collection of books and periodicals, this beautiful sanctuary was designed to inspire and enrich student life and provide a sacred space for research, quiet reflection and study. In 1979, the Upper School library was moved to its current location, but it retained the characteristics and ethos of the original. Today’s library has a different story and a renewed purpose. The age of the Internet has transformed Havergal. The Learning Resource Centre—or “RC”—is a vibrant hub where students meet to work and share and discuss new ideas. No longer the quiet place of contemplation, it’s a bustling, interactive social and learning environment. It is run by the Learning Resource Centre department, including Head of the Learning Resource Centre Tony Nardi, Librarian Elizabeth Shamess and Archivist Debra Latcham. “The library is more of a learning laboratory, where IT and inquiry come together. Students can access virtual resources that allow them to think, imagine, discover, create, explore and develop a love of reading. [This new environment] resonates with today’s students who are plugged in and have information at their fingertips,” Nardi explains. This evolution has created physical changes in the RC: more tables and chairs for students to work together, fewer books and even fewer computers, since most girls bring their own laptops. “I’m buying a lot less print material and investing more in ebooks and databases that provide a range of material for their assignments,” Nardi says. Instead of directing students to encyclopedias, he walks them through databases and shows them more effective ways of searching for information using Google. With 24-7 access to all of the library’s materials, students can research from anywhere, including their classrooms and at home. When it comes to fostering the kind of library environment that best suits today’s students, Nardi reflects on a quote from the late journalist Norman Cousins: “A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.” Technology hasn’t entirely taken over the library’s efforts to instill a love of reading. The library stocks all Grade 7 and 8 classrooms with riveting books to support their Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) program and Nardi runs mini-book club meetings with small groups of Middle School students. For older students, the RC hosts an annual Blind Date with a Book event during which students transform the library into a bookstore, even gift-wrapping some books with brief, enticing descriptions for readers to browse.

No longer the quiet place of contemplation, it’s a bustling, interactive social and learning environment.

Junior School develops avid readers Over in the Junior School Learning Hub, Librarian Erica Rodd is intent on fostering a love of reading in every student, from Kindergarten to Grade 6. With the biggest space in the school, she has a gorgeous backdrop for her mission. The light-filled, two-storey centre is home to a collection of 30,000 books. That’s an average of 107 books for every student, well above the North American average of 27:1. “My goal as a librarian is for students to enjoy a robust and fulfilling life of literacy that becomes the foundation for a lifelong love of reading,” Rodd says. She says choice is a huge motivating factor when it comes to nurturing a reader. That’s why she encourages students to look outside of their reading level and pick up books they’re drawn to. “I want the stakes of borrowing books to be low, so their sense of exploration can stay intact.” Rodd is always looking for opportunities to connect readers with books. She strategically displays them, has one-on-one meetings with students and is even known to put books into the hands of readers in the hallways or their classrooms. “If I notice a student hasn’t asked for help in a while, or are in a rut, I’ll create a pile for them to look through.” Like the RC, the Junior School Learning Hub is a place where students learn to research, which supports curriculum studies. Rodd works with classroom teachers to co-teach special units in many subjects. She also runs the popular Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading program, in which Grades 5 and 6 students volunteer to read 10 nominated books. This year, 100 per cent of eligible students are participating. Havergal’s RC and Junior School Learning Hub may not look or operate like the libraries of yesterday, but they are empowering our girls of tomorrow.


Message from School Leaders

What Will You Do? 125 years of empowering girls and young women begins with one question.

By Michael Simmonds and Kate White

“ Our students— the women of

tomorrow—must see themselves as agents of change.

Michael Simmonds, VP School Life & Student Wellness and Kate White, Head of Junior School.

I magine a scene: it’s Toronto, 1894. Havergal College has just opened its doors at 350 Jarvis St. The girls gather in the school, getting their first glimpse of one another and their teachers. Some are nervous, all are excited, their minds full of questions and possibilities. In the first school assembly—called Prayers then, as it is now— Principal Ellen Knox welcomes the girls. An intuitive and insightful educator, she knows their minds are filled with questions: “Who will my friends be? What will I be learning?” She makes sure to address their practical concerns, but there is one question hanging in the room she doesn’t attempt to answer. Instead, she speaks it aloud. “What will you do?” Whatever lies on the horizon for the first class of Havergal graduates—and every class thereafter—it is understood that each girl will do something. She will take action. She will make a difference.

We ask the same question today. However a girl replies, just the act of posing it communicates something important: no matter the year of your birth or expectations of your era, you have the power to shape your future and the future of others. This is a message that Havergal communicates to its students every day. They hear it in casual conversations and in curricular expectations. They hear it when they make choices about what to pursue in their learning, leadership, activities and service. They hear it when a classmate takes a stand or shares a story. They hear it when they support a friend, help out in the community or start something new. The consistent message that the students hear is that they have the power to contribute and make change. But it’s not just talk—together, we also walk the walk. In addition to being intentional about how and what we communicate, we also provide opportunities for girls to direct themselves, lead others and take action. When asked what they will do, we want our students to


understand all of the possibilities embedded in the question and feel empowered to act on their vision. But what exactly do we mean by empowerment? And why do we need to be intentional in our approach? Here is one answer to the second question, looking only at a single area: political participation and leadership. UN Women 1 tells us that women make up 24 per cent of all national parliamentarians and 12 per cent of the world’s heads of state and government. For the Americas in particular, women constitute 30 per cent of parliamentarians. Here in Canada, only 27 per cent of elected Members of Parliament are women. Why does this matter so much? Because there is established evidence that women’s equal participation in political decision-making processes improves them. And because studies show that women demonstrate strong leadership by working across party lines, even in the most politically combative environments, on issues such as gender equality, parental leave and electoral reform. And, of course, because women make up half the world’s population. That’s just a glimpse into one arena. As you know, there are many other examples of gender inequity: representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, in C-level management, on boards of TSX-listed companies, behind cameras, before orchestras and so on. We are intentional in our approach because women continue to be under-represented in economic and political decision-making, face

barriers to equal participation in society and earn less than men for the same work. For that to improve, our students—the women of tomorrow—must see themselves as agents of change. And for that to happen, they need stronger voices and greater choices. What about empowerment itself—what does the term mean in relation to girls and women? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offers a useful model with three parts. 2 Power to: the ability to make decisions and act on them; Power within: a sense of self-esteem, dignity and self-worth; and Power with: strength gained from solidarity, collective action or mutual support. In short, an empowered girl has authority and confidence and she understands that she is a part of a community. Havergal College was founded on the principle of building these attributes—first, by insisting that girls deserve an exceptional education, and thereafter by asking, “What will you do?” Empowering our students begins with a fundamental premise: children and adolescents are capable. They have agency and can take action, beginning with making their own decisions. This is the “power to” part of the equation, so we ensure that our students have and make meaningful choices at every grade. For example, our youngest students in Junior Kindergarten are asked to choose their activities for the first part of each day. There

Grade 6 students receive leadership pins at the beginning of each academic year to symbolize their leadership status at the Junior School.

1. UN Women. “Facts and figures. Leadership and political participation.” January 2019. 2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “A conceptual model of women and girls’ empowerment.” February 2019.


Message from School Leaders

Empowerment in action (clockwise from left): Junior School students present Women Worth Knowing Prayers; Upper School students participate in RBC Capital Markets’ Ladies Who Lunch event; Old Girl Shivani Nathoo 2016 (centre, left) visits Havergal to speak at Upper School Prayers about women in engineering.

are structured options, and our teachers ensure their interests are covered over the course of a week. But in guiding themselves, our Junior Kindergarten girls learn that they can make choices, that their voice matters and that they are capable. They see the outcomes of their decisions, exercising their independence in both making and revising them as needed. Our Grades 5 and 6 “Cookies and Conversation” drop-in program also invites our girls to make decisions that matter. Here, students find their own answers to the question, “What kind of difference can I make at Havergal and in the larger community?” They select topics of their own interest and drive the conversation on themes like sustainability, leadership and bullying. In talking through their concerns and deciding on action, the girls feel capable of leading change. Older students who act as mentors to the younger girls—for example, sharing how student initiatives have been implemented in the Upper School—also feel empowered as advisers. Shifting the lens to “power within,” we can consider the ways in which Havergal helps girls develop a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. That begins with every girl being listened to, accepted for who she is and having a voice to express herself. While this happens in classes, activities and discussions every day, Prayers

offers an established venue and time when the community gathers to reflect, share stories, express the school’s values and discuss topics relevant to girls’ lives. There are numerous other ways the power of solidarity is created throughout a Havergal education, with our Forum for Change coming immediately to mind. Working alongside others in the community toward a shared purpose, students make a difference as allies and partners. To paraphrase Indigenous Australian artist and activist Lilla Watson, our girls’ liberation is bound up with the freedom of others: genuine collective action is both the means of achieving freedom and one of its ultimate goals. Day 9 experiences also deepen our students’ sense of connection as they engage directly with our ever-changing world. Together, they explore ideas and generate new perspectives on topics such as community building, the performing arts, STEM, wellness, leadership and many others, including learning experiences generated by the students themselves. When our girls join together to try new things and think in new ways, they bond and gain strength from one another. And that close tie remains in place after graduation as they continue to support one another throughout their lives.


Grade 12 Drama students and Drama teacher (Risa Morris) participate in the Time4Change campaign in support of Toronto’s homeless youth.

“ “ Empowerment begins with every girl being listened to, accepted for who she is and having a voice to express herself. TABLE OF CONTENTS | SPRING/SUMMER 2019 • TORCH 15

There are more ways that we empower girls to become women of consequence than we have space to elucidate here: leadership opportunities, teacher advisory groups, guidance and learning support, Old Girls sharing their education and career stories, a culture of inquiry, to mention a few. We also take the time to model—through language and practice—that to be empowered is not to be entitled. In fact, these are entirely incompatible positions. What is the difference between the two? Empowerment is democratic, with shared authority, while entitlement is hierarchical, where the few fight to exercise authority over the many. Empowerment says, “I have value,” whereas entitlement says, “I have more value than you.” An empowered person is not afraid to say what she thinks; an entitled person believes only what she thinks matters. Empowerment accepts many perspectives, while entitlement views voices of opposition as a threat. As a school, we focus on empowerment, and teach our girls to inhabit their authority, confidence and community. Then we ask, “What will you do?”

Feature Story

Our Gradu How Far They’ve Come

By Suzanne Bowness



W hy need women be highly educated? It’s a question that seems rhetorical today, but in the years of Havergal’s founding, when its first “lady Principal” Ellen Knox used it as a title for one of her many messages, it may well have called for a straight answer. She gave several over the course of her various missives: to take up the vote (only granted in 1917 in Ontario), to start contributing to the professions and to take the way of life they had learned at Havergal to do good in the world. Knox also turned a meaningful phrase in reflecting on the accidental opportunity afforded by the First World War when she wrote that “the portals of professional life, hitherto sacred to men, creaked heavily upon their hinges, and girls, bewildered and delighted, sped eagerly along the new paths lying ahead of them.” Of course, by then Havergal’s delighted Old Girls had already started streaming through: Jean Hoyles Haslam was one of the first graduates to enter the University of Toronto in 1899 and the first Old Girl to graduate in medicine. Commemorative publication Havergal: Celebrating a Century highlights numerous women who followed, not only advancing to university studies, but also going on to pursue decades-long careers and win national recognition, prolific awards and honorary degrees for their professional efforts. In the early days, favourite fields included missionary work, medicine and nursing. But generalizing about preferences even at this early stage is ill advised: success stories and firsts abound in other fields, with Adelaide Macdonald Sinclair 1917 becoming the first woman to lecture in the University of Toronto’s department of economics, Helen Cleveland 1915 creating a women’s department at brokerage house Wood Gundy (the first in Canada) and Dora Mavor Moore 1899 helping to establish the Stratford Shakespearean Festival. In politics, Kaireen MacKay 1909 was Canada’s first woman to serve as senator. The list goes on.


I’ve always been impressed by the number of girls who apply outside of those more typical programs that girls go into.

Grade 11 and 12 students attend Career Connections, hosted by Havergal’s Guidance and Advancement & Community Relations departments.

— Heather Johnstone

students are also applying to traditionally male-dominated fields such as computer science, mathematics and engineering. While Johnstone notes that applications in these fields have increased, especially in engineering, she’s noticed throughout her 14 years at Havergal that they have always been relatively strong. “I’ve always been impressed by the number of girls who apply outside of those more typical programs that girls go into. We have good representation across the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and we always have.” Perhaps one of the best confirmations of career-planning success is graduates returning to Havergal to report on their achievements. This often happens during university reading weeks, when students poke their heads into Johnstone’s office for a chat. “They come back to visit and seem well equipped at university, which means that we are doing a good job preparing them for post-secondary. The great luxury we have here is they check in and keep coming back, even after two or three years. We’re always really proud of them.”

the right personal decision. “I think it’s really important to not separate those two elements because it has so much to do with finding a good school: knowing and understanding each student and all the things that she likes,” she says, adding that some students have a strong idea of what they want to do from an early age, while others need more guidance in exploring their options. Havergal also helps students through the university exploration process by bringing in representatives from around 60 universities across Canada, the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. At the university application stage, Guidance Counsellors further help students narrow down the options that would suit them, from city to class sizes to programs. Today’s average graduating class is around 120 students and they apply to institutions across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Some go as far afield as Holland, France, South Korea, Hong Kong and the Caribbean. Popular programs include commerce, economics, sciences (including biomedical programs) and social sciences. Havergal

Today’s new paths start with Guidance Skip forward a hundred years or so and the question about why education for women is needed has fallen away. But the happier dilemma of what to study after graduation remains. Students first begin the more formal contemplation of career path as early as Middle School, then in Grades 9 and 10 start to consider what they are good at and enjoy. By Grades 10 and 11, they start to focus on selecting prerequisites they need for programs in university, and by Grade 12, they are applying for post- secondary programs. At Havergal, the entire process is guided by a team of Guidance Counsellors: one for the Middle School, two grade-specific counsellors for Grades 9 and 10, and two devoted to helping Grade 11 and 12 students work on their university applications. Head of Guidance Heather Johnstone says that alongside the academic counselling, students also have access to social/ emotional support to help them make


In writing about Chown for the Old Girls Lifetime Achievement Award, alumna and fellow lawyer Jane Langford called her “a strong role model and fierce spokesperson for female practitioners everywhere,” as well as “always motivated by a desire to build a stronger, more equitable and diverse profession.” In retirement, Chown is still pursuing new learning—she’s a student of the Italian language during her many trips to that country—as well as enjoying a new role as grandmother. Chown credits Havergal with helping to foster her own zeal for helping women succeed. “I think one of the really good things Havergal does is encourage young women to have a voice. It’s confidence- building and showing girls they can be leaders and they can function in many spheres. That’s very good training for the leadership challenges you actually do find in in the workplace,” she says.

A Havergal student from Grade 8 to 13, Chown says she transferred from public school because her parents thought she needed more intellectual stimulation. She remembers being impressed by the smaller classes and the fact that students took what they were studying more seriously. She also liked that the school encouraged her to try sports, even though she didn’t consider herself a great athlete. She played on the Field Hockey team. In her graduating year, she was elected as School Captain by her peers. After graduation, Chown trained as a teacher and taught for five years in Scarborough, Ont., before entering law school as a mature student and starting an almost 30-year career as a litigator specializing in family law and medical malpractice. She had twin boys in her first year of practise. Working at the law firm McCarthy Tétrault, Chown rose to the level of Ontario Regional Managing Partner and, along the way, led many initiatives to improve gender diversity, pushing her firm to establish policies that would improve the work environment and partnership opportunities for women. By the time she retired in 2008, Chown had been awarded the Law Society Medal, the most significant honour a lawyer can receive for making a unique contribution to the legal profession in Ontario. She was also awarded the 2008 President’s Award by the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, the organization’s highest honour.

Following the varied careers of Old Girls

From its founding to today, Havergal has always gained inspiration from the diversity of paths that Old Girls have carved after graduation. Students go off in so many directions that it’s hard to be representative in showing how far they can go, but a handful of examples can show the variety in their trajectories. Here are three that illustrate the movement of Old Girls from student to career women, in fields including law, medicine and the world of public service and business. Looking back, each has rich memories of their educational life here and a strong sense of Havergal’s influence on their mindset as they took on the world. Kirby Chown has spent her career in the field of law and received the Old Girls Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 in recognition of advancing women in the legal profession. But it’s a literature lesson that stayed with her from her days at Havergal. “An English teacher named Miss Muckle encouraged all of us to have real respect for the literature that we were reviewing and studying,” says Chown when asked to name something from Havergal that had an impact on her life. “What really impressed me about her was she was very severe. She really stressed that you had to work hard, and that if you were going to understand Shakespeare or a poem or short story you had to devote real time and attention to it. I think the valuing of intellectual pursuits, along with the understanding that they require some work, were excellent lessons for our age and stage and have stood me well during the rest of my life.” Chown adds that Muckle also had another minor influence on her habits with respect to writing in books. “She said you could never write in a book in pen. You were allowed only pencil. And I remember that admonition. It took me a long time to get over that,” she says with a laugh. Kirby Chown 1965

Ludemus photo from 1965.

I think one of the really good things Havergal does is encourage young women to have a voice.

— Kirby Chown 1965


Catharine Bertram Walsh 1996

she made the Dean’s Honour Roll for four years and earned the Mary Cassidy Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to extracurricular activities. Following a residency at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), she completed a fellowship in gastroenterology, followed by a master’s and PhD in education. As a pediatric gastroenterologist, Bertram now runs the celiac clinic at SickKids. Also appointed as a scientist, her academic research focuses on how to help health-care professionals learn techniques and essential skills. In nominating her for the Young Alumna Award, fellow alumna Linda Hiraki 1996 noted that Bertram’s research “has influenced the way in which international medical bodies are setting standards for quality performance of physicians around the world.” Bertram credits Havergal not only for core skills like work ethic, teamwork and collaboration, but also pinpoints it as the origins for her interest in teaching and helping others with skills development. “That’s why I went on to pursue further research training. I would say Havergal fostered my love of learning.”

Senior School, who pushed her to improve her writing. “To this day, I really appreciate their support because now, in the sciences, I’m actually complimented on my writing. I know I was not a strong student in that area and they really took the time to nurture me,” says Bertram. She adds that her science teachers had equal impact. “They knew that I had a strong interest in science and took time outside the classroom to really mentor me and find opportunities to further my skills in that area.” She adds that nurturing is a good word to describe her overall takeaway from Havergal. “I found Havergal to be a very nurturing environment, where people were always pushed to show the best side of themselves. It set a very strong foundation.” She adds that the strong network of friendships has also been a valuable support. “To this day they remain my strongest friendships, despite being all across the globe. One of my best friends is in Singapore, one is in in London, England, and one is in Dubai. But we still elevate and support each other.” After graduating from Havergal, Bertram went to Queen’s University and then the University of Toronto Medical School, where

Catharine Bertram Walsh received the 2016 Susan Ditchburn Young Alumna award for her work as an educational research clinician scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. While she has many memories of classes and clubs at Havergal, one of her favourite physical spaces was the pool. As well as being on the Swim team, Bertram also taught swimming to younger kids, something she’s grateful for as her first work experience. “It was very rewarding to teach the younger children swimming lessons. It was also a great opportunity, as it’s often hard to secure a first job, so it allowed senior students to get their foot in the door and also to develop leadership and teaching skills,” recalls Bertram. Other memories from Havergal include founding the Handicrafts Club and participating in the Arts and Photography Clubs. While she didn’t pick up art until her senior years, it’s a passion she still pursues today. She also joined the Rowing team, which Bertram says was valuable for learning leadership and teamwork. In academics, one of Bertram’s strongest memories was of her English teachers in the

That’s why I went on to pursue further research training. I would say Havergal fostered. my love of learning.

— Catharine Bertram Walsh1996

Grad portrait 1996.


The experience and foundation of going to an all-girls school and seeing female role models helps you build confidence.

— Lola Kassim 2000

Grad portrait 2000.

Lola Kassim 2000

Economics. There she was recruited into the Canadian Government’s Policy Leaders Class of 2006, a program that brings exceptional graduates into the public service. In Ottawa, she became policy adviser to the deputy minister for the department serving Indigenous people, then moved over to International Affairs. From there, she moved to West Africa to become the government’s adviser in the office of the President of Liberia. “That was great because I wanted to do something international and it also built on my background doing work at senior levels of government in Canada,” says Kassim. After a few years, she decided to balance out her public sector experience with work in the private sector, and after working as a management consultant for McKinsey and Company in Nigeria, she started her current position as general manager in West Africa for the ride-service company Uber. No matter where she goes, Kassim says she still carries Havergal with her: in her work ethic, in her moral compass, in her values. One of her biggest mantras? “I can do anything. ‘Girls can do anything,’ I think, is number one,” says Kassim. “The experience and foundation of going to an all-girls school and seeing female role models helps you build confidence.”

engaging her love of the cello by starting an early stage strings program for juniors to engage them even before entering orchestra from Grade 7. Kassim also credits Dean of Students Brenda Robson and Principal Susan Ditchburn for teaching her how to lead in her final year as Head Girl (currently known as School Captain) and beyond. “Those two women supported me and coached me through that, and it definitely made me a much stronger leader during that year and for the rest of my life. Both had a really strong sense of values and they helped me stay true to my mine,” says Kassim. Besides music, Kassim was also a debater, a skill that took her all the way to Botswana in the International Private School Debating Championships. She also really valued her experience as Head Girl, particularly because she fast-tracked to graduate in Grade 12 and was a year younger than some of the Grade 13 students she was leading. “It was a real honour and a privilege to be recognized and to be someone whom other students looked up to,” says Kassim. After graduation, Kassim completed her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and then a master’s degree in Development Management at the London School of

Ask Lola Kassim to name her favourite teacher at Havergal and she rhymes off several names, all while apologizing about there being too many to mention. The first to impress her was in Grade 3, right when she joined Havergal (she attended all the way until Grade 12, with a year’s absence in Grade 8 to try out another girls independent school in Toronto that her sisters attended— she came back). Even as an eight-year- old, she realized that her teacher Mrs. Thompson was speaking the truth when she recognized Kassim’s inherent shyness and prodded her to use her voice. “She said, ‘If you don’t speak up in class, you’re not going to be heard,’” recalls Kassim. “I tend to not like to speak until I’ve fully formed my thoughts. But she just gave me that nudge, and it’s funny because many times in my life when I’m not feeling it, I always think back to her. It’s been critical.” Many other teachers stood out to Kassim— the English teacher who taught her to think critically and challenge assumptions, the biology teacher who impressed Kassim with her discipline and the many music teachers who impressed her with their passion. She remembers Mrs. Frensch especially for



The Hall of Distinction Recognition for graduates young and old

bring the total up to 125 in honour of Havergal’s 125th anniversary. Unlike the Old Girls Award, this honour is awarded posthumously as well as to the living, and given in recognition of a singular, noteworthy accomplishment. While the Hall of Distinction is a recognition, it is also a place. Special plaques in the hallway off the Rotunda at Havergal display composite photographs of the cohorts, along with the names and biographies of these special graduates. It is a place where students can go to be inspired and visitors can find out more about the success stories that originate from Havergal. Hall of Distinction members are peer- nominated and then voted in by a committee of Old Girls. Since the award is for a singular accomplishment rather than a lifetime body of work, younger Old Girls are also eligible for the recognition— this year’s youngest inductee is from the class of 2006 (Dasha Peregoudova, the taekwondo medallist).

Yet a final piece to the story of graduates at Havergal is one of its latest awards, the Hall of Distinction. Just a handful of examples from the latest list of inductees reveal the diversity of spheres in which graduates are making a mark: the first woman posted to Canada’s permanent mission to the United Nations. The first ethnic model to sign a multi-year contract with CoverGirl. The current Chief Medical Officer of Health for Toronto. Founder of Shedoesthecity. com, an online publication supporting Canadian women. Two-time Pan Am Championship gold recipient in taekwondo in 2006 and 2008. Established in 1994 by the Havergal Old Girls Association (HOGA), the Hall of Distinction was created to recognize Old Girls whose achievements in a range of fields, from business to science to sports to the arts to volunteerism, make them “stand apart from the ordinary.” Awarded every five years, 103 were named by 2014. This year, 22 were added to




2019 Inductees

This year’s Hall of Distinction inductees were recognized at Havergal’s anniversary event at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday, May 3. It was a time of celebration to cheer for the success of these distinguished alumnae, as well as the continued stream of Grads to emerge from Havergal.

12  Lana Ogilvie 1986 13  Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri 1991 14  Dasha Peregoudova 2006 15  Cecily Cannan Selby 1943 16  Michelle Mehra Shouldice 1985 17  Michelle St. Jacques 1996 18  Tanya Taylor 2003 19  Jennifer Tory 1974 20  Eileen de Villa 1987 21  Catharine Bertram Walsh 1996 22  Margie Zeidler 1976

1  Jeannie Callum 1986 2  Earlaine Stewart Collins 1956 3  Shelly Dev 1994 4  Martha Merry Fell 1987 5  Susie Wright Gooderham 1974 6  Joanna Griffiths 2001 7  Alannah Campbell Kearns 1974 8  Gay Sellers Kroeger 1952 9  Sonia Armstrong Labatt 1956 10  Christiane Lemieux 1988 11  Jennifer McNeely 1998




















Havergal 125

A Year of Celebrations for Havergal’s 125th Anniversary

By Catharine Heddle 1989

Mother-daughter duo 2019 Class Rep Catherine Thomas and Old Girl Pauline Chan 1983 at Legacy Prayers.

mothers (24 families in all), were invited to breakfast in the Ellen Knox Library before Prayers, making it a memorable morning for these legacy families. “Many in the room were surprised to learn that Celebration Saturday wasn’t always on a Saturday and had relatively humble beginnings,” says Senior Alumnae Officer Helena Follows. “But more importantly, this 125th anniversary Legacy Prayers connected the events of today back to a tradition that started long ago. The school community truly appreciates the effort that the 2019 Class Reps put into organizing this special morning.” Though the official Havergal 125 kickoff was in January, preparations began long before that. For several years, former teacher and parent Jean Sheppard—Old Girls from the classes of 1986 to 2012 will remember her English and Drama classes—has been researching material to write an e-book addendum to Mary Byers’ beautiful Havergal: Celebrating a Century , published in 1994. The e-book traces the last 25 years of Havergal’s history and is written in a way that will spark fond memories for those who were part of it. “The book traces the development of an institution,” says Sheppard. “It explores the web of relationships and the pedagogical principles that guide the teachers, impact the students and make the school what it is.” The book’s electronic format will have linked audio and text files of student and teacher voices and writing. One section asks former teachers to recall their favourite lessons, while other sections explore the facilities and grounds, school culture and the nature of teaching and learning at the school. Watch for its release this coming fall.

Roy Thomson Hall was bursting with Havergal spirit a few weeks ago, as more than 2,000 members of the school community gathered for an evening of music, dance and drama. It was a special celebration to mark the school’s 125th milestone anniversary. The Havergal 125 celebrations kicked off on January 18, 2019, with a special Legacy Prayers, an event that connects current students with the school’s history and our Old Girls. The 2019 Class Reps Catherine Thomas, Ana Langford and Quinn Danniels planned, prepared and presented a history of Celebration Saturday for Legacy Prayers. Research in preparation for their presentation led our 2019 Class Reps to the Resource Centre, the Havergal Archives and their own kitchen tables; two of the three girls have mothers who are Old Girls. The trio discovered that Celebration Saturday originated in the 1930s as the Havergal Bazaar, a modest sale that took place on a school-day afternoon in what’s now known as Brenda Robson Hall. The bazaar sold items made by parents and teachers to raise money for the United Way. Cookiegrams were then, and remain, a highlight of the event. In recent decades, Celebration Saturday has grown into a fundraising extravaganza that takes over the entire school and features everything from bouncy castles to puppy petting. Each year, it raises nearly $60,000 for local charitable organizations such as ArtCity, Best Buddies,, New Circles and others. It was an unusual twist at Legacy Prayers: the whole school was given special permission to bring their phones, so that they could participate in an interactive live poll. Thomas and her mother, Old Girl Pauline Chan 1983, performed a family favourite, Here Comes the Sun . The pair, along with other students and their Old Girl


A year of 125 celebrations (clockwise from right): a Grade 8 Art student creates her addition to the fused glass legacy project; Director of Performing Arts Cissy Goodridge (centre, left) and composer Marie-Claire Saindon (centre, right) rehearse the 125th anniversary song with a Grade 10 Band class; visiting artist Bonnie Thomson works with a Grade 10 student on her piece of fused glass.

Over the past three years, Grade 8 and Grade 10 art students, teachers and art club members have been working with fused glass artist Bonnie Thomson to create an enormous glass mural to be installed in the windows above and around the south-facing doors in Temerty Commons. Made up of hundreds of green, yellow, orange and red leaves arranged in 30 individual panels, the fused glass installation will form a tree that symbolizes growth and change, themes chosen by students. Among the colourful leaves, portions of clear glass will create a dappled effect, letting light through and partially revealing the school’s ivy-covered walls in the courtyard beyond. Each leaf was created by an individual student or teacher according to a plan drawn up by the Grade 10 art classes several years earlier. “Fused glass is a very involved technique, quite different from drawing and painting,” says Upper School Art teacher Kate Berchtold-Wall, who oversaw the project. Fused glass involves cutting and grinding glass, working with finely ground glass particles known as frit, using propane torches and squirt glass and even hair spray. Each piece is fired in a kiln at more than 1200°F.

Elsewhere in the school, students have been working for more than a year on the creation of the very piece of music that filled Roy Thomson Hall so beautifully this spring. The original, seven-minute composition, entitled Past, Present, Future: Havergal’s 125th Anniversary Song , was the brainchild of Havergal’s Director of Performing Arts Cissy Goodridge and Principal Helen-Kay Davy. Its creation was a collaboration among students across two school years in at least three different disciplines. Students from the Middle School and Senior Choirs and the Symphonic Band and Orchestra worked with Montreal-based composer Marie-Claire Saindon to develop the piece’s three themes: growth, reflected in the piece’s first movement “From the Dark”; community, as showcased in the second movement “The Towering Panes,” a reference to Havergal’s beloved stained-glass windows; and empowerment, as heard in the third movement “Wake the Embers.” Once the themes were established, Grade 12 Writer’s Craft students worked with their teacher Laura McRae, a published poet, to create the text for the piece. The bilingual composer also worked with Grade 11 French students, under teacher Stephanie Bryant, to establish the themes. At the performance on May 3, Ms. Goodridge conducted while 24 Old Girls joined members of the Junior School, Middle School and Senior Choirs, the Dance Troupe, Drama students and steel pan drumming group sang and the Orchestra and Symphonic Band accompanied them. The second movement, “The Towering Panes,” will be added to Havergal’s alternate hymnbook, known as the Green Book , so that it can live on for future generations of students to perform and enjoy.

The work will be unveiled during the 2019–20 school year.

Celebrations Throughout the Year In addition to these four major undertakings, the school has also integrated 125th anniversary celebrations throughout 2019.



Years of


Havergal College

Open for a look back at Havergal’s history since 1894


125 Years of Havergal College

1910 The Grandchildren’s Party was started by Principal Ellen Knox for Old Girls and their descendents. At this event, Old Girls, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy an afternoon of activities and games at the school.

1894 Havergal College opens on September 11, with seven

Boarders and 31 Day students at 350 Jarvis St. Havergal’s First Principal is Ellen Knox, who remained in the position until her death in 1924. She was know for asking students: “What are you going to do?”

1896 The first alumnae association that was established for Old Girls was the Havergal Coverley Club. It was a monthly literary society that supported continuing education for Old Girls. Today, the Old Girl community includes more than 9,500 alumnae worldwide.

1914 The publication Chronicle (then known as the Coverley Chronicle ) was first published.

1898 The first edition of Ludemus , the school yearbook, was published in 1898. The name is taken from the original school motto: Opere Peracto Ludemus (“When our work is finished, we shall play”).

1924 The Havergal College school song, written in 1924, is entitled Vitai Lampada Tradens . The title refers to the school motto, translated as “passing on the torch of life.”

1923 The Stoneager title was originally given by the first reunion group of Old Girls to themselves, when they joked “The Stone Age Awakes!” and “The Stone Age Leads the Way!” The name continues to be used today for Old Girls who graduated 60 or more years ago.“

1912 An official school uniform was instated, putting an end to, as Principal Ellen Knox wrote, “extravagant blouses... which are practically evening dress.” In 1923, Havergal introduced the tunic, which is still worn today.

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