Class of 2016
At Havergal College, we offer our students the opportunity to excel in academics, arts, athletics and leadership. When you look at the 113 students in the 2016 graduating class, it is clear these future leaders have taken what’s been offered to them and made it their own. They have won scholarships, created dynamic visionary projects, led their teams to victory and transformed the Havergal experience into unique versions of excellence.
Meet Some of our Graduates
Sarah Alexis Gritis
University of St Andrews, Medicine
“I’m really passionate about helping people,” says Sarah Alexis, who has planned to be a doctor since childhood. This competitive swimmer helped Havergal win the conference championships and a gold at Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA). An accomplished violinist, she was concert master for Havergal’s Symphony Orchestra in Grade 12. Sarah Alexis served on the Student Council, Community Council and Welcome Committee for three years. She was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award for Students, received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award, earned the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and won the Yale Book Prize. Her passion for science inspires her to learn outside of the classroom by volunteering at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She also founded Havergal’s Pre-Med Club. Sarah Alexis is now attending the University of St Andrews direct entry medical school program, where she will no doubt continue her well-rounded approach.
Columbia University, Liberal Arts and Humanities
For Diane, arts and social justice go hand in hand. Her senior year fine art project explored income inequality by painting a plate: half depicted a sparse meal, the other side an elegant, bountiful feast. Diane connected with social issues when she started writing for the school paper, Behind the Ivy, in Grade 8; she served as editor-inchief in Grade 11. Since arriving in Grade 7, Diane has received academic distinction every year. She volunteered with the ArtHeart Community Art Centre and was elected Community Prefect for Havergal in her final year. She has taught art to students in Uganda, showcased her work in art exhibitions in Toronto and New York City and wrote and illustrated a children’s book on landscape art titled Landscape Explorers. During a trip to New York City with her Grade 12 art class, Diane fell in love with the busy, creative city. She is now at Columbia, where she will declare a major later. “I’d like to get into some publications or see where visual arts takes me.”
University of Waterloo, Honours Science
When Vanessa’s grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, visited for a month, she would listen to her granddaughter play piano. “I saw the impact music had on her and her mood,” says Vanessa, who was in Grade 11 at the time. She went to The Institute at Havergal and got support to launch Music Connect, a community partnership that enables Havergal musicians to play at a local seniors’ home. She earned the Student Innovation Award in 2015 for her initiative, which continues at Havergal today. Vanessa sang in the Senior Choir, played flute in the Symphonic Band, competed at DECA, played on the Badminton team and was co-head of the Math Club. Vanessa volunteered at the nephrology lab at SickKids hospital and at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital through its music therapy program. She has earned Conditional Admission to Pharmacy (CAP) at Waterloo, pre-admission to the School of Pharmacy, which she will begin in her third year. Vanessa is excited about a career in healthcare that will integrate her interests in the sciences and improve the lives of others.
University of Toronto, Architecture
Brontë knew she wanted to study architecture, but was the University of Toronto program focused enough on design? Contacting some Old Girls from Havergal gave her the information she needed. “I tapped into the community and they were so helpful,” says Brontë. She was a quintessential team player when she took the ice with the Havergal Hockey team by focusing on passing, not just scoring. “I really like to share the puck.” As Team Captain in her senior year, she led the girls to winning the Hewitt Cup. Academically, she combines the sciences with the visual arts, where she enjoys working with her hands. Brontë’s final art installation was a grenade shaped like a peanut, which represents what it’s like to live with a peanut allergy.
California Institute of Technology, Engineering and Applied Sciences
“Havergal is all about community. So many people here helped me discover my passions and my interests,” says Angelina. No wonder she chose to study at the California Institute of Technology, with just 230 students in the program and a 3:1 student-faculty ratio. “It’s a small school, with a really close-knit community. I’m able to focus on researching and exploring science.” While at Havergal, she swam for the Swim team, earning Athlete of the Year and 10 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) medals: eight gold and two silver. She played piano in the Chamber Orchestra, was co-head of the Math Club and was the editor of the athletic newsletter, Gator Zone. Angelina is a National AP Scholar, earned Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards, is part of the Canadian National Math League Honour Roll and is the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal of Highest General Proficiency. She hopes to keep up her exploration of the arts and humanities—she believes it makes her more well-rounded and informs her creative thinking in math and science.
University based in the UK, Veterinary Sciences
“I’ve moved so much and was happy when I arrived at Havergal. Everyone made me feel so welcome,” says Mengxuan, who emigrated from China, lived in Germany and moved several times within Canada. A Havergal student since Grade 9, she joined the choir, Symphonic Band and the orchestra. “Art helps me relax,” says Mengxuan, an accomplished artist who specializes in pencil sketches and photography. She excels at science and planned early on to attend vet school. Her volunteer work at the Guelph Humane Society and veterinary clinics allowed her to overcome her fear of seeing animals in pain. She plans to specialize in caring for exotic animals and later do a PhD. Mengxuan is thrilled to be seeing the world once again as she studies overseas in the UK.
Queen’s University, Engineering
Havergal College for Rachel was all about going to Lake Ontario at 5:30 am to train with the Rowing team—her boat took home silver at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association finals last spring. “It’s pretty incredible what we can do before most people are even awake,” says Rachel, who served as Team Captain for two years, was named Senior Athlete of the Year and won the Sportsmanship Cup. When she began attending Havergal in Grade 7, she was quiet and shy. Friends made through basketball and rowing helped, as did drama classes. In school, she has always been passionate about math and science and enrolled in extra classes at Havergal—such as philosophy—to expand her knowledge base. “Philosophy gives you a new way to look at information. Nothing is definite. You don’t have to have the answer to everything.”
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