Important Update – Extended School Closure Until the End of Year
Supporting Wellbeing Through the Arts
Dear Boarding Community,
Welcome to those of you who are new to Havergal and welcome back to those who are returning! We are now under a month away from the start of school, so the Junior Don Team and I wanted send you a warm welcome and give you some information that might be helpful before you arrive. More Boarding resources can also be found on our Back to School page.
First, I would like to apologize because I will not be there for the start of school due to medical reasons; however, I will be back by mid- to late-September. In my place, Ms. Alexandra Denis will be the Interim Head of Boarding. Ms. Denis knows the Boarding School very well, having been a Boarding Don and periodically helping out our community in the years since. She also works as a full-time Middle School French teacher in our Languages department. Ms. Denis will kick off the school year while I am away. You will all be in very good hands with her.
I would like to introduce the rest of the Boarding Don team. We are welcoming back once again Ms. Claire Davis, who will continue in her role as Weekend Don. Ms. Davis will be on campus from Friday to Sunday each week. I would also like to welcome back Ms. Rosalyn Yake, who is returning to our Boarding community after working many years with the Ontario government. Ms. Yake decided to take a year off and return to what she loves… working with you! I would like to welcome Ms. Shannon Able, Ms. Paige Day and Ms. Kate Trueland, who are all very excited to be working with you this year. You can find bios for our Dons here.
September is a busy month for Havergal, especially in the Boarding community. We use this time to settle the girls in, build relationships and introduce Boarders to the city and to the broader community. It can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes, but keep in mind that everything we do is done with purpose. We have loads of activities planned for Boarders this month, so be prepared to be busy! I also wanted to send a reminder that we have a mandatory stay-in our first weekend so that the girls can get to know each other, which means that Boarders will not be permitted to go home or to their guardian’s house.
Should you need to send an email to our Boarding Don team, please use email@example.com. If you are sending an email to a staff member directly, the email format is always our first initial followed by last name, for example: Ms. Alexandra Denis’ email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The staff looks forward to seeing you on Move-In Day on Monday, September 2.
I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer!
Head of Boarding
First off, I would like to say welcome to our new and returning girls to the 2019-20 school year! I hope you are all well-rested and ready to roll for this exciting year ahead. I am Catherine Feng, and I am honored to be your Boarder Prefect for the year. I came to Havergal in Grade 7 and I have always wanted to be a Boarder, even before applying. I joined the Boarding family in Grade 10 and I have to say that it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.
Boarding is an exceptional community within the larger Havergal community because it allows students to be independent and grow as people. I am proud to say that, after two years in Boarding, I believe that I have learned more things than I would have in the Day School. In Boarding, you always find yourself being introduced to and challenged by new ideas and perspectives, while building incredibly strong relationships. It really brings many unique young women together.
Since the beginning of summer, the members of our dedicated Junior Don (JD) team have shown immense initiative as they have already started planning and brainstorming ideas for events ahead. From weekend tours of Toronto to our in-house Games Night, these events are all created for you to experience. My job as Prefect is to strengthen the bond within the Boarding community and to strengthen the relationship between the Boarding and Day Schools. This year, I would like to focus on the subject of representation. I want Boarders to be represented and feel like they have a voice in the Day School. I want Boarders to be known for who they are, not just “the girls upstairs.”
Going into a new environment is never easy. A new school, area and relationships can all be pretty intimidating. But, rest assured that you will have a lot of support here and you will never feel alone. In conclusion, I am very excited to meet you all in September; let’s make this year the best one yet!
Hello, my dear Boarders and Boarding families! My name is Kaylee Yang and I am so honoured to be the Head Junior Don this year. I came to Havergal in Grade 11 as a Boarder and it has been my second home since then. I am so grateful to this community, which has become an essential part of my life and has made me grow into a better individual. I will be assisting Catherine and the excellent Junior Don team to make your experience in Boarding this year the best one yet. I grew up in Shenzhen, China, and my family currently lives in Oakville. In the Day School, I am also DECA President for the 2019-20 school year. It’s a pleasure to be part of this wonderful Boarding family and I am sure that you will feel the same way. I am always available for conversations, so don’t hesitate to reach out! Catherine and I can’t wait to welcome our new girls on Move-In Day and to see our returning Boarders—we have a lot of fun events planned for you!
Lime: Lime is an Asian restaurant in the Yonge-Lawrence area (a 15-minute walk from school) with an exquisite environment and quality food at a very affordable price. The food there might be different from the food you get in your hometown if you are from Asia, but everything is delicious and made with their own style that everyone can enjoy. The spring rolls are strongly recommended!
Gyubee Japanese BBQ: Gyubee is an All You Can Eat (AYCE) BBQ restaurant near the St. George subway station. It’s definitely one of the best AYCE BBQ places in Toronto. The only drawback is that no matter what time you go, there’s always a long line that you have to wait in. It’s worth the wait for the good food!
Suliko: Suliko is a Georgian restaurant on the east side of North York. Here you can get an original taste of Georgia with many unique and delicious dishes. For cheese lovers, I strongly recommend xachapuri (a cheese pie). But don’t order too much, because it is very easy to get full eating cheese pie!
La Diperie: La Diperie is a small dessert restaurant about 20 minutes away from school. It sells creamy ice cream and sweet crepes, which are perfect for a weekend snack. It is near Lime, the Asian restaurant mentioned above. The Oreo crepes are highly recommended!
Dim Sum Queen: Not only is Dim Sum Queen cheap, but it is also really delicious. Their dishes are great for a simple meal with friends. They also have vegetarian options.
Moving away from your home is hard. But moving abroad to live alone without your parents while still in high school is ten times harder. Being a child and having so many expectations thrust upon you suddenly can be hard to handle. In all honesty, as students who have gone through a year in Boarding, we’ll admit that it does take an emotional toll on you and everyone around you. Without the advice of your parents, it is harder to make your own decisions and handle problems. When you first get here, you might think that you will never feel homesick because everything seems so exciting: living in a new environment, being with your friends 24/7 and starting a new stage of your life all by yourself. But the novelty dissipates and the emotions can start eating you up. Some people say that as time passes, homesickness also fades, but we don’t agree with that. Homesickness is just like loneliness. It will silently accompany you and occasionally comes out to bother you a little bit. Luckily, you have many other Boarders who are going through the same thing as you and many more who have been through what you are going through.
So, your Newsletter JDs have decided to help you by compiling a list of tips on how to deal with homesickness. Please note that not everyone is the same, so what works for you may not work for others. It is important to respect how other people deal with their homesickness. A new Boarder’s first year is their hardest, so don’t make judgements based on their initial reaction to being all alone as a teen. Being a Boarder is a great opportunity for us to make mistakes and learn from them, so our first tip is: forgive others as well as yourself.
Forgiveness is very important in our community. In Boarding, we have students coming from all over the world. While it is an amazing opportunity to make friends with people from different cultures, it is also vital to remember that not everyone has the same knowledge and experiences as you. To put it bluntly: people can be ignorant, but so can you. If someone makes a wrong assumption about you or where you’re from, the best thing to do is to nicely correct them and use it as a teachable moment. Most likely they had good intentions, but just had trouble with the delivery. Remember: educate, don’t hate.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that everyone in the Boarding community is living alone without their parents near them. You and everyone around you will be making a lot of mistakes, so it is important to forgive. The best way to handle the stress is to eat some good food from your hometown or hang out with friends. This leads to our second tip: have fun and make friends.
Being in Boarding is a great opportunity for you to make friends. Living together helps form bonds unlike any other. It helps you find people who you immediately connect with, while getting to know those who you never would have thought you would be friends with. In Boarding, you’ll find that no one is who you first expected them to be, so don’t be intimidated. They’re probably just as eager to make friends as you are. The best thing about living in the school is that your friends are close so it’s easy to have fun all the time. But let us not forget the real reason why we’re here: to gain a better education and have access to more opportunities. So our third tip is: make use of the resources provided in the school.
Havergal is filled not only with resources like the gym, swimming pool and library, but also with opportunities like the wide array of clubs, athletic teams and community partnerships. If there is nothing that interests you within the school, ask classmates what they are involved in outside of school. You will be surprised by how much Toronto has to offer! From high school business competitions to Hackathons at top universities, you never know what to expect until you try it. Doing these activities makes it easier to take your mind off of homesickness. If you have problems choosing your subjects or are facing difficulties with homework, don’t be afraid to email your teachers for help. They’re very understanding and are most likely already waiting for you to approach them. However, if your problems are more personal and emotional, there are other resources available. This leads to our fourth tip: talk to someone.
Our school’s Social Worker is always available if you want to talk to someone. You can also talk to the Boarding Dons or a Guidance Counsellor. If you are uncomfortable with talking to people of authority, you can always go to your friends in Boarding. Don’t panic if you feel a certain way, because chances are they know what you are going through or are feeling the same way themselves. Knowing that someone is there to support you is very important. Our Wellness JD for the 2019-20 school year is planning on organizing “cry sessions” so that students can openly talk about their emotions with their peers. However, if you are uncomfortable with talking about feelings, you can cry it out on your own. Using myself (Samantha) as an example, I was still crying due to homesickness after my first semester. As long as you’re not bottling your feelings or spacing out, a good cry can be very beneficial.
No matter what happens, remember that you have many people in the Boarding community who are supporting you, so you are never going through it alone. When you’re dealing with emotional distress, we recommend not trying to do heavy work because you won’t be able to do your best. If you need an extension on an assignment, explain your situation to your teacher and they will understand. Meanwhile, watch some YouTube videos to make you happy. We know cute animals always help.
August 30: JD move-in, starting at 9 am
August 31-September 1: JD training
September 2: Move-In Day & parent dinner
September 6: Dinner & dance at UCC, 5:30-10:30 pm
September 7 & 8: Mandatory stay-in weekend
September 7: Canada’s Wonderland, 12:30-6:30 pm
September 8: Amazing Race with UCC
September 9: Health & wellness talk with Nurse Miller
September 10: Dance demo with Niky Johnson
September 11: RINX laser tag & bowling
September 14: CN Tower & aquarium excursion
September 15: Trip to IKEA, 12:30 pm
September 16-20: Family Outing Week
September 18: Grade Rep applications handed out
September 23: Grade Rep speeches, 6 pm
September 25: Grade Rep elections
September 27: JD set-up for Celebration Saturday
September 28 & 29: Celebration Saturday & Reunion Weekend