March 2022

Gator Gazette

headshot of laura franks

Message from the Head of Boarding

Laura Franks

Dear Parents,

Two years ago at this time, the world was thrust into a global pandemic. The days and months since have been both challenging and inspiring. Our Boarding community and school adjusted in incredible ways to this situation, as required by our public health agencies, the Ministry of Education and Congregate Care Living Guidelines. As we are coming out of the latest Omicron wave, there are signs that we are heading back to the way things were before. Most Public Health measures in Ontario are now being lifted and we expect the government to continue in this vein in the weeks to come.

Our Boarders have learned much about themselves, their communities and their own strength and resilience. While at times we lived in isolation from many others, Boarders learned to rely on themselves and each other for support. In addition, our Health Centre, Guidance Department and Boarding staff provided multi-faceted services to Boarding students to help them along this journey. For example, in our Boarding Program this year, we have been learning about hope and optimism and how we can develop these skills that are so essential to wellbeing. These skills augment our resilience and enable us to enhance our psychological fitness.  

We are looking forward to the spring term and all that entails, from greater opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as well as more weekend workshops, off-campus excursions and, of course, lots of time for our Boarders to be involved in extracurricular activities to explore the city of Toronto and to socialize and hang out with each other on the weekends. Boarder elections will happen in April and we will all be preparing for the first full in-person end of the school year since June 2019, including our Grad Boarder/Parent Tea, Candlelight Ceremony and Graduation.

All the best,

Laura Franks 
Head of Boarding

Inside Boarding

Headshot of Jamie W.

Message from the Boarder Prefect

Jamie W., Grade 12

Dear Parents,

As we step into the second semester of the school year, I am glad to see that many of my Boarding friends have adjusted well to our community. Despite the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, Boarders were able to enjoy themselves through various Boarding activities. Speaking on behalf of the Junior Don team, it is truly rewarding to witness new friendships form while old ones continue to strengthen.

In-house activities have definitely been the highlight of the past few months. Having the privilege to live on campus, Boarders have made good use of Day School spaces as activity venues. To name a few of the numerous memorable events, Boarders have enjoyed participating in basketball games, painting sessions and friendship bracelet making workshops.

In addition, we have also had the opportunity to participate in off-campus activities. Last month, some of our Boarders paid a visit to Upper Canada College to watch a hockey game. Our trip to the arcade was also unforgettable as we engaged in laser tag and bowling. 

The Boarding School continues to offer an enriching program, which includes a monthly Boarding trip alongside a weekly on-campus activity. Over the past semester, I am pleased to have received positive feedback from my fellow Boarding School friends. However, the Boarding team realizes that there is always room for improvement and hence is devoted to continue making changes. Looking ahead to the spring term, we are excited to be going on a trip to Canada’s Wonderland on top of our in-house events. 


Jamie Wu
Boarding Prefect

Headshot of Mathilda L.W.

Message from the Head Junior Don

Mathilda L.W., Grade 12

Dear Parents,

In my first year at Havergal (Grade 10), the world seemed to come to a halt. As the restrictions of a pandemic-induced lockdown began, it felt as if the only thing to do was wait out the storm until regular life could resume. Long story short, we are still in the midst of the same pandemic—and I have no idea what phase of lockdown we are in. However, as for most of us, this lockdown became a period of reflection for me and I am grateful that it was facilitated by Boarding.

As an only child, my Orillia home was very isolating with much of my family in other cities and my mom constantly away working at the local hospital. When coming back to school after an extended Christmas break in Grade 11, I was grateful to be around people again. Living in a congregate space is both a luxury and a burden. The regulations put in place often felt suffocating; however, this experience has taught me that I have a responsibility both as a member of a community and as an individual.

As well, being part of the Junior Don team for two out of my three years at Havergal has given me confidence and taught me how to better communicate my ideas. It has helped me expand my understanding of what a leader is and better understand the type of leader I am. I could not be more thankful to be a part of a team that is so accepting of others’ ideas. The problem solving skills that were developed through the many COVID-19 constraints when planning activities are also something that will serve me well as I enter an engineering program in the fall. From what I have seen in the wider Boarding community, the leadership at Havergal Boarding is in good hands for next year.

As I embark on my last four months at Havergal, I reflect on the lessons Boarding has taught me. I have learned how to do practical things such as washing my clothes, throwing together a quick meal when I am late for class and creating a strong work ethic (thanks to mandatory study time). I have also grown as a person, learned how to handle conflict, to take time for myself and to become more independent. Boarding not only gave me a sanctuary to grow and still feel supported, but it also gave me memories and friendships that I will look back on fondly. Graduation will definitely bring many tears as I will miss the people that have made Havergal my second home.

I could not be more thankful for the experiences I have had living alone in a sheltered environment and I feel excited and well-prepared to tackle university.


Mathilda LaBrash-White
Head Junior Don 

A Boarder throws snow in the air as another looks on.

Boarding Program Activities

Keeping up with the vibrant Boarding community we have built since the first semester, we have continued to host various on and off-campus events. Although we are still keeping Boarders in cohorts—Grade 9s and 10s, Grade 11s and Grade 12s—the cross-cohort relationships have become much stronger and closer through the inter-cohort activities and the sharing of treats. Hopefully the pandemic situation will be better soon and our Boarding family can reunite with their masks on!

Sports Day

During Sports Day, Boarders actively participated in an intense basketball game. The rigorous activity not only provided a chance for Boarders to exercise and release their stress, but it also built their sense of unity within cohorts. After the long week of hard work, Boarders felt renewed and ready to start fresh!

Boarders play basketball in a gym.

Friday & Sunday Treat

Boarding staff have been offering all Boarders an Uber Eats treat every Friday and Sunday. After finishing a long, busy week from school, Boarders cannot wait to click on the link sent by Dons to order their favorable snack from the restaurant picked by the Junior Dons. The weekly treats are undoubtedly consoling for many of us during the pandemic.

Three desserts from Fuwa Fuwa.

Valentine’s Day Dinner

With a main course of scallops or ribs, Boarders had a spectacular Valentine’s dinner together, prepared and served by our Food Services team. Boarders in the same cohort were able to sit around a big round table to chat and appreciate the amazing food the wonderful kitchen staff had prepared. There were six courses during the 90-minute fine dinner: lobster soup and grilled cheese as appetizers, fresh veggies salad, grapefruit sorbet, scallops and ribs as the main course, brownie with heart-shaped chocolates decorated on top and, finally, the popular chocolate-dipped strawberries!

Vegetables plated for Valentine's Day dinner.

Hockey Game at Upper Canada College

On a rainy Friday, the planned cross-country skiing activity was changed into watching a hockey game at Upper Canada College (UCC)! Boarders were able to visit the UCC campus and chat with fellow students at the school. This activity not only offered Boarders a chance to visit a new campus, but it was also a great opportunity to socialize with new people. The hockey game was super intriguing. By the end, Havergal Boarders were very spirited and cheering together for the UCC team.

Students watch an ice hockey game at Upper Canada College.

Upcoming Events

Students in white gowns throw graduation caps into the air.

March 10-27: March Break (Boarding Closed)

March 28: Boarding Election Applications Due

April 4: Junior Don Elections Town Hall Meeting & Voting 

April 9: Putting Edge Off-Campus Excursion

April 14-18: Easter Break (Boarding Closed)

May 6: Wonderland Off-Campus Excursion

June 3: Medieval Times Dinner Off-Campus Excursion

June 13: Boarder Farewell Dinner

June 15: Grad Boarder/Parent Tea (4-6 pm)

June 16: Candlelight Ceremony (Gr. 11 & 12, 6-8 pm)

June 17: Graduation (1-5 pm)