Fall 2023

Gator Gazette

Past Parent Message

Welcome to the Havergal past parent community! We hope you had a wonderful summer and that you and your daughters have transitioned smoothly to post-Havergal life. 

As you heard in the spring, the Havergal College Parent Association (HCPA) is pleased to introduce a new program to help past parents stay connected to the school—and to one another—now that our daughters have moved beyond the ivy walls. This first edition of the HCPA’s Gator Gazette newsletter is one of the key ways we will do this. 

In addition to updating you on relevant Havergal news, we are also committed to letting you know about events that may be of interest to you and your families.

Your feedback about this newsletter would be much appreciated—we want to make sure we’re providing you with relevant information. We anticipate that our next issue will be sent in the new year. Please send your feedback to Ruth Ley and Jane Zhang at [email protected].  

We hope to see you at Ivy Market and Carol Service. In the meantime, we wish you and your families all the best.

Warm regards,

Ruth Ley (mother of Hana Ley, Class of 2023) and Jane Zhang (mother of Katelyn Cai, Class of 2023)

Katrina Samson

Principal’s Message

Dr. Katrina Samson

(Message from “Inside Havergal” newsletter)
We have been blessed here at Havergal with so many opportunities to connect with our community this fall. Our Grade 7, 8, 9 and 12 students were away at camps where they bonded as a class, developed teamwork skills and prepared for the year ahead. Last month, we welcomed back hundreds of Old Girls/Alums to campus for Reunion Week. We celebrated those Old Girls who reached their 50+ year reunion milestones at the Golden Reflections Luncheon. We welcomed back former Boarders to connect with our current Boarding students and staff at the Former Boarder Dinner. We capped the week off with the Reunion Cocktail Reception, where classes ending in ‘3 and ‘8 came together to reconnect with one another and their beloved school.

On Saturday, September 23, our whole school community came together for Celebration Saturday 2023. This is an annual event where we gather to raise funds and awareness for the important work done via our Community Partnerships. It was another beautiful day at Havergal, but even more impactful was seeing our community come together in support of local organizations that are making a difference. In short, it was a day designed to build community and to put our mission—to make a difference—into action.

I’m energized when I contemplate the future we’re building together at Havergal. We are coming off of a year of intensive planning as we worked to collect insight and feedback to shape Havergal’s next strategic direction. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll hear more about the bold plans we have to ensure that our girls are receiving the very best preparation to head out into the world and be positive change-makers. You’ll also hear about the near-term and future-term initiatives we are undertaking to continue in our pursuit of excellence as a school. I again want to thank the students, employees, parents and Old Girls/Alums who shared their ideas and hopes for Havergal, building on our rich history and investing in future opportunities for our girls. 

As we welcome this new school year, I encourage you to join us in exploring the experiences, opportunities and learning that will allow our girls to graduate as young women who will lead progress and innovation into future generations. I am filled with optimism and hope for Havergal’s future as we embark on this new school year together.


Inside Havergal

Ivy Market logo

Ivy Market

Tuesday, November 21

Get into the holiday spirit at the HCPA’s second annual Ivy Market on Tuesday, November 21! Reconnect with the HC community in Brenda Robson Hall and enjoy daytime and evening holiday shopping. Ivy Market features a carefully-curated group of local vendors offering unique gift items and tasty treats. In addition to the Bake Sale and HCPA Holiday Marketplace, you’ll also find HCPA spirit wear for purchase. 

Daytime hours are from 10 am to 4:30 pm for students and parents (including past parents!)—tickets are not required for the daytime event. All current and past parents and Old Girls/Alums are also invited to sip, socialize and shop at the evening cocktail party from 6:30 to 9:30 pm! Tickets are $50 per person and include appetizers and two drinks. All shopping options available during the day will also be featured during the cocktail party. Purchase your tickets here.

Carol Service

Wednesday, December 13, at 7 pm

A long-standing HC tradition, the annual Carol Service will be held on Wednesday, December 13. Past parents are welcome to attend this beautiful service.

If you’re interested in attending or have any questions, please email hcp[email protected].

US students leading a Community Partnership.

Working Together with Our Community Partnerships

Fatima Kaba, Manager of Learning Experiences

Over the years, Havergal College has created relationships with community partners that not only benefit our school, but also have profound impacts on the broader community. These collaborations are essential for cultivating a sense of social responsibility, empathy and civic engagement among students, while providing Havergal students opportunities to make a difference. 

Each Community Partnership is founded on our “4 P” approach. We partner with people first, not necessarily organizations; we honour the place of the people and that informs our work; we seek out different perspectives; and once we have done this, can we enter into a true reciprocal partnership. One of the primary advantages of engaging in Community Partnerships is the development of empathy and social responsibility in students. Through interactions with community members and organizations, students gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and needs within their local area. This first-hand exposure to real-world issues helps students develop empathy and a desire to make positive impacts. They learn to appreciate the value of helping others and develop a sense of responsibility toward their community. Students who participate in our long-standing weekly partnerships at Grenoble Public School and Art City are immersed in a new community by sharing ideas, gaining new perspectives and developing their commitment to others.  

While the communities served in these partnerships benefit from Havergal’s ongoing efforts, the students and school as a whole also benefit from the reciprocal relationship. They gain access to valuable information, expertise and experiences that enhance the educational opportunities they offer. These partnerships enrich the curriculum and provide students with diverse learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom.

At our Community Partnership Fest on Wednesday, September 27, Upper School students will have the opportunity to learn more about our weekly and bi-weekly partnerships and sign up to be part of this incredible learning experience in collaboration with our community partners. 

The Forum for Change strives to develop and continue to grow our relationships with our community partners as they foster a sense of interconnectedness and social responsibility that can last a lifetime. 

A full list of community partnerships can be found here. Learn more about the impact of our partnerships in this video.

Students on a Round Square excursion to the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Student Opportunities Through the Forum for Change

Jessica Randall, Manager of Global Learning Experiences

The Forum for Change (F4C) is the global heartbeat of Havergal College, providing students with experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom and with the world around them. Bringing Havergal’s mission to life, the F4C’s role is to support students in finding their passions and interests to make a difference in the world, locally and globally. 

Recognizing our vision for Havergal graduates, we want them to be globally-minded, confident and resilient decision-makers. We help build bridges and networks to support these opportunities so our students can learn from new perspectives, be self-directed, meet people and discover more about their cultures.

The F4C stretches and challenges our students in ways that support our Portrait of a Grad: in particular, Globally-Minded, Being Flexible and Adaptable Thinkers, and Leaning into Action. We support, through our learning experiences, their development of identity and sense of self with a disposition to action. Through their participation in these opportunities, students learn to adapt and thrive in complex and changing environments so, when they graduate, they can navigate a dynamic and uncertain world.

Opportunities include participating in the Global Learning & Leading Diploma (GLLD), travelling with our Global Exchanges and Excursions, and working with our partner Round Square. Each of these programs is designed to equip students to make a positive difference in the world with a focus on knowing, understanding and developing a practice of global competencies. These programs encourage students to broaden their cultural fluency and make an impact through deep and meaningful learning experiences. Our memberships in global organizations, such as UNESCO Associated Schools Network and Round Square, means more opportunities for our students to engage in global projects, conferences and connections beyond our ivy walls.

The F4C is the place to go for students who have big ideas, want to help those around them and learn more about the world outside of Havergal College through our various opportunities and partnerships.

Two Havergal athletes giving each other high fives.

A New Year of Athletic Opportunities

Anna Bartlett, JS Athletic Director, and Carla Di Filippo, US Athletic Director

The start of the fall season will always be full of excitement because it means sports are back at HC! For us, the Athletic Directors at the Junior and Upper Schools, there is almost no better feeling than the joy of watching our students playing sports on our beautiful 22-acre campus. Typical after school activities for our athletes include swimming in the pool; playing basketball in the gym; competing in field hockey, flag football or soccer on the fields; enjoying the on-campus disc golf course; learning tennis or pickleball on our tennis courts; or running in the Lisa Hardie Woodland Trail. We are truly blessed to be on this campus and in this space. 

This fall, the Upper School boasts 27 sports teams while the Junior School is offering 13 teams. At Havergal, school spirit runs high and we hope each student has the chance to play one sport at some point this school year. There is no better way to meet new people, learn something new and be active all while having fun. 

If you want to view some great photos and updates about athletics, please follow our Instagram page: @havergal_gators. 

Havergal students harvesting honey from the honey comb.

Can You Hear the Buzz?

Garth Nichols, Vice Principal, Experiential Learning and Innovation

Nestled in a fenced-off area with ample sunlight and shade is home to Havergal’s newest members of the community: honeybees. We have partnered with Alveole, a beekeeping company that has excellent experience in schools and organizations in supporting honeybee hives. We have our own designated Beekeeper, and hosted two “Hive to HoneyJar” workshops this month, where our students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to harvest some honey from our hive. Alveole looks after the hive and the bees, ensuring they are well taken care of; moreover, Alveole will be working with the Forum for Change and our interested students to use the data from the bees (their numbers, behaviours, as well as the ingredients in their honey) to learn about the health of our campus ecosystem and the surrounding community. We will be using our honeybees for land-based learning experiences and sustainability practices: understanding pollinator competition in the city of Toronto, and what we can do to support our pollinators and our ecosystem. Discover more about this program by reading “Learning with Honeybees at Havergal,” by visiting our MyHive page or by reaching out to me, Garth Nichols, Vice Principal of Experiential Learning and Innovation, at [email protected].

Pre-Loved Uniforms

If you’re decluttering and find you have Havergal uniform pieces taking up valuable closet space, the HCPA’s Pre-Loved Uniform team is always accepting donations!

The HCPA has installed permanent collection bins across from the Learning Hub at the Junior School and in the alcove by the glass door entrance to the Upper School (across from the Green & Gold Shop).

We gratefully accept skirts, tunics, pants, polo shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, 1/4 zip sweatshirts, jogging pants, gym uniforms and blazers. Please note that we do not accept socks, green leggings, house shirts, customized sweatshirts, spirit wear or white Grad blazers.

When donating, please keep in mind that uniform items should be gently-used—no rips or stains, please!


Eve sitting on a bench outside of the school.

Unveiling Grenoble: A Journey of Service, Friendship and Impact 

Eve U., Head of Grenoble Community Partnership

When people ask me about Grenoble, four things immediately come to mind: carrot muffins, uncontrollable laughter, birthday cake bear paws and endless amounts of grade 5 math homework. My decision to join Grenoble was one of the best ones I’ve made so far during high school, and being the Head of the partnership is an opportunity I’m extremely grateful to have.  

Grenoble is one of the longest-standing community partnerships at Havergal with its mission being to focus on teaching and learning together while creating connections through the understanding of lived experiences and needs. In the program, students get partnered with kids from Grenoble Public School and work with them over the course of 16 weeks. The length of the program really allows partners to bond and to get to know each other on a deeper level, which is a unique characteristic that I love. Whether it’s bonding over the combined misunderstanding of homework instructions or over silly games after we finish work, Grenoble provides endless opportunities to form connections. 

My very first day of the program was filled with nerves, excitement and a little bit of fear. The plan was to play games, get to know the kids and just generally give time for everyone to get to know each other. Surprisingly, there was someone there who seemed to be even more nervous than I was and, funny enough, this someone ended up being my partner for the rest of the year. We sat at the same table, I introduced myself to her and the rest was history. Suddenly, shy smiles turned into big grins, which then turned into endless, uncontrollable giggles. She and I got up to all sorts of things. From trying to sneak extra snacks, to her attempting to teach me cool dance moves, to struggling over math puzzles, we formed a friendship like no other. I went in expecting to be a tutor and I left with a best friend. My experience is the reason I’m excited to be the Head of Grenoble this year. I want to help create a space where partners can hopefully foster friendships like mine and have the opportunity to enjoy and learn from each other. 

Grenoble is more than just a community partnership; it’s an opportunity to make a difference, form lasting bonds and experience the joys of helping others. As I reflect on my time with Grenoble, I can confidently say it has enriched my high school journey in ways I never anticipated. So, whether it’s the aroma of carrot muffins, the echoes of laughter, the fun games after work or the challenge of grade 5 math homework, Grenoble offers a world of experiences waiting to be explored.

Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Jessica Randall's headshot

Jessica Randall

Manager of Global Learning Experiences

Our newest member of the Forum for Change is Jessica Randall, who is the Manager of Global Learning Experiences. In this role, she oversees Havergal’s Exchange program and supports our Community Partnerships. This includes working with a variety of organizations in facilitating art programming, tutoring sessions and mentoring opportunities, as well as hosting food and clothing drives. “Giving back to the community is something I am really passionate about, and being able to do that while helping students find outreach activities they are passionate about is very fulfilling,” says Ms. Randall. “I am so excited to have joined such a welcoming, friendly and spirited community.”

You can find Ms. Randall in the Forum for Change office, located in the Resource Centre (the library). Students are invited to go to the Forum for Change for advice, support and guidance on a variety of things, including finding the right opportunity for them to earn their mandatory 40 hours of community service required to graduate. She also mentors students so they are prepared for what to expect while on Exchange, whether locally or abroad, and acts as a liaison with our Exchange student guests, ensuring they feel safe and comfortable while away from home.

Whether going on a global excursion through our partnership with Round Square, participating in our Exchange program or working with different communities through our local and international partnerships, Ms. Randall is available to provide guidance to our students on their journeys. These experiential learning opportunities are excellent ways for teenagers to gain self-confidence and independence as they discover Canada and the world, meet different people, make new friends and learn about other cultures as they prepare for the future beyond Havergal College.