December 2022

Havergal Highlights

Headshot of Emily Simms-Brown

Message from Admissions

Emily Simms-Brown, Executive Director of Strategic Enrolment Management

Earlier this week the Upper School community joined Dr. Samson in the Brenda Robson Hall to sing, gather and to be reminded to find joy, peace and happiness no matter what you are celebrating at this time of year. As a new year approaches, we all have much to look forward to as we continue to live our values in 2023.

If you enjoy Christmas music, we invite you to get into the holiday spirit as you watch our distinctive Carol Service event, “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” which features Havergal’s wonderful student choirs. This event will be live streamed through YouTube on Thursday, December 22 at 7 pm (and available for later viewing) here. Please join us for this Havergal holiday tradition.

Junior School applicant families are also invited to watch the holiday performances of our Junior School students (Grades 1 to 6) live on Thursday, December 22, starting at 4 pm (or at your convenience) using this link.

We are grateful to each of our prospective families for considering Havergal and we are excited to continue to share with you all the experiences that make Havergal College an exceptional school and community.

Wishing you a happy new year,


Principal’s Message

Dr. Katrina Samson

As the holiday season arrives and we begin to anticipate the joy of gathering with family and friends, early December is a natural moment to think about gratitude and giving back. At Havergal, our Celebration Saturday event comes immediately to mind, where students this year raised $39,837.66 in support of our community partners. Yet another inspiration are our facilities and the programming that over the years have been developed and strengthened thanks to the generosity of our donors. Today at Havergal, we are lucky enough to benefit from those who have gone before us and those who have shown their belief in our school mission with their philanthropic support. Our donors, past and present, recognize that success for one girl contributes to the empowerment of all girls.

Yet, we also recognize a gap when it comes to supporting girls’ education. Philanthropic support has historically been higher for boys’ schools. This disparity not only has an impact on girls’ education, but also reinforces the gender equity gap—the gap Havergal was founded to address. This gender equity gap exists in a number of ways in today’s society, illustrated through facts such as pay inequity between men and women. In 2021, Canadian women made only 89 cents for every dollar men made, according to the Statistic Canada’s Gender Pay Gap. The philanthropic investments of our donor community helps narrow these divisions and ensures that young women are empowered to rise as far as they want in their careers and in society. Their support demonstrates to our girls how much our community believes in them and their potential.

At Havergal, giving back is built into our curriculum, community partnerships and co-curricular programs. It’s especially inspiring to witness students go beyond these school programs and express their own agency in giving. As an example, this year’s Grad Class has chosen wellbeing as a focus for their annual Grad Gift. Seeing them empowered by the potential of their impact is inspiring and we expect that it will be just the first of many such moments of exercising impact and influence in their young lives.


Inside Havergal

Students working on art at Art City

Senior School Community Partnerships

This year at Havergal College, our Community Partnership programs returned with reignited passion. Student leaders and volunteers have embraced these outreach programs with excitement, curiosity and a genuine desire to contribute and build relationships. “After more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions, it is exciting to finally volunteer with a wider school community together in a physical space,” explains Art City Community Partnership Co-Head Kathy Lu. “Visiting the kids every week at Grenoble Public School and connecting with them face-to-face has been very rewarding,” adds Grenoble Community Partnership Head Kate Davidson. “It’s amazing to see the bonds the students make with our Havergal volunteers as their friendships start to bud.”

A yellow Boston Dynamics SPOT robotic dog hands a rubber chicken to a student in Grade 1.

STEM Learning with SPOT Robot Dogs

In November, Havergal College welcomed guests from the Ontario Power Generation Innovation team, who brought in two SPOT robot dogs! SPOT dogs perform tasks that are unsafe for human workers and are an exciting use of robot technology. After a morning assembly at the Upper School, students in Grades 7 to 12 had the opportunity to see these “dogs” in action by the Old Girls BioWall. In the afternoon, the robots visited the Junior School, where students had the opportunity to learn about the robots, ask questions and watch them do some fun tricks like play fetch and write “hi.” See one of the robots in action here.

Havergal Rowing Team on the lake.

Forty Years of Rowing at Havergal

This year, Havergal celebrates 40 years of Rowing! Since the start of the program in 1982, approximately 400 athletes have represented Havergal on the water. Today, our rowers continue to place in competitions and our athletes often make it to the podium at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships. In the 2021-22 school year, Havergal crews stood on the podium five times, with 24 athletes receiving medals. Havergal rowers have represented our school in the famed Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for many years; in 2021-22, five of our rowers competed, placing 28th out of a field of 90.

Open to students in Grades 9 to 12 to join, many crew mates start without any experience rowing and quickly fall in love with the sport because of the friendships they make during early morning practices on the lake or on the ergometers in the Fitness Centre. Rowing at Havergal is not just a sport, but a unique community that shares a love of teamwork and perseverance. Strong Alone, Unstoppable Together.

Meet the Admissions Team

Sarah Milligan headshot.

Sarah Milligan, Associate Director of Admission

Sarah Milligan is no stranger to independent schools: she grew up on the Ridley College campus as a faculty child and eventually spent both her Middle and Senior School years as a Ridley Tiger. After completing an English Literature degree at the Mount Allison University, Ms. Milligan joined the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), stewarding the Canadian Boarding Project, which was designed to increase the number of Canadian boarding students enrolled in CAIS schools. In 2014, she was appointed as Assistant Head, Enrolment Management at Lakefield College School, a boarding and day school for students in grades 9 to 12 located just outside of Peterborough. During her tenure at Lakefield, Ms. Milligan led the Admissions team, sat on the Senior Leadership Team and represented the school locally and abroad, cultivating strong relationships with parents and students around the world. She joined Havergal in September 2019 as the Associate Director of Admission and is thrilled to be a part of our Junior School working alongside both faculty and parents to provide applicants with an exceptional experience throughout the admission process. When she isn’t at Havergal, she is busy at home with her children and her husband Darren, dividing their time between Toronto and their family cottage in the Kawarthas.