April 2023

Inside Havergal

Katrina Samson

Principal’s Message

Dr. Katrina Samson

For schools, June is akin to New Year’s Eve. The closer we get to the start of summer, the more we start looking back and taking stock of accomplishments. Like the end of the calendar year, we take this time in schools to encourage our students to reflect on how much they’ve changed and grown over the year. We celebrate the official moments in school with ceremonies and awards, and so we should—it’s an exciting moment when you win an award, cross the bridge from Grade 6 to the Middle School or cross the stage at graduation. At Havergal, we also want to encourage celebration of those less formal moments. Maybe a student didn’t do as well on the math test as she hoped, but she’s really come a long way since the beginning of the long division unit. We can’t all be valedictorian, but we can all experience the pride that comes from having made it through a grade as a cohort, to have developed new friendships and mastered a new skill.

In this issue, we’re focusing on celebrating the journey. For instance, the movement from the Junior School to the Middle School is a significant transition, with the newfound independence of moving from a core classroom and teacher to eight different teachers with the new responsibilities and new choices. We also begin to celebrate that independence by supporting the Grade 5s as they look ahead to leadership responsibilities that come with being in Grade 6, and the Grade 8s as they look toward their transition into the Senior School. So, while this time of year is often focused on Graduation Day, it’s also about taking time to recognize and appreciate the process of learning. 

In the Boarding School, this time of year is also about reflection and appreciating the transformative learning experience our girls have had. Boarding students experience tremendous growth and confidence as they learn how to live away from home: from setting up their rooms, to developing essential study habits, to learning to live with a roommate. These skills help make the university transition much easier. Our Boarders come from around the world and are fortunate to get to share their experiences, cultures and values with each other.

This idea of focusing on the journey rather than the destination is part of the growth mindset that we cultivate at Havergal. It’s about recognizing the steps that add up to overall progress and teaching girls to evaluate success on their own terms. To see that growth and challenge are also part of success, and to be grateful for what we learn along the way are important skills. So we aptly take this time, our version of New Year’s Eve, to reflect on moments of growth and to celebrate how far we’ve come. 


Diane Jeffreys

Message from the Board of Governors

Diane Jeffreys, Chair of the Financial Sustainability Committee  

The Financial Sustainability Committee is a committee of the Board of Governors. Our primary mandate is to safeguard the long-term financial sustainability of Havergal College. As Chair of the Financial Sustainability Committee, I have the pleasure of working in partnership with an engaged group of volunteers, as well as Havergal’s Chief Operations Officer, Laura Sims, and Executive Director of Finance, Johann McCormack.

Our committee members include current and past parents and senior leaders in the community. We look to involve a mix of individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and financial experience. This provides the opportunity to bring a diverse perspective to discussions and broad insights in support of the financial decisions the school makes.

The Financial Sustainability Committee is working with the Planning & Priorities Taskforce and Havergal’s leadership team to ensure that the financial plans are in place to support the long-term strategic direction of the school.

As a dedicated committee, we continue to focus on overseeing and monitoring Havergal’s financial plan, both short and long-term. This involves balancing the interests of multiple stakeholders including students, parents, staff and faculty, and—like all good financial plans—is a balancing act requiring careful consideration of a series of trade-offs. The topics that we regularly discuss include:

  • Tuition fees and the balance between staying competitive with our peer schools and meeting the financial needs of the school to deliver quality education and programs.
  • Capital spending that invests in the campus to maintain and enhance our facilities in support of our strategy and programs.
  • Short and long-term financial plans and the funding required to support the wide variety of programs that are fundamental to the student experience at Havergal.

As the Chair of the Financial Sustainability Committee, I am happy to report that Havergal continues to be financially strong, benefiting from a disciplined, responsible and thoughtful approach to fiscal responsibility.


This Month

Grade 6 students in a group.

Celebrating and Supporting Our Middle Years Students

Cissy Goodridge, Head of Middle School, and Kate White, Head of Junior School

For students transitioning from Grade 6 to 7 and from Grade 8 to 9, the spring represents an exciting time as they celebrate the culmination of their elementary and middle school years. Many are optimistically looking forward to greater independence, making new friends, engaging in different learning and leadership opportunities, as well as participating in new athletic teams, artistic endeavours, community partnerships, clubs and exchanges. At the same time, it is not uncommon for students to express worries as they think about learning new routines and expectations, getting to know different teachers and figuring out how they will navigate unfamiliar spaces and what the experience will actually be like!

Members of our transition team—which is composed of the Heads of the Junior, Middle and Senior Schools, and Ms. Watt (JS Assistant Head), teachers on both sides of the bridge, Learning Support and the Guidance Department—understand the complexity of this journey. Their goal is to support both new and returning students and families in every aspect of this transition in order to make it as smooth as possible. Together, they aim to: 

  • Help students and families feel safe, confident and grounded in a community that nurtures, promotes and develops connections and relationships with peers and adults.
  • Ensure that, through experience, students and families are confident Havergal is a safe place where they can learn, feel challenged, make mistakes and thrive.
  • Establish clear guidelines and protocols that help students and parents navigate the school community. 
  • Assist students and parents to become knowledgeable about curricular and co-curricular options and the role they play in their self-discovery.

While many of our Grade 7 and Grade 9 students are not new to Havergal, we are keenly aware that a number are new to the community. As such, each activity and experience is thoughtfully and intentionally designed so students feel a strong sense of community, confidence and belonging from the onset. 

Some highlights of the transition process include: 

  • Current Grades 6 students will be invited to a luncheon in May at the Upper School to start building relationships.
  • Families are invited to join us for a meet and greet to learn more about what to expect next year and ways they can best support their children. 
  • Teachers and students have time to bond in the fall as they head out to camp for three days. On this trip, they will learn to work as a team, develop leadership skills, engage in outdoor activities that foster personal growth and development and, most importantly, enjoy each other’s company!  

We are so excited to welcome ALL of our Grade 7s and 9s next year, and we look forward to working in partnership with all of our students. Our role is to support our students as they journey through the school and develop into the future leaders of tomorrow.

Boarding students at the Mean Girls play in downtown Toronto.

The Boarding School: Havergal’s Home Away from Home

Nicole Folkes, Head of Boarding

Havergal’s Boarding School is a unique urban educational experience that offers students an immersive environment to develop academically, personally and socially. Boarding provides students with a supportive community that encourages growth and fosters a sense of belonging. 

One of the key benefits of the Boarding School is our strong focus on student wellbeing. The Boarding Team works in partnership with parents, faculty, guidance counsellors, social workers and nurses to monitor and support our students in the six areas outlined in the Havergal Wellbeing Framework. Our program is proactive and individualized to each student and based upon relationships of mutual respect and understanding. The Boarding experience allows our students to develop skills reflected in the school’s Portrait of a Grad and sets the stage for lifelong wellbeing.  

Another area of focus is cross-grade social connections. We recognize that these connections are critical to student success and a key component of a Boarding community. By creating opportunities for students from different grade levels to interact and work together in advisory groups, we create an inclusive home-like environment. 

The Boarding School also offers a range of excursions and programming that allow students to navigate Toronto and take advantage of the many activities, cultural and niche programs available in an urban city. These excursions provide students with the chance to build independence, explore new neighbourhoods and learn about different cultures and the wider community. These programs and initiatives are designed to empower our students to lead. Student leaders partner with staff and collaborate with other Boarding schools to provide students with fun activities and service projects. 

Havergal College is a special place for Boarding students. If you ask students what makes it special to them, they will all have a unique answer. From their favourite study space in the building, their most anticipated community event of the year, to the excitement of having the opportunity to hang out with Day and Boarding School friends in their room for 10 months in a year, Havergal is home.  

Garth Nichols and students at the Round Square Conference in Ottawa.

Learning on a Global Scale at the Round Square Ashbury Conference 

Garth Nichols, Vice Principal of Experiential Education and Innovation

In February, five Havergal students travelled to Ottawa to take part in the Round Square Regional Conference, hosted by Ashbury College. The theme was “Living Canada’s North” and featured several incredible speakers from author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Northwest Territory’s senator Margaret Dawn-Anderson, and Olympian and Indigenous activist Waneek Horn-Miller. In the words of one of our Havergal delegates: “Speakers and panelists spoke about their experiences and knowledge in regard to climate change, Indigenous issues, knowledge, representation and advocacy, and many focused on how to ethically and responsibly fight climate change. Hearing from so many speakers was one of my personal highlights from this conference and helped me gain so much new knowledge from diverse perspectives.”

Round Square conferences are a dynamic mix of critical thinking and discussion, adventure, networking and fun. One of our Havergal delegates reflected that, “We had the special opportunity to make friends with people from schools around the world, like the US, Colombia, Romania, Australia, Kenya and more! After we listened to a speaker or took part in an activity, we then discussed our experiences within Baraza groups: a space where individuals can have a free discussion with other students in small groups, where everyone’s opinion is valued equally. By unpacking what we learned in these groups, we were able to have our ideas challenged and further developed to gain a more nuanced understanding of the topic at hand. It was incredibly valuable to dissect topics with people from all different kinds of backgrounds, as we were able to explore different perspectives and critically examine what we thought we knew.”

With the resounding success of this regional conference, we are excited to embark on the application process for Round Square’s International Conference later in October 2023. The Round Square International Conference is an annual event run by, and for, students aged 16 to 18. It is hosted in different cities from around the world with students from different schools hosting each time. This year’s conference will be hosted by Brookhouse School in Nairobi, Kenya, where we will once again be face-to-face with students from other partner schools for the 54th Round Square International Conference.

The theme for the conference is “The New Africa,” which will allow us to explore many ways the continent has evolved and is defining its position in the 21st century. Brookhouse is planning a programme of keynotes and panel discussions that will highlight an array of African innovators. The conference will be hosted jointly across Brookhouse’s two campuses in Nairobi. Brookhouse families will provide homestay accommodation and a first-hand experience of African hospitality for student delegates. 

The conference will come together for the opening and closing days, while the Adventure, Service and Democracy days will provide smaller group opportunities on a rotation of activities across the middle three days of the conference. These activities will be hosted at the two Brookhouse campuses in Karen and Runda. The Adventure Day will feature a night under African skies and camping in the Nairobi National Park with wildlife game drives and an environmental conservation focus. The Havergal participants look forward to the adventure next October!

Student portrait in a Havegal photo frame.

HCPA Spring Marketplace

If you don’t already have your daughter’s school photo displayed in a beautiful Havergal frame, it’s not too late! The HCPA is pleased to offer one last opportunity this school year to purchase these silver frames.

Frames, which feature the Havergal crest embossed on a green matte, are available in both 5 x 7, 8 x 10, diploma and class composite/marguerite collage sizes. Learn more about how to get yours here. Please submit your order by Friday, May 5. Details regarding distribution will be communicated separately.

Two guests posing at a previous Moms' Night Out event.

Moms’ Night Out!

With the unexpected news that Nordstrom is closing all Canadian stores, Moms’ Night Out (MNO) organizers have been busy finding another venue suitable for hosting this popular HC event. The good news is that MNO will now held on Wednesday, May 24 from 7:30 to 10 pm at CIBO Wine Bar (Yonge/Eglinton location). Thanks to organizers Mekhul Verma, Mary Dean, Nadene Riopelle and Zubina Mawji for working tirelessly to make sure Havergal moms can enjoy a fun evening catching up with friends and making new connections!

Watch for an official invitation with a link to purchase tickets early next month!

Attendees at the Gator Gala partying.

Gator Gala Recap

The 2023 Gator Gala was a sweet success! Thanks to everyone who came out to the Upper School’s Candyland-themed event and enjoyed the evening’s many treats, including the delicious meal, the 360 photo booth, the amazing DJs and the abundance of treats.

Thanks also for everyone’s support of the Gator Gala Silent Auction! We raised over $23,000, which will be put toward the HCPA’s commitment to the Limitless Campaign.

This special evening couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the Gator Gala committee, led by co-chairs Jennifer Newton and Charlotte Stanley.

Photo can be viewed here:

Follow @GatorGala23 on Instagram to see more candids taken by our parent volunteer Vivian Silverson.

Inside Focus

Agnes Hansen House performing at House Shout 2022.

All About House Shout 

Taylor Neldner, Agnes Hansen House Captain and Head House Captain

House is an integral part of Havergal. Every Tuesday morning in the Upper School, Houses (groups of staff, faculty and students from Grades 7 to 12) gather and spend time bonding as a community. These time periods consist of everything from “House Breakfasts” to inter-House games where each group competes for “House Points.” Students engage in friendly competitions throughout the year for points and it culminates in House Shout: a cheer-off between Houses. 

Some may think House Shout is merely reworking memorable song lyrics into jingles that feature inside jokes about your House and adding some jazz hands to top it all off. Those who have experienced it, however, understand that House Shout is a symphony of carefully chosen songs centering around a theme that ties into what makes your House unique. Carefully choreographed dances and formations often bear resemblance to cheerleading routines with each House adding their own creative stamp or flourish. In the weeks leading up to the monumental event, students spend hours as a House perfecting each piece of their performance. 

House Captains lead their Houses through the practices, encouraging spirit as the big day approaches. When House Shout arrives, students come to school dressed in flamboyant outfits that best showcase their House colours, often involving tutus, temporary hair dye and layers upon layers of clothing. 

As the entire Havergal community gathers together on the Ratcliffe Field, the event starts with a cheer by the Junior School. Following this, each Upper School House group showcases their cheer, hoping if they scream loud enough and dance big enough, they might just come out with House Shout’s winning token: a plethora of House points that could catapult your House to winning the House Banner. The overall winner of the year-long House competition will get their name added to the House Banner thereby entrenching themselves in Havergal’s history. This year, House Shout is sure to be the best one yet! Join us on May 18 on the Ratcliffe Field or, for those who can’t come to campus, tune in to Havergal’s Facebook page to view the live feed at http://www.facebook.com/havergalcollege

Get ready for some fun, Havergal!