April 2024

Inside Havergal

Headshot of Lindsay Norberg.

Message from the Deputy Principal

Lindsay Norberg

At Havergal, the arts are not just a co-curricular program or an aspect of the curriculum; they are the heartbeat of our community. They reflect the creativity, talent and spirit of our students and employees. They play a unique role in fostering a sense of unity and belonging at Havergal as they provide many different entry points for members of our community to learn and grow together. From captivating performances at Founders’ Day to stunning displays lining the halls of our Junior and Upper Schools, ingenuity and skill are everywhere. As I sit in Prayers, witnessing students and staff bravely sharing their talents, taking risks in front of their peers and watching how the school community celebrates them, I am reminded of the profound impact the arts have on our community. I count my blessings that I get to start my day with music on a regular basis. As I wander the Junior School halls and I am met by displays of student poetry neatly woven into the school building, they bring a smile and sense of joy to my day. 

Indeed, the arts are not confined to specific events or performances; they are woven into the fabric of everyday life at Havergal. Whether it’s through music, visual arts or theater, our students, faculty and staff continually showcase their unique strengths and talents. What truly sets our Arts Programs apart is not just the exceptional quality of the performances, but also the spirit of collaboration, dedication and celebration that permeates every endeavor.

As we showcase the arts at various community events, such as music nights, art shows and plays, it is important to recognize the depth and significance of these experiences. Behind every performance lies countless hours of dedication, from early morning rehearsals to late-night practices. Moreover, the arts provide invaluable opportunities for building relationships, exploring ideas, learning new ways to express ourselves, understanding the perspectives of others, developing new skills and taking risks—it is a testament to the transformative power of artistic expression in shaping the holistic development of our students. To catch a glimpse of the breadth of our Arts Program, we have put together this Arts Week highlight video.

In essence, the arts at Havergal are not just about creating beautiful moments; they are about fostering connections, nurturing creativity and empowering individuals to reach their full potential. As we continue to cherish and celebrate the arts, let us remember that they are not just a part of who we are—they are what make us truly extraordinary.


Lexi Ensor

Message from the Board of Governors

Lexi Ensor 2013, President, HOGA  

As the President of the Havergal Old Girls Association (HOGA) and an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors, I am honoured to represent our vibrant community of Old Girls/Alums and uphold the strong connection between our Old Girl/Alum network and the school.

The mission of HOGA remains steadfast: to foster lifelong connections among Old Girls/Alums and to support current students as they embark on their own Havergal journey. With a global network spanning over 70 countries and nearly 10,000 graduates, we are committed to initiatives that nurture enduring bonds and celebrate our shared Havergal experience.

This year has been particularly significant for our community. We began with Reunion Week, marking the start of a year filled with connection and celebration. Our calendar has been bustling with Havergal Connections Presents networking events, Young Alum University Socials and regional gatherings across Canada. Additionally, we’ve been deeply engaged in meaningful advisory work on the Directorate and have collaborated enthusiastically on the production of Chronicle 2024.

We’ve experienced fruitful collaborations, including presentations by Kate Crokam, Director of Alumni Engagement, and myself on innovative alumni volunteerism at the Canadian Council for Advancement of Education (CCAE) Alumni Professionals Summit in Montreal. Additionally, we’ve worked closely with the Directorate, especially with Naomi Melvin ’09 and Alex (Bittner) Howard ’02, in developing Chronicle 2024. The Directorate’s shift toward advisory roles, coupled with their seamless collaboration with Kate, has facilitated deeper integration with the school. Successful consultation sessions with Class Reps have provided valuable feedback and discussions on recent changes. As we conclude the 2023-24 academic year, we eagerly anticipate the return of the HOGA Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 29, preceding our final social event of the year, Aperol and Appetizers on Avenue. Stay tuned for more details!

To our current students: as you venture beyond the ivy walls, know that you are stepping into a dynamic network of support that will accompany you through every milestone. We eagerly look forward to bolstering your connection with the Havergal community, ensuring it remains a valuable resource and source of strength as you navigate your paths ahead.

For any inquiries about HOGA’s initiatives, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected] or join us at our annual meeting to learn more.



This Month

Headshot of Matthew Varey, Director of Arts

An Artful Path to Personal Growth

Matthew Varey, Director of Arts

The value of art in character development mimics similar patterns in mathematics, physics, exercise, philosophy and parenting. Art functions as all other human interactions do. No matter how long we plan, experiment, discuss, research and consider, in order to comprehend something’s merit, we need to actually do it. If character is developed through opportunity, experience, adversity, failure, learning and growth, the arts are ideally suited for personal and communal advancement. 

At Havergal, we understand that artistic engagement clarifies awareness of our inherent value and school values. Taking ourselves seriously is an elegant form of self-compassion, leading to increased facility with empathy and unconditionality. Artistic practice is rigorous, inquiry-based and often driven by personal integrity, compassion and courage. When communities engage with compassion, courage, integrity and inquiry, we can exceed individual potential while increasing resilience and belonging.

Cultivating grace and compassion in our internal and external relationships is an artistic process. Art is often wrongly considered a thing—a dance, a painting, a song, a script. As art takes place electrically and chemically within the brain, we are the art. Internal and external relationships are the patterns and shared materials that determine our experience within, and artwork about, the human condition. When we are willing to give of ourselves, we increase vulnerability and generate growth, allowing for progress toward enlightenment.

Character develops through an increase in self-awareness. Doing the work required to become self-aware is the art. Self-awareness and character are communal materials and allow access to a vivid and informed shared language.

The Power of Culture: Integrated Arts in the Junior School

Rachel Read, Integrated Arts Teacher

Havergal’s Junior School has a thriving and vibrant Arts Program that focuses on ensuring students have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills while discovering more about who they are as individuals. As you wander the campus, you can see young artists preparing to make moccasin beadwork by sketching flowers in the Simpson Family Quilted Garden. You hear the sound of the steel pan drums and ukuleles as students use skills learned in class to jam together. One classroom looks dark, but as you pass by you notice the students are rehearsing their shadow puppet theatre performances, ensuring their musical compositions for their drama align with the mood and atmosphere they are creating with their narrative. Students skip by while singing their most recent song and excitedly stop to teach you the Japanese clapping game Omochio Tsukimasho they recently learned in class. You pass a group of Upper School students who have stopped by to visit and reminisce, and they ask if they can help teach the younger students the dances they fondly remember performing in Junior School Prayers.

It is evident that, at Havergal, students feel empowered to express their emotions and identity through the various projects, mediums and activities explored both in and outside the classroom as a part of our thriving arts curriculum and co-curricular programs.

One vibrant aspect of the Havergal College Arts Program is the Grade 5 and 6 Integrated Arts course. At the heart of this program is the understanding that all art flows from culture, which informs traditions of dance, drama, music and visual art, and provides the historical and personal context that enriches the creation and appreciation of art making. Within Integrated Arts, we have an opportunity to explore culture in more authentic and complex ways than we could within a single artistic discipline. We explore art traditions, but also history, storytelling and personal experience. This exploration is supported by our artist in residence program, where students and teachers work closely with experts who introduce cultural understandings alongside specific artistic expertise.

Students and faculty have been fortunate to be able to learn alongside culture bearers and visiting artists such as Cree-Métis artist educator Marissa Magneson, who teaches about the culture, music and art-making of the Métis; Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo, Capilano University and The University of British Columbia professor and founder of Nunya Academy, who works with students to share the culture, music and dance of the Ewe people of Ghana; and, most recently, experienced Orff-Schulwerk educator and respected author, Doug Goodkin, who shares not only his passion for music education, but also discusses the social, political and cultural history of jazz as we sing, dance and make music together. Setting this cultural context for our art making deepens students’ understanding of the purpose and impact of various forms of expression. Using culture as our starting point allows natural explorations of a diversity of viewpoints. Students see themselves and their own culture and art-making traditions reflected in the classroom, which is especially powerful.

During our most recent residency with Doug Goodkin, faculty and students were captivated and inspired by Mr. Goodkin’s teaching. Students further learned more about themselves as individuals and felt confident in expressing themselves in new and creative ways. Our community was moved by Mr. Goodkin’s ability to put our student’s learning of the rich history of jazz in a historical and cultural context in a way that is accessible to young learners with a strong focus on social justice. These experiences not only build our artistic skills and cultural knowledge, but provide us with the capacity to approach the world around us with an open heart and the drive to make a difference in the world.  

  • Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo on the drums, teaching students.
  • Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo teaching students to play the hand drums.
  • Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo with students teaching clapping games.
  • Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo Dr. Kofi Gbolonyo
  • Students holding up colourful scarves after a dance performance.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson making music with Grade 6 students.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson works with a Grade 6 student.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson works with Grade 6 students.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson working with a Grade 6 student.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson works with Grade 6 students.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson works with a Grade 6 student.
  • Indigenous educator Marissa Magneson works with Grade 6 students.
  • Doug Goodkin working with students.
  • Doug Goodkin teaching kids how to play Orff instruments.
  • Doug Goodkin working with students.
  • Doug Goodkin working with students.
  • Students performing on Orff instruments.
  • Grade 4 students performing a clapping movement.
  • Doug Goodkin with Grade 6 student performers.
  • Rachel Read with Doug Goodkin.
Gator Gala 2024 logo

Carnival Gator Gala Thank-Yous

The HCPA would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Carnival Gator Gala, especially to our volunteers! We’re grateful to everyone who supported the silent auction, from which proceeds will go toward the school’s community engagement, wellbeing initiatives and financial support for students.  

View gala photos here (the password is Gator). 

Follow @GatorGala24 on Instagram to see more candids taken by our talented parent volunteer Vivian Silverson.

This special evening couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the entire Gator Gala Committee, led by co-chairs Charlotte Stanley and Carolyn Oliver. 

Moms Night Out logo

Moms’ Night Out at Lula Lounge

You’re not going to want to miss this year’s Moms’ Night Out (MNO) on Thursday, May 23. Our organizers have planned something a little different for 2024. The venue? This year, we’re hosting at Lula Lounge, a lively venue with a tropical theme. The activities? In addition to mingling over cocktails and appetizers, HC moms will have the opportunity to kick up their heels with a fun-filled salsa dance lesson.  

Tickets are available only until May 10—get yours here! Questions? Contact our Moms’ Night Out Team: Nadene Riopelle (Co-Chair), Zubina Mawji Dahya (Co-Chair) or Adeola Damie (Vice Chair).

Student portrait in a Havegal photo frame.

HC Frames on Sale Now

The HCPA is pleased to once again offer the opportunity to purchase beautiful Havergal frames. Featuring the Havergal crest embossed on a green matte, frames are available in 4X6, 5X7, 8X10, diploma and class composite/Marguerite collage sizes.

Get your photo frames here; the purchase deadline is Wednesday, May 1. Details regarding June distribution will be communicated separately.

All questions (including those about ordering and pick up) should be directed to [email protected]. Please note that HCPA Marketplace initiatives are not affiliated with the HC Green & Gold Shop.

Thank you for your support of the HCPA!

Empowering Excellence: Havergal’s New Strategic Plan

Recently we launched our new strategic plan, Empowering Excellence, outlining our vision for the Havergal community and setting the stage for an exciting new chapter for the school. Our plan is more than just preparing students for the future; it’s about empowering them to shape it. Empowering Excellence is built around three pillars that highlight our commitment to fostering a holistic, future-focused experience: Connection, Wellbeing & Belonging, Future-Ready and Transforming Tomorrow. We are investing in programs, curriculum, people and facilities to provide our students with unparalleled opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. We thank you, our community members, for participating in the consultation process to inform the plan and for partnering with us as we continue to build on our track record of delivering excellence. 

Inside Focus

Emily on stage bowing to people clapping in the audience.

What the Arts Mean to Me

Emily Nevison, Arts Prefect

I am in love with all the arts, but the artistic medium I have always been drawn to the most is theatre. The first time I ever performed on stage was in Grade 2 during my elementary school’s production of Annie, where I played an unnamed maid. I am proud to say that I gave an amazing performance dusting imaginary shelves. Eleven years later, I have performed in over 20 different productions, my most recent being Havergal’s “The Children’s Hour,” and I cannot wait to continue my passion for theatre at university. 

Theatre has provided a space for me to build incredible friendships and it continues to teach me to consider perspectives and experiences outside of my own. Additionally, having exposure to public speaking has made me a confident young adult. Yet, despite everything that art has given me, my relationship with the medium is not unlike Romeo and Juliet’s… nobody is allowed to know about it!

For some, liking art can feel embarrassing. How, they ask, can there be value in pursuing a career in theatre when some of my peers will be designing rockets in a few years? As a community, we have made the grave mistake of treating art as merely entertainment and leisure. We must start acknowledging the power and importance of art as a medium that shapes culture, sparks important conversations and creates change. We should acknowledge that a career in the arts is just as vital to humankind as any other traditional career path. As Winston Churchill once said, “The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them… ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”

That is why this year’s theme for Arts Week was “The Importance of Pursuing a Future Career in the Arts.” Through activities and events such as our Arts Student Wellbeing Panel and the Art in Nature Walk, students had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of art in their day-to-day lives. Additionally, students who may not initially have considered themselves “artists” had the opportunity to participate in an Arts Battle during our Arts Week Prayers, in which they created paintings related to the week’s theme. 

  • Middle School student actors performing.
  • Middle School student actors on stage.
  • Senior School student actors on stage.
  • Senior School student actors on stage.
  • Student actors on stage.
  • Student actors on stage.
  • Student playing the violin.
  • Students holding trumpets.
  • A band ready to perform at Prayers.
  • A student singing at Prayers.
  • Primary Choir performing.
  • Junior Choir performing.
  • The Salon art show at the Upper School.
  • Art at The Salon.
  • Art at The Salon.
  • Art at The Salon.
  • Junior School art.
  • Junior School art.
  • Junior School students dancing wearing red t-shirts and black pants.
  • Junior School students dancing wearing red t-shirts and black pants.
  • Havergal's Dance Troupe performs at Prayers.
  • Havergal's Dance Troupe performs at Prayers.
  • Emily N and the Arts Council.

Arts Week is an amazing opportunity to celebrate the artists within the Havergal community, but it is important to remember that fun events do not erase the shame that many artists are made to feel when they pursue their medium professionally. We must work together to change the world’s misapprehension to a belief system that fosters creativity and imagination! I am confident that Havergal will continue to move steadily in this direction of further inclusion and creativity!

Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Headshot of Braden.

Braden Henderson

Technical Production Coordinator

Mr. Henderson joined Havergal in October 2022 as the Technical Production Coordinator. He quickly learned his way around the Upper School theatre and got to work supporting the Middle School Play, Junior and Upper School Prayers, the Senior School Play and the Junior School Musical (among many other performances and events). 

Mr. Henderson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Production & Design from York University, where he focused on Technical Direction and Set Design. His theatre experience reaches to all avenues of theatre, making sure he has tried his hand at everything. Mr. Henderson has spent the past five years as the Production Manager and Program Instructor in youth theatre programs. 

In his off time from HC he also works as a playwright and director. He is currently working on his new surrealist comedy play he wrote, The Bread Cycle with his theatre company, Breadbox Theatre (@breadboxtheatreco on Instagram), premiering this July at the Hamilton Fringe Festival. He is excited to share this project with the world and is grateful for all the support from the HC community.

At Havergal, Mr. Henderson’s role supports the production of all major performing arts performances and events across the Havergal community. Mr. Henderson is always eager to share his love of theatre and his encouragement in young artists and techies following their passions in the arts.