January 2023

Inside Havergal

Katrina Samson

Principal’s Message

Dr. Katrina Samson

If there’s one part of the Havergal experience that is consistent across the decades, it’s the sense of community our students feel during their time at the school. It’s the energy in the hallways, the smiles on familiar faces and the intensity of the Havergal spirit that makes our school so special. This differentiator makes us proud as educators, because we know that spirit and community go hand-in-hand in creating a sense of belonging. This is especially important for us as a girls’ school, where we seek to build empowered, supportive networks who know and appreciate the value of investing in women’s success. 

Spirit Week at Havergal is important on so many levels. Besides community building, it’s refreshing that in a school so passionate about academics, we also take the time to celebrate our collective successes and have fun! Our Upper School students, faculty and staff develop grade connections by working together on their cheers for the Grade Cheer-Off. Our community shows their collective spirit through different dress down days and getting decked out in green and gold. And our Junior and Upper School students in Grades 4 to 12 come together to show a force of Gator pride at Hockey Day, one of the most tangible displays of spirit in the year! These are moments when memories are made, connections are strengthened and morale is boosted. Taking time to be together and adding a flash of fun is a real stress reliever, and reminds us that we are part of something bigger. 

School spirit has also shown to be directly linked to academic achievement, according to a US survey of 1,500 high school students, parents and principals. According to the study: “high school students with school spirit perform better academically, are more engaged in social and civic matters and are happier in general than their less-spirited peers.” This is likely due to a sense of pride in their school, and this school spirit is an expression of a sense of belonging. Belonging is critical to our wellbeing, which impacts our ability to do well and be well.

Besides Spirit Week, our year is dotted with other community-building events, from House Shout in the spring to Gator Days when we all cheer on Havergal during a sporting event. Whether the teams win or lose, Havergal always takes the gold in the spirit department.

Go Gators!


Debbie Simpson

Message from the Board of Governors

Debbie Simpson, Chair of the Board

New Year’s greetings from the Board of Governors! We extend our warmest wishes for a year overflowing with happiness and good health!

The end of the first semester is upon us and it is fitting we pause to reflect on the exciting school year we have had so far. We kicked off the year with the return of in-person co-curricular and athletic events and the successful re-start of Celebration Saturday, which brought the community together for a fun-filled day. Thrive Week returned and highlighted some of the strategies and skills that students can use to thrive, with the goal of putting these skills into practice on a daily basis. We saw continued relationship-building between the Junior School and the Upper School, therapy dogs visited our JK to Grade 12 students, and faculty and staff were able to participate in activities targeted at their own wellbeing such as swimming, yoga, sound baths and a whisper walk in the Lisa Hardie Trail. The year closed with the magical Grade 1–6 Christmas Concert and the Upper School Carol Service, a first time experience for the Junior School at St Paul’s Bloor Street church! It was a wonderful way to close for the holiday season.

As we look ahead to planning for the next school year, we’d like to remind parents/guardians that the opportunity to apply to serve on the Board of Governors or a Board Committee is currently open. The Board of Governors Application Form is located here and I encourage you to become involved. This year the Board is especially interested in identifying potential candidates with one or more of the following: strategic, senior-level experience in finance (CFO); a background in child and adolescent health and development; and experience with strategic governance leadership in the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) space. The application due date has been extended to Friday, February 17, 2023. Applications will be reviewed in February/March with interviews taking place in March for those selected. Additional details on the role and responsibilities of Board and Committee members can be found here. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

We have accomplished great things this school year, with more to come. I see our values at work and thank you all for your efforts and support as we navigate the remainder of the year together.

Thank you,


This Month

Kate Newton at Hockey Day with a friend.

Spirit Week: A Time for Fun and Bonding

Kate, Clubs & Spirit Prefect

In February when course selections and assessments can be stressful, Spirit Week is a chance for students to have fun and bond with their grade. This year, Spirit Week is from February 13 to 16. Throughout the week, all of the Upper School students (Grades 7 to 12) compete for spirit points through games and competitions, so they can be named the winners of Spirit Week (the ultimate bragging rights at HC). Here are some key details about Spirit Week:

  • On Monday, February 13, students will dress up as a celebrity/character who shares the same first letter as their first name. There will be a fun spirit assembly to kick off the week, with competitive benchball rounds at lunch. 
  • The most iconic day at Havergal happens on Tuesday, February 14, which is Hockey Day! Havergal will go against Bishop Strachan School in an intense hockey game to bring home the Hewitt Cup (Havergal’s biggest treasure). All Gators will dress from head to toe in green and gold to support our team. 
  • The fun continues on Wednesday, February 15, with benchball semi-finals and all the grades will dress up to represent different decades. 
  • Thursday, February 16, wraps up Spirit Week with benchball finals and the famous Grade Cheer-Off, where the grades get judged on lyrics, spirit, choreography and overall WOW factor! That brings an end to the craziest and most cheerful week at Havergal, when students make lasting memories and head into the Family Day weekend, full of love for the HC community!
Junior School Catherine Steele House members with the Principal and the House flag.

Spirit Week at the Junior School

Liz Watt, Assistant Head of the Junior School

Spirit week is just around the corner (February 13 to 16) and is a time that many Junior School students look forward to each year. House meetings, Hockey Day, banner making and dressing down in comfy clothes are just a few of the many activities that the Junior School community takes part in during this fun-filled week.

The goal behind Spirit Week is to build relationships within our community by connecting with others, which not only raises school spirit, but also elevates individual spirit. It is a time for students to learn to be cheerleaders for each other and ourselves. 

Grade 6 student Ava Singh explains: “I love that as a community we build ourselves up and work together as a team. My favorite part about Spirit Week is dressing down in House colours and cheering alongside my House.” Through various activities, students are provided with opportunities to foster relationships and connect with students across various grades, both within the Junior School and with students from across the bridge (the Upper School). Hana Ley, our Junior School Prefect, says: “I love that Spirit Week falls in February, as it gives us something to look forward to. In my role as the JS Prefect, I enjoy spreading spirit throughout the Junior School hallways. One of my favourite things to do is greet Junior School students as they arrive at the start of the day. The Junior School Council and I like to bring our party rocker with us, which plays fun music as we dance with the students into the school.”

More details about the week’s activities will be listed in The Weekly. 

Hockey players being cheered on by fans

Hockey Day

Carla Di Filippo, Athletic Director

February 14 will be the most wonderful day of the year: it’s Hockey Day! This annual battle against Bishop Strachan School for the Hewitt Cup brings together students (Grades 4 to 12), staff, alumni and members of our community to celebrate everything that is Havergal College. A day rich in history—hockey games between girls’ schools were noted in the school yearbook, Ludemus, as early as 1955. It is truly more than a hockey game: it is a day that perfectly showcases the Havergal spirit. 

On Hockey Day, the HC crowd will be dressed from head to toe in green and gold, shouting words of encouragement and cheering on our team at Mattamy Athletic Centre. It’s school spirit like you have never seen it and it’s difficult to put into words just how special this day is for our Gators. For many, Hockey Day is an adventure, a vibe and an energy; something that has to be experienced to truly understand its authenticity. It is a memory to be cherished and a bond that connects us to this special community. Regardless of the game result, the day reminds us of just how lucky we are to be Havergal Gators! The puck drops at 12:45 pm. Students can purchase their tickets here.

Piper and Beats with the Hewitt Cup in 2022.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hockey Day

Beats and Piper, Sports Prefects

Hockey Day. Perhaps the most anticipated event of 2023. It’s been three long years since we’ve had the real deal, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves as seasoned experts to provide you with a beginner’s guide to Hockey Day. 

First of all, attire is of the utmost importance. Don’t be afraid to go all out with the face paint. It’s okay if you end up slightly tinted green for the next week—we’re all in the same boat! Here at HC, we go big and bold. If you have any tutus, wigs, sparkly leggings or capes, we strongly suggest you wear them. The only criterion is that the Mattamy bleachers must be a sea of green and gold. 

Another thing to prepare yourself for is the cheers. We forewarn you, Hockey Day is a physical test for not only the players on the ice but for the fans as well. Good habits to prepare yourself include belting out hymns during Prayers or singing something loudly for 10-15 minutes per day. To maximize volume on the big day, it also might be wise to do a “vocal rest” in the days leading up. 

The final thing is to take it all in! As the final Hockey Day for the Grads approaches, we reflect on all the memories made over the years, all the highs and the lows. At the end of the day, it’s about so much more than just a hockey game; it’s about community and spirit, and a day that you will never forget.

Front of Upper School

Re-registration 2023-24

The link for registration for the 2023-24 school year will be sent to families on Wednesday, February 8. Completed re-registration forms are due, along with payment, by Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

The Admission Department appreciates your prompt response, as our re-registration numbers help guide us in the number of offers we will make to new families later in February. Please do not hesitate to contact Admissions at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Gator Gala logo, colourful with candy illustrations.

Gator Gala Tickets on Sale Now!

Clouds of cotton candy, dressed up daughters and disco lights, oh my! Who doesn’t love the sweet life? Tickets to the annual Gator Gala being held on Saturday, April 1 at Parkview Manor are now on sale! All Upper School students and an adult (parent/guardian) guest are invited and encouraged to join in a fantastically fun evening of dining, dancing and making memories! You don’t want to miss out on one of the highlights of the Havergal calendar as we whisk you away to a Candyland confectionary dream of an evening. The cherry on top is the Gator Gala Silent Auction, curated to offer something for everyone with all proceeds going to the HCPA. Look for the auction link in your inbox soon! If you would like to make a donation to the Gator Gala Silent Auction, please contact:

Junior School students doing a potato sack race during Celebration Saturday 2022.

JS A-mazing Race—Save the Date!

Plans for this year’s A-mazing Race are underway! This is always a highlight of the year for our Junior School girls and their adult (parent/guardian) partners as they engage in friendly competition with their House teams and enjoy snacks and refreshments with other members of our JS community. 

Please mark your calendars for Sunday, April 30 and stay tuned for more details.

Grads throwing up their caps at Graduation 2022.

Calling All Grad Families!

Since 1894, Havergal College has provided young women with an exceptional education in an environment that encourages inquiry and curiosity while celebrating connection and community. A Havergal education sets the stage for future success and lays the foundation for a lifetime of discovery and learning. Much of this is possible because of the generosity of our donors.

This year, our remarkable Class of 2023 would like to leave their legacy behind by supporting mental health and wellbeing at Havergal College, including initiatives such as training and resource support, discussion forums and speakers series. By supporting the Class of 2023 Fund, Grads and their families are making it possible to bring health and wellbeing to the forefront of the Havergal experience for future students and families.

Thank you to all of our donors for supporting the students of Havergal College as they discover their potential, place and purpose in this world. 

Inside Focus

Junior and Upper School students attend a House meeting.

Grade Connections

Lindsay Norberg, Deputy Principal

Building relationships and a sense of community is part of what makes Havergal a very special place. During COVID-19, students were restricted to working with others in their grade or cohort. This shed light on the value of students getting to know and supporting each other in different grades. It has been wonderful to watch the connections between students grow throughout the school year. 

In the Upper School, cross-grade relationships are modelled by our Grade 12 student leaders in the way they lead councils, clubs and affinity groups, get to know other students and build a sense of belonging. In the fall, the House Captains and Prefects enjoyed getting to know Grade 7 students when they attended the Grade 7 overnight excursion. The bonds formed with these older students help the Grade 7 students feel included in the Upper School. 

In the Senior School, we have returned to having mixed grade Teacher Advisory groups, which provide time and space for students to get to know a small group of students from Grades 9 to 12 in their House. 

In the Junior School, Grade 5 students volunteer to be Recess Rescuers in support of students in JK to Grade 3. Recess Rescuers are there to help the younger students with whatever assistance they may need during recess. Grade 6 students can be spotted outside each morning eagerly looking forward to walking JK/SK students to their classroom. Grade 1 and Grade 4 students have been working together in class as “buddies.” 

In the Boarding School, the senior Boarders take great pride in supporting and mentoring younger Boarders by leading excursions and activities. 

The magic of the Havergal community can be felt in the way these students lead and support their peers in so many different ways.

Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Headshot of F Marshall

Fiona Marshall

Director, Student Leadership and Social Sciences Teacher

Ms. Marshall has held a variety of teaching and leadership roles at Upper Canada College, Branksome Hall and The York School. Most recently, she was the Assistant Head Upper School—Student Affairs at Upper Canada College, where she oversaw student life at the school. Prior to that role, she was an Instructional Leader at Branksome Hall and Senior House Advisor at Upper Canada College. Ms. Marshall has a Masters of Education from OISE, University of Toronto, Bachelor of Education (Intermediate-Senior, Social Science and English) from the University of Ottawa, Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University and her Guidance and Career Education Part 1 Additional Qualification from Queen’s University.

Ms. Marshall has led and participated in many different committees and workshops to promote equity, diversity and inclusion as well as wellbeing within schools. She is passionate about student voice and agency in creating positive school culture and a true place of belonging for all. Since coming to Havergal, she has been focussing on using a strengths-based approach to leadership development with students, already observing the remarkable values, passions and strengths of the students at HC. A former reporter, Ms. Marshall entered teaching after volunteer coaching at a local high school and completely loving working with teens. Coaching remains a passion and she has coached cross-country and track and field for over 20 years. Outside of work, she is the mother of two active teenagers and a mini Goldendoodle. She loves running and being in nature, but is less of a fan of the deer flies that follow her when she combines these passions.