March 2023

Inside Havergal

Katrina Samson

Principal’s Message

Dr. Katrina Samson

A healthy school-parent partnership is one of the single most important ingredients in a child’s success at school. At Havergal, we are committed to nurturing the school-parent relationship, and are indebted to the commitment of our parent champions and their efforts to foster a superb community for all students, families, faculty and staff.

A parent champion is someone who advocates for the school and helps build a positive relationship between the school and the wider community. There are many ways to be involved and show your support. Members of our HCPA (in partnership with the school and through the leadership work of Christine Spence, our Manager of Parent Relations) look to create opportunities for parent engagement that recognizes the diversity of talents within our community while also providing a variety of inroads to get involved, recognizing that not all parents can and want to be involved to the same degree or in the same ways. For those who can’t give time to help out at an event or participate on an HCPA committee, here are some other ways to serve and contribute as Havergal champions: 

  • Build positive relationships. A parent champion builds positive relationships with other parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders to help nurture a sense of community and support for the school.
  • Communicate effectively. A parent champion communicates from the basis that we are all working to better the experience for our girls and to support the success of each student. Coming to the school with ideas, addressing any concerns directly with the school, providing updates on their child’s progress, and sharing with their parent networks news about school events and inviting new families into the community helps model our school values for our students.
  • Become a philanthropic supporter. A parent champion can help support the philanthropic and community engagement goals by sharing their time, donations and talents with the school community. This can involve helping to organize events, sharing your reasons for supporting Havergal with your charitable giving and encouraging other parents to make a difference with gifts of time, talent or dollars. 

At Havergal, the support of our parent champions comes in many forms, but the one thing they have in common is their commitment to helping the school thrive and their willingness to work collaboratively with others in the community to achieve this goal. In this issue of Inside Havergal, you’ll meet some of the people who are leading our efforts in the school-parent partnership and I encourage you to reach out to find ways to get involved, knowing there is a space and place for every parent here.


Headshot of Brad Radin

Message from the Board of Governors

Brad Radin, Chair of The Havergal College Foundation Board of Trustees  

The Havergal College Foundation is a registered charity that both receives and invests donations to support key priorities for Havergal College. The Foundation oversees an investment portfolio of mostly donor-endowed funds, valued at $29.1 million as of 30 June 2022. These endowed funds have been gifted over time by parents, Alums/Old Girls, graduating classes, faculty and staff. The Foundation disburses a certain percentage of the value of the endowed funds annually to the school.

Working with an external investment manager and in accordance with the Foundation’s Investment Policy Statement, the Foundation ensures that its resources are prudently invested with the aim of both growing and preserving capital, while maintaining the ability to provide stable grants to the College for priorities such as student financial assistance.

The Foundation is governed by a board of nine Trustees, including ex-officio appointments of Havergal’s Board of Governors and a member of the Havergal Old Girls Association.

Because Havergal’s annual revenues must cover not only the present year’s expenses, but also capital investment and infrastructure costs, fundraising is an essential ingredient to maintaining Havergal’s ongoing fiscal health and strength. We are grateful to generations of donors, past, present and future, for their generous contributions and ongoing belief in Havergal’s mission.


This Month

HCPA logo with faces of the members in the letters.
Logo by HCPA volunteer Vivian Silverson

Havergal College Parent Association: 101 

Kerry Porter, HCPA Communications Chair

The Havergal College Parent Association (HCPA) comprises over 50 members, from both the Junior School and the Upper School, all working together to maximize parent engagement, foster community spirit and support the school through social and fundraising initiatives.

So far this year, the HCPA’s biggest fundraisers include Ivy Market, Holiday Marketplace, Pre-Loved Uniform sales, the Gator Gala and HC spirit wear. We’re pleased to report that the HCPA is very close to meeting its remaining $40,000 commitment to the school’s Limitless Campaign.

While all events have community-building and social aspects, there are a few for which having fun is the main purpose, including the JS A-mazing Race and Moms’ Night Out.

If you’d like to see which positions are still available for next year’s committee, it’s not too late. While the first round of nominations closes on March 28, the second round opens on April 6.

Why should you get involved in the HCPA? Getting to know other HC parents is one of the biggest benefits of volunteering. You’ll also gain more insight into what goes on “behind the ivy” and model the values and benefits of engagement for your daughter. On top of that, the HCPA is a lot of fun!   

You can find more information by visiting the HCPA portal page or getting in touch with a member of the Executive Committee at [email protected].

Collage of photos from Torch magazine with the logo overlaid.

Torch Magazine

Coming Soon to Your Inbox

The 2022-23 issue of Havergal College’s Torch magazine will be published and shared electronically with community members next week. With the theme “Making Progressive Strides at Havergal,” this year’s Feature Story is focused on how Havergal uses its core values (Integrity, Inquiry, Courage and Compassion) as a guide when making important decisions for the school, especially during times of change.

Also in this issue: the Heads of Schools discuss their approach to building personal and social skills; students speak out about which of the Havergal values they feel most connected to; School Captain Claire Radin shares more about her experiences growing up; and our Advancement department outlines the important legacy of Class Giving. 

Don’t forget to check out the Student Life page, which features photos of school life and works of art by Havergal students!

We look forward to sharing this next issue with you. Look out for an email from [email protected] in early April for your copy.

Photo of Tanuja and Lisa, HCPA Chairs.

Get to Know Your HCPA Co-Chairs

The HCPA has long attracted accomplished and dedicated parents to lead the committee—and the 2022-23 school year is certainly no different. Lisa Windover and Tanuja Gupta are your HCPA Co-Chairs, and together they lead and co-ordinate the committee’s activities.

Lisa grew up in the United States. She moved to Toronto in 2008 so she and her husband could be closer to his family as they raised their kids, Ryan and Kaitlyn. She holds Bachelor, Masters and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering and worked in Silicon Valley for Hewlett Packard Laboratories for 13 years, specializing in fiber optics.

Lisa is no stranger to volunteering: throughout her education, she took on leadership roles in various student councils and engineering societies, including President of the Society of Women Engineers at Rutgers, and Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Society at U.C. Berkeley. More recently, she held leadership positions volunteering at Blythwood Junior P.S., Royal St. George’s College and, of course, Havergal College.

The HCPA events closest to Lisa’s heart are the Gator Gala and Ivy Market. She is currently serving her second year as Co-Chair of the HCPA and looks forward to working with the HCPA in another capacity next year, her daughter’s final year at Havergal!

Tanuja Gupta grew up in northern Quebec and Ottawa. She earned a Computer Engineering degree from the University of Ottawa and worked in Silicon Valley North for a number of years. After moving to Toronto, she was a consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers and IBM.  

Tanuja and her husband, Rajeev, a busy pediatrician, have four children. Her daughters Maya, Nisha and Sara all attend Havergal, and her son, Dhilan, is a student at Upper Canada College. Tanuja left the consulting field to devote more time to raising her children and volunteering with their schools. Throughout her years at Havergal she has been a Grade Rep, a member of the Welcome Committee, Co-Chair of Staff Appreciation, Secretary, JS Grade Rep Co-Convenor and currently HCPA Co-Chair. She is passionate about giving back to the school and looks forward to many more years with the HCPA.

Thank you to Lisa and Tanuja for your many contributions to the HCPA and Havergal!

Inside Focus

graphic that says "Perfectly imperfect"

Be an Excellencist, Not a Perfectionist

At the February 2023 NAIS conference, Deputy Principal Lindsay Norberg had the opportunity to hear an outstanding presentation about the burdens of perfectionism by professor of psychology and neuroscience Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary. Recognizing there are individuals in our community who have perfectionist tendencies, Ms. Norberg shares some of Dr. Dennis-Tiwary’s thoughts about the burdens of perfectionism and how to overcome these instincts. Here are some excerpts from the presentation:

“Research is unequivocal — there is little upside to perfectionism. The relentless pursuit of flawlessness can lead to low self-worth, depressive and anxiety disorders, high stress in the face of failure and even suicidality. As a result, perfectionists often end up achieving much less than they aspire to because they hold back, procrastinate and even stop taking on challenges altogether — because it’s better to not have entered the race than to have spun out in ignominy.”

Dr. Dennis-Tiwary’s alternative to perfectionism is something she calls: “Excellencism, the pursuit of excellence. The term excellencism was proposed by psychologist Patrick Gaudreau. It means striving for excellence while allowing yourself to make mistakes while staying focused on learning.”

In the Washington Post article Perfectionists: Lowering your standards can improve your mental health, Dr. Dennis-Tiwary offers up key steps and a personal reflection on how to be an excellencist:

  1. Pick one upcoming activity that you tend to get perfectionistic about. It could be personal or work related, or it might be about your appearance. One example is the idea of hosting a party. Some people feel if they aren’t able to be Martha Stewart perfect, it’s a failure.
  1. Make a list of what perfect looks like to you. Using the example of host/hostess perfectionist, perfect is an impeccably clean house and scrumptious food ready when everyone arrives, all of which is either made by a wonderful caterer or cooked fresh by the host. No ready-made side dishes from the grocery store for this perfectionist!
  1. Look at the list and pick something you can allow to be less than perfect. Perhaps it’s just one thing, perhaps it’s several. But pick something that you can really let go of. Just don’t sweat it. Referring to the hosting perfectionism example, you can practise letting go of the perfectly clean house part and the food-ready-when-everyone-arrives items on your list. Then observe what happens: How did it turn out? How do you feel? How do others feel? Try cooking with your guests instead of for them and see how it makes your gathering more fun. 

As women are often more vulnerable to perfectionism, it’s important for our community to share these ideas and learn new strategies so our students can feel confident and capable in any situation.

Learn more about Dr. Dennis-Tiwary’s work in her new book Future Tense.

Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Christine Spence

Manager, Parent Relations

Christine grew up surrounded by educators: her grandfather was a principal with the Toronto Board of Education; her mother regularly volunteered in schools before returning to the workforce as an elementary ESL teacher; and her dad was the Head of Guidance at several Peel region high schools over the course of his career. She remembers how her parents taught her about advocacy and equity when they successfully petitioned the Board to allow girls to take “shop” (Industrial Arts) and boys to take Home Economics in middle school. The importance of education and the hard work of teachers was instilled in Christine from a very young age. This laid the foundation for the work she would do throughout her adult life.

One of her first jobs after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University was working for the Peel District School Board supporting adults who were returning to the workforce. Following that, Christine completed a Masters in Business Administration in Organizational Development. She went on to do consulting work while completing a certificate in Strategic Change Management at the Rotman School of Business and, in 2000, she welcomed her first child. A stay-at-home parent, Christine followed her mother’s example and began her career as a volunteer in schools.  

Volunteering allowed Christine to participate in a variety of roles on four different school councils, including work in community engagement, fundraising, school initiatives and event management. She moved to London, England with her family for two years, where Christine led International Night and many other school events at Southbank International School. She also held a role on the Executive of the Hampstead Women’s Club, a group that welcomed expats to the City of London.

Prior to starting at Havergal in August 2022 as Manager, Parent Relations, Christine spent three years in Admissions at The York School in Toronto. This experience gave her a strong understanding of the independent school system and the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with families. The role in Parent Relations at HC was a logical next step in the work she loves to do.

Now that her son Andrew has graduated from Toronto Metropolitan University (Fine Arts – Film) and is working full-time, and daughter Sarah is finishing up her first year at the University of Guelph (Anthropology), Christine can enjoy being spoiled by her partner Mike (a retired principal), going to Sarah’s softball games and spending time at the cottage.