Havergal’s Boarding School is a supportive community that allows students to focus on their academic pursuits along with their social, emotional and physical wellbeing.
From Canada and around the world.
Living full-time on-campus at the Boarding School.
Providing leadership opportunities to Boarders.
Located in the Upper School, the Boarding School provides unique experiences filled with opportunities for girls to learn, grow and make lifelong friends. Boarding students are fully engaged in our student body and school life through classroom learning, co-curricular programs, teams, clubs and other school activities. Havergal has been welcoming Boarding students (Grades 9 to 12) into our community since 1894. While they come from approximately 20 different countries, Boarders share many qualities: an enthusiasm for acquiring an excellent education, an openness to experience new situations and adventures, and an aptitude for hard work and good fun.
Havergal is located on a beautiful 22-acre campus in Toronto, Canada. With the largest girls’ independent school campus in the city, Havergal features a natural protected tree-lined ravine, playing fields and a combination of heritage and modern architecture, with state-of-the-art facilities that provide the setting for our superior academic programs and co-curricular activities. The Boarding School is located in the top floors of the Upper School building, providing Boarding students with unique access to all that Havergal has to offer.
Meet the Boarding Team
Our Boarding team consists of the Head of Boarding, Assistant Head of Boarding and Boarding Dons. Our Dons are dynamic individuals, many with teaching and coaching experience. They live with the Boarders and liaise between students, parents and the Day School. Our Head of Boarding ensures that each student receives the individualized care and support they need to thrive at Havergal.
Head of Boarding
Assistant Head of Boarding
Yamila Carrizo Sztainbok
Head of Boarding
Ms. Folkes brings more than 20 years of boarding life experience and over a decade of working in an all-girls learning environment in both Canada and the USA. Ms. Folkes is a proud graduate of Hampton University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) which laid the foundation for her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in independent boarding schools. “It is a tremendous responsibility and privilege to work at a historically all-girls school. It presents unique opportunities to create a sense of belonging and support the diversity of our students in the Boarding School.”
Assistant Head of Boarding
Ms. Backer grew up on Vancouver Island, where she was first introduced to residence life as a high school student at Brentwood College. In university, she studied Architecture History and competed as a four-year varsity athlete on the women’s rowing team. Since then, she has worked at private schools in the United States, Australia and Canada, primarily in residence life at the secondary and post-secondary level. She has also held roles as an admissions associate, rowing coach, academic tutor and graduate student. In Ms. Backer’s free time, you can find her running, knitting, trying a new restaurant with her husband or working on a crossword puzzle.
This is Ms. Bellissimo’s second year as a Boarding Don at Havergal. Having grown up in the Greater Toronto Area, she attended York University for her undergraduate degree, where she double majored in Dance and English Literature. Upon graduation, she went on to complete a Masters Degree in Communication and Culture through a joint program between York University and Ryerson University. Ms. Bellissimo spent several years both during and after her time at university teaching dance to children and teenagers in the GTA. Prior to working at Havergal, she worked at Toronto’s Granite Club taking care of children and teaching children’s programming, as well as working as a writer. Ms. Bellissimo is looking forward to another fantastic year in Havergal Boarding.
Yamila Carrizo Sztainbok
Ms. Carrizo Sztainbok grew up in Toronto where she began working with children and youth during her years as a Trampoline Coach and Trampoline Camp Counsellor before pursuing her undergraduate degree. She studied at the University of Toronto, where she double majored in Equity Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies, with an emphasis in Disability Studies. This led her to explore her passion of giving back to the community by volunteering at various non-profit organizations working with vulnerable populations. Most recently, Ms. Carrizo Sztainbok worked as a Residential Counsellor and Case Manager at Humewood House providing various supports to pregnant and parenting young women, teaching them life skills as well as helping them plan and build goals for their future. She is dedicated to continuing her work in empowering young women to reach their full potential.
Ms. Davis has been with Havergal College for more than 20 years. She originally started with our summer camp program and after two summers found her way to the Boarding School, where she has remained since then. Working as the Weekend Don, Ms. Davis has managed to build strong relationships with Boarders over the many years she has been with Havergal. Ms. Davis continues to guide and develop our Boarding students to this day. During the week, Ms. Davis works as a Teacher’s Assistant at Lawrence Heights Middle School.
Ms. Roper was first introduced to boarding life in the north of England, where she grew up, working in a boarding house in York. She then moved across the Atlantic and back again a few times, working as a teaching assistant for students with disabilities, a director of religious education in congregations in Canada and the US, and back into boarding life in Merrickvile, Ontario before joining Havergal. When she is not on duty, you may find her working on her Master’s of Education (with a focus on inclusion), creating stained glass pieces, leading ghost tours or walking her dog Derby (named after the city in England).
Long after students graduate, Boarders and their parents will tell you that the friendships and connections formed at Havergal are lifelong. They will also highlight the tremendous academic advantages of being able to live and attend school at Havergal. Our Boarding Dons are available day and night for advice, counsel and support.
Life as a Havergal Boarder is a balance between study time and leisure time to pursue co-curricular and outside interests. Boarders have supervised study time each evening and enjoy extended access to the Reta Weston Resource Centre and computer labs. When Boarders need extra assistance, the Dons are a willing and very helpful resource. Boarding staff work closely with teachers, guidance counsellors, health care providers, parents and staff to ensure that each Boarder reaches their academic goals and potential. Parents are informed of their child’s progress on a regular basis.
Havergal’s Boarding School hosts many educational and skill development events throughout each year. Special opportunities are offered for student leaders including Leadership Training Workshops and Activities.
At Havergal, you are never very far from friends, supporters or advisors. One of the most significant outcomes of attending school away from home is increased self-reliance and the development of social confidence to adapt to new situations. To help students develop these essential skills, each Boarder is a member of a smaller Boarding group headed by a Don and two Junior Dons (student leaders). The Don is in regular contact with her ‘group members’, and acts as an advisor, mentor, role model and leader. The Junior Dons assist the Dons and help plan activities for Boarders throughout the year.
The School’s Guidance Counsellors establish links with each Boarder, helping and monitoring their progress. The Boarding staff maintains ongoing communications with parents and guardians to inform them of their child’s accomplishments.
The Boarding School maintains around-the-clock security, with Dons on duty all the time. Boarders have full access to healthcare through the onsite Health Centre. The Food Services staff is attuned to the nutritional needs of each student, and laundry and room cleaning services facilitate each student’s comfort. Every night, after study time, a range of activities are offered, including aerobics, games and yoga.
As a multi-faith school with Anglican roots, Boarders from various cultural and religious backgrounds attend Havergal. Boarding staff will support Boarders’ religious practices and assist them in finding a place of worship that best suits them. The Upper School also has a Chapel, a quiet place for prayer and spiritual reflection.
All activities offered by Havergal are available to Boarders, including a wide assortment of clubs, sports teams, music opportunities plus a vast array of co-curricular activities. Arrangements may also be made to pursue special interests outside of the school’s offerings, such as tennis or horseback riding lessons. All Havergal students are actively encouraged to participate in community initiatives at local partner schools and other Toronto organizations. In addition, the Dons and Junior Dons organize various games, crafts and workshops on a weekly basis, as well as monthly off-campus excursions.
We regularly organize activities on the weekends. These activities can include going to a movie, visiting a local cultural attraction, partaking in a shopping trip or other adventure.
Boarders may also organize outings themselves with their friends. Boarders must get permission from the Boarding staff and must sign-out and back in with the Don on duty in the Boarding Office. These optional activities are balanced with the need for rest and relaxation on weekends.
The Boarding School is closed during the Christmas and March Break holidays and there are no organized trips. Parents and/or guardians will need to make arrangements for their children during these holidays.
Havergal is committed to ensuring that Boarders feel they are important and fully engaged with the student body. Boarders and Day students get to know one another during orientation and through their shared school days, in assemblies, House Teacher Advisor Groups, on teams and clubs and by participating in school and community events. Each year, student leaders within Boarding plan special events and dinners.
Comfortable accommodation is provided in bright, airy rooms overlooking gardens and sports areas. In most cases, Boarders will have a roommate in their dorm room. Boarders also have access to a large, sunny common room, a favourite gathering place furnished with easy chairs, couches, a foosball table and a media centre. There is a separate study room with desktop computers and other common spaces for gatherings throughout Boarding.
Bathrooms and showers are communal. Typically you will share a shower and toilet with two or three other students. You will only need to bring your own toiletries and towels. You may also want to bring a pair of flip-flops or plastic sandals for walking to and from the shower.
Laundry service is available Monday through Friday and is covered by your school fees. We have fantastic housekeeping staff who will do your laundry for you during the school day. You will also have access to a laundry room that you can use during your free time in the evenings and on weekends should you prefer to do your own laundry. We will provide a tutorial at the beginning of the year on how to use the machines.
You will need to supply your own bedding (fitted sheets and a blanket or duvet). If you prefer, you can purchase these items when you arrive; there are several stores near the school to purchase bedding. You will also need bath towels both for day-to-day purposes (showering, etc.) as well as for the swimming pool. We recommend that you bring only one set of bed sheets and two sets of towels. This is ample given the availability of laundry services and more practical given the space constraints within the Boarding School.
You will be using the school network. Wireless access is available in the Boarding School, and each student room is equipped with an access port.
Havergal has fully adopted a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or BYO Laptop/Tablet approach to the use of computer technology for Grades 5 to 12. The research and students themselves tell us, bringing a personal device to class is better for the learner. Teachers welcome personalized devices in the classroom; for students, BYOD is a more effective and efficient way of making use of technology.
We have food service at Havergal. Each day, from Monday to Friday, you will be served three nutritious meals in the Hawkins Dining Room in the Upper School, along with morning, afternoon and after school snacks. Breakfast includes hot items such as bacon, eggs or porridge and bread for making toast, bagels and cereal. Lunch will include a choice of hot entrees, salad, soup and sandwiches. Dinner will include two “home-cooked” hot entrees to choose from, salad, soup and bread with spreads. Vegetarian options are always available and special dietary restrictions or allergies can be accommodated. International and cultural diverse cuisine are featured often, along with organic food and seasonal produce. Juice, milk and water are always available. On weekends you will be served brunch and dinner with a variety of choices. The Common Rooms are stocked with various snacks (such as fruit, bagels, soup, sandwich meat, bread, milk, veggies, yogurt, cheese and juice) and have a small kitchenette.