Celebrating Class Anniversaries

Each year, the YHS Museum & Archives has an exhibit of photos to honour graduation anniversaries of alumnae classes.

Whether your class celebrates at the school as part of Alumnae Day or the Golden Luncheon, or gathers at another time, holding regular reunions is one of the ways that YHS alumnae stay connected and create a strong community of lifelong friends.

This year’s exhibit is now installed in the museum for the classes of 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002.

Class of 1987 is up first with their May 27th reunion. Let the celebrations begin!

Photography, a Food Blog and Two Weddings: Danielle Wong ’10

What did you do after graduation from York House?

After graduating, I went straight to the Ontario College of Art and Design University – where I first studied in the design program but then switched to fine arts and discovered my passion for photography.

Did you have a lot of exposure to photography at York House?
Not really, I didn’t discover photography until my graduating year at YHS – after our grad trip to NYC and visiting galleries and discovering photographers; that’s when I realized perhaps I wanted to make a different path for myself and the desire to be in design started to fade away.

Describe a typical day in the life of Danielle Wong Photography?

I started my company in 2014 after I came back from my post-graduate studies. It was a little slow at first, but thanks to my fantastic mentor who is also one of my closest friends today, she has guided me and taught me almost everything I know. Wedding season in the summers is always hectic but very rewarding. Taking pictures of families and actor portraits was how I first kickstarted my business in Vancouver, thanks to friends and a lot of networking! I love working with people and hearing the feedback (usually positive) afterwards is very humbling and I treat every opportunity I receive as an honour.

You’re a food blogger as well. Tell us about your blog?
I am! I LOVE food! I feel like my life revolves either around photography, fitness, wine and food. I live to eat. In my last year at university, I focused on food photography. Food doesn’t talk back – you’re basically in control all the time. Since graduating, I haven’t really touched food photography at all. It’s hard in a market like Vancouver with a saturation of photographers.

My dad is in the wine and sake importing business and to learn more about pairing wine with foods I took the WSET (Wine Sommelier Education Trust) Levels 1 & 2 courses.

Then, I started The Gourmoo – my food blog – about a year ago now. I had missed photographing food so much. I’m always looking for the opportunity to photograph new menus for chefs in town, or if your restaurant is just starting up and you need really delicious shots of your masterpieces – this is what I love doing most. I can’t deny my love for food.

I was featured in WestJet’s Magazine last year for a piece on Dublin, Ireland. I had visited the city that year and took a photo of a delicious dish of Vitello Tonnato – sliced veal served cold, covered with a creamy, tuna mayonnaise-like sauce.  I was honoured to have my photograph published in their magazine!

Are you a good cook or do you prefer to eat and photograph it?
I’m not a bad cook (so I keep telling myself) – my parents are the real cooks. I definitely prefer to photograph food rather than make it – however I love  marinating meat or making desserts. I love to cook, but I think I love photography a little more. I’m that person who takes photos of their dishes (and others) before eating.

You’re getting married soon and getting married twice!  How are the wedding plans going? 
I think I will need a long vacation after the two weddings… It’s been a lot of hard work, and the first one is less than a month away! My fiancé and I are very excited to have both our families gather to celebrate our marriage. We are eternally grateful for everyone being able to travel from all over the world to celebrate with us.

As a photographer, I know how much work goes into planning a wedding – let alone two! I not only photograph weddings, but I help the couples to plan out their day too. It is so important to keep the bride and groom relaxed on their big day – reminding them to enjoy it and just have fun. It is so easy to forget why you’re having a wedding in the first place – you are marrying the love of your life! You must cherish every moment. Being able to treasure those moments through photographs is something very special.  I cannot wait for what the future brings!

Class of 2006 – 10th Anniversary

Natalee Sinclair ’06 reports: The class of 2006 not only had one, but two reunions for our 10 year milestone! The first, hosted by Dani des Roches and her parents, was a casual backyard get-together making the most of the sunny June afternoon. We even had a special visitor drop by – Ms. Boteju! As we had some girls away in the summer that wanted to attend, we had another reunion in December with some returning and new faces. This time, a more intimate party hosted by Prathna Batra, complete with a fabulous spread of potluck food choices, drinks, delicious cake, and of course Yorkie goodie bags! It was so nice to catch up with everyone and hear about everyone’s adventures over the past 10 years. Thank you to Shiva Majidi and Roxy Karim for their help with planning. We look forward to the next reunion.

Class of 1961 – 55th Anniversary

Class rep Stevie (Bryston) Mitchell ‘61 reported, “On April 17, 2017 the class of 1961 celebrated their 55th reunion over lunch hosted by Winkie (Bucholtz) Steele at her South Surrey home. A number of classmates had not been able to attend the 55th celebration at the YHS Golden Alumnae luncheon last fall creating a 2nd chance to gather for a celebration.

Thanks to the help of our head girl Vicki (Frost) Vogrin, eighteen Yorkies attended including several who left the school prior to the senior years. The weather cooperated and a wonderful time was had by all.

Everyone reluctantly headed home with promises to get together again soon. Plainly no need to wait until the 60-year anniversary!

Preparations for the Class of 1987 Alumnae Reunion

Class reps Lisa (Granger) Cunliffe ’87 and Anitha (Gondi) Vasireddi ’87 found their class names on the staircase glass panels while on a tour of the Senior School and YHS Museum & Archives last month.  Lisa commented, “The school looks spectacular!  We were especially touched by how well all of you have linked the past with the present (and the future!).  It’s truly a special
place and something to be immensely proud of.” Anitha added, “I’m so proud to have graduated from such an awesome school. A big shout out to YHS for building such a beautiful campus and constantly improving to make it an even more warm and caring environment for the girls.”

Lisa and Anita have been very busy preparing for their 30th reunion, which will take place on Saturday May 27 at 4 pm. Festivities will begin with a reception at TELUS Rooftop Garden on the 23rd  Floor. At 5 pm all will head downstairs to Glowbal for dinner followed by dessert back at TELUS Rooftop Garden. A number of teachers are expected to join the class. “We look forward to talking, laughing and sharing memories with you all on May 27th!”

The Legacy Society Tea: Celebrating 40 Years of the YHS Endowment

Members of the YHS Legacy Society

The 40th anniversary was the perfect time for the unveiling of the updated Not for Ourselves Alone Legacy Society plaque by Barbara (Sanderson) Armstrong ’55, past Foundation trustee and Lisa (Greczmiel) Roberts ’82, Alumnae Association president to reveal eighty-five members including YHS Board members, Foundation trustees, Alumnae Association executives, alumnae, YHS staff, current parents and friends.

The recognition plaque hangs above the distinctive YHS Museum & Archives display case, a gift from a three generational York House family, Margaret (Shepard) Walwyn ’55, her daughter Catharine (Walwyn) Turner and granddaughters, Megan Walwyn ’15 and Claire Turner ’17. The case enables treasured archival artifacts to be brought out and shared with the whole community. The current display, arranged by archivist and curator Susannah Smith, features York House in the 1930s including the blazer of Corinth (Eckman) Carson ’35 from the first graduating class. Be sure to take a look when walking through the Gail Ruddy foyer!

The society was founded by Barbara (Sanderson) Armstrong ’55 in 1999 to recognize donors who have made a bequest in their will or other planned gift to the YHS Foundation in support of student scholarships and the school’s future. The YHS Endowment Fund was established four decades ago and thanks to the dedication of Foundation trustees, and the generosity of our Legacy Society members and donors, the fund continues to grow.

This year, fourteen students are recipients of either full or partial scholarships.

After the unveiling, champagne glasses clinked, our very own blend of Murchie’s YHS tea served and delicate sandwiches, boarder’s fare (brown bread with butter), scones and sweets were enjoyed by all.

The best was yet to come with speakers, Caitlin Ohama-Darcus ’07, a past Foundation scholarship recipient now with Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson LLP and grade 12 student Fiona Lang ’17, the Ursula Bell scholarship recipient, who is planning to study engineering.

Fiona spoke first and expressed what being a Yorkie and scholarship student has meant to her through her experiences in the math honours, the music and computer science programs.

Caitlin began with a dictionary. “I did as most young lawyers are trained to do: start with a search for the word “legacy”…Of all the definitions, the one that stood out for me the most was this:  ‘a legacy is ‘a tangible or intangible thing handed down by a predecessor or the long-lasting effect of an event or process.’ 

My experience as a York House student and a Foundation scholar was one of those hugely significant events – or if I think about my development as a girl and young woman, one of those many-dimensional processes, whose impact continues for me to this day. Many, many moments stand out for me from my time at the school.”

Inspired by these two amazing young women, legacy members stayed on for the Celebrate Scholars program put on by current student scholars with the chance to meet them at the reception afterwards. Each legacy member received the new gold YHS Legacy Society pin with the York rose emblem.

Click here for the Legacy Society Tea photo gallery

Click here for more about the Legacy Society

 

Not for Ourselves Alone: Skylar Gordon, Class of 2014

Continuing her commitment to community through University

Skylar (centre) with her friends in New Orleans

Skylar, community service is important to you. Was this from attending YHS?

One of the reasons I decided to attend YHS was because of the high value placed on community service.    As far back as I can recall I’ve always taken the time to volunteer, so attending YHS really instilled this emphasis on community engagement in me.  Community service has allowed me to take an active role in my community, and has given me the opportunity to acquire knowledge and life skills while providing service to those who need it most.

Please tell us about your involvement with Habitat for Humanity?

I joined Western University’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program during my freshman year. The program is designed to provide students with “Community Engaged Learning” by holding workshops throughout the year on intercultural communication, persistent social issues, and what we as students at a Canadian university can do about it.  The program culminates into a both a local and global part of service learning.

For the global portion, I travelled to New Orleans, Louisiana during my Reading Week in 2015 to work with Habitat for Humanity on a few build sites.  I was drawn to Habitat for Humanity because their business model engages both volunteers and the people who benefit from the housing projects.  Volunteers are trained on how to work tools and residents of Habitat houses must dedicate hours of their own service into building the house.

I chose to work in New Orleans because I wanted to see the progress that the city had made in rebuilding itself during the ten years post Hurricane Katrina.  I was surprised when I arrived in New Orleans: some wards I visited only contained empty lots and unpaved streets where vibrant houses and communities used to be.  Districts that once were home to eight elementary schools now relied on only one because there weren’t enough funds to rebuild the rest.  I found my experience so impactful in first year that I decided I wanted to develop the ASB program further, so during my second year I became one of the team leaders of the program.  I helped to lead the workshops and organize the program, and in February of 2016 I led 40 students back to New Orleans to work on more house builds.  The year that I led the New Orleans program was especially rewarding because I was able to help other students enjoy the same positive experience that I had from the year before.

Here’s a video that my co-leader made of the trip (I think I have a short cameo at the 11 second mark and a couple other places).

How did you find out about it?

Shortly into my first year of university, I started to feel overwhelmed.  I was taking some lecture-based courses in which more than 550 students were enrolled and my university residence building housed over 1,000 students.  Combined with living across the country and away from my family, I was exhausted from trying to keep up in school and get enough sleep and stay in touch with my friends.  I realized that I really missed the feeling of fulfillment that I had from volunteering and working on community projects at YHS and the network of like-minded people I met through it.  I felt disconnected from the very city I was living in (we call it the “Western University bubble” because the school acts as its own community): I couldn’t even name the major streets that were off campus.  I decided to look for opportunities to involve myself in the London community and discovered the ASB program, offered through Western.
Do you see yourself continuing your community service after graduation?

Absolutely.  Giving time to my community is important to me and I can’t imagine it not extending beyond my graduation.

What are you studying and what do you see yourself doing after graduation?

I study business at the Ivey Business School, at Western University.  I hope to work in health sector innovation after I graduate, possibly doing quality improvement projects in hospitals. I see myself at the intersection between healthcare and business – working to improve quality of life through improved healthcare.  In this respect, I see myself managing projects to improve the quality of processes and care in hospitals (in a business operations or analytics capacity).  I am also interested in how to incentivize profit-seeking medical device and pharmaceutical companies to invest in better healthcare innovation, while keeping the products of this innovation affordable to patients.

Any advice to new grads heading to Western this September?

Keep in touch with other Yorkies at your university!  They know what you’re going through better than anyone.

You’ll learn just as much, if not more, outside of classes as you will in them, so be open to new opportunities and get involved with clubs, sports, and causes that you’re passionate about.

Buy a good quality winter jacket and snow boots (we had snow into April this year)!

Museum & Archives Wish List

Don’t forget, we’re always seeking YHS historical memorabilia for the Museum & Archives. If you’re going through your attic or basement and find any of our wish list items below that you’d like to donate, please contact Susannah Smith, YHS Archivist and Museum Curator, at archives@yorkhouse.ca.

Junior students in the 1940-41 Chronicle
  • early uniforms: Junior fawn-coloured dress, Senior white summer dress
  • uniform accessories: gloves, ties, scarves, stockings, indoor slippers, socks, shoes, YHS jewelry and pins
  • graduation dresses and corsages
  • boys’ uniforms
  • school crests and badges
  • photos, albums, scrapbooks
  • prospectuses, yearbooks, notebooks, textbooks
  • documents, ephemera, invitations, cards, postcards, correspondence with founders or other staff
  •  school supplies, satchels and artifacts from YHS school days

York House, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and Pop Art Icon Roy Lichtenstein

What could these three things possibly have in common? The answer is this year’s Museum Ambassador badge and our museum tote bag!

The image on the one-inch badge that Junior School students receive when they complete their Museum Ambassador activities comes from an advertisement on page 34 of the 1941-42 Chronicle. At that time, the school’s uniform supplier was the Bay, and the ad features a black and white drawing of two girls wearing a facsimile of the YHS uniform.

We were then inspired by the pop art of Roy Lichtenstein to colourize the image and make it more vibrant for our Museum Ambassador badge.

The button was so well-received that we had it reproduced on a cotton tote bag to sell at the 2016 Holiday Market.

If you’re a fan, the badges and tote bags are available through the Alumnae and Advancement office on the third floor of the Senior School.

New York Alumnae Chapter Gathering

Head of School, Chantal Gionet, Executive Director Advancement Laura Edwards ‘74, and Andrea Jang ’00 from the New Yorkies YHS Alumnae Chapter hosted the annual alumnae event at Andrea’s residence in Manhattan on Thursday, April 27th.

13 women gathered to reminisce and share stories from their days at YHS, as well as recent personal and professional achievements.

One of the key highlights of the night was the multi-generational attendance from Nora Newlands ’67 and her daughter Lindsay Forbes ’96.

Other exciting news:

    • Charing Hui ‘06 was married in Vancouver last Fall and currently lives in NYC, working as a tax accountant.
    • Fashionistas: Nabila Dhanji ‘09 recently joined Theory & Helmut Lang as Chief of Staff, reporting to the CEO and Lesley Cheng ‘08 designs footwear at Loeffler Randall.
    • Studying in the City: Nicole Poon ‘11 recently started an optometry program in NYC, after completing her undergrad studies at McGill and Colette Richardson ‘16 is in a musical theatre and performing arts program.
    • Genevieve Leaf ‘05 searches for exciting locations for CBS TV shows; most recently she is working on the set of “Divorce”, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.
  • Digital reporter Johanna Christina Li ‘12 is working at “Inside Edition” covering women’s experiences with Planned Parenthood.