This month, as we’ve been celebrating love in all its forms through Valentine’s Day and Pink Shirt Day, it’s heartening to remember that our school was founded on the values of kindness, friendship and appreciation of others.
When York House opened on September 7, 1932, Vice-Principal Janet Mitchell’s address from the founders to the students included the following words:
“We are particularly hopeful that you will be a friendly group, and that you will cultivate friendships with one another. This is essential to the growth of a school spirit. Let there be no lonely girls in our midst. Be kind to one another. Look for the best in each other — and you will be surprised how much happier you will be yourself.”
These words have just as much, if not more, relevance now as they did 85 years ago. Here’s to the enduring wisdom of our founders in emphasizing the importance of values that act as glue for our strong community and a recipe for happiness!
Ita Kane-Wilson and Ellie Zygmunt, admissions counsellor/mentorship coordinator travelled to Ottawa on January 23rd for dinner with alumnae. Chapter Chair Gillian (Johnson) Cartwright ’03 and Madeleine Lyons also from the Class of 2003 hadn’t seen each other since graduation so they had a lot to catch up on.
Madeleine was in flying form and regaled us with fascinating stories about her work with the Red Cross. She talked about her emergency preparedness kits and how she has three backpacks ready to go at all times; one in her car, one at home and one at work. She talked about how little containers of skin cream and lip balm are important as they make you feel semi-normal even though you’re in a crisis. Helen Cassie ’16 also joined us and she’s enjoying life in Ottawa and interning currently with Dr. Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre. It was also wonderful to see Taneisha Dunham ’15 and hear about her continued involvement with her sorority at Carleton. She also loves her volunteer work and feels blessed to have found her community there.
Onto Montreal from Ottawa and the weather was starting to deteriorate. The city endured a winter blizzard that morning but we were impressed with how quickly streets get cleared there. We met our recent grads at an Indian restaurant on Boulevard St. Laurent and after a delicious meal (along with the necessary leftover takeout bags!) and lots of chatter, we bundled ourselves back out into the cold and onto Kingston.
The Yorkies in Kingston were delighted to see us and it was great to catch up with everyone over a delicious dinner. The new grads are settling in well and thankful to have each other. Our Chapter Chair, Vanessa Samuel ’13 has done a fabulous job of hosting events over the past few years for the new grads and it was great to see her. Vanessa has plans to apply to medical school at UBC so this is most likely her last term as chapter chair.
The train journey to London seemed very long the following day and it was a relief to get there and enjoy dinner with our small group of Yorkies. Skylar Gordon from the Class of 2014 has kindly taken on the role of chapter chair and we’re very grateful to her. The new grads haven’t had a get-together yet but Skylar is planning one very soon. Skylar talked about her community service work with the Habitat for Humanity organization and her annual trips to New Orleans with a group of students from Western.
Laura Edwards ’74, Executive Director Advancement joined us in Toronto and it was also wonderful to see Maxine Bass ’65 and everyone else who came along that evening. The Class of 2016 girls bravely paid tribute to their friend Kendra who had passed away recently.
Onto Halifax I went for the very first get-together of the YHS Alumnae Chapter – Maritimes. Alix Lammie ’11 kindly met me at the hotel before heading to our gathering and we were able to catch up. Alix is doing a Master of Science, Pharmacology and enjoying it. It was fantastic to see the girls and hear about their lives in Nova Scotia. Miranda MacDonald ’14 talked about her interest in applying for the veterinarian program at the University of Saskatchewan while Janet Suen ’13 is looking forward to finishing her degree and moving back to Vancouver. It was also so lovely to chat with Laura Abrioux ’14, who talked about her interest in public health policy. It was a short and sweet visit but a very worthwhile one.