It’s that time of year – graduation, exams, bittersweet endings, fresh beginnings…
As we celebrate this year’s Grade 12s graduating and becoming alumnae, it’s fun to remember the old YHS tradition of the “last will and testament”. While we wouldn’t recommend that Yorkies do this today, it is quite amusing to recall that past Seniors celebrated their graduation with the ritual of gathering around the incinerator(!) in the lane beside the school, reciting a last will and testament, and burning everything from class notes to stockings and bloomers as they said goodbye to YHS and hello to the rest of their lives.
Congratulations to our newest alumnae, the class of 2017. We’re sure you’re going to set the world on fire!
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
early uniforms: Junior fawn-coloured dress, Senior white summer dress
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.
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!