2012 DOGA Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86 One woman’s vision moves millions
The Link THE BSS MAGAZINE | VOL. 1 · 2011/12
TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERS BEING THE CHANGE BEYOND BSS
Inspired Old Girls lead by example pg. 3
WHAT’S UP WITH OLD GIRLS
Ten great pages of global updates pg. 24
GETTING IN ON THE ACT
Students find meaning on stage pg. 34
VOL. 1 • 2011/12
OPENING NOTES 2 Deryn Lavell takes a look at the vital role of role models
LEADERS SPOTLIGHT 3 Meet four outstanding Old Girls who are taking the lead in transforming the world
WHEN GIRLS DREAM 4 • 11 • 18 Three compelling questions for four Old Girls who are living their dream
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT 8 10 questions in 20 minutes A casual Q&A with the Smallman sisters, volunteers extraordinaire
OLD GIRL SPOTLIGHT 10 Follow Katherine BARCSAY ’01 and her journey from science to acting, bringing to life the skills she found at BSS
DOGA PROFILE 12 Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86 – A dedicated volunteer and visionary, Ms. Hill organized in 1992 the first Run for the Cure in Toronto, which has grown to an annual event that has raised millions of dollars and involved over one million participants
IN MEMORIAM 17 Remembering an inspiring role model and transformative leader – Joan DAVIDSON Watson ’43
STUDENT SPOTLIGHT 16 Meet Emily PAPSIN Class of 2012:
From Science to hockey, Biology to singer/songwriter, this soon to be Old Girl is well on her way to becoming a transformative leader
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS We are pleased to bring you this issue of The Link, focusing on the Transformative Leaders who have begun their inspiring journeys in the halls of BSS. We want the energy that we feel every day at BSS to jump off the pages of The Link, and we appreciate all those who have helped us in that goal. There are endless stories of BSS students, parents, faculty, staff and Old Girls, and we aim to share them with you through this magazine. You can access hundreds of articles from previous issues by visiting bssthelink.com.
This issue, we focus almost exclusively on Old Girls, all of whom embody BSS values and who are using what they learned at BSS to transform the world. Upholding our commitment to environmental accountability in all we do, the paper used in the production of this magazine is from responsible sources. We hope you enjoy reading about some of the many lives affected by the BSS experience and who are proof positive that ‘Girls can do anything’! As always, we invite your comments on what you read in The Link, and welcome your ideas. With thanks, The Link Editorial Team
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ROLE MODELS. WHY WE NEED THEM NOW MORE THAN EVER. by deryn lavell
he term ‘role model’ is so common it’s easy to forget that the notion is a fairly recent one and came about from a great deal of research. The term first appeared in 1957 when distinguished sociologist Robert K. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with ‘reference groups’ of people who occupy a role aspired to by the individual. Dr. Merton determined that by the time a student arrived at medical school, those who made that career choice earliest, were likely to have been influenced by a role model. He described role models as, “persons who serve as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others.” While we tend to think of role models as positive influences, it is just as likely that young people will be moved to emulate the behavior of their favourite Jersey Shore housemate… and does the world really need another Snooki? In today’s era of celebrity culture and the overwhelming power these people can have on young minds, parents and educators are being challenged to counteract those messages by providing exposure to a diversity of perspectives that can balance their children’s view. We can lament the ubiquity of the Snookies, (who by the way, now has a whopping 4 million Twitter followers), but we cannot shut them out of our children’s
lives. Championing our own role models then, becomes an increasingly vital part of what a community like BSS must do. And there is no shortage of them around here. There are positive role models throughout the BSS community, from teachers, to coaches, and of course, our parents. In this issue of The Link, we will focus particularly on our remarkable community of Old Girls. They are most likely to form the powerful counterpoint to the deluge of other influences our students are exposed to. Not only do these exceptional women help to shape our students’ perspectives through direct involvement with the School, their stories provide excellent examples of what is possible. First, we salute this year’s Distinguished Old Girl, Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86, for her outstanding service to the community. Andrea was in her early twenties, not long after graduating from BSS, when she founded the now renowned “Run for the Cure”. After her beloved grandmother died of breast cancer, Andrea learned that women everywhere were getting sick with this disease and not talking about it. There was virtually no awareness and even some reluctance for women to acknowledge the disease. She felt passionately that breast cancer was a disease that not only affected women, but had a profound impact on their families and communities. Now in its 20th year, this national event has raised millions
Exceptional women help to shape our students
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of dollars and continues to be one of the biggest of its kind. Andrea has since founded an organization called Cause We Care to help single mothers living in poverty. Her remarkable story is highlighted in this issue of The Link and through it, you will readily see why she was selected as this year’s Distinguished Old Girl. Andrea will be presented with the Award at this year’s Heritage Dinner coming up in April. It promises to be a remarkable evening you won’t want to miss. You will also meet another special group of Old Girls who are without question, ‘transformational leaders’. Their stories are remarkable and span a wide range of professional paths from philanthropy, activism, and filmmaking, to nuclear science. These exceptional women represent the goal of our vision at BSS. In each of their particular journeys, they are transformational leaders who are changing the world. We feel so proud to have played a role in their lives. By showcasing their stories, students today can learn from them and, hopefully, become even more excited about the opportunities that await them in the future. But of course, BSS can’t take all the credit. Combining this powerful learning environment with an involved, caring and achievement-oriented home environment is the magic recipe. This issue of The Link highlights two sisters who have strong values rooted in their family. Anne SMALLMAN Gallagher ’81 and Catherine SMALLMAN Grant ’84 are family-focused Old Girls who continue the tradition of being active, positive role models for their children and all who know them. As you’ll read, the sisters volunteer in many capacities for the School and are conscious of just how much their actions influence their children. BSS is a special environment, not only for the profound learning that goes on in the classroom, but for the many paths to growth and development that we can offer our girls beyond our walls. Old Girls have an enormous role to play in this, as do our parents. I’m delighted that our students can learn from such an exceptional and committed community. As long as we have BSS Old Girls to talk about, there will always be strong, positive and powerful role models for our students.
IGNITED BSS By Nekita King
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DR. JUDITH ASH ’62:
AN OLD GIRL CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH MEDICINE
r. Judith ASH ’62 knew since Grade 5 that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her physician father. Such aspirations were often viewed at the time as being fruitless for women, with the general societal sentiment being that she should pursue a more traditional or ‘feasible’ goal for women. “Follow your passion and take advantage of every opportunity given to you.” This was Dr. Ash’s guiding principle as she embarked on a path to ensure that her dream of becoming a doctor came to fruition. Her years at BSS played an instrumental role in ensuring that she followed her desired path. “The general atmosphere of the School and it being an all girls school encouraged you to do your best.” The fostering of such high levels of achievement and encouragement was also admired by her mother and daughter, both of whom are BSS alumnae. During her years at BSS, Dr. Ash learned the value of hard work and determination in a school that rewarded excellence.
ELIZABETH SIMPSON ’72
Dr. Ash also credits the teachers at BSS for laying the foundation for an easy transition into university. After graduating Senior Matriculation (Ontario Scholarship) from BSS in 1962, Dr. Ash went on to receive her undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and her M.D. and D.M.R. (D) from the University of Toronto. Trained in Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Dr. Ash also received her diploma from the American Board of Nuclear Medicine in 1975. Taking advantage of every opportunity that came her way, Dr. Ash accepted the offer in 1974 to become a Staff Radiologist at the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, at one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world – The Hospital for Sick Children. This was a bold step given that there were few doctors, let alone female doctors, practising pediatric nuclear medicine. “Pediatric nuclear medicine was groundbreaking work at the time,” says Dr. Ash.
“It was a small close community, only about 30 people, and I was one of the few women.” Dr. Ash welcomed the role, as she prefers to work in environments that continue to challenge her. She explains that working with children presents more challenges because of the physical and emotional changes they experience through the developmental stages. However, Dr. Ash believes these challenges are what make her job fascinating. They present the opportunity for new discoveries and serve as an escape from the monotony of general practices. Now a Senior Staff Radiologist, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, at The Hospital for Sick Children, a position she has held since 1980, Dr. Ash is also a well respected academic who has served as Lecturer and an Assistant Professor for the Department of Radiology at the University of Toronto. Since 1982 she has also been an Associate for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto; moreover, she has served on various committees including the Ontario College of Physicians committee that sets the Standards of Practice for Nuclear Medicine private practice in Ontario. In addition to being a guest lecturer and visiting professor at some of the world’s leading medical universities, including McGill University, Dr. Ash has been an invited speaker to some of the world’s top conferences on pediatric nuclear medicine and pediatric PET/CT imaging. With over 60 published articles and participation in 14 scientific exhibits, Dr. Ash continues to be one of the leading medical professionals in her field. Dr. Ash also works part-time at a private practice and does not see retirement anywhere on the horizon. She has incorporated more spiritual and creative practices, such as yoga, into her daily routine and hopes to someday do something medically with it. As an Old Girl and an inspirational role model, Dr. Ash hopes to impress upon aspiring leaders at BSS to always follow their passion, as it’s been the driving force behind her vital life’s work.
NETICIST I CAN BE A GE
DESCRIBE YOUR PATH FROM BSS TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY:
My interest in genetics was piqued at an early age. My mother had a friend who had identical twin daughters and when they would visit, I noticed that one would cry, then other would cry, alternating back and forth; I was fascinated. By the time I reached the Senior School I knew I wanted to study sciences and was grateful for the encouragement I received at BSS. I went on to pursue my B.Sc., 4 THEand LINK VOL. · 2011/12 M.Sc. Ph.D. at1the University of Toronto, specializing in genetics.
Today, I’m a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics in Vancouver, and a Professor in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia.
HOW DID BSS HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM?
BSS instilled a great confidence in my ability to do whatever I dreamed. It never crossed my mind that I couldn’t do what I wanted, and was taught to have an “of course I can do that” type of attitude. WHAT SINGLE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S STUDENTS ABOUT PURSUING THEIR DREAMS?
Don’t be afraid of change – make sure you periodically check in with yourself to see if you’re happy. If not, make a change!
ery rarely does one encounter someone with as much passion and determination as author, peace activist and honorary lay Canon Phyllis MANNING Creighton ’49. Crediting her years at BSS for instilling her with an unparalleled sense of confidence, Ms. Creighton has spent decades advocating for social justice and environmental causes. She has written about a variety of issues, including the abolition of nuclear weapons, and artificial insemination, and is often called upon by media outlets and government organizations to provide her expertise on these issues. After graduating BSS, Ms. Creighton went on to obtain her B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Toronto, where she excelled in her studies and received annual scholarships. Her love for History was fostered during her years at BSS. “I had the best History teacher in the province, Ms. Lamont,” says Ms. Creighton. “Ms. Lamont made me realize that the story of the past was colourful.” After graduating university, Ms. Creighton returned to BSS with the daunting task of filling her mentor’s shoes and served as a History teacher at the School from 1953 to 1955. In describing her experience, Ms. Creighton recalls the sense of pressure that she eventually overcame. “I felt right at home because BSS had shaped whom I had become.” While her years at BSS were curtailed by a very important chapter of her life – the arrival of her children – Ms.
Creighton remains grateful for the years she spent as a student and as teacher at the School. She says it’s where she acquired many of the skills she would later employ, such as the ability to argue cogently and succinctly, and where she developed an understanding of herself and her purpose in the world. After her years at BSS, Ms. Creighton went on to serve as a Research Assistant with the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/ Dictionnaire Biographique du Canada, University of Toronto, from 1967 to 1974, and since 1974 she has been their translations editor. She came into this latter role at a time when there were no formal positions or educational courses geared towards the field of translations. She also served as a Research Associate at the Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, University of Toronto, from 1997 to 2005 and as an Adjunct Faculty member since July 2009. Ms. Creighton has been an active member of the Anglican Church of Canada for many
decades. Appointed honorary lay Canon of St. James Cathedral, Toronto, by Archbishop Colin Johnson in May 2009, Ms. Creighton has been a member of numerous boards and committees, including the vestry board, and has contributed to various publications and advisory panels for the church. Before its inception, she was a vocal proponent for the appointment of female bishops and has been one of the leading advocates for the acceptance and inclusion of all people into the Anglican Church, regardless of sexual orientation. An exceptional orator, Ms. Creighton has been called upon to speak, present and preach at various conferences about issues ranging from bioethics to global peace. Aspiring leaders at BSS were able to witness this truly inspirational woman when she returned in 2003 and 2007 to preach on issues of love and global change, and in January 2010 she gave a speech on the importance of global awareness. Adding to her impressive repertoire,
PHYLLIS JOYCE MANNING CREIGHTON ’47:
AN OLD GIRL CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH ACTIVISM since 1990 Ms. Creighton has been an active member of the Toronto Raging Grannies, a group of women who use satirical songs to advocate for social justice, peace and environmental issues. She is also a member of various boards and committees dedicated to peace and social justice, including the Canadian Pugwash Group and the City of Toronto’s Peace Garden Public Advisory Group. Ms. Creighton feels she has always possessed an innate sense of care towards her fellow man and environment, and her educational years, including those spent at BSS, gave her the tools to act on it. As an Old Girl and mentor, she extends the following words to the aspiring leaders of BSS: “Be honest about your ability. Not only be the best you can but the most you can.” Ms. Creighton has high hopes for the prospect of positive global change. “I want people to catch the vision of a world in which there is peace and justice founded on love.” THE LINK VOL.1 · 2011/12
LEADERS SPOTLIGHT LEADERS SPOTLIGHT
THISHA GLOVER ’07:
AN OLD GIRL CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH SCIENCE
ery few can argue against the position that science has been at the fore of human advancement and development. So, when Ms. Thisha GLOVER ’07, BSS alumna and current Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, was introduced to science, she appreciated not only its close connection to human life, but also its ability to add value to it. While she was drawn to science at a very young age, it was during her years as BSS that she developed an understanding of how science can be used to produce positive, meaningful change. “At BSS I was encouraged to take control of my learning and to think independently,” says Ms. Glover. She credits the School for fostering a competitive, academically driven environment where success was rewarded. During her years at BSS, Ms. Glover received a number of math, science and computer awards. In 2006 she was the recipient of the Rensselaer Medal, where she was awarded a tuition scholarship to study at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) for her outstanding achievement in science and mathematics. During her years at RPI, Ms. Glover was a Teaching Resident Assistant, where she tutored aspiring freshmen in Calculus and Physics, and she later went on to tutor upperclassmen in Mechanics and Materials. As a Research Assistant at the Mechanical Engineering Department at RPI, she drew on her independent work skills she acquired at BSS and designed an experiment to examine the relationship between viscosity and particle volume fraction of nanofluids. After obtaining her B.Sc. in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from RPI in May 2011, Ms. Glover took the bold step of pursuing her Ph.D. in Bioengineering at Georgia Tech. Working with Dr. Susan Thomas, whose interest of study includes the physical regulation of Biology and the interdependence of mechanics and cellular mechanisms in cancer progression via the 6
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AT BSS I WAS ENCOURAGED TO TAKE CONTROL OF MY LEARNING AND TO THINK INDEPENDENTLY
lymphatics, Ms. Glover was drawn to the relatively new field of taking an engineering approach to a biological problem. “This perspective on cancer is relatively new, so I was drawn to the potential to make significant scientific contributions to a clinically relevant problem,” she says. Her ultimate goal is to improve patients’ quality of life and, while she says that “discovering my purpose did take a bit of trial and error,” she definitely knew going into college that she appreciated science for its capacity to bring about qualitative change. “Medical research positively impacted my father’s life, and, thus mine as well,” she says. “Advancement in medical devices is the reason my father is alive.” Ms. Glover is passionate about using her career in science and medical research for the “greater good” and to “pay it forward”. In describing her career choice and her desire to make an impact on the world, Ms. Glover says that “being at BSS in and of itself helped me to take that kind of perspective on life. It’s really an incredible place in terms of acquiring a global perspective on life.” Being a Boarder took her away from the security of living with her parents, but she is grateful to the staff at BSS for providing a “very nurturing environment” and for enabling her to learn responsibility. She also credits her experience of Boarding with girls from all around the world with acquiring this perspective. This, compounded with her ability to learn and think independently, and her unrelenting desire to “push herself to the limit,” has resulted in her pursuit to make a difference. Ms. Glover is currently a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an International Engineering Society that targets groups underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) fields. The organization’s aim is to increase their levels of retention, academic performance, professional success and outreach initiatives in STEM fields and Pi Tau Sigma (the International Mechanical Engineering Honour Society), and is an International Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. Ms. Glover plans to pursue post-doctoral research after her anticipated graduation in 2016. As a BSS Old Girl and role model, she advises aspiring leaders to “consider their purpose very early and to derive motivation from that purpose” as this very principle has been the cornerstone of her transformative accomplishments thus far.
Photo: Toni Salabasev
Director Larysa Kondracki (centre) with actors Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Rachel Weisz on the set of The Whistleblower
LARYSA KONDRACKI ’95:
AN OLD GIRL CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH FILM
very so often, a film comes along that has such an impact, it demands that people take notice and instigate change. The Whistleblower, directed and co-written by BSS Old Girl, Ms. Larysa KONDRACKI ’95, is such a film. Based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Academy Award Winner, Rachel Weisz), a Nebraskan police officer, who took a job as a UN peacekeeper following the Bosnia War in the early 1990s, The Whistleblower explores the disturbing subject of sex trafficking and calls into question issues of peacekeeper immunity and international accountability. While Ms. Kondracki maintains that the main purpose behind her first feature directorial film was to ensure that it was “engaging and interesting,” the compelling plot and her brilliant telling of Ms. Bolkovac’s story has garnered international attention and has certainly fulfilled the Old Girl mandate of affecting change in the world. Since the release of the film, the United
Nations (UN) has taken some steps to address issues of sex trafficking and sexual crimes. Ms. Kondracki received a letter from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in which he expressed that he “was saddened by the involvement of the international community, particularly of the United Nations, in the abuses connected with the trafficking of women and their use as sex slaves, as highlighted in the movie.” He invited Ms. Kondracki to screen the film for an audience of senior UN officials and member states at UN headquarters, where she participated in a panel discussion following the screening. Although Ms. Kondracki is grateful for the attention the film has received and for the acknowledgement by the UN, she is impatient for greater international accountability. She explains that “the issue is greater than sex trafficking; peace keeper immunity, which is a tremendous issue, international accountability and any institution that goes unchecked.” Fear of being excoriated for bringing to
light one of the most severe expositions to hit the international political community in the past decade was never an issue for Ms. Kondracki. After reading of Ms. Balkovac’s story, she was committed to reaching a larger audience. As a result, she embarked on a two year trip to Amsterdam, where Ms. Balkovic lived, and travelled across Eastern Europe as part of her research, speaking to various Non Governmental Organizations and people affected by sex trafficking. Along the way she spent a lot of time trying to convince people to “take a risk” and speak honestly to her on this controversial and challenging subject matter. Ms. Kondracki credits her years at BSS for her fearless and inquisitive nature, since it is where she was “taught to be curious and to follow my curiosity.” She says her time at BSS were extremely formative years of her development. “The School and its teachers gave you the freedom and encouragement to do what you wanted and to follow your instincts,” says Ms. Kondracki. Calling on those instincts, she was able to pursue and stay committed to getting this movie off the ground, despite various setbacks. Knowing that she wanted to direct since the age of 12, Ms. Kondracki remembers how her BSS Drama department teacher, Ms. Silverstein, encouraged her to follow her passion. She is grateful also for English teachers Ms. Hancock and Ms. Osborne for challenging her to think and read more. “BSS helped me figure out how to find my voice in a stuffy world.” She also remembers BSS as a place where creativity, an essential component of her work and career, was cultivated. Ms. Kondracki admits that she did not necessarily create The Whistleblower with the forethought of “changing the world”; however, she did want to show the power of a single voice and one person’s ability to make a difference. She also wanted to force people to think beyond their lived environments. She encourages future BSS leaders to use the foundational tools acquired at the School to further their understanding of the world. She cautions them to “travel the world; get into a bit of trouble and live life because we are sometimes a bit sheltered in our experiences.” For Ms. Kondracki, only through exploration and adventure do we become cognizant of the world and its issues, and unless we are aware, we will not be inclined to take risks and instigate change. THE LINK VOL.1 · 2011/12
QUESTIONS IN 20 MINUTES FOR ANNE SMALLMAN GALLAGHER ’81
e thought we would reach out with a few quick questions to two sisters who share a strong commitment to BSS. We didn’t have to reach very far because Anne SMALLMAN Gallagher ’81 and Catherine SMALLMAN Grant ’84 are in the halls of BSS pretty regularly. Both have served BSS for many years as a volunteer for the BSS Parent Association. Catherine is a Co-Chair of the BSS Parent Association for 2011/12 and Anne is Co-Chair of the Old Girls’ Executive Committee (OGEC). Catherine’s three daughters currently attend BSS as do many extended family members. Anne’s daughter attends BSS and her two boys are at Royal St. George’s College. The sisters’ great-grandmother is a BSS Old Girl and their mother Lois Lloyd Smallman is a former board member. We are grateful to Ms. Grant and Ms. Gallagher for sharing their thoughts with us, and for giving their time so generously in support of the BSS vision, mission and values.
QUESTIONS IN 20 MINUTES FOR CATHERINE SMALLMAN GRANT ’84 8
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ONE WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU THINK OF BSS?
FOUR WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A BSS PARENT?
Tradition. Innovation. A leader in girls’ education. A well-rounded education – academically, physically and spiritually. The term “The Whole Girl” sums it up well.
I get to walk the halls of BSS again!! Meeting wonderful and interesting families who all care about their daughters’ education.
TWO WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU SEE IN YOUR DAUGHTER THAT YOU CAN CREDIT TO A BSS EDUCATION? My daughter Claire is learning life skills that will serve her well in her daily life as well as in the work force. She started BSS in Junior Kindergarten, and over the years she has grown tremendously. She is now in Grade 7 and I see in her: confidence, curiosity, self-motivation, determination to excel, willingness to take risks, i.e. standing up in front of the class and giving speeches, trying out for a new sports teams, collaboration – learning to work and get along with others on projects and in group situations; technologically savvy – whether it is on the computer, or in the design tech lab, my daughter is very capable; happy and excited to be at school.
THREE WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING AN OLD GIRL? Always being a part of a fabulous institution. Connections to a diverse and
talented group of women. Having access to the BSS Mentorship program, which should be up and running by the Fall of 2012. Coming back to see The Nativity in December.
ONE WHAT DO YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU THINK OF BSS? It is a remarkable institution. The students are fortunate to have such passionate teachers and first class facilities. The curriculum is strong and offers the girls so many academic, athletic, music and art choices. I have three daughters and each is unique, with her own learning style and interests. I can see that each one will be able to be at home at BSS and pursue her personal goals.
FIVE WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER OLD GIRLS WHO MAY WANT TO GET MORE INVOLVED AT BSS? If you are a parent, you can get involved with the Parent Association (PA). There are so many events and projects, and the PA always needs help. If you are an Old Girl, there is the Old Girls’ Executive Committee (OGEC), which meets six times a year. The OGEC is responsible for many initiatives, such as helping the School with friend-raising opportunities through social events for Old Girls’, Reunion weekend, keeping our Year and Decade Reps up-to-date with the latest information, fundraising initiatives on behalf of the School, as well as building up the Old Girl scholarship to enable the daughter or granddaughter of an Old Girl to attend BSS, and finally, our newest project is establishing a Mentorship Program. Even if you can only volunteer on a casual basis from time to time, we always welcome volunteers. Contact Jill BLAKEY ’02, Associate, Alumnae Relations and Philanthropy, at JBlakey@bss.on.ca for more information on how Old Girls can get involved.
SIX WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SPOT IN THE BSS BUILDING? The Chapel – this is the heart and soul of the School. It is what differentiates us from other girls’ schools. BSS has the tradition of its Anglican roots, but the School is also inclusive in terms of letting the girls plan services that include all religions. I find the Chapel not only
– BSS was a home to me for 13 years as a student. The friendships I made as a student have lasted over the years, despite the fact many of us live in other cities or countries.
FOUR WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING A BSS PARENT? Knowing my three daughters are happy – they are enthusiastic to go to school and they want to participate in all that BSS offers.
FIVE WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER OLD GIRLS WHO MAY WANT TO GET MORE INVOLVED AT BSS?
TWO WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU SEE IN YOUR DAUGHTER THAT YOU CAN CREDIT TO A BSS EDUCATION?
Just do it!
Two things come to mind: my girls are confident in their learning and they are becoming good collaborators.
SIX WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SPOT IN THE BSS BUILDING?
THREE WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING AN OLD GIRL? I feel a strong connection to the School
#1 is the Chapel. It has always been a special place for reflection and the host to many meaningful events, like The Nativity and my wedding. #2 is the Lonsdale Road entrance. As you pass through the front door, you can feel that you are
architecturally beautiful, but also a peaceful place for calm reflection.
SEVEN WHY DO YOU DEDICATE SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY TO VOLUNTEERING FOR BSS? I truly love the School. BSS gave me a solid foundation and this is one of the ways I can give back to my school. Also, I am setting an example to my daughter that volunteering is important now while she is a student and in the future after she graduates from BSS.
EIGHT WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE OGEC / PARENT ASSOCIATION THAT KEEPS YOU ENGAGED?
complishment and satisfaction that I am able to give back to the school that gave me so much when I was a student at BSS.
NINE HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK VOLUNTEERING IS TO A SCHOOL LIKE BSS? BSS needs volunteers to help with its many tasks and endeavours. Every little bit of volunteering counts and helps to make the School a better place. Volunteering enhances the School’s events, projects and reputation and extends its community to all constituents, including Old Girls, parents and friends. It is a great way to get to know others connected to the BSS community.
I am fortunate to volunteer on both the OGEC and the PA. This is my third year Co-chairing the OGEC and I have volunteered on various committees of the PA for nine years. With my role on the OGEC, I have the honour of sitting on the Board of Governors. I enjoy meeting and working with people, whether it be the exceptional staff at BSS, the diverse Old Girl community, the wonderful parent community or the talented Board of Governors and Trustees. One never stops learning, and, through volunteering, I continue to do just that. I tell my daughter that, in a way, I have “gone back to school” as I am always learning new things. Volunteering also keeps me plugged in to what is happening at the School and who is committed to my daughter’s education. I like being in the loop on what is going on at the School and getting to know the BSS community. Volunteering has permitted me to see the workings of the BSS machine. Finally, volunteering gives me a sense of ac-
TEN ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT YOU AND BSS?
walking through history, but, at the same time you are walking into an environment where, with hard work, any future is possible.
Association. I learn so much from them, and cherish the friendships I have made on the PA. I feel that while we have tons of fun organizing our events, with the money we raise we can make a positive impact on the students and the experiences they have at BSS.
SEVEN WHY DO YOU DEDICATE SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY TO VOLUNTEERING FOR BSS? We all volunteer for causes that we feel close to, believe in and love. That is BSS for me. It may be a sense of loyalty, but I also feel it is the right thing to do. BSS supported me for my 13 years as a student. It means a lot to me to give back in any way I can. As a current parent, it is a way to keep in touch with the direction of the School and meet parents I would not otherwise have an opportunity to know.
EIGHT WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE OGEC / PARENT ASSOCIATION THAT KEEPS YOU ENGAGED?
My sister and I have a long family tradition at BSS. Our great grandmother, Mary Maud ROGER Wilson, graduated from BSS in 1884. She then went on to medical school in Toronto. Back then, BSS was a leader in girls’ education and it is still a leader today. Our mother, Lois LLOYD Smallman, served on the Board of Trustees and we have many cousins who attended the School. Now, my daughter Claire and my nieces Emma, Nicole and Elizabeth attend BSS and so the tradition continues. It has truly been an honour and a privilege for me to serve as a volunteer at BSS. I am especially lucky that I have been able to work with my sister this year, both of us cochairing our respective committees. Through volunteering, we are able to do our little bit in supporting the School to help make BSS the best it can be. It is our way that “sisters can give back” to the school we love and cherish.
NINE HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK VOLUNTEERING IS TO A SCHOOL LIKE BSS? I have met a lot of creative and talented parents at BSS and when they volunteer the school gets the benefit of the skills they have developed in their professional lives and elsewhere.
TEN ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT YOU AND BSS? Get involved! It is worth it!
There is a dedicated and extremely talented group of parents who volunteer for the Parent THE LINK VOL.1 · 2011/12
OLD GIRL SPOTLIGHT
OLD GIRL SPOTLIGHT
Katherine Barcsay performs in Elizabeth Diggs’ Goodbye Freddy
KATHERINE BARCSAY ’01 by abby colton
hether we invite it or not, transformation is something we experience many times, and in many ways, throughout our lives. The question is, “How do we prepare for it? How do we plan for the future, knowing some things are beyond our control and our life plan may not be what we end up living?” It’s a conversation that starts at BSS. Girls are given the tools to pursue their dreams and goals, even as those goals change and evolve. Alumna Katherine BARCSAY ’01 is a perfect example of a student who has evolved into a successful actor, transforming over the course of her life, while always staying true to herself and her values; values that BSS helped to instill. Ms. Barcsay was born in Toronto and 10
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spent much of her life here (after some time in England). She grew up in Forest Hill Village and started at BSS in Grade 7. While attending, she became an avid drama student and was in at least one production every year from her freshman through senior years. During this time, she managed to spend six days a week horseback riding and competing in both Canada and the U.S.A in jumpers and eventing. Ms. Barcsay has always been an extremely hard worker and an overachiever, which is something she continues to keep up. She graduated as an Ontario scholar and received a scholarship to the University of Toronto. While she loved drama, she wasn’t sure that this was something she could make a career of, so she focused on sciences and planned on continuing in that direction. Ms. Barcsay started out in the highly competitive pre-med track at U of T before realizing that she didn’t want to become a doctor; she wanted to play one. Ms. Barcsay
then switched over into Film and Drama, focusing on both the practical and theoretical application of each and earning an honours B.A. with distinction. During these years Ms. Barcsay continued to compete in horseback riding and was active in Toronto theatre, with well received productions at both the Alumnae Theatre and the Tarragon Theatre. After graduation, Ms. Barcsay was accepted into the film Master’s program at the University of British Columbia. She received full funding into a program that only accepts four students per year. However, that summer, Ms. Barcsay attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. She fell in love with the school and auditioned for the full time program. She was admitted, but had already committed to doing her Masters. Her solution was to defer her Academy acceptance and do a two year Master’s program in one year. She remains the only person who has ever com-
pleted this particular program in one year. With her thesis completed, Ms. Barcsay returned to Los Angeles in the fall of 2008 and entered the American Academy’s two year conservatory program. She was cast in lead roles throughout the program and managed to film a miniseries in Canada dur-
TRANSFORMATION: HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR IT? HOW DO WE PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, KNOWING SOME THINGS ARE BEYOND OUR CONTROL AND OUR LIFE PLAN MAY NOT BE WHAT WE END UP LIVING?
ing her summer break. At graduation, Ms. Barcsay was presented with the prestigious Charles Jehlinger award for acting, the highest honour for an Academy graduate, and that speaks not only to her acting ability but also her personal character. Ms. Barcsay was subsequently accepted into the Academy’s company, a theatre company outshoot of the school that only accepts 25 people. During her year there, she performed in six shows, receiving particular accolades for her portrayal of Ada in Tom Eyen’s Women Behind Bars, Kay in Lee Blessing’s Independence and Eliza in Anna Zieglar’s BFF. Upon leaving the Academy, Ms. Barcsay secured both an agent and a manager. She immediately landed a commercial spot for Subaru and has continued that momentum ever since, moving between acting and modeling and shooting with a number of well respected photographers. She also auditioned for Los Angeles’ highly respected Elephant Theater Company, of which she is now a proud member. The company is known for producing new works and this is where Ms. Barcsay wants to work to develop productions that take advantage of theatre as a mechanism for social change. While Ms. Barcsay is well aware that this is a business, what sets her apart from other emerging actors is that she sees film and theatre as a vehicle to effect change and she chooses her projects accordingly. She wants her work to reflect issues that can viscerally affect people. Most recently, Ms. Barcsay shot The Front Seat Chronicles for One Economy Corporation, which addressed post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers re-integrating into society, an issue that is both timely and often ignored. One Economy Corporation is a non-profit organization that Ms. Barcsay is thrilled to have been able to work with, as their main focus is using film and media to offer information on education, jobs, health care, and other vital issues. They use the power of technology to connect underserved, low-income communities around the world to vital online information and resources. Ms. Barcsay also recently shot the comedy pilot Upstaged, a project that could literally never have got off the ground without BSS. More than ten years after graduation, Ms. Barcsay has maintained close relationships with fellow BSS students, and this year they decided to collaborate. Jacquie PEPALL ’01, Rebecca SUTIN ’01, Julia LEDERER ’01 and Ms. Barcsay worked together to create
a project that Ms. Pepall directed, Ms. Sutin cast, Ms. Lederer wrote and Ms. Barcsay starred in. Each of the girls has independently invested in the film and theatre industries for a number of years and it was time for them to work together as professionals, as well as friends. The project was then filmed over the course of three days in December, fittingly, in the BSS theatre where these girls spent much of their high school experience. Filming a pilot in just three days is a daunting task, but BSS has left its mark and these four knew that when they put their minds to it, girls can do anything! SHION I CAN BE A FA DESIGNER
AJA SINGER ’02 DESCRIBE YOUR PATH FROM BSS TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY:
My path from BSS to Fashion Designer wasn’t the most direct one. After BSS, I went to McGill and studied Anatomy and Cell Biology, with a minor in Art History. It wasn’t long before I felt I was missing out on being able to do something creative. I applied to Parsons in New York and haven’t looked back since. My business partner and I started a women’s suiting line called Alex & Eli and just this year we launched a new service, offering custom blazers with hidden personal messages. HOW DID BSS HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM?
When I was at BSS, I always took maths and sciences, but I also took advantage of the Art program as I was passionate about both areas. I was able to be creative and intensely academic at the same time – and when you start a business you need access to all parts of your brain. My well-rounded education has allowed me to innovate and think outside the box. But more than anything, BSS taught me how to work hard. ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR STUDENTS PURSUING THEIR DREAMS
It may sound cheesy, but when you have a great idea, stick to it. Don’t let anyone veer you off your course!
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Born Born un Run Born Born un Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86, founder of The Run for the Cure and Cause We Care Foundation, is 2012’s Distinguished Old Girl.
BY SHARON GREGG
The seeds of Andrea THOMAS Hill’s passion with community service were sown even before she arrived at BSS in 1979. She credits her family’s values with instilling in her and her three siblings the sense that everyone is equal and deserving of respect. “Dad insisted that we treat everyone fairly and that we’re sensitive to the needs of others, whether it’s a waiter in a restaurant or a stranger standing in line. He is so friendly, warm and kind. It set the tone for how we all wanted to behave.” By the time she arrived at BSS for Grade 7 she was well primed to participate in the School’s many fundraising and outreach activities. But she had some adjusting to do before she felt comfortable in her new environment. “At first, I hated it!” she says with a laugh about her initial experience of BSS. “It was all girls and I’d come from a public school – it was a huge transition.” Once past that initial hurdle, Andrea threw herself into the life of the School and never looked back. “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” she says. “I felt, and still feel, so lucky to have been part of this great School with its extraordinary history, incredible teachers…it just inspired me. I’ve come to believe that the all-girls environment is really advantageous. You feel
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DISTINGUISHED OLD GIRL SPOTLIGHT
so comfortable all the time, not worried about bad skin or a bad hair day like you would if boys were around. It really let you focus on what you can do and be as a person. I think the School’s slogan, Girls can do anything, is so strong and powerful, and really sums up what BSS has always been about.” Her spirit of philanthropy and community service had been awakened at BSS, but it was during her travels to Southeast Asia and the Middle East upon graduating from the University of Western Ontario, where she became fully alive to the suffering in the world and the need for a better path. It was also during this emotional journey that she discovered her grandmother had breast cancer and would succumb to the ravages of the disease before Andrea could get back to Canada. Her grandmother’s death had a profound impact on a young woman who felt not only an enormous sense of loss, but also the fear that came from knowing that she was now one of the many with a ‘family history of breast cancer’. The experience sparked another significant revelation. It was the early 1990s and as hard as it is to believe today, virtually no one was talking about breast cancer. Andrea perceived a stigma surrounding the disease. It seemed to her as though it was impolite to mention ‘breast cancer’ in public and women like her grandmother were sometimes fatally reluctant to acknowledge their disease. Moved by this apparent neglect of an epidemic that was affecting women everywhere, Andrea became determined to put the spotlight on breast cancer and deliver a message – “this is not just a woman’s disease… it affects everyone.” She studied the approach of the American-based Susan G. Koman Run, and, being a runner herself, decided to emulate something similar in Canada. In 1992, the Run for the Cure was born. This was significant for more than just the money it raised, (some $80,000 in its first year and millions since), but because of 14
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the emphasis it placed on the participation of families, friends and entire communities running together for someone they loved. It was one of the first, and arguably most successful initiatives, to take breast cancer out of the hushed shadows, and onto the agenda of medical researchers, policy makers and the general public alike. It tore down the taboos surrounding the disease and paved the way for the mammoth profile, pink ribbons and fundraising that ensued. As a professional sports marketer at the time, Andrea saw an opportunity and used her business instincts to support her vision. “It was an uncluttered market back then,” she explains. “It certainly made more sense to me to do a run event than to do yet another gala. Plus, it promoted the healthy lifestyle message
founder of the wildly successful retail chain, Aritzia, shares Andrea’s passion for the community and giving back. Together, they are raising their two children with the same values they cherish. Andrea believes that their success and comfortable life give them the opportunity to devote time and resources to helping others. She considers it a luxury to pursue her passions and follow her heart when an opportunity to make a difference resonates with her. The emotional impact of the death of her grandmother had moved Andrea to action that ended in millions of dollars going towards medical research and the involvement of over one million participants in the annual Run for the Cure. At the other end of the spectrum, it was the birth of her first child, after moving with her husband to
THE KEY THINGS THESE WOMEN NEED ARE CLEAN, AFFORDABLE HOUSING, A SAFE COMMUNITY, AND PROPER NUTRITION.
and allowed everyone to participate – men, women, children. It was a family event.” She stayed involved with the Breast Cancer Foundation Board for another five years before deciding that the behemoth she had created was flourishing and the satisfaction she once had for being on the ground floor of a movement was no longer there. “It’s now a massive marketing vehicle and there’s too many others involved. It’s met the key objectives I had for it and it was time to move on.” Busy building her career in marketing and communications, she took time out to attend a family wedding and, just like in the movies, there she met her future husband. Brian Hill,
British Columbia, that sparked a new passion. “My focus changed when I had kids,” she explains. She, like all new mothers, came face to face with just how hard it was to be a mom. Even the most saintly of mothers, blessed with a supportive family and ample financial resources, could reach the end of her rope when a baby got sick with the flu and a toddler was racing around her feet. “I couldn’t imagine what that must be like when you’re a single mother with no support or financial resources – how do these women survive?” These were the thoughts on her mind as she trod a regular path through the urban jungle of drugs, prostitution and poverty that
sadly define Vancouver’s downtown east side where her husband’s office was located. “It hit me hard,” she says. “There were moms walking with kids in this mess and I thought, “How do they navigate their way through this?’” She discovered that British Columbia had the highest child poverty rate in the entire country. Single mothers were raising kids in the most wretched of circumstances and the situation was not getting any better with a floundering economy. The decision to act came completely naturally to Andrea. Continuing a lifelong passion for service and finding a cause that moved her was the alchemy needed to launch her next big project. Cause We Care Foundation (CWCF), was launched by Andrea in 2007 after she responded to a notice posted on her gym’s bulletin board, for volunteers to serve a Christmas lunch at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. She rallied fifty of her friends to join her and the experience was so powerful, it inspired them to do more for these women. CWCF was born with a mission to help single mothers and children in need. The organization has developed several pockets of activity, partnering with other organizations working for positive change in this area. Notably, the group distributes Christmas hampers to provide families with a little cheer at holiday time, when life can be its most bleak for so many. Together with the local YWCA, they raise funds, collect donations and distribute much needed support to single mothers with urgent needs. According to Andrea, the decision to work with an established organization like the YWCA was a logical step. “I saw what they were doing and the progress they were making in this area. They had the infrastructure and expertise already set up, so our job was to support and augment what they were doing, and help raise much needed awareness for the plight of these women and children.” The partnership has since led to a new and very ambitious initiative. The Cause We Care Foundation along with the YWCA Metro Vancouver, the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Public Library, came together in 2011 to build a unique facility that will include a new Downtown Eastside Public Library and 23 transitional housing units for single mothers and their children who are at risk for homelessness. The housing component will include a 9000 square foot program space in which CWCF will provide vital services such as medical care, a pediatric program, social services, employment training
support and a Mom & Tot drop-in led by the Aboriginal Infant Development Program to support families with infants who are at risk for developmental delays. “The key things these women need are clean, affordable housing, a safe community, and proper nutrition,” Andrea explains. “If we give them the opportunity to get on their feet with these very basic things, they will thrive, and so will their children.” The average residency of these housing units is expected to be five years, after which the goal is to have these women become financially independent and able to establish stable home environments for their children. The intervention at this critical stage could mean the difference between homelessness and a life of hardship that will reach into the next generation and beyond, or breaking the cycle of poverty and giving these families much brighter prospects for the future. It’s a big undertaking with far reaching ambitions, the success of which could be the trigger point for salvaging the lives of countless families. No one can deny the complications that confront this kind of project. Dealing with bureaucracies, coordinating with multiple government agencies, approaching donors who are weary from myriad requests, negotiating with City Hall for land, money, permits and the like… it would exhaust the average person to the point of inertia. But as a lifelong community organizer, this doesn’t seem to daunt Andrea. It begs the question, ‘What would our society be like if the Andreas of the world – smart, experienced and passionate individuals who are dedicated to public service – could be persuaded to take up arms as elected officials?’ “Not a chance,” she responds without hesitation. “Politics is a tough nut and I think I can have more impact on society without my hands being tied by all that scrutiny, roadblocks and hidden agendas. I’m much freer to do what I want to do and get the job done by working on this side.” Well, Mr. Harper can breathe a sigh of relief for now. While she can’t yet be persuaded to run for office, Andrea is committed to getting the job done in her community and raising her kids with the same worldview. Her work has already touched the lives of countless people and there is no telling how far her passion to make a difference will go. But it is certain that our society is a better place because of her. And that is why Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86 is this year’s Distinguished Old Girl.
BSS RUN FOR THE CURE BY KATIE WAGNER, Class of 2012
This past September, Andrea THOMAS Hill ’86 spoke with Junior and Senior School students about her charity work. Ms. Thomas Hill was the Games Captain in 1986, played on the basketball and badminton teams, and competed on the track team. Engaging people through sport was a natural step when she founded the Run for the Cure and Cause We Care Foundation. Ms. Thomas Hill was also in town to celebrate her 25th reunion with some former classmates and to kick off the BSS Run for the Cure, a charitable event held annually at the School. Last year, through this event, BSS raised over $20,000, which was donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This year over 380 members of our community came out to support this important cause.
It was an honour and a pleasure to have Ms. Thomas Hill speak with the BSS community and to have met her in person. She is an inspiration and a role model to all BSS students, proving our belief that “Girls Can Do Anything” if they set their mind to it. THE LINK VOL.1 · 2011/12
EMILY PAPSIN: ON THE ICE, AT THE STUDIO, IN THE LAB
“BSS provides the world at our fingertips, making it easy to do what you love,” says Emily PAPSIN, Class of 2012.
olding a puck and a note comes “easily” to Emily because of her passion for these seemingly disparate pursuits. In fact, not only did Emily help the BSS Bobcats take home the Foster Hewitt Cup this past February, she also had the privilege of being the first girl to sing the national anthem before the game. Managing the inevitable struggles that come with being a teenager, Emily also has a full schedule of goals to achieve and, these days, is everywhere. She is a starring goaltender of the BSS Bobcats, sings in all three BSS choirs, plays on the basketball and field hockey teams, and is the Arts Prefect and an active singer/songwriter. Emily started at BSS in Grade 9 and worked hard and fast towards taking AP Biology. Her academic achievements in science earned her the BSS Colour Award in 2011, the School’s highest distinction. In spite of her musical talents, her future goals remain closely aligned to life sciences. “I’m choosing not to pursue music because, for me, there are more important things,” says Emily. “I always wanted a career where I could help people, help the world, but I will never stop doing music.” Emily discovered her unknown talent after her first impromptu performance in the BSS Chapel, “I will never forget that day. It’s when I first discovered that the community at BSS is unparalleled. I was scared 16
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by yael jimenez
out of my mind but I felt reassured by my teachers and peers. That day I got a standing ovation.” She praises Ms. Piotrowski, her Music teacher, who imparted her enthusiasm for music to students. “She’s been there since Grade 9 Vocal class. I admitted to her that I had stage fright and she worked with me to overcome it.” Emily is also thankful to the BSS peers who have provided her with ongoing motivation. “Girls I had never talked to were giving me hugs and compliments,” she says. “It was an amazing feeling.” Emily released her first studio EP in 2011 called How’s the View with the help of four BSS peers – Michelle Baumgartner, Brooklyn Hull, Taylor Kirsh and Baylie Pritchard – and donated the proceeds to the St. Felix Centre, a grassroots charity in downtown Toronto. The album quickly took flight and was featured as New and Noteworthy on iTunes Canada, moving her album from #96 to #26 on the 2011 charts. Expecting to release her second CD this summer, Emily reflects on her growth. “I’ve learned to take criticism and, not only has my musical perspective grown, but my voice itself has also improved.” As a multitalented BSS girl soon to be Old Girl, Emily is well on her way to becoming a transformative leader. At the same time, she is modest and reflective
about her achievements. “I am not perfect at anything I have done,” she says. “I believe I would be a decent role model because I have so many faults but have worked hard to achieve my goals.” Emily credits BSS with this profound take on life. “BSS is where I can make mistakes and be myself; a place where I can figure things out, a school where I can still do anything, even if I don’t do everything.” She realizes that fear could have stopped her and is grateful she didn’t let it. “If I was scared of looking like a hippo on skates I would have never tried it,” she says with a smile. “Don’t let fear stop you from pursuing your passions.”
The community at BSS is unparalleled From Science to hockey, Biology to singer/songwriter, Emily is tightening the gap between what is often seen as opposing spectrums: the sciences and the arts. With graduation around the corner, Emily looks forward to becoming an Old Girl and is aware of her transformation. “I came to BSS as a teenager with mixed ideas, hopes, goals and now I leave as a young woman with a clear idea of who I am,” she says. “I have solidified my character and personality, and BSS has played a huge part in getting me there.”
REMEMBERING JOAN DAVIDSON WATSON ’43: by jill cannon
oan DAVIDSON Watson ’43 was the ultimate BSSer. She was part of a legacy family, a proud alumna, an ardent and enthusiastic supporter, a committed and effective volunteer and a regular attendee of The Nativity. More than anything, when Ms. Watson spoke about her BSS experience – as a student and a parent, as a Board member, a volunteer, or as witness to the many changes the School underwent over her 82 year association – she always had a twinkle in her eye and a heart full of fond remembrances for her beloved alma mater. She thoroughly loved the School and the feeling was mutual. Ms. Watson enrolled at BSS for Kindergarten in 1929. She, along with her sister Jill, were likely encouraged to attend by their mother, Elenore FISKEN Davidson 1911, the first of the five generations of BSS alumnae in her family. During her time in the Junior School, she developed a special relationship with Miss Rosseter and as a result, her parents donated The Rosseter Cup. To this day, it is awarded annually to the Grade 6 student earning the highest number of points on Sports Day. Until recently, Ms. Watson attended the Junior School Closing Ceremonies to present this award in person, and her daughter, Sheila WATSON Henderson ’75, now continues this family tradition. Ms. Watson left BSS in Middle School to attend King’s Hall in Compton, Quebec, from which she graduated. Despite leaving BSS, she never lost interest in her alma mater. The way she lived her life exemplified the values that BSS stands for today: pursuing excellence, taking risks, creativity, learning from our differences, honouring our heritage, embracing change and always being curious. Suzie HAAS Stohn ’42, a friend of Ms. Watson’s from their days in the BSS Junior School and King’s Hall, describes her as “nice to be with, very thoughtful, someone you could always pick up with after not seeing each other for a while. Joan was just a special person.” Together they, along with many other BSS Old
Girls, were active in the services during World War II. During these dark days, Ms. Watson did her part by volunteering with the Red Cross. She was then selected as one of only a handful of women to attend Radio College where she learned Morse code. She joined the Air Force and was posted to Sydney, Nova Scotia. Every year, she and many of her fellow BSS veterans would return to the School to participate in the Remembrance Day Service. They shared their respective experiences with students in the Junior School, opening them up to the significant role that women played in supporting Canadian troops who were fighting for our freedom overseas. The lessons they learned and carried with them during their lives are powerful stories that gave their young audiences a unique insight into history, war and the courage of women like Joan Watson. A long time Watson family friend, Phyllis SCANDRETT Lill ’70, fondly remembers Ms. Watson as an avid and knowledgeable bird watcher, sailor, cottager and, of course, artist. She had a true passion for art. She was a graduate of The Ontario College of Art (now The Ontario College of Art and Design) and was not only passionate about it, she showed great talent. According to Ms. Lill and anyone else who knew them, Ms. Watson and her beloved husband Alan were a true team. The Watsons’ relationship was inspirational. There was much love and affection between them. In addition to their daughter Sheila, they were also proud parents of their son, Peter Watson. They had many mutual interests, supported each other in their pursuits and were kindred spirits. After retiring from a successful career as chartered accountant with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., Alan Watson took on the role of President of the Canadian Red Cross. Together, the Watsons travelled the world helping countless people, communities and countries through their association with the Red Cross, continuing much of the good work Ms. Watson had started during WWII.
Both Joan and Alan Watson were very involved as parents during Sheila’s days as a student at BSS. Ms. Watson served on the School’s Board of Governors from 1965 to 1970 as part of the House Committee. In later years, she was a member of the School’s Honorary Advisory Council and she and her husband developed a very close relationship with former Headmistress Ann E. Tottenham. They were instrumental in the creation of The Ann E. Tottenham Chair in Canadian Studies, an endowment fund that allows for academic enrichment opportunities, such as annual visits from internationally recognized Canadian speakers to address BSS students in the Senior School. In 2002, they were honoured for their lifetime commitment and involvement with BSS at the second Annual Heritage Dinner. Ms. Watson’s connection to BSS was fueled through heritage, loyalty, love, admiration, interest and involvement. She was always thrilled to learn about the exciting innovations taking place in the classroom, to chat with students about their experiences today and to share her own from her days in the Junior School back in the 1930s. She loved the idea that BSS continued to celebrate so many of its long standing traditions, but she was equal in her appreciation for how much the School had embraced change, new ideas and opportunities. She admired the history on which the School stood and the endless possibilities toward which it moved. When Ms. Watson passed away on July 5, 2011, BSS lost a true gem and a remarkable example of another transformative leader.
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Celebrating the School’s vibrant community of Old Girls, parents, students and friends. Featuring this year’s DISTINGUISHED OLD GIRL AWARD recipient ANDREA THOMAS HILL ’86 And Special Guests of Honour MICHAEL SABIA and his daughter, LAURA SABIA ’11
MICHAEL SABIA is President and CEO of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, one of the largest institutional fund managers in North America. Before joining the Caisse in 2009, Mr. Sabia was President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE. He has served as the CFO for the Canadian National Railway, and spent a decade working in senior positions with the federal government, including the Department of Finance and the Privy Council Office.
ological I CAN BE A Ge er ne engi
DESCRIBE YOUR PATH FROM BSS TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY:
While at BSS, I had been debating whether I wanted to pursue a career in Engineering or Music. Fortunately, Queen’s University has a dual degree program, which has allowed me to follow both paths. But the decisions didn’t end there – there are a dozen different disciplines within Engineering and in the first year, you cover them all. I fell in love with Geological Engineering and it was the best decision I ever made. I love the outdoors as well, so it appeals to all my interests. I’m currently enrolled in a Master’s of Applied Science (MASc) at Queen’s in Geotechnical Engineering and I’m designing mines and tunnels and assessing their stability, among many other exciting projects. My undergraduate and graduate programs have already taken me across Canada
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RSVP by Thursday, April 12, 2012 www.bss.on.ca/ heritagedinner
LAURA SABIA ’11 is in her freshman year at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. Among Laura’s many interests are photography, vocal and instrumental music, and travel. At BSS, Laura was a member of the Senior Swim Team, and served on the BSS Student Council and the leadership development council.
JEN DAY ’02
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T H U R S D AY
Tickets: $90 per person $800 for table of 10 $700 for table of 8 $45 for Old Girls
SUE TURNER WALKER ’51
wrote a poem in honour of her 60th Reunion
Do you remember That far September When halls we trod In brogues well shod?
(including the Arctic), to Europe, and this spring I’ll be in South America. HOW DID BSS HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM?
I learned the importance of writing well and good communication skills. Because of BSS, I never had the thought that being in Engineering as a woman would be difficult – I was so confident that I could do anything. If you believe it you really can do anything you want. Having that confidence really set me apart. Among many of my friends at university, I definitely feel that I had the best preparation. I haven’t heard of anything better than what BSS gave me. ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR STUDENTS PURSUING THEIR DREAMS
Do it. If you want it bad enough, you shouldn’t let anything hold you back. And, it’s possible to do something ‘practical’ and still pursue your passion with programs like the dual degree program at Queen’s.
Clad in a middy Feeling proud and giddy We dreamt of excelling No chance of expelling Far we’ve since come Worlds apart, in sum Old customs forgotten New concepts begotten We scribbled in ink Long notes to rethink Carried books on a hip No class dared we skip Computers unknown Email yet unflown We typed the night out Grateful for “White-Out” Thoughts of Blackberry? Unreal as a fairy!
Unheard the cell phone Happy with Bell tone Where then Facebook? Did we feel forsook? Instead we wrote letters To friends and our betters So sixty years later Is this world any greater? It surely turns faster War still a disaster But lessons we learned And knowledge we earned Brought rewards uncounted Trials unsurmounted At last we can smile Live life without guile Show total forbearance Be proud of endurance So on 60 years gone Let light be shone Some cry “outdated!” Our memory unabated.
I CAN BE An visor investment ad
DESCRIBE YOUR PATH FROM BSS TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY:
ALICE WEST BASTEDO ’57
done. I took as many When I was at BSS, I courses as I could find wondered why women when I was home with my did not have power, young children. Today or why they could not be church I am in my thirty-fourth year ministers, or cabinet ministers. of a job I love, Vice President My father said, “I cannot breathe and Investment Advisor, RBC for you, you need to be able Dominion Securities. to look after yourself.” During my Senior School years at BSS HOW DID BSS HELP YOU I took a summer job as a bank ACHIEVE YOUR DREAM ? teller, earning less than my During my time at BSS, I was allowance. This inspired me to given the opportunity to hold work harder and to aim to several leadersh ip roles. I become independent at a time experienced organizing, being in when that was not the norm for charge and taking responsi bility women like me. I took Political for the outcome. I also learned Science and Econom ics at to try to do my best work. university, one of six women out of 157 students in my classes. ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR I also worked in the investment STUDENTS PURSUING THEIR department of Sun Life. When DREAMS Know yourself, your I was married , on a trip to strengths and weaknesses, do India, I met a lawyer (who later the job as perfectly as you can – became the first female High this is just a little more trouble Court Judge). She did not clean than doing it badly. Then you her house. I realized it could be areTHE VOL.1 · for 2011/12 19 the LINK best person the job.
ARTS OLD GIRL SPOTLIGHT NEWS
The Link The BSS magazine is published two times each year by The Bishop Strachan School Community. Chair of the Board: Sarah Kavanagh Head of School: Deryn Lavell Executive Director, Office of Philanthropy and Alumnae Relations: Moira Dossetor
“IT’S PRETTY AMAZING TO BE IN A PLACE WHERE EVERYONE’S GAME. YOU CAN SEE LINKS BETWEEN THINGS AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WILLING TO TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH YOU.”
Director of Marketing and Communications: Marianne Chilco Associate, Alumnae Relations and Philanthropy: Jill BLAKEY ’02 Executive Editor: Sharon Gregg Editor: Marianne Chilco Managing Editor: Yael Jimenez Copy Editors: Yael Jimenez, Suzi Leonard, Elda Scott
The Performing Arts program’s new act by megan griffith-greene High school drama, to play the stereotype, has traditionally been a refuge and escape; a rarified world of costume and makebelieve and flowery turns-of-phrase. Memorize a soliloquy, pick up a wooden sword, and try to play the part. But forget Dead Poets Society. The Performing Arts program at BSS is about finding live connections that link creativity with the rest of the world. And heading up the performing arts program, Brendon Allen is writing a new act on teaching students how to be creative. It’s a busy season for the students at BSS. The school year had hardly begun and already the curtain had fallen on a staged reading of Not Wanted on the Voyage, a musical based on the celebrated Canadian book by Timothy Findlay. December saw the Festival of Carols, The Nativity and the fall production of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Also lighting up the marquis: After Juliet, which ponders the aftermath of the suicides of Shakespeare’s most famous lovers, in an interdisciplinary fashion that spans the performing arts’ full repertoire, a piece that incorporates film, costume design, dance and music that the students will be creating for the production.
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After that, a staging of King Richard II will be unveiled at the David Chu Theatre at Upper Canada College, followed by a very unique show, Daisy Pulls it Off, with a Middle School focus that will be staged in the Great Hall at BSS to wrap up the 2011/12 season. It’s a busy season reinforced with many student directed, student written and student produced pieces that will make up events for our One Act Play Festival, our Arts Night Events and offerings from our new Inter-disciplinary Arts Course. It’s a lineup that sounds more like it belongs to an ambitious theatre troupe than the curriculum of middle and high school students. Mr. Allen found his own love of the craft in high school, but – befitting his interdisciplinary approach to the creative arts – he studied life sciences at Queen’s University before coming back to the stage. “I wanted science in my life, but it was theatre that was pulling me in,” he says. In his eighth year at the School, Mr. Allen has had the opportunity to teach both Drama and Biology, and now teaches Drama and Interdisciplinary Arts with Paul Toth, Head of the Visual Arts Department at BSS. This diversity helps explain why Mr. Allen is helping break down the walls between the arts and other courses. “Last year, I taught a Grade 11 Biology course and pushed a creative approach to it,” he says. “I saw some of that spark in the students who really took to that.” It’s an approach that other science teachers at the School have also been keen to weave into their practice. Next up for creative collaboration: Phys. Ed. “I’ve been working intimately with the Phys. Ed. Department, trying to marry subject matter and it’s really interesting. Some of it has to do with adrenaline and where that can take creativity and emotional
awareness. It’s in the early stages,” he says, adding, “It’s pretty amazing to be in a place where everyone’s game. You can see links between things and everyone else is willing to take that journey with you.” This year’s performance of Not Wanted on the Voyage was born out of that cross-disciplinary approach. “Last year, I was teaching Biology, and I wanted to use theatre to bring science to life,” Allen says. “Some fellow teachers and I went to see Studies in Motion at the Bluma Appel Theatre, which dealt with evolution and speciation, which are part of the core Grade 11 curriculum.” “At that time I was looking for plays that married science and philosophy. It seemed like a rich platform to examine the course from. And I couldn’t get the book Not Wanted on the Voyage out of my brain,” he says. The potential of this did not line up for the Biology course, but came about in a different way. As it turns out, Neil Bartram and Brian Hill – two artists whom Mr. Allen knew from Stratford – had adapted Findlay’s novel into a musical. “It’s such a rich story – it deals with religion, philosophy, literature, gender-politics and science. And the play married it all together,” he says. Mr. Allen was intrigued. He had been interested in bringing artists-in-residence to the School to work with students. In the end, Mr. Bartram and Mr. Hill were able to come to the School for three weeks, working with the students every day, beginning in September. “We had 13 students from a mix of grades,” Mr. Allen says. “We didn’t want auditions. Anyone who wanted to be involved could be if she could commit to the work.“ The students performed the play as a staged reading. “Staged readings show the process behind creative work; it’s not just about the product, the show. It’s about the decisions you’re making along
Art Director: Rosalinda Graziano THE LINK EDITORIAL GUIDELINES • Submissions to Old Girl News are encouraged. Please send your submission to Jill BLAKEY ’02 at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will accommodate as many as space will allow and ask that you try to keep content to approximately 50 words. Photographs are also invited and will be published depending on available space. • Letters: We’d love to hear what you think about any of the articles in The Link. Please send letters to Yael Jimenez at email@example.com. We will run as many as we can and letters will not be edited, though we ask that you keep them to approximately 50 words. • Corrections: Every effort is made to ensure accuracy but from time to time, errors occur. Please make note of any errors you notice to Yael Jimenez at firstname.lastname@example.org. • BSS Online Community: The Link is posted on the BSS website (www.bss.on.ca), and on The Thread (thethread.bss.on.ca). Some items that are time sensitive and cannot be accommodated in The Link will appear on The Thread, the online portal for our BSS Community. THE LINK VOL.1 · 2011/12
the way. The majority of learning is about the tiny choices you make, not the big ones,” he says. The format also allowed the students to make a shorter process into a benefit – for both them and the production. “With students, there is something to be said about working with a tight deadline. It’s not about perfection; it’s about standing up for their own work. It raises the stakes, taps into adrenaline.” “The great thing is that none of the students are alone, they are in a community, a cast; they are in it together, taking risks, and they are all there for genuine reasons.” And so, on October 18 and 19, in front of an audience of 200, the students staged Not Wanted on the Voyage, bringing together their hard work and their love of theatre, music, science, philosophy and ideas. After the shows, the students and all the artists engaged with the audience in a Talk Back session. Above all else, it’s the students’ bravery and commitment to their work that Mr. Allen finds most powerful. “Some of the girls I get the amazing chance to work with sacrifice quite a bit – especially when they get to Grade 12 – to stay in Drama,” he says. “There’s a unique spark that’s different student-to-student. I get to see them develop in their individual ways,” he says. “Usually, the community is a partner in that development. And what’s rare and unique to performing arts is that this process is inherently public.” And while Mr. Allen is in charge, it’s when the students themselves have stepped into more creative control that he finds it most exciting. “When students take the reins and direct or
WHERE GREAT GIRLS GO
BSS continues to attract talented learners to the School who are eager to embrace the challenges of our rigorous academic program. We welcome students from local, national and international communities to enhance our global perspective. We invite our Old Girls, past and current parents and students to share their BSS experience and invite friends and family to visit the School. A member of the Student Recruiting Team is always available to provide tours and answer questions about the BSS experience and the application process. Please review the Apply section of our website at www.bss.on.ca/apply or contact the Student Recruiting office directly at 416-483-4325, ext. 1220 or email@example.com.
“THERE’S A UNIQUE SPARK THAT’S DIFFERENT STUDENT-TO-STUDENT. I GET TO SEE THEM DEVELOP IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL WAYS.”
write their own material, that really stands out to me. We had a student-directed musical at the Berkeley Street Theatre – this is something that would be difficult for a professional company, let alone for students – and it was amazing.” “The students also did a show in partnership with Meal Exchange, creating a play at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, based on research about hunger and how in a city like Toronto people are still going hungry. It raised over $4,000 for Meal Exchange and was incredible.” Mr. Allen’s strong belief in his students translates into collaborative efforts that allow them to dig deep into themselves and find a world of connection and creativity.
OLD GIRLS’ EVENTS CALENDAR APRIL 4, 2012 • Old Girls' Luncheon in Palm Beach, Florida for all members of the BSS community APRIL 19, 2012 • HERITAGE DINNER and presentation of the 2012 Distinguished Old Girl Award APRIL 24, 2012 • Old Girls’ Luncheon for our graduates of 1962 and earlier MAY 1, 2012 • Reunion 2013 Planning Dinner
MAY 3, 2012 • Old Girls’ Pub Night MAY 3 & 4, 2013 • Reunion Weekend celebrating those with graduating years ending in 2s and 7s as well as 3s and 8s. For more information, see page 21. Please visit bss.on.ca for details or contact Donna Jordan, Manager, Alumnae Special Events, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-483-4325 ext. 1874.
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