St. Margaretâ€™s School | for girls
Confident girls. Inspiring women.
SMS Style Yesterday & Today 1911/12 1910/11
Welcome to the Spirit magazine. We are pleased to share some of our stories with you. This issue is all about the values we have identified for our Strategic Plan. The plan is the document that is driving all of us here at SMS as we continue to provide personalized all-girl education to our diverse, enthusiastic and always-inspiring student body. SMS girls already display the values we esteem so highly: Integrity, Excellence, Service, Leadership, Girl-Centered, Courage, and Global-mindedness. Now that our values and goals are clearly articulated in our Strategic Plan by the girls themselves, we are excited to move forward and base further academic and administrative decisions on the educational and personal aspirations of SMS students. In this issue you will meet girls, Alumnae and Governors who exemplify these values. Their choices and passions are at the heart of the SMS community; we are all working together. We invite you to share your passions and your stories with us; tell us what excites you about SMS. You may have mentoring opportunities for girls; you may wish to assist girls reach their academic goals both here at SMS and beyond; your life experiences may inspire girls to pursue their dreams. Life-long learning is what we are all about. I learn something about the infinite potential of girls each time I walk through the school. If you’d like to come take a walk with me and see for yourself, call the school at 250-479-7171. Cathy Thornicroft Head of School, St. Margaret’s School
SMS empowers girls to make smart choices. We see young girls in the Junior School taking early environmental stewardship of our buildings and grounds and recent graduates choosing universities that best suit their formidable academic goals. The Board of Governors is charged by parents, staff and all of the SMS community to act as stewards of our girls and of the values we share. We serve on committees, make tough decisions, and work to support Head of School Cathy Thornicroft, and the entire staff. Cathy has courage and leads by example. She is always working to develop relationships in our collaborative and cohesive community. Her example of dedicated service to SMS inspires all of us to continue working to make SMS the best place it can be for our girls and the entire SMS community. The Board of Governors comprises elected parents, Alumnae and community members who see what SMS does and can do for girls. If you’d like to serve the school in this way, consider talking to me or other Governors. You will meet them in this issue and learn more about our involvement in the school’s Strategic Plan. Thank you for your continued support. Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell Chair, Board of Governors St. Margaret’s School
Please send your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org
SMS Spirit | 01
Uma demostrates the art of karate in competition
Uma was very involved with the Strategic Planning student steering committee
Uma in Karate competition
Personal Integrity Leads to Clear Values SMS students demonstrate integrity, work hard to excel, personify service and leadership, are courageous and globally-minded, and thrive in a girlcentred learning environment that provides personalized opportunities. Student values, actions and character both shape and reflect the school’s shared vision as outlined in our Strategic Plan. Each SMS girl manifests these positive values in her own way. Uma Bhattacharya is 11 years old. She came to SMS in Grade 2, when her family moved from Qatar. Uma’s integrity is evident in her thoughtfulness and her desire to apply her personal values to all she accomplishes. “Having integrity means being clear about what your values are,” says Uma. “It’s about honesty and sticking up for what you believe in. Each person has her own values. Our Grade 6 class made a list of our values together. SMS has its values, like our motto Service With Love. The community has its values. Political parties have their values. We all think about issues like the environment and the economy.” Uma says the Junior School’s implementation of The Leader in Me program has influenced how girls bring their own values into everyday school life. “I am more organized
now because of The Leader in Me program. I start the day by thinking about what I have planned, and I reflect on which 7 Habits [of Highly Effective People] I will be using.” “The Grade 6 class works with younger girls as part of our curriculum,” says Uma. “We plan and teach the lessons, thinking about how they will relate to The Leader in Me program. We make them ageappropriate and remember what we liked at that age. It gives us the opportunity to use Leader in Me ideas – begin with the end in mind, sharpen the saw, and so on. You see the small girls’ development; you can hear it in their language on the playground.” In addition to applying leadership principles to her schoolwork, Uma brings her values to other activities. “In Grade 6, I took part in Council, track, volleyball, badminton, and floor hockey,” she says. “Because SMS is a smaller school, there are more opportunities to try anything, to have fun and play, and to participate in team-building. I recently ran my first race of over 400 metres; I came fifth in the 1200-metre race at a track meet. Ms. [Debbie] Scott is so motivational, and she is helping me improve my stamina.” Uma is keen on SMS Spirit | 02
joining the SMS cycling team: “I just learned how to ride a bike!” Uma has studied karate for six years, holds a brown belt, and recently won a gold medal at the provincial championships. “Karate is partly a sport, with the sparring, and partly an art, with the movements,” she says. “It’s how I keep fit. I teach karate every Saturday.” As for future academic study at SMS, Uma is excited about the Middle Years program. This program will help tie the Junior School and the Senior School together.” “I am looking forward to taking exams in Grade 7,” says Uma. “We are taught how to study. SMS teachers know that we have to focus and use our time well. I am also looking forward to more class time and the Advisory class; the Steering Commitee has helped create the Homeroom Curriculum.” Uma wants to graduate from SMS. “You feel the happy energy when you come here. When I was little, SMS didn’t feel like a huge place that I couldn’t navigate. If we ever move again, I want to board here!”
â€œI am open, honest and accountable, treating all people with dignity and respectâ€?
Uma Bhattacharya reflects on her involvement with the steering committee responsible for defining the SMS Strategic Plan and values.
SMS Spirit | 03
SMS Centennial Scholarship
â€œI am encouraged to relentlessly pursue my goals and actively participate to achieve great results.â€?
The Centennial Scholarship is awarded annually to one or more deserving students entering Grade 10 and includes full tuition until graduation. The scholarship was established in 2008 to honour SMSâ€™s centennial. Applicants must demonstrate achievement in academics, leadership, service and extracurricular activities. Any new student entering Grade 10 is eligible to apply for the Centennial Scholarship at the beginning of April of their entrance year. A selection committee short-lists and interviews candidates in the spring. Final selection is based on combined results from interviews and written components. SMS awards $75,000 - $100,000 in awards and financial aid to students every year. The Centennial Scholarship is only one of these awards. For more information, visit stmarg.ca/admissions
Francesca Vukovic pictured with some of her artwork
SMS Spirit | 04
Excellence: Recognizing and Nurturing Potential SMS empowers every student to set her own course and shape her own dreams. Our Strategic Plan notes that each girl is encouraged to relentlessly work towards her goals and to actively participate to achieve excellence.
to give them an opportunity. Then you just have to trust that they will rise to the challenge – which Francesca certainly did.” “The definition of a Centennial Scholar is not just someone who is already excelling. It’s about recognizing students who can and will continue to strive to achieve great results,” says Thornicroft.
critical-thinking skills. “It’s all about not being blind,” she says. “You can’t be blind as an artist. At SMS I liked to explore social issues in my art. I used art to facilitate learning about culture and society.”
“When someone expects something The opportunity to excel not only from me, I am really good at results in high grades and the ability embracing opportunities,” says to enter one’s university of choice Francesca. “Ms. [Louise] Huneck has upon graduation, but also much helped me so much. She is so involved “My parents were so happy when I more. Recent graduate Francesca in her students’ best interests, always. was accepted.” says Francesca. “They Vukovic says that in discerning Ms. [Janis] Simpson is so supportive are very supportive parents. They are her potential and awarding her a of me as a person and of both artists themselves.” Centennial Scholarship to attend my art. She helped me so much with A lot of good things come out of the Grades 10 through 12, “SMS has my applications.” SMS art program, says Francesca. pretty much saved my life.” “I was accepted and funded for a Class sizes at the school in general This is a strong statement, but course offered by The Early College are small and that means more Francesca – a thoughtful and Program at the School of the Art personalized attention, which is studious artist – speaks with great Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in the really important in art. Smaller seriousness. “Before I came here, I summer between Grade 11 and Grade class sizes were also important for was really depressed and had severe 12. It was a college course, so I earned my academic subjects. I was given so anxiety. I have a parent who is ill, I college credits that I could transfer.” much opportunity and attention. am dyslexic, I had a million and one The resources at SMS are so great. “SAIC offered me a $22,000 excuses not to do something…[but] I Ms. [Jeanine] Stannard lent me an entrance scholarship for September got to the point where I knew I could amazing camera. In our Information 2013. However, I chose to enroll let my circumstances define me, Technology class I learned programs in first-year General Foundations or I could do things in spite of my that will help me so much in the coursework at Emily Carr University circumstances. It was time for me to future and have already.” Francesca of Art + Design, in Vancouver. I do [take ownership] for myself.” earned high grades and made the knew that Emily Carr would be less Francesca submitted a creative SMS Head’s List for achieving an comfortable than high school, but portfolio with her SMS scholarship average over 90 percent. more challenging. SMS prepared me application which caught the for that.” “It is useful for students to do Fine attention of the Selection Arts because it develops parts of Francesca is an inspiring example of Committee. The portfolio your brain to do other things, to how SMS meets its goal of fostering demonstrated an undeniable artistic approach other disciplines,” she says. excellence in girls. “That’s exactly talent which taken in context of “You can turn any sort of assignment what happened,” she says. “I was so Francesca’s personal struggles really into a creative endeavour. Students low when I got here. The difference drove the decision home. “It’s not need that balance between academics between then and now proves how always about the numbers,” says Cathy and Fine Arts. If there’s no balance, amazing SMS is. I don’t know where Thornicroft, Head of School. “You either way, that’s damaging.” I would be otherwise. A thank-you take a kid who maybe isn’t performing isn’t enough. This school turned me Francesca says that as her art-making well on paper, but whose passion around. SMS took a chance on me, resonates so strongly with the school’s abilities have increased, so have her invested in me and wanted me values that you are simply compelled to excel.” SMS Spirit | 05
Service: Making A Strategic Difference Servite in Caritate ~ Service with Love has been the SMS motto since our inception in 1908. All members of our cohesive and collaborative school community cherish that fundamental value. The school’s core values have been further articulated in our recently issued Strategic Plan, which guides us as we continue to embrace the opportunities and challenges of 21st Century Learning. Service with Love is more important than ever; students, teachers, staff, parents, administrators and school governors are working together to empower each girl to set her own course and shape her own dreams. “The Strategic Plan is the document that drives the future of the school,” says Head of School Cathy Thornicroft. “The Board of Governors uses it to drive the direction of the school. It expresses the aspirations of what SMS should be. Our students are our future, and we’ve placed them clearly at the centre of this Strategic Plan and the process to make it come alive.” Many members of the SMS Board of Governors are parents of current students. Alumnae often sit on the board, giving back to their school what they have learned during their time in business, healthcare professions, academia, the law, public governance or other areas of expertise. All volunteer their time to further the goals of all-girl education. Governors who volunteer to serve for one or two 3-year terms are elected at annual general meetings by members of the St. Margaret’s School Society. Parents or guardians of current
students, all alumnae aged 18 or over and their parents or guardians, and any other person whom the board may accept are voting members. The governors dedicate much time to overseeing SMS operations. They approve the strategic direction of the school and its overarching principles and statements of values. They establish and approve policies and procedures that guide the Head of School in her day-to-day administrative duties. They provide fiscal oversight and govern according to The BC Society Act. In addition to attending regular meetings of the whole board, each governor also sits on some or all of four standing committees. Committee members draft policies and strategies for discussion and approval by the full board. Governors also attend evening workshops, retreats, alumnae events, school ceremonies and weekend meetings. They are committed stewards of SMS. David Poore and Sointula Kirkpatrick are the parents of two girls in the SMS Junior School. David is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors and works on all four standing committees. In addition to his Law degree (U. of Manitoba), David also holds a master’s degree in Public Administration (U. of Victoria). Both David and Sointula are currently lawyers with the BC government. “I am excited about the implementation of the Strategic Plan because of the involvement of the students,” David says. “The development of the values and SMS Spirit | 06
mission statement outlined in the Plan came out of a working committee at a retreat about two years ago. There was quite an inspiring consensus among staff, administration and the board about what is good about the school and that the school is important.” A Steering Committee further discussed and refined those values and mission statement. They issued the Strategic Plan and will continue to work together to shape the SMS experience. The Steering Committee is remarkable because it has a strong student presence. Girls are being mentored in governance, facilitation and stakeholder engagement. “The Strategic Plan is written in the first person from a student’s perspective,” notes David. “I see the maturity of the students on the Steering Committee. It’s gratifying that the student participation works.” David says that at all stages of developing the Strategic Plan, “There was a unanimity about what was right regarding SMS and the importance of the empowerment of girls.” To David, “It’s important for girls to know their worth, to know the validity of what they have to say, and to know their equality. To me, that’s pretty critical.” The governors are mindful of the school’s values and goals at all times. The board members ask themselves how each policy decision fits or serve the Strategic Plan. “Built into the Strategic Plan is the concept of 21st Century Learning,” says David. “Because of the rapidly changing nature of our society in the way we collect knowledge, to be continued on page 8
â€œI am genuine, generous and caring in my relationships and service to others.â€?
David Poore - Vice Chair of the Board of Governors
SMS Spirit | 07
2013/14 Board of
Alexandra Alexis Robinson was pinning white tissues to her head from age 4 and would get excited when she could “nurse” someone. She became a Registered Nurse. Robinson is committed to giving back to SMS and continuing the Alexis Family tradition of supporting the school.
Rick Beil had several career options in mind: dentist; chiropractor; self-employed businessman. Rick serves SMS in an effort to give back to the community and lend expertise to an organization that creates the next generation of leaders.
Board Secretary Morgan Harker dreamed of being a professional bicycle motocross racer. He was ahead of his time, as BMX is now an Olympic sport. Morgan believes in the vision, mission, and values of the SMS community.
Deanna Chan wanted to be a corporate executive and break the glass ceiling in the corporate world. Chan chose to serve at SMS because she is firmly committed to independent schools for girls.
continued from page 6
valid the school has to be less about content and more about how to learn. Learning how to learn doesn’t become irrelevant. That is definitely built into the Strategic Plan.” “It’s the Board’s job, ultimately, to support the administration to ensure that the Strategic Plan is furthered,” David says. “I am happy with the administration and staff and the commitment that everybody shows,” he says. “The Strategic Plan very eloquently articulates the things I like about the school as a parent. It is different, it feels different – it feels like a living document, not just an edict. The values permeate the school.”
David is “ecstatic” about Cathy Thornicroft and her work on the Strategic Plan. “Our eldest daughter started Kindergarten at the same time Cathy Thornicroft started as the Head of School. I remember that by the third week, Cathy knew our daughter’s name. She knew all the girls’ names.” SMS is a peaceful, beautiful place with small classes and a vibrant community, says David. “The key is that virtually everybody involved is passionate about teaching girls, and that comes through,” he says. “At SMS I see the confidence of the
SMS Spirit | 08
younger girls. I have faith in SMS because everyone cares about an all girl education.” One of the values in the Strategic Plan, stated from a student’s perspective, is: “I am genuine, generous and caring in my relationships and service to others.” David and all members of the Board of Governors embody this value and model it as they serve the SMS community. (If you have any questions or require more information about our Board of Govenors or the Strategic Plan, please contact SMS at 250-479-7171.)
Cory Laprade wanted to be a police officer. He serves at SMS in order to play an active role in effecting postive changes at SMS that will be part of his daughter’s learning years and in the future.
Board Vice-Chair David Poore wanted to be a lawyer. He joined the Board because he feels that it is important that he play a role in helping guide his daughters’ education.
Board Treasurer Patricia Marsh wanted to be a rider in the circus. She later aspired to be a veterinarian. Marsh finds it hugely rewarding to support SMS because it does great things for girls.
Stephen Roberts’ mother was a fan of science fiction and allowed him to watch it on TV. Roberts’ career goal: Starship Captain. He serves SMS for the opportunity for hands-on involvement in his daughters’ educational experience.
Evan Leeson wanted to be a geologist; this desire resulted from summer camping trips in the Canadian Rockies. Leeson serves on the Board because he sees the value of what SMS does for students.
Owen Matthews wanted to be a software engineer. He works on the Board so he can contribute as much as he can to SMS and to support the best in girls’ education.
Board Chair Ian Mugridge wanted to become a teacher. Mugridge enjoys serving SMS at this interesting and important stage of the school’s development.
Jeremy Mannell-Fretwell Jeremy was not clear on his vision of what he wanted to be when he grew up (actor, writer, diplomat and Prime Minister). One thing is for certain: he always had the motivation to make a difference – to be a force for positive change.
Varinia Somosan wanted to be an economist like her dad; he got to travel and create complicated-looking papers. Varinia serves as a Governor to be part of our dynamic school’s journey.
Not pictured: Maggie Gilliam - Honourary Advisory Governor Richard Vincent - Honourary Advisory Governor / Past - Board Chair
SMS Spirit | 09
Miranda taking part in the strategic planning sessions
Miranda Schell and Haddas Asfaw, Head Girl and Deputy Head Girls for 2013-14
sms Head Girls: Learning to Lead The SMS Strategic Plan highlights values that everyone in the school community strives to live by. Leadership qualities are emphasized in all aspects of school life. Girls understand that leading from within is as valuable as leading by example in clearly defined leadership roles. The girls who take on the challenge of being high-profile leaders are capable and thoughtful young women who appreciate the support and examples of others. Girls ending their SMS journey and venturing off to university have worked hard as exemplars of leadership and service. Their successors, girls still working on their goals as they make their way through Grade 12, take on their confidence and thoughtfulness. Recently graduated 2012-13 Head Girl Rebecca Coulter and Deputy Head Girl Vivian Chow are now at university. Rebecca is at the University of British Columbia Okanagan pursuing a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. Vivian Chow is in the Life Sciences program at the University of Toronto (St. George campus). Both young women took time to reflect on what it means to be a leader. “In terms of the Strategic Plan, there are three ways that girls demonstrate leadership within the school,” says Rebecca. “First, girls lead from within.
Everybody has situations everyday that present leadership challenges. Second, some girls sit on the Steering Committee. Third, there is lots of behind-the-scenes work that girls do: planning assemblies, dances, and other events.” “I have grown into a leadership position over many years,” says Rebecca. “I grew confident. Things like public speaking and elections bring out that confidence in you. You have to have that confidence to have leadership qualities. You become a leader in yourself, then for others. From my time as Head Girl I learned how much I can take on – being Head Girl, on the Head’s List, and on different sports teams. Also, I am better prepared to communicate with professors and lab partners in university.” Vivian says she was particularly struck by how much teamwork is involved in leadership activities. “Everything is a team effort; everyone has to do her part. I am now a better communicator and better at asking for help.” Rebecca says the all girl environment at SMS provided role models and mentors. “As young girls, our views of leaders come from the older girls. I saw my sisters lead. I know what kind
SMS Spirit | 10
of leader I want to be. Because I was at an all girl school, I don’t feel so scared. I don’t feel that fear.” Vivian adds that she was able to be herself at SMS. “That speaks to the school, and what the school has given to you,” says Rebecca. “It’s not necessarily only the roles you take on and the hours you put in; it’s the environment of the smaller school.” Rebecca and Vivian’s comments reflect their appreciation of the cohesive and collaborative community at SMS. They understand who they are and how they work with others. Miranda Schell and Haddas Asfaw, Head Girl and Deputy Head Girls for 2013-14, share a great rapport. They met when Miranda came to tour the senior school several years ago; Haddas was her tour guide. Haddas has been at SMS since Grade 2. Miranda lives in residence; she has close ties with her dorm friends as well as with day students. Haddas has always made a point of connecting with international students, often using humour to break the ice and make new girls feel welcome. “Taking [social] risks can be difficult, but if you are a pioneer, others will notice.People want to be part of something that works,” says Haddas. Like the graduating class before them, the SMS Class of 2014 is a supportive community. “In our grade we are all opinionated, and we also value each continued on page 13
“I lead through my words, my actions, my thoughts and the support of leaders around me..”
Becky Coulter & Vivian Chow on Campus
SMS Spirit | 11
Renovated student lounge in the Senior School
Updated computer labs
Giving Leads to Action Thank you for giving to the 2012-13 SMS Annual Fund. We need you to do what we do. Every gift is truly appreciated; every one makes a difference. Thank you for your gifts to this wonderful, enduring community. A community which has always been, and always will be, about Confident Girls and Inspiring Women. All Done In One Construction Anonymous (4) Pamela Allan Rosemary Anson Richard Beil James Best Sharon Bleuler Zoe Broom Gordon Broom Gail Brown Lynda Brown-Ganzert Christopher Buck Danielle Burton David Burton Gregor Campbell Pamela Campbell Neil Carfra Deanna Chan Kathy Charleson Daphne Chen Wai Ming Cheung Ramona Cheran Joyce Clearihue Floyd Colins Jennifer Considine Terri Cormier Vivien Corwin Bob Coulter Lyle Coulter CSW Investments Gary Darrah Laurie Darrah Joyce De Witt-Van Oosten
Michael Donald Stephanie Douglas Peter G. Duncan Donna Dupas Debbie Dykes Margaret Dykes-Page Ted Evans Finn & Izzy Shoes Brad Frazer Nashinder Gill Patrick Giommi Christine Godfrey Elizabeth Gowan Sally Green Reta Grieve James Hajash Barbara Hale Bonnie Hallett Morgan Harker Jane Harrigan Megan Hedderick Chen-Hua Hu Richard Impett P. Greg James Sanghoon Jeong Guo Jiang Kathleen Johnson Bikramjit Kang Douglas Kelly Denise Kilner Jason Kirby Audrey Kirkpatrick Lee Kirkpatrick
Akiko Koga Elisabeth Langford Cory Laprade Brent Lee Wen-Te Lee Evan Leeson Pauline Lethbridge Brian Lethbridge Trina Lohr Barry Lund Chris Lyons Robert MacKenzie Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell Pat Marsh M & B Matheson Owen Matthews Martha McDougall Paul McLennan George McMeekin Gerald McQuade Patricia Meredith Miles Plumbing Services Ltd. Annette Millar Cathy Mingo Tim Mitchell Shanda Mizel Ian Mugridge Daniel Munson Ian Murdock Michelle Nelson Margaret Orme Sandy Ouellette Sheila Page SMS Spirit | 12
Gregory Parr Michael Patrick Nancy Pekter Carol Pettigrew Angela Plasterer David Poore Kathryn Porter Rose Proudfoot Gillian Radford Jean Rankin Alina Reid Stephen Roberts Marie Robillard Alexandra Robinson Grant Rogers Juan Manuel Rojas Dylan Rovere Christine R. Rushforth Richard Sawchuk Sarah Scully Debbie Secco Marybelle Sendall Kerry Sheppard Deidre Simmons Wayne Shtybel Andre Smith Joan Smith Margaret Smith Colin Smyth Varinia Somosan Christopher Spicer Sal Starzun Su Juan Sun
Pat Tancock Davinder Thandi Doug Thompson Cathleen Thornicroft Scott Tinis Ann van der Linden, Inc Marc Verrier Richard Vincent Tom Vincent Laurie Westmacott Beatrice Wheeler Joyce Wheeler Audrey M. Williams Gregg Wiltshire Kaimin Wong Wai Ming Wong Carol Wootton Chan Je Wu Zhong Xu Lu Yao Lin Zhang Quanfu Zhao Xuefen Zheng Jin Zhong Xiaoding Zhou Fan (Frank) Zhu
SMS Receipted Donors July 1, 2012 â€“ June 30, 2013
continued from page 10
girl’s opinion,” Haddas says. “You cannot avoid anyone here; you have to maintain relationships. Rather than fight or flight, it’s tend and befriend. That’s our response to stress. We each give what we want to receive.” “Everybody knows something you don’t,” Miranda notes. “It’s easier to be kinder.”
search for identity. There are values and morals to grasp,” says Haddas. Head of School Cathy Thornicroft says students determine and articulate those values. “Girl are involved in our Strategic Plan, and girls are why we have the Strategic Plan. It is embedded in everything we do. It contains guiding statements that drive us forward.”
says Cathy. “They can see where they are headed, in terms of the Grade 7s and 8s. They can lead the younger girls in Grades 4 and below. Their homerooms are places where our values are demonstrated and internalized, individually and collectively. There is opportunity for more intentional conversations.”
Miranda and Haddas enjoy working with and speaking with SMS students The new Creative Commons (the of all ages. They seek to build a former senior student lounge which bridge between the international and was refreshed and re-envisioned day students, the Junior, Middle and during summer break), displays some Senior Years, and the school and its of those value statements, which are local community. They relate well also prominently placed in the South to people and manage interesting Gym. The space also has a dry-erase projects. They rise to the challenge wall where the senior girls can consider of achieving their full potential their values and build dialogue, while demonstrating leadership and including leadership strategies and contributing to both the school and opportunities. They are role models society in a meaningful way. These for younger girls, and leadership Heads of student government, past opportunities abound in younger and present, show that leadership is a grades as well. Both Miranda and Haddas appreciate way of life at SMS. As Rebecca notes, that at SMS they are empowered to The newly implemented Middle Years “It’s ‘I want to be a leader’, rather make decisions and move in new program will give girls in Grades 5 and than ‘It’s good to be a leader’.” directions. “It’s the beginning of the 6 double the leadership opportunities, Haddas and Miranda are excited to expand on leadership opportunities. “With last year’s Service Day, we have started a tradition,” says Miranda. “We all grew a lot from the experience. Grade 7 girls built birdhouses. The Grade 8s removed invasive species of plants from Swan Lake. The Grade 9s baked cookies and took them to people living on the street. The Grade 10s did a beach cleanup. The Grade 11s visited seniors in care homes. The Grade 12s worked with Women in Need.”
SMS Grads to watch Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School, says “The class of 2013 is interesting because in some ways the girls are so alike - for example, they all aspire to excel - but they are also so different, in that they pursue different passions like business, art, and writing. They are a very tight and supportive group, which is reflective of other SMS graduating classes. Everybody honours everyone’s passions; there are no outsiders. SAVANNAH CANNATELLA (2010-13, Turgot, England) is studying History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia…..KERRIS DE CHAMPLAIN (2000-13, Malcolm, Canada) is majoring in Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Victoria.....LING (AMBER) GAO (2010-13, Christian, China) is working towards a degree in Environmental Economics at the University of Toronto…..MARIAH GREENING (2000-13, Canmore, Canada) is attending Camosun College, Victoria, and studying Computer Science….. HABIN GU (2010-13, Turgot, Republic of Korea) is at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign working on a Bachelor of Economics degree…..MIHO KOISO (2010-13, Canmore, Japan) is in England, taking Media and Cultural Studies courses at the University of Sussex…..SOO JI LEE (2009-12, Canmore, Republic of Korea) is at The Cleveland Institute of Music…..
JACLYN McMILLAN (2002-13, Canmore, Canada) is in the Writing Program at the University of Victoria….. MIN (LUKYA) RONG (2010-13, Turgot, China) is part of the University of Waterloo’s Digital Arts and Business program…..SEVRENNE SHEPPARD (2010-13, Canmore, Canada) is majoring in Biology with a minor in Social Studies in Medicine at McGill University…..NATALIE SHTYBEL (2000-13, Canmore, Canada), EMMA SCULLY (2006-2013, Canmore, Canada), and OLIVIA BELCHER-COWARD (2006-13, Malcolm, Canada) are all at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria….. HUANJIN (YVONNE) XIAO (2011-13, Malcolm, China) is at student at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco working towards a Bachelor of Fashion Management degree.
SMS Spirit | 13
The SMS Advantage: Girl-Centred Learning That Supports Academic Excellence The values and aspirations outlined in the SMS Strategic Plan are met within our dynamic all girl environment. Girls are at a significant advantage when they are part of a student-driven culture that promotes self-confidence. That confidence translates not only to academia but also to other areas of life. At SMS we take our cues from students to adapt curricula to different age groups, tailor programs to meet all learning styles, and even shift our classroom environments to respond to the need for future leaders to be collaborators and innovators. All SMS teachers - whether in early childhood education, foundation years, middle years or senior years - deliver a rigorous and relevant curriculum while empowering girls to shape their own path in learning. Lisa Richardson, Senior math teacher, is a caring, supportive and gifted teacher. Lisa uses varied strategies to bring out each girl’s mathematical abilities and aptitudes. SMS teachers are able to teach pure and applied mathematics so that each girl’s particular learning style is supported and challenged to bring out her best results. SMS graduates are accepted by their universities of choice, says Richardson. Many alumnae continue to focus on or draw from their solid grasp of mathematical strategies and philosophies. “My classroom is a community,” says Lisa. “I know my students, and each one of the girls knows me. The girls are given lots of opportunities to shine in different ways. I see the girls grow and what they do when they are given the chance. I see the effects
of the Leader in Me program, of the School’s Leadership program, and of the Outreach Committee. Girls can become peer tutors. I see the mentorship that takes place.“ “The girls are so connected. We have the people – students, teachers, parents and administration – committed to differentiated teaching and individual learning styles. That’s good teaching.” Each classroom is a risk-free forum for discussion and an opportunity to work together to solve problems, says Lisa. “We provide girls with different opportunities. Some girls are very kinesthetic, while some are visual learners. We offer differentiated teaching, with specific approaches. We are always asking them how they learn best. It’s a challenge for them to understand who they are as a learner, and it leads to them advocating on their own behalf. When girls identify their own needs and advocate for them, they learn skills that will be crucial at university and in the workplace.” Attention to different learning styles and teaching methods has led the school to install a Collaboration Room in the Senior School furnished with a Harkness Table. Designed in 1930 and first used at Phillips Exeter Academy in the U.S., the large ovalshaped wooden table is specifically designed to facilitate seminar discussions. Students sit at the table with the teacher. In addition to facing the middle of the table, students can also pull out small trays from underneath the table to a 90-degree angle and adjust their stance to best participate in various group discussions. SMS Spirit | 14
The Harkness table at SMS was built by local manufacturer Guy Shockey, who built the table and chairs in Alexis Hall and the furniture in the residence dorms. Head of School Cathy Thornicroft says that in addition to classes, student groups can book the Collaboration Room and use it for meetings. “I have seen people using the Harkness table and have been totally impressed with the dialogue and discourse that requires active engagement of all of the participants,” says Cathy. “The Collaboration Room is another of our school’s Special Places where girls can explore their potential and take intellectual risks in a safe environment. As girls have stated in our Strategic Plan, they want to be independent thinkers and take responsibility for their own learning.” The school’s commitment to excellence in teaching is expanding further with the introduction of a Middle Years program for Grades 5 to 8. Personalized learning at that stage will lead girls to confident decisions in the later grades. A girl-centered environment places the focus on accomplishment and confidence while being mindful of the social/emotional needs of this particular age group.” “We have the flexibility to tailor our teaching to match the way girls learn,” Cathy says. “We adapt the content, pace and delivery of the curriculum to draw on girls’ strengths, capture their interest, and actively engage them in learning.” With teachers like Lisa and a committed staff, our allgirl environment and personalized programs bring the love of learning to girls in ways that best suit them and prepare them for the future.
â€œI am understood and have the freedom to be creative and discover my strengths and abilitiesâ€?
The Harkness Table in the Senior School
SMS Spirit | 15
“I am eager to take on challenges, learn from my mistakes and do what’s right in the face of adversity.”
Joyce Clearihue relaxing in her garden
SMS sports team photos with Joyce
SMS Spirit | 16
A Courageous Alumna Shares Her Story Head of School Cathy Thornicroft knows that our alumnae exemplify the values in the SMS Strategic Plan. “Having strength within and being principled enough to act on it is paramount,” she says. “Joyce Clearihue (SMS class of 1943) demonstrates courage in that she pursued a career during a time when women were not well represented in the medical profession. As a respected and successful member of the SMS community, I love how Joyce has great stories; her voice is one we need to bring forward to encourage young women to lead.” Dr. Joyce Clearihue had a long and respected medical practice. She is an accomplished outdoorswoman and has donated land to extend green areas. She is a philanthropist, carrying forward her parents’ legacy of making educational opportunities accessible. She has a wide circle of friends, including many of her SMS cohort. She loves life; she has travelled extensively and recently become engaged. Joyce’s mother, Irene, was part of the Volunteer Aid Detachment in England during W WI and drove her Indian motorcycle around London. She went to medical school and became a doctor at the London Hospital. She also delivered babies in slum areas of London. In Victoria during W WII she became an anesthetist, one of only two in Victoria because many male doctors served overseas. Joyce’s father, Joseph, played a prominent role in British Columbia law and legislation. He was decorated for bravery in W WI and helped secure the establishment of the University of Victoria, among countless other notable endeavors. Joseph was widely esteemed as a kind and courageous man.
Joyce was interested in medicine from an early age. “I must have been influenced by my mother. I would play tea party plus medicine. It never occurred to me not to play doctor; I never played nurse or patient.” “I was brought up to do things on my own,” says Joyce. “I was an only child, and my mother was working. I was allowed to make my own decisions, mostly, and I was raised to think that it was okay for women to practice medicine. I think SMS probably helped me to believe I could do anything and that a woman could do anything.” “I was always a courageous person; I would try anything. I was always athletic and I loved sports. That was what I liked best about SMS.” Joyce’s athleticism remained constant: “I liked the scary sports. I was downhill skiing until last year when I decided to sell my skis and my ice skates. The only way to quit was to sell them!” In Grade 9, Joyce sent a letter to McGill University asking if it would be better to take Latin or Home Economics if she wanted to pursue a degree in medicine. The answer remains apparent: “I never learned to cook, except during W WII when my mother was on-call every other night.” Joyce understood the challenges her mother had faced in her medical career and pursued her own path in medicine anyway. “Frankly, I don’t think it took courage; it probably just took determination,” says Joyce. “My mum was the person who needed the courage.” That determination led Joyce to a very high standard of achievement: “I felt I should try to excel in a class of men. At medical school the women SMS Spirit | 17
excelled – not just with marks, but with the determination that we would get through.” “I was a person who knew where I was going,” Joyce says. “I wanted to be a specialist; I wanted to know a lot about a little, not a little about a lot. It was, I suppose, my own form of courage. I searched for the best training in the specialties, and it paid off.” Joyce specialized in Dermatology, which she says suited her: “I was a very inquisitive child and adult. There were a lot of unknowns in Dermatology. You could use a lot of psychology and psychiatry.” Joyce’s adventurous attitude has been with her for her whole life. When she went to Mexico City for the 1968 Olympics, she decided while en route to charter a plane to visit Mayan ruins. She walked off the jet onto the tarmac and over to the waiting chartered plane, whose pilot took her on the quick jaunt, waited while she toured the ruins and then flew her back to Mexico City. Joyce is a member of many organizations, including the Sunshine Hikers, the Outdoor Club of Victoria and the Victoria Historical Society. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé and remains active in civic and educational pursuits. She will attend her 60th medical school reunion soon. Joyce personifies personal, professional and physical courage. We hope that her story inspires girls to make brave choices in all areas of life realizing that the actions and precedent set by women like Dr. Clearihue have made it possible for them to do so.
Students take part in Japan Week
Dressing in Traditional Kimono
SMS students on European trip
Global-Minded: SMS Girls Have Diverse Worldview SMS girls are global citizens who maintain connections with others across the world who share the same concerns and cares while strengthening local action and community. Students are engaged and supported by school activities and opportunities that continually expand as we become a truly global school. Students, teachers, staff and families come to SMS not only to study or teach but also to expand their horizons while they are here. The girls grow into active and mindful women with expansive outlooks that will shape their future. Our school provides many opportunities for girls to connect with the world. Students can join the Outreach Committee, facilitated by SMS teacher and Guidance Advisor Cecilia Penner. Cecilia volunteers her time to work with the Outreach Committee. “It’s important to mentor students in giving of yourself,” she says. “There is a lot we can do, like being aware and making the contributions that we can. I have a personal conviction that I bring to it as well, and I think the girls feel that.”
The students are involved in projects affecting the lives of girls on the other side of the world; in doing so they have an impact on their own lives here as well. “There is a ripple effect and connectivity,” says Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School. “We don’t live in isolation. As students have noted in our Strategic Plan, what we do has impact.” One exciting project is the Africa Health and Community Program (AHCP), based in the impoverished Kibara area of Nairobi, Kenya. There is a strong SMS connection: alumna Jessie Singer (Class of 2004). When Jessie was working for the Children’s Legal Action Network in Nairobi, she met AHCP Executive Director Isabel Sadya. Isabel wanted to connect with a Canadian high school so that girls in both countries could gain a global perspective and learn about each other. Jessie visited SMS in 2012 and told girls on the Outreach Committee about the work Isabel and the AHCP were doing. Jessie was thrilled with the students’ reactions. “The girls jumped on board,” she says. “They were just great; they were very responsive and surpassed all of my expectations.”
SMS Spirit | 18
Jessie recently completed her master’s degree in Urban and Community Planning at the University of British Columbia. She maintains close ties with Isabel and the AHCP, participating in strategic planning and developing organizational profiles. Jessie credits SMS with giving her leadership opportunities that she could translate into selfconfidence and problem-solving skills while working abroad. “I gained faith in my own ability to not allow some patriarchal attitudes and sexism I faced define my work,” she says. Jessie was always interested in community work, international relations and social studies. She remembers an SMS Comparative Civilizations class piquing her interest. The SMS girls were eager to work with Isabel and her staff at AHCP – a registered NGO. Isabel is a former school principal with terrific energy and dedication. She, her staff and volunteers provide women, children and youth with health, entrepreneurial and employment training and opportunities. The AHCP educates girls about sustainable enterprise, women’s rights and advocacy, personal health,
SMS Students on Service Trip in Costa Rica
â€œI see the interconnectedness of the world and understand that my actions have an impact on my environment and my communityâ€?
SMS Spirit | 19
SMS students visiting Sengen Shrine during Japanese exchange trip SMS students wearing Traditional Korean dresses
Nitobe Bunka exchange students provide unique dance moves
and child protection. They also offer a children’s library and tutoring program. The SMS Outreach Committee raises funds for various AHCP program initiatives. They also organize penfriend communications between a Junior Years class and some of Isabel’s students. The older SMS girls raise awareness regarding obstacles that girls in Kibara face regarding education and healthcare, and support a lending library. Girls in Kibara have to overcome many difficulties in order to attend school. “We are a girls school – there is a kinship there,” says Cecilia. “SMS girls understand the privileges they have. They understand that the right to an education is not an expectation in other places.” SMS students have support at home as well as from the school, says Cecilia. “A lot of SMS families fully embrace and go beyond what SMS does in terms of volunteerism and outreach. Also, many international students have volunteered at orphanages, for example.”
The girls on the Outreach Committee also participate in the Me to We social enterprise. Started by two young Canadians, Craig Kielburger and Mark Kielburger, who could not tolerate the substandard living and educational conditions many children face. The brothers raise awareness about legislation or the lack thereof that surrounds child labour. They also founded the Free The Children charity and youth movement, which receives half of Me to We’s profits. The SMS Outreach Committee students attend national We Day events to listen to high-profile speakers and young people present on projects and activities. “You can sense the energy and commitment; there is a good feel to it,” says Cecilia. Cathy admires the work Cecilia and the SMS girls do. “We try to instill in girls the importance of making contributions – time, philanthropy.” She offers a quotation from her favourite film, The Emperor’s Club: “Great ambition…without contribution is without significance. SMS Spirit | 20
What will your contribution be? How will history remember you?” “Girls should take care of each other,” says Cathy. “If you act with this in mind, you will do good things in the world. At SMS, the girls know this. We have many student-driven initiatives, both international ones that the Outreach Committee takes on and local endeavours like the philanthropic efforts coordinated by Natasha Carville in the Junior Years and Donna Holmwood’s Leadership class in the Senior Years with Service Day.” In addition to giving girls opportunities to become active world citizens, SMS is a global school in other meaningful ways. “As a school, we are developing a cohesive, mindful approach to global education,” says Rona Archer, the International English Language Coordinator and Academic Advisor at SMS. “SMS has been an international school for a very long time, but we are also becoming a global school in terms of empowering both day and boarding
Korean fan dance performed during Korean Week Assembly
Photo of SMS alumna Jessie Singer and AHCP Executive Director Isabel Sadya and other staffers at the African Health and Community Program. Front Row (L-R) Jessie, Isabel, Hamza Back Row (L-R)Collins, Otieno, Tom
students and providing them with a forum to develop awareness.” “We introduce international girls into the classroom, which is an important piece, so that we also have Canadian girls in there sharing their perspectives,” says Rona. “We have different pieces of the same puzzle sitting in the classroom. The person sitting next to you may have a different global view. The teachers use that. Many of our teachers have lived and taught in different countries. Their global connections do make a difference in the way people approach education in the classroom. It’s absolutely part of the fabric at SMS, and it’s something that we are building on.”
Service trips to other countries will continue. In the past SMS girls and teachers have travelled to Costa Rica to help with building projects. This September a group travelled to Ecuador. Rona says: “The school’s long-term goal is that we want the Leadership class to lead the trip. An education in that course that year that will revolve around the trip, with preparation and follow-up.”
Meanwhile, SMS maintains a strong relationship with our sister school in Shizouka, Japan. Girls from the Eiwa school spend five months at SMS. Known as the ‘Maple Girls,’ they live in residence or with homestay families, and are integrated into regular classes. Then, for Outweek, SMS girls go on an exchange trip to SMS is providing more opportunities Shizuoka. SMS is also establishing an for international and Canadian ongoing link with a school in Chile. girls at the school to forge And a cherished SMS activity, the connections. The school offers annual Europe trip, continues with three ways of establishing onegirls considering art-historical and on-one connections: a peer tutor social issues as they visit heritage opportunity; a chance to act as a and tourist sites. These are all ways mentor in residence; and a refined to experience different countries Big Sister-Little Sister option. and cultures. SMS Spirit | 21
Rona says that SMS is approaching “that sophisticated level of integration where global awareness permeates the school.” Adds Cathy: “It’s about finding a voice and helping to create the opportunities for other girls to find their voice – both individually and as a global cohort. It starts locally, but the impact of understanding, tolerance and communication has a huge impact on things like international trade and global events. It’s about speaking up, ‘Service with Love’, and integrity. You get what you give.”
Do you have a story to share? We’d love to hear from you. Submit your stories, letters,ideas or testimonials to: email@example.com Connect with us
St. Margaretâ€™s School | for girls
St. Margaretâ€™s School 1080 Lucas Avenue Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8X 3P7 www.stmarg.ca T 250.479.7171
Indicia here The Spirit Magazine is a publication for the entire SMS community: our students, parents, staff, alumnae and friends.