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St. Margaret’s School | for girls

Confident girls. Inspiring women.

SMS Fort Street campus, c. 1926

SMS Lucas Avenue campus, 2012

St. Margaret: The Woman Behind the Name When Edith Fenwick and Isabel Fenwick founded St. Margaret’s School in 1908, they chose to honour a woman whose notable contributions to education and service resonated with them. They named the school for Margaret of Scotland, an English princess who fled to Scotland in 1068 to escape conflicts over succession after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. She married King Malcolm III, who was later referred to as Malcolm Canmore. They had eight children. Margaret sought the counsel of Turgot, who was the Prior of Durham Abbey. Over the years, SMS students have written about St. Margaret for essay and speech competitions. In 1921, one student wrote that Margaret was a studious child who was educated by monks and later founded schools for children and adults. Margaret also advocated for the poor. A 1939 SMS yearbook article mentions Margaret ‘s shocked reaction to the living conditions most people of her time endured. A 1990 article in the school magazine highlighted Margaret’s “accessibility, selflessness and charity,” and her “spirit of loving service” was noted in a 2007 issue. The 1921 SMS essay noted that one of Margaret’s Bibles was housed at the Bodleian Library, at the University of Oxford. The book – actually a GospelBook – is still in the Bodleian’s holdings. In 2009, the Bodleian celebrated World Reading Day with a temporary display called Uncommon Readers, “showcasing reading by female monarchs.” Margaret’s Gospel-Book is a tangible example of her substantive links to literacy and education, and a terrific symbol of the importance of reading. Margaret continues to be of interest to SMS girls as they explore the school’s history and its motto, “Servite in Caritate” (Service with Love). It’s a fitting motto for the school, particularly in light of the history of St. Margaret herself.

At SMS our stories are personal and continually resonate with what we value. This issue’s stories reflect the value of giving: an alumna serving overseas, current students working to improve their communities, and a retiring teacher whose gifts of time, enthusiasm and energy are endless. We applaud the contributions of the Alexis Family – an inspiring group that has left an indelible mark on SMS. All embody the school motto Servite in Caritate – Service with Love. We are also pleased to introduce new facilities, equipment and programs that have been made possible through gifts from members of the SMS community – our families, staff, alumnae/old girls and others. We introduce our Development Coordinator, Gregg Wiltshire, who will invigorate our Annual Giving Campaign to ensure the longterm vibrancy and sustainability of SMS. I am excited about our new Strategic Plan, which we will present at the Annual General Meeting in October. One truly rewarding aspect of this grassroots initiative is student participation in the Strategic Plan. Our girls will develop facilitation, governance and collaboration skills as the school listens to their experiences. We ensure that girls take ownership of their learning experiences and empower them to initiate constructive change and make dedicated commitments to their own futures and to the future of SMS. Cathy Thornicroft Head of School, St. Margaret’s School

As a life-long volunteer, I have often been asked why I donate my time. Am I receiving some benefit? Do I have a lot of spare time? To paraphrase Paul McCartney, the answer lies in something I have always believed: the love you get is equal to the love you give. That was my reason for joining the Board of Governors; to make a tangible gift to my daughters’ education. I see it as a gift that will give back, not just to them but to the whole SMS family. I am clearly far from the only one who feels this way. Members of the SMS community give in myriad ways. The Board of Governors and Parent Auxiliary rely on gifts of time, expertise and money. Graduates’ families make thank-you donations when their daughters head to university. Alumnae and staff donate to bursaries and scholarships, knowing that an SMS education is a gift beyond measure. And everyone who makes a donation to the Annual Giving Campaign helps to make the exceptional possible. This past year a new Culinary Arts Centre, an Environmental Classroom, and other learning and program enhancements were made possible by donations. Our intention is to spark your intention – to continue building on the exceptional education we provide to our girls. We’d love to hear your ideas. Please call us at 479-7171 to see what we can accomplish together. Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell Chair, Board of Governors St. Margaret’s School

Katherine Alexis 1966

Marina Alexis 1971

Carla Alexis 1972

Pamela Alexis 1976

Alexandra Alexis 1981

An SMS Family’s Legacy John and Frances Alexis sent five daughters to SMS – a total of 65 years attendance from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Their large family, which also includes a son, was integral to the development of the school. Alexis Hall, the school’s dining hall, is named after the family. It’s fitting that Alexis Hall feeds our SMS community – John Alexis owned Johnny’s café at the corner of Fort and Quadra streets. He trained recent Greek immigrants to cook professionally, thereby providing for their families in turn. Nobody went hungry; Johnny would often feed homeless people in his café. He brought food to SMS events, including roasted turkeys for food stalls. He supplied dainty sandwiches for SMS fashion shows and other fundraisers organized by Frances. John also sat on the SMS Board of Governors for decades. He attended all board meetings and enjoyed the dinners held before meetings. He prized education and believed in SMS. He helped facilitate the move from downtown to the Lucas Avenue campus, and when Alexis Hall was built he was closely involved. “John designed the kitchen and ordered the equipment,” says Frances, and he oversaw its installation each day.

John loved the campus itself; he viewed the property when the school was looking for a new site and told Frances that the grounds were so beautiful that the school simply had to purchase it. Frances Alexis raised six children and devoted countless hours to the School. She organized myriad fundraisers, helped with the move to Lucas Avenue, and nurtured other SMS girls as well by inviting them into her home and, of course, feeding them. She worked tirelessly, and like John she believed in SMS: “John thought it was the greatest school, and I do too.” The five Alexis girls – Katherine, Marina, Carla, Pamela and Alexandra – all played vital roles at the school. They appear in school yearbooks throughout decades. Deborah Dykes taught at SMS for 34 years and recalls the family’s dedication to the school: “The parents were always front and centre to lend a hand at school functions and each girl gave her all to SMS, too!” The girls pursued professional careers that emphasized service and love, including teaching and nursing. Alexandra Robinson, John and Frances’ youngest daughter, is now a

member of the Board of Governors (see page 5). “I was taught to be a leader. I love being back here to serve the School,” she says. “A bonus has been hearing the stories about the old days at SMS re-told by Mom, but this time to ears that are listening.” Head of School Cathy Thornicroft is delighted that Robinson is on the Board. “Alex is great at balancing what our values are; she’s the grounding person,” says Thornicroft. “She has a historical perspective on traditions. She’s focusing on philanthropic culture, and both personally and professionally is dedicated to service.” Frances Alexis is a vibrant and gracious person. She recalls the sense of community that SMS parents shared as they worked on behalf of the school. “Everyone seemed to enjoy the get-togethers, and we had great coffee work-parties. We worked hard, but we had a lot of fun,” she says. “The Board also got to really know each other.” Continued on page 4

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“John thought SMS was the greatest school, and I do too.” – Frances Alexis

Frances Alexis in front of Alexis Hall 2012

Elevation drawing for Dining Hall

Frances and John Alexis and their five daughters

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That sense of community still resonates with Frances. “There was a little something more than the education at SMS,” she says. “It’s something more that all the girls received. It seems like they have a friend forever if that friend was made at SMS.” Frances still keeps in touch with several SMS girls who once ate at her kitchen table. The Alexis daughters maintain contact with schoolmates, including travelling to Australia to visit. Frances appreciated the elegance of SMS special occasions such as the

John told Frances that the Lucas Avenue property was so beautiful that the School simply had to purchase it. fashion-show fundraisers and official visits from dignitaries. She regularly lent the school her silver tea service, which was a wedding present. “Every time I give the tea set a polish, I think of that.” She also enjoyed the energy of sports days and would bring her youngest child, Alexandra, to watch the older girls and their activities. Frances thinks the recently refurbished Alexis Hall looks terrific and appreciates the use of local materials. “It’s wonderful to have wood from our own area,” she says. The Hall provides an environment of warmth and nourishment, much like the Alexis family kitchen and like SMS Spirit | 04

Johnny’s café. The School’s focus on healthy fare is expanding with its new Culinary Arts Centre and the installation of a greenhouse for the girls. John and Frances were married for 54 years. Although John is now gone, Frances and her family treasure their bond with SMS. Their family’s service and dedication helped bring about so much that SMS students continue to enjoy and benefit from today. “I’m happy that our girls had the opportunity to attend SMS for all those years,” Frances says. “I’m so thankful, and John was too.”

Frances inside Alexis Dining Hall

Alexandra Robinson and Frances Alexis: Generations of service

Excerpts from a speech Alexandra Robinson (Alexis) gave at a Parent and Staff Appreciation Brunch in May 2011. Thank you for including Mom and me in today’s celebration…it feels like coming home. So it should, for Mom this was 28 years of her life and for Dad even longer. Last summer I attended my first Alumnae event and heard Cathy Thornicroft speak. I was impressed by her obvious capabilities and she also seemed approachable. So, despite my fear of headmistresses, I approached her armed with a chequebook and offered to make a donation to the school. To my surprise, she declined and asked if I would instead get involved with the school…Let me tell you, after travelling to board meetings for almost a year now it would have been a heck of a lot easier to have stroked a cheque but not nearly as interesting and not really my style. Now about Mom and what I realize was her remarkable existence. Mom is a woman of few words who raised six children effortlessly while fundraising at this school for 28 years. She convened Spring fairs, fashion shows, dinner dances and hundreds of bake sales. She put in three lifetimes of service to the school, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars without breaking a sweat. And she did all this while at the same time fundraising for the Greek Orthodox Church and community, assisting Greek immigrants (and don’t

forget the six kids). She says the best part of her day was after school when we would all gather along with our friends. Warm baking was always on the table; she would assist with homework, feed everyone dinner, provide baths and hair washes for all, and brought boarding students home on weekends and on holiday breaks. Mom assisted in all levels of the move from the old school to this one. She gardened and planted; she painted old desks because new ones were not in the budget. She was an enterprise unto herself and none of us know how she did it. And then there was Dad. Known by all as Johnny and loved by everyone. For all Mom’s poise and grace, Dad had a joke and invariably a blunder to counterbalance her sophistication. He was a comedian but never knew he was funny. What he did know was about working hard and helping those in need. A typical day in Dad’s life was to awaken by five am, polish the [girls’] oxfords for Mom and get to the restaurant in time to put coffee on for the garbage truck drivers and milk-men. He would bring in a homeless person, feed him breakfast and send him on his way. Then he would greet new immigrant

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workers that nobody else would hire and teach them how to cook. Dad worked all day and all evening with much of his earnings going towards fees for this school. He believed in SMS, he believed in independent education. He was a committed parent. He joined the Board in the 1950s and took his responsibility very seriously. On meeting nights it was a mad scramble as he tore off his apron and rushed home to bathe, put on his three-piece suit, and get to the school by six pm… Dad is no longer with us but Mom is – a woman who tirelessly helped make this school what it is today…I hope I have done justice to the story of John and Frances Alexis. I think you can appreciate how much this school meant to both of them and how much Alexis Hall means to the Family by the School naming it in their honour. I hope to get to know you and your daughters as I come and go through these doors and serve this community once again.

Small Island, Big Passion, National Success SMS student Katherine Evans combined her love of community and of science to design a science fair project that won her a Bronze Medal at a national science competition. Her project, “From Tank to Tap: Are Carcinogens Being Introduced into Piers Island Water?” explored cancer rates on Piers Island, a tiny island between the north end of the Saanich Peninsula and Salt Spring Island. The Evans family has had a cottage on the island for 13 years, since Katherine was one year old. “It’s a small, close-knit community,” she says. The island is home to rocky and sandy beaches, and a forest. “The forest is my favourite place,” says Katherine, “I always find something new.” Residents walk everywhere, and during her rambles Katherine noticed that there seemed to be a high rate of brain cancer among the community. “I observed that the water tasted strange. It comes to a wooden tank from the Sooke reservoir; there are two pipelines.” Was a decaying wooden water tank and/or other factors producing higher levels of carcinogens? Katherine decided to investigate. She sought assistance from two University of Victoria professors, Dr. Sergei Verenitch and Dr. Asit Mazumder, to obtain collection bottles and information on how to collect samples. She also appreciated the support of her science teacher, Dana Reid. After enlisting volunteers to help her collect samples, Katherine studied the results and presented her findings. Katherine found that, in certain locations, the water contained more

than six times the carcinogens found in water entering the island, although all results were within drinking water regulations. She points out that the study is an initial one that provides some information for further exploration, “I did see that the use of commercial home-use filters cut the rate by 50 percent.” Katherine is going to keep in touch with volunteers who will continue collecting samples. She says that there is a plan to replace the wooden tank on Piers Island with two smaller tanks. Katherine was one of six students at the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair selected to represent Vancouver Island at Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) 2012, held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Nearly 500 students in Grades 7-12 participated. “I met scientists from all over Canada. It didn’t feel like competition; it was a chance to meet and learn.” Katherine’s Bronze Medal in her age category came with a $300 scholarship. She also received a $1,000 scholarship to the University of Western Ontario. “Katherine is an amazing young woman and up-and-coming scientist,” says Mary Cameron, Principal of the Senior School. “She is a true humanitarian in the making!” At this year’s closing ceremonies, Katherine was awarded the Fiona Grant Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement at a National or International level and is usually awarded to students in Grades 11 and 12. Katherine has just completed Grade 9.

Katherine Evans’s awards and memorabilia from the 2012 Canada-Wide Science Fair and the SMS Fiona Grant Trophy

Katherine has been at SMS since Kindergarten and says she has always loved science: “I love the ability to identify a question – and to find an answer through science.” She is also an actor and writer. She often heads to Vancouver to audition for television and movie roles and recently appeared in a Capilano College film project. “I love exploring new characters and the subtlety of films and television.” She is currently writing a film script. When asked at CWSF if she had advice for other students planning a science project, Katherine answered, “My project addresses an issue very important to me: my friends and family on Piers Island. I would advise other students to choose a topic that is important to them and others.” Katherine’s success demonstrates how far a student can go when her individual interests and passions are integrated into her learning.

Katherine in the SMS Laboratory

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Katherine used her science project to begin exploring why her beloved island community is experiencing incidents of cancer.

“Outdoor play is an important component of developing healthy and responsible stewards of their communities.” – Rebecca Kaukinen SMS Kindergarten Teacher

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A Natural Progression: Outdoor Learning at SMS for Girls of All Ages The SMS campus is a gem. Its 22 acres comprise unique natural and architectural elements, and the SMS maintenance crew provides stellar in-house construction. Recent additions to the campus have allowed SMS to integrate the School’s natural surroundings into the curriculum like never before and provide students with meaningful opportunities to experience what they learn about in class first hand. This fall, SMS introduced a unique outdoor education program designed to foster children’s imaginative and active participation in the outdoors. “Our Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will enjoy the opportunity to blend curriculum elements through the exploration of the outdoor environment that we are so fortunate to be surrounded by,” says Megan Hedderick, Principal of the Junior School. “Three afternoons each week, the students will trek around campus with backpacks of investigative tools and clipboards in order to investigate units of study that the teachers have creatively planned for them.” A lover of the outdoors herself, Hedderick says the students and staff will likely see her “trekking with the youngsters through the forest in my gumboots and raincoat on many an afternoon!” The School’s Environmental Classroom, located in the heart of the small forest that is part of the SMS campus, will allow students to learn through the exploration of elements of our outdoor environment rain or shine. “We plan to paint the inside walls with a

surface designed for use of washable markers,” says Thornicroft. “It’s a canvas for the girls to showcase what they have observed and learned.” “Our objective is to encourage children’s engagement in and connection to our natural environment,” says Kindergarten teacher Rebecca Kaukinen. “The goal of this program is to develop a sense of community with, affinity to, and appreciation for nature. We want to provide the opportunity for students to experience free play in a natural environment.” The teachers will meet BC curriculum requirements while encouraging child-led inquiry, active invention and discovery. What the students will learn while playing outside is a natural fit with the BC curriculum, says Kaukinen. “We could teach our entire Science curriculum outside. We are also able to incorporate our Daily Physical Activity. Components of Language Arts, Math, Health and Career, and Visual and Dramatic Art can also be a focus outside. Certain areas of Social Studies fit in well, such as participating cooperatively in groups, and gathering information from personal experiences, oral sources and visual representations. Students will also demonstrate an awareness of change. Sample themes include Our Five Senses, Change, and Temperate Pacific Rainforest. Patterns of the Seasons will be a recurring theme that allows us to investigate change as we learn about plants and animals living in this part of the world. Specifically, we will

Junior School girls take a closer look outside the new Environmental Classroom

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look at the patterns we see with plant growth, animal habits and weather.” Another addition to the campus is a Culinary Arts Centre. Community meal planning, ethical sourcing and healthy eating will all play a part in this bright and airy facility. The SMS Parent Auxiliary donated funds for a greenhouse to complement the activities in the Culinary Arts Centre. With an attention to local food production, older students will use the greenhouse to grow plants and vegetables they can then use in the new Centre. The greenhouse adds another link to the chain of food production and consumption that students will explore. All these enhancements put into action the philosophy that attention to nature is crucial for children’s development. Author and journalist Richard Louv has written on his website ( that, “By tapping into the restorative powers of nature, we can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness…and ultimately strengthen human bonds.” Writes Louv, “The future will belong to the nature-smart – those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative powers of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real.” The new program and facilities at SMS will not only allow our students to learn in an authentic, hands-on setting but also provide them with a deeper connection and appreciation for the environment surrounding them.

Ready for all kinds of weather

Students marking both ends of Deb Dykes’ career: Hayley Wong, Kara Freeborn (Olsson), Deb Dykes, Kimberley Bourne, Charlotte Brady

A great body of work

Deb Dykes: A Legendary Career Deborah Dykes has boundless energy, enthusiasm, and love for SMS students and the School. She retired in June after an incredible 34-year career at SMS. Dykes taught science and physical education, she was a classroom teacher and she coached and mentored an astonishing number of SMS girls. Her support and enthusiasm at sports events and school assemblies is legendary. The modest Dykes considers herself to be the one buoyed by the school and the girls. “It has been an absolutely fabulous ride; I have been very fortunate,” she says. “There’s a saying that if you love what you do, then it’s not work. It’s an ace job.” Dykes attended the University of Toronto and spent summers in Jasper, Alberta. She applied for a position at SMS, and the rest is history. Dykes worked during the tenure of six Heads of School and three Principals of Junior School, and in three different Junior School buildings. “I have seen a million changes at SMS,” she says, noting that the profession itself has evolved. “My job has changed from teacher to facilitator; the days of didacticism have gone.” Dykes and her co-teacher, Lauren Hudson, piloted the new iPad

project at SMS last year with their Grade 4 students. Dykes has always embraced new teaching innovations and is incredibly adaptable. Over 34 years, her continued intellectual curiosity and flexibility have translated into increased learning opportunities for her students. Dykes enjoyed the most recent developments in the classroom. “By using new technologies we can get at the information the girls need for their education,” says Dykes. Recently Dykes has taught daughters of former students and keeps in touch with many alumnae. “One of my first Grade 4 students is a grandmother!”Kara Freeborn (Olsson) was a student in Dykes’ first class at SMS. “I remember how young she was. She was fun and sporty,” says Freeborn. Kimberly Bourne, another alumna, recalls that Dykes always had a positive. “I remember her taking us to swim meets in Vancouver. She was always upbeat and a passionate teacher,” says Bourne. Students in Dykes’ last-ever class in 2011-12 also consider themselves lucky to have had Dykes as a classroom teacher. “She brought excitement into the classroom,” says Hayley Wong. “She made learning a lot of fun. I was on the swim team, SMS Spirit | 10

and she encouraged me to do my best.” Charlotte Brady enjoyed the co-teaching of the Grade 4 class by Dykes and Hudson. “Ms. Dykes was awesome. She taught us math really well, and knew all of us so well,” Brady says. Dykes is keen to stay involved with SMS as the School continues to move forward. She has already initiated a bursary – the Deb Dykes Sport Bursary – and offered her coaching and teaching skills as needed. She also plans to pursue her passion for travelling. Dykes chaperoned school trips to Japan, Hawaii and Europe, and she and her husband recently returned from Australia and New Zealand. Dykes’ own leadership qualities are notable, say colleagues and students. Megan Hedderick, Principal of Junior School, says: “Deb has always been there to lean on for advice; I can count on her honesty and professionalism. Deb always puts the needs of her students first; she is a staunch advocate and devoted to bringing out the best in them.” Her adaptability and willingness Continued on page 12 to literally jump in wholeheartedly and embrace change is what makes Hayley Wong, Deb Dykes, and Charlotte Brady Dykes’ career truly remarkable. She2012 has been an incredible teacher, year

“There’s a saying that if you love what you do, then it’s not work.” – Deborah Dykes



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Her adaptability and willingness to literally jump in wholeheartedly and embrace change is what makes Dykes’ career truly remarkable. She has been an incredible teacher, year after year after year. She is as relevant today as ever. In the gym, on the playing field and at the pool, Dykes inspires girls. Says Hedderick, “Deb is passionate about instilling physical fitness as a lifelong pursuit in her students’ lives. Students come out in droves for her swim club, which is a credit to her ability to motivate students.” Dykes loves to move. “In PE class I would hope for a day with an odd number of girls in the gym, because then I got to play!” The extraordinarily high rates of participation in sports at SMS are due to the efforts of Dykes and her colleagues. And she just keeps on going: “I can still cartwheel to this day!”


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1989 Deb’s enthusiasm and support at sport events and school assemblies is legendary.

2012 “She was always upbeat and a passionate teacher.” – SMS Alumna Kimberly Bourne SMS Spirit | 13

“After my year here at SMS, I am a wholly different person.” – Samia Becil Canavati

Friends Eugenia Jimenez, Ana Paula Menendez and Samia Becil Canavati 2012

Beyond Boarders: Finding a Voice Samia Becil Canavati is from Méridia, Mexico. She is 14 years old and one of 24 Mexican students who lived and studied at SMS in 2011-12. Samia and her cohort are part of a tradition of SMS students from Mexico: “Although most of our Mexican girls only come for one year, we become a strong part of their family as we see sisters, cousins and friends continue to join us,” says Mary Cameron, Principal of the Senior School. Samia’s cousin attended SMS 20 years ago and encouraged her to come to Victoria. “My family chose SMS because they knew it is a safe place. I wanted to improve my English, and I also wanted to try something away from home and to make my own decisions,” says Samia.

I wasn’t that open to opportunities to get to know people from different countries,” says Samia, “After my year here at SMS, I am a wholly different person. I have an amazing 17-yearold roommate from Taiwan and her friends have also become my friends.” At first Samia was concerned that her inexperience with English would mean she would not be accepted by her peers. “I thought people might laugh or not listen to me if I spoke in English. But people listened as if what I was saying was interesting and important. Because SMS is an international school, [the teachers and other students] have lots of experience with this and the patience to listen.” Samia soon realized that she was known and respected: “Everything is in English, so I had to learn one way or another. I started to trust people and to ask more questions and to express my opinions in class.”

SMS students a question about Roman history. Samia felt confident enough to speak up and answer in English. Then older SMS girls continued to ask Samia questions. “It felt really good to be able to do that,” says Samia. A Leadership class taught by Donna Holmwood provided another forum for Samia to increase her flexibility in and understanding of English. The girls kept a journal throughout the year and wrote speeches for a competition. “When students were chosen at the beginning,” says Samia, “I was nervous, but I did well. Then at the semi-final I was nervous again but did fine. At the competition final, I felt confident. I just did it. When it ended, I couldn’t believe I had done it. I felt like the queen of the world!”

Samia is grateful for her time at SMS. “The fact that I can speak English makes it easier for me to have more opportunities, so I can be who I want The study of English Literature to be and to do what I want to do,” opened up new ways for Samia to study she says. “This year I learned a lot of the language. “Ms. Chartrand taught valuable skills. I learned to speak in me how to see books ‘out of the box’ front of people with confidence and and to see stories from other points of to express my opinions. But the most view. My descriptive skills improved,” important thing that I learned is to says Samia. “I don’t want to stop trust my classmates. I really love how Many boarding students at SMS reading in English; it’s one of the best people at St. Margaret’s accept you for share a double room with a girl from ways to keep my skills.” who you are and not for the place you a different country, strengthening come from or your religion. This has international ties and allowing girls to While in Italy on the School’s discover different cultures. “Before, Europe trip, a guide asked a group of been the best year of my life.” “Our Mexican students are vibrant and cheerful learners. They come seeking opportunities to get involved and they embrace every moment,” says Cameron. “They bring another global perspective to residence life and to the classroom, and add to the understanding of diversity and multiculturalism in our school.”

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SAMIA’S JOURnAL: January 23, 2012: “In Leadership class, I have learned how to be more confident. I didn’t like to talk in front of people, but now I really think that I am starting to like it.” FeBRuARy 27, 2012: “Today I practiced my speech in front of my advisory. At the beginning, I was scared. I was standing in front of a group of Canadian girls and most of them are older than me. I started talking and I realized it wasn’t that bad. I was surprised when I saw all the girls smiling at me, as if I was talking about the most interesting theme of all. I feel so happy to be here at SMS. It’s incredible how all the teachers and the girls are patient and extremely kind. I really love this school.” ApRIL 17, 2012: “I was shaking so hard. I was standing in front of a really big group of students and teachers. I thought that the words weren’t going to come out of my mouth. But amazingly, I started speaking without any problem. I never thought I would be able to give a speech in english in front of that many people.” MAy 9, 2012: “I took a deep breath and started talking. Once again, I started talking like if I was talking to a group of friends. I felt really confident. I didn’t win the competition, but I won so much more than that. I won confidence in my voice and confidence in myself.”

Samia Becil Canavati on SMS Campus 2012

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Constructing the new Environmental Classroom

Ready, Set, Cook! at the new Culinary Arts Centre

Girls on their way to check out the new classroom

SMS Advances Through Giving This fall SMS students are learning in new spaces, with new equipment and technology, and through new programs.

staff, alumnae, past parents and others – who made a Gift to the 201112 Annual Fund. (See page 18.)

The School’s newly built Environmental Classroom offers a stimulating environment in which students of all ages can study our natural surroundings, rain or shine. The structure has facilitated the development of a new outdoor learning program; Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten students now spend up to three afternoons each week learning through their own exploration of the School’s incredible outdoor environment. The new Culinary Arts Centre provides a space where math, science, and nutrition can be learned in a fun and hands-on way, and where community meals can be had. And when our residence students arrived in September, they found warm, comfortable rooms waiting for them that truly feel like home.

“These are clear examples of how donated dollars have directly impacted the learning experiences of our students – from toddlers to Grade 12s,” says Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School. She appreciates how families give to the School in whatever way they are able. “It’s about our collective belief in this school. Our goal is never a dollar amount; full participation is what is most important. It demonstrates to others whom we appeal for support that those most closely connected to the School believe in its mission and are committed to its wellbeing.

Gregg Wiltshire is the School’s new Development Coordinator; his role includes the coordination of the Annual Fund. He most recently worked in Advancement at the Art SMS has also upgraded technology Gallery of Greater Victoria. Wiltshire throughout the campus, including: leapt at the chance to work under greater access in classrooms; increased Thornicroft’s leadership. “She’s on wireless connectivity; and an expanded fire. Her focus is amazing. She is iPad program. Additional funds have not just talking about the School’s been directed towards the School’s future, she’s taking action. To be part bursary program, creating more of that leadership and momentum opportunities for deserving girls is really exciting.” He notes the high to attend SMS. percentage of last year’s donations that were directed to be disbursed Each of these enhancements was made at Thornicroft’s discretion. “It possible by individuals – parents, SMS Spirit | 16

demonstrates an incredible amount of trust,” he says. That trust was placed wisely, and the changes reflect the School’s commitment to ensuring that giving benefits everyone at SMS. Like other independent schools, SMS must have an Annual Fund and a strategy for growth. “The Annual Fund is crucial to the School’s success,” says Thornicroft, “The continued philanthropic support from our community is what provides us with the resources we need to enhance the excellence we all strive to provide for our girls.” Each program, equipment and experience adds to the uniqueness of an SMS education. “Every girl benefits every year from the Annual Fund,” Wiltshire says, “These gifts are what truly allow the School to advance.” Thornicroft knows how important it is to face the future head-on. “As we begin preparations for next year and beyond, it is important to nurture our collective commitment to this School to create an environment that truly embraces the advantages of the all girl experience. School fees allow us to focus on present needs but cannot sustain us into the future.” Annual Giving gives all members of the SMS community the opportunity to work on the School’s exciting trajectory together.

“The Annual Fund is crucial to the School’s success.” – Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School

SMS employees Geoff North and Ben Pawlett, the skilled and creative construction crew of the new Environmental Classroom

Thank you to all the donors who made this year’s projects possible. SMS Receipted Donors July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012 (181 donors)

Anonymous (4) Pamela Allan Alumnae General Donations Manjit Bains Teresa Balser Henry Bannister Gail Bateman Richard Beil James Best Sharon Bleuler P. Chris Boucher Michael Briggs Zoe Broom Lynda J. Brown-Ganzert Christopher Buck Danielle Burton David Burton Gregor Campbell Pamela Campbell Howard Cannatella Neil Carfra Kathy Charleson Xian Cai Chen Yuban Chen Huai-Mei Cheng Ion Keong Cheong Ka Hey (Heidi) Cheung Ka Lim Cheung Chiung-Yi Chiang Ning-I (Kenny) Chin Joyce Clearihue Terri Cormier Vivien Corwin Bob Coulter Lyle Coulter Rachel Cun Roshan Danesh Laurie E. Darrah Richard De Zoysa David Deephouse Joyce De Witt-Van Oosten Jennifer Ding Michael Donald Peter G. Duncan Donna Dupas Debbie Dykes

Robert Eadie Ted Evans Janis Frew Huarong Fu Fengjuan Gao Nashinder Gill Patrick Giommi Elizabeth Gowan Sally Green Bonnie Hallett Brenda Hamilton Morgan Harker Jane Harrigan Graham Hawkins Megan Hedderick Louise Herlinveaux Anthony Hogan Hung-Chen Hsu Chen-Hua Hu Hou Kun Hu Kaiqiang Hu Wai Fan Hwu Richard Impett P. Greg James Sanghoon Jeong Guo Jiang Takaki Kajima Yi-Hung Kan Douglas Kelly Jason Kirby Sherrice Kirby Akiko Koga Naokazu Koga Elisabeth Langford Cory Laprade Margaret Leeuw Chung Wong Leung Zhiguang Li Lesley Lockie Barry Lund Chris Lyons Robert MacKenzie Dawn MacPherson Jeremy Mannall-Fretwell Pat Marsh Owen Matthews

Paul McLennan George McMeekin Gerald McQuade Annette Millar Hideki Mimura Cathy Mingo Tim Mitchell Shanda N. Mizel Shelley Mohr Daniel Munson Ian Murdock Wei Ni Youn Joo Oh Brad Olthof Sheila Page Sonya Pardell Gregory Parr Michael Patrick Nancy Pekter David Poore Gillian Radford Alina Reid Robert D. Reid Sean Rhynas Jillian Roberts Stephen Roberts Sharon Robertson Alexandra Robinson Grant Rogers Juan Manuel Rojas Jun Rong Dylan Rovere Christine R. Rushforth Richard Sawchuk Ron Schell Silvia Schoch Sarah Scully Debbie Secco Ray Semadeni Guy Shockey Gary Shumka Andre Smith Joan Smith Margaret Smith Colin Smyth Varinia Somosan SMS Spirit | 18

Christopher R. Spicer Sal Starzun Stephanie Steel Katherine Strachan Su Juan Sun Pat Tancock Richard Taylor Davinder Thandi The Crystal Singers Cathleen Thornicroft Scott Tinis Ye Tong Ann van der Linden, Inc Ted Vermeulen Marc Verrier Richard Vincent Tom Vincent Stuart Walton Mei Lin Wang Wenfang Wang Joyce Wheeler Audrey M. Williams Wai Ming Wong Fung-Ying Fanny Woo Carol Wootton George Wu Yao Xiao Caijun Xu Zhang Xu Zu-Ling Xu Peng Xian Yang Lu Yao Hsin-Mei Yen Young Hi Yoo Han Wen Zhang Fang Zhao Quanfu Zhao Qun Zhi Jin Zhong Jianbo Zhou Fan (Frank) Zhu Liang Zong

“I loved spring time at SMS when we would have house challenges in the field (Go Turgot Go!) ” – Captain Carmen Archer Captain Carmen Archer, SMS Class of 1992, on duty in Kabul

SMS Alumna Overseas:

Captain Carmen Archer writes from Kabul CAPTAIN CARMEN ARCHER is an SMS alumna currently serving in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a Logistician and Contracts Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces. After Archer ( Johnson) sent a note saying that she had to miss her SMS 20year reunion due to her current posting, the Victoria Times-Colonist published an article outlining Archer’s military history and the life she shares with her husband, also in the military, and their children. We at SMS were delighted to hear about Archer’s service and wanted to learn more about her recollections of SMS student life, how the school motto influences her life today, and how teachers and sister students helped her achieve her goals.

Afghan population. The main role of Canada in Afghanistan is to advise and mentor the ANA (Afghan National Army) so that when we leave in 2014, we are leaving behind a strong, capable military able to defend their country successfully. SMS: Do you have any downtime? CA: I am a manager/player on one of eight softball teams; three are Canadian, the rest American. I also participate in the ball hockey league, which I love -- but it leaves me with plenty of bruises! SMS: What is a favourite memory you have of your time at SMS?

SMS: What skills do you most enjoy using while you are working at your Kabul posting?

CA: I loved spring time at SMS when we would have house challenges in the field (Go Turgot Go!) as well as sports days, and you knew that the end of the school year was fast approaching.

CA: I am a details person; this is very important. You need to be extremely analytical and organized to do the job I do here.

SMS: Were you mindful of the school motto Servite in Caritate (Service With Love), when you attended SMS?

SMS: What Kabul neighbourhoods have you come to know?

CA: At the time I don’t think I ever really gave much thought to the school motto. Now as an adult with two girls of my own, I do reflect on

CA: Unfortunately, we do not leave the Camps very often so we are unable to meet many of the local

SMS Spirit | 19

the motto and how it applies to my life personally and professionally and how important it is to serve the community and the world at large. SMS: Who were your role models? CA: Jeanine Stannard was definitely my number-one role model at SMS. She was an excellent teacher and even better coach. She kept me on the straight and narrow, always encouraging and challenging me to do better and to be a better person. SMS: Which teachers and alumnae do you keep in touch with? CA: I keep in touch with Jeanine and also a few of the girls from different years. That is the beauty of technology and social media these days: no matter where you are in the world, you know what your friends are doing and how they are. SMS: If you could tell your 16-yearold self anything, what would it be? CA: I would tell my young self to always stand up for yourself and what you believe in, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Are you an SMS Alumna? Share your story with us! If you or an Alumna you know has a story to tell, contact the school at We look forward to hearing from you.

Sharing our Spirit: SMS Launches New website SMS launched a new website this fall. More than just a “pretty space,” this vibrant online environment is a powerful communication tool designed to share our programs, happenings and the stories that define us. Visit to see it for yourself!

ConneCt with Us SMS is the sum of our stories. Recent news stories are now featured prominently on our homepage; check back often to learn what’s new on campus, hear what our alumnae/ old girls are up to, and share in the experiences and accomplishments of our students. News items feature school stories, updates and announcements, including reflections from our Head of School, Cathy Thornicroft, in her new blog: the Head’s tales.

SHAre our Story Help us share our stories more broadly. You can easily share a link to news, events, or information on our website with your friends and followers using the green share button, found at the bottom of every page.

Find what you Seek We’ve got information just for you and we’ve put it all in one place. The SMS community pages provide specific information, links and resources of interest to different members of the SMS community, including students, parents, staff and alumnae/old girls. Parents, Students and Staff can login (using their existing credentials) to see additional events not visible publically. You can also subscribe to our iCal feed to ensure SMS events are added to your own calendar. Never have we been so easy to keep up with! Join our online community! Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay connected with all the goings-on at SMS; we’ll keep you informed with timely updates and share interesting news, information and resources related to the education, development and well-being of girls. PlAn with Us

leArn More There is much more to discover on the SMS website. Visit to look around and please let us know what you think. We look forward to sharing our stories and our passions with you.

When is the December holiday break? When do I write my exams? Is there a Pro-D Day I need to know about? Is my grand-daughter’s Spring Concert before Easter? You can find out all this and more in one place! Upcoming events are featured right on our homepage; follow this link to view a complete list of upcoming events or the full SMS calendar.


St. Margaret’s School | for girls

St. Margaret’s School St. Margaret’s School 1080 LucasAvenue Avenue 1080 Lucas Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8X 3P7 V8X 3P7 T 250.479.7171 T 250.479.7171

Indicia here The Spirit Magazine is a publication for the entire SMS community; our students, parents, staff, alumnae and friends.

SMS Spirit 2012 Fall  

The Spirit Magazine is a publication for the entire St. Margaret's School community; our students, parents, staff, alumnae, and friends.

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