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Magazine SPRING 2012




The York School

02 04 Pinewood Derby Lower School 08 The Student Council 10 Tanzania Service Trip Reflect 12 Students on the Trip 14 Tanzania Photo Project 18 India Service Trip Joy of Taking 20 The Part in International

32 Head Girl 34 The and Head Boy School 36 Middle Actors Present

22 Students Taking a Stand Profile 24 Alumni Alanna Silver, ’02 Q&A 26 Alumni with Robert Lee

Technology 44 Design, and Toys 46 Gap Year in Ghana Visit from 48 ACanadian Brass

Welcome from Head of School

Service Work

and Evan Silver


The York School Alumni Association Presents Matchmaker


Courthouse Art Project

Meet the Buddies

New Canadian Kid

38 Brainiacs Finale 40 Robotics Competition 42 Ain Leader Debating Debating 43 York Coach Wins Willis S. Mcleese Award


International Baccalaureate Schools of Ontario University Fair

52 Parent Volunteers Annual 54 YPA General Meeting

A coeducational, non-denominational International Baccalaureate World School for students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 Lower School campus (Junior Kindergarten – Grade 5) 1639 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 2W6 Upper School campus (Grades 6 – 12) 1320 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2 T 416.926.1325 F 416.926.9592 Our mission: To develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are engaged citizens of the world. York on Yonge Magazine is published by the Advancement Department for the families and friends of The York School. Head of School Conor Jones Marketing and Communications Officer Marika Motiwalla E-Communications Officer Kara Lysne-Paris Advancement Officer Pearl Goodman Advancement Assistant and Alumni Relations Sara Da Silva



Welcome to York on Yonge Magazine Focus on Leadership Welcome to the Spring 2012 edition of York on Yonge Magazine featuring a focus on leadership within our community. There are many sayings about leadership, some trite and others apt. The best leaders I have ever had the privilege to follow shared a few traits: they were other-centred rather than self-centred, they held strong convictions, they were passionate, they relied on their past experiences to guide them, and they were successful because they could communicate with diverse audiences. The best leaders are willing to step in and serve when the situation arises because of their past experiences. The best leaders are confident and capable, prepared to lead not innately because of who they are but because their experiences have prepared them to become leaders. The York School is a place where we expressly prepare our students for leadership. We do this in all aspects of our day, whether directly through student government, competitions or providing opportunities for our students to take risks, or tacitly by teaching what good leadership is through our faculty, support staff, alumni and parents’ examples of leadership. We are fortunate to have such great guides in our community. These stories, including the Lower School Student Council, our first-ever Pinewood Derby in the Middle School, or the life-changing moments our Upper School students experienced on their trip to Tanzania, illustrate some of the moments these future leaders will reflect on when the time comes for them to lead. I am proud of our students, our school and our community and feel confident in the future because of the experiences our future leaders are having daily at The York School. Please enjoy these stories and I hope they bring to life the amazing things that your children have accomplished. Thank you for reading this magazine and sharing it with others. Sincerely,

Conor Jones, Head of School



“Ready, set, race!”


Adam Pukier was certainly not pining for any more glory after he came out on top of the first Annual Pinewood Derby at The York School. His car was the Overall Champion in all the heats. And with chants of “Pukier all the way!” coming from his classmates in the stands, Adam rolled swiftly to victory. The first-ever Pinewood Derby was a success, not only for Adam, but for everyone who was a part of it. This innovative experience was orchestrated by the Grade 7 students led by Justin Medved, Director of Instructional Innovation and Jan Noestheden, MYP Design and Technology teacher. This event will be remembered for the exceptionally creative designs of the cars, the energy that filled the gym when each car tore down the aluminum track and the superior sportsmanship and camaraderie displayed by the students. It was all hands on deck as Mr. Jones manned the starting gate, kicking off every race with an enthusiastic

“Ready, set, race!” The Grade 5s eagerly cheered from the bleachers and weighed in for the People’s Choice Award for Best Design, and the Grade 7s watched in anticipation as the cars they built from scratch raced down the track. Students had roughly eight weeks to use the Design Cycle to create a car put together from a block of wood. On race day there were a total of 52 pinewood cars in four lanes, racing in 90-second heats. In the end, three trophies were given out: the People’s Choice Award (voted on by Grade 5s, 6s, 7s and 9s) went to Bryn Harvey-Raymond, the award for Best Design (as voted on by teachers) went to Pieternel Bax and finally, the Overall Champion went to Adam Pukier. Olivier Charest-Descomme was given Honourable Mention for his innovative design showcasing Toronto DJ Deadmaus and Paige Koritz won fastest Track Record with the fastest run down the course. “I can’t wait to see the designs the students come up with next year,” said Mr. Medved.



”It’s fun to be the representative for the class and come up with good ideas. I like the different age groups and giving advice to younger students.” —Carly Bongard, Grade 4 Being powerful and having fun is the mantra for the Lower School Student Council. This group of enthusiastic young leaders is made up of 20 students, with representatives from each grade in the Lower School. The students are led by Pat Jerred, Lower School Director of Curriculum and Anne Bell, Lower School teacher. “They are a very dedicated group of students and take their responsibilities very seriously,” Ms. Jerred said. The York School believes it is important that students learn to be leaders and speak up for what they believe in from a young age. Combined with the opportunity for students from different grades to work together, this benefits students and prepares them for leadership roles in their classrooms and as they move on to higher grades. One other important life lesson taught in the Lower School Student Council is to be responsible but to have fun while doing it. So far, students have accomplished both. They have held class meetings where they ask their peers for ideas and solicit concerns about the school; they have organized popular Spirit Days, Pajama Days and the Halloween Parade. And to top it all off, there will be a Talent Show near the end of the year. One of their proudest accomplishments can be seen in the main lobby of the school. They organized a “What Makes You Happy at York?” initiative, which is now displayed on the bulletin

board for all to see. Here, the students went to all the classes in the school and asked what each person’s favourite thing was and what they thought made York special. The students like talking to other students and being able to tell their stories. “It makes me happy that we were elected,” said Tarik Irshad, a student in Grade 3. Each student was elected by their classmates after writing and presenting a mini-speech about their goals as student council members. Classmates voted on which speeches they liked best. To make sure everything runs smoothly in the Student Council, each member signs an Essential Agreement which includes listening and taking responsibilities seriously. Ellie Martin, Grade 4, is excited to be part of the group and likes the way the Student Council makes her feel. “It makes me feel powerful and organized,” she says. The group’s organizational skills came in handy when they extended the House Points Challenge to the whole Lower School. Now, thanks to the Student Council, all items of students’ clothing at the Lower School are labelled respectively with the student’s name. The House with the most students who took part in the challenge won the most points. “The best thing is that there is a range of ages and they all work together,” said Ms. Jerred. We can look forward to seeing more of these young leaders in the years to come. Keep up the good work!



In March of 2012, 11 students and two teachers embarked on the journey of a lifetime to Tanzania. They spent time volunteering at the Amani Centre for Street Children, a home for street children in the village of Moshi. York School students spent time helping prepare food in the kitchen, assisting in Art, Music and English classes, as well as cleaning and organizing a storage room, unloading donations and painting water tanks. The physical work was rewarding, but so was spending time with the Amani kids. The second part of the trip experience included taking in African wildlife while on a camping safari. They travelled through the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Mto Wa Mbu village and Lake Manyara National Park.

The International Service Expedition to Tanzania is a unique opportunity for students to step into the world classroom and learn important lessons that may otherwise never be learned—to challenge world views, to experience greater international and cultural understanding, and acquire increased sensitivity to the needs and perspectives of people living in developing regions of the planet. The students were intelligent, giving and caring during their time at Amani. They gave selflessly—from cooking and cleaning to painting and playing. They were open-minded inquirers, asking good questions to learn about the culture and people of Tanzania. They were risk-takers, trekking across the world to experience something unfamiliar to their own lives.

STUDENTS REFLECT ON THE TRIP By Lauren Clarfield and Brandon Mitchell

”The Amani Centre for Street Children is a place we will never forget.” —Lauren and Brandon, Grade 10 students

On March 8, 11 daring York School students embarked on an adventure that we will never forget. As the plane landed there was a lot of excitement. After a total of 20 hours in the air and a 45-minute snugly packed dhalla dhalla ride, we were shocked to find ourselves out of the comfort of our own beds and in a developing country. Though a few of us suffered jet lag, we were eager to begin walking around the town of Moshi, Tanzania. The Amani Centre for Street Children is a place we will never forget. The language barrier seemed to have no effect on our ability to interact with the children. Within minutes of entering the building and playground, we found ourselves among some of the best soccer players we had ever seen. Our skills significantly paled in comparison. After they laughed at us falling, and we did the same, it wasn’t hard to realize that the sense of humour of children is universal. It seemed that soccer wasn’t the only thing they were incredible at. Their jump rope skills also took us aback. We even attempted to compete with them

at our school’s sport, Ultimate Frisbee, and found ourselves at a loss. We helped by unpacking donations, folding clothes, cataloguing books, cleaning out the storage room, helping to cook and clean dishes and painting water tanks. Our farming skills were even put to the test when we, both York and Amani kids, went to the local farm to plant maize. Leaving the Amani staff and children was something we all found challenging and we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on our time there and the children that we were fortunate enough to spend time with, play with and learn from. The safari was an incredible experience as well. We were able to witness every animal in Africa’s “big five,” as well as almost any African animal you could think of. We spent six nights in tents in the African wilderness. We were warned about animals during the night, and one morning found out that a lynx had hidden bones under four of the tents during the night. Being 10 feet away from an elephant shading itself under a tree and a lion eating a zebra was something only a few people in the world can say they have seen. It was an amazing experience to see firsthand Africa’s wilderness. The entire experience is something we will always remember.


TANZANIA PHOTO PROJECT By Christian Byrne, Grade 10

Christian Byrne, a Grade 10 student, saw this trip as an opportunity to explore his passion for photography. Please turn to the next pages to see his discoveries. Why Photography? In the summer of 2010 I got very sick. I wasn’t able to eat for a few days and had trouble talking. It was pretty boring sitting in my bed all day, so I started to look at cameras pretty casually on the internet. After a few days, I began to become more and more interested in the technical aspects having to do with aperture, shutter speed and other mechanisms. This encouraged me to

start saving up and finally I bought a used camera from an online photo forum and the interest just grew from there. The Photo Project I’ve known for a while that I wanted to be a conflict and economic instability photojournalist so I decided to use the Tanzania trip to investigate whether or not that really was what I want to do with my life. I decided to rent a lens which would allow me to really focus on portraits and landscape shots, instead of a long zoom lens for the safari we were doing. This lens allowed me to take lots of portraits of the people who lived there.


Calvin The most memorable moment for me as I took photos for this project was seeing a kid at the Children’s home. He really got my attention. His name was Calvin and he was one of the most hardcore street kids at Amani. We went out into the yard to play with the kids and Calvin was one of the first kids to come up to me. I found out that he lacked some social skills because he has been addicted to glue from a young age and has never gone to school. But when he came over to me he bent down and looked into the lens of my camera, I pressed the shutter button and he immediately wanted to see the picture. This is what I got. Although it isn’t my best picture from the whole trip and may be overexposed a touch, I believe it tells one of the best stories of the whole set.


The kids at Amani pass the time by doing acrobatics, and were eager to show off their skills to us. They would show us their backflips and handsprings. In between each jump they would wait for a reaction from us. I took this picture while a kid was looking at us after he had successfully completed a back handspring.


The kids were able to use the chalk we donated not only as learning supplies for the chalkboards in the classroom but also for their own decoration. They would draw different images in each other’s hair and on their skin, and were happy to show off their art to us.

04 Baraka One of the quieter kids at Amani, he was always happy to have his picture taken. He was very photogenic and while many people shied away from the camera, he stayed proud and posed for the camera, crossing his arms and looking straight into the lens.

05 Esa One of the ‘lifelong’ Amani kids, he was brought to the children’s home by his parents when he was very young. He has seen many of his friends come and go, yet has been stable and able to accept more structure in his life and appreciate what Amani has given to the street children of Tanzania. He was always eager to get a picture and I think this image really brings out the detail of his skin and does a great job at illustrating his story.

06 Rama One of the more social and vibrant kids at Amani. He certainly wasn’t camera-shy and under the tents behind the soccer field at Amani, he was keen for me to take pictures and video of him smiling and rapping. He was charismatic as can be and always eager to make friends with the kids from York. I shot this picture after he had rapped in Swahili and was ecstatic to have captured it on film.

I can truly say Tanzania was a life-changing experience. Upon my return, while reflecting on the experience, I realized that there were too many amazing moments to remember all of them. I think it was the first time I really was able to understand my place in the world, and just how lucky I am. After my experiences in Tanzania, I no longer take things at home for granted. I realized that constants in my life, such as school, food and shelter, are things that are not always available in other people’s lives. It really put my own situation into perspective for me. 17


By Jim Brickell, Upper School teacher

Fifteen York School students took part in volunteer work at Families for Children Orphanage (FCC) and Global Pathways School (GPS). They worked with babies, toddlers, little girls, little boys, big girls, big boys and children in special care. Other tasks included classroom assistance, computer assistance, librarian assistance, arts and crafts leadership, mural painting, distribution of donated goods, group sports and games leadership in and around the properties and general maintenance duties as directed. Students participating in the India Trip attended a number of sessions with the group, including a weekend

retreat, group training sessions, information sessions on FFC and GPS learning about what their roles at the orphanage and school would be. They also participated in Indian literature book talks, planning and making public presentations, researching life in South India, liaison with teachers in Lower and Middle school, fundraising, attending an Indian dinner in Toronto, obtaining vaccinations, and participation in a packing session. In addition to service work at our projects in India, students had an opportunity to visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Mahabalipuram, visit spice farms and markets in Kerala, and spend two days with IB students from Chinmaya International School.



Reflecting upon the three weeks my classmates and I spent in India, I am filled with so many happy, unforgettable and life-changing memories.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given to take part in such an amazing experience, and it is hard to describe the excitement that grew among our group over the months leading up to our departure. Through the applications, weekly meetings and almost daily e-mails, it seemed like an eternity before we would actually be walking in the streets of India. But at last on March 10, after a gruelling 27 hours in transit, the heat of the Indian night was finally upon us. While the meetings and intense planning that led up to our departure

prepared me for the work and service we were to do, I never anticipated the strength of connection that I would feel with the students, children and staff I worked with. It feels strange to be writing this reflection on my experience from the comfort of my bedroom, behind the screen of my own laptop and so far away from the children whom I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. I know that I am not alone in saying that through this trip I formed friendships and bonds with children whom I will never forget. Whether it was helping out in the special care unit

of FFC, teaching lessons and reading books within the Junior Kindergarten classrooms or carrying children as they climbed the monkey bars of the ‘Circus,’ I was constantly amazed by the people I met. Back in Toronto and almost three weeks since our return, I realize that I am forever changed by this experience. In travelling so far from my comforts, both geographically and mentally, I was forced into a world very foreign to my own. But by embracing the culture, people, sights, sounds—and most importantly, the smells —I could not have felt more at home.



Two Grade 5 students, took it upon themselves to hand-make 300 pins for everyone in the Lower School to wear on February 29, a very special day in which students, teachers and our whole community came together to take a stand against bullying. Each pin said “The York School—Pink T-shirt Day. Stand Up.” This message resonated with our whole community as our students came together to show their unity and fierce opposition to all of the kinds of bullying that can take place in schools. The school has made a concerted effort in our daily activities to focus on kindness first. Elissa Klein-Beiber, social worker, has been leading the way as students and teachers inculcate habits of appreciation and making friendships inside and outside the classroom. Each classroom has a paper clip chain that grows every time kindness is shown and noticed. This goes along with the initiative to have children learn how to make positive statements to show appreciation for their fellow classmates using the attitudes and the attributes of the Primary Years Programme. Although the Finding Kindness initiative is an ongoing source of pride for the Lower School, on February 29,

all the students came together to stand up to bullying and join the now nationwide movement of “Pink T-shirt Day.” This is an initiative that started at a Nova Scotia school when a Grade 9 boy wore a pink shirt to school and was teased. The following day, a group of boys wore pink T-shirts and handed them out to others to show solidarity and stand up for the bullied boy. The movement caught on. Pink T-shirt Day is all about antibullying, accepting everyone and teaching young people that they are great the way they are and no one should ever be bullied for being different. Each Lower School student has spent time in classrooms talking about the meaning of the day and deciding how to appropriately decorate T-shirts with anti-bullying slogans. The T-shirts symbolized a way to make their thoughts public. Some of the slogans were “Stand up! Help others!” “Don’t bully”, “Make a difference today” and “Friendship :)” The assembly showcased Lower School talent as the Grade 1 to 5s read poetry and a story, did a dance routine, acted out a skit, and the Glee Club did a special performance of the Taylor Swift song ‘Mean’. We are proud to support the Pink T-shirt movement and to stand up against bullying.




by Marika Motiwalla

Alanna Silver makes the elusive task of combining passion and talent seem easy. As a Remediation Specialist she uses her background in psychology and education to improve the skills of students aged 6 to 16. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, she went on to get a Masters in Child Study and Education with a teaching designation from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Alanna never wanted to be a classroom teacher and knew

two things: she liked getting to know people and working with children. Everything came together for this York School graduate from the class of 2002 during her Adaptive Instruction for Special Education course at OISE. Here, she listened to a talk on a “reading mastery” program and she thought “wow, this is so interesting.” She contacted the speaker, as well as the speaker’s boss, and found herself working at Angus Lloyd Associates shortly after that. Angus Lloyd Associates, at Yonge and St. Clair, is a place where teachers work with children who are a year or more behind their peers, often with

”There is a lot of trust in the students at York, which is so refreshing. The amount of attention I received was unbelievable.”—Alanna Silver

diagnosed disabilities and developmental disorders in core subject areas such as English, Math and Writing. The students have sessions here in addition to attending school. The teachers work towards a 90 percent accuracy rate and use a mastery model. This means that, until a student has mastered one skill, they do not move onto the next. “We make the students feel extremely safe and then we can move forward from there,” she said. The benefits of one-on-one teaching are considerable, according to Alanna. Angus Lloyd Associates help students who aren’t learning as they should in a classroom setting. They teach students at a pace they are comfortable with. Morale boosting and motivation play key roles in Alanna’s daily lessons. Some of these students have been told repeatedly that they are not at the same level as their peers, and she steps in to build them back up to where they need to be. Alanna’s understanding of psychology comes into play as she meets each challenge head on. By tailoring her lessons to each student, she is able to get the optimal results for every student. Whether she has to be calm and consoling or upbeat and bubbly, she develops an individual rapport with each student as he or she learns.

“It definitely works,” she says. Alanna was always drawn to small class sizes and one-on-one attention. She remembers truly excelling from the special attention of her teachers while working towards her International Baccalaureate Diploma. “There is a lot of trust in the students at York, which is so refreshing. The amount of attention I received was unbelievable,” she said. Alanna spent one day a week for a year volunteering in a classroom at York. She assisted in Julie Selley’s Grade 1 class and enjoyed the experience thoroughly. Now, Alanna is able to give oneon-one attention to all the students who come her way and bring them up to speed with their peer group. Alanna has been with Angus Lloyd for three years now, just recently adding assessment to her duties, using government-issued standardized testing to her portfolio. She is currently working individually with about 20 students and loves every minute of it. On finding the right job, as she has done, Alanna has this to say: “There are a lot of careers out there that you don’t know about. Don’t decide what you want to do before you’ve seen it in action. Find something that fits your skill set and that you love, and then move forward with that.”


ALUMNI Q&A WITH ROBERT LEE AND EVAN SILVER Robert Lee ’07 What have you been up to since York? After York I went to Queen’s University and got my degree in Chemical Engineering. I ran Engineering Orientation Week and I also got really involved in student government. Now I’m working at the Boston Consulting Group. What is your fondest memory of York? I definitely have a really positive memory of Challenge Week. Specifically, in Grade 9 when I went to the Yukon and we got to play hockey against a bunch of RCMP officers—that was a unique experience.

Why should other alumni get involved? The York Alumni Association is a way to maintain the community that we built at York. It’s all the fun stuff—making connections, getting back in the building and seeing people you recognize. When younger alumni are at university, the older ones can help them navigate the landscape and enter the job market more smoothly.

Evan Silver ’07 What have you been up to since York? I went to the University of Western Ontario and am just about to graduate with a dual degree—an Honours Business Administration degree and a Bachelor’s in History. During my time at UWO I played on intramural teams every semester, like when I was at York! And I also got involved in campus, municipal, provincial and federal politics. It has been a ton of fun!

What is your fondest memory of York? I have a few! I was really proud when I got my IB scores back; I had worked hard and doing well was an amazing feeling. I also remember winning a Basketball Championship and I loved getting to know students in higher grades. Why should other alumni get involved with the Alumni Association? Being a part of the the York Alumni Association is a chance for younger alumni to connect with older ones and talk about university experiences and entering the job market. It is a great way to share experiences, stories and advice.



Grade 10, 11 and 12 students met their match this March. The York School Alumni Association hosted a Matchmaker event that paired current students with York alumni who went to various universities in Canada and abroad. The event strengthened the connection between current students and alumni and also gave alumni a chance to return to the Upper School building and catch up with their classmates and meet some current students. The dorm room setting made for

a fun environment, where advice and stories could be shared about each alumnus’ university of choice. With a wide and varied list of universities our students attend, it was a rich exchange of information and proved useful to the current students who attended. Universities represented were the University of Western Ontario, McGill University, Queen’s University, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Duke and Laurier. Alumni are encouraged to keep in touch and contact the school with any updates on what they are doing and as always, we encourage all alumni to come back and visit!



A mural created by Lower School students as well as individual pieces of art from the Grade 3 Build It Up unit and the Grade 2 Boulders To Bits unit will hang in the Family Courthouse on the 9th floor at 393 University Avenue. During the month of May, Lower School students will be working together to produce this mural under the coordination of Vanessa Emer and Marjorie Willoughby, Lower School Art teachers.

They will be using acrylic paint, modelling clay and a variety of other materials to create a final mixed-media piece. The skills acquired this past year including carving and printmaking, sculpture and collage will all be incorporated in this collaboration. Special thanks to parents, Cathy Tempesta and Nico Paul, for giving us the opportunity to showcase our young artists in this venue. The students will be able to take a trip to the courthouse, meet the judges, and look at their artwork in its new home.


MEET THE BUDDIES The Day Visit Buddy Program, which started in 2009, is the perfect way for a prospective student to experience what it is like to be a York School student during the course of a regular day. The Admissions Department created the program so current students could personally welcome prospective students to York and show them the ropes before they made their decision about where to attend school. “Our buddies play an important role in the process because if a student is invited for a Day Visit, the buddy has a major impact on the impres-

sion the school makes from a social perspective,” said Andrea Mercer, Director of Admission. As our buddies have found out, the benefits of being a buddy are numerous, for themselves as well as for prospective students. “When people come to visit, you want to make them feel like they are part of the community. I always include them in group projects in class and introduce them to my friends and partners. I always want them to see how great York is,” said Emi-Lee Commisso, a Grade 8 student and buddy. Being a buddy gives current students an opportunity to make a new

friend and learn some life skills. It is their responsibility to master the art of small talk and be comfortable with someone they have just met, all while making the visiting student feel welcome and answering questions. Natasha Estey, Admission Officer, coordinates the Day Visit Buddy Program. Responsible, personable students with a range of personalities and interests are invited to be a buddy in the program and are trained for the role. Since we get a variety of applicants, the Admissions team is always eager to make the right match. “I met my best friend, Alex Wilson, because she was my buddy last year!” said an excited Shannon Scherer, a

Grade 6 student and buddy. The buddies’ hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed. The Admission team hosted a Buddy Appreciation Lunch, where each buddy received a Certificate of Appreciation and special recognition awards were given out. Buddies will also receive CAS hours for their service contribution to the school. Buddies take their role seriously and their pride in the school is sincere and compelling. “Visiting students come away with a strong sense of what York is all about and whether or not it is a community that they can see themselves in and our buddies have a lot to do with that,” explained Ms. Mercer. 33



Over the past school year, I have been lucky enough to help lead the student body and the House Council as Head Girl. I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity; as a result of this past year at school, I found myself taking more risks, growing as an individual, and spending more time with all the students at York. Going into my role as Head Girl, I expected to be challenged not only by the amount of planning and organization needed for events, but also by the requirement to “put myself out there.” I’m not an outgoing person by nature, so public speaking and being in the

spotlight were not easy for me. Getting up in front of the student body, leading assemblies, or dancing for House Council’s “York’s Got Talent” performance were only a few of the many activities I found nerve-wracking! However, the rewards of being on House Council and leading York students were many, and made the whole experience even more memorable for me. I am proud of what we accomplished as a team. House Council organized and carried out so many exciting house challenge assemblies for Upper School students, fundraisers and social events, and daytime challenges like finding the infamous “Ishkabibel” around the school. I feel that our biggest accomplishment

”I felt like we showed younger students how spirited this school can be.” —Russell Hanson, Head Boy 2011–2012

was engaging with so many of the students at York and hopefully making their school days more exciting and welcoming. I really think we added to York’s sense of community. Leading York’s House Council for the 2011–2012 school year has been so much fun, and such an amazing experience. Giving younger students people to look up to and have fun with at school every day is incomparable. I know I always looked up to the House Council when I was younger, and I hope that our team has been able to provide a similar experience for younger Yorkies. I will always look back on this past year at York with a smile, and I hope others will too! Hanna Grover, Head Girl 2011–2012

Being Head Boy has been a great learning experience for me. The only prior information I had was what former Head Boy, Jake Dancyger (2010–2011), had told me. What I was mostly expecting the role to be was keeping the House Council organized. But it turned out that planning meetings, assemblies and fundraising events were only a small part of the job and I learned that as the year went on. So much of it was talking to fellow students and showing how spirited the student body can be. This role far exceeded my expectations and I enjoyed every aspect of it.

One of the biggest accomplishments Hanna and I had was the Bring Your Game event at The York School in April. We teamed up with Greenwood College School and Branksome Hall to create a talent show, displaying each school’s talent. It was a very enjoyable night, where you got a chance to meet students from other high schools in Toronto. During my time as Head Boy I learned that teamwork is the most important aspect when it comes to group organization. Hanna and I needed to work as a team all the time and together we were able to bring the House Council closer. When everything is clicking and working really well, it is usually the result of great teamwork. I felt like we showed younger students how spirited this school can be. We tried to bring our enthusiasm to every assembly and be role models for the younger students. Student leadership is important because we develop skills that we will use later on in life and give younger students someone to look up to and look to as role models. Being a York School student and being a part of the Diploma program gives you insight into the real world. Students who aspire to be leaders in the real world should really try to achieve a student leadership position because you learn new skills and techniques that help you along the way. Russell Hanson, Head Boy 2011–2012 35


What are some of the challenges for a new immigrant in Canada? Our Middle School students delved into this question in their rendition of the New Canadian Kid, by Toronto playwright Dennis Foon, in March. These students brought the story of a new immigrant child in Canada alive through Foon’s inventive script. Issues

of racism and bullying were addressed in this play and our students engaged the audience by showing them the responsibilities that are involved in supporting everyone who is part of our truly multicultural society. The energy and enthusiasm from the actors was palpable and the Drama Room was filled with excitement during both performances. Directed by Alison Hunter Stewart, this play showcased our talented middle-schoolers and delivered a powerful message. Congratulations to everyone involved!



”It was amazing, and looked so cool and now I know where my memories go.” —Avery Moorhead, Grade 3

In February, students in Grade 3 got a firsthand look at what an Upper School biology class would be like. It was a special class with a visit from Upper School science teachers Rita Pak and Marie Aragona. But these two teachers were not the only surprise in store for the Grade 3s. They brought along with them a sheep’s brain, on which they demonstrated a dissection, much to the awe of the Grade 3s. After a lesson about the different sides of the brain and how they affect behav-

iour, as well as an exercise to test both sides of the students’ brains, the sheep’s brain was revealed. Students got to take a closer look and even touch the brain as Ms. Pak and Ms. Aragona dissected it and showed the young scientists the various parts and what connections there were to their own bodies. “It was amazing, and looked so cool and now I know where my memories go,” said Avery Moorhead, a student in Ms. Faba’s class. These students’ hippocampi will store the memory of this lesson for a long time!



They came. They searched. They rescued. Grade 6 students combined their brains and LEGO’s brawn at the Robotics Finale in February. The culminating competition was held in the gym and was an occasion for our students to showcase what they had been working on for the past three months. The challenges their robots and they faced were fourfold. Deliver a First Aid Kit without dropping it, avoid landmines, move landmines, and finally, transport humans. The students learned how to build and operate their robots using a program called NXT Programming, and LEGO. For most, making their robot move was their greatest accomplishment. “We were always figuring out what it was doing and trying to fix the problems,” said Bryann Davidson, Mari Bell and Saffi Schonberg.

The parents who watched the event were impressed by the dedication and perseverance of their children. “It was a challenge in planning, organizing and teamwork,” said Catherine McHugh, parent of Alex Hare. “They were so into it and it was great to see that so many subjects were involved in the process of this; as a result, they have become problem solvers,” added Greg Hare, Alex’s father. Each group was assessed on teamwork, design, construction, programming and overall success of each mission. “All the teams had an exciting afternoon and were able to showcase their skills in building, programming and designing their robots. We are looking to expand the program to Grade 7 next year,” said Urvi Shah, Technology Teaching and Learning Coordinator.


Harrison Solish William Lloyd Reuben King Jack McMaster


Harry Warren Jasper Dobbin Abrar Rahman Ben Adelberg



Kidus Negatu Makonnen Shane Thorsteinson Sebastian Eguiarte

Sydney Kohn Arielle Silverberg Veronica Long Yahya Saleh Liam Bushell William Bellamy


A LEADER IN DEBATING Congratulations to Robert Sniderman, a Grade 12 student, on his achievement at the World Individual Debate and Public Speaking Championship at Moreton Bay Boys College in Australia. Robert reached the finals (top 12) in both impromptu speaking, as well as debating. He then went on to the debate grand final (top 4), ultimately winning the third-place award in debating and placed 13th in the world overall. This tournament tested Robert’s skills and allowed him to engage competitors of a very high calibre which pushed him to work hard in all of his rounds. He was competing against some of the best student speakers from around the world. But, despite

the obvious competition between the contenders there was also camaraderie. “When I think back to that competition, the first thing to come to mind will be the people, not the prizes,” said Robert of the new friends he made. With his passion for and success in debating, it is safe to say Robert will continue to pursue his passion at university and out in the world. “Debating has become such a large part of my life now that not doing it would just seem odd,” he said. When asked what draws him into debating Robert has this to say: “It gives me an opportunity to argue! Kidding... mostly. What really draws me in about debating is how it forces you to take opposing sides of everything. It really helps me see two sides of any issue.”


WILLIS S. MCLEESE AWARD This spring Grace Nolan, a York School Debating Coach, was co-recipient of the Willis S. McLeese Award, through the Ontario Student Debating Union. The Willis S. McLeese Award is named for one of the most important benefactors of Canadian debating. The award is made available through the Canadian Student Debating Federation on nomination from OSDU and may be presented to any person for outstanding service to student debating in Ontario. Ms. Nolan has had a passion for teaching debating for many years. She began in high school, getting involved in traditional debating as well as Model United Nations and Ontario Model Parliament. Once in university she became a debate coach for high school students. Now she is an essential part of York’s Debate and Public Speaking Program and passes along her lessons learned from debating to our students.

Her top three pieces of advice for young debaters are: it is important that you criticize the idea and not the person so your argument is credible; the second is to stay calm and focus on improving after each debate rather than simply winning; and her final piece of advice to students is to use their time wisely. “They must be quick-witted, sharp and speak clearly,” she said. Robert Sniderman is a perfect example of these attributes. With Ms. Nolan’s coaching, Robert found himself at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in Brisbane, Australia (see facing page). “Debating has been a passion of mine for half of my life and I am pleasantly surprised about the award, but I would not be in the position I am if The York School did not have a vibrant and growing Debate and Public Speaking Program,” she said. On behalf of the entire York School community, congratulations to Ms. Nolan! 43


This year the Grade 8 Design and Technology class combined their creativity and spirit of giving. Using the new Design and Technology Lab, each student designed and built a customized wooden toy to send to the Families for Children Orphanage in India.

TOP: Danielle holding her work in progress—a wooden bead maze in the shape of a dog’s head.

TOP: Claire wanted to make an animal on wheels. Here she holds the first stage of her wooden zebra. LEFT:

Design and Technology teacher Jan Noestheden with student.


GAP YEAR IN GHANA Robbie Mingay, York School alumnus from the class of 2009, and Siwan Doyle, current Grade 12 student, have something in common. Both made the unconventional choice to spend a year after graduating from high school volunteering in Ghana. Latitude Global Volunteering is the organization they chose to volunteer with. Robbie, having completed his time in Ghana, has shared his stories with Siwan and given her lots of advice before she embarks on her journey.

“Robbie told me to say yes to all new experiences and not to be reluctant to try new things,” she said. He speaks from experience. From September 2009 to February 2010 Robbie was immersed in Ghanaian culture while he taught English to middle-school aged students at Nazareth School outside the port city of Takoradi. When he wasn’t teaching he was playing football with the boarding students. He also took on a project to paint the lower school’s classroom with some of his new friends. “The most important thing to do


Robbie Mingay, ’09 (far right), in Ghana.

is to always remain open to new experiences. Going to any new place there are going to be experiences and ideas you’ve never encountered before and it’s important to be receptive,” he said. Now a student at McGill University, Robbie looks back with fondness on his time in a country that he describes as ‘beautiful, hot and dusty’. “I don’t think there are friendlier people on the planet than Ghanaians. I think I learned something every day and all those different little lessons and experiences had a massive cumulative effect by the time I had to leave,” he said. Siwan too has decided to spend her six months in Ghana in a village rather than in the capital city of Accra. She has not been assigned a specific village yet but she knows that she will be teaching students between the ages of three and 18. Since her passion is music she will be teaching Music, along with English and Math. Siwan plays the

harp, piano and various percussion instruments. After she has completed her gap year, she will be attending the University of Cardiff to pursue a degree in music. Robbie believes that his time in Ghana taught him a great deal about being responsible for his health, safety and general well-being in a foreign country and has contributed to his sense of self and independence. As Siwan prepares for the trip of a lifetime, Robbie thinks she should keep this in mind: “You have to remember that you came to do something good and that you believe in what you’re doing. You may not be able to end poverty but you can help a kid pass his English exam and get a high school diploma and that’s pretty great.” We thank Robbie for sharing his story about his gap year in Ghana and we wish Siwan the best of luck in her endeavour!



On April 12 select Grade 9 to 12 music students had the privilege of viewing an intimate performance and taking part in one-on-one workshops with world-renowned quintet, Canadian Brass. Canadian Brass consists of current York School parent Chuck Daellenbach on tuba, Achilles Liarmakopoulos on trombone, Eric Reed on horn and Brandon Ridenour and Christopher Coletti on trumpet. Founded in 1970 by Gene Watts and Daellenbach, Canadian Brass has reached international acclaim. Their repertoire consists of brass standards, as well as arrangements created especially for them by critically acclaimed composers such as Michael Kamen and Luther Henderson. With a discography of more than 100 albums, record sales surpassing 2 million and numerous hits on the Billboard Classical Chart, Canadian Brass are truly a tour de force. The importance of educating the next generation of musicians and inspiring young artists is very important to each band member. They are currently Artist in Residence at the University of Toronto, and have created a brass summer course at the Eastman School of Music. They are also ambassadors and

exclusive artists for Conn-Selmer Musical Instruments and partners with El Sistema, an acclaimed global music education program in Venezuela. Everyone who had the pleasure of seeing them perform felt privileged and inspired. “Having Canadian Brass at our school was a phenomenal educational experience for our music students and staff,” said Fabio Biagiarelli, music teacher. Following the concert, Grade 9 and 10 brass music students had the opportunity to practice and hone their craft in four individual workshops led by members of Canadian Brass: tuba, trombone, horn and trumpet. “The Canadian Brass performance was incredible. As a saxophone player, it was so amazing to see how the five of them were able to blend their sounds, and showcase their ability,” said Robert Sniderman, a Grade 12 student. This educational experience was made possible through the Visiting Artists Program, a new program that creates opportunities for professional artists to come into the classroom and mentor students. Thank you to our Annual Fund donors for making opportunities like this possible.


INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE SCHOOLS OF ONTARIO UNIVERSITY FAIR The York School was the host of the first national university fair targeting International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students in IB year one exclusively. Twenty-six universities from across Canada came prepared to speak about their programs and entry requirements directly to the IB students. This intimate experience proved to be an effective forum in which to speak of the virtues of the IB Diploma Program and encourage universities to accept more IB students. Approximately 1,100 students from 26 independent and public IB schools in Ontario attended. IB teachers, counsellors and coordinators were appreciative of the opportunity to help their students prepare for their post-secondary options and each student took away valuable information. The York School was the perfect venue as it is centrally located, intimate and welcoming. The gym was bustling with excitement and information. This fair will be presented as a successful model with other IB regional organizations at the IB Americas Conference in Mexico City this summer.



Over the course of the school year, parent volunteers have helped create amazing experiences for our students. Thank you to all of the parents who volunteered their time and efforts this school year!

Christie Acker Joni Adelberg Fiona Ali Roseann Andreou Mary Ellen Aronoff Naomi Azrieli Jodi Bager Allan Barish Marielle Bax Susan Bedford Sara Bellamy Mercedes Benayon Barbi Benjamin-Levitt Ilena Borinsky Kathryn Bowen Patrick Bowman Ann Bradt Robert Bradt Dafna Carr Dan Carr Philip Chown Lynn Clarfield Andrea Cohen-Solish Suzanne Cohon Heather Conolly Denise Cooper Laurel-Ann Baker Corneli Mary Costakos Michael Costakos Robin Cruickshank Dimitra Davidson Nettie Dea Amanda Dermer Amanda Dickson Suzanne Dingwall Williams

Pheneke Dinklo Kelly Dobbin Dolores Eguiarte Denise Ellis Kim Emerson Thorsteinson Deanne Farrar Ann Feitelberg Joanne Fox Chris Fraser Stephanie Galloway Trixia Gener Leslie Giller Ann Glazier Rothwell Carole Gliklich Laurel Goeke Mar Gonzalez Gayle Greenbaum Renita Greener Francesca Guolo Jane Gutcher Cathy Hampson Caroline Heick Barbara Henders Susan Hummel Erin Iles Inji Irshad Nicole Irwin Pamela Isaak Teresa Johnson Kosara Jovanovic Michael Katz Skye Katz Tracy Kay Meg Kettlitz Nargess Khosrowshahi

Perri Kirshenblatt Victoria Kondo Nancy Koritz Graydon Lau Joannah Lawson Linda Lazzam Amy Lengyel Natalie Lippey Kerstin Lueck Caro Macdonald Glenn Mackintosh Jennifer Mackintosh Alessandra Magliano Mary Marcuzzi Mary Martin Jody Mason Liza Mauer Cristian Medeleanu Allison Menkes Hailey Meslin Rebecca Meyer Elizabeth Miketinac Christy Moorhead Kathrin Murmann Nancy Nash Grace Neal Alison Norman Karel O’Brien Linda O’Leary Christina Paap Leslie Pace Edita Page Graeme Page Nico Paul Martha Pedersen

Robyn Perlmutar Dawn Perlmutter Jodi Peterson-Cooper Linda Rapp Sandra Rotholc Valerie Santoro Cristina Sava Daniel Schonberg Maryann Seefuss Maureen Shade Alison Sharma Lili Shalev Shawn Andrew Sheiner Jeanine Sheridan Samantha Sherkin Ariane Siegel Maureen Simpson Franci Sniderman Mary Ann Stallings Michael Storfer Robin Storfer Laura Thomas Liane Thomas-Hicks Liza Thomson Daniela Tixi Harshi Vashisht Katie Walmsley Claire Warren Karen Weinstein Arlene Williams Keddy Williams Andrea Wood Patricia Wood Grace Yuin Liu


The YPA is your parents’association! The YPA is a group of parent volunteers dedicated to fostering a strong community spirit among parents and students through the sponsorship and support of a number of school programs and projects. The YPA Executive will be elected on May 31 at the Annual General Meeting. All parents are encouraged to attend.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION For more information, please visit the website at Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. 1320 Yonge Street, Toronto Upper School Drama Room (3rd Floor)

York on Yonge - Spring 2012  

York on Yonge Magazine

York on Yonge - Spring 2012  

York on Yonge Magazine