Head Lines: June 2018

Standing in Gratitude

As the year comes to a close, I stand in gratitude for many things. It turns out, that being grateful requires a couple of steps. I thought I’d share these with you.

Step 1: Acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we are open and we say yes to life. We not only recognize that life is good, but that it also has richness, texture, and detail.

Step 2: Gratitude is recognizing that some of the sources of goodness lie outside the self. The object of gratitude is outwardly directed to those who are responsible for it.

This two-step process helps us recognize everything and everyone that makes us who we are in our best moments. Which leads me to reflect on my deep gratitude for our entire York House community and for the resilience and optimism our community has displayed this past year.

Our incredible Yorkies have once again risen to the occasion by putting forth their best efforts on a daily basis. They have worked hard both in and outside of class, on the court, on stage and in the community. They have also found time to have fun. Whether it was at the Physics trip to Playland or on Grad Prank day, the Yorkie spirit was in full force. Our grads really outdid themselves with some pretty clever pranks on grad prank day. When the “For Sale: $1” sign was put up in front of the school, our first purchase offer came via email from Dianne Little, the Head of School from Little Flower Academy across the street. Needless to say, she jumped at the very affordable opportunity to expand her school campus…but I readily declined the offer. Thanks, Grads! I am grateful for your outstanding accomplishments this year and for your great sense of humour and feisty Yorkie spirit. Speaking of Yorkie spirit, our Grade 1 Yorkies became instant superstars when they presented Ms. Ninan’s version of “York House Girl” at both Junior and Senior School assemblies and at our parent volunteer recognition event in June. Our Grade 1 moms even came up with their very own clever version of the song, “York House Mom” and performed it for us at the end of the year. The Grade 1 students squealed with excitement to see and hear their moms perform.

Without a doubt, I stand in gratitude for our outstanding faculty and staff who on a consistent basis demonstrate their professionalism, care and dedication to the development and success of our Yorkies. Beyond the work they do in the classroom, our teachers open minds and touch their students’ lives. I want to thank them for their tireless devotion and I know they will be grateful for a well-deserved summer holiday.

To our alumnae, I am grateful for the inspiration you provide to all future generations of Yorkies. We are in awe of the difference you are making in the lives of so many as was displayed in our 85 years special edition of the York Rose. Our York House alumnae form such a strong network of Yorkies whose close bonds last a lifetime. This was particularly evident and heartwarming at Sherry Taylor’s celebration of life held at the school on May 5th. I look forward to getting to know our alumnae even more in the years to come.

I am also very appreciative for our caring parent community whose generosity knows no bounds. As I reflected on the expression of gratitude, a movie created by a very talented grade 10 student, Tiffany, came to mind. As I watched Tiffany’s movie, I wondered why I was so touched. Upon reflecting, I realized that this movie reminds us that we are part of something bigger than we can imagine. This beautiful montage of over 8000 still images, opened my heart to the fact that nature and the universe reminds us that, much like our York House community, we are one. Another reason I loved this video is that I know that a truly devoted father spent several days camping in the Yukon with his daughter so she could capture many of these images. This video reminded me of the gratitude I have for our dedicated parent community who on a daily basis not only give so much to their children, but also to our York House community.

Finally, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your support in my transition into the official position of Head of School. I am thrilled to be part of such a vibrant and caring community and I look forward to an exciting new year come September. Until then, I wish you all a wonderful summer break with your family and friends. Please ensure that you stay hydrated so this too does not happen to you! Wherever your vacation takes you, may it be filled with love and laughter. Bring on the sunshine, the beach, and the BBQ’s!

Gratefully yours,






Category: Head Lines
Tags: ,

Fashion Label CRAZYYABAI Hits Vancouver Fashion Week

It is not unusual to hear stories of remarkable accomplishments by Yorkies. But what is sometimes surprising is that they appear in a way that is a bit unexpected and in someone so young.

Ming, who will be entering Grade 12 next year, has a quiet and humble way about her. But don’t be fooled by her unassuming nature. This spring, this York House student, who is already quite well known for her painting and drawing, was invited to present her fashion-forward label, CRAZYYABAI, at Vancouver Fashion Week.  

People that are truly passionate about something often say that they knew at a very young age. A YHS student since Kindergarten, Ming remembers having an interest in fashion from the age of five. But what is truly remarkable is that she didn’t begin to act on it until just last year, and this is where the story gets really interesting.

Following her mother’s advice, she focused on fine arts. Her mom already recognized her creative talent, but she encouraged Ming to build her foundation skills first. Years later, when she began to get a little bored with painting and drawing, she started personalizing her own clothing (not her uniform of course) in small ways at first.

Watching her mother, a seamstress herself, create clothing eventually inspired Ming to try it herself. Only a year ago, she started with a basic course, and she would practise every chance she got. She started with something simple – a hoodie. She stenciled the pattern, played with the fabric, and sometimes it took her 16 hours just to make one hoodie as she made mistakes along the way.

Last year, Grade 10 for Ming, offered her more time and if she didn’t have homework she would sometimes spend up to eight hours just creating and sewing. The academic commitment in Grade 11 this made that a little more challenging.

It all started with the Fine Arts class she has been taking since she was five on Granville Island. One of her pieces was selected to be featured in an exhibit downtown and at the show opening, she met someone who not only liked her painting but whose interest was piqued by what she was wearing. Ming began sharing her passion for fashion design. And as things sometimes unfold, this person knew the director of Vancouver Fashion Week. Two weeks later Ming had a meeting set with the Director. At her mother’s encouragement, she brought along some of her clothing.

The Director was so impressed with both the uniqueness and maturity of the designs that she invited Ming to present eight outfits for Vancouver Fashion Week and Vancouver Kids Fashion Week in the New Designer category.

With only two months to prepare eight complete outfits (each outfit required four garments each for a total of 32 pieces) during Term 2 (the hardest term in Ming’s opinion), the pressure was on. But with the help of her mom and her friend Sunita, who she used as her fitting model, Ming went to work.

Reflecting back, Ming says that her biggest learning was probably in the whole process. The outfits changed completely from start to finish. She began sketching but when it came time to assemble the outfits she had to be adaptable. Sometimes materials would be unavailable or what looked good on paper didn’t seem to work in reality. During the winter break, her mother and her went to Seoul, Korea on what was meant to be a holiday, but they soon happily discovered that Seoul has a DIY culture that makes it a mecca for finding interesting materials and accessories.

As Vancouver Fashion Week approached, she was then introduced to all that it takes to put a show together. It is not just about the clothing! She had five assistants assigned to her in the days leading up to the show.

One week before the show, she had to fit the models and more than half the clothing didn’t fit properly because she wasn’t given accurate measurements – some measurements were as far out as 10 inches, which changed the entire look of each piece.

She had to collaborate with the show DJ to create a playlist of uncopyrighted music, which was a challenge in itself. For the last four days, she spent her time making accessories to accompany each outfit including chokers and earrings. By the end of those days, her fingers were covered in band-aids, but she would just keep going. She also had to collaborate eight separate looks with the hairdressers and make-up artists, which were hard to narrow down.

In spite of the enormous pressure, what Ming struggled most with was consistency. She was trying to bring together a complete look with consistent lines, but the fact that she is so young made her feel that this was quite a challenge to achieve. She had the maturity to know that it is hard to keep the lines consistent throughout the collection when her own identity is still evolving. Often she felt frustrated and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but her mom helped keep her focused.

On the day of the show, there was a scheduled rehearsal in the morning, complete with the choreography, and somehow she was quite relaxed. But by show time there were 120 people backstage, with show assistants and choreographers all running around with headsets, models and six assistants that were there to help her get the models dressed, and photographers taking photos. By then, the realization hit that this was actually happening. Her collection was now on the runway and she was nudged onto the stage where she was just so thankful that it was done. She had accomplished what she set out to do. But only moments after her collection was revealed, the show coordinator grabbed her and suddenly there were about 20 media people surrounding her and clamoring for her attention.

After the show, she simply went for bubble tea and then home to bed where she was probably more tired than she had ever been in her life. But the story doesn’t end there. A few days after Vancouver Fashion Week, she received an email from the Director of Paris/London Fashion Week and they offered her her own exclusive fashion show. Not as a young designer, not as a new designer, but just as a designer in her own right.

She has already started sketching and it looks like she will be working on her collection for much of the summer. It will be exciting to see this next collection from CRAZYYABAI and what will come next for this young fashion designer in our midst!

Category: Senior School
Tags: , ,