Celebrating Founders’ Day and Our Golden Alumnae

Senior choral ensemble, Ragazza singing the old hymn, Unto the Hills and Blue Skies at the Golden Alumnae Luncheon.

On Founders’ Day, Friday, September 27, alumnae from 1950-1969 were welcomed back to school by student executives. The day began with a tour of the 3rd floor Alumnae Art & Photo Gallery including a stunning exhibit by wildlife photographer, Taylor Green ’10, and a new Museum & Archives displays of sports and drama at York House.

A new archival photo collage, “The Early Years”, celebrating our Founders now graces the old Evans House mantlepiece, in the Parents’ Association Atrium where alumnae gathered for tours.
It’s always fun to find alumnae names on the Honour Roll Board.

Highlights of the Golden Alumnae luncheon included the celebration of reunions and the presentation of the YHS Alumnae Association Lifetime Achiever Award. To mark the special occasion of their 60th reunion, Mary Jean (Cooke) Otway-Ruthven ’59 wore her full YHS uniform. Both class reps, Mary Jean and Valerie (Clark) Roddick ‘59 shared their gratitude for the lovely luncheon and a most memorable reunion, which was very much appreciated by all at their table.

Mary Jean (Cooke) Otway-Ruthven ’59 in her full YHS uniform with Priscilla Clark, Associate Director of Alumnae Relations.
Members of the classes of 1969 and 1959 with fellow Yorkies by the Alumnae Class Photo Gallery.

The Class of 1969 celebrated their 50th reunion last summer. Those from the Class of 1969 who were also able to attend the Golden Luncheon, really enjoyed staying on for the Founders’ assembly. Class rep Natalie Clarke ’69 reported, “We were glad to see the York House values still maintained and to observe the dedication of all the staff and enthusiasm of the girls.”

Grade 3 presenting a most lively, I’m a York House Girl!
Shelley (Bowell) O’Callaghan ’66, 2019 Lifetime Achiever.

Shelley (Bowell) O’Callaghan ’66 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the YHS Alumnae Association at the luncheon, where she was joined by members of her family and classmates. Shelley is an author, passionate volunteer, and advocate for social justice, who has had 30 years experience as a lawyer and recognized as one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers.

She inspired all with the sharing of her life’s journey, especially the creation of a charity, Friends for Zambia Twitti School Project, to raise money for the construction of a school for 450 students. Shelley continues to visit the school every year, which now has a sponsorship program to enable disadvantaged students to attend the school. Click here for Shelley’s biography.

L-R Shelley (Bowell) O’Callaghan ’66, Lifetime Achiever 2019; Julie Rousseau, Head of School; Diana (Cliff) Maughan ’70, Past Board Chair; Cindy Charkow ’66; Julie (Samis) Parker ’66; Hilary Johnston ’66; Susan (Leishman) Colquhoun ’66; Molly O’Callaghan and Michael O’Callaghan.
Junior Head Girl, Kate and Vice Head Girl, Hannah.


Before the luncheon was over, the Golden Alumnae were warmly welcomed by the Senior School Head girl, Olivia, and both the Junior School Head girl, Kate and Vice Head, Hannah, shared their thoughts on the Founders’ Day theme, “Finding Your True North.”

L-R Olivia, Head Girl; Joanne Lee-Young ’90, Past President, Alumnae Association; Derek Francis, husband of beloved teacher, the late Joanne Francis; Bill Sexsmith, Past Board Chair; Pat Sexsmith, Past Parent’s Association President; Nik Williams-Walshe, Director of Advancement; Nancy Gibson ’67, Past YHS Foundation Trustee; Barbara (Bentley) Hislop ’72, Past YHS Foundation Chair; and Leslie Cliff, Past YHS Foundation Trustee.

The luncheon ended after the most anticipated moment when the youngest Junior school students visit the Golden Alumnae and bring Yorkie chocolates for everyone.

Team of Junior students ready to deliver Yorkie Chocolates.
Junior students meeting the Golden Alumnae.

The luncheon was followed by the annual Founders’ assembly. Highlights included the presentation of YHS Alumnae pins to the Grade 12 grads, and the presentation of two YHS Foundation Awards.

The Caroline Anne Sexsmith Trausch award was presented to Jacqueline, Class of 2020 (center) with parents of Caroline, Bill Sexsmith, Past YHS Board Chair and Pat Sexsmith, Past Parent’s Association President.
The Katherine Manders Award was presented to Akash, Class of 2020, by Stevie Mitchell ’61, YHS Foundation Chair.

YHS Alumnae pins were presented to Grade 12 by the YHS Alumnae Association President and their alumnae sisters, mothers or grandmothers, a most cherished moment for Yorkie families.

Talia received her pin from her sisters, Eliana Horvath ’13, Shayna Horvath ’16 and her mother, Tamara Horvath ’87.
Sophia received her pin from her sister Sydney (Roberts) Socias ’04 and her mother Lisa Greczmiel ’82.
Golnar Khosrowshahi ’89, 2019 Alumnae Special Achiever.

The 2019 Alumnae Association Special Achiever Award was presented to Golnar Khosrowshahi ’89, Founder and CEO of Reservoir, a music publishing company. Golnar was named one of Billboard’s Most Powerful Female Executives and a Billboard Indie Power Player for 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, Reservoir was awarded Publisher of the Year at Music Business Worldwide, the A&R Awards in 2017. As she was not able to attend, a video of Golnar’s speech was screened during assembly. Click here to view the video.

Grade 4 with their music teacher Ellie Jung.

Grade 4’s lively rendition of the York House March and the singing of the school song with the whole school brought back many memories. Alumnae also found time to explore the exhibits from past decades in the YHS Museum & Archives and enjoyed the Class Reunion Photo Boards.

Golden Alumnae chat with the Archivist and Curator, Julie Grundvig.

We look forward to welcoming our Golden Alumnae back to next year’s Founders’ Day.

YHS Presents Long Service Awards

York House School would not be the amazing place it is without the hard work and dedication of our outstanding faculty and staff. This year, together with students at assembly, we were delighted to recognize 15 individuals in the Junior School and Senior School for their years of service at York House School.


Kathy Kealey, Director of Junior School (19 years):
Kathy Kealey has worn many hats in addition to her role as Director of Junior School. For many years, Kathy held a dual role as Director of Junior School and Assistant Head of School before coming over to the Senior School as Deputy Head and returning as the Director of Junior School and Deputy Head this year. In each of these roles, she has always been recognized as a caring community builder with a great love of the school as well as students, faculty, and staff. Her tireless service to our community, for the past 19 years, has been outstanding and commendable.

Wendy Shore, Grade 3 Teacher (19 years):
Over the past 19 years at York House School, Wendy Shore has made her classroom a magical place of learning where the individual needs of each student are met. Whether it is through their artwork that is displayed or through their writing of stories, Wendy encourages each of her students to explore their creativity and to make their learning visible. Her students have also benefited from Wendy’s clever sense of humour. For many years, Wendy has shared her creative energy with students beyond the classroom as a co-sponsor of the Art Club.

Madeleine Abbott, Grade 4 Teacher (18 years):
Madeleine Abbott has been teaching at York House School for 18 years. During that time not only has she made learning so joyful and engaging for all her students, she has also given so much to our community through her coaching of the Tigers Volleyball, Cross Country and Track & Field and even as a very enthusiastic cheerleader on the sidelines in her Tigers costume!

Lela Ling, Science Teacher (18 years):
Lela Ling has been with York House School for the past 18 years. Lela has been instrumental in creating a truly excellent science program in the Junior School and for sparking the curiosity and engagement of so many young Yorkie Scientists. Outside of the classroom, Lela has been a very dedicated coach to our Tigers as a Cross-country and Track & Field coach.

Brent Jackson, Athletics Coordinator (18 years):
Brent Jackson has done a tremendous job over the past 18 years coordinating so many activities for our students. Not only has he been an outstanding PE teacher, he has also put his organizational talents to great use by helping to organize the ISEA Cross-country and Track & Field events over the years. A voice of support and encouragement for our students, he has coached many of our Tigers in both the Junior School and Senior School.

Susan Sobieski, Junior School Counsellor  (18 years):
Susan Sobieski is someone who has provided tremendous support and comfort not only to students and their parents, but has also been such a great resource for her colleagues. In the 18 years that she has been a counsellor in our Junior School, she has been responsible for introducing many new programs to the school that support our students and their well being such as Second Step and Mindfulness. In addition, Ms. Sobieski has also encouraged our students to tap into their inner artist in Art Club.

(L-R) Neil Menzies, Board Chair; Clint Robertson, Fine Arts Teacher; Marianne Chang, Math Teacher; Tanya Boteju, English Teacher; Pat Lewis, Accountant; Alison Waterhouse, Science Teacher; Zosia Dorcey, Social Studies Teacher; Mong Xuan Ha, Director of Finance; Priscilla Clark, Associate Director, Alumnae Relations; Myriam Le May, French Teacher; and Julie Rousseau, Head of School.


Marianne Chang, Math Teacher (21 years):
Marianne Chang has been with York House School for 21 years and in that time, has had tremendous impact on her students’ learning by creating an engaging classroom environment and fostering love of math in her students. In fact, she introduced the AP BC Calculus course to YHS. More recently, she was instrumental in designing and teaching an AP Statistics course together with Saint George’s and Crofton House School. She has also made many contributions outside of the classroom as a cross country coach, as a chaperone on Outdoor Education and art trips, as well as teacher sponsor for the Grad Dinner Dance. Marianne cares deeply for her students’ success and we are truly grateful for all her hard work and contributions to our students’ learning.

Myriam LeMay, French Teacher (19 years):
Marianne LeMay has dedicated incredible time and energy to the ongoing development of French as part of our Modern Languages Program at YHS. Before we introduced the AIM program, she also taught in the Junior School where she supported the development of our bilingual program. In her aim to provide rich language and cultural experiences in French over the years she has led many trips to both France as well as more recently to Quebec. Un gros merci pour votre passion Mme Lemay!

Mong Xuan Ha, Director of Finance (18 years):
Mong Xuan Ha is someone who continually makes sure that our school is financially stable and runs smoothly. Mong Xuan has been overseeing the many responsibilities of our finance department for 18 years – making sure that our bills are paid, budgets are balanced, and that our endowment for scholarships continues to grow. In addition to the work that she does to support everyone in the school, she also works to support the financial operations of our Board, the Parents’ Association, the Alumnae Association, and the YHS Foundation. She has a deep devotion for the school and her colleagues and she is highly skilled at what she does. We are very thankful for her many years of service.

Alison Waterhouse, Science Teacher  (18 years):
Alison  Waterhouse, an alum from the Class of 1991, has been sparking her students passion for science for the past 18 years. Her passion for science and her devotion to her student’s success is evident. Alison is not only dedicated to her students’ growth she has also been a great mentor to her colleagues. She has been incredibly supportive of both her colleagues and the science department and her knowledge, skills, and experience are truly invaluable. She has also been a dedicated Class President Teacher Sponsor where she has helped our grads plan the Grad Banquet, Grad Sleepover, and various other Grad fundraising events.

Clint Robertson, Fine Arts Teacher (17 years):
Mr. Rob, as he is affectionately known, has done so much to support the development of our many young artists at YHS over the past 17 years including working with students on their portfolios and ensuring that student work is beautifully displayed throughout the school. For several years he has run Art Week at the school in cooperation with other ISABC schools, he has been the district coordinator for Fine Arts, led art trips to New York and participated in many Outdoor Education activities. Thank you, Mr. Rob, for your passion for the arts and for helping our Yorkies develop their beautiful skills of creative self-expression.

Pat Lewis, Accountant (17 years):
For the past 17 years, Pat Lewis, an integral member of the finance department, has helped student, staff, and parents with anything and everything related to ensuring that invoices are processed and bills are paid. Her interest in learning Spanish led her to attend Spanish classes with our senior students and also travel on a service trip to support Project Somos in Guatemala. We thank you, Pat, for your love of the school and your dedication to your work for the past 17 years.

Tanya Boteju, English Teacher (15 years):
Tanya Boteju started at YHS as a TOC almost 18 years ago and has been a full-time teacher at the school for 15 years now. In addition to teaching creative writing to our senior students, Tanya has fostered our students’ capacity for leadership as a teacher sponsor of our student executive and student government. As well, as a strong teacher ally, she has sponsored our GSA club for many years ensuring that our school is a safe, caring and respectful place for all students. Many years ago, she started the recitation competition, the Cat’s Meow, and ran our public speaking club. At one point, she coordinated an International Debating Tournament at YHS which was hugely successful. She also leads our Teacher Advisor Committee. With all that she does, she somehow found time to write her own book, Kings, Queens, and In-betweens. Thank you, Tanya, for developing in your students a true love for creative writing.

Priscilla Clark, Associate Director Alumnae Relations (15 years):
For the past 15 years, Ms. Clark has worked closely with our alumnae from the classes of 1989 and above to ensure that they maintain their close connection to the school. Each year she helps to organize key events that create lasting connections for our alumnae community such as Founders’ Day, Alumnae Day, and our Golden Alumnae Luncheon. She was instrumental in creating our Museum & Archives and also supports the work of our YHS Legacy Society which is celebrating its 20th year this year. Priscilla is an incredibly strong advocate of our school and her tireless efforts helps our alumnae stay connected to the school that they love.

Zosia Dorcey, Social Studies Teacher (15 years):
Zosia Dorcey, an alum from the Class of 1993, joined York House School 15 years ago as a Resource Teacher. Later she began to teach Social Studies to our senior students and developed the current ethics course. Zosia’s passion and love for her students is evident as she cares deeply for their success both in and out of school. Zosia is also deeply appreciated by her colleagues. She has participated in the development of amazing learning opportunities and projects and her passion for her students’ learning has led her to create many experiential learning opportunities that take her students into the community. For many years she was a teacher sponsor for the Debate Club. Her commitment to our motto, Not for Ourselves Alone, also led her to become a teacher sponsor for our longstanding support of Munroe House.