York House Celebrates Founders’ Day

On Founders’ Day, alumnae from 1942 – 1968 came back to school and were met by student executives before being led on a fun school-wide tour by Laura Edwards ’74, Executive Director Advancement and Gillian Smith ’81, past YHS Parents’ Association President.

Student executives ready to welcome the Golden Alumnae.

The Golden Alumnae luncheon began with the melodious tones of Ragazza, the YHS Senior choral group, led by music teacher Benila Ninan, in the singing of the old YHS assembly hymn Unto the Hills and a glorious rendition of Blue Skies. Head of School, Julie Rousseau welcomed the Golden Alumnae, YHS Legacy Society members, and guests.

Ragazza singing the old YHS assembly hymn, Unto the Hills and Blue Skies.

“This is a very special day, one that honours our seven founders, trailblazing women, for whom I am truly grateful, who in 1932 had the bold vision to establish this wonderful school for girls.” Mary Raikes-Tindle, niece of founder Gladys (Morden) Jopling, who attended the luncheon commented, “This echoed my sentiments that these seven women, were way before their time and were very courageous and strong to take on such an endeavour.”

Julie introduced this year’s Alumnae Day theme, “Breaking the mold, overcoming obstacles, dismantling barriers and creating opportunities for both ourselves and others. Our founders clearly broke the mold as I am sure they surmounted many challenges along the way to making their dream a reality, this wonderful school for girls that continues to represent excellence in girls’ education, 86 years later.”

Nancy Gibson ’67, past YHS Foundation Trustee; Gail Ruddy, retired Head of School; Barbara (Sanderson) Armstrong ’55, YHS Legacy Society Founder; Catharine (Walwyn) Turner ’84, past YHS Foundation Chair; Margaret (Shepard) Walwyn ’55, Alumnae Class Rep; Pat Sexsmith, past Parent’s Association President; Bill Sexsmith, past YHS Board of Governors Chair; Julie Rousseau, Head of School; Derek Francis, husband of the late and beloved teacher Joanne Francis; and Gillian (White) Smith ’81, past Parents’ Association President.

Stevie (Bryson) Mitchell ’61, YHS Foundation Chair, led grace in the words of founding Head of School, Mrs. Lena Clarke, and the first course was served, an aromatic squash soup with yam, apple and nutmeg, quite different from the meals recalled by York House boarders. 50th through 70th reunions were celebrated with the sharing of a myriad of memories from earlier times. A member of the class of 1958 commented, “What a wonderful day we all enjoyed. The tour of the school was very impressive and the speeches and luncheon outstanding….it was such great fun chatting with classmates.”

Members of the Class of 1958 celebrating their 60th reunion with YHS staff and friends.

After the luncheon, Joanne Lee-Young ’90, Alumnae Association President, announced the 2018 Alumnae Lifetime Achiever, Irene (Triandis) Harvalias ’52, who has truly lived the school motto, Not for Ourselves Alone, throughout her life and was nominated by her class of 1952. For their nomination, they prepared an amazing handwritten book, including many photos of Irene tirelessly at work in the community and of her exquisite hand-made quilts, as well as those of her many students. Much of the finished work of the students, completed on donated sewing machines, is given to hospitals, homeless shelters and other deserving places.

Irene (Triandis) Harvalias ’52, the 2018 recipient of the Alumnae Lifetime Achiever award.

The nomination book is currently on display in the Museum & Archives display case in the Gail Ruddy foyer as part of a 1950s – 60s Alumnae Special Achiever display. Samples of her quilts are hanging in the Alumnae Art Gallery on the 3rd floor of the Senior School.

Sophia, Junior Vice Head Girl and Jessica, Junior Head Girl speaking on Breaking the Mold.

Jessica and Sophia, Junior Head and Vice Head girls, shared their thoughts about the Founders’ Day theme, Breaking the Mold, “Mme Curie, Rosa Parks or more recently Malala Yousafzai and Serena Williams. All of these women are connected by a common thread – they broke the mold. These important women have inspired many people here and around the world to act with courage, persevere when times are tough, and be willing to break through barriers that limit us. We too, each and every one of us, can Break the Mold.”

Their passionate address was followed by a lively performance by the Grade 2 girls, who sang I’m a York House Girl to a rapt audience.

Grade 2 students performing I’m a York House Girl.

Following the much-anticipated delivery of York House chocolates by the youngest Junior students, YHS Head Girl Ava, Grade 12, welcomed the Golden Alumnae on behalf of the student executive and shared a few experiences from her time at the school. Joanne Lee-Young, Alumnae Association President, encouraged all to attend the Founders’ Day assembly after the luncheon.

Junior students delivering Yorkie chocolates.

The highlight of the assembly was the presentation of the 2018 Alumnae Special Achiever award to Kirsten Sutton (Koopman-Osterreicher) ’83. As VP & Managing Director, SAP LABS Canada, Kirsten is one of only two female Managing Directors within the global SAP Labs Network. She is also the Global Head of Engineering for SAP Jam, leading a multinational development team on a product with over 51 million subscribers.

Ava, Head Girl, Grade 12; Ishita (Kalia) Hayer ’98; Kirsten Sutton (Koopman-Osterreicher) ’83, Alumnae Special Achiever 2018; Kirsten’s daughter, Olivia, Grade 8; and Joanne Lee-Young ’90, President, Alumnae Association.

As an unconventional tech leader and executive, Kirsten is also an advocate for girls in tech, and supports education initiatives like Templeton STEM and GIRLsmart4tech and has led the way for SAP Canada’s adoption of Autism@Work, an initiative to hire 650 individuals on the autism spectrum globally. Kirsten was recognized in 2018 as one of Business in Vancouver’s Influential Women in Business and a YWCA Woman of Distinction. All were inspired by her address to the whole school.

Barbara (Lawson) Lecky ’58 and granddaughters, Lauren, Grade 12 and Julia, Grade 6.

Other highlights included the presentation of Alumnae pins, which were given to Grade 12 students. This was an especially memorable moment for alumnae in attendance, who had the chance to give the pin to their sisters, daughters, nieces, or granddaughters.

Winkie (Bucholtz) Steele ’61 with her granddaughter, Olivia, Grade 12.

New on the Founders’ Assembly agenda this year, was the presentation of two new YHS Foundation Awards in memory of two outstanding alumnae, Caroline Anne (Sexsmith) Trausch ’84 and Katherine Manders ’96.

Pepi, Grade 12, our first recipient of the Caroline Anne Sexsmith Trausch award.

The Caroline Anne Sexsmith Trausch Award was presented to Pepi, Grade 12 and the Katherine Manders award, to Grace, Grade 12.

Grace, Grade 12, our first recipient of the Katherine Manders award.

The Grade 4 student’s energetic performance of the YHS School March and the singing of the school song all together by alumnae, students, staff and guests, stirred up many memories, which will remain with those who attended this special day of celebration.

Grade 4 students singing the YHS March.

Category: Alumnae, Junior School, Senior School

Junior Tigers Update: April 26, 2018

What a whirlwind of activity the Junior Tigers experienced over the past two weeks. Ultimate had their first set of games and our Track & Field  team competed in not one, but two meets! Thank you to all of the girls for their time and commitment. York House shines brightly on the athletic stage because of you!

Over the past five days, our Junior School Track & Field  team competed in two meets. First up was the Vancouver Olympic Club (VOC) Elementary Meet at Swangard Stadium. The meet started at 3:00 pm on Friday (April 21st) with a flourish of jumping and throwing as we had many girls leave school early to arrive in time for their first event. The afternoon started off quite dry, but the action and rain continued well into the evening and our final group of athletes and coaches stepped off the track around 8:00 pm. Both the Tigers and the sun returned Saturday morning for a glorious day of competing and supporting each other. A big nod to our coaches, parents and athletes for such a great start to the competition season.

Meet Highlights:  

  • Grade 3 Tigers who flourished in their first meet
  • Jamie (Gr. 3) 1st in the 600m, setting a Grade 3 record (2:09.43) in the process
  • Ryan (Gr. 3) 1st in shot put
  • Hailey (Gr. 3) 2nd in shot put
  • Kristin (Gr. 3 ) 2nd in high jump and long jump!
  • Lily (Gr. 3 ) 3rd in long jump
  • Kaya (Gr. 4 ) 2nd in the 1000m
  • Mackenzie (Gr. 6) 1st in shot putJenna Louie (Gr. 7) 2nd in high jump
  • The number of girls who are tracking their personal bests (PBs) and running up to coaches saying “I got a PB!”. We love it!

Our second meet was the UBC Vancouver Elementary Meet. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing, and once again the Tigers showed up in full force with 80 girls participating. Of course, it was another day of PBs, and equally cool was the precision that our relay teams passed the baton. A 4x100m relay uses a “blind exchange” that allows the baton to be passed from one athlete to another at full speed without looking at each other. It is such a difficult task that ever Olympic competition sees the world’s best sprinters make epic mistakes costing their teams Olympic glory! Fortunately the stakes are not quite so high at our elementary meets 🙂 Nonetheless, our young Tigers make passing a baton look pretty easy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to hear how proud our coaches are of their efforts.

Meet Highlights:

  • Jamie (Gr. 3) 2nd in the 60m, 600m and 1st in high jump, jumping a Grade 3 record (1.10m)
  • Kristen (Gr. 3) 1st in long jump
  • Ryan (Gr. 3) 3rd in shot put
  • Kaya (Gr. 4) 2nd in the 600m, 3rd in the 1000m
  • Lauren (Gr. 4) 2nd in shot put
  • Emily (Gr. 5) 3rd in the 60m
  • Ruby (Gr. 5) 1st in the 1000m
  • Livie (Gr. 5) 2nd in long jump.
  • Sofia (Gr. 5) 1st in long jump, 3rd in the 60m
  • Mackenzie (Gr. 6) 2nd in shot put and the 100m
  • Madeleine (Gr. 6) 1st in high jump
  • Eloise (Gr. 6) 3rd in high jump
  • Jenna (Gr. 7) 2nd in high jump

Our Grade 7 Ultimate got their first taste of game action last week, going to Winona Park to play against other ISA schools. As it turned out, our team ended up playing three different Stratford Hall (SH) teams. It was not the variety of schools we were looking to play, but SH has a strong co-ed program, and their teams challenged our girls to make better passes and cut, and be stronger on D! The team learned a lot from our first round of games, and they did play some excellent defence. We are looking forward to our next round of games in early May.

Brent Jackson
Junior Athletics Coordinator

Category: Alumnae, Junior School
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