An Update on a Student Gap Year: Chantel Neubert ‘16

As part of her English 12 independent project, Chantel Neubert ’16 explored the pressure students experience about attending university immediately after high school, and decided to explore additional options.

Deferring her university acceptances for a year, Chantel chose to take a gap year instead, and provided us with a wonderful ‘snapshot’ of her adventures this year!

In her correspondence with me, Chantel expressed excitement and appreciation for the opportunities she’s experienced. She pointed to the importance of fostering family relationships, learning new skills (like cooking from scratch!), putting oneself in uncomfortable and new situations, and staying connected with old friends while making new ones. A few quotes from her:

“I am doing amazing! I am taking a gap year and it is definitely the best decision I could have ever made! I have travelled around Europe and have seen so many new places, cultures and have met so many new people. As well, taking a break has given me a new perspective on university and studying and the fact that there is more to life than just school. I hope that with what I have learned this year when I go to university in September (which I am – I have decided to go to Ryerson for business!) that I will keep those things in mind and take the time to live and experience a great deal of new things, not just school.”

“[Meeting with alumna Laura Fonda ’14] showed me that Yorkies are connected for life. I never really talked to Laura at YHS but we had a great time together in Brussels. It’s important for us to stick together as Yorkies and to reach out to each other, even if we weren’t necessarily in the same grade.”

“Working taught me a lot about what kind of jobs I like and what kind of work environments are important to me. Working is such a great way to learn about yourself!” It also “showed me first hand what works/doesn’t work for a team and also for myself!”

“I lived alone for three months and it taught me to provide and take care of myself as well.”

“I thought, I am doing a gap year to push myself and try new things so why not do something insane! [Skydiving] was a great experience and taught me a lot about myself and it was just super cool.”

To learn more about gap years, take a look at these recent articles from the New York Times:

A College Application Guide to Gap Year Students
Is a Gap Year Worth It?
My Imperfect Gap Year

Tanya Boteju
Senior School English Teacher

The Cat’s Meow 2017

Recitations Grand Finale

Overall Winner, Julia, Gr. 12

All senior students competed to earn one of the 16 spots at this evening event, and the finalists did an incredible job. All of these girls deserve special recognition for this achievement alone. See below for the finalists names.

The night was highlighted by some very funny, powerful, and thoughtful performances, and in a time where we need more young women standing up to have their voices heard, our finalists proved they could command a stage as well as anyone!

Ms. Boteju with alumnae judges

We had an all-alumni judging panel this year, including a past Overall Winner, Anaheed Saatchi ’09; a past People’s Choice winner/Head Girl/Public Speaking Head, Ariana Saatchi ’12; a past Vice-Head and present-day actor/director, Rena Kawabata ’07; and a present-day actor, Aliza Vellani ’09!

The prizewinners for the evening were as follows–a very tough decision for the judges! Click the headings for a video of the recitation.

Top Junior (Gr. 8 & 9), Charlene, Gr. 9
“A Breakfast for Barbarians” by Gwendolyn MacEwen

People’s Choice Award – Isabel, Gr. 10
“Audition” by Jane Martin (Monologue)

4th Place – Marna, Gr. 12
“Let It Go” by Crystal Field (Monologue)

3rd Place – Saphren, Gr. 10
“Scandal” by Shonda Rhimes (Monologue)

2nd Place – Elise, Gr. 12
“Nice Tie” by Rich Orloff (Monologue)

Overall Winner – Julia, Gr. 12
“The Addams Family Values” by Paul Rudnick (Monologue)

Thanks to the English Department for their work and guidance during class rounds, to the YHS staff who volunteered to judge the grade finals, to our guest judges, and to all the students and staff who helped with photography, videotaping, ushering, tallying scores, the program, and more!

And finally, thank you to my incredible Co-Heads, Rainy and Julia, Gr. 12, who for the second year in a row helped to organize and MC this event, and who have generally been a pleasure to work with in public speaking over the past five years–I will miss them!

Congratulations to all students for taking on a worthwhile challenge!

Ms. Boteju



  • Alexandra
  • Jessie
  • May


  • Emma
  • Sara
  • Charlene


  • Isabel
  • Saphren
  • Amanda


  • Ysabella
  • Leah
  • Miranda


  • Marna
  • Julia
  • Lauren
  • Elise