Picture this – Ally in Grade 1 in her York House School uniform…and it’s Founders’ Day. On this Day, Ally was asked to present flowers to an alumna but what really caught her attention was the Head Girl. The Head Girl, before her, shrouded in her green and gold. That was when she thought, “I want to be that. I could be that.”
Ally has built some lasting memories here at York House, whether it be starring in this year’s theatrical production of “Girls of the Garden Club” or playing sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. She did spend some time on the swim team but after a couple of years, she just couldn’t get excited about getting up at 5am to jump into a freezing cold pool anymore. Kudos to the swim team – that is true commitment!
“For me, it was not so much about one sport but the opportunity to be part of a team,” says Ally.
Some of her most influential teachers have been Mrs. Grills in Grade 2 who shared her love of the Amazon Rainforest and helped to instill a sense of environmental and social awareness in Ally. Her Grade 5 teacher, Ms. Slinn was a positive influence when it seemed like all of the students were struggling with what she likes to call the “puberty blues”. In the Senior School, Ally feels like she won the teacher lottery!
Ally had a short time away from York House in Grade 10 when her family made the decision to move to Spain for a year to be close to family in Europe and to share the experience of living abroad. While this did take Ally away from the York House community briefly, a new door opened and Ally was given the opportunity to study at the American International School in Barcelona, Spain.
Not only was she able to hone her Spanish (her father is Chilean) but she was introduced to new customs and cultures, was able to study in a co-ed environment (Grade 10 boys are hilarious…hmmm…maybe not), and experienced how different one school culture can be from another. In fact, these differences made her appreciate how truly special the York House community is and the respect everyone here has for one another.
When Ally returned to York House for Grade 11, she knew that she wanted to be involved with student leadership. It didn’t take long before she knew she wanted to run for Head Girl. She feels lucky to have had such an amazing Executive Team to work with.
While she had to curb her ambitions in the beginning (the list was just too long), she is proud of what the Executive accomplished as a team this year. Together they introduced the first student run lunchtime current event forums, which were strongly supported by Faculty and students alike, and injected some new energy into events like Founders’ Day and Spirit Week with more ways for people to have fun and get involved.
“It really was such a great opportunity to make our mark and contribute back to the school. Our biggest goal was to build a community and get students from different grades intermingling and chatting and I think we did that well,” says Ally.
Ally’s words of advice for the incoming Head Girl, Helen:
- Be patient;
- Be prepared to make compromises;
- Staying true to your own ideas while balancing the ideas of others;
- Learn when to say no;
- Bring yourself and be genuine in everything that you do;
- Talk to the rest of the Executive Team and the sponsor teachers (thank you Ms. Boteju!) and don’t take it all on yourself and;
- Stay healthy!
“I have all of the confidence in the world in Helen and the incoming Executive Team. They are already doing so much around social media campaigns to engage the student community. They are going to be fantastic!” says Ally.
What’s next for Ally?
While Chemistry 11 did teach her perseverance, she also discovered that she no longer wanted to be a doctor! It was through her time on the Executive Team she found a passion for speech writing that complements her love of late night, political satirists like John Oliver and John Stewart.
“In terms of making people aware of current events and getting them to think more critically about their actions in the world around them, there is no better way to do that than through comedy. Ideally, I want to do something that doesn’t feel like work and weaves my love of history and political science with my affinity for comedy,” says Ally.
In the fall, Ally is going to be enjoying the countryside in Middletown, Connecticut while pursuing her liberal arts studies at Wesleyan University. Choosing the location for her next academic adventure was much about finding a connected community with shared values. At Wesleyan, the class sizes are smaller and there is a very active community where people develop relationships with their professors and with students in other years. She had that here at York House and she wants that there too.
For now, she is looking forward to exploring international relations and communications with the possibility of interning at HBO or NBC in the summers. In a perfect world she would like to become the first female late night, political satire, comedy host.
Watch out boys, we think we might just see the glow of green and gold coming over the horizon.