Message from Deryn Lavell, Head of School: October 2022

Deryn Lavell, Head of School
On Gratitude

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Senior School student-led assembly about gratitude. As I considered what I would share with the students and teachers, I reflected on why I am so grateful to have joined this dynamic York House community.

There really is a ‘secret sauce’ at York House that is unique to this learning community. It is the driving force that enables our students to thrive and inspires our faculty and staff to give 110%. It’s the power of our mission that energizes our Board of Governors, our Foundation, our Parents Association and our Alumnae Association to give so much of their time and talent. It’s why a Yorkie can go anywhere in the world and connect with fellow Yorkies who are living our motto, “Not for Ourselves Alone”, and making a lasting impact in the world.

Of course, the high regard for academic excellence is certainly a key ingredient in the York House difference. As importantly, it comes down to the caring and sense of belonging that the York House community brings to all that it does. 

This deep sense of belonging allows our students to dig into their learning, feel confident to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and embrace a ‘can-do’ attitude towards their learning. This self-determination, combined with a deep sense of gratitude and self-worth equips our students with some invaluable tools on their path to becoming future-ready. 

I am also grateful to be part of this caring community that doesn’t stand on yesterday. Instead, we learn from our history and those who went before us while at the same time we look forward—not just to the horizon but well beyond it.

As a learning community, we understand it is our responsibility to grow and change. Today, we are on our journey to becoming a more inclusive and diverse community. Do we always hit the mark? Of course not, but we are a community of learners who believe in the importance of asking hard questions, taking an honest look at ourselves and our actions and striving to do better.  

As a school, we’re engaged in ongoing and thoughtful work on truth and reconciliation, which you can see some recent examples of in this issue of the Yorkie. I see our students and staff so full of gratitude for this learning and the development of new understandings. 

Here are just a few of our students’ words they shared with me: “Being thankful is an everyday event.”, “Traditions stretch beyond documented history.”, “How can I work to honour the land I live on once I learn more?”

This kind of reflective work is not easy and requires new ways of thinking and looking at our world and our place within it. We have so much to learn from each other and the wider community – and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the journey.

Kind regards,