Office of the Principal, January 17, 2011
Happy New Year! Here at Branksome Hall, we
have much to look forward to as 2011 unfolds. I am delighted to take this
opportunity to update you on the progress of key strategic initiatives that serve
as cornerstones in our decision-making efforts.
Minded Girls School
This key priority encompasses much of our
daily life at the school. Students continue to enjoy visits and interaction
with unique and highly accomplished women. Over the years, many talented
alumnae have returned to Branksome as guest speakers in the classroom, at
Installation, at Reunion and at assemblies.
In recent months, we have also welcomed
renowned director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta and her daughter, writer Devyani
Saltzman, and Canada's first female astronaut,
August, I was delighted to share the exciting news of the establishment of
Branksome Hall Asia. This initiative continues to progress under the leadership
of Branksome Hall Asia Managing Director Peter Kenny, who has extensive
experience in constructing and establishing IB World Schools. The current
project timeline has Branksome Hall Asia scheduled to open on Jeju Island,
South Korea, in September 2012. Should we require additional time, a September
2013 opening may be negotiated.
fully established, Branksome Hall Asia will benefit our girls in Toronto
through new student exchanges, residential trips, summer programs and shared
online courses. In addition, Branksome Hall Asia provides us with significant
annual revenue, which we are currently directing towards the future capital
enhancements of our Toronto campus. All costs related to the construction and
establishment of Branksome Hall Asia are being covered by the South Korean government.
For more details, I invite you to visit www.branksomehallasia.org.
Facilities of the
A key aspect of our Strategic Plan envisages
improvements to our facilities, so that we may better serve the needs of our
girls in terms of athletics, academics and student life. In essence, we wish to
see our facilities match the high calibre of our employees and our programs.
In 2010, our Board of Governors approved a
new Site Master Plan, which encompasses a vision for campus-wide re-development.
On the west campus, we plan to establish International House, which will
include space for academic and social programs as well as housing for all
students in our Residence Program. Future plans also include a new Athletics
and Wellness Centre, including a double gym, field house, swimming pool, and fitness/yoga
studio. The building will also house a new dining hall and cafeteria.
I can assure you that we are committed to
protecting and restoring our heritage buildings and to ensuring that new facilities
are environmentally sustainable. As you can imagine, extensive plans require
approval from City Hall, and we expect to have feedback from city officials by
the spring. I look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress on this
significant campus re-development project.
we strive to bring the new Site Master Plan to reality, we are excited to be in
the planning stages of the largest capital campaign in the school's history. I
am delighted that two long-time Branksome supporters, Mary LESSLIE Hallward'74
and former Board Chair James Christie, have agreed to serve as Co-Chairs of Branksome Becomes, as this upcoming
capital campaign is so aptly named.
Co-Chairs kick-started Branksome Becomes with the largest family donations in the history of the school: a $500,000 gift from Mary
and her husband, Graham Hallward; and a $1-million gift from Jim and his wife,
the Hon. Sarah Pepall. We owe these committed individuals our gratitude for all
that their generous gifts will achieve in building our funds and, importantly,
in inspiring others to support Branksome Hall. They have raised the bar for our
fundraising! It is our goal to strive for the same level of support and
endowment that you'll find in schools south of the border, and in boys' schools
closer to home. It is time to change the way we look at girls' schools and the
way we support them.
will be sharing more information with you about Branksome Becomes over the next few months.
Last fall, you should have received the
latest issue of The READ, chock-full
of great alumnae profiles, events, school happenings and class notes. The
package also included the Donor and
Giving Report 2009-10, which honours our many supporters and outlines the
impact of their generous gifts.
A recent new initiative was the launch of The Road. This e-newsletter, which you
are reading now, provides a meaningful form of communication, reaching over 3,300
alumnae and keeping our largest constituency in touch with each other and their
In closing, I wish to say what an honour and
privilege it is to lead such a great school, made strong by its history and its
continued commitment to the education of young women. Your continued support
and involvement mean a great deal to me and to Branksome Hall.
My best wishes to you and yours for a
healthy, happy and peaceful 2011.