Writings on the people, programs and philosophies behind BSS.

Building Community

Exploring the meaning behind a few of the newest BSS spaces

Behind the Name
Royal Hong

Royal Hong | The Yang Family Royal Gymnasium

A Passion for Athletics

When BSS parent and Board member Royal Hong attended middle school in Shanghai, China, she started playing volleyball and table tennis with a passion.

“I really loved sports as a student and benefitted so much from the activities,” says Ms. Hong. “It’s important to be healthy, and it’s great for brain development. So we think the new gym is a special place. We saw it during construction and were impressed by its size and quality. It made sense for our gift to be attached to it.”

Daughters Nereid (Class of 2024) and Sol (Class of 2027) are athletic themselves. Are they following in mom’s footsteps?

“Not exactly!” laughs Ms. Hong. “Nereid loves hockey and Sol is a figure skater. But they are also avid table tennis and badminton players, so we have that common.”

Ms. Hong and her husband Gang Yang feel strongly about supporting the school that embraced their daughters as new students five years ago.

“We want them to stay all the way through to Grade 12,” says Ms. Hong. “But right now, they are in this wonderful Junior School which previous parents helped to make possible. We wanted to reach out to future BSS girls with our gift in the same way.”

Elly Barlin-Daniels and Peter Daniels

Elly Barlin-Daniels and Peter Daniels | Daniels Upper Gallery

A Musical Theatre Troupe

There’s no business like show business for the Daniels’ family, as past parents Elly and Peter, and daughters Olivia ’12 and Lily ’17 are a treasure trove of talent.

“Olivia fell in love with the theatre, which became her identity at BSS,” says Ms. Barlin-Daniels. “She came to the school as a dancer, but with the school’s support, excelled in the drama program. Lily was also in many school productions, in addition to pursuing dance and song writing. Now at Johns Hopkins studying science, Lily still writes and plays music. Olivia is completing her degree at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in musical theatre and philosophy. So the show goes on!”

Ms. Barlin-Daniels and Mr. Daniels deeply appreciate the emphasis on the arts at BSS. “We think it’s important to have a place to be creative and discover who you are. BSS gave that to our girls. We’re grateful to the exemplary faculty for the mentorship they provided.”

On several arts boards, and involved in theatre production herself, Ms. Barlin-Daniels, and Mr. Daniels, who still studies music, recognize the theatre arts program and its faculty are of the highest calibre. “We are fortunate to be able to give back, and it’s our pleasure to have our contribution be connected with the theatre.”

Jenifer, Stephen and Margaret McDonald

Jenifer, Stephen and Margaret McDonald | McDonald Choral Hall

For the Love of Music

Growing up in California, Jenifer McDonald dreamed of attending BSS. Her mother, Sylvia COCKRAM Hosack ’45, spoke fondly and frequently about her experiences as a boarder.

“Mum always had BSS in her heart, so I did too,” says Ms. McDonald, mother of Grade 10 student Margaret. “I was never able to attend myself, but when we moved to Toronto from New York City in 2006, we enrolled Margaret in JK. Like Mum, she absolutely loves BSS.”

Margaret and her grandmother also share a passion for music. Sylvia earned the prestigious ARCT distinction in Voice as a soprano at the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and was accompanied on piano by 15-year-old Glenn Gould, one of Canada’s most accomplished musicians. Also a competitive figure skater and runner, Margaret has played violin, is pursuing the RCM piano levels and recently picked up the guitar.

For the McDonald family, naming a choral hall in honour of Sylvia was a fitting way to support the school.

“We picked music because Mum was devoted to it,” says Ms. McDonald. “It was right to name the space in her honour. It was her love of BSS that brought us to this amazing school.”

Beth CURRIE Watt ’88 and family

Lee CURRIE 1983, Beth CURRIE Watt 1988, Spencer WATT 2018, Bryn CURRIE 1986  | Currie Family Student Terrace

A Breath of Fresh Air

Beth CURRIE Watt ’88, an Old Girl and soon to be past parent at BSS, was an active volunteer for the Intersection campaign and currently sits on the Board of Trustees. In light of her years at BSS along with her sisters Lee ’83 and Bryn ’86, though Lee finished high school elsewhere, Ms. CURRIE Watt wanted to make a donation in the name of all the Currie girls. “I wanted to celebrate both generations”, she explains.

One generation has already graduated, and the last “Currie” is on her way out. Spencer Watt ’18, along with her mother, is deeply immersed in the next step: university. “Spencer has her eye on American schools,” Ms. CURRIE Watt explains. “It has been a long process, starting early last year. It’s an exciting time, but Spencer will miss the BSS community and her tight-knit group of girls, especially everyone involved in the theatre”.

While Spencer is involved heavily in the arts, her mother and aunts were quite sporty. During their time at BSS, Ms. CURRIE Watt and her sister Bryn played on some of the same sports teams. “We weren’t competitive with each other, we encouraged each other to be better” says Ms. CURRIE Watt. “We really liked playing together. Also, Bryn helped with my transition to Grade 7, sometimes leaving little notes or treats in my locker. And to this day, we share an Old Girl social circle.”

In asking why she chose the Terrace, she recalls her time on those various sport teams. “The Terrace is outdoors,” explains Ms. CURRIE Watt. “Getting out of the classroom, running on the field, playing tennis and breathing in the fresh air…we loved that.”

For a full list of our Intersection campaign donors, see the 2016–17 Impact Report at www.bss.on.ca/Impact2017

Spring 2018