The Link: Old Girls’ Update 2019-20
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Message from the Head of School
I am writing to you during a very strange time at BSS. We are physically away from the building that has housed us since 1915. In the intervening 105 years, we have been kept away only one other time: during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918–19, when, as our archivist Sue Dutton tells us, all Ontario schools were closed between October 15 and November 11, 1918. Boarders were allowed to stay because the medical authorities considered it safer to be at BSS, which was then on the outskirts of the city. Sadly, as Sue reports, the flu did kill two young Old Girl nurses working with influenza patients, as well as Miss Frances Dupont, our first Lady Principal, aged 87.
This virus that has us all locked up today got its name, corona – Latin for crown – because the spikes pushing out of it make it look like a crown. And it is strikingly ironic that many of those helping fight this virus deserve a crown for all they are doing to help us. Let’s reclaim what a crown really means.
Many BSS Old Girls serve in hospi- tals, homes, and facilities that require expert and loving care. Women across Canada have shown their leadership and expertise during this crisis, as leaders in public health, as political and civic leaders, lawyers, teachers, and so on – all helping us stay safe and moving forward. All are role models for our students. Consider Marissa SIEGAL Kassam ’03 and Leigh WALDERMAN ’12, who have collaborated on an amazing colouring book about COVID-19, Goodnight Zoom, that both educates kids on the virus and supports charities in need. Another Old Girl, Tara TOMULKA ’06, will send a case of granola to front line workers for every case purchased from her company, Rawcology. Our own students held an online fundraiser recently that raised $4,700 for the Churches-on-the-Hill Food Bank. These women, young and old, deserve a crown.
In the midst of all this, we are grateful for the ongoing support of our Old Girl community, where many give of their talents, time, and resources to BSS through thick and thin. In particu- lar, we graciously thank those alumnae who have made contributions for five consecutive years or more. Your loyal support means so much to us, as noted in this edition of The Link. You all deserve a crown.
On March 13, we closed the school for what we thought might be two weeks to stay home and ease the virus. More than two months later, we are still away. During this period, our teachers and staff have continued to provide a rich education for our students and found innovative ways to create a sense of belonging and connectedness, which, as you know so well, is what our school is all about. We’ve held student elections for next year with live streaming of speeches, we’ve hosted a virtual Boarders banquet with students dialling in from all over the world, and we’ve led Junior School students on virtual field trips to the Toronto Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. We are innovating on the fly, and in an odd way, finding it invigorating to be part of this great experiment in educa- tion. Our teachers and staff are working incredibly hard. They deserve a crown.
In the digital pages that follow, you will read stories and see pictures of friends, former classmates, and teachers, maybe even someone you forgot about, that bring back fond memories of BSS. The Link is meant to build that bridge for you, to bring you in and lead you back to our school. We hope it will be a bright spot that reminds us all of the many positive crowns in our world today.