The Havergal community wishes our 2021–22 retired colleagues all the best on their adventures beyond the ivy.
Cathy Atkinson, Guidance Administrative Assistant
By Heather Johnstone, Head of Guidance
In January 2022, the Havergal College Guidance Department bid a fond congratulations and sad farewell to Cathy Atkinson, who retired after anchoring the department as the Guidance Administrative Assistant since 1991.
Cathy joined Havergal in September 1989 as the Evening Receptionist. She moved into a Guidance role in November 1991. She will be forever remembered by everyone who contacted the Guidance Office as the friendly voice on the phone or the kind face at the front desk who could provide students and parents with the information they needed. Her kindness and compassion for every student who crossed her path were palpable. Each year, Cathy organized the Awards Day Ceremony and Graduation—which is a milestone event for students, parents and colleagues—with skill and acumen.
Cathy’s calm, kind and patient guidance was always welcomed as she made sure transcripts, university applications and ministry reports arrived when and where they were needed. She was quintessential in keeping all of the integral parts of the Guidance Program running smoothly and efficiently. Cathy was quick to lend a helping hand to whatever needed done and her institutional memory on everything Havergal was second to none. She could always be counted on to keep everything in order.
An avid golfer and singer, Cathy shared her skills with our community through coaching the varsity Golf Team, as well as by participating in the Staff Choir. Although we miss Cathy a lot, we wish her a beautiful retirement with her husband and sons, where she can finally enjoy having time to go to daytime fitness classes, do some yoga, catch a weekday golf game and pursue her passions for baking, knitting, reading, gardening, singing in My Pop Choir and watercolour painting.
Stephanie Bryant, Upper School French Teacher
The first time I set foot in Havergal for my interview to be a French teacher, I was struck by two things: the amazing student artwork hanging in the halls and the distinctly higher-pitched yells of students playing volleyball in the gym, much different from the mixed gender public high school I was teaching in at the time. Here was a place that nurtured young women to express themselves with confidence and I wanted to be a part of it. Well, in 1998 I was hired, became known as Mme Bryant (pronounced like the French word brillant) and 24 years later, I am retiring richer for all the amazing students I have taught, for the talented and dedicated faculty and staff I have worked alongside and for the countless opportunities I have had to grow and learn as a person and an educator.
I have so many fond memories sharing my passion for French, food, visual arts, dance and communication with students and colleagues over the years. Here are just a few: watching Grade 8 students each year putting their French skills to the test in the fun winterland of St-Donat Quebec; taking a tour of francophone cuisines with students in the culinary excursion to Quebec; creating French madeleines, Quebec-inspired mocktails and hors d’oeuvres and Vietnamese cookies with students, thanks to the help of talented staff in the HC kitchen; learning by doing the neurolinguistic approach to language acquisition with my colleagues in the Languages and Cultures Department and new-to-Havergal students; nurturing my inner artist by creating stone sculptures and fused glassworks with colleagues, thanks to the generosity of the Visual Arts Department; displaying my own artwork each year alongside the works of talented students, faculty and staff in the annual Salon; celebrating dance through workshops and performances with students and dance educators at the CIS Dance Fest and PULSE Ontario Dance Conference; guiding countless student choreographers in Dance Troupe to take a theme and build unique choreography for the annual Dance Show; collaborating with Arts colleagues on various performances, such as Havergal’s 125th Celebration; and, finally, being challenged to communicate better and more empathetically through Harkness discussions and the Communication Learning Team. And, I am by no means done exploring any of these passions. I hope that I have given as much as I have received from my years at Havergal. Merci mille fois. Vous allez tous me manquer énormément!
Jeff Cole, Building Maintenance Technician
I started working at Havergal in April 1988. At that time, the school was quite a bit smaller and had a family atmosphere. I remember how inclusive and friendly the staff and administrators were; it seemed like a caring community, where people were seen as more than just a cog in the wheel. The fact that there were so many long-term employees indicated that this was a good place to work. I felt like I was considered part of a team that made sure the school functioned smoothly and efficiently.
Some of my favourite memories are coaching the Golf Team and the excursion to Panama and Nicaragua, where we assisted in the construction of homes for families in need.
I was pleased to witness the continual growth of Havergal College, but I often think back fondly to the early days, when we were a smaller, closer community.
I won’t miss hauling furniture around the school, but I will miss all the wonderful staff and students.
During retirement, I am working on my never-ending quest to improve my golf game, enjoying time with my family (especially my grandchildren Ella and Carter), spending winters in Florida and travelling to far-flung parts of the globe with my wife.
Erika Friesen, Upper School Languages Teacher
By Sarah Covey, Interim Head of Languages
Erika Friesen was a treasured member of the Languages and Cultures Department since 2000, teaching French and Latin. In addition to her exemplary care in teaching, she was a Form Teacher, an advisor in MDF House, an advisor to clubs and community partnerships, and Head of the Languages Department for nine years. Outside of the classroom, she enjoyed singing in Prayers, coaching Cross Country Teams and supporting Field Hockey Teams.
A big believer in the importance of experiencing a language and a culture, Mme. Friesen led, co-led and chaperoned excursions to St-Donat, Quebec City and Paris, as well as local excursions to cafés, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and museums, so the students could practise their growing French skills in the real world. Mme. Friesen was a mentor, a treasured colleague and a friend to us in the Languages and Cultures Department.
As a retiree, she likes having more time and space to travel, explore local parks and enjoy excursions to the opera and to the ballet.
Other Retirees to Whom We Said Goodbye in 2021–22:
- Gladis Cuellar, Boarding School Cleaning/Laundry Attendant
- Randy Scott, Security
- Susan Siu, Boarding School Cleaning/Laundry Attendant
Published April 2023