Crofton House School Alumnae Association
There are almost 4000 Crofton House School alumnae living around the world. From Vancouver to New York, Victoria to the UK, Prince Rupert to Shanghai, our Alumnae are doctors, artists and entrepreneurs, they’re mothers and grandmothers, volunteers and CEO’s. CHS alumnae are confident, empowered women who can - and do - accomplish extraordinary things.
Crofton House alumnae form a strong network of women because of the close bonds they share with each other, with teachers and staff, and with the spaces and places at the School. These bonds have had a lasting effect on their character, their relationships, and their place in the world.
Explore our website to read their stories.
on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
It was only three years ago, after seeing a demonstration in a shopping mall, that Matina Pun ’18 discovered her true passion: fencing. Since then, she has been working closely with a coach (she trains three times a day, seven days a week), logging thousands of kilometres of travel to compete in countless meets and championships in Canada, the US and Europe.
In Canada, Matina is now ranked second in her age category.
In a sport Matina Pun ’18 likens to “a physical game of chess,” she says it’s the strategic aspect of fencing that resonates with her. For Matina, it’s about carefully assessing the strengths of her competitors, anticipating their every move and determining how she’ll respond. She also likes that the sport involves “playing with swords.”
Balancing her training and competitions with her school and homework commitments has involved some juggling, but Matina says her teachers have been “very understanding” of her efforts. Her classmates have also been extremely supportive, encouraging her every step of the way.
Through fencing, Matina has learned much about herself — especially self-confidence. Competing involves “letting your training guide you, trusting yourself, your muscle memory and what you’ve learned.” She credits her success to the learning environment at CHS, and the discipline and rigour it has taught her.
In competition, her biggest challenge is “getting into the flow, and not letting nerves get the better of you.”
Though graduation isn’t for another year, Matina may take a gap year to train full time. Her goal? Competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Longer term, Matina wants to help others through sport. This could mean studying physiotherapy or sport psychology. Until then, she has plenty to occupy her time and is enjoying what she says “has been a wild ride”.
on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
Sometimes life has a curious way of coming full circle, as it did for Lydia (McNeill) Vandenberg ’85 almost three years ago. After years spent honing her fundraising career at organizations including Queen’s University, BC Children’s Hospital and consulting firm Ketchum Canada, Lydia found herself back where she began — at Crofton House School. In 2014, Lydia joined the Advancement team. Initially, her portfolio involved working on the capital campaign. Today, it involves additional responsibilities that include developing a CHS alumnae program.
Lydia has fond memories of her time at CHS dating as far back as grade 1. “I can clearly remember running out for recess to play in the woods – the key was to get one of the main forts to play in with your friends.” She’s also a proud CHS parent with her daughter, Issie, in grade 4. “There are days when Issie will come home and talk about playing in the woods – it’s meaningful to be able to share those moments with her.”
What does your day usually look like?
A typical day involves meeting with parents about the school’s fundraising priorities. Overall, it’s about 70 per cent of my work as we have big projects that need funding. My days are also about the alumnae program, connecting with graduates — finding that common interest and developing a strong alumnae network. Today, I received a letter and some photos from a 92-year-old alumna; she and one of her classmates stay in touch with each other and the school after all these years. Crofton House is about community, which really drives my work.
Has CHS changed since you were here?
The campus has changed a lot, but the heart still beats the same way. When alumnae come back to campus they often say, ‘It has changed so much!’ I tell them to close their eyes, then juxtapose old and new. There are many touchstones around campus that help situate everyone, that have been wonderfully maintained, such as the horse tree — which every alum asks about, and makes a point to visit.
Do you have a message to share with alumnae?
This is still your school. Wherever you are in the world, you’re forever part of the Crofton family. We always love to see and hear from you. Drop me a line.
on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
The Class of 2017 — Coming into their “Prime”
Kat Uy, Head Girl, Address at the Opening Assembly
Good morning Dr. Dawson, members of the platform party, teachers, guests, students, and of course, the graduating class of 17 Prime. As I look at all of you here present today, I begin to notice reactions to the start of the 2016-2017 school year - a mixture of nervousness and excitement. The stress of being back in an academic environment combined with the anticipation for what’s to come. Nonetheless, each of our summers were filled with unique stories, experiences, and memories that may differentiate us, yet today, Crofton House has brought us altogether once again. So whether it’s your first or last year here within these Ivy walls, I want to welcome all of you to what has, or will soon become your second home. Trust me when I say that there will definitely be days when you spend more time at school than you do in your actual home.
When thinking about the name Prime, it has numerous definitions. Asking other Crofties what they thought, prime rib seemed to be the most popular response. Closely following that was primetime television. Clearly, Crofties know their priorities. Now although the graduating class is honoured as 17 Prime, this year, we urge everyone to become their own version of “prime.” The dictionary tells me it means “of the best possible quality” and “a time of great strength, vigor, and success in a person’s life.” Standing up here now, I could not imagine our grade having any other name. All of us will face challenges this upcoming year - whether it be exams, social events, the dreaded university applications, or for some, it may even be the first week of school. But together with great strength and vigor, there will come success in many variations whether it be praise, a simple thank you, a smile, or a medal.
Crofton House has countless opportunities for you to discover new talents and interests - you only have to say yes and commit yourself to pursuing the chances offered. Through these experiences, the values of Crofton will soon feel natural to you as you find yourself being courageous, creative, and a good citizen in your everyday life. Courageous in the choices you make, creative in your assignments and projects, and a good citizen through your actions. For the seniors, it’s really a simple thought - In our last year here together, how do we make it prime? How do WE want to be remembered? This year is about finding the person you want to be because when we are strong individually, together, we are undivided. Prime will soon become a reflection of the whole school. Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy once said, “You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or, you can live your life crossing them.” The challenge this year is for students to cross their own lines. Whether it be volunteering in our wider community, joining a new club or team, or reaching out to talk to new staff and students; crossing lines is the way you discover characteristics you didn’t know you harboured before. I can’t tell you what your lines are, but I hope you find them this year, and not only cross them, but exceed them and surprise yourself; all of course, while wearing the ever so fashionable, gordan tartan no shorter than 4.25 inches above the knees.
on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:10PM
On the evening of May 25th, a group of CHS alumnae met in Vancouver for a Soup Sisters session for the Alumnae Association’s wind-up party. Soup Sisters organizes soup-making events for small groups. In turn, that soup provides hundreds of litres of nourishing and nurturing goodness to women and children fleeing domestic abuse and family violence.
The event was held as a way to thank alumnae for volunteering and being involved with the Association over the past year. However, it also proved to be a powerful opportunity for our alumnae to give back to the greater community — and have some fun at the same time.
After learning some basic knife skills from the head chef, the soup-making began in earnest. During the course of the evening, the 17 alumnae who took part made more than 154 litres of soup for Maggie’s Place, a woman’s shelter in Vancouver. It was truly an amazing experience for all involved.
Given its huge success, another Soup Sisters event is being organized for the end of January 2017. Details will be sent out by email closer to the date. All alumnae are welcome!
on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:09PM
Congratulations to all members of our graduating class and good luck in your post-secondary studies!
University of British Columbia
Mount Allison University
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
University of California - Berkeley
University of California - Los Angeles
California Art Institute
Claremont McKenna College
Johns Hopkins University
University of Michigan
St. Mary’s College of California
New York University
Santa Clara University
University of San Diego
University of Southern California
Les Roches International School of Hotel Management
St. Andrew’s University
University of Cambridge
University of Central Lancashire
on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:09PM
Arriving at CHS in grade 8, Emily is one of the few alumnae who can say she had classes in Gordon Hall, the Village and the new Senior School. As a young woman with deep roots in Vancouver and a love for historic homes such as the Old Residence, it’s no surprise she quickly came to regard Crofton House campus as her home away from home.
Emily found being in an all-girls environment in her high school years gave her the confidence to grow from a shy girl into a self-actualized young woman. She felt comfortable during what she describes as “a very impressionable age when teenage girls grow and mature rapidly.” This unique environment also empowered her, and her focus on academics. “As girls, together, there were no boundaries to our imagination, or what we wanted to learn,” she says. “It was inspiring.”
After graduating from CHS, Emily pursued further education at the UBC Sauder School of Business graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) with a focus in marketing. In turn, a summer internship led to full-time employment. Emily is making a name and career for herself at Kirk & Co., a consulting firm specializing in policy, planning and infrastructure projects.
Today, Emily meets many CHS alumnae in the course of her work and finds she can connect comfortably across different generations with these women because of their shared school experience. “In Vancouver, CHS alumnae are a small but diverse network of accomplished women. I learn something from every alumna I meet.” Emily remains close friends with her CHS classmates. “We are all pursuing such different and exciting careers and educational opportunities. My school friends are intelligent and motivated women, and we’ve always known how to have fun and take care of each other.”
on Friday October 28, 2016
on Friday May 20, 2016 at 04:12PM
Community, whether local or international, has always been at the heart of Leigh Boyle’s passions. The fundraiser, philanthropist, and former Head Girl, Leigh Boyle ’05, received the Crofton House School Alumnae Association’s 2016 Alumnae Achievement Award at the School’s 118th birthday Assembly on March 4, for her outstanding commitment to philanthropic endeavours.
After graduating in communications at Trinity Western University, eager and idealistic, and “yearning to find out more about the world”, Boyle spent 2.5 years working for non-profits in Swaziland and northern Ethiopia. In Ethiopia she was isolated by geography, language and lack of technology, Leigh sought to find a place for herself in the community she was living in. She began doing manicures for patients at a local hospital. An act as simple as painting their nails and giving the women - some who were only just teenagers - a hand massage, became a profound and joyful way of connecting and creating community.
On returning to Vancouver, she witnessed the passing of the mother of a family friend. In palliative care, the mother requested a manicure. Leigh understood what this meant and how this simple request would bring dignity and beauty to last days of her life. Deeply touched by the experience, she decided to bring the compassion she had learnt on her travels back to her local community. And so began the Lipstick Project.
The project has evolved into a full-fledged local non-profit. During the day, Leigh has been pursuing a career as a philanthropic consultant, recently launching a company, Fawkes & Holly, with her business partner, Janet. Together, Leigh and Janet help small charities build efficient, effective fundraising programs that allow them to grow. After hours, she directs her energy into her role as the Lipstick Project’s Executive Director alongside the Director of Community Partnerships and fellow CHS Alumnae, Holly Chan ’01. The Lipstick Project works with seven organizations in the Lower Mainland, including North Shore Hospice, Ronald McDonald House, Camp Goodtimes, and Canuck Place providing free professional and therapeutic spa services to patients approaching the end of their lives. Since it launched in 2013, the Lipstick Project has delivered more than 1,000 hours of professional services to over 500 clients in the Vancouver area.
Holly and Leigh met each other after graduating from school. “We had an instant connection and trust which I find typical of the CHS Alumnae. Some of the most meaningful relationships I have built are through the alumnae. The network is real, and I am enthused by the support I get for the Lipstick Project from this community, including creating a partnership and friendship with Holly.”
In her CHS Alumnae Achievement Award acceptance speech Leigh said: “Crofton House School imprints you with an awareness to be kind and compassionate, to be ambitious and creative, and to consider each day the ways you can help those around you. The school has been an essential part of the Lipstick Project’s development as it was here that many of us learned how to be good citizens. How to be people who care about their friends, families and community.”
CHS also taught Leigh how to learn, to ask questions and be curious. “We were not allowed to quit,” she says. “This stood me in good stead in my professional life. Instead of quitting we were encouraged to find solutions and to work as a team. We were taught that if we don’t like a subject or are not good at a particular task, you can still find a way to do it and do it well. The expectation was that you try your best. Success was the willingness to reach your personal best. In life, you are not going to be good at everything, and to think that you are, is setting yourself up for disappointment.”
Sport played a big part in her school career, and she stills plays weekly recreational volleyball with Lesley Cuddington ’05, her co-captain from the CHS volleyball team. “I found an instant sense of belonging on the sports field. It taught me leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and how to have a lot of fun. I am not sure I would have thrown myself into athletics in the same way if I was not at an all-girls school.” It was at CHS that Leigh first stepped into a leadership role as Head Girl. “CHS was a safe place to find my voice,” says Leigh.
Leigh’s leadership qualities and credentials continue to grow. In 2015, she was a BCBusiness 30 Under 30 Winner and is currently pursuing an MBA at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. The CHS community is excited to be alongside Leigh as she continues to carve out her life’s path. Her message to CHS Alumnae is: “I am honoured to be a recipient of the 2016 Alumnae Achievement Award. For all of us, it is about embracing the values that come from this community. CHS shaped all of us in our formative years, for the better. We were privileged to be here.”
on Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 03:38PM
on Wednesday April 27, 2016 at 03:38PM
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