Crofton House School
Alumnae

Alumnae

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.

Beyond the Ivy Walls

The New Lunch and Learn Program — Sharing Stories Beyond the Ivy Walls

The Lunch and Learn Program provides exciting opportunities to engage and connect for CHS alumnae and current students in areas that are a cornerstone of every student’s life at Crofton House, namely education, career choices and life paths. The Lunch and Learn series allows grade 12 students to meet with alumnae to learn first-hand about the rewards and challenges that have propelled them to success in their educational endeavours, careers and lives. The program’s goal is to inspire our CHS girls to discover and explore their fullest potential, to be curious and open to various careers — and to explore the courage needed to make the most of future opportunities.

Most recent speakers include Jennifer Baird ’85, Karen Holyk ‘86 and Sonya Zeitler Fletcher ‘87.

Dr. Jennifer Baird ‘85

Jennifer is a critical care medicine specialist and physician lead of Advance Care Planning of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Surgery, College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She balances living in Vancouver and an active medical practice in Regina while raising twins, Angus (at St. George’s) and Jocelyn (in grade 6 at CHS).  

When did you come to Crofton House?

I came to CHS in 1982, in grade 10.

What’s your most vivid memory of your CHS time?

One of the biggest things I remember was that first day or week at Crofton. I had been at public school, so had never really attended a school assembly before. It was such a regular occurrence at Crofton, but it seemed strange to me. Looking back, I understand how important those times were — when you gather as a school, be it for announcements, skits or presentations. It helps form that community. It brings everyone together, no matter what grade or age. I think it’s exactly that community which draws so many girls and families to the school, and I can understand why.

What inspired your career?

When I left high school, I was determined to go abroad. The central application process for the UK schools made it easy to explore options. I went to the University of St Andrews in Scotland. If it wasn’t for my biology teacher, Mrs. Mackay and Miss Addison I may not have found my way to St Andrews. They really encouraged me to stretch and try, and gave me so much help.  They encouraged me to be curious about the world.

How did CHS help prepare you for the world outside the Ivy walls?

I think I always had the ability to achieve whatever I wanted, but the teachers and staff at CHS really encouraged me to open up my world view. I think being in an all-girls environment is key to seeing the world without any gender bias limitations or expectations. We were always encouraged to try — and my daughter, Jocelyn, is receiving that same message. The world still has many glass ceilings for women to break through, but there aren’t those limitations at Crofton. When you haven’t experienced them in school, you’re more likely to keep striving once you move on to university.

What message would you give the girls as they look toward their futures?

Stay open – whether it is to where you end up studying, what you study or what path you walk down next.  Stay open to the possibilities – CHS has prepared you for anything that comes next.

Karyn Holyk ‘86

Karyn is the senior shop and experience designer with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, North America. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Victoria, a Master of Architecture from UBC and a certificate in design firm management and leadership from the University of Washington.

When did you come to Crofton House?

I came to CHS in 1982, in grade 9.

What’s your most vivid memory of your CHS time?

The smell of the gym is still so clear in my mind. It was a creaky, wonderful, old building. Maybe I remember it so clearly because we graduated from that building. I loved the old building like other people love old books.

What (or, in this case, who) inspired your career?

Mr. Mennie taught me physics. He had such a powerful impact on me. He inspired me to keep going because he made it easy to understand.

How did CHS help prepare you for the world outside of the Ivy walls?

CHS taught me how to think and speak up for myself. CHS gave me a great liberal arts education with exposure to so many areas of academia. Crofton made me curious and passionate, two qualities which have served me very well in my life. I believe the school gave me and my peers the opportunity to be the best at whatever paths we chose.

What message would you give the girls as they look toward their futures?

Your mindset is everything. There’s nothing to be scared of, not even failure. Learn from everything that happens to you and around you. Know how you respond to failure because it will happen at some point. You can’t learn to sail in still waters.

Sonya Zeitler Fletcher ’87

Sonya is Vice President, Market Development for Forestry Innovation Investment. Born and raised in Vancouver, she has a Bachelor’s degree in modern languages (German, Spanish and Japanese) from McGill University and an MBA in International Marketing from the EU Business School (formerly European University).

When did you come to Crofton House?

I attended CHS from grades 4 to 12, arriving in 1979. I lived in Maple Ridge. My parents drove me to school each day. They were committed to giving me a CHS education.

What’s your most vivid memory of your CHS time?

When I return to campus, the memories are strong — even though the actual buildings have changed. I have two distinct memories:

  • Our drama teacher, Eve Harrison, teaching us how to enunciate and project our voices before the annual Carol Service. I thought it was over the top at the time, but it has proved to be invaluable training.
     
  • Working in the greenhouse with Mrs. Mackay — propagating geraniums and taking some quiet time out of a busy school day, and seeing my teacher in a very different light. Watching her do something she was passionate about was inspiring.  

What inspired your career?

I learned so much along the way, but was always open to new experiences and opportunities — there was no straight path. I have stuck to working with elements I’ve always enjoyed. I may not have known that I wanted to work in marketing, but it certainly feels right that I am involved in forestry.

How did CHS help prepare you for the world outside the Ivy walls?

I was exposed to many different types of people with many different perspectives. I was encouraged to speak up — and speak out. I was encouraged to strive for my best, and that didn’t necessarily mean an A+. I was taught to acknowledge milestones along my personal journey, and always to be proud of what I do and who I am.

What message would you give the girls as they look toward their futures?

Be flexible. Be open-minded about yourself and others you meet along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and explore.


If you are interested in being a Lunch and Learn speaker, please contact Lydia (McNeill) Vandenberg ‘85 at lvandenberg@croftonhouse.ca.
Posted by Danica on Thursday April 6 at 11:03AM
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Aumnae in the Making

Christie Gray ’17 — Irreplaceable Experience

An exceptional athlete, student and noted leader on campus, Christie’s youthful enthusiasm has served her especially well in learning first-hand about balance and time management in the Senior School. This fall, much as she did at CHS, she will continue balancing the demands of being an elite athlete with a rigorous academic program at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University while playing for the university’s Golden Gaels soccer team.

“Education has always been a priority in my family, which is why, when given the opportunity, I was encouraged to come to CHS. When I arrived at Crofton House in grade 8, I was super excited and wanted to make the most of all the opportunities coming my way. I signed up for 10 different clubs. I wanted to be part of everything,” says Christie.

At CHS, Christie identified her passions. From her “10 clubs,” she opted to channel her energy specifically into the Ambassadors and Business clubs, field hockey and soccer. “Grade 8 was the first time I played field hockey. As it turns out, it was a major highlight when reflecting on my time at CHS.” She adds, “This season, the CHS Senior Team won the BC Provincials title. In my grade 11 year, we lost and it was discouraging. This season, on the back of that loss, the whole team was determined to win the title. It was something we were all working for, that we won together. I was part of a committed team — committed athletes, staff and coaches — and we shared that experience.” With great fondness, she says it was truly an “irreplaceable” experience.

Christie notes that playing sports has taught her that success comes with failure. “Failure happens on the sports field — and in the classroom. The important thing is that you learn from it, and that you can’t let it scare you.” She references the profound support and encouragement she received from the CHS community, and the teachers and coaches who she says created the perfect balance between encouraging success and providing support when she was faced with failure or disappointment.

Christie's journey to the Queen’s soccer pitch began at age five. She describes how, “Every day at lunch, I would play soccer with the guys and girls in my elementary school. When I got home, I would play ‘pass’ with my Dad. When he eventually got tired of passing to me, I’d carry on by myself — kicking the ball against the fence.” It was this passion for the game that led her to be selected in grade 9 to play with the grade 11s and 12s on CHS’s senior soccer team. “I remember how supportive the older players were, and now that I’m in grade 12 the roles are reversed. Throughout my time playing sports for Crofton, I’ve made lasting friendships with girls five years older and younger than me. There’s no better way to build community than playing school sports.” As assistant captain for the senior soccer and field hockey teams and her Fusion FC club team, Christie has shared her passion and perseverance with her teammates.

Christie remains grateful for the gift of education she has received at CHS. “I realize how lucky I am compared to so many other girls and boys I know,” she says, adding, “CHS truly allowed me to discover myself and my passions in an extremely supportive and interconnected community.  This experience and the Crofton House community will forever be a part of my life”
Posted by Danica on Thursday April 6 at 11:03AM
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CHS 119th Birthday and Alumnae Luncheon

Posted by S. Chow on Thursday April 6 at 11:02AM
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Best of the holiday season

Posted by Danica on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
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Top-ranked athlete reflects on fencing, CHS and what she has learned through competitive sport

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”.

Posted by Danica on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
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Getting to know CHS’s Assistant Director, Advancement, Lydia (McNeill) Vandenberg ’85

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.

Posted by Danica on Thursday January 19 at 04:17PM
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Alumnae in the Making

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.

Thank you.

Posted by Danica on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:10PM
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Soup Sisters – Serving Those in Need

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!
Posted by Danica on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:09PM
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A Warm Welcome to Our Newest Alumnae

Congratulations to all members of our graduating class and good luck in your post-secondary studies!

CANADA: 

University of British Columbia

McGill University

McMaster University

Mount Allison University

Queen’s University

Ryerson University

University of Toronto

University of Victoria

Waterloo University

Western University

UNITED STATES: 

Brown University

University of California - Berkeley

University of California - Los Angeles

California Art Institute

Chapman University

Claremont McKenna College

Cornell University

Dartmouth University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Michigan

St. Mary’s College of California

Rice University

New York University

Santa Clara University

University of San Diego

University of Southern California

INTERNATIONAL: 

Sciences Po

Les Roches International School of Hotel Management

St. Andrew’s University

University of Cambridge

University of Central Lancashire

Edinburgh University

Keele University

Posted by Danica on Friday October 28, 2016 at 04:09PM
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Emily Margitan ’11 Found Crofton House a Magical Place

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.”


Posted by Danica on Friday October 28, 2016
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Choose groups to clone to:

Alumnae Relations

Lydia (McNeill) Vandenberg '85
Assistant Director, Advancement
t: 604 263 3255 Ext. 4205
e: alumnae@croftonhouse.ca

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Class Reunions

It’s the perfect time to start organizing your class reunion for 2017.  If you graduated in 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997 or 2007 and are interested in gathering classmates together to celebrate, contact the Alumnae Relations Office.

E-Directory 

The Alumnae E-Directory is a great way to stay connected with classmates, other alumnae, and the school.  Register and update your profile, volunteer as a mentor or search for a fellow alumnae by profession, geography or class year. 



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