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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.

Daphne Meredith ’74 - Trip to Malawi with CARE Canada

 

Last summer, a group of six women, including Crofton House School Board member Nancy Gallini, alumna Maria Chung ’75 and myself travelled to villages in Malawi to see CARE Canada at work. All of our travelling party had donated time and funds to support CARE’s work to transform the lives of women and girls in one of the poorest, least-educated countries in the world. CHS is a strong supporter of CARE Canada through its participation in CARE’s Walk in Her Shoes. During this March event CHS students and alumnae walk 10,000 steps along Vancouver’s sea wall in celebration of International Women’s Day.

It was the trip of a lifetime. 

For a week, we travelled some three hours each day from the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, to the villages, first on hair-raising single-lane highways, then on bumpy, pot-holed paths meant only for bicycles. I still tear up to think of the crowd of women and children dancing and singing in harmony to greet our small bus at the first village. We danced with them into the village centre, with them carefully guiding our arm and hip movements to make our rhythm a little smoother. They told us that the words of the songs related to what they were learning about nutrition and sanitation through CARE.

The villagers themselves explained how they were changing as a result of CARE’s work. Firstly, overcoming their suspicion of healthcare workers and allowing them to monitor the growth of their babies. But also learning basic sanitation, how to keep water clean, how to grow home gardens, store vegetables through the dry season and cook food from diverse food groups. Malnutrition in these villages has been eliminated, cholera and typhoid have been greatly reduced, and the girls are spending much more time at school.

Perhaps most impressive were the testimonials of the women running their own Village Savings and Loans Associations where women control the funds, invest in new businesses and reap the impressive profits. In one case, an initial investment of less than $1 grew to over $180 during the fund’s life! Women-owned businesses are raising these communities out of poverty.

As a sign of solidarity, the women of each of these associations celebrated their success and their identity by wearing the same gorgeous skirts and headscarves. And, while there are no doubt gender tensions, the smart men were beginning to see how they could prosper - by seeking funding from the women to build their own businesses. Nice power shift!

Seeing the Malawian women and girls with our own eyes, hearing their voices, dancing with them, holding their babies — we understood in a more tangible way how our support for CARE is having a big impact here. Life changing for them, yes, but also for us!

Posted by D. Lee on Tuesday March 5 at 10:57AM
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Alumnae in the Making: Volunteering to Make a Difference

Katie Levis ’19 – Volunteering to Make a Difference

Katie Levis ’19 has a clear vision of what she would like to do after she graduates. Starting with attending UBC in the fall with a view to eventually completing her Masters in Audiology and Speech Sciences, her vision for her future was shaped in large part by her extensive volunteer work.

As part of CHS graduation requirements, Katie started volunteering at Peekaboo Beans, a children’s clothing company. While there, she learned about Playground Builders, an organization that builds playgrounds for children in war-torn areas. Katie connected with the founder, Keith Reynolds, and worked with him to raise money to build two playgrounds in Afghanistan – one of which is the first playground for disabled children in the country and the other is at an all girls’ school. Through her fundraising efforts, Katie was able to donate $1,800, which Playground Builders then matched.

For the last two summers, while spending time with her grandparents in Kamloops, Katie continued volunteering, working with the Boys and Girls Club. She led camps for children aged five to seven and developed a strong connection with one of the campers who had Down Syndrome. “I read and did music lessons with him and it was amazing to see how happy he and his parents were as a result of our connection. It led me to want to do more.”

When she returned home at the end of the summer, Katie started – and continues – to volunteer at the Down Syndrome Research Foundation in Burnaby. There, Katie is working with a UBC Speech Pathology PhD student who is running a research project about families with children who have Down Syndrome. Joining her interest in science and linguistics with the knowledge that many children with Down Syndrome have hearing and speech deficiencies, led Katie to become interested in pursuing speech sciences.

Katie’s interest in science and language have been fostered at Crofton House – as has her confidence. “When I came to Crofton House, I found it really inclusive and the teachers very supportive. Those things gave me the confidence to start to speak out in class and to participate in discussions.” That confidence has translated to her volunteer work and other aspects of Katie’s life.

Since last spring, Katie has also been involved with a project to help children with rare diseases. Katie is working with Nicklas Harkins, diagnosed with a rare disease, Mucopolysaccharide (MPS), when he was five. As his MPS was stabilized, Nicklas could see how he benefited from research and he wanted to help other children with rare diseases that often do not receive funding or research. “Nick and I approached UBC because of their great research. They liked our idea and, working with UBC, we have set up a fund. We have started fundraising and are planning on organizing an event on Rare Disease Day in February.”

In addition to school and volunteer work, Katie has been dancing competitively since she was four years old and dances about 25 hours a week. “I am preparing to take my Tap Teacher’s Exam through the Canadian Dance Teachers Association so that I can teach children, passing on the lessons I have learned through dance to them.”

Katie is planning to continue to volunteer and teach dance as she attends UBC next fall. Her volunteer work and vision for the future will certainly make a difference to many.

Posted by D. Lee on Tuesday March 5 at 10:57AM
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Beyond the Ivy Walls: Tiffany So ’14

When Tiffany graduated from Crofton House she knew she wanted to pursue a career in film and television. With perseverance, she is fulfilling that goal – living in Los Angeles and working as a writers’ production assistant on Mixtape, an upcoming TV series on Netflix. She is also the co-creator of Limited Space, an animated musical series.

While working in film and television was the ultimate goal, having missed the deadline for the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of California, LA, Tiffany first had to tackle switching from their Communications program to film. She spent her initial days at university knocking on doors trying to make that happen. Tiffany was first able to transfer to the Business Cinema program and then to the film school after two years.

Tiffany credits her time at Crofton House - in video club and taking film courses - for clarifying her path and helping her realize that she loved creating visual stories and working under deadlines. Her other favourite classes, English and AP Language, honed her writing skills and her ability to craft arguments and write under pressure – which have been vital to her success. “The writing skills I learned were so important when I got to UCLA. In every class we were required to write long essays on a short deadline and I didn’t find that stressful - I was used to doing that at Crofton House.”

In her sophomore year, Tiffany wanted to combine her love of drawing and music by making an animated musical. She collaborated with a small group of classmates to create a pilot episode called Limited Space. “As it was a passion project, we shot with the intention of entering it into a festival in New York, really just to have a deadline to work towards.” The pilot was accepted into the festival, named as Official Selection of the Independent Pilot Competition and awarded the Bento Box Development Deal at the 2016 New York Television Festival.

“That really defined for me that I wanted to be writing for television. I started to take every television course I could at school. For me, TV is really personal - it’s telling a story that is going to be in someone’s home. I like the idea of seeing everything through from start to finish - from writing to editing - and the collaborative process that’s involved in writing for TV.”

Thinking about what has gotten her to this point, Tiffany points to her love of being busy and the importance of connecting with people. “I would make sure I had two days free of classes so that I could intern. I also came to understand the power of networking. In my freshman year, I rushed a professional film fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha, which has been amazing in terms of meeting people who I would like to work with and getting personal recommendations for internships.”

Through her hard work and connections, Tiffany is now working at Netflix as a writer’s PA – an important step in becoming a television writer. Being in this role and watching the writers work has only reconfirmed Tiffany’s desire to continue working towards her goal.

Reflecting on her time at Crofton House and how it has impacted her, Tiffany remembers CHS as “the first place where I was given the opportunity to pursue all of the things I was interested in. There was time to try new things and the space to fail at something and try again. Video club allowed me to experience telling a story and making something from start to finish, with the guidance of a teacher and without pressure to succeed the first time.” 

Watch the pilot of Tiffany’s Limited Space

Posted by D. Lee on Tuesday March 5 at 10:57AM
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Beyond the Ivy Walls - Karen (St. John) Carmichael ‘77

Karen Carmichael’s Jai Style comes to the Winter Bazaar

In 2011 Karen (St. John) Carmichael ’77 returned to Vancouver after living, and raising two daughters, in cities throughout Asia for more than 16 years. While trying to decide what would come next, she received many inquiries about the stone and silver amulet jewelry she was wearing. Having designed it herself, Karen began to wonder if there was a business idea there.

Since 2014, Karen has successfully established Jai Design, handmaking jewelry with silver and stones that she sources from Asia. Jai is a profound concept in Thai language and culture­ and represents the connection between heart and mind. Karen tries to embody the spirit of jai in all her designs. “This is such a departure from my previous career in the hospitality industry, where I did market feasibility studies, financial appraisals and operational reviews of hotels. I loved that work but I so appreciate how creative this allows me to be.”

Looking back at her time at CHS, Karen recognizes that many of the lessons learnt have helped her in both life and in business. “Crofton House really taught me the importance of being super organized and being able to balance my time – both of which are so crucial when running your own business.”

When she returned to Vancouver in 2011, Karen enrolled her younger daughter, Sophie, at CHS. While Sophie graduated in 2013, Karen jumped at the opportunity to become involved with this year’s Winter Bazaar.

“When Sophie came here I saw what was happening with the School, and I was encouraged by all the changes, the quality of teaching and the opportunities that were presented to the girls. When Margot Jagger (co-chair, Winter Bazaar) approached me and asked me if I would like to get involved with the Bazaar, I thought this was a great way to be involved again, and an opportunity to give back.”

Karen is bringing her talents as a jewelry-maker to the Bazaar. She created a design, sourced materials and then led a bracelet-making workshop with CHS parents. Parents used the glass beads and silver charms to create beautiful bracelets for children and adults that will be sold at the Winter Bazaar on November 17.

As an alumna who has lived in many cultures, Karen notes the importance of empathy and trying to understand the perspective of others, both of which were valued at CHS. But when asked what has stayed with her most from her time at CHS, Karen instantly replies, “servabo fidem” – the importance of keeping the faith.
Posted by D. Lee on Monday November 5, 2018 at 03:10PM
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Alumnae in the Making: Welcome to the year of L19htening McQueen!

Welcome to the year of L19htening McQueen!

As the class of 2019 embarks on their final year at Crofton House Head Girl, Angelina Zhang shared with the School her thoughts on the value of approaching this momentous year with the lessons learnt through a speedy little Pixar racecar!

Good morning Dr. Dawson, Members of the Platform Party, Students, Teachers, Special Guests, and of course, the Graduating Class of 2019.

Before I begin my speech, I want each of you to think back to the first time you saw your favourite movie. Think back to that feeling when the main character first came on screen, that feeling of wonder over what their journey would be like. Over the next few months, each of us will embark on our own journey, but today, I am here to share ours. This year marks a huge milestone in Crofton House School history. Not only is this the first time we’ve had a grad class named after an animated car, but it’s the first time we’ve had a class that was bold and clever enough to do so. I present to you, Grad L19HTNING MCQUEEN!

Now, the confused look I see on your faces is also how most of us reacted when this name was first proposed. But as we delved deeper into the meaning of L19htning McQueen, we came to realize how perfectly it embodied our grade. First of all, we may be nearly 18 on the outside, but deep down, most of us are still stuck around 12. Secondly, we are undeniably a class of 98 queens. What better way to celebrate that than to include it in our grad name? And finally, we wanted a name that wasn’t just a catchy title, but a message and a theme that we could use to leave behind our legacy. 

For those of you who haven’t seen the Cars’ movies yet, which, by the way, I highly recommend you do this weekend, here’s a quick run-down: once upon a time, there lived a hotshot rookie race car named Lightning McQueen. This car was a winner. And he was used to being a winner. The fame and pride gave him a sense of superiority, and he looked down on all the other cars around him. Now the story of Lightning McQueen is the story of how he slowly but surely learns to value family and friends over winning the race, just as we as a grad class have come to do as well. Instead of knocking each other down, we’ve learned to build each other up.

As the curious and diligent Crofton student that I’ve been trained to be, I did some more digging and found a few other hidden gems behind this seemingly random name. So, borrowing from the wisdom of Lightning McQueen, here are some pointers on how to succeed in the race of life. Just remember the 3 S’s: speed, strategy, and spirit!

Firstly, speed: life is a race, but it’s a race like no other. The finish line isn’t really what you’re going for. The winners in the race of life are those who can pace themselves enough to soak in the sights and enjoy the journey. Crofton offers us some incredible opportunities, but taking on more at once is not always better. This year, remember to pace yourself. Sometimes, we’ll have to say no to things to make the most of what we’ve already said yes to. We’re all enrolled in a rigorous school, but don’t forget to take time for yourself, your friends, and your family. After all, our school years only come around once, and you don’t want your memories to be a blur because you were so busy just trying to race by.

Next, strategy: in the movie, Cars 3, Lightning McQueen could no longer keep up with the newer, younger, and shinier contenders. He simply couldn’t win anymore on speed alone. Instead, McQueen learned to adjust to his competition by racing smarter rather than faster. We’ve all found ourselves in those situations where we’re kind of just stuck, and it’s inevitable that we’ll be faced with them again. But don’t be afraid of change. If something isn’t working out, try something new. We all have unique strengths that we could take advantage of and we’re all capable of playing smart. For example: not starting a new Netflix show during exam season? Smart. Sneaking into the grad lounge when you think we’re not watching? Not smart. Because we’re always watching. But that’s beside the point. If you find yourself stuck, maybe it’s time for a change. Whether that be a change in attitude or a new game plan, it’s definitely worth a shot. Because there’s no better time than now to experiment and to find out what works best for you.

Finally, spirit! Undoubtedly, this will be a tough year for many of us. Some of us will be receiving our first pieces of homework. Some of us, our first final exams. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I live by the motto “it could be worse”. Now, that may sound a little depressing, but the way I look at it is that even the toughest of situations could honestly be a lot worse! Most of the setbacks and troubles we face are just small obstacles in the grand scheme of life. And I can say this because I am well-aware of what it’s like to fail. I failed to understand Java 10. I failed this morning to push my way through the mob of grade 8s in the basement. And I fail, again and again, when trying to climb up the stairs to the science wing. But know that your mistakes aren’t permanent and your struggles will pass. Approach every challenge with a smile on your face and you’ll be sure to come out the other side.

So there you have it! The secrets to winning the race of life: speed, strategy, and spirit.

Posted by D. Lee on Monday November 5, 2018 at 03:10PM
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Features - Jennifer (Connell) Fotheringham ’84

Jennifer (Connell) Fotheringham ’84 began her term as President of the Alumnae Association in March 2018. The busy mum of three sat down with us to share why she loves being involved at Crofton House, what she would like to bring to the Alumnae Association, plus a few fun facts!

  1. Jennifer has a multi-faceted history with Crofton House.

    Jennifer has a strong family history with Crofton House. Her mum was a ‘lifer’ attending from Grade 1-12. Jennifer and her sister followed in their mother’s footsteps, coming in Grade 7 and staying to graduation. Jennifer’s mother-in-law was a Croftie and Jennifer’s two daughters, Lauren Fotheringham ’19 and Quinn Fotheringham ’17, both attended CHS.

    BUT Jennifer has another connection to CHS; she was a teacher here! Jennifer taught Social Studies, History and Comparative Civilization in the Senior School for four years. She was pregnant with Quinn while teaching here and has now seen her graduate from CHS. 

  2. Teaching was not Jennifer’s first career.

    Jennifer also lived and worked in Japan. Prior to getting her teaching degree, she went to UBC and took Asian Studies and Japanese language – then moving to Japan to work and study. Upon returning to Vancouver, she worked for the provincial government as the liaison to their overseas office in Tokyo. 

  3. Her favourite alumnae events include the Carol Service, Soup Sisters and the Mother-Daughter Tea.

    After working here, Jennifer kept in contact with CHS through the Carol Service and grad reunions, becoming more involved with the School when her daughters started attending.

    She joined the Alumnae Association Executive as Secretary four years ago, both wanting to give back to School and realizing she “loved getting to know alumnae above and below my grad year, as well as getting to connect with current students and parents”. 

  4. Increasing involvement in the Alumnae Association is important to Jennifer.

    During her time as President, Jennifer would like to see more people getting involved with the Alumnae Association by expanding the number of opportunities, ensuring time commitment isn’t a barrier and utilizing people’s talents and experience. “If we make it more accessible and provide alumnae ways to give back while using their talents and experience, it will be more meaningful to all.”

  5. Most memorable times at Crofton House

    Jennifer’s most memorable times at CHS include playing on the tennis and badminton teams. It was on these teams where great friendships were made with girls in all grades.

    Other memorable moments took place in Aubin Stewart’s cooking class, where surplus ingredients were conveniently disposed of out the ground floor window to avoid explaining the excess!
Posted by D. Lee on Monday November 5, 2018 at 03:10PM
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Message from Head of School – Dr. Pat Dawson

This is the 121st year that Crofton House School welcomes extraordinary girls through its doors - although not always these same doors! It is also the beginning of my 19th, and final year, as Head of Crofton House School.

I am committed to making it one of, if not my best, year yet. I am equally committed to working with the Board and the entire Senior Leadership team to ensure a smooth transition for the next Head of Crofton House, Ena Harrop, who will officially start in August 2019.

CHS is in a strong place for Ena to carry forward as the ninth Head of School. Last spring’s parent survey showed that more than 90% of parents would recommend the School to friends and colleagues. There is no better testament to the strength of CHS than referrals from our alumnae, parents, students and teachers.

It is important for the School to hear from each of these groups. As such, we will be surveying students this spring and alumnae the following year. In the meantime, I would encourage you to contact me, or our Assistant Director, Advancement, Lydia (McNeil) Vandenberg ’85, if there are any comments or thoughts that you wish to share.

Alumnae are involved in many aspects of school life from jam-making for the Winter Bazaar, to sharing their stories with Senior School students through Lunch-and-Learn sessions and participating in special events, such as the Mother-Daughter tea.

Once again, the School is excited to be working with the Alumnae Association to strengthen the alumnae network and bring more alumnae back to the campus – whether it’s to attend the Winter Bazaar on November 17, to join classmates at a reunion or to share your stories with Senior School students. And don’t forget – it’s a Gala year! We hope to see you at Parq Vancouver on March 2, 2019.

Servabo fidem,

Pat Dawson

Posted by D. Lee on Monday November 5, 2018 at 03:09PM
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Beyond the Ivy Walls: Jennifer Chow ’01

When did you come to Crofton House?

I came to CHS in Grade 5 – we had just moved to Vancouver and luckily, there were quite a few new girls that year so it wasn’t hard to make the adjustment

What is you most vivid memory of your time at CHS?

My most vivid academic memory is of doing my thesis with Mr. Mac – the whole experience really taught me discipline and writing skills – so valuable for the rest of my life.

My favourite non-academic memory is definitely playing in the woods! Those woods are pretty magical!

What led you to the career you have now – what inspired you?

I always wanted to be involved in something that had a social impact. Film is such a great medium for telling stories – it doesn’t really come across as preachy and people are still learning! With museums they extend the realm of curiosity – I think that being curious is so important in the world…..and let’s face it….science is cool!

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

My time at CHS gave me confidence and self-esteem. We were taught that we could do anything, tackle any issue, the only thing preventing us was us. We were taught to be creative in finding solutions and when you are curious you can achieve anything.

What message would you give the girls as they start looking towards their future?

Be open to different experiences

Find your passion and then get someone to pay you to do it!

Posted by D. Lee on Monday July 9, 2018 at 11:33AM
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Beyond the Ivy Walls: Maya Lange ’93

When did you come to Crofton House? Why?

I came to Crofton House in Grade 7 – back when that was the first year of the Senior School. I was part of the ‘West Van Bus Gang’ – it took us a while to get to school each day but it was a community within a community!

What is you most vivid memory of your time at CHS?

The teachers – they were so encouraging and amazing to work with.

Classroom time – both the learning and the friendships that were forged through studying.

I also loved the assemblies – something about coming together as a school has really played a large role in my memories about CHS.

What led you to the career you have now – what inspired you?

I have always really loved communicating with people. So much of my career has been driven by passion rather than skills. If you have the passion or interest in a certain area you can gain the skills.

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

The belief that women can do anything. I never thought I couldn’t achieve what I wanted to. Crofton gave me the confidence that everything was possible. 

What message would you give the girls as they start looking towards their future?

Keep a very open mind. Talk to as many people as possible about anything that interests you – get first hand info when making choices.

Posted by D. Lee on Monday July 9, 2018 at 11:32AM
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Alumnae in the Making: Class of 2018

Congratulations and Welcome Class of 2018!

The Class of 2018 ‘Triple O’ (hint: they were all born in the year 2000) has now graduated and are our newest members of the Alumnae Association. We are delighted to welcome these 101 graduates as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

One of the first events for their grad season was the annual Mother/Daughter Tea – Be Inspired! Jointly hosted by the Alumnae Association and the school the event welcomed alumna Lindsey Taylor ’93 to speak with the girls and mothers about the roads that lay ahead.

Lindsey stressed that no matter what path you take it is important to stay connected. Over her career, she has reaped the benefits of being mentored and in mentoring others. “There is so much to gain in each role – giving each other a helping hand or being able to open a door for someone else. Life is a journey – it’s easier when we hold hands.”

Most of these 101 graduates will be heading to post-secondary institutions in Canada, the United States and Europe. Others have decided on a gap year and will be working, traveling and exploring destinations like France and India. Below is the list of where our newest alumnae will be continuing their education next year: 

  • Architectural Association School of Architecture (London)
  • The New School – All Divisions, New York
  • Boston University
  • Cornell University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Georgetown University
  • George Washington University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • London College of Fashion
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Pomona College
  • Pratt Institute (NYC)
  • Queens University
  • Queens University, Belfast
  • Quest University
  • Ryerson University
  • Sheridan College
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Stanford University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University College London
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of California – Berkley
  • University of California – San Diego
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Oxford
  • University of St. Andrews
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of Victoria
  • Wellesley College
  • Western University
Posted by D. Lee on Monday July 9, 2018 at 11:32AM
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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

Calling all classes ending in 4 and 9 - this is the year for your 5 or 10-year reunion!  For more information on planning your reunion, including class lists, please contact the Alumnae Relations Office at alumnae@croftonhouse.ca.

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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