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Branksome Class of 2017, your school community applauds you.
June 2, 2017
Congratulations, Class of 2017!
The day of graduation from high school is a memorable occasion for everyone who experiences it: proud parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, classmates. Of course, it’s especially momentous for the graduate herself.

May 25, 2017 was one day 112 young women will remember forever. At 1:30 p.m., they, their families and teachers filed into the serene sanctuary of St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Bloor Street. Two hours later, they emerged as proud International Baccalaureate (IB) graduates of Branksome Hall.

Among the graduating class are seven “sandbox” graduates who have attended Branksome since Junior Kindergarten, and two since Senior Kindergarten.

Principal Karen Jurjevich applauded the Class of 2017 as “confident risk takers for whom there are no hard and fast rules for education or career. They are innovators, academics, entrepreneurs, adventurers, scientists and creative designers,” she said. “This is a class that spreads spirit in a way that is simply contagious – everyone gets involved and supports each other. In fact, this is a group of girls who are actually in awe of each other.”

An awe-inspiring class it is. Sixteen students received the Bilingual IB Diploma. This means they studied a second language—including German, Russian, Mandarin and French—at mother-tongue level, completing double the oral activities and written tasks in Language and Literature.

The three recipients of the The Nicholas Fodor Extended Essay Award approached their IB Extended Essays with passion and a high degree of intellectual initiative, understanding and insight into complex, challenging topics:

  • In History, Jana Kurrek delved into the question: “Whether Ariel Sharon’s single-handed attempt to occupy Beirut and install a pro-Israeli Christian government was the primary reason why Israel’s 1982 Peace for Galilee Campaign failed.”
  • In Mathematics, Sophia Li examined “How the investigation of Ptolemy’s Theorem helps further our understanding of its applicability and plasticity in Geometry.”
  • And Mei Yao demonstrated her intricate understanding of Mandarin language and culture as she explored “The way satire is developed through the use of “doubāofú” in modern iterations of traditional Chinese comedic dialogue.”

Service to community is as much a hallmark of the Class of 2017 as inquiry and critical thinking. The Lieutenant Governor’s Award went to Jana Kurrek who worked closely with the First Nations Public School of Toronto. For a year, Jana partnered with the University of Toronto to provide support for indigenous youth to learn about STEM opportunities at the university.

The Lisa MATTHEWS’ Schatz’82 School Medal for Scholarship, awarded to the student who has excelled in all subject areas, achieving top marks in her chosen subjects in the IB Diploma Program, was presented to Sophia Li. Sophia’s teachers observed her exceptional intellectual capacity, critical thinking skills and aptitude for linking language to complex ways of thinking.

Head Girl, Anna Lisa Lowenstein, received The Jean Hume Memorial Medal. In Grades 9 and 10, Anna Lisa served on the Transformational Leadership Task Force that shaped the vision for student leadership at Branksome Hall. Her capacity to uplift and celebrate others was matched by her expert debating and public speaking skills in more than 35 regional, national and international events.

The attributes, achievements and potential of each 2017 graduate could fill volumes. As Valedictorian Natalie MacMillan expressed it:

“We have so many places to go, and so many ideas to explore, as we fulfill Branksome’s mission to ‘shape a better world.’ While we cannot predict where our lives will take us, or what adventures or challenges we may face, we can be sure that there is an army of women behind us, and with that, you and I are unstoppable. We are the luckiest of the luckiest! Not just because we were privileged to attend Branksome, but also because whatever we decide to do in life, we will be supported by our Branksome values, our grit, a really good sense of humour, and each other.”

Branksome Class of 2017, your school community applauds you and looks forward to witnessing your brilliant futures unfold.

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