An important part of leadership is listening to others and knowing when it is time to make a change. This sentiment rings true when it comes to Branksome Hall’s most recent Installation ceremony, a longstanding school tradition celebrating student leadership.
This ceremony has always been a very special part of our school culture, and this year we continued this tradition while making several intentional changes to ensure that Installation is an inclusive celebration of student leadership and community. On September 17, Installation took place at our Athletics and Wellness Centre here at Branksome Hall, instead of at an off-campus location. The decision to hold the ceremony on campus was made following the recommendation of the Installation Working Group, comprised of students, employees, parents and alums. In their report, the Working Group cited our school values—Sense of Community, Inclusiveness, Creativity and Making a Difference—as a core rationale for moving Installation back to campus.
Another recommendation which was taken up this year was to hold the ceremony at an earlier point in the school year, so it reflects a natural starting-point and bookends the year with our Green Carpet Celebration and Graduation ceremony in the spring.
Historically, Installation has honoured our graduating class and students and “installed” student leaders into the roles that they will uphold for the coming school year. In light of the Working Group’s recommendations, this year’s ceremony recognized student leadership in its broadest form to ensure a more diverse and inclusive celebration of student voices and experiences. This included a celebration of our Grade 6 student leaders, as well as stories of individual leadership such as those shared by Grade 10 student entrepreneurs Kaitlin and Lauren Greirson, and competitive figure skater Caitlin Kukulowicz.
As Deputy Principal Karrie Weinstock noted in her opening remarks, “I believe that everyone sitting here today knows that you do not need an elected position to be a leader and have a positive impact. What matters is that you trust your voice, make responsible decisions and take meaningful action. This afternoon, we will hear many inspiring examples of how this happens.”
One of many traditions that were carried on this year was to welcome an inspiring alum to speak at the ceremony. We were incredibly honoured to have Miranda de PENCIER’87, an award-winning Canadian producer and director, join us to share her experiences in the film and television industry and her reflections on being a student at Branksome. A natural storyteller, Miranda engaged the audience with her humour, honesty and passion. She encouraged students to "Trust your gut, be kind to yourself and maybe wander off that road every once in a while, with a thick skin and an open heart"—an inspiring message about making a difference from an alum to students who are thinking about their own roles as leaders within our school community.