It was an evening of values, virtual reality and very genuine thanks. On Thursday, October 3, Branksome Hall hosted our annual Circle Reception, where we recognized those supporters who have generously given leadership contributions to the school over the past year.
This year’s event was an opportunity for our school’s most generous supporters to see the impact of their gifts first hand. In particular, we shared how their tremendous support allows us to ensure everything we do at Branksome Hall is informed by our school values of Sense of Community, Inclusiveness, Creativity and Making a Difference.
Circle Reception guests were invited to visit three different areas to experience the work students were accomplishing in class, all informed by our values. In one area, guests donned virtual reality headsets that allowed them to virtually travel to a Syrian refugee camp. This immersive experience, informed by our value of Inclusiveness, has been used by Branksome faculty in the classroom to nurture student empathy and an understanding of multiple perspectives. A profound experience, it left many guests amazed by the impact this technology could have.
In the new iHub, guests learned how students are creating their own solutions to the world’s most pressing problems—Making a Difference in action. Guests listened to three student groups pitch entrepreneurial ideas, all of which had the goal of solving a societal problem such as climate change, waste generated by ‘fast fashion’ and communication issues experienced by seniors in long-term care facilities. This school year, many more innovative ideas will be hatched within the walls of the iHub, as it will be home to Branksome’s new business accelerator, Noodle—the first business accelerator in a Canadian high school.
In a third area, Creativity was on display through a showcase of student art and film. Arts and Innovation Prefect, Alexa Vasilakos, spoke about how creativity not only gave her an expressive outlet, but led her to opportunities and connections that she hadn’t imagined. In her 14th, and final, year at Branksome, she shared how creativity has shaped her as a student and an individual. “Creativity helps us to be better problem-solvers and thinkers and works to foster transferable life skills,” she said.
Our school values inform the work we do at Branksome every day, and we would not be able to take the bold leaps in our programming if it weren’t for the generosity of our Circle Donors. “Giving is easy and rewarding, whether it be volunteering your time, or financially,” one donor noted when asked why she gives. “No amount is too small, as all giving [...] truly makes a difference. I believe in Branksome Hall from my experience as a student, my time volunteering, and as a current parent. Branksome is building a leading-edge environment for young women to excel, innovate and contribute to society. To give is a continuation of one’s education.”
We thank all of our donors for supporting us as we build on our values to propel our school into the future, and we thank our students and employees for living our values through the work they do every day.