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Creativity and Collaboration: Grade 9 Students Visit From Branksome Hall Asia

Each fall, Branksome Hall welcomes Grade 9 students from Branksome Hall Asia (BHA), our sister school on Jeju Island, South Korea, to campus for a week of hands-on learning in the Arts. From creating beautiful animations during the Interdisciplinary Unit Week (IDU), which took place from Monday, October 16 to Friday, October 20, 2023, to bonding with new friends at the Boarding cultural dinner, their most recent visit was one to remember.
The arrival of the BHA students on Monday, October 16 was met with excited cheers and warm hugs. It was clear that this group of Grade 9 students was going to be the best of friends by the end of the week. The BHA students entered the school to see a crowd of Branksome Hall Canada students with colourful signs complete with kind greetings and welcoming messages.

After getting to know one another, students got to work on their projects for this year’s IDU week, a collaborative project between the students that would culminate in a final showcase. Each team, consisting of students from both schools, designed and animated short films based on stories that connect us to the past, position us in the present and guide us to the future. Students combined the traditional arts, theatre, dance, music and visual arts, with animation to create mesmerizing stop-motion works.

When BHA students weren’t working on their project, they were participating in activities around campus. One morning, the students spent time with Junior School students for a special session of Big Sister, Little Sister. The girls read stories, played with toys and drew pictures while getting to know each other. Students from both schools learned more about one another’s cultures at the event hosted by the Boarding community. The night was filled with presentations on the differences and similarities between Canada and South Korea and a Jeopardy-style quiz on Canadian food and sports.

On the final day of the visit, the Branksome Hall community gathered in the gym to screen the films. On screen, clay, paper and digital drawings were transformed to tell stories about the seasons, growing up, the little things that make us happy and much more. At the end of the day, students bid a teary farewell to their new Branksome Hall Asia friends. Though we were sad to see them go, by collaborating on projects, sharing meals and having fun, the two groups created friendships that will last a lifetime. We cannot wait to see our friends again in the spring, when Branksome Hall Canada’s Grade 9 students travel to Jeju Island for their annual study-abroad opportunity.
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.

Setting the new standard for girls' education everywhere takes collective action. From all of us.