When Eleanor McCain reflects on Havergal, she feels a sense of gratitude for the experiences, opportunities and friendships that her daughter Laura David, Grade 12, has gained since her first day of Kindergarten. Over the past fourteen years, Eleanor has expressed this appreciation not only through her support of the Limitless Campaign, but also by donating her time in various ways: acting as a Grade Rep when Laura was in the Junior School, participating in Havergal’s career networking initiative and Day 9 programs, and most recently, performing at Havergal’s 125th anniversary event Past, Present, Future at Roy Thomson Hall. “If there is something that I can contribute in any way, I am honoured and grateful to give back to the school,” explains Eleanor.
Like her mother, Laura is also a passionate singer and songwriter who has explored her interest in many areas of Havergal, including computer science, social sciences, Model U.N., and volleyball. As an only child, she has cultivated close bonds with her classmates throughout the years and even partnered with three friends to start She Clothing Co. when she was in Grade 9. “Havergal’s teachers, students, and facilities have all contributed to the woman Laura has become. I think we should feel such gratitude that the girls have access to this level of education,” says Eleanor.
This sense of appreciation is what motivated Eleanor to contribute to the Limitless Campaign, which will help to create spaces that inspire learning with enhancements to Havergal’s Junior and Upper Schools. “The new facilities will give students the opportunity to explore, feel inspired and take risks, while gaining a sense of what is possible,” says Eleanor.
After careful consideration, Eleanor and Laura decided to contribute to the planned Makerspace at Havergal’s Upper School because of Laura’s passion for computer science and wish to promote women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Located in the art and tech wing, the Makerspace will act as a drop-in area for students to use for cross-disciplinary projects, while supporting an expanded Robotics program.
For Laura, encouraging women to pursue their interest in STEM-related fields—predominately occupied by men—is another step towards gender equality: a topic that she has shown interest in through her involvement in She Clothing Co. With the slogan “help girls help the world,” the non-profit aims to raise money for organizations that support empowering young women. “I think it is important to live life in gratitude and part of that is sharing what you have and giving back,” says Eleanor when speaking to the importance of philanthropy. To date, the success of the non-profit has produced two $1,000 scholarships for Girls E-Mentorship and is halfway to raising $3,000 for the STEM program at the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment.
Although this school year marks Laura’s last year at Havergal, Eleanor hopes that the new facilities will empower future students to explore their passions, much like her daughter. “Each student at Havergal has thrived because of past donors who have given to Havergal,” explains Eleanor. “Our daughters are the future. Donating to Havergal’s Limitless Campaign is about looking back in gratitude for the education our daughters have received while also looking towards the future they will build.” Havergal is looking forward to welcoming students into the new spaces, including the Upper School Makerspace, starting in the 2020-21 school year.