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Branksome Hall

10 Elm Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1N4

Liberal Arts,  International Baccalaureate
Grades (Gender):
JK to Gr. 12 (Girls)
$29,590 to 56,855/year
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
16 to 22
Day: 834 (Gr. JK - 12), Boarding: 66 (Gr. 7 - 12)

School Address
10 Elm Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 1N4



About this school:


Each day at Branksome Hall, we challenge and inspire girls to love learning and to shape a better world. Established in 1903, Branksome Hall is Toronto’s all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. Our liberal arts education creates independent thinkers, strong writers and skilled communicators. Located on a beautiful, 13-acre, downtown campus with state-of-the-art facilities, Branksome offers our students an outstanding academic program, with opportunities to learn, first-hand, about global engagement and wellness. From the earliest grades, students learn to become leaders and to understand the value of serving the community. Our graduates are welcomed by the leading universities in Canada and around the world, most with scholarships. Discover Branksome Hall’s remarkable programs and campus at www.branksome.on.ca. — Visit school website



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Our Take: Branksome Hall

our takeClans and tartans, prefects and polo shirts—the initial gestalt is very traditional. Some of the buildings on campus are heritage buildings, which adds to the luster, though they pre-date the founding of the school. Still, the spirit of the school is strikingly modern. The IB program starts early, as does the view to globalism. Branksome has a sister campus in South Korea, offering a hint of the dedication to an international gaze. Lists of notable alumni don't always reflect the work of the school—princes, for example, appear on those lists no matter what they achieve at school or afterward—though Branksome might prove the exception, in part because of the consistency of the achievement it demonstrates. Arts, letters, philanthropy, and leadership are all well represented in the list of notable alumni, just as they are within the school itself. Branksome Hall sets its sights very high, to be sure, and the ideal student is one who shares the core vision and is able to function in a very diverse, challenging, expansive environment.

Principal's Message


Karen Jurjevich, Principal

Each day, we challenge and inspire girls to love learning and to shape a better world. Our mission statement tells you a lot about Branksome Hall, but I invite you to visit our school to learn first-hand all that our school has to offer. Every day, I witness the astounding accomplishments of students in our classrooms and beyond — on our playing fields, on the stage, and in the community. I am continually inspired by the expertise and compassion of our faculty and staff. I am awed by the commitment of Branksome parents, who give so much of their time to help their daughters, and Branksome, succeed. And I see the impact Branksome Hall has had on the lives of our graduates — from the lifelong friendships they take away to the challenging endeavours they pursue. We are a caring community that is committed to nurturing and inspiring learners and leaders. I invite you to get to know us. Come to our Open Houses, take advantage of our ambassador tours, and explore our website. You will find a warm welcome and many opportunities to get answers to all of your questions about life at Branksome Hall.


Curriculum Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate

Primary Curriculum: Liberal Arts

Secondary Curriculum: International Baccalaureate

What Branksome Hall says: Branksome Hall is a fully authorized three program IB World School, offering a liberal arts program that is designed to ignite a spark in each student. Our unique blend of wellness, outstanding academics and global engagement opportunities ensures we integrate 21st century learning into our students’ daily lives. We are committed to helping each student reach her full potential as she explores her own interests, builds positive relationships, and learns to understand the world around her. Beyond the classroom, our students participate in various clubs, athletics teams, leadership opportunities and service learning experiences.\n

  • International Baccalaureate offered:
    Program = offered
    Primary Years
    Middle Years
    Diploma program
    Career-related program
  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Traditional Math

      Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What Branksome Hall says: The Mathematics program at Branksome provides opportunities for university-bound students to develop a strong understanding of mathematics; practise strategies for applying knowledge and skills to solve complex problems in both real-life and abstract situations; communicate reasoning using mathematical conventions and terminology; and become proficient in using graphing calculators and relevant computer software. Students will learn new mathematical concepts and skills through class discussion, group work and individual practice. In all grades, students will be encouraged to develop specific study strategies that can promote academic success here at Branksome and later at university.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: This information is not currently available.

    • Calculator policy: This information is not currently available.

    Early Reading
    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    • DIBELS Testing: This school does not use DIBELS testing to assess reading progress.

    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Social Studies
    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Humanities and Social Sciences
    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Foreign Languages
    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    • Languages Offered: • Chinese-Cantonese • Chinese-Mandarin • French • German • Italian • Latin • Russian • Spanish • ESL

    Fine Arts Equal Balance

      These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    IB Diploma Courses
    Group 1 (Language A)
    • English Literature SL
    • English Literature HL

    Group 2 (Language B)
    • French SL
    • French HL
    • Spanish SL
    • Spanish HL
    • Spanish ab initio SL

    Group 3 (Individuals and Societies)
    • Economics SL
    • Economics HL
    • Geography SL
    • Geography HL
    • History SL
    • History HL

    Group 4 (Experimental Sciences)
    • Chemistry SL
    • Chemistry HL
    • Biology SL
    • Biology HL
    • Physics SL
    • Physics HL
    • Environmental Systems SL
    • Sports, Exercise and Health Science SL

    Group 5 (Mathematics)
    • Mathematical Studies SL
    • Mathematics SL
    • Mathematics HL

    Group 6 (The Arts)
    • Music SL
    • Music HL
    • Theatre SL
    • Theatre HL
    • Visual Arts SL
    • Visual Arts HL
    • Film SL
    • Film HL

    Sex and Health Education Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What Branksome Hall says: The goal of our curriculum is to encourage respectful and open-minded conversation. Our approach is to equip our students with the information they need to make well-informed decisions based on their own personal experiences, values and beliefs.

    Preschool/K Curriculum Play-based

    • Play-based
    • Montessori
    • Waldorf
    • Reggio Emilia
    • Academic

    Play-based programs are the most common type of preschool and Kindergarten, and are founded on the belief young children learn best through play. Largely open-ended and minimally structured, play-based programs aim to develop social skills and a love of attending school. “Pre-academic” skills are taught, but in a more indirect way than at, say, an Academic program: through children playing in different “stations” set up around the classroom, which children choose on their own volition. Stations often contain an indirect lesson or developmental goal. Play-based classrooms are highly social and active.

    If you want to learn more about preschool education, check out our comprehensive guide. You can also read our in-depth answers to important preschool questions: What is preschool? What are the main preschool programs? What are the main pros and cons of preschool? What do children learn in preschool? How much does preschool cost?  What makes for a great preschool?

    What Branksome Hall says: The Junior School sparks a joy and interest in learning that will stay with a student for life. Caring teachers stimulate natural curiosity. Small classes allow for the personal attention that helps a young girl thrive and develop her self-esteem. Students follow a curriculum that provides a solid grounding in basic skills and promotes good study habits. From the earliest age, girls learn to express themselves as competent communicators and to develop self reliance. Students learn through inquiry-based instruction within a variety of subject disciplines, including English and French, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, and Physical Education.

    Curriculum Pace Standard-enriched

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    Broadly-speaking, the main curriculum -- like that of most schools -- paces the provincially-outlined one. This pace is steady and set by the teachers and school. The curriculum might still be enriched in various ways: covering topics more in-depth and with more vigor than the provincial one, or covering a broader selection of topics.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What Branksome Hall says about flexible pacing: This information is not currently available.

    Academic Culture Rigorous

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “rigorous” academic culture places a high value on academic performance, and expects their students to do the same. This does not mean the school is uncaring, unsupportive, or non-responsive -- far from it. A school can have a rigorous academic culture and still provide excellent individual support. It does mean, however, the school places a particular emphasis on performance -- seeking the best students and challenging them to the fullest extent -- relative to a normal baseline. High expectations and standards – and a challenging yet rewarding curriculum – are the common themes here. Keep in mind this classification is more relevant for the older grades: few Kindergarten classrooms, for example, would be called “rigorous”.

    What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Intellectual, Balanced

    Primary Developmental Priority: Intellectual
    Academically strong, creative, and critical thinkers, capable of exercising rationality, apprehending truth, and making aesthetic distinctions.

    Secondary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    What Branksome Hall says: This information is not currently available.

    Special Needs Support Withdrawal Assistance

    Withdrawal Assistance

    Students remain in a regular classroom for most of the day, but are pulled out for extra support from a qualified special education teacher.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What Branksome Hall says: Branksome Hall follows an inclusion and Learning Diversity Policy where every student is the responsibility of every classroom teacher and where our teachers take ownership of the special learning needes of students in their classroom and differentiate their instruction to meet those needs.

    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Learning disabilities
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Williams syndrome
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Clinical anxiety
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Multiple sclerosis
      Cerebral palsy
      Muscular dystrophy
      Spina Bifida
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy
    • Summary: As Branksome Hall is an independent school with a rigorous admissions process, our students with identified learning needs are generally high-functioning students. They have formal, individual, written plans based on a psycho-educational assessment, medical documentation or social emotional documentation. Provincial funding is not available for our Learning Strategies program. For this reason, Branksome is unable to support students whose learning needs exceed the inclusive classroom.

    Gifted Learner Support No Support

    Branksome Hall does not offer any specialized programming for gifted learners.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What Branksome Hall says:
    • Branksome Hall's rowing and debating programs are world-ranked. We are the reigning Canadian champions for both rowing and debating.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Downhill skiing
      Field Hockey
      Ice Hockey
      Ice Skating
      Track & Field
    • Clubs Offered
      Art Club
      Astronomy Club
      Audiovisual Club
      Chess Club
      Community Service
      Computer Club
      Debate Club
      Drama Club
      Environmental Club
      Foreign Language Club
      Jazz Ensemble
      Math Club
      Musical theatre/Opera
      Outdoor Club
      Outdoor Education
      Poetry/Literature club
      Robotics club
      School newspaper
      Science Club
      Student Council

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day Boarding
    Boarding $54,605$56,855

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: 7 to 12
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid5%
    Average aid package size$15,000
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid5%
    Total aid available$750,000

    Application Deadline:
    December 04, 2015 Repeats annually

    More information:

    Application Details:

    This school works with Apple Financial Inc. for processing financial applications
    Families must apply online to Apple Financial: https://applefinancialservices.ca/home/ as well as complete the Branksome Hall admissions process (online application, tour, interview and student assessment).

    Merit based Scholarships

    Branksome Hall Merit-Based Entrance Scholarships
    Amount: $12,500
    Deadline: 12/04/2015
    Eligibility Details: Students grade 7 to 11—

    Merit scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated excellence in academics and co-curricular experiences. Merit scholarships range from $1,000 to $12,500 for day and residence students entering Grade 7 to 11. Applicants participate in the scholarship process of a written essay and presentation. 

    Application Details:

    To more details on our Entrance Merit Scholarships, please contact the admissions office: [email protected] 

    For more details, visit: www.branksome.on.ca/admissions/Pages/financialaidscholarships/Financial-Support.aspx
    Branksome Hall Meghji Scholarship
    Amount: 100%
    Deadline: 12/04/2015
    Eligibility Details: Students grade 9 to 12—

    The Meghji Scholarship provides full tuition for an exceptionally promising new student entering Grades 9, 10 or 11 in Branksome Hall's day program who might not otherwise have the means to attend Branksome Hall. It also covers applicable IB fees and assists with the purchase of books and additional school expenses, such as school laptop and co-curricular fees.

    The Scholarship Committee will review applications from qualifying students with the following characteristics and achievements:

    • High academic achievement, interest in learning, and the ability to articulate future academic goals
    • Broad interests outside the classroom, including ongoing commitment to one or more of the arts, athletics and service learning, as well as participation in school or community leadership
    • Branksome Hall is looking for applicants who have demonstrated the qualities of leadership, adaptability, perseverance and integrity.
    • Financial need. Families must apply and qualify for financial assistance. Interested families need to complete the Financial Aid for Canadian Students' (FACS) Form, which is done through Apple Financial Services


    Application Details:
    1. Submit a brief letter of interest by email to Kimberly Carter, Director of Enrolment Management at Branksome Hall
    2. Online admissions application to Branksome Hall (Apply now)
    3. Online application to Apple Financial Services
    4. Completion of an admissions interview at Branksome Hall (November 2015 – February 2016)
    5. Admissions assessment (either SSAT or The Branksome Hall English and Math entrance tests by February 2016)
    6. Submit two reference letters from adults who have worked with the applicant and can speak to her strengths and character by January 30, 2016.
    7. Written Task: Applicants are asked to send a letter to the Branksome Hall Scholarship Committee by January 30, 2016 that states:
      1.      a. Why the applicant feels she would be an excellent Meghji Scholarship recipient
             b. Her academic achievements
             c. Her co-curricular and service achievements
             d. Evidence of leadership, collaboration and teamwork
    8. Final Presentation Task: Finalist applicants will be invited to participate in an oral presentation to the Scholarship Committee in early February 2016.
    For more details, visit: www.branksome.on.ca/admissions/Pages/financialaidscholarships/Financial-Support.aspx


    Total enrollment 900
    Average enrollment per grade60
    Average class size16 to 22
    Gender (grades)JK to Gr. 12 (Girls)
    Boarding offered Gr. 7 - 12
    % in boarding (total enrollment)7%
    % in boarding (grade-eligible)10%

    If you want to learn more about boarding schools, check out our comprehensive guide.

    Student distribution:

    Day Enrollment101630324044464686881039910499
    Boarding Enrollment29181413



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    InterviewJK - 12
    SSAT9 - 11
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)9 - 11
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:
    December 04, 2015

    Boarding students:

    What Branksome Hall says:
    • Completed online application form (www.http://branksome.on.ca/admissions/Pages/Apply.aspx)
    • Recent report cards: the most recent report card plus the final report cards from the two previous years
    • Any other pertinent educational information that might assist the school in understanding your daughter's history (e.g., an educational assessment)
    • Interview (in person or via Skype for international applicants) for Grades 4-12
    • Entrance test (SSATs or Branksome Hall entrance tests) for Grades 9-11
    • Application fee $210


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Branksome Hall is looking for: Students who thrive at Branksome Hall are thoughtful learners who seek knowledge and think critically. Even at a young age, Branksome Hall students are comfortable with differing points of view and they ask challenging questions and solve complex problems. It is important that students are interested in engaging with the school, their community and the world around us. Some key words that describe the Branksome Hall student include risk-taker, communicator, thinker, inquirer, principled, caring, open-minded, balanced, reflective, spirited and awe-inspiring.

    Day Boarding

    Student Entry Points

    Student TypeJKSK123456789101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    10 - 14 (80%)4 - 8 (100%)12 - 18 (80%)4 - 6 (80%)4 - 8 (80%)2 - 4 (100%)0 - 4 (100%)0 - 4 (100%)40 - 46 (80%)0 - 4 (100%)12 - 24 (80%)6 - 12 (90%)4 - 8 (100%)0 - 2 (100%)
    Boarding Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)
    0 - 4 (100%)0 - 4 (100%)3 - 12 (80%)4 - 12 (80%)4 - 8 (90%)0 - 2 (100%)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class size115
    *Canadian "Big 6" placements53
    **Ivy+ placements38

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    What Branksome Hall says:

  • Choosing a university is a match to be made and not a prize to be won. At Branksome Hall, the Guidance and University counselling team prides itself on providing individualised support for our girls through the university exploration and application process. Postsecondary planning begins in Grade 10 with the Careers Studies course, and carries through the Diploma 1 and 2 (Grade 11 and 12) years. We encourage students to discover the best university fit for them, through one-on-one counselling, exploration of postsecondary resources, writing clinics, application workshops, student-parent information evenings, and annual visits from over 80 university representatives. The enrichment offered through the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program offered at Branksome Hall, enhances the girls’ educational experience, thoroughly preparing our students for the demands of university programs, and providing multiple avenues for girls to explore their passion for service learning, athletics and well-being, and creativity. Given their rich academic and co-curricular experiences, it is no surprise that Branksome girls are admitted to, and thrive at, a wide variety of top universities and programs in Canada and globally.

  • Notable Alumni

    Alumnus Graduation Year Accomplishment
    Budge Wilson 1945 Award-winning Canadian author. Member of the Order of Canada. Received the Order of Nova Scotia.
    Nancy Ruth 1960 Canadian Senator
    Ann Rohmer 1976 Lead TV anchor of CP24, Toronto
    Linda McQuaig 1969 Noted social critic, author (The Wealthy Banker's Wife), and journalist. The National Post described her as "Canada's Michael Moore".
    Marjorie Gross 1974 Television writer and producer. Wrote for numerous shows including Seinfeld.
    Stacey Farber 2005 Actress best known for her role as "Eleanor" on the TV show, "Degrassi: The Next Generation"
    Jackie Burroughs 1957 Gemini-winning actress. Received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.

    Stories & Testimonials


    Taking Action on Day One

    Back to school this week took on new meaning for our Grade 6 students. Very familiar with social action projects, the girls enthusiastically embarked on a Water Walk, together with WE.org and Brita Canada as sponsors. 

    Carrying heavy water cans on their backs, in temperatures as hot as you might experience in rural Kenya, our girls learnt what it means for some African girls and women to carry water daily in order to provide for their families' water needs. 

    "It's amazing how fast you tire out after walking half the field," said Grade 6 student Lulu.

    The girls walked in teams of four, together with volunteers from Brita. At times, they had to help each other with the water-filled barrels. "It was tough, and you learn just how hard it is for some people to get water," commented Grade 6 student Helena. 

    View the Video

    Free the Children (WE.org) founder Marc Kielburger told students that "The number one reason why girls don't go to school in sub-Saharan Africa is not because there are no schools, but because they have to get water for their villages." 

    As program sponsor, Brita's goal is to provide access to safe, clean water to the community in Irkaat, Kenya through the provision of boreholes. "Brita Canada has partnered with WE.org to educate a generation of youth around the idea that small choices can make a very, very big impact," said Brita's General Manager Mike Pilato. 

    Adding to this meaningful day, talented Canadian artist Serge Belo created a large art installation in the middle of the field, using 600 white water barrels. The installation depicted a woman's profile and a water drop. Belo noted that the number of barrels depicts the average amount of water a Canadian family uses in a year. 



    Glee Star Visits Branksome Hall

    Emmy-nominated Dot Jones, one of the stars of the hit TV show Glee, flew to Toronto this week to attend the Junior School's "Girls Glow" talent show and to meet a very special Branksome family.

    The compelling story of Sophie Sullivan, a huge Glee fan, prompted the actor to travel for a face-to-face meeting with the nine-year-old and attend the Branksome show that was inspired, in part, by Sophie.

    In February 2012, Sophie, then in Grade 3 at Branksome Hall, was rushed to Sick Kids Hospital, where doctors determined that she had suffered a major brain hemorrhage as a result of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) rupture. Since that time, as Sophie has made slow but steady progress in her recovery, her spirits have been buoyed by watching Glee with family and friends.

    Sophie "would smile at familiar songs and jokes, and seemed genuinely comforted by the soundtrack playing in the background," wrote Physical Education teacher Kristin Buchanan in a letter to Glee's cast. "Glee became so much more than just a television show…. The music matters. The laughs matter. They made a difference in Sophie's life—perhaps the difference—when it mattered most," she added.

    As the Junior School singers, dancers and actors rehearsed for their own Glee-like show, called Girls Glow, they decided to turn the event into a fundraiser for Sick Kids Hospital, where Sophie was treated.

    In the meantime, Ms Buchanan's letter made it into the hands of Glee producers and actors—thanks to contacts from Carly Cohen, who produces many of the Junior School musical theatre productions at Branksome Hall. Dot Jones, who plays Coach Beiste on Glee, decided to fly from Los Angeles to meet Sophie and see Girls Glow.

    Sophie's medical condition has left her unable to return to classes this year, but she attended Girls Glow and "she remains in our hearts and our thoughts," said Principal Karen Jurjevich Murton before the curtain rose on the talent show.

    "Thank you for letting me be a part of this," said Dot Jones at the June 4th event, which featured girls in Grades 1 through 6.

    "What an incredible show. I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of our girls," said Head of Junior School Sarah Craig. "Just as Glee recognizes that teachers, students and music have a shared connection, Branksome recognizes the power of music in our classrooms and our lives."

    "There are things within your community that you just don't think exist, and what we've learned is that there are amazing people in this world who want to help," Sophie's mother, Shannon Sullivan, told Global TV prior to the show. "We're grateful and we can't even believe the overwhelming support and love for a little girl who deserves it."

    To learn more about Sophie's story, visit Global News. Photos of Girls Glow are available on The Globe and Mail website and the Branksome website.


    Alumna Fights for Human Rights

    Fiona Sampson has a mission: to improve the lives of African women and girls who are subjected to abuse and denied human rights.

    "Every 30 minutes, a girl or a woman is raped in Kenya," says Ms Sampson, a Branksome graduate from the Class of 1981. "It is an extremely serious problem that is growing." This sobering message, was shared by Ms Sampson during a Branksome Hall senior assembly in April 2013. Her presentation helped students understand the value of the work of Equality Effect and what the organization is doing to try to help women in many African nations.

    Ms Sampson obtained her Ph.D. in women's equality law from Osgoode Hall Law School. While in school, she founded the "Equality Effect," which is an organization that creates legal solutions for women and girls whose basic human rights are being violated.

    Ms Sampson put her passion for social equality to a good cause and began a career where she is making a difference for women in many countries, including Kenya, Ghana and Malawi. Her drive to improve women's legal equality is evident through her work and her ongoing involvement with numerous human rights organizations. She hopes that, once changes in the legal system in these countries are made, women will have better access to legal aid and that their rights are maintained and respected.

    In May 2013, her efforts paid off when the High Court of Kenya took action on behalf of women. Kenyan police are now required to enforce the nation's rape laws and take action against perpetrators, or they will face prison sentences or fines. See news coverage: .

    In 2012, Branksome Hall bestowed upon Ms Sampson the Allison Roach Alumna Award for the rights advocate's remarkable work and contributions to improving the lives of women globally. Branksome Hall is honoured to have an alumna who has had such a tremendous impact on the improvement of women's lives.

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