Interview with The York School Alum, Leila Keshavjee
These days, Leila Keshavjee runs Happy Pops, an all-natural ice pops maker that you might have seen on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Before starting her business, Leila graduated from The York School, where she learned how to juggle a wide range of new challenges. It’s an essential skill, she says, for an entrepreneur. She says what made The York School appealing to her was its rare offering of an IB education in a co-ed community.
Highlights from the interview
I think I would definitely say the technology [is one of the things I appreciated the most about The York School]. You weren’t rushing to take notes all the time, or it made it really easy to go back to your notes, and you had very clear notes from the teachers. I think that made it really easy to follow, and then go back and study—especially when you’re doing the IB program, and you’re going back to your notes much later to prepare for the diploma exam.
[When I think of what drew me to The York School], there’s the IB program. It’s also a co-ed school—that was also a deciding factor for my family. They wanted me to go to a co-ed school and I think that [was a big reason for choosing the school]. There’s not really too many co-ed IB programs, so that definitely played a big role.
I would say everyone [at The York School] was really quite driven, and I think that’s what made it a really great environment to want to work hard. It keeps it competitive. But I would also say everyone was so different and so confident in what they wanted to do—whether they were applying to a really great program like an Ivy League school or a great local program, whether they wanted to pursue arts or business or medicine—everybody was very interested in different things and I think we were all really well supported in what we wanted to do.
It’s a pretty small school, but it’s quite well laid out. So it may not have all the facilities and extra stuff like some of the bigger schools, but it ends up working out really well. There’s still great facilities and a great library—they have renovated it significantly since I left—… but it was a really nice [school with] great stuff, but packed into a nice small place.
Looking back, [The York School] definitely was great in terms of giving me a really well-rounded education, and teaching me just how to work really hard. I think especially now as a business owner—where you’re thrown into the deep end and you’re just trying to do a whole bunch of things—I think having that kind of education and knowing how to really work hard and stay motivated and be super driven … I definitely am really thankful that I had that experience to go to The York School.