Prev 2024


  • We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

    The SMLS community recently gathered together for our annual Founders Day celebration - an opportunity look-back, acknowledge our past and honour our 133-year history. It was a thrill to welcome back alumnae, to acknowledge our Legacy Families, and to join together as a whole school for a look-back at our remarkable history. 

    SMLS is a place where empowered women emerge and a good part of that is because of our forward-thinking, trailblazing founders, Sister Emily Ayckbowm and Miss Ruth Lightbourn. These two women had visions of a future for girls that was better than what existed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They both had a commitment to progressive and innovative education, social justice and a concern for society, all of which remain hallmarks of an SMLS education today. 

    Today’s Millies enjoy incredible opportunities - workplace experience in a range of industries, global citizenship experiences, leadership development and so much more. These opportunities exist because of the strong women in our history who have, over time, challenged world views, fought for education and for equal rights, and persevered in the face of adversity.

    It is a privilege to celebrate Founders Day - a day to recognize and give thanks to the women who came before us and to celebrate the opportunities we can create for empowered women to keep challenging and transforming the world.

    We extend a very warm thank you to everyone who joined us for this very special occasion!
    Read More
  • Impact of Giving

    SMLS's 2024 Impact of Giving report is out now! We invite you to read through and see all of the great ways our donors are supporting SMLS's ambitious vision to see more women empowered to challenge and transform the world. 

    Giving plays a very special role at SMLS. Our supporters' gifts make our unique learning environment designed for girls possible. Each day, our students benefit from our community's generosity.  
    Within this report are examples of how philanthropic support of SMLS fuels the work we set out to achieve every day on behalf of our Millies. We hope you enjoy reading how gifts are enhancing the educational experience for our Millies, empowering girls and young women, and helping to create a better, more equitable future.
    The world needs more empowered women. You make that happen with your support of SMLS. 

    View the 2024 Impact of Giving report here. 
    Read More
  • Miss Lightbourn's School Reunion

    Thanks for Coming: Miss Lightbourn's School 100th Anniversary Celebration

    On Friday, April 19, alumnae, former faculty and friends gathered at SMLS to celebrate a momentous milestone - the centennial anniversary of Miss Lightbourn’s School. The excitement was high as memories were shared and connections were renewed. Many special guests attended including one of our oldest alumnae who graduated in 1941, the wife of Ruth Lightbourn’s nephew, and even some men who were students at Miss Ligthbourn’s School in its earliest days. Thank you to all who joined us for this momentous occasion, and a special thank you to Debbie Scott ‘65 and Averill Ambrose ‘65 for their leadership in planning this joyous occasion. 

    Thanks to SMLS alumna Sarah REEVES Sims '90 for the photography that so wonderfully captures the celebration. 
    Read More
  • Photo credit: Christopher Kindratsky

    SMLS Alumna Awarded for Excellence in Teaching

    Lauren Tribe ‘87 (Western University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering) was recently presented with The Edward G. Pleva for Excellence in Teaching award from Western University. Lauren’s dedication to teaching and commitment to student success has earned her this well-deserved recognition.  Her innovative approach to teaching and unwavering support inspires and supports her students to reach their full potential.
    Not only has Lauren achieved impressive success in her career and research, she remains involved and supportive of SMLS as a current member of our Board of Governors, and has often visited our students as a special guest speaker and mentor, offering unlimited help and advice to Millies interested in Western or Engineering, as well as attending our alumnae reunions in the London area. In 2020, SMLS presented Lauren with the Outstanding Alumna Award for her significant achievements in her field and for her positive impact on the local, national or global community. 
    Lauren wishes to thank everyone who supported this nomination and all of the amazing students that she has had the privilege to guide in their educational journey.
    Congratulations Lauren on your outstanding achievements and receiving this well-deserved award!
    Read More
  • Miss Sagert’s Grade 5-6 Class, Miss Lightbourn’s School 1964

    Century Celebration

    A group of passionate alumnae who attended Miss Lightbourn’s School in the 1960's has invited former students of Miss Lightbourn’s School, a pioneering school for girls, in Oakville, to attend a special 100th anniversary celebration and reunion that will take place at St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School on Friday, April 19th at 4:00 pm.
    “As far as we know, this is the first reunion of alumnae who attended Miss Lightbourn’s School since the school was founded by Miss Ruth Lightbourn in 1923,” says Debbie Scott, a volunteer Class Representative for the Class of 1965. “We know it’s a moment in history to be celebrated, and have undertaken the challenge to find and contact as many alumnae as possible.”
    Read More
  • Addressing the Dream Gap: The Role of All-Girls Schools in Shaping Girls' Futures

    I recently came across a powerful video created in support of Mattel’s Barbie Dream Gap Project, a global mission dedicated to closing the gap that’s created - and perpetuated - by typical gender stereotypes and biases. The video is a strong call to action for all of us to be champions and role models in the lives of girls and to create the kind of environments that allow girls and young women to reach their full potential.

    As the video highlights, the Dream Gap does not derive from a lack of confidence, skill, desire or drive in girls. Rather, the Dream Gap exists because of the stereotypes and biases that exist even in today’s modern world. To me, this is the true value of a girls’ school - a girls’ school provides the girls-can-do-anything environment from the very beginning of a young women’s learning journey and keeps nurturing that mindset as she continues to learn and grow.

    Critics argue that the all-girls environment does not reflect the real world, and therefore limits girls’ experiences and readiness for life after school. I challenge that by addressing the significant advantages in reaching girls early and often - before the dream gap can even begin to take hold in their bright, young minds. 

    With built-in opportunities for role modeling and mentorship, girls schools naturally and easily create a positive environment that is conducive to high aspirations and lifelong success. At SMLS, the senior students and our active network of alumnae all over the world serve as direct sources of inspiration and examples of success, and we know from research that when young girls see themselves and their lived experiences represented in the workforce, that is when they begin to believe that they can be, and can do, anything. 

    This is important and directly relevant to addressing the dream gap that exists in today’s world. Consider that most of the graduating classes at SMLS in recent years have seen at least half of the students going on to study STEM-related programs - fields of study such as engineering, computer science, and business. These are fields, which, on average, lead to better outcomes in the labour market including employment, job matching, and earnings. More women in these fields, earning as much, or more, than their male counterparts is how we close the gaps in access to opportunity, wage disparity, and girls’ ability to turn their dreams into reality. 

    Closing the dream gap requires a collective effort and systemic changes to be sure. Instilling confidence, fostering mentorship and championing diverse pathways to success are all part of the collective work toward gender parity. This is the work that girls’s schools take on every day, delivering it straight to the people it benefits most - the young women of today, and the future leaders and trailblazers of tomorrow. 
    Read More
  • The Solar Eclipse: An Unmissable Learning Opportunity

    As a school known for championing STEM education among girls and specializing in real-world education, SMLS seized the opportunity recently to take the once-in-a-century solar eclipse and harness it into a unique teaching moment.

    With safety precautions and a live-stream in place, our community enjoyed a multifaceted exploration of the solar eclipse, including reading eclipse stories from around the world, discussing the size of the earth and moon in small groups, studying how our location and its significance to this celestial event, and learning about eye and sun safety.

    Beyond the classroom, the solar eclipse has been an opportunity for SMLS to foster a spirit of curiosity and wonder among students with a newfound sense of awe and appreciation for the mysteries of space. Through hands-on activities, collaborative projects, and guided discussions, SMLS has long cultivated a culture of scientific inquiry, empowering young women to pursue their interests in STEM fields with confidence and enthusiasm. 

    Using the world around us as a guide for learning, the solar eclipse is simply one more way we are feeding our students’ interests and reminding ourselves of the boundless opportunities for learning that surround us every day.
    Read More
  • SMLS Announces 2023-24 Community Award Winners

    Each year, SMLS is proud to recognize members of our school community who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to our school, their professions, and the greater community. This year we recognize three such individuals.

    The Nadine Farran-Gatti Distinguished Service Award celebrates and honours SMLS volunteers for their significant contributions to our school community over many years. This year’s winner is Jackie Maunula. Since 2016, Jackie has been an enthusiastic volunteer and leader. She has held countless roles through the Parent Association including Gala Co-Chair, and Learning Commons Convenor where she is broadening our Library’s inventory of books for current and future students to enjoy. Through her extensive contributions and unwavering dedication, Jackie has been the driving force behind many of our community events and initiatives, including Millie Christmas, Movie Night, Parent Socials and Junior School Bingo, just to name a few. Her passion for our school community is infectious and her efforts have brought joy and cherished memories to the entire SMLS community. Jackie and her husband Ryan have two daughters at SMLS.

    The Outstanding Alumna Award recognizes alumnae for significant achievement in their field and positive impact on the local, national or global community while upholding the principles and values of SMLS. This year’s winner is Miranda Plant Byers ‘03. Miranda is an award-winning actress, and producer of theatre and film. Her work centers around stories created by women which promote equality and diversity, and advocacy of women in the arts. She works with several not-for-profit organizations and amongst being the recipient of several grants for women in film, she was also recognized with the "Editha Award for Women's Empowerment" in 2021 by the Hudson International Film Festival. She has been a judge for several film festivals including the 2021 Emmy Awards, and mentors aspiring artists with StateraArts. As an alumna, Miranda has remained connected and supportive of SMLS and her fellow alumnae. She is the mom of two boys, William and Andrew, and currently lives in New York City with her husband Todd.

    The Life Governor Award is the school’s highest honour and recognizes the extraordinary lifetime achievements and contributions of individuals who have been leaders in service to the school, as visionaries and/or ongoing ambassadors for SMLS and as positive role models in our local communities. This year’s winner is Daniela Hampton-Davies ‘89. Daniela joined SMLS as a student in 1977 and has been an active member of our school community ever since. Daniela is an executive coach and governance professional with an outstanding record in business development, advisory and culture transformation. As the Principal and Co-Founder of Balsam Advisory Group, she provides advisory services for investor relations, capital markets and governance.  Daniela has held senior executive roles globally in both corporate and governance settings, has built dynamic and high-performing teams, and developed and executed strong strategic growth plans. At SMLS, Daniela was an active and long-time volunteer through our Board of Directors and Parent Association. Daniela brings an impressive and extensive list of community contributions including former Board Chair of Sheridan College and Oakville Senior Citizens Residence, and former Board Member at Start2Finish and the Oakville Community Foundation. Daniela and her husband Blake remain active members of the SMLS and Oakville community and are proud parents of four children, including one who currently attends SMLS and two who have graduated from SMLS in the past. 

    SMLS is thrilled to recognize the incredible accomplishments of Jackie, Miranda and Daniela and we invite you to join us as we celebrate them at the following upcoming school events:

    Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 
    Monday, April 15 at 9:00 a.m.
    Recognizing the Nadine Farran-Gatti Distinguished Service Award and Life Governor Award Winners

    Alumnae Brunch and Reunion
    Saturday, May 4 at 11:00 a.m.
    Recognizing the Outstanding Alumna Award Winner

    We continue to be impressed by the quality of nominations put forward and the accomplished and caring people who make up our community. We invite and encourage all members of the SMLS community to consider nominating a worthy candidate for next year’s awards. Submissions for 2024-2025 will open in November 2024. Learn more about the SMLS Community Awards.
    Read More
  • Student Reflections on Global Citizenship Experiences

    During the recent March Break, several of our students and faculty embarked on Global Citizenship experiences in far off countries. One group of Senior School students visited Japan, learning about how the country balances its fast-paced technological advancements with spiritual practices and a connection to nature, while another group were in Fiji, planting coral, studying sustainable agriculture techniques, and meeting with local change-makers who are innovating to bolster access to Fijian’s most basic necessities, such as food.

    SMLS’s Global Citizenship experiences engage students with the world beyond the walls of our school.  Our program immerses students in authentic, real-world experiences that include optional trips like these recent ones as well as more local volunteering, cultural exchanges, experiential trips closer to home, and built-in leadership opportunities on campus. All of the experiences are specially designed for girls and in ways that enrich their academic knowledge and have application across their current studies and the lives beyond their education. 

    What students are saying about their experiences...

    "The Fiji March Break Experience allowed me to grow in several different areas:
    • being able to immerse myself in the vibrant Fijian culture, experiencing traditional dances, music, and rituals firsthand
    • learning about environmental conservation efforts and the importance of preserving Fiji's fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangrove forests, and being inspired to contribute to global sustainability initiatives,
    • developing a greater appreciation for the privileges and opportunities in my own life, as well as gratitude for the warmth and hospitality of the Fijian people who welcomed us into their communities with open arms
    • creating cherished memories that I'll carry with me for years to come, reminding myself of the transformative power of travel and the importance of embracing new experiences with an open heart and mind" - Katie H., Grade 11

    "[I]n Kyoto, we visited the most ancient head shrine of Kami Inari, Fushimi Inari shrine. Seeing all the torii gates from centuries ago and learning more about Japanese history is truly astonishing and magnificent. Observing all the shrines and temples along the way made me reflect more on my personal experiences, viewing them from a different perspective. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to participate in this trip to Japan." Isabella C. Grade 11
    "My highlight...was the traditional tea ceremony. Sipping on authentic matcha tea, we learned about its significance in Japanese culture, feeling honoured to partake in such a cherished tradition." - Daisey W., Grade 9
    Read More
  • "The Descendants" Delivers

    Our tight-knit community is a hallmark of the SMLS experience, and we are extremely proud of our community because of the positive way it enriches our students’ educational journeys. We see this in action across the school in many ways each and every day, and it was especially during our Senior School’s recent theatre production of Disney’s “The Descendants” (view the photo gallery here).

    Our Senior School students, faculty and staff put on four incredible performances, and the entire school rallied behind them to make the production a success. Seeing Junior and Middle School families attend the performances, having parents volunteer for hair and makeup, watching students gift the grads with flowers after their last-ever SMLS performance are all examples of how this community supports and uplifts one another. 

    We extend our warm appreciation to each and every member of our community for the value you bring to SMLS. 
    Read More
  • Alumnae Pub Night Enjoyed By All

    Another Alumnae Pub Night took place on February 22nd at Beertown Oakville. We had a great turnout from Millies from 1974 through to 2022. Lots of laughs, great conversation and some yummy food and beverages were enjoyed by all.⁠

    If you missed this one, mark your calendar for Thursday, May 2nd when we’ll be kicking off SMLS' Celebration Weekend with our next Alumnae Pub Night.⁠
    Read More
  • Girls' Schools Celebrate International Women's Day Everyday

    Recently, a group of students led an inspiring all-school assembly in honour of tomorrow’s International Women’s Day. Together, we talked about the idea that when women and girls are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. 

    At SMLS, we often talk about the value of being at an all-girls school. The confidence, the engagement, the leadership skills and aspirations, that an all-girls environment fosters and nurtures are well documented in research. We are fortunate to be part of this inspiring community, and as International Women’s Day comes around, it is an important reminder that we are part of something bigger than ourselves here at SMLS. We are part of a movement that is critical to the future. Together, we are breaking down barriers, challenging assumptions and ensuring that women world over can be their true selves without worry. Thank you for being a part of this movement. 

    In a quote I borrowed from the Confidence Code for Girls, my wish for every Millie and for all the inspired girls and empowered women around the world is that you may “continue to take risks, messing up and becoming your amazingly imperfect, totally powerful self.” Our Millies accomplish incredible things, and we are proud to offer them the kind of 

    In celebration of inspired girls and empowered women, 
    Read More
  • Kicking Off Our New "Let's Lunch" Series

    The Inaugural “Let’s Lunch” gathering this past Sunday was a wonderful combination of delicious food and lively conversation. We enjoyed a lovely “High Tea” at the new Cupcake Cafe in Burlington. Conversation ran the gamut from what everyone has been doing since leaving SMLS to reminiscing about favourite teachers.⁠

    Mark your calendars for the next lunch in the series, taking place April 13th in downtown Toronto.⁠
    Read More

    Three Middle School Kids’ Lit Quiz teams recently competed in a regional competition at Hamilton Public Library. Kids’ Lit Quiz is an annual literary competition for students aged 10-13 held in a number of countries worldwide. Each of our three teams got the most correct answers in at least one category at the regional heat. Congratulations to our “Babysitters Club” team who finished first overall at the Hamilton heat and moved on to compete in the National Final at McMaster University, placing second overall. 
    Read More
  • Learning Buddies

    Learning Buddies is a program which helps our youngest Junior School Millies learn from our oldest Junior School Millies, and vice versa! We meet once a cycle to read together, craft, play, and work on inquiry projects. As Grade 5s, we get the privilege of leading and also learning from our JK/SK buddies. We can remember when we were in Kindergarten and looked forward to meeting with our buddies! We loved making cardboard insects and playing in the sandbox with them. It was a very memorable experience for us!

    This week for JS5 and SK Learning Buddies, the SK students came to our JS5 classrooms to learn how to log-on to the Raz Kids Reading Program. We had lots of fun teaching our reading buddies how to use the website and search through the online database of books. We took turns reading different books together and trying out the quizzes. After we finished reading a book, we got stars and awards, and our Buddies were really excited about them! We especially had fun using the stars to decorate their Avatars! 
    Read More
  • SMLS Alumnae: Empowered Women on the Ice Rink

    wo Class of 2020 alumnae have been busy taking action to achieve gender equality in hockey. Savannah Staszkiel ‘20 and Kate Thomson ‘20 have harnessed their love of hockey, determination for equality, and great organizational skills to launch the Women’s Engineering vs. Ivey School of Business annual hockey game. ⁠

    Not only was the event a First-in-Canada for women’s hockey paving the way for future women, thanks to their great marketing they sold out the 1,450-seat arena. The sell-out crowd also meant they raised over $7,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.⁠

    What’s next for this dynamic duo? Savannah is excited to travel to Queen’s University for their annual hockey tournament with her Ivey teammates. However, the team will be missing Kate who leaves in January 2024 for an exchange semester at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. ⁠

    Congratulations to these amazing Millies for all they’re doing to lead the way for gender equality. Empowered women challenging and transforming the world! Check out the full story from the Western University Gazette. 
    Read More
  • Young Professionals Week

    A BIG heartfelt thank you to all of our incredible alumnae who supported our second annual Young Professionals Week. It was a great success! 
    Throughout the week, we welcomed back many of our alumnae for speed mentoring sessions, “unique pathways” professional panels, professional headshot sessions, and a wonderful virtual panel with our youngest alumnae! It is always so wonderful to see what our alumnae are doing, and it’s a bonus to see our soon-to-be graduates so confidently planning and preparing for their futures. Inspired girls and empowered women, indeed. 
    Students in Grade 9 through 12 had the opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about the unique career paths, undergraduate and graduate programs, and life after SMLS from these amazing women. 
    A very special thank you to this year’s impressive group of alumnae:
    Sarah REEVES Sims ‘90
    Alexandra McCOOMB Hyland ‘01
    Nicole Southey ‘02
    Bisma Bhatti ‘08
    Sophie Laramée ‘12
    Nikki Morrison ‘12
    Holly Burrows ‘13
    Onaiza Kazi ‘13
    Celina Jafree ‘23
    Jenny Liu ‘23
    Emily May ‘23
    Angel Ngo ‘23
    Sena Yenilmez ‘23
    Thank you to our University Guidance Counsellor, Nicole Bryant, and to our wonderful alumnae for organizing such a fantastic event. This week offered a fantastic opportunity to showcase the success of our alumnae and to see the passion budding in our future leaders. It was a truly inspiring week for everyone at SMLS.
    Read More