On Tuesday evening St. Clement’s joined forces with Bishop Strachan School, Branksome Hall and Havergal College to host a first annual Collaborative Girls’ School event, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.
Over the long weekend in November I was away with friends and while browsing in a bookstore I came upon the book Drink: the Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston. Ann writes an enlightening but disturbing book about the realities of girls and women and their increased levels of risky drinking. She also highlights what she believes to be a conscious marketing approach by the alcohol industry to target women.
As soon as I began reading it, I couldn’t put it down and, as I read it, I thought about our roles at St. Clement’s as educators of girls and young women. I believe that it is our responsibility to highlight specific and pertinent women’s issues such that our girls and their parents can grow and flourish, and as I reached out to Ann to inquire about the possibility of her coming to St. Clement’s, I had a thought. I realised that this issue of alcohol use and misuse, particularly as it pertains to women, would be of interest not only to our St. Clement’s community but at the very least to all of our colleague girls’ schools, and this is where the notion of an annual collaborative girls’ school event began to grow.
No surprise to me: Deryn Lavell from Bishop Strachan, Karen Jurjevich from Branksome Hall and Lois Rowe from Havergal College were all on board. As we talked and planned, we grew excited about the notion of an annual event and the ability of the four schools to bring forward provocative topics that can be addressed in a collaborative way.
Ann’s talk was a perfect start to what I know will be an informative and engaging annual event. It is a pleasure to be working together with colleague girls’ schools to educate our students and their families.