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Gumption Then And Now

On Friday, our community celebrated St. Clement’s Day with Dr. Vivia Kieswetter, Children’s Minister from St. Clement’s Church, who spoke about the importance of stories. She reminded everyone of the story of Saint Clement, as well as that of our school.

Dr. Kieswetter’s message was a wonderful one. She told those assembled about our school being founded in the basement of St. Clement’s Church by Canon Powell and then, under the leadership of Principal Ms E. Gordon Waugh, moving to a farmhouse on St. Clements Avenue. She spoke about a newspaper article written in 1952 reporting on Ms Waugh receiving an Honorary Degree of L.L.D. from Trinity College at the University of Toronto. The title of this article was “Her Gumption Built A School.”

Dr. Kieswetter explained to those who were not familiar with the word “gumption” that it reflected a capacity for perseverance and resilience; that one who possesses it is determined to work hard to succeed while also being able to rebound from setbacks. She went on to say that while this was how Ms Waugh was described over 67 years ago, it is a trait that girls and young women should continue to aspire to. The use of language may have changed over the decades; however, the meaning and, most importantly, the impact remains the same.

Our School remains strong— growing and evolving with time with thanks to our founders and subsequent leaders and staff’s gumption. To demonstrate it—to be courageous, to bounce back from struggles, and to persevere—does result in strength and achievement.

I was grateful for Dr. Kieswetter’s message to our girls on St. Clement’s Day. Regardless of the era, gumption is something we must ensure we are modelling for and inspiring in our girls.


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