Dear York House School Community,
On behalf of York House School, I am pleased to announce the new names for the school’s House system.
After a thorough process involving 150 name suggestions, more than 1200 survey responses, input from students, faculty, staff, and alumnae, and the guidance of the House Names Advisory Group, the new YHS House names will be: Arbutus, Cypress, Maple, and Pine.
These names are meaningful for our community for a host of reasons. First, they reference York House’s location, where it has existed since 1932, and they reference the school’s situation in this distinctive neighbourhood full of massive trees - which are echoed in its streets’ names. These tree-named streets connect our two campuses; as students journey from the Little School to the Junior and Senior Schools, these streets and the beautiful tree canopy overhead guide their paths. These names reflect the community’s clear desire that the House names have a tangible connection to York House School.
Second, during the consultation process, we heard overwhelming support and appreciation for nature and a desire to have it reflected in the House names. Trees symbolize growth, community, knowledge, and sustainability and connect us to the natural world. Trees provide a powerful image that we are grounded by our values as a place of learning. These names and their meanings will deepen as generations of Yorkies adopt them and make them their own.
These House names are unique, and they provide rich learning opportunities for students. They offer an entry point to learning about environmental stewardship. Also, they open discussion about the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations who have lived here since time immemorial, long before these streets were named, before these trees were planted, and before York House was founded.
In order to connect Yorkies from different generations, the tradition of the House colours will continue. As such, the colours attributed to each House will be the following:
Arbutus is blue. Cypress is yellow. Maple is red. Pine is green.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all members of our YHS community who have participated in this process, through submitting your name ideas, questions, and feedback and through discussions, whether they were in focus groups, classrooms, with friends or around the kitchen table.
I wish to acknowledge Meredith McInnis, David Prissinotti and Kara McDonald who contributed significantly to this process. I also wish to acknowledge the work of the Advisory Group for their dedication and input. Finally, I thank our Communications department who created the YHS website portal. This project truly brought our entire community together.
In the fall, we look forward to coming together to explore the significance of these new House names, share the rationale behind their adoption and discuss ways to incorporate them into our House celebrations and activities. This should also be very meaningful and exciting as the 2021-22 school year begins.
I wish you all a wonderful and restorative summer.
Head of School