Student Life

Student Leadership

Opportunities to develop and showcase leadership skills
York House students are offered many opportunities to develop and showcase their leadership skills. Part of developing that ‘capacity to lead’ means providing formal leadership opportunities for our students, such as involvement in Student Government, as well as supporting student-led initiatives, including Community Service programs, athletic leadership, and clubs at the Senior School.

Junior Leadership Opportunities

There are many opportunities for leadership for our intermediate Junior School students to explore.

Head Girl and Vice-Head Girl
We begin to introduce opportunities for student government in Grade 7. Our Head Girl and Vice-Head Girl are elected in June of their Grade 6 year by their teachers and peers. In these roles, they act as student ambassadors, speak at key events, and work with the Grade 7 House Leaders to organize and facilitate our Junior School House events. At the end of the school year, they also represent their class as the valedictorians for Grade 7 graduation.

House Leaders
There are eight House Leaders, two representatives for each of our four Houses, who are selected by our Grade 7 teaching staff to organize various activities and build team spirit. They lead monthly House meetings for our Grade 3 to 7 students, plan and lead our six Junior School House events, plan and facilitate our Junior School Track & Field Day, and participate in a leadership development program over the course of the school year. At assemblies, they report on upcoming House events and House competition standings.

Playground Pals
‘Playground Pals’ is a leadership program for Grade 7 students. The girls provide mentorship, supervision, minor first aid, and conflict mediation to younger students in Grades 1-4. The goal of our 'Playground Pals' program is to foster friendships across grades, increase the physical activity of our students during recess and lunch, and improve communication and problem-solving skills amongst all students. By acting as a ‘Playground Pal’, our Grade 7 Junior School students develop a greater sense of responsibility and leadership, a more thorough knowledge of conflict resolution, and a better understanding of others. Our Playground Pals are easily recognized by the bright pink vests that they so proudly wear! Grade 7 students help other students who are having a conflict by listening and helping them work out a solution.

Playground Leaders
Leaders organize games and activities for Grade 1-4 students during recess and lunch.

Junior School Ambassadors
Guides provide tours to visitors, assist at our open house and act as buddies to prospective and new students.

House Officials
Grade 7 students volunteer to referee and facilitate the weekly House games in the Junior School.

Houses

The House system and House events promote school spirit and encourage relationships and camaraderie among different grade levels. 

Every student, from Grade 3 to Grade 12, is a member of one of four Houses:
  • Blue / Arbutus
  • Yellow / Cypress
  • Red / Maple
  • Green / Pine

The Houses engage in community service initiatives and participate in community-building events such as Sports-a-Rama, a high-energy tournament with relay games. For Fun-a-rama, students break out the Slip n’ Slide. Other events include a pumpkin carving and costume contest during Halloween, lunchtime games, scavenger hunts, and the House breakfast and pyjama day during Spirit Week.

House points are earned by winning intramural inter-grade tournaments, attending games, involvement in designated community service initiatives (e.g. Food Bank Frenzy in the Junior School) and volunteering at the school. The House that earns the most points is presented with a trophy at the end of the school year.

Senior Leadership Opportunities

Student Executive Council
Twelve girls are elected annually to represent the student body:
  • Head Girl
  • Vice-Head Girl
  • 2 Community Service Captains
  • 4 House Captains
  • 4 Grade 12 Class Presidents

Prior to election day, speech forums and campaign posters familiarize the Senior School with the candidates. Once elected, members of the student executive are easily recognizable in their Blackwatch sashes or their gold blazers on more formal occasions. Grade 12 students on the Executive Council provide strong school leadership through their modelling of school values and how they enact our motto ‘Not for Ourselves Alone’. Students on the Executive Council formally mentor YHS Class Presidents (Grades 8-11) as well as our Grade 7 Head and Vice Head from the Junior School.

House Captains
House Captains are Grade 12 students who are elected by the members of each of the four Houses to be part of the Executive Council. The House Captains are responsible for building school spirit at YHS. Through events such as Spirit Week, Sports-a-rama and holiday-themed events, the four House Captains encourage students and staff members to get involved in fun team-building activities. There are many House activities that are held throughout the year where Houses earn points for spirit and team placement in competitive events. Each year at Prizegiving the House that has the most points awarded the House Trophy!

Class Presidents
There are four Class Presidents elected in Grade 12 to be part of the Executive Council. In Grades 8 through 11, two students are elected in each grade to represent their grades in our Student Government. These students serve as role models in the school; they organize grade bonding opportunities and serve as a liaison between their grade, the Student Government team, and our broader school community. Class Presidents facilitate Grade meetings. Ultimately, as leaders in the school, they represent student views and move student-led initiatives in line with school vision and values forward.

Student Heads
Teachers appoint student heads who have shown leadership in previous grades and who have a passion for their subject to represent their department. Student heads help Sponsor Teachers with planning department events and activities to allow students in younger grades to see how subjects can be applied and enjoyed.

Student Ambassadors
Student Ambassadors play an important role in welcoming potential and new students and families to the York House School community. Students help organize our Open House, provide tours, and act as buddies for new students.