Michael and Kathryn Bowen have had three children graduate from York since enrolling their eldest son Henry ‘17 as a first grader in 2005, followed soon after by Audrey ‘20 and Ross ‘23. Over that 17-year arc, the Bowens say they enjoyed watching the school grow and prosper while staying true to its core values.
“The quality of the community has remained solid for us and our children,” says Michael. “The culture has remained consistent, and the evolving nature of the school’s international community of highly engaged educators, staff, parents and students has further enriched the experience for all of us.”
The Bowens agree that each of their children had a unique experience reflective of their individual personalities and learning styles which prepared them equally for life after high school. Henry has since graduated from Queen’s University and launched a career in e-commerce, Audrey just completed her final year at St. Andrew’s in Scotland, and Ross is in his first year at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“We always felt supported no matter what,” says Kathryn. “And the one thing all three kids have in common, which we attribute in large part to their York School education, is a heightened level of empathy for the people and the world around them which guides them to this day.”
Reflecting back, the Bowens believe that the sense of community and citizenship the school fostered in their children permeated their whole experience at York.
In fact, it was a meeting with other parents from the Class of 2023 that inspired the Bowens to mark their family’s time at the school with a leadership gift to the school’s Bursary Endowment.
Both Michael and Kathryn see the gift as a way to say thank you to the community that has given their family so much, and to share the benefits of an outstanding York education by providing bursaries to highly promising students who could not otherwise afford the cost of tuition. In total, the families of the Class of ‘23 came together to raise more than $725,000 to support both endowed and expendable needs-based bursaries.
“All three of our kids have graduated now, but that doesn’t change how much the school or the community means to us. We both intend to stay connected by continuing to volunteer and in other capacities,” says Michael. “For us, giving back to the school at this time is an expression of gratitude.”
Canada's first gender-inclusive independent IB World School
The York School is a gender-inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experientia Docet or Experience Teaches.