York School News


“York inspired me to challenge my perspectives and explore a diverse range of viewpoints, enriching my understanding of the world”
Sarah Willson (‘13) arrived at The York School as an eager ninth grader ready to dive into the experiential learning she had heard about during her trial day at the school. “The day I visited, I learned about all the opportunities I would have to extend my learning outside the classroom,” explains Sarah.“As a kid who was curious about everything, I was hooked. I could not wait to get out in the world and experience things first hand.”

One of those formative experiences for Sarah was her personal project, a capstone of the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) that allows students in Grade 10 to conduct a sustained, self-directed unit of inquiry into a subject of special interest to them. Motivated by York’s “out of the box” approach to learning, Sarah embarked on a mission to raise the voices of homeless youth in Toronto with a photojournalism project that resulted in a book of pictures and interviews she entitled Slipping Through The Cracks.

“York really inspired me to understand the stories of people with different backgrounds from myself,” says Sarah, crediting the school with giving her the confidence to step outside her comfort zone while talking to people in different communities and fueling her desire to learn more. 

Sarah continued to build on those skills during her time at the University of Guelph, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in the field of Neuroscience and Psychology. While there, she drew on her York experience with photojournalism and community engagement by launching a blog called Humans of Guelph that told a wide range of stories from diverse members of the local community. 

The platform earned Sarah the University of Guelph’s “Be the Change” award for her dedication to making a lasting positive impact on the community. “The whole experience of building something from the ground up sparked in me an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Sarah, who ultimately shifted away from the field of Science and enrolled at Queen’s Smith School of Business for a Masters Degree in Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Today, Sarah works for Panache Ventures, a venture capital firm with an interest in investing in early stage Canadian companies. “My experience at The York School was transformative in so many ways,” says Sarah. “I feel like I have come full-circle because so much of what I discovered in high school about how to approach learning allows me to remain open to diverse perspectives and new ideas in my work today.” She also teaches a course at the Schulich School of Business called Financing Growing Ventures where she educates undergraduate students about the world of startups and raising capital.

About the York 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 English speaking 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 Experience Teaches.

Contact Us

Junior School (Grades JK-5) 1639 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 2W6 
Middle School (Grades 6-8) & Senior School (Grades 9-12) 1320 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2 | Tel: 416.926.1325
Mailing address: 1320 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X2
Junior School: 1639attendance@yorkschool.com
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