Student Citizenship & Leadership

Engaged Citizenship at The York School encourages students to attend to the common good and play an active role in the life of the school, their local community and beyond. Students are encouraged to find their voices, participate in decision-making, and to embrace their leadership potential. Through meaningful community service, we strive to develop an increased sense of social responsibility, a global view of society and a passion for helping others. We want to instill in our students a sense of gratitude for what they have as they take action to make a difference in the lives of others.

Service Learning
We foster global-mindedness and a sense of social responsibility by creating school wide and divisional community service initiatives and opportunities. Students build partnerships with different organizations and act as project managers for all raising awareness and fundraising campaigns. We respond to issues emerging locally and globally with meaningful service learning opportunities. We mobilize youth to make change and develop compassion and empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. 

Projects are selected for their longer-term partnership potential where student participation can evolve as these partnerships continue to flourish. Each year, students are involved in projects such as:

  • Providing leadership for children in high priority schools in Toronto through the Right to Play Youth to Youth Programme
  • Working with local service agencies, such as the Furniture Bank, Out of the Cold, Dress for Success, and Frontier College
  • Engaging in service-oriented trips, such as our world expeditions and some of our challenge week excursions
  • Leading awareness campaigns for causes such as United Way, the Terry Fox Foundation, Free The Children, Tim Horton’s Foundation and Camp Oochigeas
  • And more!
 
Student Leadership
Senior School students take pride in helping shape the school community to which they belong. Throughout the year, students are given many opportunities to take part in decision making, event planning, spirit raising, and helping others within the school. Director, Grade Leader, House Head, and Mentor positions on the Student Council give our students formal opportunities to collaborate with their peers and the faculty to create a dynamic engaging and inclusive school community. Students are chosen to take part – some by general election and others by a selection committee – based on their potential to show leadership and be model school citizens. Through increased consultation, we are leveraging student voice in decision making regarding school climate and culture. By graduation, Senior School students are ready to step onto the world stage as leading citizens.

The House System
The York School has four Houses, each named after important figures in Canadian history — two women and two men — to reflect the co-ed nature of the school.  

The House system provides an excellent opportunity for students of all ages and grades to be together, and encourages development of leadership skills. This system was developed in 1982, and has provided a structure for school spirit and fun competition since then.

House competitions are held throughout the year, and students can win points for their Houses through a variety of activities within the school setting. At the end of each year, a House Shield is awarded to the House with the highest point total.

The York School's four Houses are:
 
Champlain
Samuel de Champlain
Explorer, cartographer and Governor of New France
Johnson
Pauline Johnson
Métis poet best known for her poetry celebrating her native heritage
McClung
Nellie McClung
A suffragette, reformer, legislator and author
Simcoe
John Graves Simcoe
First lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, founder of the Town of York