Each year, the graduating class at TFS comes together to raise money toward scholarships for future students who would not otherwise be able to attend the school. The Class Fund program is one of the time-honoured traditions surrounding graduation at TFS. It provides a meaningful way for graduating families to recognize their children’s accomplishments at TFS, while establishing a permanent legacy as their children join the ranks of our TFS Alumni. This year, the Class of 2023 set a new high bar, achieving the most successful Class Fund in history in terms of total funds raised and the number of families who participated. With 77 per cent of Class of 2023 families participating, $211,069 will be directed towards establishing the Class of 2023 TFS International Entrance Scholarship, the first scholarship exclusively for an international student in the history of TFS.
The idea for an international scholarship at TFS was inspired by a visit to the school by a Class of 2023 parent earlier in the year. Wes Hall - an entrepreneur, business leader, author, founder of Black North Canada and a dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den - spoke to students during a special assembly at the conclusion of Black History Month about his journey from a tin shack in rural Jamaica to one of the most successful and respected advisors and powerbrokers on Bay Street. Students heard firsthand about the obstacles he faced as a child escaping poverty, and as a Black man seeking to climb the corporate ladder in Canada. He later joined his daughter, Skyla, and the Black Excellence Society to speak about how future leaders can combat systemic racism and work toward greater equity and diversity in boardrooms and society, and signed copies of his recently published book, No Bootstaps When You’re Barefoot.
Celebrating the accomplishments of the Class of 2023 with graduating students and families at the annual Head’s Dinner on May 24, M. Norman Gaudet, TFS Head of School, described how the assembly and subsequent meeting with Wes and his wife, Christine Hall, led to the Class of 2023 TFS International Entrance Scholarship.
“Wes told me about his role as a ‘scout’ for his alma mater, tirelessly scouring the planet for students who would otherwise never have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and reach their full potential,” explained M. Gaudet. “A dream began to form within me of creating a new scholarship here at TFS. I envisioned a scholarship that would offer an opportunity to an international student with dreams and ambitions, yet blocked by personal circumstances,” he added. M. Gaudet shared his vision with the Halls. They “not only embraced the idea but also helped shape the structure, ensuring the success of this endeavor.”
The Halls went a step further and made a generous donation of $100,000 to the fund. M. Gaudet brought the exciting news to the Class of 2023 Fund Committee that had been raising money since the start of the school year.
At the Head’s Dinner, Lisa Erry, chair of the Class of 2023 Fund Committee along with members Liz Miller, Mireille Moors, Maria Rossin, Elisabeth Samson, Jene Tang and Jessica Xing, noted how the conversation with M. Gaudet changed the trajectory of fundraising for the Class of 2023. “Thank you Wes and Christine Hall for your generous commitment and for inspiring us all to think bigger and focus internationally,” Erry remarked. “To my incredible team to whom I would be lost without, your ideas, suggestions and feedback were always appreciated with open arms. You jumped on board without reservation and matched my donation without hesitation. I cannot thank you enough for your commitment, dedication, hard work and perseverance these last few months. You knew this was a bold goal and you went for it. You made this mission impossible to a mission possible.”
In addition to providing a full tuition scholarship and home stay to a talented, highachieving international student, the fund will also support updates to the Level V room and establish The Class of 2023 Endowed Fund, which will exist as a legacy of the class in perpetuity.
“This scholarship will create a new tradition that will continue to impact lives for years to come,” said M. Gaudet. “Thank you to the parents of the Class of 2023 for this legacy. May this year's graduating class be forever remembered as its pioneers.”
Interested in contributing to the Class of 2023 TFS International Entrance Scholarship? Please visit the Class of 2023 Fund giving page to make a gift that will help provide a promising student with access to the transformative power of a TFS education.