How this Toronto school empowers girls to be changemakers
The Linden School’s generous new Champion for Change scholarship opens opportunities for young women looking for a challenge.
Parents of daughters have many factors to consider when choosing the right school to nurture their child’s talents and passions. The Linden School aims to help ease the process by providing a unique approach to inspire academic excellence and barrier-free participation in extracurricular programs—enabling students to explore the relationship between what they learn and what they can do.
Linden provides its students with the opportunity to see, and practise, ways in which classroom exploration can be used to solve problems in the local community, as well as the wider world.
Founded in 1993, the independent day school for girls from kindergarten through grade 12 is recognized for its academically motivating, socially progressive and girl-centred program. Linden was among the first schools founded on the principles found in feminist pedagogy, which stresses inclusion and the encouragement of all voices. The school’s philosophy empowers students to confidently craft their individual talents, take risks and find their footing in life.
“The Linden School is small enough for everyone to be truly seen and heard, but large enough to offer a range of vibrant programming and extracurriculars,” says Beth Alexander, the school’s associate principal and recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence for her ground-breaking work as an educator.
Calling young Changemakers
To make the Linden community even more inclusive and to commemorate its 30th anniversary, the school is launching the Linden Champion for Change Scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year.
This merit-based award is open for all new entrants to grades 4 to 12 who are “curious, creative, want to make a social difference, and are ready to immerse themselves in the Linden community,” says Alexander.
“In keeping with our founding values of inclusion, we have offered one of the most generous needs-based bursary programs in the city, since our inception,” adds Alexander. “The Linden Champion for Change Scholarship honours Linden’s mission and values and celebrates the many Linden alumnae who are using their unique skills and talents to build a better world.”
Linden’s generous scholarship offers $15,000 in tuition fees, potentially renewable for up to five years. The program is designed to provide thriving young women access to the school’s proven enriched academic and extracurricular opportunities, as well as a challenging yet supportive environment in which to make a difference in their communities through creative, social, environmental or other scientific justice work.
Celebrating passion and authenticity
The panel of judges who will decide the Champion for Change Scholarship winners comprises faculty and students, including Grade 11 Linden student Aisha Boubacar.
At just 15, Boubacar published her first illustrated children’s book, Crowned in Curls. Boubacar’s book takes young readers on a journey of self-discovery and self-love, describing how, at 14, she learned to embrace and appreciate her textured hair in western society.
During her time at Linden, Boubacar also had the opportunity to volunteer for Jill Andrew, Linden’s local MPP, who later invited Boubacar to participate in a 2022 panel discussion on International Women’s Day about equity and diversity in Ontario’s entertainment industry. Boubacar was the youngest panellist and spoke about how she explored those important issues in her book.
Passion and authenticity drive everything that Boubacar does—something that she hopes to see in Champion for Change scholarship applicants. Her recommendation? “Focus more on sharing your passions, and on sharing the authentic version of yourself that you see thriving at Linden,” rather than just winning.
“I’ve had interesting experiences with extra curriculars and volunteering through Linden,” she says, adding that she “can’t say enough about Linden’s teachers and the important relationships that they build with their students. They really care and want you to do well.”
Boubacar is proud to be a part of a panel of judges overseeing this new scholarship. She sees this initiative to expand Linden’s access to young changemakers but also as a means to continue to make her mark on her trailblazing school.
“It’s an honour to be able to take part and help grow and strengthen the Linden community,” says Boubacar. “A lot of opportunities have opened up for me at Linden that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
Click here to learn more about the Champion for Change Scholarship and The Linden School.