About Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter)

A Brief History of Our Chapter

Having been “called to action” by former principal Sister Bernadette during her visit to Toronto, Alpha ladies responded and ensured that the Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter) was formed in 1979 with the mandate to assist and support its alma mater, the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha).

Since that time there have been various fundraising initiatives and in the past few years there are two annual events – a Spring Brunch in May and a Dinner Dance in October.

The Association continues to provide funding for scholarships and projects and is proud of Alpha’s focus on academics, as well as the offering of co-curricular programmes that contribute to well-rounded students.  The school has high rankings in external examinations and it excel in a variety of sports.

Over the years, our contributions to major improvement programmes at Alpha include the outfitting of a computer lab and a science lab, providing drapes for the new McAuley Hall, funding towards the purchase of a school bus, installation of a water fountain, supporting the opening of a Math Centre (in recognition of our 40th Anniversary) and more recently providing funds for the purchase of laptops and ipads.

Since its inception, 10 presidents have led the Association and along with dedicated members, families and friends have kept the spirit of Alpha alive in Canada.


Tribute to Sister Bernadette M. Little, R.S.M.

November 21, 1924 – February 9, 2014


“…I want to remind you of the special gift that you are – woman, person, Christian and Jamaican. There is a tremendous responsibility that goes with these attributes and it is our greatest desire here, at Alpha, to help you in every way to assume this responsibility…” This is an excerpt from the message Sister Bernadette included in the Alpha Yearbook 1980-81, but these words also embodied her purpose throughout her many years as teacher and principal of the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”.

Her message continued, “… the emphasis must always be on the integrated person who meets the flow of life intelligently and wisely, with compassion and tenderness, faith and hope, love and service.” These words aptly describe our Sister Bernadette!

The members of the Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter) are saddened by the passing of our beloved teacher, principal and friend.

Sister Bernadette lived an exemplary life, commanding respect through her words, actions and presence. She has made an indelible contribution to Alpha and Jamaica.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant…” (Words taken from the Bible’s “Parable of the Talents”, told in Matthew 25.)

Meet Our Presidents

Hope Mc Farlane (Russell)

We were fortunate to have as our inaugural President, the capable Hope McFarlane, a 1956 graduate, serving in this office for ten years (1979-1980 and 1982-1991).  Hope credits her success to the dedicated leadership team, and gives special mention to Linnette (Lim) Chan (RIP), treasurer, who generously hosted many a meeting /meal at her home.  She summed up her happy memories of her days at Alpha in the words of our graduation song, ‘The years that have passed have been glorious’.

Marcia Finzi-Simair

A 1963 graduate, looked back at the wonderful contributions to our alma mater, many new friendships renewed.  It was her honour serving as the Association’s second president from June 1980 to October 1981.  After flying with Air Canada for almost 32 years, Marcia retired in 2003 and is enjoying her house and garden with husband Terry and son, Adam.

Glossmie Chin (Wan)

A 1955 graduate, was President from October 1981 to June 1982.  She brought to the position her fine business sense honed through years of banking experience.  Funds raised during her presidency were directed towards the purchase of computers and the sponsoring of two Alpha girls to a netball competition in New York.  Glossmie feels that an Alumnae Association serves the dual purpose of helping students financially while serving as role models to them as well.

Juliet Hoo Sue (Chong)

A 1964 graduate, was President from September 1991 to July 1997.  One of Juliet’s more memorable events during her tenure was the fundraising Dinner Dance at Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Church Hall.  It was 1992 and the Alumnae Association found itself competing with the hot Toronto Blue Jays who were down to the last game of the World Series.  In anticipation of the interest in the game, TV Monitors were installed in the hall.  The Jays won out against the Association, when almost everyone was glued to the sets rather than dinner.  Of course, after the Jays won there was lots of high fives and merrymaking!

Gaye-Donna Young (Chin Quee) 

A 1975 graduate, served as our President from August 1997 to April 2002.  Her relationship with the school actually started with her mother, Sheila, who is also an alumna.  She brought the particular flavour of youth to the office of President.  Gaye-Donna attributed her happy memories of Alpha Academy to the many positive influences she experienced at the school.  She viewed her commitment to the Association as an opportunity, first, to “give back” for benefits received and second, as a means of providing similar opportunities for other girls. 

Loraine Lee (Chin)

A 1967 graduate, was our President from April 2002-2005.  At that time, along with Marcia Williams, she had been on the committee since its inception in 1979.  She remembered being urged on by the late Pat Chin to join and remain on this worthwhile Committee.  During her tenure, the Scholarship Fund for two students of Alpha as well as a gift Fund for the Teachers was initiated.

Josephine HoLung (Lee) 

A graduate of 1973, was President from 2005 -2010.  JoJo brought enthusiasm and vitality to the Association (not to mention lots of food to the picnics), and diligently worked to build the mailing list to communicate with members

Karen Yee (Holung) 

A graduate of 1972, was President from 2010-2013.  She said it was a personal challenge as she had hoped to be a “bystander” for as long as she could.  However, she had a wonderful time and enjoyed all the lovely get-to-gethers with the girls at everyone’s homes.  She especially enjoyed teaming with ICHS and STGC for the picnics.  The team effort with STGC bartenders for our Dinner Dances were also enjoyed.

Gillian Amos (Wolfe)

A 1981 graduate, has been President since 2013.  Gillian joined the Association in June 2011 and was impressed with the commitment of the Executive members in wanting to help their alma mater.  Even though few in numbers, the team continues to work very hard to hold two events each year.  She said the Alpha sisterhood still remains strong even after 40 years.  Being the president for the last 10 years has afforded her the opportunity to forge relationships with the other alumnae associations and the wider Alpha community.