NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS

Get up to date on the news, stories and highlights from Alpha and our alumnae community
Memorial Wall Unveiled at Alpha Mercy Historical Centre

On Dec 12, 2022,  The Sisters of Mercy in Jamaica unveiled the Memorial Wall located on the grounds of the Alpha Mercy Historical Centre. The brainchild of Sister Theresa Lowe Chin, the Memorial Wall honours Sisters of Mercy who gave final vows and have worked in Jamaica.

The names include some that we already know and some that we will get to know better. Sisters of Mercy have worked in classrooms, with music programmes, doing social work, in the infirmary and in administration.

While Sisters of Mercy may have a much smaller community today than in years past, the new Memorial Wall reminds us that mercy is always a guiding light, even if there are no sisters physically present every moment.

Volunteers Make a Difference!

Librarians Winsome Hudson, class of 1971 and Kadiesha Grant, Class of 2005, volunteered to sort and shelve books in the newly renovated Alpha Library.

They are pictured below with Mr Splatt.

Math Resource Centre Blessing

April 6, 2022

It has been several decades since the Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter) started assisting and supporting its alma mater, the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha).  This was prompted by the “call to action” of a former Principal, Sister Mary Bernadette, during her visit to Toronto in 1979.

Over the years, the Toronto Chapter has been doing its part to support Alpha through scholarships and in other areas of the school’s development.  So, in 2019, when the Association celebrated its 40th year, the Toronto Chapter reached out to the Principal, Mrs. Kali McMorris, to ascertain what could be done in recognition of this momentous occasion and the Math Resource Centre became that project.

Today, as we celebrate the opening of the Math Resource Centre, the Toronto Chapter is pleased that its donation of CAN$4,000.00 (over J$400,000) contributed to bringing this project to fruition.

To all donors and supporters who have made the Math Resource Centre, the Sixth Form Block and the Swimming Pool a realization, the Toronto Chapter says a big thanks!

Ad Verum et Bonum 

Death Announcement: Mrs. Gerda Theobalds

March 14, 2022

It is with heartfelt sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Mrs. Gerda Marjorie Theobalds, beloved former Teacher, Vice-Principal and Acting Principal of the Convent of Mercy Academy ‘Alpha’.

Throughout her over 3 decades of remarkable service to Alpha, Mrs. Theobalds’ commitment to education remained steadfast.  She inspired and moulded the minds of hundreds of students whose lives she touched, while serving as Senior Teacher and Head of the English Department.  Her dedication also extended to serving as Vice Principal of the Parent Teachers’ Association.

Many of her students will remember as an elegant teacher who challenged them to aim for the stars and to express themselves verbally and in written form, To The Good And True.

We take this opportunity to remember this incredible member of the Alpha community.

May her soul Rest in Eternal Peace.

The Years in Review - 2020, 2021
Reminisce, Refocus and Recommit

The world came to a grinding halt in 2020 so our usual Brunch and Dinner Dance were impossible as a virus and its many variants forced the cancellation of all anticipated events.  Our sources for raising funds to fulfill our mandate of supporting and assisting our alma mater, the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha” was unachievable, or at least, for the time being.

With the impact on our daily lives because of the pandemic, teaching and learning were not spared as there was the move from face to face to online.  We knew that our focus had to be assisting students in acquiring the tools to participate in classes.  The Association drew on its reserve and called upon donors to join in the effort and funds were made available to our alma mater for devices and internet access.

Throughout the last two (2) years, we continued to provide scholarships and supported various initiatives and also a project to create a Math Centre in recognition of the Chapter’s 40th.

To continue on the path of fulfilling the Association’s mandate, the decision was made to pursue a different kind of fundraising and so the members brainstormed and a successful “Drive By Fish Fry” was held on Saturday, April 3, 2021 and another on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

We say a very big thanks to the regular and faithful following of Alpha past students, families and friends who, over the years, continue to support the Association’s numerous fundraising efforts.  We look forward to having face-to-face interactions, very soon.

The Year in Review - 2019
Alpha Toronto 40th Anniversary

As our President, Mrs. Gillian Amos said, “I cannot imagine that at the inaugural meeting in 1979 anyone envisioned the Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter) in 2019…” 

So, the Executive committed to ensuring that 2019 would be a memorable year.

The Annual Brunch was used as a springboard to highlight the celebrations to come at the Annual Dinner Dance in October.

At the event on Saturday, May 5, 2019 guests came in their blue and yellow (gold) outfits at JC’s Banquet Hall.  Aunt Elsie’s Caribbean Kitchen catered many favourite Jamaican dishes.  There were prizes and surprises and everyone was excited about the upcoming Dinner Dance.

The Executive met several times over the months leading up the celebrations. We upped the ante.  We had generous sponsors and donors.

On Saturday, October 19, 2019, the doors of the Sts. Peter & Paul Banquet Hall opened at 6:30 p.m. and guests were greeted and presented with tokens and a commemorative book.  (This publication had congratulatory messages, information on Alpha Academy, profiles of past and current Presidents, interesting facts about Alpha Toronto and lots of pictures.)

Guests were ushered into the beautifully decorated ballroom and were offered hors d’oeuvres – vegetable quiche, jerk chicken skewers and vegetable samosas. 

Following the dinner service, Pauline Beverley, an Executive member did a surprise takeover of the programme by inviting President Gillian to be recognized and presented with a plaque as the 10th President in the Association’s history. (All previous Presidents were saluted at the 35th Anniversary celebrations in 2014.)

The party started and the fun began.  There were prizes and surprises.  Tony Anthony entertained us with his amazing voice.  DJ Rosa did not disappoint and had us dancing until…

It was a momentous occasion and a wonderful evening, befitting a 40th Anniversary!

The Year in Review - 2018

2018 – Alpha Academy Careers Days

During the year, we presented our two signature events.

The 2018 brunch was held on Sunday, May 6 at the New Jaasmin Banquet Hall located in Markham and the delicious offerings were provided by Aunt Elsie’s Caribbean Kitchen.

We were entertained by Elton Jones and Andy Phillips from Gemini Pan Groove and their music had guests dancing and having a grand time.  We also had a comedy presentation by none other than Marcia Brown.
Our Annual Dinner and Dance for 2018 was held on Saturday, October 18 at Sts Peter and Paul Banquet Hall.  Music for the evening was provided by DJ Rosa and we were entertained by Veronica Tynes who had the crowd rocking to her renditions of some oldies but goodies.

 

A highlight of 2018, was the inaugural presentation of Alpha Academy Careers Days in Kingston, Jamaica.

Our Communications Director, Ms. Pat Campbell, encouraged two other Alpharians – Rose Chin (Ontario) and Onalin Williams (Florida) to join her in, “…(providing) sixth formers a dynamic and tangible experience that facilitates a connection between their academic pursuits and professional endeavours in the future.”

Over the period November 19 – 20, 2018, there was a packed agenda for the 6th Formers as they heard the wisdom and experiences of several past students who have excelled in their chosen careers.

Banking, travel and aviation, medicine, education, and entrepreneurship were some of the areas and professions presented.

Alpha’s Principal, Mrs. Kali McMorris, supported the Committee in making this first of its kind Careers Days a success.

The Year in Review - 2017

Canada 150

Canada’s 150th Anniversary was celebrated in 2017.

The Toronto Chapter wanted to observe this achievement and so changed its Annual Brunch focus and timing to commemorate the occasion.

On June 11, 2017, we packed the Sts. Peter & Paul Banquet Hall in Toronto and in a sea of red and white (the dress code and decorations).   Everyone was ready to have fun!

 There was the usual sumptuous Jamaican spread in buffet style, including favourites like ackee and saltfish, “run down”, boiled banana and fried dumpling.

 After the meal, the fun began.  The afternoon included pop quizzes about Canada, music, singing and spoken word.  Prizes were given for the best red and white outfits.

Music was provided by Elton Jones and Andy Phillips from Gemini Pan Groove.

 The Annual Dinner Dance was held on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at the same location as the Annual Brunch. DJ Rosa had the crowd on its feet as the sounds of oldies and goodies echoed throughout the ballroom.

 Entertainment was provided by the crooner, Visionary who had the audience singing along.

 This was another successful event.

The Year in Review - 2016

Welcome to the new Principal of Alpha

This was a memorable year for the Toronto Chapter.

Our Spring Brunch was held on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at the Thornhill Community Centre and it did not disappoint.

The food was good and there was much support from guests and donors.  It was enjoyed by all.

 During the latter part of 2015, a new Principal was appointed to lead the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”.  Mrs. Kali McMorris was challenged to guide this great institution.

 

The Chapter immediately made the decision to invite Mrs. McMorris to be the special guest and speaker at the 2016 Dinner Dance.

 Once she accepted, the planning went into full gear.  A packed itinerary was prepared for her visit, including a courtesy call on the Consul General of Jamaica in Toronto, Mr. Lloyd Wilks.

 On Saturday, October 16, 2016 at the Sts. Peter & Paul Banquet Hall in Toronto, we welcomed Mrs. McMorris.

The larger than usual support, along with members of the Executive were excited to hear from her.  Mrs. McMorris’ presentation was well received.  She spoke about the achievements of the school, the short and long term plans and explained how everyone could help.

 She was presented with a plaque of appreciation by the Chapter. (Mrs. McMorris was also interviewed and featured in Share News, published later in the month.)

 The Toronto Chapter confirmed its continued commitment to the major initiatives and a cheque presentation was made.  The families of two former Alpha students committed scholarships in the names of their parents, June HoLung and George and Inez Chin and these cheque presentations were also made.

 A delicious meal was served and with the formalities over, it was time to party.  There was dancing and more dancing courtesy of Eugene Chang and fabulous prizes throughout the event.  It was a successful and wonderful evening!

The Year in Review - 2015

The year began with the members of the Reunion Committee of the Alpha Academy Alumnae Association (Toronto Chapter) continuing the work they had started in the Summer of 2014, that of planning and organizing a Reunion of all the years for the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha” Alumnae which would be held July 30th to August 4th 2015.

Prior to that event, the Executive of the Toronto Chapter comprised of Gillian Amos – President; Marguerite Latibeaudiere – Vice President; Marcia Williams – Secretary; Pauline Beverley – Treasurer; Pat Campbell – Director of Communications; and Vern Leach – Director organized and planned another successful Brunch which took place at the Thornhill Community Centre on May 3rd, 2015 where everyone enjoyed a sumptuous Jamaican spread and great entertainment and music.

On Thursday, July 30th 2015, the Reunion Committee of Rose Chin, Gillian Amos, Loraine Lee, Jo Jo Ho Lung, Pat Campbell, Mary Lai, Marguerite Latibeaudiere and Pat Blossom Chin welcomed 400 alumnae, their families and friends (from Canada, Jamaica, USA and across the Oceans) to the inaugural event of the week – Meet and Greet. There were ladies from every decade since the 1940s “catching up” on everything in the lives of friends. Screams of delight, lots of hugs, and I am sure there were also a few tears of joy. What an evening!

Celebrating at Caribana, dancing at STGC Summer Ball, jamming at JAMBANA, participating in Mass, visiting Niagara Falls and relaxing at Picnic were the other events and activities that many enjoyed. Lasting memories were made!

Our Annual Dinner Dance 2015 was held on Saturday, October 17th at the Sts. Peter and Paul Banquet Hall and as usual, it was a wonderful event. Good food, prizes and surprises and dancing to great music of yesteryear made for a wonderful evening.

CMA Jamaica Chapter Reunion 2014

Memories from the most recently concluded Reunion celebrating the 120th Anniversary of Convent of Mercy Academy, Alpha (Kingston, Jamaica) are being re-lived over and over again as it was a fantastic week hosted by the Jamaica Chapter of the Alumnae.

From the Labour Day tree planting on Friday May 23rd at the school, in which students, staff and alumnae members took part, to the Woman of Excellence Awards of which Hermine Metcalf (Jamaica) and Pat Lee (Florida) were this year’s recipients, those attending shared stories, reminisced, and fraternized during the week long activities which had included a “Meet & Greet” Theatre Night on Saturday May 24th where we were requested to wear our school colours. On Sunday we attended Mass at Holy Trinity Cathedral and this was followed by Brunch at McAuley Hall. Monday we were off to Reggae Beach in Oracabessa enjoying a day out at the beach. Those who wanted to indulge spent the day at the Spa on Tuesday. Wednesday night saw us decked out in the Jamaican Flag Colours at Stella Maris Auditorm where a prize was handed out to the most creative outfit. Thursday morning we assembled at the school along with the students. Guest speaker for that event was Mrs. Dhalia Huntington-Walker a former alumna and Immigration Lawyer who spends her time between Florida and Jamaica. We continued the celebration on Thursday night at “Waterfalls” – a popular Club, dancing to the wee hours of Friday morning to the sounds of “Merritone.” The Woman of Excellence banquet and awards was held at the Pegasus Hotel on Friday night. Sadly we must mention the untimely passing of Mr. Sydney Reid – former Vice-Principal and Educator who just after the Walk-a-Thon on Saturday May 31st lost his life while returning to his home. The Alpha Community once again had its share of mourning as earlier this year long time principal and educator Sister Mary Bernadette Little, passed on.

As is customary, the Toronto Chapter hosted its annual brunch on Sunday May 4th. Some very positive comments were made as those attending enjoyed the food, entertainment and company of all present and we look forward to repeating this next year on Sunday May 3, 2015. There were display boards set up in the entrance area paying homage to Sr. Bernadette.

Our next big event is our 35th Anniversary Dinner & Dance this takes place on Saturday, October 18th at Sts. Peter & Paul Banquet Hall (Markham Rd & Milner Ave.) As we get closer to that date there will be further updates.