“Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting,” said the German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716), who co-discovered calculus. Shelley Gupta, BVG ’03, personifies the connection between math and music.
“I was always good at math,” says Shelley, “but I never thought I’d be able to write songs until I pushed myself to try. That was when I was able to take my creativity to the next level.” Today, Shelley enjoys applying her creative abilities to develop innovative solutions to challenges in the business world, but she used to dream of a singing career.
Shelley started singing in the school choirs from a young age and, at just 8 years old, she was among a group of Bayview Glen students from the Lower School who were chosen to sing with Raffi on CBC television’s Rita MacNeil & Friends. A die-hard Mariah Carey fan, Shelley would sing for hours in her room at home. Her first time singing in public was at a big family gathering when she was 13, and she enjoyed it so much, she began working with a vocal coach and composing her own songs.
“It was around that time that Bayview Glen started having the annual talent shows,” Shelley recalls, “and I participated in the first one, singing LeAnn Rimes’ hit, “The Right Kind of Wrong”. It was fun and challenging for me, and I went on to participate in every talent show until I graduated. I remember one year, we did singing telegrams at the Valentine’s Day Assembly. One of my fond memories is of anonymously purchasing a Singing Telegram for my brother, Suraj, who was in Grade 8 at the time. He was called to the front, wondering who his mystery Valentine would be – and I came out singing from behind the curtain. I’ll never forget that moment.”
Her love of music is just one of the gifts Shelley feels she received from her time at BVG, where she enrolled in Grade 4 and continued until graduating from high school. “Bayview Glen really shaped me in many different ways,” says Shelley. “My academic abilities were strengthened, my creative side was encouraged, and the community service support was an important aspect as well. The school instilled values that stick with me even to this day.”
Shelley feels gratitude and appreciation for many of the teachers she had at BVG, but the one who stands out for her is Ms. Astrella. “She was my mentor and I felt I could talk to her about anything,” Shelley recalls. “Ms. Astrella connects with every student on a personal level. You feel she is both a teacher and a friend.”
While Shelley did not participate in a Round Square trip, she was on the committee that approved which students were allowed to participate in the volunteer service trips abroad. “I did go on two Outward Bound trips and I will always remember those experiences,” she says with a smile. “I went to beautiful Algonquin Park on the fall trip and then on the winter trip to North Bay, where the temperature was about minus 40 and we were dog-sledding! I felt I could take on any challenge after that trip. My friends and I still talk about it to this day!”
After graduation, Shelley earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, Finance and Economics at the prestigious University of Toronto. “At university, I began to realize how well prepared I was for post-secondary study,” says Shelley. “Bayview Glen taught me how to study, how to concentrate and manage my time effectively. I was ahead of my classmates who went to other schools and were finding it difficult to stay focused.”
During her university years, Shelley continued to pursue her interest in music. Although it will always be an important part of her life, school came first. “I always felt connected to business and naturally gravitated towards it,” she says. “It’s definitely in the genes!” Shelley’s parents are successful entrepreneurs in the hospitality and real estate development industry.
Today, Shelley is the Executive Director of Finance for Easton’s Group of Hotels, her family’s business. “My parents have always encouraged higher education and pushed us to work hard,” says Shelley. “I am learning a lot in this role and really enjoying contributing to the development side of the business.”
In 2010, Bayview Glen awarded Shelley Gupta the Distinguished Alumnus Award. We are proud to include her amongst our Notable Alumni.