Introducing…Viewpoint 2023

Alumni, BVG News, Home page, Newsletters and Publications

Viewpoint — our annual showcase celebrating notable Bayview Glen (BVG) alumni is hot off the print and digital press!

The 2023 edition of the magazine focuses on the theme of transitions, delving into how each featured alumnus has navigated change throughout their academic and professional paths, after graduating from BVG.

And new this year, digital extras — in the interactive version!
Click on the green icons sprinkled throughout the digital edition of the magazine to view additional content.

The sixth edition of Viewpoint features:
Alumni profiles
Staff and faculty perspectives  
Class of 2023 features
Honoured Classes spanning 25 years

Viewpoint 2023 cover photo

Each feature story explores the specific role BVG played in preparing these former graduates for their journey and examines how they have used that knowledge and insight in their pursuits.

The 32-page magazine also takes a glimpse into the world of six graduates from the Class of 2023, peering into their contributions while students at BVG and what’s next for them.

Related links:

Viewpoint 2023 (Digital, interactive version)

Viewpoint Archives

Student Makes Bayview Glen History

BVG News, Home page, Newsletters and Publications, Upper School

There are so many memorable moments on the way to making history. 

“I was already in awe of having qualified for the final round and was over the moon when I learned I had won first place in the competition,” says Vanessa Glowczewski, fresh off etching her name into Bayview Glen School’s record books.  

The Grade 11 student took first-place in the individual role-play category of Entrepreneurship at the World DECA Championships in Florida, this spring. 

“Vanessa’s achievement is nothing short of remarkable,” says Cameron Stott, teacher and a staff moderator of the DECA club at Bayview Glen. “Besides the fact that her achievement is historic for the BVG DECA chapter, it is also something that is incredibly difficult to achieve given how competitive this category has been historically,” he says. 

The road to the top began with more than 250-thousand competitors from around the world. Regional competitions decreased that number along the way. In the end, Glowczewski went up against 250 of the top competitors worldwide in her category.  

“Winning glass is the ultimate goal for all DECA competitors,” she says. “When I first started DECA in Grade 9, I could have never imagined that I would one day qualify for Internationals, let alone win first place. It was great to see that the hard work I put into prepping for my event paid off. I realized that I enjoy learning about business and felt rewarded that my passion for entrepreneurship came through in the competition.” 

DECA is described as preparing, “emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe,” according to its website. 

During competitions, participants tackle categories including role-plays and case studies, prepared events and online simulations. 

“DECA has been instrumental in helping me improve my problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills,” she says. “The case studies challenged me to think creatively and, on my feet, while the written exams tested my knowledge of entrepreneurial concepts. Since the preparation process is self-directed, time management and effective prioritization were also critical. These same skills have carried over into my academics and extracurriculars. At the conference, I had the privilege to meet many like-minded students from around the world with various interests ranging from business to medicine to fashion.” 

As she prepares to enter Grade 12 in September, Glowczewski hopes other students will be inspired to give the club a try or further deepen their involvement.  

“DECA has been a core part of my high school experience, and as BVG DECA prepares for next year, I will endeavour to offer the same life-changing opportunity to all Upper School students,” she says. 

So does one of her DECA faculty advisors, Cameron Stott. 

“It is my hope as one of the teacher advisors (and as a former member of DECA during my high school years) that students in our community and in our chapter are inspired by what one of their peers was able to accomplish through dedication and persistence,” he says.  

“I believe that student accomplishment begets student accomplishment in communities like BVG. I am hopeful that current and returning members of our DECA chapter will be motivated to work with and learn from Vanessa during next year’s season.  I also think that this may serve as a rallying cry for students who may have been on the fence about involving themselves with DECA.” 

Related stories:

Co-curricular Club Participation Opens Door to World Stage

Clubs and Activities

Penning a Project for the Ages

BVG News, Home page, Lower School, Newsletters and Publications, Prep School

The project concept was carefully crafted, spanned ages, grades and curriculum, and featured a timeless question at its core – what makes you happy? 
“In Grade seven, we covered a whole unit on happiness,” says Rita Iafrate, Teacher at Bayview Glen School (BVG). “What does happiness look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like?” 

It was the basis for the Pen Pal Happiness Project pairing more than 75 Grade 7 students with Junior Kindergarten students. 

Following their first meeting just before March Break, the two age groups met on multiple occasions over a three-month period to get to know each other and delve more deeply into the question of their individual happiness.  
Students from each grade would also share letters written to their younger and older pen pal partner, along the way. 

“It was amazing to see how caring and gentle the Grade 7s were with their pen pals,” says Andrew Moore, Teacher at BVG. “They were so excited every time we announced that we would be seeing them in person, and they took such care with the letters they sent to the JKs; decorating the envelopes, drawing pictures in the letters.” 

Students in each of the four Grade 7 classes were also able to share the gift of reading with their new reading buddies, while nurturing new friendships. 

The project process also yielded new learnings for teachers involved. 

“I learned that what really bonds people together is that shared experience, something that is relatable,” continues Iafrate, who has been teaching at BVG for 30 years. “For the Grade 7s and JKs, it’s that concept of play and giving them that positive message. It doesn’t matter what age you are; it’s what makes you happy that counts. It’s that feeling of positivity and purpose,” she says. 

As friendships blossomed over weeks and months during their brief visits, so, too, did the appetite for more. In this case, a culminating storybook written and illustrated by each Grade 7 student for their younger buddy, with their JK pen pal featured as the protagonist of the story. 

“They’ve really gotten to know their pen pal,” says Iafrate, of the Grade 7 students. “What is their favorite colour? What’s their favourite animal, or sport? They’ve incorporated all of those personal concepts or facts into each book. They’ve been so engaged and so excited about writing this book for their pen pal. And it also gives them the opportunity to feel like they’re authoring a book. It really gives them that confidence as writers.” 

Further evidence of the students’ engagement and the impact of the project came in feedback teacher Andrew Moore received from several of his students, including — “can we see them again next year? My buddy gave me a hug! Can I adopt mine?”  

A successful project completion, bringing with it a new source of happiness! 

Co-curricular Club Participation Opens Door to World Stage  

BVG News, Home page, Newsletters and Publications, Upper School

When Vanessa Glowczewski was shopping around for a co-curricular club to join as a Grade 9 student at Bayview Glen School (BVG), she landed on one that piqued her interest almost instantly. Three years later, she has honed her skills in that discipline to be among the best in the province at her age. 

“I was overjoyed that my genuine interest in entrepreneurship and focused preparation 
translated into a Top 3 finish,” says Vanessa, on her recent success at the 44th Ontario DECA provincials. “There were so many strong competitors this year, and I am incredibly grateful that I will get to compete at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC).” 

She will be representing BVG and Ontario DECA at the ICDC taking place April 22-25, 2023, in Orlando, Florida.  

“Any time we have someone from BVG who is able to represent the school on such a large stage, it is truly a special accomplishment,” says Cameron Stott, Business Studies, Canadian and World Studies teacher at BVG and one of the faculty moderators of the DECA club. “Vanessa will be competing against the best of the best from across all of the DECA chapters globally. To even be ranked amongst some of the most impressive young people for your category is a remarkable feat!” 
Founded more than 75 years ago, DECA is the acronym for Distributive Education Clubs of America. It began as a club opportunity for high school students who have taken business, marketing, and finance-related courses. As the organization has continued to evolve, it has retained the acronym as its name while expanding its mission to include interested college and university students from around the world. 

“DECA is an organization that allows students to explore various aspects of the business world while learning valuable leadership and communication skills,” continues Vanessa, a Grade 11 student at BVG. “Students compete in case study events belonging to one of five clusters: Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Finance, Hospitality, and Management. The case study format allows students to tackle real-life problems and encourages them to come up with innovative solutions,” she says. 

For Mr. Stott, who has been involved with the BVG DECA team for four years and served in an advisory capacity at previous schools for a decade, the lessons learned through DECA stretch far and wide. “The ability to think quickly — students have as little as 10 minutes to read and prepare a presentation on the spot,” he says. 

Vanessa’s first exposure to a DECA competition back in 2020 was entirely online due to COVID-19. The 2023 Provincials featured in-person interactions with students, educators and other professionals from across the province. More than 6,000 students took part in the three-day competition, including a 63-member team from Bayview Glen. Several other BVG team members finished in the Top 20, Top 15 and Top 10 during the event.

“Matthew Wong placed Top 10 overall in his category, and perhaps as impressively, earned a perfect score on one of his case study presentations,” continues Mr. Stott. “Our team’s overall performance was very good as DECA Ontario was sanctioned last year, resulting in a lost one year of practice at the competitive level. This was also many of our membership’s first in-person regional and provincial events since the pandemic.” 

All of which made preparation for this competition even more critical. 

“The BVG DECA chapter offered weekly prep sessions for Provincials in early January, giving students one full month to practice for the competition,” says Vanessa. “During these prep sessions, students learned how to approach the case studies and practiced presenting in front of a mock judge, followed by constructive feedback.”  

A BVG student since JK, Vanessa says she has had many public speaking and student leadership opportunities during her time at Bayview Glen. 

“These experiences helped me gain valuable skills for DECA, such as critical thinking, initiative, and effective communication,” she says. “Our BVG DECA teachers, Ms. [Alison] Rowland and Mr. Stott, are incredibly supportive. Their guidance has undoubtedly played a vital role in this year’s highly successful BVG DECA chapter performance.” 

Adds Mr. Stott, “the Problem-Based Learning approach that Career Studies uses is very entrepreneurial in scope. We frame our Introduction to Business course through an entrepreneurial lens and always have students thinking and applying the broader concepts from the course through an entrepreneurial lens.” 

For Vanessa, the DECA experience has also helped her consider future aspirations, with more clarity. 

“I am interested in a career in engineering, specifically industrial engineering because it has broad business applications,” she says. “A career in engineering will give me a solid technical foundation while bolstering my creative thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied in the real world. My ultimate goal is to combine the scientific knowledge from engineering into a meaningful and exciting business venture.” 

A co-curricular experience focused on an entrepreneurial mindset for a potential engineer  
— a successful formula, indeed. 

Learn more about co-curricular clubs and activities at Bayview Glen School 

Career Breakfast: Tuesday, February 28

Alumni, BVG News, Events, Home page, Newsletters and Publications, Prep School, Upper School

Join us for our third, and final Career Breakfast Speaker Series of this academic school year on Tuesday, February 28 at 7:30 a.m. Enjoy some hot chocolate, coffee and pastries while we shine the spotlight on Bayview Glen alumni focusing on Innovation and Engineering.

Saba Ketabchi Haghighat from the Class of 2016 is an Apple Watch Hardware Engineer based in California. Saba studied Biomedical engineering at the University of Waterloo and completed a number of internships and co-op opportunities before completing her degree. She has held the titles of Software Developer, Facial Rehabilitation Game Developer and Undergraduate Research Assistant in Toronto, France and California.

Konstantine Tsotsos from the Class of 2007, is a technical lead and manager on the Google AR Team where he leads teams of researchers and engineers in developing cutting-edge real-time 3D perception and sensor fusion technologies. His teams’ recent work includes the ARCore Depth and Environmental HDR Lighting APIs, along with other foundational ARCore capabilities. Prior to Google, he obtained his doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a focus on visual-inertial sensor fusion and his Bachelor of Applied Science in engineering science from the University of Toronto.

Daniel Mak from the Class of 2005 is General Partner, Strategic Growth at Awz Ventures, a Canadian-Israeli VC firm focused on commercial applications of innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based, deep-tech, cyber security, & intelligence technologies. He currently sits on the board of several startups in the cyber security and intelligence space such as Nanolock, as is the winner of multiple industry awards.

Join us to learn more about their professional journeys!

Students from both the Prep and Upper Schools, as well as their parents, are welcome to attend. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Adriana Dybala, Academic and Career Counsellor at

Lifting the Curtain on BVG Players’ Drama Production 

BVG News, Events, Home page, Newsletters and Publications, Upper School

Take some mystery, add a dollop of disaster, a serving of silliness and a healthy heaping of humour and there you have it — what to expect in BVG Players’ upcoming production. 

“We wanted something a little different than was possible these past couple of years,” says Matthew Clark, Producing Director. “We wanted something light-hearted that we could connect to and were interested in more challenging sets, in particular,” says Mr. Clark who is also Department Head, Curriculum: Upper School English. 

The 60-member cast and crew of students is set to perform The Play That Goes 
Wrong (High School Edition) on February 23 and 24th in Bayview Glen School’s J.T.M. Guest Theatre at Moatfield Campus. (Tickets Here)

The1920’s whodunit piece will first be performed in front of fellow students, followed by a pair of evening shows for family members, friends and the BVG school community. 

The production is the crowning achievement of a journey that began almost 12 months ago. 

“In March of 2022, Mr. Clark started the Play Reading Committee where we individually read and shared plays we thought would be fun to put on for the following year,” recounts Katie Bhalla, Grade 12 student and Head of Props for this year’s show. “About once a month, we met and discussed the pros and cons of what production we were reading. Eventually we narrowed it down to a couple options, and after a lot of discussion with department leads and actors, we decided on The Play That Goes Wrong.” 

It marks the third time Katie has been involved in a BVG Players’ production. 
“The sets and props aspect of this play is very different than the previous productions I have been a part of,” she says. “As the show progresses, the set begins to fall apart and things grow more and more chaotic, so building a dynamic set was an exciting challenge for us to tackle. There were lots of props used which meant that we had to get creative when sourcing them, and we even made a few items like the cardboard barometer and the shield,” she says. 

“It’s the play that goes wrong, so if we do everything right, everything will go wrong,” adds Mr. Clark. “From lines to cues to set pieces and props, every aspect of this production will go wrong at some point or another. It has a far more complex set than any other production I remember us doing.” 

Like many of the cast and crew, planning, practices and the play process began when school started in September and has rarely stopped since. 

“We began calling crews in for rehearsals twice a week after school in November and December, and as we got closer to the actual performance date, rehearsals were three times a week until 6pm,” says Katie. “We also had rehearsals on Saturdays that started just before the winter break.” 

Many additional hours are also spent learning lines, developing characters and tweaking production elements. 

For Mr. Clark, who has been involved in BVG Players’ productions in some capacity for almost 15 years, this year’s play offered new learnings, on different levels, for all involved. 

“It’s a farce so there is a lot of physical comedy,” he says. “Specialists from Rapier Wit provided an introduction to stage combat and focused on doing everything safely for all involved. They also helped with fight direction, since there’s a swordfight, characters trip and drag and throw others around – but don’t worry, it’s all stage fighting so it looks more realistic than it is!” 

In addition to many of the unique attributes of this production, the process of more than five months of focused and dedicated effort has also been memorable. 

“What really stands out to me is just how much everyone loves being a part of it,” says Katie. “The actors are so into the production — there hasn’t been one rehearsal where I don’t hear someone laughing, and the backstage crew are such hard workers.” 

A worthwhile journey filled with new learnings.

“I won’t lie and say that being a part of the play isn’t tiring sometimes, and you will likely have to make some sacrifices, but seeing all the work you put in come to life on the production day is really worth it,” shares Katie. “You’ll most certainly make new friends from different grades, and the collaboration and leadership experience you gain is truly valuable.” 

Related video:

BVG Players

New Immersive Experiences Highlight Annual Winter Fun Day

BVG News, Events, Home page, Newsletters and Publications, Parent Association, Prep School, Upper School

A popular, decades-long tradition at Bayview Glen School (BVG) took on a new look, feel and in one case — a new name — this year. 

“This was the first iteration of the Prep [School]’s ‘Snow Much Fun’ day, says Greg Ryerson, Director of Teaching and Learning, Prep School. The event was “reimagined and renamed” in 2023. 

For more than 20 years, Prep School (Grades 6 to 8) and Upper School (Grades 9 to 12) students have celebrated a day of fun, off-campus during the winter. 

“This is an important opportunity for students to be outdoors, spend time together without electronics, and engage in unstructured play,” says Mr. Ryerson, who was involved in organizing the day. “It did include curricular ties but more importantly it was a chance to be offsite and engaging in outdoor activities.”  

Grade 6 students visited the Toronto Zoo, Downsview Park was the venue of choice for Grade 7 classes, while Willowgrove Farm and Outdoor Education Centre hosted Grade 8 students for the day — in the beginning of February. 

“We selected a separate activity for each Grade, looking for curricular connections as well as opportunities to develop student leadership skills, focus on teambuilding, and incorporate outdoor play and exploration,” says Mr. Ryerson who accompanied the Grade 8 class. 
“A personal highlight from the Grade 8 trip was seeing the students interact with the farm animals — they really enjoyed that part of the day,” he says. “Having a nice mug of hot chocolate around the campfire at the end of the Grade 8 trip was a wonderful way to end the day.” 

For Upper School students, a new format was launched for their annual fun day, called WinterFest. 

“The purpose of the day is to build relationships with peers and teachers outside of classroom walls, discover new attractions in and around our wonderful city and try new experiences,” says Melanie Deeks, Health and Physical Education Department Head at BVG and main organizer of WinterFest for the Upper School.  

“This year, instead of one choice, students had nine choices,” adds Fiona Fenili, Head, Upper School. “Activities were presented in Assembly and students selected the one they were most interested in. From there we chose the most popular and did a formal registration.”  

The revised format and varied options proved to be a successful formula for the more than 270 Upper School students who took part. “An increase of 20% in participation is a highlight and shows that giving students choice is important,” says Ms. Fenili.  

Included on the WinterFest menu:  

  • Cooking Class at the Chef Upstairs 
  • Ice Hockey at Leaside Gardens   
  • Activate Arcade   
  • Skating at Nathan Philips’ Square West & Japanese Grill Lunch 
  • Gardiner Museum Ceramics    
  • K1 Speed Grand Prix  
  • Kensington Market Food Tour  
  • Escape Room Looking Glass Adventures & Greek Lunch on the Danforth 
  • Horseshoe Valley Resort   

And evidenced by the photos and reactions, these immersive, experiential, opportunities to connect out of the classroom with teachers, classmates, and staff — on a different level — achieved its goal, once again.