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Looking Back at the Twenty-Tens

As part of our 60th anniversary celebrations during the 2022-23 we are sharing stories from valedictorians across the years.  In this blog post you’ll hear from some of the valedictorians during the 2010’s!

Nathan Henderson (11)

After graduating from TDCH in 2011, I attended the University of Waterloo. Turns out I didn’t really have to say goodbye to TDCH then either, as about five of my TDCH classmates not only also enrolled at Waterloo but were also part of the same residence! After graduating with a degree in International Development, I worked as a barista at Starbucks, as a labourer in the construction industry, and spent two months in Madrid, Spain working for an NGO, after which I was accepted to law school at the University of Ottawa. I now work as a corporate and commercial lawyer at SorbaraLaw, a full service law firm based out of Waterloo, and greatly enjoy the variety of work that allows me to help people reach goals and solve problems based on the knowledge and service I’m able to provide.

TDCH gave me some of the best years of my life, filled with musicals, plays, singing in the hallways, and simply, a great deal of joy. I made amazing friends who I still see to this day, from weddings to now celebrating the birth of each other’s children. TDCH also gave me incredible experiences: from the service trips to downtown Toronto, class trips to Quebec, not to mention two months living and learning in the Dominican Republic. TDCH also gave me the values and examples of rooting my faith into everyday life. In particular, I think back fondly to the thoughtful conversations I had with the late, great, Madame Vanderkooy, who helped show me through her actions that one of the best ways of living out God’s love for His people was to make them feel seen and valued. My wife Sarah also grew up in the Christian school system in the Waterloo area, and it’s something we both hope to provide to our daughter Georgia as well.

Looking back then at 60 years of TDCH, I can’t help but feel incredible grateful to have been a part of this place if only for a short time, and look forward to seeing and hearing more stories of how the humans that walk through those halls go on to live incredible lives, and how TDCH has helped shaped them into the people they are today.

Aaron Sawczak (12)

Aaron went on to study and work in film, but his other love, biology, has made him appreciate our connection to and partnership with other living things. He provided his reflection in poetry.

At first,  

Skeletal figures of fingers on trees  

Reaching across the nightened sky  

Casting the oxygen from their hands  

Claiming every molecule of carbon dioxide  

Looming spectres that have gathered dust  

Blown through cobwebbed corners of the globe for unknowable time  

Gradually becoming solid  

And now suddenly backlit in pink  

By the ever slowly trampolining sunrise  

By Jove!  

On one and every shuffling limb  

A bouncing ball of life appears  

An explosion paused mid-sentence  

A book you haven’t read yet  

A suitcase spun around and clicked open  

For expectant eyes to peer inside of  

And widen in surprise of  

Such green fortune  

Each and everyone  

Maple flags a-waving in the wind  

Proud ranks of elm and oak as well  

Marshalled from below to believe  

The fight is not yet over—never  

And to fall beside a friend is a nobler privilege after all  

If the victory is already lost—alas!  

Rest assured  

The game isn’t won by this score alone  

Summer and spring can only follow autumn and winter  

Not until  

So stand your ground  

O fireworks on the fringe  

God bless thy stems and buds  

Every single cell and simple sugar there within  

Eating up the mighty vacuum  

Of clouds and blues  

Partnering the world with us  

If only I could live as one of them  

Elbow-to-elbow in my own saved place at the table  

Laughing the long a-wanted feast in  

Every day, at last 

Sabrina Yacoub (14)

My name is Sabrina Yacoub and I was valedictorian for the class of 2014. After graduating from TDCH, I studied at the University of Waterloo and completed an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology including several internships and an incredible study-abroad semester in Leiden, The Netherlands.

After completing my BSc, I moved back to Toronto, my home city, completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto and currently work at the University Health Network, leading strategic initiatives to improve mental health care across UHN and beyond. I am also a member at Hope Church Toronto North where I serve on the worship team and support families experiencing unexpected pregnancies.

During my time at TDCH, God gave me a growing interest in evangelism and a heart for the broken – especially through the world religions course, the grade 9 and Belize service trips, and the mentorship of Mr. Terpstra. Since then, I’ve been on global mission trips, had numerous gospel conversations with friends and strangers, volunteered and travelled around the world, and seen God move powerfully in the lives around me.

Through my courses and extracurriculars at TDCH, I was also able to explore my interests and talents in science, music, sports, leadership, language, drama and more, and learned so much about myself. This school, the staff, and the lifelong friends I made have been such a blessing in my life, and I pray God will continue to bless many others through TDCH in the years to come.