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Gryphon Gallery: Our First Provincial Champion

Julia McDermott, founder of Norfolk House School, was also a fine tennis player. She was born in Lewisham, England in 1881 and attended Blackheath High School from 1890 to 1900. As a 16-year-old, she was recognised in the Book of Blackheath School for her prowess in this sport. Her interest and expertise may well have helped her secure a teaching position at Norwich High School (1904-11), because in addition to teaching Languages, she was the coach of the school’s tennis team. 

She then moved to Vancouver and taught a year at Crofton School. Miss McDermott then spent a further year tutoring in Victoria during which time she decided to start a girls school. In the summer of 1912, she entered the BC Women’s Tennis Championship and was narrowly beaten in the singles quarter-finals and reached the final of the  doubles event. In 1913, a month before her good friend from Norwich, Dora Atkins started Norfolk House School, she won both the singles and doubles events. GNS’s first provincial champion! This is the first of a new series entitled “Gryphon Gallery” created by our School Archivist that will provide snapshots that celebrate the achievements of a variety of alumni and staff from throughout the history of GNS.