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Gryphon Gallery: Winifred Scott

Miss Winifred Scott, circa 1978

Winifred Scott was born in Quebec City on June 4, 1913, three months before the start of GNS (Norfolk House School), and grew up on the campuses of Netherwood and Edgehill schools where her father was teaching. She was an early graduate and spent a year at school in England, before attending Dalhousie-Kings in Halifax.

Always a woman before her time, Winifred completed an undergraduate degree in Geology and Chemistry. Her intention was either to continue as a field geologist or to return for graduate studies. However, after a plea from her former Headmistress at Edgehill, she agreed to return and teach for one month. The month turned into four years and Winifred’s career in education was launched. Twelve years at Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School in Montreal, teaching primarily Chemistry and Mathematics and  six years as Headmistress of Miss Matthew’s School in London, Ontario ultimately led to her appointment as Headmistress of Norfolk House School in 1957. She was recruited by Hugh Henderson, chairman of the Board at the time, who knew Winifred from their younger days as school children.

Winifred dedicated her life to education and influenced the lives of many young women. Imposing and stern while also being fair and supportive of everyone. She earned the respect and admiration of students, teachers and parents alike. Her accomplishments included strengthening the academic programme—particularly in sciences and French—the acquisition of new buildings and equipment and re-establishing a Grade 12 class.

After her retirement in 1978, Winifred was a very active volunteer at the Juan de Fuca Hospital. Her passion for photography and travel saw her on frequent adventures. She often advised that one should travel when one is young, because “climbing Machu Picchu was much more difficult in one’s 80s”. Her last trip at age 90 was to Antarctica and the Falklands to see the penguin colonies. Winifred was the epitome of a lifelong learner. She was inquisitive and embraced technology enthusiastically as it was about to have a huge impact on education.

Winifred Scott passed away on June 20, 2010, leaving a legacy of wonderful memories for those who knew her, of considerable positive impact on the development of the school, as well as these thoughtful words: “When you give of your best, your greatest reward will be in your own pride, satisfaction and sense of accomplishment”.