When Diana Goudie and Eleanor Moore started an all-girls’ school 20 years ago, there was no room for failure.
The two were on hand Sept. 20 at Moorevale Park to celebrate the Linden School’s two decades of teaching young women how to be strong leaders in the community.
Goudie and Moore joined the event’s chairs, Ashleigh Zellermeyer and Emma Warnken Johnson, to cut the cake for about 80 celebrants.
Goudie, leaning over the table to chat with happy attendants, was candid about the Yonge and St. Clair school.
“I think when you start anything with a dream that you can make a difference in the world, you hope you persuade other people to build that dream with you,” she said. The goal today, much like it was in 1993, is to instill strong values and to create leaders.
“Not leaders in the sense of St. Joan, at the head of the parade, but people who would sustain, and live up to the values — the school has a huge sense of social justice — who could go out and make things happen, stir things up a bit,” Goudie said.
She lauded the hard work of Zellermeyer and Johnson, both graduates of the school, in planning the event. The two co-chairs led a committee
of eight people through a six-month period of planning.
After graduating in 2004, Zellermeyer attended Wilfrid Laurier University, while Johnson did her undergrad at McGill University before traveling abroad to University College London for her masters.
When asked why they wanted to help with anniversary celebrations, the two were eager to share.
Considering Linden “gave us so much,” Johnson said, her participation was “a great opportunity to give back.”
Zellermeyer agreed, adding that her job as a fundraiser at St. Michael’s Hospital came in handy.
“It’s nice to be able to apply my professional life to my old Linden life,” she said.
For the ladies, the school’s philosophy jived with what they do in life, and it’s also relative to principal Mary Ladky’s way of thinking.
Entering her second term as the school’s head, Ladky reflected on her time at Linden in terms of an ideal marriage.
“It’s very rare in a person’s professional life, where your personal values can be married with your professional aspirations, and this is it for me,” she said. “I found that job that marries all that together, and I’ve always been a person committed to social justice, equity, feminism — and I found a place that I feel at home at from a values point of view.”
Asked if, during the challenges of startup, she had expected the school to see a 20th anniversary, Goudie was matter of fact.
“Did we think it would last? We couldn’t afford to think that. We had to just keep it moving.”