HTS has always been a beacon of change, innovation and collaboration. From its early beginnings in a church basement, the school strived to create a community that welcomes, appreciates and advances students of all backgrounds. In doing so, it has proven necessary to recognize the shortcomings and room for improvement that lie within the school.

The Feminism for Change (FFC) Club is a new club at HTS led by three Grade 12 students, Nicole A., Nikhil T. and Ianna Y., with the guidance of Ms Katie Young, Modern Languages Department Head, and Ms Vanessa Poehlmann, Assistant Head of Senior School. The FFC club was formed with the goal of creating a space for students to discuss and advocate for women’s rights by exploring the role that traditional and evolving gender roles can play in safeguarding those rights. The club is continuing its work towards making HTS a more inclusive space, empowering the students within it and offering them opportunities to speak openly and safely about their identities and gender roles.

The idea for the FFC club began with a singular goal last year; bringing feminine hygiene products to washrooms at HTS. After speaking to the student body, we found that many students struggled to access the basic hygiene products they needed at school. Throughout last year, countless people spoke to us about the possibility of having free feminine hygiene products available throughout the school. We quickly saw how important this was to many, so we decided to do something about it. Along the way, the club has accomplished more than what was imagined — starting the school’s first Women’s History Month celebration, hosting a workshop to discuss toxic masculinity and body image, and achieving our goal of bringing free feminine hygiene products to female and gender-neutral washrooms at HTS.

As of this September, female and gender-neutral washrooms at HTS will have free feminine hygiene products available to anyone who may need them. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken various measures to ensure the feminine hygiene products are safely provided. HTS staff have been installing dispensers across the school while complying with COVID-19 safety policies.

We conducted various club meetings, sought teacher help and researched to bring this initiative to life. This was only possible because of Ms Helen Pereira-Raso, Head of School, our club members and our teacher advisors. The approved proposal for FFC’s “Proposal for Equitable Access to Hygiene Products” sets precedent for a flourishing bright future at HTS, that promotes recognition and equality. We are so glad to be in the presence of this monumental change, it is truly history in the making.