A Day with Melanie Mah '08

Melanie van de Water, Dean of Students
On December 15, HTS was privileged to have one of our esteemed alum, former Head Prefect Melanie Mah ’08, speak with our students during Friday Chapel. Melanie was a student at HTS for six years and then attended Western University in Life Sciences. Melanie was an avid dancer all through her years at HTS, and balanced a competitive dance schedule in her first year of university. So when she earned herself a spot on the popular series So You Think You Can Dance Canada in 2009, Melanie was faced with the decision to stay in school or to see if she could make it as a dancer.
After her success on the show, Melanie decided to follow her passion for dance and move to Los Angeles to pursue her creative talents. Since then, her career has included performing as a backup dancer for Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj to name a few. One of her dance career highlights was earning a spot on Janet Jackson’s World Tour, an experience she will never forget.

Today, Melanie lives in LA and has shifted her focus to the production of film, particularly directing. Presently, she is working on the set of The Hate You Give, a novel popular amongst students in our English courses. Melanie credits many of her successes to the foundation HTS fostered. It was during her time as an HTS student where she learned how to excel academically and balance a busy co-curricular life. As HTS’ Head Prefect in 2008, Melanie gained poise and leadership as well as superb organizational skills.

Melanie’s Friday Chapel speech touched students of all ages as she spoke humbly of her achievements, encouraging them to be work hard, be kind and trust themselves. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Melanie and her best friend Kim Gingras created their own company, YOU GOT THIS, GIRL! (YGTG), that focuses on girls’ empowerment. Throughout the course of the day, girls in the Lower, Middle and Senior Schools took part in YGTG workshops that centred on mindfulness and meditation. The students were engaged in thoughtful discussions surrounding confidence and self-esteem. It was a privilege for us to have Melanie return to HTS to inspire our students to believe in their dreams and encourage them to follow their passions.