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Women of Lakefield

Today, women play an increasingly important role in charitable giving, donating more often than men and with more money to give than ever before. There is no better time than now for women of Lakefield College School to come together to engage and appreciate the power that we hold as women committed to philanthropy and to leaving the world a better place than we found it.

Ten Women of Lakefield College School

Philanthropy defined in its broadest sense means to have goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially as expressed through active effort to promote human welfarePhilanthropy has been baked into The Grove’s mission since its inception and the women of The Grove have always played an important role in actively promoting human welfare on the school’s campus and beyond its boundaries, locally, nationally and internationally. The following profiles represent a tiny sample of the women of The Grove who have made immeasurable contributions to our community.

List of 9 items.

  • Sherife MacDonald

    Sherife and Sparham Sheldrake established “The Grove” or Lakefield Prepatory School for Boys in 1879.  Although the staff listing of the time does not include Sherife, there is no doubt she was integral to the school’s operation, taking on the role of administrator. 
    When her marriage ended, Sherife was left to settle the school’s future. As one teaching master noted “It is to her great credit, seldom recognized, that she did not close the school.” Alick Mackenzie, who had been hired earlier as a teacher to help manage the school, eventually bought The Grove after some tough financial negotiations with Sherife.

    “Mother did all the managing of the school, along with Miss Shaw, the matron. Dad was not a practical man.” ~ Frances Sheldrake, 1965

    Read her full biography.
  • Helen Mackenzie

    In 1894, Helen and her husband Reverend A.W. Mackenzie purchased The Grove from Sherife Sheldrake. Together they established the educational philosophy which laid the foundation for today’s Lakefield College School.

    Helen Mackenzie’s graciousness extended beyond the realm of the everyday inhabitants of the school. She welcomed Old Boys and parents alike into the extended Grove family, providing hospitality to the members of the Grove Guild, the Old Boys Association and countless other visitors over many years. She also served as the first Honorary President of the Grove Guild. There can be no doubt that
    Lakefield’s strong and uniquely supportive community grew out of roots nurtured by Helen Mackenzie.

    “Dr. Mackenzie had the boys love and fear; Mrs. Mackenzie had only their love.” ~ Grove Old Boy

    Read her full biography.
  • Miss Olive M. Perry

    Miss Perry (known as Polly Perry) arrived at Lakefield Preparatory School in 1926, and is the first female staff member ever listed in The Grove Chronicle, although there were many before her at The Grove. Before there were Assistant Heads of School Life, Heads of Houses, and managers of Health Services, Housekeeping, Laundry and Food Services, there was the Matron. As far as the boys were concerned, apart from matters of academics and discipline, Miss Perry was the go-to person for everything else. The role of Matron played in the lives of The Grove boys cannot be underestimated. It led one young boy to remark, “Mr. Smith’s the headmaster, but Miss Perry’s the boss.”
    “Your career at The Grove has been long and every moment of it well spent. I know that you are very dear to the hearts of all Old Boys and that, whenever they think of the good old school, they think of you.” ~LCS Old Boy on Miss Perry’s retirement in 1949.

    Read her full biography.
  • Helen Winifred Lampman

    Born in 1898, Win Lampman was the eldest daughter of Helen Mackenzie and The Grove’s second Headmaster A.W. Mackenzie. Unlike previous headmaster’s daughters, who were educated by governesses, Win became Lakefield’s “first co-ed student,” taking classes with the boys, before heading off to Bishop Strachan School
    in Toronto during her teens. She subsequently spent most of her long life on or near the grounds of Lakefield College School.

    Win was an important figure in the lives of many Grove students and teachers—their love and admiration for her is evident in the letters they wrote to her during WWI and the many tributes written for her 90th and 100th birthdays and later, after her death, in 2000 at the age of 102. She was a friend, confidante, and inspiration to many. In 2006, Win was made an honorary alumna of the school in recognition of her contributions.

    Read her full biography.
  • Jean Ketchum

    Jean Elizabeth (Ferguson) and her husband Schoolmaster Hugh Ketchum arrived at the Grove in 1938 with their two children, Elizabeth and Robert.  During World War II, Hugh joined the army and Jean remained at Lakefield where she served as hostess for headmaster Gordon Winder Smith until he married in 1947. 
    That sort of emotionally intelligent, unpaid work was done by many of the masters’ wives, and, as was typical of the time, they received little independent recognition.  They served as surrogate mothers; supported sporting, drama and musical events in a myriad of ways, including costume design and fabrication, make-up and hair; and generally looked after students as members of the school ‘village’.  They were always on hand to offer encouragement and kindness to students and were just as important to their 'Lakefield Difference' as the masters and teachers.

    Read her full biography.
  • Goodith Heeney

    Goodith Heeney, mother of three LCS alumni (Michael ’76, Tim ’83 and Matthew ’87) and a daughter (Annie), has been described as “a member of The Grove family whose advice and counsel” was “sought out and carefully considered, whether in matters of governance, capital campaigns or chaplaincy.” She served the school in many roles: as president of the Grove Guild, trustee, member of the board of directors, vice-chair of the board of governors, and a member of the board committee which examined the issue of co-education where she served as a champion for girls’ admission to the school. Her contributions to the LCS community were recognized in 2006 when she was made an LCS Honorary Alumna and in 2012 at the Lifetime of Giving awards for 25 consecutive years of support.

    Read her full biography.
  • Katie Brown

    Katie Brown joined Lakefield in 1972. She was a beloved and essential teacher, mentor and coach to many of the first girls who arrived at LCS in 1989 and helped them thrive in an organization undergoing a major change in its identity. She served the school well when she went on to the Development office in the late 1980s.
    In a tribute to Katie upon her leaving LCS, Dr. Rosalind Barker described her as “the full-of-energy, see-ahead planner, the doer” and “a woman with vision and heart.” Her remarkable sense of humour enabled her to turn work into “great, good fun.” Every event, large or small, was planned and executed “with the same enthusiasm, the same belief in volunteers, the same insistence on putting others in the limelight.” With Katie involved, Lakefield achieved gains far beyond what one might expect from the ‘little school in the woods’.” As Dr. Barker noted “Katie, you have enabled us all to reach toward our potential, as students, alumni, parents, and friends of the school.”
  • Dr. Rosalind Barker

    Dr. Rosalind Barker joined LCS in 1975 with degrees from the University of Virginia, Yale and the University of Southampton. She served LCS for 27 years as a teacher, advisor, coach, guidance director, department and curriculum head. She was also an LCS parent of alumni Randal, ’83, Piers ’87, and Crispin ’92.

    Upon her retirement, a co-worker wrote, “Her courtesy and kindness to colleagues, her gift for listening carefully, her ability to guide student learning, her gentle acceptance of eccentricity, her insistence upon respect for objective standards, her personal integrity, her generosity of spirit—these qualities combine to create an extraordinary woman.” Students remember Rosalind as, “a fair but tough teacher who demanded and expected the best out of you. Her belief in students helped to instil a drive and self-confidence that persisted far beyond life at Lakefield...It was this last quality that made her such a heavyweight at The Grove.”

    Read her full biography.
  • Marilynn Booth

    Marilynn Booth’s 20-year association with Lakefield began with her son Rob ’98 and daughter Kristen (Residential Don in Colebrook House). She went on to serve as a school and foundation trustee, school board member, and our first female LCS Board Chair in 2001, 124 years after the school’s founding. Marilynn’s LCS Foundation Trustee biography reads “She believes Lakefield is an educational model for the world to embrace.” Her leadership and commitment to the school have contributed in so many ways to the continued development and success of that educational model.

    Marilynn’s impact on LCS is just one in a long list of accomplishments. She has received many awards in recognition of her contributions to the broader community also. Most recently, she was recognized by the Women’s Executive Network with a 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, in the Public Sector Leaders category.

    Read her full biography.

List of 1 items.

  • Erin Freeland Ballantyne '99

    Erin Freeland Ballantyne was born and raised in Yellowknife on Akaitcho territory. She graduated from LCS in 1999 and earned a BA Honors degree in International Development Studies at McGill. She became the first Rhodes Scholar from Canada’s North and holds an MSc in Environmental Policy and a PhD from Oxford University.

    It would be difficult to find an alumna who has more definitively put the defining characteristics of a Lakefield education into practice: her work in the North is fundamentally based on the value of nature and the outdoors, experiential and collaborative learning through relationships, development of future leaders, community service and a global outlook. With the support of Indigenous elders, leaders and educators, Erin founded Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in 2009, an organization which combines classroom teaching with land-based education that incorporates traditional Indigenous practices, knowledge and expertise.

    Read her full biography.
“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.” -Adrienne Rich

School Information

4391 County Road 29, Lakefield Ontario K0L 2H0   705.652.3324   admissions@lcs.on.ca


Lakefield College School is a private, coeducational boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12, located in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada.

We respectfully acknowledge that Lakefield College School is located on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa Nations, collectively known as the Williams Treaties First Nations, which include: Curve Lake, Hiawatha, Alderville, Scugog Island, Rama, Beausoleil, and Georgina Island First Nations.
Lakefield College School respectfully acknowledges that the Williams Treaties First Nations are the stewards and caretakers of these lands and waters in perpetuity and that they continue to maintain this responsibility to ensure their health and integrity for generations to come.

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