Content

Alumni Profiles

Appleby Alumnus Sam Gudewill '73

Earlier this spring, while visiting Appleby, alumnus Sam Gudewill '73 shared his fondest school memories and reflected on the impact the A.W.B. Alumni Centre for Athletics and Student Life will have on student experience. "The whole point of the exercise is to give back to those who helped you," shared Sam. "My time has come and gone in many respects, but it’s about the future." Please click here to watch Sam’s special message to the community on the importance of the A.W.B. Alumni Centre.

 

Appleby Alumnus Jas Brar ’98 Named Entrepreneur of the Year

To be nominated for an Oakville Award for Business Excellence is an honour, but to be nominated in two categories by three separate individuals is an incredible achievement.

On March 29 Jas Brar ’98, CEO and founder of Entripy Custom Clothing, accepted the KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 22nd Annual Oakville Awards for Business Excellence Gala, presented by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and The Rotary Club of Oakville West.

Nominated in both the Large Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year categories, Jas was one of 78 finalists selected from a list of 170 nominees.

“I felt really good following the site visit conducted by the competition’s Judges as they were particularly interested in Entripy’s vision and business model,” said Jas. “I was extremely proud to receive the award which represents all of the Entripy team who help achieve the company’s vision.”

Appleby’s former Head Prefect founded Entripy in 1999 while a student at the University of Toronto. He had been contacted by a fellow Appleby alum who was looking for custom ski team t-shirts. Jas soon found himself screen printing custom clothing out of his parents' basement and would become the first online provider of custom printed garments in Canada. Fast forward 18 years and today Entripy operates out of a state-of-the-art 35,000 square foot facility in Oakville with more than 100 employees and is rapidly growing.

"I introduced a new way of thinking and doing things to a profession that was quite traditional in how it operated,” shared Jas. “I focused on finding new innovations and taking a more technological approach in creating customized garments for customers." The recent KPMG Entrepreneur of the Year award joins several honours presented to Jas including Appleby's Young Alumni Award in 2003, and the Ernst & Young esteemed Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008. Entripy was also named in the 20th annual Profit Magazine’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Canada. In addition to running a successful business, the husband and father of three young children is also the Vice President of Appleby’s Alumni Association Executive Committee, and is a current mentor in Appleby’s Mentorship Programme.

“Appleby played a special role in my upbringing and really helped me build confidence, character and strong relationships,” shared Jas. “When I first started Entripy I was able to tap into the Appleby community which really helped me build my business.”

Today, Jas makes it a priority to share his experience in building a leading Canadian company with others.

“If I can make any difference at all, that for me would be tremendously rewarding,” said Jas.

 

Rachael Kennedy ’10 Strikes a Chord in L.A.

Rachael Kennedy only graduated from Appleby six years ago, but she’s already made a name for herself as a singer and songwriter in Canada and the United States.

After graduating from Appleby, Rachael attended Ryerson University in Toronto to study Arts and Contemporary Studies with a focus on Culture Studies, and also continued to work in the music industry. While a student, she received an offer from Warner Music Canada for an artist development deal, which after much thought and deliberation she accepted. It was becoming increasingly difficult to further her education and music career at the same time, and a music offer may only come once. With Warner, Rachael recorded demos, and following that she released her debut EP, The In Between, which was recorded independently with producer Joel Feeney.

To grow her music career, Rachael travelled to Nashville and Los Angeles (L.A.) where she attended songwriting workshops with Grammy nominated and winning songwriters. She has since fallen in love with L.A.

“In L.A. I loved the people I met, they were all so talented and truly loved the city,” shared Rachael. “People have uprooted their lives to follow a dream. L.A. is such an open place and I love the energy.”

Now living in L.A. full time, Rachael is working with songwriting partners Lance Shipp and Nathalia Marshall as part of L I O N  C H L D, their songwriting production team. In the last year and a half, the trio has written over 200 songs and networked with leaders in the music industry. These contacts recently led to an opportunity to write a song for singer Britney Spears. Rachael and her partners were put in touch with a member of Spears’ team as she was looking to record a French song. As both Rachael and Nathalia speak French, they were able to collaborate with her on Coupure Electrique, track number 17 on Spears’ new album Glory.

Rachael’s music career started off a bit differently than most. Her sister, Kayla Manteiga (Kennedy) ’07, was the singer and piano player of the family and Rachael always subconsciously thought the arts was her “sister’s thing.” However, in Upper One, a friend shared with Rachael an acoustic music video by pop duo Tegan and Sara. Rachael was so moved by the track that she played the duo’s songs Nineteen and Dark Come Soon on repeat for weeks. In fact, it inspired her to play guitar, so she taught herself a few of their songs and began to write her own pieces soon after.

As a student at Appleby from Middle One through to Senior Two, Rachael looks back on her experience with gratitude.

“High school is such a significant part of a person’s life; you grow so much in a short time. Two standouts for me are my service trip to Ethiopia and my first performance with the guitar club, singing with friends at Guitarfest in Willis Hall. It was an ‘I gotta do that again’ moment and an important step in my journey as an artist,” said Rachael.

Since Spears’ album Glory came out on August 26, 2016, Rachael, along with L I O N C H L D have been incredibly busy and are focused on building the best team possible around them.

“From one day to the next, life can change – a lot,” said Rachael “I’m really enjoying songwriting and producing for others, and I still have a passion to sing. My goal is to get going as a songwriter and then start to fund my career as a singer.”

For more on Rachael’s career, visit www.rachaelkennedy.com

 

Ryan Hubner '13 makes Appleby College debut with The Other Guys

It was standing room only in the John Bell Chapel the evening of January 22 as members of the Appleby community enjoyed a performance by Scotland's premier all-male a cappella ensemble, The Other Guys (TOG), from the University of St. Andrews.

For Appleby College alumnus and TOG tenor Ryan Hubner ’13, the concert was a personal highlight in the group’s North American tour, which included stops at various universities, colleges and high schools in Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Oakville and Toronto, to name a few.

TOG delighted audience members with a mix of classical and contemporary hits, while also performing with Appleby’s Senior Vocal Class and Cantus Choir.

For Ryan, a former Arts Prefect, the performance brought back for him many wonderful memories of his time as a member of Appleby’s Cantus and Chapel choirs and various all-school play productions.

Currently working towards a BSc (Honours) in Medicine, Ryan auditioned for TOG during his first year at St. Andrews.

“In addition to medical sciences, I have a passion for singing and performing, so when I learned about The Other Guys it seemed like a natural fit for me,” said Ryan.

This June Ryan will begin a new chapter as he pursues a Masters of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Edinburgh. But that doesn’t mean that his days as one of TOG will be over.

“Since Edinburgh is just down the road from St. Andrews, I’m sure there’ll be an occasion (or two) to return and perform with the Guys,” shared Ryan.

Click here to view front row footage taken at the event>>
 

John Kent Harrison '64 shares passion for filmmaking with students

Appleby College’s Upper Two Canadian History students were recently treated to a special guest presentation by award winning film and television director and writer, alumnus John Kent Harrison '64.

John, who currently resides in Portland, Oregon, was visiting the area while working on his latest film project, a remake of the Canadian children’s classic, “Anne of Green Gables”.

Appleby’s Willis Hall theatre was filled to capacity as John shared his experience about his role as a historical filmmaker and his journey in researching historical events before producing a film.

Using examples of his own work, such as “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,” the inspiring true story about a Polish woman who helped more than 2,000 Jewish children escape the Holocaust during World War II, John provided unique insight into how to most accurately bring history to life in film. He also revealed some of the challenges directors sometimes encounter when trying to get their actors to display authentic emotions. This was an area of specific interest to students who were working on capturing their own piece of history through their Canadian History course “Heritage Minute” video project. The summative assessment required students to create a video depicting a Canadian historical event that occurred between 1914 and 1989.

While speaking with students, John shared remembrances of his own Appleby days. Most notably, when he happened upon the school’s darkroom which was located in the basement of the original Powell’s House. The discovery provided a creative outlet which eventually led to his passion for filmmaking.

“It was a great experience coming back to Appleby,” shared John, whose visit to campus was his first in over 50 years.

And it was an extraordinary experience for those students who, inspired by John’s contributions to filmmaking and words of encouragement, left Willis Hall that afternoon dedicated to pursuing their own areas of interest with passion.  

For additional details on John’s work please click here.
 

Mark Sarraino '95 - Investment Counsellor, Pilot and Appleby's New Alumni Association Executive Committee President

Mark Sarraino wears many hats: Husband, father, successful Investment Counsellor, pilot and this year’s Alumni Association Executive Committee President. It is a large portfolio to manage, but Mark is certainly up for the challenge.

 “Now that I live in south Halton, am married, and a father of a three year old; education and making a positive impact in the lives of others have become a renewed focus for me,” said Mark. “Taking on the role of the Alumni Association Executive Committee President gives me the opportunity to give back to the Appleby community, which has played such an important role in my life.”

Having attended Appleby from grade 7 to 12, Mark’s Appleby memories could undoubtedly fill a book.  Thinking back on his experiences at the McLaughlin Northern Campus as Junior and Senior Outdoor Leader, playing rugby and football, and participating in the famed House rivalries are guaranteed to bring a smile to his face (and others who may hear his stories).

Mark credits his Appleby experience for playing a part in helping him decide to pursue the world of finance and work towards the executive leadership role he enjoys today. 

After reading the Wealthy Barber and enjoying numerous conversations with faculty members (and fellow alumni) Dave Suchanek and Fraser Grant, Mark was determined to focus his post-secondary studies in business. Having obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Honours from Queen’s University, Mark went on to acquire an MBA in International Business from Schiller International University in Heidelberg, Germany, graduating as class valedictorian.

Following graduation, Mark found success in a variety of roles, from working for his family’s mid-market international business while also developing and managing Ontario-based commercial real estate portfolios, to his current role as an Investment Counsellor for RBC Wealth Management – PH&N Investment Counsel.

While Mark is certainly passionate about his career, he is even more passionate about his family – his wife Monica, their three year old son and black Labrador retriever. In fact, Mark and Monica share a love for aviation and are both multi-engine and instrument-qualified pilots. They hope to one day share the pilot seat with their son. 
 

Chinezimuzo (Nezim) Mmegwa '14 Encourages Blue Dogs to Discover their Power

“I am so proud, happy, and grateful to be a part of this class, as it has been an experience that has shaped me as a person. To the future classes of Appleby - enjoy this place, enjoy the opportunities, the history, the people, and most of all the experience. I know that you have probably heard this before, but time sure does fly. So catch it and hold onto it, and enjoy it. Also, never miss opportunities to discover a new power, as such opportunities surround you here at Appleby. Do not let the fear of failure deter you from a new experience, as the ability to speak and persevere can only be gained when one takes a chance.”

These words of wisdom and personal reflection were shared by Head Prefect Nezim Mmegwa ’14 on June 20 during his Closing Day valedictory address. It was a moment he envisioned since first joining Appleby College as an Upper One student, and based on the loud round of applause received following his remarks – it was a moment well worth waiting for.

It could be said that Nezim, whose sister Chine ’07 and brother Luchi ’10 also attended Appleby, began preparing for June 20, 2014 more than three years ago when he started to investigate the many different leadership opportunities offered at Appleby. In Senior One, as elected head of Appleby’s Model UN Club and taking the lead in organizing the 2013 ACMUN Conference, he was determined that his next leadership role would be as an Appleby Prefect. “I was speechless when I was told the news that I had been selected Head Prefect,” shared Nezim, after having applied for the International and Powell’s House Prefect positions. “It was a great honour to fulfill this role and I know I’ll draw from the experience as I attend Princeton in the fall to begin studying Mechanical Engineering and Economics.”

As Head Prefect, Nezim’s main responsibilities included running the all-school assemblies, supporting the Prefect team, helping organize Boarder events, and representing Appleby at various functions such as the school’s annual Remembrance Day Service. Looking back on the accomplishments of the past year Nezim is particularly proud of the impact the Prefects made on bringing the Appleby community together through Spirit Days and special themed activities – connecting students in different grade bands.

“I’ve been shaped and influenced by a number of experiences I had during my time at Appleby,” shared Nezim. “As a member of the Varsity Boys’ Rugby team, I learned that while I may not be the person to score the winning try, if the team wins, I win. That concept has helped guide me in other areas of my life. For this, and the many other examples I could give, I am grateful.”

 

Alumna Elena Curzio Vila '08 is en route to Mexico's diplomatic corps

Appleby alumna Elena Curzio Vila knew at an early age that she was destined for a career in international relations. 

With a Mexican and Spanish background and having attended schools in both Canada and the United Kingdom, she was fascinated with international studies (and still is)!

As a student at Appleby, Elena joined clubs that had an international element to them such as the school’s Diversity Council. In the area of class study, one of her all-time favourite courses was the history of international relations with Dr. Patrick Carter, in which she recalls having many great discussions. And, as a Baillie House boarder, Elena welcomed the opportunity to learn from her international housemates (Elena can also speak Spanish, Catalan, French, and Italian). “Attending Appleby for my Senior School years was an amazing experience and I consider the time spent two of the best years of my life,” shared Elena.

 To this day, Elena looks back at her trip to Appleby’s McLaughlin Northern Campus in Temagami as one of her greatest learning experiences. “It taught me how to push myself, that I was being tested without even realizing it,” shared Elena. “The experience also helped me recognize my capacity for meeting challenges and taking on leadership opportunities.”

Following Appleby, Elena attended the University of Essex where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Politics where she was also president of the Spanish and Mexican Societies.

 After obtaining her degree Elena decided to continue her studies and went on to pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in International Security at the University of Warwick which she complemented with a second MA from King’s College, University of London in Geopolitics Territory and Security. Now ready for her next new challenge, Elena is preparing to enter the diplomatic corps for Mexico with a specialization in international security.

 “Appleby helped me discover what I’m passionate about and today I’m pursuing my dream,” said Elena.

 

Deck Officer Blythe McWilliam '07

For the past two months Appleby alumna Blythe McWilliam '07 has been patrolling the waters off the west coast of the United States and Central America. As Deck Officer in HMCS YELLOWKNIFE, one of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Maritime Coastal Defense Vessels, Blythe will not return to solid land until the end of December, when she returns to the Canadian Forces Naval Base in Esquimalt – which she calls home.

Blythe, who joined Appleby in Upper One, fondly recalls her Senior Two year living in Walker House and the various opportunities she had – from participating in Chapel Choir to travelling around the world through the school’s exchange and Round Square programs. But it’s the leadership skills that she acquired during her experience at the S. Bruce McLaughlin Northern Campus that she carries with her to this day.

Following Appleby, Blythe attended Carleton University where she studied political science. It was during her second year that she decided to join the Naval Reserves part time. Blythe’s decision to join the Reservists surprised everyone, herself included.

“It was during a co-op placement in my second year at university that I began giving serious consideration of what I was looking for in a career. At the same time, I was taking an international studies course in which we studied Operation APOLLO which was the codename for an operation conducted by the Canadian Forces in support of the United States in its military operations in Afghanistan. I was fascinated by it and decided that a career in the military was for me,” shared Blythe.

Having obtained her degree from Carleton, Blythe took a two-year contract with the Navy. As Deck Officer, Blythe stands watch on the bridge – driving and navigating the ship and applying her Maritime Surface and Subsurface training. To date, she has been on deployment to the most northern community in Newfoundland, the town of St. Anthony, as well as Baffin Island and Greenland.

“I love the challenges and the new experiences my role affords me,” said Blythe. “It’s important to step outside of one’s comfort zone. My Appleby experience taught me that.”



The 2013-2014 Alumni Association Executive Committee President - Olivia Rejniak '05

Meet Olivia Rejniak '05, Appleby's new Alumni Association Executive Committee President. 

Olivia is by no means a stranger to Appleby's Alumni Association. In fact, she was the Executive Treasurer from 2012-2013 and has participated in a number of alumni events, including last year's Appleby Career Day.

Crediting Appleby for playing a pivotal role in developing her attitudes and impressions towards her career, Olivia is currently an Associate Brand Manager at Johnson & Johnson and also holds a number of volunteer positions with other organizations, including Chair of the Board of Advisors for Queen's University's Inter-Collegiate Business Competition.

Olivia believes that Appleby has helped establish some of her strongest friendships. "The Appleby network of alumni is more than just a network - it is a family," said Olivia. "No matter where I am, I know that I can connect with a fellow Appleby alum who can recall their fondest Appleby memories or provide guidance on any topic."

Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned alum looking to connect with others, Olivia encourages you to take advantage of all the events Appleby has to offer - pub nights, the alumni hockey tournament, acting as a guest speaker for a class or attending homecoming celebrations. Be sure to visit www.appleby.on.ca/alumni for event updates and keep in touch!


Bryan and Sarah Baeumler Take The Stage at CAIS

Appleby alumni Bryan Baeumler ’92 and Sarah (Shorney) ’95 inspired a packed audience as keynote speakers at this year’s Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Student Leadership Conference.

More than 130 students filled Willis Hall to hear the couple’s inspirational story and message on how to be effective leaders in all aspects of your life. A dynamic presentation that spoke to the conference’s theme “Who Are You?”

Bryan and Sarah are the owners of Baeumler Quality Construction, a contracting company started by Bryan after earning a dual degree in Political Science and Business. Bryan is also well known for his hit television shows House of Bryan, Disaster DIY and Leave it to Bryan.

Following Appleby, Sarah also earned degrees in Political Science, English and International Business. A former childhood dancer, Sarah went on to teach ballet and became the owner of her own classical dance studio Balletomane:Performing Arts in Motion Inc. in Oakville. However, with four young children at home, Sarah decided to trade in her dance shoes to help Bryan run their expanding business.

Most recently, Bryan and Sarah established The Baeumler Family Foundation, a charitable organization committed to fostering the advancement of children’s emotional and physical care, research and education within Canada.

  To view Bryan and Sarah’s presentation please click here.



Matt Schnarr ’94 Wants To Help You
Stay AWAKE

While coffee (or some form of caffeinated beverage) is usually one of the first things on people’s minds in the morning, it was actually during a lunchtime conversation about coffee that resulted in an innovative product idea for Appleby alumnus Matt Schnarr ’94.

Matt, along with business partners and friends Adam Deremo and Dan Tzotzis, dreamed up AWAKE, a caffeinated chocolate bar which has the delicious combination of milk chocolate and the same amount of caffeine found in a cup of coffee. Their dream became a reality with AWAKE’s official product launch in August 2012.

Matt credits his Appleby experience in helping him develop his entrepreneurial skills. “Having been exposed to sports and competitive activities at Appleby drove my results-oriented personality,” said Matt. “The academic program also pushed me to set high standards for personal achievement and through my school friends I was fortunate to meet individuals successful in their own business ventures which inspired my future aspirations.”

Matt always wanted to start a business and he gained some valuable experience working for global brands such as Pepsi and Kraft. However, he had reservations about going into direct competition with huge multinational companies that have limitless resources. “It seemed too daunting,” said Matt. “But eventually that is what we did.” And they haven’t looked back since.

The response to AWAKE has been positively overwhelming. According to Matt, it is one of the bestselling chocolate bars at many university campuses and at least one major national retailer. And, with the addition of a new investor in David Chilton, author of The Wealthy Barber, and venture capitalist panel member on the television show Dragon’s Den, AWAKE Chocolate is now being shipped to the US and can be found at almost every major food retailer in Canada.

So what’s next for Matt? In the next five years, Matt and team plan to make AWAKE a top 10 ranked chocolate bar in North America and it definitely appears to be heading in that direction. For more information on AWAKE Chocolate and to see Matt’s television debut on Dragon’s Den, visit http://www.awakechocolate.com.



Currently featured in Appleby’s Creating the Future advertising campaign, Alumna Brianne Jenner ’09 Reaches for Her Dream

Brianne Jenner has certainly enjoyed an exciting and accomplished four years since graduating from Appleby College in 2009. Currently studying Arts and Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Brianne is also a member of Cornell’s Big Red Women’s Ice Hockey team with a recorded 107 career points in only her third year.

While attending Appleby, Brianne represented Ontario at the National Under-18 Championships and has since gone on to help secure three national championships as a four-time member of the Ontario Under-18 team. At age 17 Brianne was playing in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. In fact, at 18 years of age, Brianne was the youngest of 26 players invited to the Canadian Women’s Hockey team training camp in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She also played on the Canadian Under-22 National Team, bringing home a gold medal at the 2010 MLP Cup. In 2011, Brianne was named to the Senior National Women’s team for the 2011 Four Nations Cup and helped secure a silver medal win. In 2012, Brianne made the National Team and played in the IIHF World Women’s Championship – helping secure gold.

In her debut season with Cornell’s Big Red as forward, Brianne was voted as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, earning a spot on the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Hockey first team in addition to the Ivy League’s first team. In her second year, Brianne enjoyed similar success. For the second consecutive year, Brianne was unanimously selected to the All-Ivy Women’s Hockey first team and was also named to the first round of nominees for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the best player in NCAA women’s hockey. Most recently, Brianne played on Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 /Development Team in a three-game series against the United States’ Women’s Under-22 Select Team.

"Having played for four years with the Blue Dogs and attending Appleby prepared me well for life today. The experience inspired me to focus on my dream and reach for it."

See how Brianne is helping promote Appleby College for  prospective students. To view Brianne’s ad click here.

For more information on the Creating the Future advertising campaign click here.