Lynda Ciaschini and her mother Lillian, who is a Tri Psi, jointly won the Dorothy Cody Award for 2008. Lynda’s acceptance speech was so well received — and such an endorsement of our uniqueness embodied by Tri Psi — that we asked her if we could reproduce it here.
I would like to thank you for this honour. The fact that you gave the honour to my mother and I as a team, makes this honour especially significant to me for it means that my mother’s name and mine will be forever linked on the list of winners of the Dorothy Cody Awards.
Remember Dorothy Cody was both a Tri Delta and a Tri Psi.
When I went through formal recruitment, I was asked to join three different sororities. I was a legacy for one of these sororities. Not Tri Delta. I was impressed with Tri Delta because of its emphasis on scholarship and how kind the ladies were that I met there. However, I think the deciding factor was the fact that my mother could join a sorority as well, known as the Tri Psis.
Mother’s father had been ill when she was growing up, so mother had to start working part time at 12 years old in order to support her family. Mother was working full time when most people started grade 10. However, mom got her education by helping me study. I had an eidetic memory so I would read my notes to my mom without looking at them and Mom would read along with me. Mom proof read all my essays for school, up to and including law school.
Unbeknownst to everyone I had a learning disability that was not diagnosed until I was in my second year of legal practice. I am grossly far sighted in one eye and grossly near sighted in the other eye. I have no three-dimensional vision and no peripheral vision. My eyes do not stay on the line when I read. My handwriting is just about illegible.
It was Mom that made sure that teachers marked my exams in high school even though they were difficult to read. Who went with me to get my marks in second-year University so that I could get admitted into law school. It was Mom who went to the Law Society of Upper Canada in order to ensure that I could take my exams with everyone else and pay for them to get retyped so that the markers could mark them.
Mom took care of the office when I was on the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens and the other government, hospital, and charitable boards that I sat on. Mom drove me to and from the office and many of these board meetings. Without her help I couldn’t have done all the things that I have done.
My mom is a little frail now, so when she attends the Tri Psi meetings I go with her. Consequently, I have become reacquainted with our mothers, the wonderful Tri Psi sisters. They tirelessly, without complaint, assist the Tri Deltas with formal recruitment, attend the Tri Delta fund-raising functions, raise money for scholarship and gifts for the house. There is a joyful sense of sisterhood among the Tri Psis.
I would like to thank all the Tri Psis, as well as my own mother, for the service that they have rendered to the Tri Deltas over the years. I would like to thank those who are currently members of the Tri Psi, those Tri Psi who were members over the years and ensured the continuity of the Tri Delta chapters, and those Tri Psis who made my collegiate years so special. I can still remember emptying out the house and filling the car with dishes and food for formal recruitment.
I would urge all Tri Deltas to make sure that their mothers know about the Tri Psi sorority and the advantages of joining that sisterhood.
I know some Collegiates go to University and want to be independent. The Tri Psis encourage the development and independence of their daughters, and the memories that you will take with you for the rest of your life are well worth what you might incorrectly perceive as a little encroachment on your independence.
I know some of the mothers have careers or other time commitments that make joining the organization difficult. However, mothers can devote as little or as much time to the organization as they wish. These ladies are not judgemental and know the difficulty of juggling the demands of work and family.
If you are no longer a collegiate, remember Mrs. Lockhart, Michelle Lockhart Mercer’s mother, just recently joined the Tri Psis and it has been a few years since Michelle was a Collegiate.
And some Tri Deltas might be lucky enough to have a Tri Delta daughter and like Michelle Mercer and Judith Pownall, become a Tri Delta mother and a Tri Psi themselves.
I would wish that everyone could know the joy of saying to your Tri Delta sisters at Founder’s Day: “I’ll be back in a minute. I just want to go and say hello to my Mom.”
Lynda L. Ciaschini
Founders’ Day was a blast! Success from beginning to end! This year, Selen Umul, Social Chair, moved the venue to Hart House due to some difficulties with the old venue. When I learnt of the move, I was excited at the opportunity to revisit University of Toronto, and in particular Hart House. Many of us have fond memories of spending time there in between classes, reading or studying.
Selen secured the Music Room for us, but we also had the use of another set of rooms for coat hanging and cocktails. The Silent Auction items were displayed in the room set aside for cocktails. Eleanor MacLean, as usual, greeted Tri Deltas and Tri Psis alike as we came to the top of the stairs on the second floor. This year, in addition to our name tags, we also received a survey to be filled out during the evening. The Executive will use those results to tailor programming more towards our needs.
The Music Room was decked out beautifully, with tables dressed in white, soft glowing candles, and a gold-candle-Christmas-wreath centrepiece. (The person with the gold star under their plate got to take the gold candle and wreath home.) The podium was flanked with large, nicely designed boards telling us about our newest charity. On the far right, Selen had set up a computer projection system, which I used at the end of dinner to demonstrate our website, its features, and member benefits. There’s nothing like a visual demonstration to make people feel comfortable with new technology!
Carly Klassen MC’d the evening. With her rich voice and capable manner, she ably steered the evening along. The only hiccup coming after the appetizer, when the main course was delayed; but that gave many of us a chance to visit the Silent Auction in the next room and update our bids. It was very good for our philanthropy efforts! At the start of the evening, the Philanthropy co-chairs Laura Knapp and Natalie Maniates had introduced our newest charity POGO and explained why they have decided to focus the fund-raising on it. We learnt more from an AOP, who is part of POGO, about all the things that they do. It was quite enlightening, and encouraged many to bid on the Silent Auction I’m sure. We raised over $500!
The dinner began with roasted pumpkin and apple soup with truffle scented sage cream, and oh my, that’s when we knew dinner was going to be a cut above. Supreme of chicken with sweet potato and sunchoke gratin, grilled asparagus and roasted cipollini onions, followed. It looked superb, but I had the vegetarian option: an artful stack of round-cut grilled polenta, layered with earthy mushrooms and al dente zucchini, surrounded by a moat of pizziola sauce in an oval white bowl. Wow!
Although I’m partial to chocolate, the rustic apple tart with vanilla ice cream and Hart House Farm maple syrup was lickable. And unlike the usual bitter coffee and paint-peeling tea of banquets everywhere, we were served just-right coffee and fragrant organic tea of our choice: green or black varieties. I floated out of there on a cloud of divinely blessed taste buds.
As dessert came out, I began the evening speeches with the website virtual tour. Then it was the collegiates’ turn. They were 45 strong Wednesday night, and as they sang Rugged but Right, you could hear their strength. The Tri Psis too came out in record numbers at 13; this year their President was unable to attend and so the mother of Canada Alpha’s President presented the Tri Psi award and then later called out the names of the Tri Psis. It was a proud moment for those of us with mothers in Tri Psi to see mother and daughter up there together. This year, the alumnae chapter broke with tradition and awarded the Dorothy Cody Award to one daughter and one mother: Lynda and Lillian Ciaschini. Lynda gave a moving speech on the benefits of having a mother in Tri Psi, and we hope to publish it here on the website.
As I looked over the packed Music Room, I wondered if we had broken all records for attendance. I know that low RSVP numbers only a couple of weeks before the event had some worried. But never fear, even alumnae broke attendance records this year. All told, over 100 attended Founders’ Day. Thank you to Selen, the Founders’ Day committee, and the Executive for making it an evening to remember!
Please contact me if you are interested in participating in some of the behind the scenes work that goes into Founder’s Day! I am looking for any volunteers (even if you can only afford to help out a little, every little bit helps!!) for creative projects as well as some helping hands for some of the more functional tasks that are all very important in putting together this fine evening. It’s a great way to get involved without a lot of commitment, as well as a fun way to spend some time with your sisters while helping out!
In the bonds,