Mrs. Maggie Flynn
It is my honor and delight to speak about Maggie Flynn.
Mrs. Flynn followed her husband, Mike, to Brentwood in 1999. She was hired by Head of School Bill Ross and has worked for 3 Heads in her career here. She once let her girls gag and tie up Mrs. Pennells, in the Mack House phone booth and actually, she may still be there - someone should check! Mr. Patel, of course, has been her favorite!
When she was hired, her roles included French teacher, university counsellor and a volleyball coach - all 5 feet of her, just skimming the bottom of the volleyball net.
In her second year here she was asked to consider taking over a girl’s house. Mrs. Flynn had raised, with Mr. Flynn, three boys, and they thought “how hard can it be to look after 50+ sweet young ladies?” So, she took the appointment. Little did she know that it would be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, positions she would ever have!
They moved into the detached HP home that was adjacent to Mack. That, in itself, was a bit of a challenge, keeping a watchful eye on the girls in the house from afar. Eventually the admin decided it was time to attach a proper HP suite to Mackenzie.
By this time, Mrs. Flynn had submersed her life in the drama, tears, and joy of a girls’ house. It was a bit more stick handling than caring for her boys. She has told me she could not remember her first year, it was such a whirlwind. - the old HP home was carted away on a barge and it took everything to keep Mrs. Flynn from jumping ship!
Mrs. Flynn was supported by a number of assistants, including officially, for a period of time, Mr. Flynn. He was as comfortable in his business suit as he was in a tutu.
The Mack girls were the most important part of Mrs. Flynn’s Brentwood life and she did everything to make their experience a home, with loving, caring, and exciting opportunities. This was tempered with some firm, no-nonsense management, Maggie Flynn style.
I heard her say once to a student: “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else’s path, unless of course, you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means you should follow it!”
She sometimes would call me alarmed because things were going so well in the house. I would tell her not to be frightened by it; that it wouldn’t last long, and it was usually true. But Mrs. Flynn came to learn that the students that challenged her the most were the ones who needed her the most.
In September, annually, the first welcoming event was the Mack House BBQ where everyone, including duty staff, had the opportunity to gather and begin the discovery of just who and what Mack House girls were made of!
During Mrs. Flynn’s tenure, Mack established a lot of traditions that continue today: camping trips for the new students their first weekend with the Grade 12s were always memorable trips.
Mack was the first house to take on organizing the very successful Run for the Cure, raising thousands of dollars for Cancer research. They also sponsor, at Christmas, gifts, food and all the trimmings for an underprivileged local family.
The also send a local teen to Camp Qwanoes every summer. Mrs. Flynn wanted to make sure her girls understood the meaning of service and giving, and to be grateful for what they had.
The ever popular “Mack House skate” was always well attended after the Ross Cup. I think hockey was an important part of the House; I know some of the first girls who ever played on the school hockey team were Mack girls.
Mr. and Mrs. Flynn were staff sponsors of Silver Star ski trip for years. Mrs. Flynn also supported Brentwood by accompanying many sport trips to France, Wales, Argentina, and hockey in the East.
Open Houses were always a creative and fun time. The most memorable was the Hogwart’s theme where Mrs. Flynn insisted that the house be allowed to set up a Zip line from Mack across to Alex House, an engineering feat that required safety permits from the school, municipality, and, I believe, the Prime Minister. It was great fun.
Mrs. Flynn was very proud of her Mack H boys, young Brentwood gentlemen that frequented the house. I think she thought they were there to be around her but the poor guys, what they had to endure just to get close to their girlfriends!
The thing that I know Mrs. Flynn is most proud of is her legacy of connection with her girls in Mack H. They have been meaningful and longstanding relationships and she is included in many of their life events.
Mrs. Flynn in 2002 was asked to develop the school’s official Learning Center program. Mrs. Flynn is a certified Resource Specialist so she brought considerable skill and knowledge, developing the program into what it is today. Many of her former students will tell you that their success in University and their respective careers can be attributed to the special relationship Mrs. Flynn has had with them, walking them (well when she could) though some challenging Learning Style issues eventually to being celebrated with great successes. She never let them doubt for a minute how capable they were.
It was because of her confidence in Ms Cheung that she decided she could hand over her beloved Mack reins and devote her time to the ever-expanding Learning Center. I know Ms. Cheung appreciates the Flynns’ advice and support.
I remember being in the Learning Center one day waiting to meet with Mrs. Flynn about a student, and she announced: “Craig, you know you can’t sleep in my class” to which Craig replied: “I know! But maybe if you were a little quieter I could!” Quiet, as we all know, is not Mrs. Flynn! The most engaging thing that I will miss is her laughter which always fills a room.
None of this could have happened without the sacrifice her family has made to generously share her with our school. We are grateful to Brian, and Jennifer, Scott and Suzy, and their children, and of course David, an old Brentonian who got to witness firsthand the commitment of his parents.
Now it is time for Maggie to have time for herself and to enjoy her family. We wish her and Mike wondrous adventures ahead.
Mrs. Donna Decker, School Nurse