Henderson Avenue Public School

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Henderson Avenue Public School
66 Henderson Avenue
Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates 43°48′18″N 79°24′32″W / 43.80500°N 79.40889°W / 43.80500; -79.40889Coordinates: 43°48′18″N 79°24′32″W / 43.80500°N 79.40889°W / 43.80500; -79.40889
School board York Region District School Board
Superintendent Helen Fox
Area trustee Joel Hertz
Principal Dina Fabian
School type Public Elementary school
Grades JK-8
Language English
Area Thornhill
Mascot Hawk
Team name Henderson Hawks
Colours Maroon, White
Founded 1954, Rebuilt 2000
Enrollment 403 (September 2007)
Communities served Grandview

Henderson Avenue Public School in Thornhill, Ontario was built in 1952 and opened on October 20, 1953. From 1953-1961, the school consisted of a hall and 7 classrooms. In 1962, the school had 13 rooms added to it, bringing it to a total of 20 classrooms.The school's mascot was originally the Henderson Hornets, but then was later changed to the Henderson Hawks. The school stood until July 16, 1998. The school was being renovated when fire broke out in the South Hall and burned down the whole school with nothing left but a stained glass window and a few bricks.

The rest of the school had been left with nothing but the burnt steel frame in a few cases. Eventually, the school was rebuilt with funding from the York Region District School Board, the local newspaper and parents living near the school. The new school consisted of 15 classrooms, a gym and a library; this building was built in a U shape and opened on March 23, 2000. 500 bricks were taken from the wreckage and have been built into a wall across from the office with a commemoration to the fire and old building. The students at the school finished moving back in from Bayview Fairways P.S. and Bayview Glen P.S. the following week. Today, the school houses 18 classes in 16 classrooms and 3 portables (5/6, 4/5, and 3/4) from Kindergarten to Grade 8 including 5 gifted classes. The school is currently located at 66 Henderson Avenue and is served by the YRT Bus Routes 2 as well as the TTC routes 53, 60, 97, 98, Viva Blue, Viva Pink, and the YRT Routes 1, 5, 23, 77, 88, 91 and 99 all within a 15-minute walk.

1987 Tragedy[edit]

On Sept.2, 1987 days before school was to start, Henderson Avenue's much loved Principal and rising star Bruce Miller was killed in a motorcycle accident, it was his daughter's 15th birthday, he was 38 years old. Staff and students planted a tree in memory of Mr. Miller with a plaque that reads "Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see". Mr. Miller's widow and three children took part in the ceremony. Each of the schools in the York Region District School Board flew their flags at half mast on the first day of school in memory of him. Both the tree and plaque survived the fire of 1998 and were relocated when the rebuild was completed.

1989 Fire[edit]

In 1989, a suspicious fire occurred within the school. An investigation led to a garbage can being ignited in an act of arson.

1994 Bomb Threat[edit]

In 1994, when Henderson celebrated its 40th Anniversary of the school opening, 2 students dug a "time capsule" into the ground. Days later a dog found it and the dog's owner confused the capsule for a bomb.

It is known that this incident of the supposed "bomb threat", originated when a grade 6 French class created their time capsule which consisted of all French. After the bomb squad had dug up the capsule which was buried behind the forest of the school, they found the source of the humming inside the capsule making nearby residents and civilians believe there was a bomb threat was a completely harmless electric device.

1998 Fire[edit]

In 1998, one of Thornhill's largest fires occurred when the roof of the school was being pulled off due to asbestos. As the roof was being pulled off, a spark was ignited and the school began to fume. The school burned to the ground after 10 hours and was rebuilt while HAPS was housed at Bayview Fairways Public School and Bayview Glen Public School. The school officially reopened in 2000.

2013 New Classroom[edit]

In 2013, a new classroom was being built for the Primary division. The classroom was built to accommodate another class of kindergartners, due to the new Full Day Kindergarten in Ontario. The classroom was built on the end of the Primary hallway, on a part of the pavement that was used solely for student's activities at recess.

The Gifted Program[edit]

Henderson Avenue Public School is the current gifted program school for the Central Thornhill/Southern Richmond Hill area of York Region. Every year in York Region, 10,000 students go through the Gifted Test and the best 1,500 move on to a second stage. Out of the second stage, 250 students are selected to enter the GSPO (Gifted Student's Program of Ontario) in one of the 10 schools that have the gifted program or the 1-day/week program (Pr.I.D.E.) at Silver Stream Public School (south) or Lake Wilcox Public School (north).

School Buses[edit]

At Henderson Avenue PS, most students ride buses. The Bus and the regions that they serve are:

  • 524 - Landmark of Thornhill/Clark Avenue/Elgin Road, PM
  • 5267 - Bathurst Avenue/Atkinson Road, AM
  • 5122 - Stornoway Crescent/Willowbrook Road/Green Lane, PM
  • 721 - West Richmond Hill/Woodland Public School, AM/PM
  • 767 - Laureleaf Avenue/Landmark of Thornhill, AM
  • 920 - Bathurst Avenue/Atkinson Road, PM
  • 943 - Stornoway Crescent/Willowbrook Road/Green Lane, AM
  • 986 - Laureleaf Avenue (PM Only)/Simonston Boulevard/John Street, AM/PM


  • The Track & Field Pennants from 1972-1983 were lost and remade from photographs by a teacher named Malcolm Crawford. 1 which could not be found in a photograph as a whole was made saying "Girls" without the division
  • The school has hills behind and beside it
  • The school is shaped as a U with classrooms on the outside and a Gymnasium, Stage, and Library on the Inside
  • The school is notable for its athletics having over 40 pennants as well as 4 overall trophies and over 275 2nd/3rd place finishes. The school has won pennants in Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, Relay, Track & Field, and Basketball
  • The school is renowned for having very good athletic teams, particularly in running, volleyball, basketball, and soccer
  • The school is notable as one of the first schools with the "Miniature Elementary" plans from the YRDSB
  • The school feeds into Thornhill SS, Richmond Hill SS, Thornlea SS, and Vaughan SS
  • The school has been approved for a second floor as enrollment is soaring and the school has gone up to 407 students in 2006-2007 from 321 in 2000-2001
  • As of 2011, the school has achieved the silver "eco-school" status. The school is working to obtain gold.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]