ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT - Theodora van den Merkenhof - van Roijen '88

Written by Andrea Thomson, Director of Development & Alumni Relations

One of my favourite things is to welcome Elmwood Old Girls and Alumni back to the school after many years away. This summer I had the chance to meet Theodora van den Merkenhof - van Roijen who traveled from Heemstede in the Netherlands for a visit with her dear friend Jennifer Hopkyns O’Doherty who she met at Elmwood in 1979 when they were in Middle School. While neither graduated from Elmwood as their families were involved with the foreign service, Theodora attributes Elmwood with sparking her love of the performing arts and her future as a performer and voice coach. Here is my conversation with Theodora: 

AT: What is your best memory from Elmwood?
TvR: I’d say my best memory is playing a Munchkin in the musical The Wizard of Oz with two of my best Elmwood friends. I’ve looked back at this experience as a foundation to my performing arts career.  

AT: Which Elmwood teacher inspired you the most, and how?
TvR: Without a doubt Mrs O’Brien inspired me the most. She was my choir, sports and classroom teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in her choir and that is where I acquired my love for singing.

AT: List three words that best describe you.
TvR: Horseback Riding, Musicals. These are my true passions. 

AT: Name two things on your bucket list.
TvR: I’d love to horseback ride at a cattle Ranch where the fields are vast and the sky is endless. I’d also love to own my own horse one day.  

AT: What are you happiest doing when not working?
TvR: I have so many interests! I love trying new restaurants, horseback riding, playing tennis, going to the theatre, traveling, or simply enjoying nature. 

AT: When you reunite with your Elmwood classmates, what do you end up doing?
TvR: We sit with a good glass of wine or a special cocktail and reminisce about our years at Elmwood. These meetings are always full of laughter!

AT: You recently made a gift in support of the Elmwood Fund. Can you tell me what inspired you to do so? 
TvR: I did! I directed my gift to the Elmwood drama and music department as thanks for having inspired me in both those fields. It was my pleasure to do so. 

Alumni are always welcome to come for a visit. Connect with me, Andrea Thomson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at athomson@elmwood.ca.