Volunteers celebrated with induction into Harold A.D. Roberts Circle

Michael Annecchini 03, Jennifer Bell, Elissa Fingold and Dr. Liza Murrell have been recognized for their exceptional volunteer contributions to Upper Canada College.
“We’re so fortunate to have such a talented and engaged volunteer community; they truly are an essential part of the fabric of the school," says Lisa Orr, chair of the awards committee of the UCC Association. "This year’s recipients embrace the College's values of learning, pluralism, service, community and wellbeing and are a source of inspiration for the entire community."

Michael Annecchini ’03

Annecchini is the manager of global partnerships for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the organization that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. 

The 2003 class president since graduation, Annecchini has been a member of the Association Day steering committee since 2009. He co-founded the Michael E. Jurist 03 Memorial Tennis Tournament with former intermediate division head Derek Poon that same year, and he remains involved with its planning and execution. He's also a past member of the reunion planning committee and the Young Alumni Network.

"I’m very honoured to join the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle," says Annecchini. "Starting the Jurist tournament felt like the least I could do in Michael’s memory. More than a decade later, it’s been humbling to see it grow into a staple on the A-Day calendar. In the process, we’ve been able to raise money for our Michael E. Jurist (Class of 2003) Fund, providing financial assistance to deserving students." 
One of Annecchini’s nominators shared his appreciation of Annecchini’s contributions, writing, "His generosity of time and patience, his ongoing friendship and sense of duty have never wavered. Mike is the 'face' of the Class of 2003." 

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer Bell, the wife of an Old Boy (Robert ’75) and parent of two young Old Boys, volunteered her time generously to UCC while Matthew ’13 and Jeremy ’17 were students and continued volunteering after their graduation.
"I’m so touched by the honour of being one of the recipients of this year’s Harold A. D. Roberts Circle Awards," says Bell. "It has been my absolute pleasure to contribute to our wonderful community through volunteering. I love the school, and love every minute of volunteering there. UCC has been my home away from home."

Bell was the Arts Booster Club's languages and film representative and a member of its executive from 2014 to 2017. She volunteered in the Prep's Wilder Library, at the Nuit Bleue arts festival, as a Class Parent, and at Association Day. She was a Year and House rep in the Upper School, and a Festive Marketplace volunteer. Other wide-ranging endeavours included membership on the UCC refugee sponsorship committee, working at the sports shop, and serving as a liaison for several parents new to the College.
"Volunteering at UCC was a full-time job and a labour of love for Jennifer," wrote one of her nominators. "During her ten years as a UCC mom, Jennifer never stopped volunteering. She never said no to volunteer jobs and she did them all with enthusiasm and warmth." 

Elissa Fingold

As the spouse of an Old Boy (David ’85) and mother to two young Old Boys (Maxwell ’17 and Joseph ’20), Elissa Fingold began serving as a volunteer with UCC in 2009, working to ensure that the College thrives.

"I’m honoured and delighted by this recognition," says Fingold. "It was a wonderful way to champion the boys, participate in school life and get to know UCC’s vibrant community. I’m particularly grateful for the friendships and connections I made during my time there." 

Fingold served as chair and vice-chair of the Arts Booster Club from 2016 to 2019 and has been the music representative since 2015. She’s volunteered for Association Day since 2014 and was a member of the 2019–2020 A-Day steering committee. Fingold is a past member of both the Prep Parents' Organization — where she represented Year 5 and Year 7 — and the Parents’ Organization. She was also an organizer for the 2018 and 2019 Mother and Son evenings. In addition, she helped to organize the Nuit Bleue Languages Café, volunteers at the Used Blues Shop and has written for UCC's website.
 "As fellows in the UCC community, we cannot emphasize how beloved she is and how proud of her we are," wrote Fingold’s nominators. “She is far more comfortable behind the scenes and shuns the limelight. All of the volunteering she has ever done has always been about celebrating the boys and their successes. Elissa's contribution has always been with the goal of making the students' experience at UCC as inspirational as possible.” 

Liza Murrell 

Clinical psychologist Murrell balances her professional obligations with volunteer work, and the College has been one of the beneficiaries.

Parent of Sabastian 16 and Nolan 21, Murrell has been volunteering at UCC since 2003. She’s currently the volunteer coordinator for the Parents’ Organization and has been a member of its executive since 2013. Murrell has also served as chair, vice-chair and member of the Prep Parents’ Organization executive. As a past member of the Association Council, Murrell was chair of the Association Day committee, worked on the awards committee, and served as a member of the Blues Booster Club. 

"Liza is the finest volunteer, a phenomenal human being, and an amazing ambassador for UCC," wrote one of her nominators.

Murrell's varied UCC endeavours have also included serving as both a Form and Year rep, and volunteering at A-Day, bake sales, Grandparents' Day, and the New Parent Welcome. 

Says Murrell, "It is truly an honour to be nominated by so many exceptional volunteers both past and present. This award is an expression of the support and sense of community that I have experienced over the last eighteen years at UCC, and I sincerely thank you.”

The Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Awards

The Circle is named for a member of the Class of 1915 who was known as "Mr. UCC." Roberts' service to the College lasted more than eight decades and included membership on the Board of Governors for 18 years. He was also a UCC ambassador-at-large and helped place about 2,000 alumni in jobs.

New members are chosen based on the length and nature of their volunteer service, including the diversity of roles undertaken and consistency of commitment.

"These award recipients are people you can rely on year after year to make sure the magic of UCC happens,” says Orr. “They are all so humble; they volunteer because they love the school and the community and want to make a difference."
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