Merrickville, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
I was awarded a scholarship to Merrick Preparatory School for Grade 9 as a day student for 2021-2022. So far, my experience has been exceptional: the teachers are involved and always available, the facilities are lovely, and there is no shortage of school and community spirit. There are plenty of opportunities within the school and local town of Merrickville to get things like volunteer hours and feel involved in the community. I like how the days are structured, especially the tumbling schedule that was implemented in semester two. There are also schedules posted all around the school, just in case you forget what day it is and what class you have next! The hot meals we get every day are also something to look forward to! The kitchen staff are lovely, and their food is just as good.
Within the school, there are a number of forms of leadership, and everybody plays their own part. As would be expected, the leaders that we come into contact with the most are our teachers, all of whom do a brilliant job at making their classrooms feel welcoming and safe, especially during the COVID pandemic era that we are living in. I know my parents are also very happy with the leadership, and especially like how they get to know about what is going on in our classes through the weekly emails the teachers send.
The teachers here at Merrick are all fantastic, organized, and committed. They are clear in their lessons and what they expect from us, but also have no trouble with slowing down the pace if we are confused or need a little extra help. I particularly enjoy that we get taught in more ways than just direct instruction (for example, extensive, quality feedback on assignments, hands-on activities, or homework). The teachers are also very good at getting to know their students and what might help them to learn or understand what concepts are being taught to the best of their ability. The classrooms all feel like places where we can share our thoughts and questions with no judgment, and the teachers almost always have an answer for us.
We've all tried to be smart in class by saying, "Well, when am I going to need this later in life?" With Merrick, while some things in the Canadian curriculum could be seen as a little useless, almost everything seems to play a potential part in what could be our futures. For example, one of the grade nine classes is an introduction to business class. Before taking it, I had never even thought about business in my future, but the things we were taught are so much more than just career opportunities. For example, we learned about how we can responsibly use our money instead of throwing it away, and about our rights as an employee. This type of education continues throughout every class, with us learning beneficial things. The work is all to the perfect level for us: pushing us just enough to get us to think, but not so hard that we cannot do it.
The extracurricular activities offered by Merrick Preparatory School have a nice range of clubs that we get to choose from. Twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays we spend an extra hour at school to participate in them. As students, we get to pick our own clubs from a selection of eight (four for each day). There is a mix of academic, artistic, and athletic clubs that we can choose from, and they change every few months. So far, I have participated in Yearbook, Trivia, Board Games, Soccer, Music, and Book clubs.
One of my favourite things about Merrick Preparatory School is how easy it is to interact with the other students. The classes are small, which allows every student in the class to build relationships with one another and as a whole, and the small and involved classes help to strengthen bonds between students. The school's schedule and smaller classes also make it easy to socialize and interact with other students regardless of grade or age. There are chances for students to get to know one another at meals, clubs, and school outings (such as sports games, also played as a school), and within just a short while everybody knows everyone else. The school and community spirit within the school are heightened by this feeling of unity and community.
I am a day student, so perhaps my view is a little different from that of boarding students, but if I were asked to deliver a school tour the first place I would like to show somebody would be the dining hall. For me, this room is the heart of the school. All the students and staff gather here to eat and interact in the middle of the day, and it is a nice pause between classes. Many students would agree that this is one of the most important places in the school - and not just because of the amazing food! There are many good, fun and exciting memories in that room, such as the winter talent show and festival that was held in December and there will probably be lots more to come!
I know that both my parents and I were very impressed with Merrick Preparatory School's admissions team. We were made to feel welcome and respected from our first interaction, and all of our questions were answered very quickly and honestly. Their website had answers for almost everything I needed to know, and that which it didn't was quickly answered. It was a lovely introduction to Merrick, and it made me very excited to attend. The student and parent testimonials and reviews on their website are very helpful and promising, and I have not yet found anything that contradicts the information we were given. The admissions process was also very smooth and easy to navigate. I think that any student can agree with me when I say that there is a lot to be said in a positive nature about the Merrick admissions team.
Although I was not a boarding student and only attended classes during the day, the school definitely felt like a family. It was also an interesting year due to COVID, but there was most certainly a pronounced school community. With things such as our spirit week taking place, it is very easy to see just how much Merrick values its students, staff, and sense of family. I was very impressed with just how much it felt like we were unified. We can also see this in our school sports teams (so far we have played soccer against other schools in a competition), which most of the school participated in and helped teach one another. Overall, I very much enjoyed how much the school felt like a home and a family.
I live close to Merrickville, and I can say from several years of experience that it is one of the most picturesque and idyllic places in the general area. Throughout every season, there is always something beautiful or eye-catching. The town is also very environmentally friendly, using hydropower, sand instead of road salt, and being very adamant about things such as recycling.