Merrickville, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
It's nice. I love the place because of the love, spirit, and pride I feel when I'm in the building; it feels very "homey." The school treats the students as if they're family and they always strive better for their students as they focus on developing critical thinking, enhancing our creativity and making sure no one is left out. When I'm in the classroom, the classroom environment feels very supportive, the teachers make sure to engage us and that no one is left out on classroom activities; I feel very comfortable in the class and that has made my confidence grow, which has helped me in multiple aspects of life. The school environment is no different, it's positive. With students belonging to various cultures and coming from all around the world, the school has done a good job of promoting harmony and encouraging the students to understand and respect the values of other cultures. The school also has good facilities that help students to identify their skills and work on achieving their full potential, those ranging from the sports equipment to laboratories and the overall town MPS is located in as it has a library for one example within walking distance. If I could change one thing about the school though, I would like more students and a way for day students to have wifi after hours... because I don't know how I could ever last going to the school on the weekends or afternoons of Fridays with none.
I really love the school leaders, they maintain an air of professionalism whilst also being able to be playful with students and amongst one another; they have standards and values that they adhere to. Schools are meant to help students grow and become the best versions of themselves in my opinion, so being the best school leader isn't about doing only one thing or a couple of things that are "good", but it's about first knowing themselves and then conducting students. I've witnessed lots of teachers crushing students from doing better by telling them to focus on only one thing is general studies, this school and its teachers encourage much more from their students. They encourage us to branch out and try a bit of everything and remind us that studies are good, but that's not all we should be focusing on. They are also always there for us and are really supportive with issues inside and outside of school; they are understanding. MPS isn't teacher-oriented and the school is molded to where the teachers and students have an equal say in everything that happens in the school.
Contrary to popular belief, a great teacher isn't someone who has the knowledge of a million subjects or an impressive academic degree, a great teacher has a dedication to their work and the persistence to teach their students until they completely understand a topic. They should be patient as they'll need to help students who are having trouble learning a particular subject or topic. A student needs someone who can always motivate them and a teacher who will always be there for them. Whilst a teacher should always keep a check on their students, whether it's homework or any concept, the teacher must also feel like a safe space to the students, so they can openly discuss the problems they are facing. And at MPS, this is exactly how it is! I am so thankful for the teachers here and I love the quality of education I'm getting.
I mean, the school does have a reputation for getting its students into whatever university or college they desire, so the teachers do have great expectations for their students and encourage them to always go "above and beyond". Our teachers' main goal is that we succeed in life, which means that the workload can be quite a bit heavy at times; on the bright side though, that means they are preparing us for the hard workloads we may get in the future at college or university, it teaches us time management and how to be responsible with our time and organized with our work. Everything I've learned from the teachers here, I am certain I'll use later in life because, for one thing, they've made me much more confident in presenting with how many presentations we have to do.
MPS has mandatory extracurriculars students must attend twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, those activities can range depending on the weather and can go from ice hockey to board games. The curriculars they've offered have helped me expand as a person and have helped me in gaining social skills and new interests I never thought I'd ever have. They've added to my personality, so I've become a more complete individual. There are three types of extracurriculars: the first is just things you do for fun, to relax; the second are things you do because you feel you should, such as charitable, religious, or political activities; and the third is things you do to get into college as certain colleges look to extracurricular activities, these activities can show that the individual was: creative, a leader, not overwhelmed by the academic curriculum, and three-dimensional. MPS offers all three types.
They are SO FUNNY, well at the very least, some of them. The school does a good job of making sure we're all interacting with one another no matter our grade such as meal times, extracurriculars, and really any trip the school forces us to go on. So because of that, it's made a lot of us close and I'm pretty sure a lot of us consider each other siblings. I've also gotten better social skills because of this as I've had to interact with lots of people over the course of the school year. The other guys here are pretty welcoming to others people and we rarely bully people (we don't, I promise we're very kind just look at the other reviews), and it's not that hard to make friends here. I think I made all my friends on the first two days.
School starts pretty early in the morning but that's only because we get breakfast, then we have 75-minute classes of four, lunch, a work period, then extracurriculars if it's a Monday or Thursday. It's a really long day, really different for me considering I used to go to a public school, but I think the best part about the school besides the academics are the dorms, they're pretty big! They fit two queen size beds and normally students would have a roommate but because of COVID, they don't! So that means that they now have this however big room, two beds that are queen-sized, and two desks, all to themselves. I'm pretty jealous not gonna lie, I'm a day student so I don't have that luxury of dorms.
At first, it felt pretty awkward, I was afraid that all the others there would know each other and be like "yo who the hell is this newbie" and because it was also my first time at a boarding school as I've gone to a public one for my whole life, but I very quickly found myself becoming comfortable in the new environment. The place feels like another home, kind of, considering I don't really have a bed to sleep in, but I've spent a lot of hours thereafter school hanging out with my friends that it's felt like another home. The school and students do a good job of making sure everyone is included in whatever they do. The community in MPS is like a family as everyone there does their best to support one another.
It depends on the person to whether or not they'll like where the school is, some will like the small place whilst others might hate it. For me as a day student that lives about a three-minute walking distance away, I've grown completely comfortable with the small-town environment and I'm really happy that my house is close and that I don't have to sit through a long bus ride or car ride unlike some of my other poor day students who have like, two hours to go. Generally, students stay on campus because they love their rooms but some do go out for the library, food, or the ice skating rink occasionally. There are also vans the school owns that they use to take the students for town trips or trips in general.
From what I remember about the admissions process, my dad first found the school through the newspaper and told me I should try to get one of the scholarships the school was offering. I had to ask an old teacher (I chose my favourite teacher) for a referral, write a three hundred word essay on who I was, did an interview with the headmaster, and do an English literacy test. Then I got a tour of the school and later an email on me getting the scholarship. I don't remember much else since my parents mostly dealt with the whole application but in my opinion, I think it was pretty easy and that the admission team was really good at answering our questions. Word of advice though, don't do what I did when I had to write the 300-word essay and write the essay on some kind of digital thing that can count your words so you won't have to rewrite it later...