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Allowing boys to be boys at St. Andrew's College

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Boys rush from their living quarters at St. Andrew's College, in Aurora, Ontario, to class, the sounds of their shoes echoing through the hallways. They're anxious to get to class but make time for quick stops to greet friends and catch up on the day's events.

On the walls, posters advertise the theatrical extravaganza Focus Festival Of The Arts, a 10-year tradition that allows students to display talents some of them didn't know they possessed. The boys are involved behind the scenes and on stage, writing, directing and acting in the plays and contributing art to exhibits.

Students also participate in a three-night cabaret during the festival, when the school's tuck shop is transformed into an intimate theatre with a small stage and seating for 60. An informal event, the cabaret gives students a chance to take to the stage to sing and perform on instruments.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the boys' school nestled in 110 rural acres near Aurora, Ontario, that is home to more than half of its 470 students in Grade 6 to OAC—as well as more than half of its 49 faculty.

During its century of providing excellence in education and personal development, St. Andrew's has been acclaimed for its high standards in academics and outstanding performance in sports. Add to that now an acclaimed drama program, as well as a plethora of other activities aimed at developing the whole boymind, body, heart and spirit.

In an age when other single-gender schools are opening their doors to both boys and girls, St. Andrew's has remained resolutely committed to the education of boys only.

Struan Robertson, a St. Andrew's alumnus who is now the school's co-director of admission, says the absence of girls "allows boys to be boys... to have frank discussions and not get embarrassed."

Adds teacher William Scoular, "An environment like this is supportive. They can take risks and realize that it can be cool to be smart." And there are plenty of opportunities, including school dances, to interact with the opposite sex.

Robertson says the boys don't complain; in fact, they prefer it this way. Grade 8 student Patrick McGrath agrees, saying one of the benefits of not having girls at school is that "you can concentrate more on school." And with a schedule like hisperforming in a school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Focus Festival of the Arts, soccer, basketball and rugbywho has time for girls?

Grade 11 students Jonathan Lau, Chris Bibby and twins Tatenda and Tapfuma Musere agree that the absence of girls allows them to focus on school work.

Competition is alive and well at St. Andrew's, "but it's not for looks," says Tatenda. "It's a different kind of competition, to be better at academics and sports. It's healthy."

Lau says he prefers a girl-free academic environment"I like it better"although he admits it's difficult to meet girls when you live on campus.

It's difficult to imagine where most students would find time for girlfriends. They study science, economics, literature, art and business. They play sports and are involved in band and debating. The four Grade 11 students formed a Christian fellowship group to share and pray together.

"You sacrifice a lot for school," says Chris. But it's worth it: "the school gives a sense of community and family."

That sense of family is reinforced by the presence of the faculty members who live on campus, Scoular says. And the school's traditions live on, even when students have graduated and gone their separate ways.

The diversity of extracurricular activities is evident as boys scurry from class to sports practices to cadet meetings to play rehearsals. Their schedules are packed, but no one complains.

The campus boasts nine football fields, six tennis courts and enough room to accommodate many of the 19 sports offeredincluding fencing, cricket, rugby and lacrosse. A cadet programmandatory for students in Grade 8 through OACoffers training in first aid and formal leadership and sports such as rock climbing and scuba diving.

The school's reputations for academics and sports speak for themselves, says Scoular, who added its newest tradition when he founded St. Andrew's drama program 12 years ago. His approach is to teach the boys that "to be an artist or an actor is just as natural as being an athlete or a scholar."

Students are encouraged to take part in what Scoular calls some of the "most exciting productions possible." Last year, the school staged a fall production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a winter production of The Fantastiks and a spring production, Focus Festival '99, in which 142 students had roles either on stage or behind the scenes.

"No other school in Canada or in Britain can produce plays like this school," says Scoular.

A Shakespearean play is staged every fall, reinforcing the importance of the playwright's work in the school curriculum and giving aspiring thespians a taste of the real thing. "One of the most prestigious feelings is being in a Shakespeare play," Scoular says. He celebrates the high calibre of the sets and costumes, as well as the acting. They "bring people to a professional theatre."

Scoular, who comes from a background in the arts and has worked with such actors as John Goodman and Keith Carradine, makes sure the students have a chance to work with professionals. They have included actor Elizabeth Shepherd, who has credits in Broadway and London West End plays as well as in the films Criminal Law and Damien: Omen II, and underground musicians Kurt Swinghammer and John Alcorn, both of whom performed in the festival.

Music is an important part of St. Andrews's culture, says Robertson. Taken both for credit and pleasure, the music program produces musicians accomplished enough to perform at recital nights as solo performers and in the school's jazz and cadet bands. The program also offers credit courses in piping, an age-old tradition at the school. Andrew Douglas, a Grade 8 student who has won a major award in an amateur piping competition, is one of many who hope to graduate with credits in piping.

A highlight of the year is the choral group's performance on the first Sunday of every December at St. Paul's Anglican Church. "To hear the young voices echoing in the church is quite powerful and moving," Robertson says.

Despite the many changes it has seen, St. Andrew's has retained its original motto—words to live by for boys today as they have been for 100 years. It reflects the hope that the students of St. Andrew's College will leave as well-rounded citizens who will contribute meaningfully to their communities and keep close to their hearts the traditions and values of their school: "Quit ye like men; be strong."

Find Private Schools:

In the spotlight:

List of private all-boys schools


Toronto, Ontario — Crescent School is a Toronto independent day school for boys in Grades 3 to 12. Our relational learning environment develops students' characters through academics, arts, athletics, business, outreach and robotics. View School Profile.

  • Emphasis on leadership and character education
  • Strong alumni community
  • Generous financial aid
  • Enhanced service & mentoring opportunities
  • World champion robotics team and technology courses
3 to 12 (Boys)
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
Crescent School 36090 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys

Toronto, Ontario — Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our IB graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide. View School Profile.

  • High-achieving, all-round boys
  • Challenging but rewarding IB program
  • First rate academics, athletics and arts
  • 19 different sports and 65+ clubs
  • Boutique urban boarding program
SK to 12 (Boys)
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
$35,000 to $68,450
Avg. Class:
20 to 25
Upper Canada College 35000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys

Toronto, Ontario — Our vision: Encourage life-long Georgians ready to use their scholarship, compassion, conscience and courage to make a difference. Our mission: To challenge and inspire each boy to become the best version of himself. View School Profile.

  • 100% university placement
  • Boy-centric education
  • Computer Engineering & Entrepreneurship programs
  • AP Capstone school
  • Extensive athletic program
3 to 12 (Boys)
Avg. Class:
Royal St. George's College 34500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Dufferin Avenue/401 Highway
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $31,200

The Sterling Hall School is a leading independent school for boys, JK to Grade 8. We understand how boys learn best and we support each boy in his learning journey.

  • Day
  • Progressive
The Sterling Hall School 31200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Wellandport, Ontario
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $58,300 to $62,300

Robert Land Academy, established in 1978, is a private military-inspired boarding school (Gr 5-12) helping boys to experience validation, realize their potential and gain admission to post-secondary programs.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
Robert Land Academy 58300 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    York Mills Road/Don Mills Road
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $19,000 to $36,000

We value partnership with parents, creating a genuinely warm and friendly community. We raise the academic bar on academic excellence, and expectations of character, helping the boys become the best that they can be.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Northmount School 19000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Shuter Street/Bond Street
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • $7,500

St. Michael’s Choir School was founded in 1937 and provides sacred music for services at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Located in downtown Toronto, SMCS is an all boys school from grades 3 through 12.

  • Day
  • Traditional
St. Michael's Choir School 7500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Duplex Ave/St Clements Ave
  • PS to 2 Coed/Boys
  • $10,000 to $21,075

St. Clement's Early Learning School 70 St. Clements Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4R 1H2 At SCELS we believe giving children an early education will build a solid foundation to prepare them for their next school setting.

  • Day
  • Progressive
St. Clement's Early Learning School 10000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Day Coed Boys
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • 7 to 11 Boys
  • $9,950

In the Ignatian spirit of care and concern for the individual, Loyola strives to develop a diverse and unique student experience while forming global-minded Men for Others.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Loyola High School 9950 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • JK to 12 Coed/Girls/Boys
  • $13,290 to $18,620

With a global network of schools around the world, a rich and proud history, and a strong and unique set of core values, Sacred Heart offers not just an education but an experience that is unparalleled in Nova Scotia.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sacred Heart School of Halifax 13290 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Day Day Coed Girls Boys
  • Oakville, Ontario
  • JK to 8 Boys
  • $23,550 to $27,800

We know boys have different learning styles. Research shows that boys learn differently and socialize in their own distinct ways. We also know through research that boys thrive in an all-boys’ learning environment.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Linbrook School 23550 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./St. Clair West
  • 7 to 12 Boys
  • $21,500

Canada’s only independent, Catholic school for boys in Grades 7-12, taught in the Basilian tradition of forming the mind, body, and soul. Since 1852, we have educated students in goodness, discipline, and knowledge.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
St. Michael's College School 21500 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Harrow, Ontario
    Concessions Rd 6 S/Hwy 18
  • 1 to 8 Boys
  • $8,500 to $29,000

St. Peter's ACHS College School in Amherstburg, Ont. is a day/residency school for boys grades 1-8 who love Sports and the Outdoors. Tuition starts at $8,900. and is a member of OFIS. We put "FUN" back into learning.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
St. Peter's ACHS College School 8500 Elementary MiddleSchools Boarding Day Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
    17th Ave SW/Richmond Road SW
  • K to 11 Boys
  • $13,000 to $15,000

North Point School for Boys is a Kindergarten to Grade 11 independent school in which curious and energetic boys are challenged and motivated, developing into young men of integrity with a genuine love of learning.

  • Day
  • Progressive
North Point School For Boys 13000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $38,405 to $71,495

St. Andrew's College offers programs from grades 5 to 12 in Aurora. Its average class size is 17 students.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
St. Andrew's College 38405 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
  • Westmount, Quebec
  • K to 11 Boys
  • $20,850 to $26,990

Selwyn House School provides a well-rounded education of exceptional depth and scope for boys from Kindergarten to Grade 11. It is located in Westmount, Quebec.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Selwyn House School 20850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys

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