Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Appleby College (2022)
Appleby College alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Michael, Jen, Erin had to say about the school.
Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Michael — alum
Michael, an alumnus of Appleby College, praises the school’s supportive environment, diverse community, and holistic approach to education, fostering well-rounded, competent, and globally aware students through abundant opportunities in arts, academics, and leadership programs.
Right from the beginning, I really appreciated that supportive atmosphere. From the beginning, there was a really supportive environment, just a really safe environment. Coming into Grade 9, I didn't know what to expect from high school. I was a bit more of a shy kid, I'd say. Didn't necessarily have the most confidence. But the teachers were so supportive. Just all the faculty and staff, in general, they were always there for you. The students themselves, obviously amazing.
There were so many opportunities for me to connect with others through things that I loved. There were so many areas of interest that I could sort of dive into that it was hard to not relate to people. That's just one way that kids can come out of their shell and sort of transition smoothly, is just getting involved in what they love and the transition follows.
I've always had a passion for music and arts, and whether that's performing or setting up shows. Those sort of things for me are really what bring me joy, and so setting them up and then running them and performing alongside my peers and being able to sort of showcase my passion and allow others to showcase their passion, that's a really big highlight for me.
I think one big thing about Appleby is that it focuses on the whole student. It focuses on creating well-rounded students. Of course, you've got strong academics. Of course, you've got arts, you've got athletics, you've got service. But there's so much more on top of that. There's leadership. There's global education. The school prepares kids to be sent off into the world to be global citizens.
The school also focuses on wellbeing, it teaches kids how to focus on their wellbeing, it teaches the kids also about diversity, equity, and inclusion. So really, it's not just preparing kids in the academic sense and in the curricular sense, but also, on top of that, is preparing kids for their future in the world. And so it prepares them, as a whole, well-rounded student.
Appleby has amazing academics. So, in that respect, we’re taught well. But we’re educated in many different ways. Coming out into the world, there's so much these days that you need to be able to adapt to, and so many skills you need to have. And Appleby really prepares you.
When you walk into our campus, it's really like walking into a global community, because we have students from literally all over the world. I think families walking into this school might be surprised, like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so different from what I expected,’ because basically, wherever you're from, wherever nationality, race, gender, whatever you identify is, you will find people that you can relate to and that you have something in common with at this school. I appreciate the diverse and global community of Appleby, where students from different backgrounds can connect and learn from each other.
If you want to be a student leader, you can be a student leader. In the older grades, at Appleby, you can become a mentor, or a prefect, and you look after younger middle school students. And then you've got your student ambassadors, who represent the school. You've got your house councils who work together to put together events and ideas for houses. As prefects, one of our goals was to develop the next generation of student leaders, and to spread that culture down to the lower grades.
Jen — current parent
Jen, the parent of four Appleby College students, praises the school's community-oriented approach, remarkable faculty, and the profound friendships her children developed there. She highlights their preparedness for university and the inclusive, engaging, and happy environment that fosters confidence.
After we made our choice in 2015, we immediately knew that enrolling our children in Appleby was the best decision we could have ever made. The community is inclusive, it embraces not only the students, but also the parents. It has a vibrant community that we are proud to be a part of.
From the first day, the opportunities that the children had were just incredible. The older students welcome the younger ones right from the start, unlike the typical high school awkwardness between different grades. In the school environment, children are accepted and nurtured. The staff play a significant role in this. They actively engage with the students and make an effort to get to know each child. They create a welcoming atmosphere from the moment the children arrive at the campus.
I must mention how prepared the students are when they leave Appleby. The school experience is intense, with long days, but this teaches students how to manage their time wisely. That’s a skill that proves invaluable in their life after high school. The mandatory boarding in Grade 12 is an amazing experience that prepares them well for university. It teaches them discipline and self-care habits. When they proceed to university, they find that they have more time on their hands, they join clubs and other extracurricular activities, thanks to the skills they developed at Appleby.
The friendships my children formed at Appleby are truly remarkable. The Grade 12 year is particularly a time that students form deep friendships. The children build strong bonds with the teachers as well, and these relationships continue even after they graduate. The friendships among the students and the connections they form with the faculty are one of the highlights of their time at Appleby. It gives them a deep sense of community and belonging.
What stands out is the love my children have for the school. They never once said they didn't want to go to school. They were excited to attend every day. They are excited to participate in sports, co-curricular activities, and they enjoy time with their classmates and friends. This fondness for the school persists, and it makes them look forward to events like homecoming where they can reconnect with friends and teachers. Their engagement with various school activities and their love for the school culture and climate are testament to the positive environment that Appleby provides.
The campus of Appleby is another aspect that we absolutely love. Surrounded by green spaces, the campus offers a calm setting, and a place where children can take breaks and enjoy outdoor activities. The facilities are beautiful. There are functional spaces for the students to learn and play. The campus has become a place that my children miss and long to visit, and they cherish the time they spent there and the memories they created.
Erin — current parent
Erin, the parent of two students at Appleby College, praises the school's diverse community, exceptional teachers, and adaptable curriculum. She values the school's approach to fostering individuality, self-discipline, and inclusivity in a vibrant campus environment.
From day one, Appleby instills self-discipline and individual responsibility in children. It emphasizes understanding themselves and building upon what the children value, helping them in figuring out their own paths. It is a thrilling time for them and for us as parents to see them finding themselves.
The door is wide open at Appleby in terms of what these children can try, and they really are encouraged to try different things. Initially, we thought my son would engage in specific co-curriculars and clubs, but he's doing something completely different every term, which I love. Both my children have indeed been introduced to new opportunities and managed to step outside of their comfort zone.
What I truly value is the advisor system in both the middle and the upper school. Students have an advisor who accompanies them throughout their time at Appleby and helps them become their own individual. This person serves as their ambassador at school, facilitating the exploration of opportunities outside the regular curriculum, something that has been greatly appreciated.
Appleby has far exceeded our expectations. When the pandemic struck, the school swiftly pivoted to continue offering both academic and co-curricular programs online. The school kept going and really went above and beyond in terms of its ability to reach out to students through screens. Now that we are back to a more normal academic program, we still feel very positive about our decision.
The campus at Appleby is simply beautiful, with well-maintained courts for field hockey and tennis, which both my children enjoy. Every part of the campus seems alive with activities, and witnessing this is quite special. The proximity to the water adds to the beauty of the campus. The campus up north has been a rewarding experience for both my children.
When I asked my kids about what they value most about the school, they both said it’s the friendships they have built. They have managed to find their core group, which has stood by them in various situations. And they've made friends outside this core group through co-curriculars and sports teams, some of whom might become lifelong friends. It's wonderful to witness the large network they are building at this young age.
One thing we really loved about Appleby is the diverse community and the well-rounded student population my kids have been exposed to. This was something we were looking for, especially in today's global world. We wanted this experience for our children. Academic excellence was also at the top of our list. I believe there's a place for students to work at their level or even reach ahead.
Appleby is an inclusive environment that values the development of global leaders. Just last week, the school held a seminar on gender diversity and inclusion, where numerous students stepped up to lead sessions. This proactive participation from the student body showcases the empowering environment at Appleby College.