Ottawa, ON | Grades NS - 8 | Shortlist
We are a very small school, but a big family. The children all know each other and the little ones really do look up to the big ones. The older kids are aware of their responsibility in setting an example for the younger ones, and they are also aware that they are in a position of care-giving and mentorship, which they take seriously. One thing that has always impressed me is how alumni consistently return to school to see what their former school mates are doing for MarketPlace or at the science fair, or to support them at the school plays and recitals. That kind of connection is rare and extremely valuable.
Looking back, as a January baby and comparatively quite a bit younger than my peers, I had a bit of a hard time socially. Also, back when I was a student, I was one of the very few of Asian descent, and I did feel different than the "typical" student (apparently I often threw away my Chinese food lunches, so as not to be picked on...I do remember being so happy my parents let me sign up for Friday pizza lunches!). Given that it's been more than 15 years (!) since I attended BHMS, I am sure the current ethnic background of the students is much different and that diversity is the new norm.
Bishop Hamilton was a very diverse school with families from all backgrounds. Many of my friends were from south asian, oriental, and caucasian backgrounds. Most students were definitely studious and being disinterested in school was not something that made you "cool". As it was such a small community, the students all knew each other well even if we were not in the same classroom. Overall a very friendly and welcoming environment. I was never bullied nor did I see any bullying occur.
The school community is very close. Students know each other and there were lots of opportunities for students to interact across classes and grades. The older kids learned to help and lead the younger kids. The atmosphere was very good. We really appreciated it as it helped tremendously in raising our kids to be kind, friendly, and responsible.