Reviews of De La Salle College

Toronto, ON  |  Grades 5 - 12  |  Shortlist

 

Review by: Anthony Mastromarini - Alumnus (Mar 15, 2021)

"They fostered a learning environment that sparked interest and engagement in the student body"


School Leadership

The De La Salle administration showed extreme competence and care during my time at the school. They fostered a learning environment that sparked interest and engagement in the student body, but also catered to individual student needs as well. Each student was known by name and members of the administration would frequently greet students in the halls, creating a mutual sense of respect and affability between students and staff. Members of the administration were always approachable and were keen to support students in any way they could.


Teaching

De La Salle immerses students in a challenging academic curriculum guided by teachers who are well-versed in their field. The expertise that teachers bring to the classroom frequently allows for in-depth and dynamic discussion about topics and concepts. Teachers preferred to be viewed as colleagues in learning and, as a result, were always transparent in communicating course expectations and student feedback. They wanted their students to succeed and provided the resources for them to do so. Their passion for their respective fields of study was contagious, stirring curiosity within students to explore their studies further. I can say with confidence that certain teachers had a significant impact on what I chose to pursue in my post-secondary studies - and that is true for many students who graduate from De La Salle.


Academics

The academic programs offered at De La Salle are some of the best among schools in Toronto. Students are expected to perform at a high level and are challenged through a variety of academic evaluations. As students become more senior, courses begin to mimic the structure and complexity of post-secondary courses. Not only does this allow students to develop important critical thinking and problem solving skills, but it eases the eventual transition into post-secondary studies. Graduates of De La Salle, including myself, find themselves overwhelmingly prepared for higher-level academics. In addition to a robust academic curriculum, De La Salle also offers supplementary academic opportunities, such as Reach Ahead programs for English and Mathematics and Advanced Placement. During my time at the school, I had the pleasure of enrolling in 6 AP exams and claiming those credits as I began studying at university.


Extracurriculars

De La Salle offers a number of extracurricular activities, including over 30 students clubs, various sports teams, and a student executive, among others. There were opportunities for everyone to be involved, and, in the odd chance that students felt their interests weren't necessarily represented in the current selection of clubs and extracurriculars, they could easily find the support to launch a new club. Students are encouraged by the administration to explore their interests outside of the classroom as emphasis is placed on developing well-rounded graduates.


Students

De La Salle is among the smaller middle / high schools in Toronto. It hosts students from Grade 5 - Grade 12, and my 2016 graduating class had ~100 students. This creates an environment where classes are relatively smaller, everyone recognizes each other in the hallway, and staff is in a much better position to cater to the individual needs of students. As a Catholic school, most students are Catholic or Christian, but the school welcomes students of all religious backgrounds. Moreover, with the school's generous bursary program, access is equally given to students of various socio-economic backgrounds as well. The common thread among all students that are admitted to the school is that they are highly ambitious and academically gifted, eager to learn, and keen to contribute back to society.


Community

The school always strives to create a tight-knit community among current students, parents and guardians of students, and the alumni network. Contributing to this strong sense of community are the daily morning assemblies and community events that the school hosts throughout the academic year - Megan's Walk, Terry Fox Run, Sharelife Day, Winter Activity Day, Founder's Day, and the Christmas Food / Toy Drive to name a few. These events encourage participation from the entire student body and help raise funds for laudable charitable initiatives. The school aims to foster a spirit of giving in alignment with its motto: "Enter to Learn. Leave to Serve." These values continue to be upheld by many of the graduates, who visit the school frequently to support community events and rekindle friendships with teachers and fellow alumni.


School Life

Despite the fact that there is a heavy focus on academics, De La Salle invests in all areas of student life - whether that be extraccuricular activities, student athletics, or community events. Moreover, in addition to all the opportunities afforded to students, the school offers tremendous supports in the form of a robust counselling program and a staff of teachers that are genuinely interested in the well-being of students. All teachers are welcoming to questions and concerns, and the school is well-prepared to direct students towards the appropriate resources for any issues they may encounter. Overall, De La Salle excels in creating a school environment and student life experience that encourages students to learn, ensures their needs are being met, and motivates them to succeed.


School Location

The school is located near Avenue Rd. and St. Claire and is easily accessible via car or subway. The historic campus is located within a residential neighbourhood and is gated off to ensure that students are safe when walking on the school grounds. It is certainly among one of the more beautiful school campuses in Toronto and boasts plenty of free space, giving students the ability to play sports and study outside (especially during the summer months).


Admissions

De La Salle offers admission for Grade 5-7 and 9, although the school does occasionally admit students off-cycle as well. I had the pleasure of being admitted to De La Salle in Grade 7, which meant I could immediately participate in the English and Mathematics Reach Ahead programs. From what I remember from the admission process, I was required to submit an application as well as participate in an interview with a member of the school administration. The school offered plenty of guidance during the admission process and openly communicated with me and my family on the status of my admission. Moreover, when I visited the school for my interview, I was welcomed and kindly given a tour of the school grounds - it was a pleasant experience overall.


University placement and counselling

The De La Salle counselling team played an integral role in my university admission process. My dedicated guidance counsellor supported me during the university research, application writing (both for programs and scholarships), and school selection steps, and was always available if I had questions along the way. My guidance counsellor regularly checked in with me, asking about updates and progress, and even supported me in writing an incredible reference letter. The counselling team was patient with me, guiding me through indecision and advising me when I thought I was at a crossroads. Ultimately, with their help, I was offered admission into all the programs I applied for, and accepted my offer to the Medical Science program at Western University with Ivey AEO status. Additionally, I was offered the Western National Scholarship and Queen's Chancellor's Scholarship alongside my letters of admission, and accepted the Western National Scholarship as I began my studies at Western University the following year.


Overall Experience

De La Salle played a crucial role in my formative years. Ever since I entered in Grade 7, the school has supported me in my academic and extracurricular endeavours, encouraging me to seek higher pursuits and guiding me along the way. Not only did the school challenge me intellectually, but it created opportunities to allow me to grow in other ways as well. The spirit of giving and care that underpinned school activities and communities events has also made an impression on me and is one of the main reasons I continue to be active in my community today. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at De La Salle and firmly believe that the school prepared me to excel in university and, ultimately, in my career. By helping me to build constructive skills at a young age, the school has taught me the value of being an eternal student.




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