I learned that Del will challenge you. Nonetheless, it was a great experience that I do not regret. While the workload was quite a push, I know it improved my work ethic and my confidence in my future academic career significantly. It is a traditional school in terms of its focus on Catholic teachings and beliefs, which was a personal challenge for me at the beginning, but I grew to appreciate the community during my time here. Lastly, while I was intimidated by a small social community and fitting in was a challenge at first, I am very lucky to have found a group of friends that I have made lasting memories with and will hopefully keep throughout my life. All in all, many aspects of the Del experience have been a challenge, but it will teach you how to find your place and build useful skills moving into university.
I personally never had a real connection with leadership in the office or in the House because I never spent much time there (mostly out of intimidation) or in leadership style clubs. But, in terms of our guidance counsellors and teachers, there have been some that I am very fortunate to have formed a connection with. In grade 12, you appreciate the guidance counsellors and their commitment to helping you with the transition to university. Speaking on behalf of my guidance counsellors, they were always super helpful, checked in to make sure I was on track, and even when they did not have the answers, they went out to look for them. For the teachers, I have had many good teachers that I am very thankful for. There were some that were a challenge, but these teachers also shaped my experience and understanding that you will have to find an inner strength to overcome.
Pretty much every teacher has high expectations for you. The workload is a challenge and is not for everyone, but you learn to manage it and it will prepare you for university. For the teachers, I have found many quite memorable and created an excitement to learn, they helped me when I needed it and congratulated me when I succeeded. On the other hand, I have also found teachers that made me feel like I would never do well, felt like they had obvious favourites that I could never be and prevented me from seeking further education in that field. My solution to this was to direct myself towards the courses and teachers I had a significant connection with, so that is why I gave teaching a 10. Despite my bad experiences, the teaching at Del is unique, they really value your success and want you to do well. So, you will find the teachers that make you excited to learn, even if not all of them.
I had a really challenging, but good experience with academics. I found challenges, but ways to overcome them by re-orienting my work ethic when necessary, which is a very valuable skill you learn at Del. I was not the biggest fan of all of my courses because certain compulsory courses, like math, moral theology and philosophy, were ones that I did not have specific interests in or did not personally agree with, and I did not feel an improvement. From this, I learned the direction I wanted to take academically and I am very confident in the direction I have chosen. I know that the social sciences is a field I am passionate about, will succeed in it and the work I have done and teachers I have had have fostered that drive.
The school’s population is small (680 from Grades 5 -12) and the number of clubs is smaller than the larger high schools. That said, the clubs that we do have are varied, well run and get you involved in the community. I had time to get involved in many clubs throughout the past four years, like Debate Society, Eco Team, Lasallian Youth, newspaper and golf development team. They are all great opportunities to get to know people in your first year, and as you progress, you are open to more leadership opportunities and activities to put on your resume.
You will find your crowd and feel you belong. I would have preferred to be in a more inclusive environment, but regardless, I am very happy with my group of friends and truly value their friendships. This does not mean that everyone is not surface level nice because so many people are helpful with homework and you can have a friendly conversation. As well, the school is predominantly white and upper-middle to upper class, so it is lacking in diversity if that is what you are looking for, but that could be typical of most private schools. This does make the environment a bit tougher for some students to relate to, but I personally have not had a negative experience, but some have. De La Salle is not for everyone.
The first place I would take students on a tour would be to the cafeteria (caf) because it is a good symbol for Del. We have the lounge that became a sort of rite of passage for grade 12s, the caf cookies that every grade goes crazy over and a 40-minute break where we get to either cram for a test or connect with our friends. I think that image really sums up Del. We have our traditions, we have our academic expectations, and we have the people we connect with. It is an experience I miss because COVID measures that prevented us from falling back into our typical routine, but it is still a very important aspect of Del. It is a space that we can relax (if we have the time of course) and it is very important to the student life at Del.
The school itself does not feel like “home”, but the connections I've made with my friends make it feel like I'm part of an extended family. I would not say that the administration or school ideal itself has felt like home because I did not really connect over the past four years. I am sure those students who were involved with Student Council, House Leaders or shared many of the religious values have connected, but I and those like me did not. Perhaps, in the future, I will have a different answer when I look back in hindsight, but based on my experience at Del, the community is something they do work hard to strive for, but I personally did not feel it in my year.
Coming from outside of Toronto, I love being in the city. It is a great place to learn in because you have everything near you, there are so many different neighbourhoods that students are coming from. You can see and learn some important life skills in a busy environment. However, that is something mostly reserved for after school and weekends because we cannot leave the campus during the day unless you are in grade 12. For example, lunch or spares are times that you are only allowed to spend on campus if you are in grades 5-11. Moreover, with COVID, the benefits of the city life were completely curtailed.
As someone that did not have a ton of guidance throughout the application process, I remember it being very stressful and scary because there was so much to do and you wanted to make sure everything was perfect. Perfect application, test score, marks, interview and everything in between. Now, I think I was too worried about everything and the best outcomes came when I was just being myself and gave everything my best effort. That is the exact advice I would give someone applying to Del because that is what you are going to have to do when you get in, so the best practice is with the application. Do not overthink it and if you put your best foot forward, that is all the school really wants to see.