Beamsville, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
As someone who attended in the past and has had opportunity to reconnect with this community, I have been asked what has changed. While there are definitely some physical and procedural changes, the core of what has always made Great Lakes great remains the same. This school was, and is, a faith-based community that is focused on the student. The same reasons that I loved this school as a student are the reasons I would send my child as a parent. Teachers and staff are dedicated and have the utmost care and concern for the students. The school is small yet academically rigorous. It prepared me very well for university and gave me lifelong friendships. It holds a special place in the hearts of many.
Many people look back on their high school days and groan, but I look back and smile. I loved going to school every day, and I am confident that going to Great Lakes was part of the reason why. The thing that I liked the best about Great Lakes is that it isn't just about academics. Great Lakes has an amazing sense of community. Part of this is due to the smaller size of the school, but there are many ways for students, staff, families, and the public to get involved with events, volunteer opportunities, and extra-curricular activities. Going to a Christian school was a really great way for me to build the foundation of my faith during an important transitional stage in my life. I enjoyed being part of a Christian environment where I knew that there would be positive influences and good role models surrounding me.
GLCHS reminds me of home schooling. This is because the students were only a handful in number. It’s unique in its set up. While the premises look like without borders, it’s boundaries for the students are not in doubt. My daughter had to leave home for high school earlier than initially planned, therefore we needed a school first that would help us maintain the Christian values she was taught from home. We also wanted an environment that would not make her vulnerable while at the same time prepare her for the inevitable exposure of the college life imminent after high school. GLCHS provided just that. Although I was abroad most of the time, the teachers were accessible and very friendly. They were calm and most times will go the extra mile. She particularly liked the interjection of the long weekends in the school calendar as they enable her to "refresh" at home and return to school. I have had such good experience as a parent and I trust God that as she graduates this year, God who has started a good work in the school will surely complete it.
Its been almost two years since my daughter first joined Great Lakes and she would be graduating this year. One thing I would say she likes most about the school is the spiritual aspect. I really feel like she has been deeply involved with the spiritual activities of the school and her relationship with God has grown significantly from that. She also likes the small size of the school because it makes it easier to make and build friendships with people. However, one thing that needs improvement is the diversity of the school. She feels as though the nations represented are limited, which results in social barriers as students tend to stick with people from the same nationality. But, all in all, her experience in Great Lakes has been great. My children have been specially touched by their winter and fall student retreats.