Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Great Lakes Christian High School (2020)
Great Lakes Christian High School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Luke Mo, Bev, Noel Walker had to say about the school.
Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Luke Mo — alum
Luke Mo was an international student from China who attended Great Lakes Christian High School until his graduation in 2016. He is now in his last year of school at the University of Ottawa, studying mechanical engineering.
- "I was a student at Great Lakes, especially when I first came here, the thing I appreciated the most was people's kindness. My English was very poor back then, I just can't imagine now what amount of patience all my teachers and friends had to have with me.”
- “Now that it's been four years since I've graduated, has my perspective on [Great Lake Christian High School] changed? I don't think so. Not necessarily. I think generally people are very kind. The teachers [at Great Lakes Christian High School] are very patient with you, especially with those who are struggling either academically or in my situation linguistically.”
- "Okay, so with regards to post-secondary, I think Great Lakes, especially while you're in Grade 11, 12, the teachers did an excellent job preparing us for what's to come in the first year [of university], at least at my institution.”
- "When I first came [to Great Lakes Christian School], I was not a Christian. And about two years in, I became a follower of Jesus Christ. Although [Great Lakes Christian High School] was not the sole cause, it was part of the cause as God was working my heart. And that has to be based on the truth, and the truth of scriptures and Great Lakes is faithful to that aspect."
- "Great Lakes is a Christian school, and all of the schools I went to in China are atheistic by design. That difference in world view really affects how your teachers teach or treat the students and how students treat each other, as well as how the students treat themselves. From growing up, I have lived in a culture where there is a pursuit of perfectionism. You're always striving to get that last five percent.”
- “I feel at Great Lakes it's not about perfection, perfectionism, although there is definitely a pursuit of excellence. There's a difference between excellence and perfectionism. One's toxic. The other is not. And there's not an expectation of having to spend yourself entirely to reach an unattainable goal. There's not that culture here. So that's one thing I found a lot of relief in when I first came here.”
Bev — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Bev attended Great Lakes Christian High School years ago, and when it was time to decide where her kids would go, Great Lakes was the right choice. She appreciates its unwavering religious beliefs, and how the school prepared her and her kids for life afterwards.
- "I found it amazing that as an alumnus as well as a parent of two children who graduated from the school, the relationships that I was able to build while I was there, as well as the relationships that my kids have had during their experience, and continue to have. And those relationships weren't just with other peers, there was a lot of that happening because of the size of the school."
- "What always impressed me most, was the relationships that I had as a student, that my children had as a student with the teachers that are a part of the school, the staff and faculty. I think that was something that always stood out to me while I was there, and certainly stood out to my kids. And they continue to have those relationships, they touch base with those teachers or staff that were working and kind of bring them up to speed on where they're at with their lives now."
- "When [my daughter’s] first year [of university] came, she said, 'I'm so glad that we had so much preparation, that the teachers ran their classes like [lectures], in order to prepare us for moving on to university.' So, that's certainly something that she was able to carry over."
- "I would say [the school is] faithful. By that I mean the school has never wavered from its teachings. For over 60-plus years, we've always stayed the course. We are a Bible-based school, and we've just stuck to that. … I would also say integrity, the school is full of integrity."
- "For those parents whose son or daughter may be a little more quiet or not quite as confident, the school certainly lends itself to giving opportunities to those kids to come out of their shell and to just do their best. And I think that goes along with the relationship that they have with the staff. I think it goes along with the size of the school in general. But certainly the staff have a lot to do with that in terms of pulling out the best of the kids that they are serving for sure."
Noel Walker — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Noel has four children, two that have graduated from and two that currently attend Great Lakes Christian High School. He is also an alumnus. He credits Great Lakes with integrating Christian values in the curriculum, as well as helping his children gain confidence.
- "Great Lakes is a small school, but it has created a large community, a large network of contacts throughout southern Ontario and in other places. When I graduated from Great Lakes, I went on to Brock University, which was a local school, and I immediately connected with other students that had graduated from Great Lakes that were at Brock."
- "[My son] connected with people at university that had been at Great Lakes and even people that he had not been at Great Lakes at the same time as him … . Great Lakes has a real strong sense of community and a sense of belonging. The students, while they're there, become very close to each other, and close to the staff."
- "For a small school, it has a very broad course offering there. There are a variety of courses that are offered by Great Lakes. Students from a variety of different disciplines will find a full course load and will be able to prepare for university education that you don't need to go to a great big school to get all these specialty classes.”
- "[Great Lakes Christian High School] works very hard in the fundamentals and yet still provides special interest classes like robotics, design and tech, integrated arts, and drama … . It has a very wide selection of classes for being so small and to prepare students for a variety of different perspectives. So Luke was in mechanical engineering. Yet we've also got graduates that are in the arts, in other sciences and so on. So it's a very well-rounded program But at the same time, it also has the advantages of a small school."
- "The religious component of the education is not a compartmentalized piece that is easily just kind of carved off and set to the side, but instead it's integrated into the other parts of the program."
- "Kerry Kennedy is the principal at the school for the past couple of years, and has done just an excellent job of taking advantage of opportunities as they are presented, to demonstrate practical application of theological principles [of religion]. She sees an opportunity to practice reconciliation between two students or a group of students. She takes advantage of that opportunity and she acts out the gospel and she helps the students apply what they're learning about the teachings of Jesus in a practical context."
- "[Religion] is not just a theoretical thing, but instead it's a very grounded thing. It's something that's happening in each of the classrooms and in chapel and Bible class and in sports and in after-school programming, whatever is available, the spiritual emphasis of the school is integrated, and it's seen in all the different parts of the school."
- "So I've got four sons, two of them have graduated from Great Lakes and I've got two that are in Grade 12 right now, they're twins … . Like most kids, [my kids] have their different strengths and weaknesses, and yet, Great Lakes has been able to serve each one of them. The great impact that they've had is they've given my kids the ability to believe that they can do this," when they came in very uncertain of their educational skills.
- “They had a fairly negative experience through elementary school and came into Grade 9, a little gun shy, not certain of whether or not they could academically handle high school material. [Great Lakes Christian High School] has been great at adapting to [my kids’] specific needs, and creating for them a place for them to really thrive.”
- "[My kids] really do feel like they can advocate for themselves [at Great Lakes Christian High School]. They can ask for what they need and can be successful there. So I think it's been just such a great blessing for my kids. And the spiritual environment has just been a blessing as well. I can't say that enough."