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Hawthorn School:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades Nursery/Toddler TO Gr. 12 — Toronto, ON (Map)

Hawthorn School:

Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Hawthorn School (2020)

Hawthorn School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Gwen, Marnee, Steve, Liz had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Gwen — alum

Gwen graduated from Hawthorn School in 2018, after which she began studying at Carleton University for Journalism. As one of the few students in her grade interested in the arts, she felt that the school went to great lengths to accommodate her and facilitate her academic needs. In addition to supporting her academically, Hawthorn School offered Gwen support mentally and emotionally, which was important to her as a boarding student that did not always have access to her family. She enjoyed the tight-knit community, and feels that she has made friends that will last a lifetime.

  • It was definitely the community that I appreciated most about my time at Hawthorn School. There were many positive things about Hawthorn School, but the most positive thing, from my perspective, was the community and the friendships that I formed there. I chose to go to Hawthorne and be away from my family. So community and relationships were very important to me. The friendships that I had were very meaningful, and I have not found anything like that since leaving.

  • Hawthorn School is a faith-based school, which was incredible to me. That’s because I had the opportunity to grow in my personal faith, and grow in my walk with the Lord, which I otherwise probably wouldn't have had otherwise.

  • Something that I think differentiates Hawthorn School is the relationships, and the one-on-one attention you get with your teachers. The class sizes were small, so teachers were able to really zone in on where growth was needed. They helped me grow in a way that I don't think I would have had the opportunity to grow otherwise.

  • Three words that I would choose to describe Hawthorn School would be encouraging, faithful, and ambitious. What I found as a Hawthorn School student was teachers went the extra mile again and again.

  • I was struggling with some mental health issues in my last year at Hawthorn School, but the teachers care so much, and they notice things. It was initially a real struggle. My economics teacher lent me a special lamp that I could use during her classes, and it had a positive impact on my mental health, and on my whole life. I won’t forget that.  

  • As a second-year university student, I feel so comfortable, feeling like I'm leaps and bounds ahead of some of my classmates, which I owe completely to Hawthorn School. While I might not have had the opportunity to take a sociology course in Grade 12, I did really well in sociology in university, because Hawthorn School gave me so many excellent research tools, and study tools and they just set me up for success.

  • Academically, I felt I was overly prepared for university. As a liberal arts student, my Grade 12 year Hawthorn School was harder than my first year of university.

Marnee — current parent

Marnee enrolled her daughter at Hawthorn School in March of 2020. She believes the school is a warm and nurturing environment for her daughter to grow and learn within. She appreciates that the school teaches content through a Catholic-inspired lens, which is shaping her daughter into a conscious and kind young woman.

  • Hawthorn School develops the whole child, they look at our girls and support their development as active people that are engaged in life. Certainly, the Catholic-inspired component was also important to us too.

  • The sense of belonging and an environment that cares for these girls, and to take an interest in them in a way that they feel safe, gives it a family-like atmosphere. And, where the family feels safe, so that was the draw. At first, we saw one of the girls in one of the Hawthorn School website videos said it felt like a family. Hearing that, my daughter lit up and said, ‘I want to go to the school that calls itself a family.’

  • Her sense and her experience, coming home to me at the end of the day, is somebody who is buoyant, lit up, and already feels a sense of belonging in her classroom at Hawthorn School. That's been really marvelous. How quickly that has transpired has been a surprise and delight.

  • Hawthorn School is a loving, safe space to grow. There is a mentorship program at the school. Since our daughter is our only child, having another resource for her besides us is strategically very powerful for us.

  • My daughter recognized and appreciated the experience of being in an environment, where she can feel like herself. We got in the car one day after school and my daughter said, ‘Mom, it's like everyone at Hawthorn School is the same, but not the same. Like puzzle pieces, where everyone is different, but we all go together.’ She said, ‘At my old school, I felt like a puzzle piece, but everybody else was blocks.’ 

  • Three words to describe Hawthorn School are kind, wise, and patient. The values of the school are community, relying on one another, and being in something together.  Hawthorn School is nurturing and helps students excel.

  • With the connection I've made with the wonderful Hawthorn families, I recognize we're prepared to collectively contribute to our children. There's a vulnerability there, in allowing others to teach your kids. There's a sharing. I mean more than just academically, I don't think as a parent I ever competed to try to be the teacher, and certainly during lockdown it was clear I am not an elementary school teacher.

Steve — current parent

Steve and his wife Liz have been a part of the Hawthorn School community since 2002. They have three daughters who have graduated from Hawthorn School, and they have three daughters that still attend the school. Steve feels that the school has created a warm, caring, familial atmosphere that caters to each of his children’s unique skills and interests. He believes that the school has taught his children how to be a good friend, how to be loyal, and to have a strong work ethic.

  • The beautiful thing is that everybody, regardless of how long they’ve been with the school, captures that idea of the warmth, care, and the familial atmosphere that gets transmitted in spades. We’ve had a lot of experience with the school, and people at the school.

  • The experience that we had in Hawthorn School with all the staff, the teachers, the mentoring and the administration, has always been one of being very much on the same page.  We're very careful as parents with whom we want our children to spend time with, and be formed by. The impact of Hawthorn School has been having another group of people that are in your corner. We've had the experience of homeschooling our kids, sending them to the public school system, and sending them to private schools.

  • I don't ever remember our kids ever having feedback that would suggest they’re guiding them all in the same direction at Hawthorn School. You can never underestimate that, and the impact that it has on the kids. Sometimes the experience at Hawthorn School can be a little bit quieter, in the sense that we sometimes just focus on the consistency in how they treat students.

  • We definitely would describe Hawthorn School as familial, but also truthful. Hawthorn School is kind.  You can't get anywhere without kindness and patience. At the same time, they're not going to shy away from telling you the truth, even if it's difficult.

  • Considering the size of Hawthorn School, the grit that the sports teams show  and the resilience that the girls show speaks volumes to the values the girls embody. They take on that idea from the school, and the people that they see as examples around Hawthorn School.

Liz — current parent

Liz and her husband, Steve, have been a part of the Hawthorn School community since 2002. They have three daughters who have graduated from Hawthorn School, and three daughters still attending. She believes that the school is like one big family and was the natural choice for all of her daughters’ education. She appreciates the all-girls component of Hawthorn School. She says the school helps shape their character and teaches them how to think for themselves.

  • Because Hawthorn School was founded by families, this idea of family was a big part of the school. Naturally, that was the place for us to be.

  • My husband's sisters were students at Hawthorn School, and they all said they wouldn't be who they are today without the school. It really shaped who they were, and that had a big impact on our decision.

  • Hawthorn School has really given my children the ability to think for themselves, and not be followers. It has shaped who they are, their character. One of the big features of Hawthorn School is that character formation. We had the experience of one of our daughters giving a thesis. Being able to listen to that from all the girls in her class, and see how they have really become really young women that could change the world.

  • My kids are still very fond of the Hawthorn School, and the friends that they've made. One of the most significant things they would say is that the friends that they've made at Hawthorn School are their lifelong friends. Even in university, they're still meeting up and they're still in touch, and it's great that they support each other.

  • The biggest thing is Hawthorn School is like a family, and you try to care for the people that are in your family.  So in this sense, I think everybody pulls together to really, as a whole, take care of your child, which I don't think you can find anywhere else. It's a pretty unique thing to Hawthorn School. The school administration also really knows the children, which goes a long way in their ability to work with them.

  • I really see the value in single-sex education for the girls, not having so many distractions, and to really develop who they are. That was a really important component of Hawthorn School. We did have our kids in the regular coed school and it was not good.


More about Hawthorn School

Back to Hawthorn School overview

More video reviews

Parent, Amy & Peter McCrea (2021)

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Alum, Jane Zuchelkowski (2020)

Watch our alum interview with Jane Zuchelkowski to learn about the unique experience of attending Hawthorn School.

More written reviews


Parent, Yineska Saavedra (2023)

Gr. 7 to Gr. 9 (current) — Hawthorn School has provided an environment for my daughter to blossom and for us to be part of a community of amazing families who look to fully develop their kids academically while fostering humani...


Student, Adriana Alfaro (2023)

Gr. 10 — Hawthorn is a good school. The students are inclusive and the teachers are great at teaching. The only thing I wish I could maybe change is the school gym. It would be nicer if the ceiling was just a ...


Student, Ximena Saishio (2022)

Nursery/Toddler to Gr. 10 — Hawthorn School is wonderful. My two favorite things about Hawthorn are the teachers and the environment. You can tell the teachers are so passionate about their subject, so much so that their classes...

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