REVIEW OF Lakefield College School BY parent, catherine Gell
- Date of Review
November 03, 2022
- Child 1
Gr. 9 - 11 (Male, Current Boarding Student)
(5) Student Experience
Our son's experience in LCS is beyond expectations. He started boarding during the pandemic time, when restrictions ruled life. And still, he loved it. LCS had a way of welcoming the kids that is unique, they found ways of occupying them, making events and games outside. Also, the presence and dedication of the staff at any time were amazing. Post-pandemic, we discovered the true spirit of LCS. The sports offered, the events organized, the sense of community, and just the beauty of the amazing campus make the high school experience exceptional. On the academic side, he benefits from an excellent teaching staff, who takes time to comment on all of his homework and tests, with clear, honest and precise feedback. This helped him so much to improve and become a better student. He is enjoying dedicated advisory and very personalized help from the university counsellor. They helped him choose the appropriate classes for grade 11. LCS offers so many different options and AP classes, the possibilities are endless. He loves the "board house" solution LCS is offering. since he started LCS, he shares the same house with 24 boys from 14 nationalities and he ADORES it. They became a little family and he is truly living and enjoying diversity.
(5) School Leadership
The leadership of the school is strong and dedicated. You can send a mail with any question (even a logistic one) and you get an answer within the day. The way LCS managed the pandemic rule is for us the best example of LCS fostering a positive school environment. I mean, our son did actually enjoy his quarantine, alone!!!! He got so many zoom calls from staff members or other students that were volunteering to support the quarantine kids.... that the 2 weeks of quarantine were too short! The communication is clear, transparent and very straightforward. Zoom meetings hosted by the principal are organized with all parents and this gives you a feeling of belonging, wherever you are in the world. As per the fairness and problem-solving part, it is just AMAZING. When you start LCS, every student and parent gets a value/rules booklet. These values (totally in line with society's common sense) are ruling the school. The consequences are known, and the students are aware of them, and also aware of the execution of the consequences in the case. And this is for us parents, one of the strengths of LCS. The students become responsible. You can tell so many times a teenager that its act and behavior always have consequences, but when they never see the consequences, the saying becomes a tale.
Since our son started LCS, we only witnessed amazing teachers. Every teacher our son got was involved, passionate, honest and very responsive to any questions or needs from our son. Also, they always respond to any meeting request from our side, and were ready to organize zoom whenever we could. What impressed us most is the quality and passion of the academic staff. Mathematics, English or outdoor education, the feedback and comment we get is extremely detailed, precise and to the point. The teachers really do know our son and the details in their comments reflect their passion. I mean, we got an entire report on our son’s skills about how he handles a paddle in canoeing, a detailed description of his mathematic thinking and a full report on how he could improve his writing skills! In addition, they do adapt to the profile of the student. In our case, they suggested that our son get support in English and that he goes to a higher grade in mathematics. In our view, this is real tailor-made education.
We are very happy with the academic program of LCS, especially since they added so many different AP classes. The support and the quality of teaching are enormous. We like the fact that awards/recognitions are given to the students at the end of the year. We did realize that this was a big motivation for our son to do better. Especially since this recognition is not an “under-achiever versus over-achiever” one. It is more a way of telling the students where they are, and therefore showing them where they could be. We do believe that in a world that becomes so competitive, learning at teenage age that competition actually does exist is good. And the LCS approach is a soft way of preparing the students for the hard reality.
The choice of extracurriculars is huge. Endless different sports, drama, art. ... The variety is enormous. The location of LCS definitely plays a huge role in the well-being of the students, since they can at every season enjoy the outside. Its fitness/sports infrastructures allow every student to find something of their taste. The ratio of competitive/fun is in my view too much on the side of fun. But this was, I think, due to the COVID restrictions and this year should be a “normal” competitive year, that I believe should be part of any athletic program.
The size and diversity of the LCS student body was one of the main reasons why we choose the school. Less than 500 students from over 45 different nations, with different beliefs and social-economical background (thank to their scholarship program), make LCS very unique. One can preach diversity or live it. We realized that our son is living and enjoying it in LCS. The interactions thanks to their activities like gladiator days or “house game” make it just natural. Whenever you come on campus, you see happy students. They all find their place and hobbies. The different events organized by the school (dance night, Casino night, Christmas decorating week, costume week for Halloween, maple syrup making, ….) ensure that each student finds something theycan look forward to.
(5) School Life
The quality of life in LCS? If our son likes to go to school? Let me share a story. In January 2020, Canada was in shut down and a quarantine was mandatory to enter the country. The students would have online schooling but would have activities with the boarders of their house. At the same time, Switzerland had very few restrictions, and the ski areas were open. Our son preferred to go back to LCS. It says it all! We do believe that this enthusiasm is the result of a great mix: the students, the staff, the possibilities, the amazing campus, the infrastructure. If I would improve anything, it would be the renovation of some infrastructures in the boarding house. But we realized that our son did not care much about the “luxury” of the house, as long as the common room was big and comfy enough to hang out with his friends.
The community at LCS is incredible. The diversity is enormous, and we as parents could meet via zoom or in person, parents from all over the world, with totally different culture or habits but all of us always unify around a “house meeting”, a sporting event, a piece of academic information, or a cultural event. The school does a lot for the parent and try to involve them as much as possible through BBQ, open day, and parent/teacher week. … Most importantly, as international parents, the school gives enough notice for us to try to go in person. But in any case, a virtual version of any big event is always offered. You can follow a concert or the graduation on life-streaming. We were fortunate to be able to be in person at some of the school parent events, and we loved it. We met so many parents, all happy to have the opportunity to meet other parents and share thoughts and problems. And, just like our son, we actually made new friends.
(5) School Location
LCS is in Lakefield, which is a very cute little city. We know that our son likes to go there, either to the hairdresser or just to have a drink or a burger with his friends. We also know that the school is involved in the community. Our son spent a day cutting apples to do apple pie to distribute to families in need. We found it great, and our son loved to be part of it. And we can feel that Lakefield appreciates LCS. When we brought our son this September, some shops, bakeries, or restaurants had signs in front of their business saying: welcome home to Lakefield “grovers”, LCS students and Families. We found it so nice and welcoming.
The application process is intensive but very well organized. The school helps you through it and is very flexible, understanding the time zone's difficulties. The “values” of the school are sent to the prospective student, so he can prepare for the interview. You need to gather some documents and report cards, but it is still manageable and definitely good training for university application. The admission officer responsible for us was from the beginning very open and honest with us. She also asked why we choose LCS and wanted to be sure that we knew and understood the value and spirit of the school we were trying to send our son into. Once you are accepted, the school continues to help you with visa (it even propose you the service of a layer who does everything for you), health care and traveling logistics. Without any doubt, it is a very intensive time. But I think that the biggest stress is to realize that your child is actually maybe leaving home.