Lakefield, ON | Grades 9 - 12 | Shortlist
LCS is an amazing school that offers a wide range of top notch classes. The staff is phenomenal and are truly there to teach, mentor and guide their students. The outdoor education is unique and a wonderful experience for students. They have a great set of arts and sports available to all students. Not only was there regular school activities but all the students had opportunies to participate in international volunteer expeditions, or leadership programs. The school has intersession days where the students do community work, go on field trips, and do team building exercises. The range of extra curriculars is awesome and the sports are offered at different levels from beginner to highly competitive. There are many opportunities to participate in the arts, through plays, musicals, band, choirs, visual arts clubs, and photography. If the students find a need for a club or group they are encouraged to run it, providing an opportunity for leadership and having another option for the student body.
This year was the first year having Anne-Marie Keys as Head of School. She has become a great part of the community almost immediately. She supports the students and staff wanting everyone to have a great experience. The administrative staff is supportive, easy to work with and has the students' and families' best interest at heart. There doesn't seem to be red tape to deal with anything and parents have access to all levels of staff and administration at all times.
Excellent teachers who care about the students and give them their all. They have teachers in all subjects who really know their material and want to share love of their topic. In biology the course did not cover dissections, yet many of the students were interested. Therefore the teacher arranged a time all the students interested were available and set up a few dissections for them to explore and understand more about their world. The staff have specific times for office hours, however, my son was welcome to ask questions anytime. There was no limit to the assistance they gave and all the staff were highly knowledgable in their fields. The staff not only worked hard in class but were instrumental in the effectiveness of the sports, arts and extracurricular activities.
The school offers AP classes for most topics and have a wide variety of courses for the students to select. So even though the student body is 300 approx they are still able to give many selections for their studies. My son was accepted to his first choice program at his first choice school. The academics allowed him to learn and grow in a way that also assisted in his next step of learning. It is an interesting school in that they have excellent, science and math teachers as well as a great arts program, and they don't forget the humanities either. It is a very well-rounded school in the courses they offer. They are taught at a high level and the students are ready to meet the expectations of first year university.
There are so many choices, from sports, drama, music, visual arts to clubs such as LEAF and debate team. Students have a choice each term to switch up their choices. Sports have different levels so that everyone from the beginner to the expert can join and enjoy. Students can join as many or as few of these activities as they choose and the schedules of the activities are throughout the day and after school. This year a student (a friend of my son's) felt there should be a book club at the school. The administration and staff helped the student get one started and made sure there was space in the school and on notice boards to advertise the new initiative.
The student body is small and supportive. Students know others through the different grades as sports and arts are open to all. They are also in residences with students across the board. There are many international students, allowing for students to meet and learn about other places in the world. The school does not tolerate bullying, or other distructive behaviours. As with any school there are groups of "sports" kids, "drama" kids etc. However, the groups support each other and go to events to cheer on their schoolmates.
My son loved going to school at LCS. He enjoyed the wide range of classes and extracurricular activities. He enjoyed the boarding experience and he gained independence and so many friends. The living away from home was a great way for my son to build independence, however, there is great support through the housing staff to help with settling in, academic support and meeting new people. They have a student body from the graduating class that all have leadership roles which also help with the younger students to become more comfortable and find their niche in the school body. My son had some issues with the specific study schedule as they had "study time" each night from 7 to 9pm. This is great to help instill the need to do homework daily, however, my son is a morning person and by 7 pm is fading in the ability to focus, work hard. So he woke early and did all his work then. Otherwise the school is very supportive of learning styles and needs.
As it is a boarding school many parents cannot participate. However, those close enough to volunteer are welcome to join the parent crew called the grove society that helps out with many events throughout the year. This year the head of school Anne Marie Keys invited as many parents as she could to events at her house on campus to have round table discussions about the school. The school does workshops for the students and often includes parents to join in when they are about mental health, living independently, picking universities etc. When there are school events such as sports games, plays and concerts parents are welcome to come and cheer on the students. The staff quickly get to know the parents and make you feel welcome when you come to campus or an off site event.
The school is located in a gorgeous plot of land on the edge of a lake. It is a beautiful location and has a small town right next door. Students enjoy going into town for a meal or ice cream. The school advertises that our nature brings out the best in their nature, and it truly does. The school residences are spread along the lake so many of them look out onto the water. The school building is further away but is surrounded by trees and beautiful views. So much of the school has large windows.
The admissions process was easy and didn’t feel stressful at all. I would suggest doing during the school’s registration time. We did it afterwards and it was more rushed. They do interviews over Skype or other apps to help students from a distance apply more easily. We were lead through the process so we didn’t have to figure out what exactly was called for next. If I recall correctly when we did a tour our son also wrote an entrance test of some sort. We then filled out a bunch of paperwork. Once both of these were processed my son did a Skype interview with the head of school so that he didn’t have to drive back up to the school. We were then sent a letter of acceptance and admission. On one of the trips to the school we had visited the guidance office and picked courses so that had already been processed. I know ours was not exactly typical as we started the process in late May.
The university counselling program was excellent and integrated into the civics and careers course. The guidance staff is awesome and helpful. Giving advice, listening, helping with the university process. My son got into his first choice university and program. The school takes the students on tours of many of the larger Ontario schools throughout the fall for them to help make their decisions. The staff assist the students in choosing the university that best suits their interest and needs for their plans. They have planned times each week to meet to ensure the students don’t get behind in their application process. The staff is not only knowledgeable about the Canadian school’s but also the American, Australian and European schools, giving students a wide variety of choices. The school is supportive through the process right up to when acceptances arrive.