Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Lakefield College School (2021)
Lakefield College School alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Cody, Max, Paula had to say about the school.
- 4:48 - What did you appreciate most about the school during your time? And how has that perspective changed now that you've had some distance from the school?
- 6:30 - Why you chose the school originally? In what ways was the school is what you expected, or surprised you?
- 14:35 - What to the best of your knowledge most differentiates Lakefield from other schools?
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Highlights from the Q&A discussion
Cody — alum
Cody graduated from Lakefield College School in 2012. He went on to attend McGill University for the humanities, and now works for the school in the LCS Foundation, and also does alumni relations.
- "I think what I appreciated most [about Lakefield College School] ... is how many people genuinely cared about my well-being on a day-to-day basis. How many people were invested in bringing out the best in me. How many people saw things in myself that I didn't necessarily see. They made it their goal for me to be the best person that I could be."
- "Having traveled to lots of schools and playing sports a lot, I've never seen a [school] that has such a brilliant campus, and how the outdoors is of such value. It's really not just something that [Lakefield College School] takes advantage of. It's in the spirit of what they do. I remember being a student, and you take it for granted. ... We'd be in biology class and we'd all get up and we would go outside, and we would stand in the forest. Then we have our biology lesson there or we'd have our math class there. Outdoor nature is really incorporated into the curriculum in a lot of different ways."
- "Three words [to describe Lakefield College School] are ‘outgoing,’ ‘adventurous,’ and I think the most important is ‘kind.’ It's such an important part of the community, and it's so present in every interaction. We're a fun, outgoing place and we like to challenge people. And that's all well and good. But we do it in such a spirit of kindness that the intentions are always good.”
- "It's almost like no one holds a single job title [at Lakefield College School] … everybody feels the sense that they want to have their hands in everything, and want to do their part. Teachers are coaches, advisors, tutors, and running partners. They wear all of these different hats, and do it in a way that is with such ease. At least it appears that way … everybody loves being a part of everything and wants to get back in all these ways. I think it's because they get a lot of pleasure out of it."
- "Opportunity is everywhere [at Lakefield College School]. It is incumbent upon the student to make the most of it, but your teachers will go to the nth degree to make sure that you're successful. It's up to [the student] to take the responsibility, and really own it for themselves, and the students that do, reap the rewards for the rest of their lives.”
- “I remember some of the older students bringing me in and saying, ‘look, this is important, you got to really buy in, and go to everything, and be a part of the school as much as you possibly can’. It means you're really busy, but it also means that you get the most out of it. One of the things that always strikes me about the spirit of Lakefield [College School], is that you're encouraged to do everything."
- "I went in [to Lakefield College School] as a guy that loved sports, and I ended up doing a whole whack- load of school plays. I loved every minute of it, and still got to be on the hockey team at the same time. So my advice to a student would be, Lakefield [College School] is going to offer you a lot, take as much as you possibly can."
- "I would say it is a challenging curriculum. I was a fairly academic kid, but definitely not top of the class in any way, and I felt challenged in really important ways when I was a student. And I was encouraged to take a wide variety of classes and nobody really let me off the hook, which I think was important."
- "No one let me slack off [at Lakefield College School], I was always pushed to be on task. My classmates, who I went [to Lakefield College School] with ... all went to university. We all went to different places. … Regardless of what program they went into, whether it's medicine or law, there's this kind of fundamental preparedness that they felt like [Lakefield College School] provided them. That's curriculum-based, and they felt like they were able to accomplish whatever the school had set out for them."
- "I think the biggest [lesson at Lakefield College School] for me was time management. Yeah, there is a lot going on ... you do have a lot of schoolwork to juggle, and the expectation is that you do juggle it … . You come out of [Lakefield College School] feeling really capable, and feeling like whatever challenge university or a job is going to bring you, you have the skills … and you're prepared for it."
- "[Lakefield College School] students acknowledge that there's a lot of work, and absolutely there is. But it's done in an environment where the ultimate goal is their success both while they're at Lakefield [College School], and once they leave"
- "I genuinely think that there's no one ‘type’ of kid that succeeds best at Lakefield [College School], I think one of the strengths is that it brings out the best in every type of kid.”
Max — alum
Max graduated from Lakefield College School in 2013. During his time there, he developed his passion for the outdoors, and got to experience a trip to the Yukon on a canoeing expedition. He now works at LCS as an associate faculty, and also works in the outdoor education program.
- "I definitely appreciate Lakefield a lot more now since I've graduated than I did when I was a student. I feel that since I've graduated Lakefield, it's been that gift that keeps on giving."
- "I've been included in this massive network of alumni that has been really supportive. People who didn't even know who I was, wanted to connect with me just because I went to Lakefield, and that's been really cool. I was also incredibly lucky because I came to Lakefield on an extremely generous bursary."
- "As I moved on at Lakefield, I appreciated it a lot more. I was lucky to go to the Yukon on a canoe expedition, which eventually led me to working up in the Northwest Territories, and it was just really incredible. And then now as a staff member, I came back partly because I love [Lakefield College School], but also because I really wanted to give back to the place that gave me so much."
- “Obviously there's physical things [that are great about Lakefield College School] … the campus and how beautiful everything is. We're close to the waterfront, and the fact that we have small class sizes … but it’s also those intangible things, like the culture that we have here at the school, and how much the staff really care about everyone. I've had advisors who remembered what my favourite chocolate bar is, and they'll bring it to an advisor meeting. ...The culture around here was to really support everyone."
- "There's so many teachers [at Lakefield College School] that wake up in the morning and really think, ‘how can I make my classroom better?’ I think that it is really cool, that at Lakefield [College School], there is no complacency. Every day is just a little one step forward."
- "Bullies don't really last long here at Lakefield [College School]. It's a very supportive community. And the Lakefield students really want to have that supportive feeling, that community. We're all part of these residential houses and that typical high school bully just doesn't last long, because they don't last in a supportive community.”
- “‘Grove’ is the nickname for Lakefield College School, and [Grove time] is the supportive time that teachers give during the lunch hour. So every day the students get an hour and a half for lunch. … They eat lunch and then the rest of that time is open office hours for the students to come in, book time, and have that one on one with the teacher.”
- “With the new 90-minute classes that [Lakefield College School] has, it gives the teachers and students so much more time during that class. Time to do a lot more one on one. So the class sizes are small for COVID reasons, but also because we have so many incredible teachers. And in the 90 minutes, the teachers and the students have really felt that they've had a lot more time, one on one with those teachers."
- "These [students] are in an academically challenging environment [at Lakefield College School]. A lot of what Lakefield [College School] has to offer is balance, and learning how to balance your time. So, knowing when to get your work done so that you can go to that spirit event on Friday night. … [Students] learn to get their work done so they have time to do that. Free time as well, finding that balance."
- "When I first arrived at Lakefield [College School], I certainly wasn't someone who would get involved. ... I remember my very first time in a canoe, I just hated it. ... I ended up finding some patience through the years, and finding joy in canoeing. In my Grade 11 year, I was lucky enough to join a canoe trip in northern Canada, in the territories. And that's when my love for paddling, the outdoors, and the industry really came together. And I ended up working up in the Northwest Territories for a canoe expedition company after that."
Paula — alum and current parent
- School alumni
Paula attended Lakefield College School in the ‘90s and knew she wanted her child to have the same experience. Her son is now a Grade 11 boarding student at Lakefield College School, who enjoys the combination of a strong academic focus, beautiful outdoor settings, and an international environment.
- "I wanted to find a place where [my son] could do all his favourite things at one location, and Lakefield [College School] fit that mold. ... I call it a Boy Scout experience in a global village. ... I wanted my kids to do things like Boy Scouts and scouting ... where the kids are learning in an outdoor environment and they're working on skills like collaboration, teamwork, survival, and preparation for life."
- “Perhaps one of the downfalls of participating in [boy scouts] in Ontario, is you're isolated to a rural environment with only like-minded people. The difference of Lakefield [College School] is that you're getting a scouting experience, outdoors every day, building on leadership and growth, but with different perspectives and different people. And that's where the global village piece comes in. That's really important to me. My kid is going to be on teams, and working on projects with people from around the world, which brings in that perspective that further pushes him into his own growth and independence."
- "I felt it was well advertised, the international diversity that I would see [at Lakefield College School], and I'm pleased that that occurred. His roommate was from a far away country. ... So that held up to what I expected.”
- "My son definitely grew into leadership and experience [at Lakefield College School]. Living in a residential environment, being responsible for waking up, getting to places on time, and completing his homework. Those are things that I've seen huge maturity in, supported by the residential staff."
- "There was just a new level of responsibility and decision making skills that [my son] had to start [developing at Lakefield College School], and he did. That further matured to him working with admissions and wanting to do tours [of Lakefield College School], and feeling really great that he was a part of sharing that experience with potential new students. He went for Grade Rep, and got it. So he got actual leadership teachings through that program. I'd say leadership, independence, and growth."
- “[My son] enjoys his experiences outside, but he is an academic. He likes learning a lot. He would say his classes [at Lakefield College School] are challenging, and they've given him a good challenge, but in a fun way."
- “[My son would] probably admit that before going to [Lakefield College School], he was intimidated by the elite nature of an independent school. But I think by the first night that was gone, when he felt included."
- “I want everyone to imagine what their Kindergarten teacher was like, because that's a feeling that I have about Lakefield, and [my son] does, too. [Lakefield College School is like] a kindergarten teacher that is always happy. They're totally inclusive of everyone, and they have that ability to pull out an individual strength in each student.”
- “I felt like there was something for everyone, and that's both because there's a range of talents, and because there's opportunities for those talents to be nurtured and appreciated. Each student feels like they have something to contribute. And that's how the community is created. So happy, inclusive and able to pull out strength.”
- "You know that you want your child to be outside, and learn not just about, but in the environment that they have. When you've got a campus like Lakefield, you want [your kid] to be outside. It's hard leaving when you go visit your child, because you're like, ‘I just want to take a walk around the waterfront one more time.’"
- "[Lakefield College School] is a beautiful place. … The school is really working on that concept of ‘we before me’... each new kid, and the current group feels it, the value that [Lakefield College School] thinks of each other before ourselves, and they see what happens when we do that, and the community that can be created.”
- "I must acknowledge Lakefield's ability to include remote students ... [my son] has lab partners from different countries and is set up within small groups. [Remote students] are part of the class. It's not like things are posted for them to do later. They are having direct instruction and inclusion in groups. It's amazing."
- "[Lakefield College School] is a good challenge. [My son] comes from a gifted program … and he's certainly feeling challenged [at Lakefield College School]. ...There's certainly lots of support if a challenging curriculum is too challenging, there would be ways [for students] to get help. But it's fast-paced, it's hands-on. It's a great language- and numeracy-based program.
- “[At Lakefield College School] it's not, ‘are you going to join?’ it’s, ‘what are you going to join?’ The choices are things such as athletics, or individual sports, or art. There's a lot of variety. … And even though the value is ‘outdoors every day,’ I don't think you have to come to [Lakefield College School] knowing how important that is."