REVIEW OF Lakefield College School BY student, stella mcaloon
- Date of Review
August 29, 2022
Gr. 9 - 10 (current)
(5) Student Experience
Lakefield College School has truly become a place I call home. From the staff that deeply cares and enriches my time at LCS by constantly checking in with me through advisor or house meetings, or nightly check-ins, I have felt an overwhelming amount of love and respect since coming to this school. As a student, I have grown in many ways academically, knowledge, and skills-wise, but also as a person, I have grown into a more independent, caring and kind, genuine person who has a love of learning and a deep respect for the people and place around me. LCS has helped me become these things, and day by day it continuously pushes me to take bigger risks, have more confidence, to be more. LCS has become a part of me, and it will stay with me forever.
(5) School Leadership
Through meetings and discussions, even many meals shared with teachers, head of school, and counsellors, I have found respect and love for all they do for the school. Coming to Lakefield is one of the first times where I have felt and experienced a mutual-respect relationship between students and staff. They have continuously taken the time to check in with us in small groups and individually to see what they can improve on and make sure we always feel safe and heard. It is a school that truly cares about checking in with everyone and hearing about recommendations and changes that could be made and then encouraging students to be part of that change.
The teachers here at LCS are truly some of the best, not only through their knowledge but through the passion and care they give to both their lessons and students. They take the time to understand each kid to ensure the best teaching style for us, whether that be hands-on and physical, visual, auditory, or extra help hours during lunch or after school. While the teachers hold us to a high level to encourage us to thrive and achieve future success beyond high school, they also make sure to keep our personal wellbeing as a top priority too. This keeps me in the perfect "Goldilocks zone" of challenging courses and assignments, but also a level of comfort that feels just right. I love how creative a lot of the teachers are with their lesson plans, and how often they incorporate the outdoors in their classes.
I have always been the kid that gets excited to learn, so when I realized the wide selection of course options available to me at LCS, I instantly knew I would be in my happy place. I came previously from an IB school where I found myself slowly losing my passion for learning, so I switched and came to Lakefield College School, where the lessons are more varied, in terms of subjects but also challenge levels. My favourite part of the academics at LCS is the engaging, hands-on activities that allow me to truly enjoy learning and immerse myself in the subject. The use of the outdoors and awesome surrounding environment in lessons makes me think past a classroom perspective and allows me to create greater connections. It helps me take what I learn past a desk and into my day-to-day life.
Through my time at LCS I have never been bored! There is a HUGE selection of sports, clubs, arts, and extracurriculars. And if there's one that they don't offer, they will do their best to make it happen if someone knows it's something you're interested in. I think this is how the "Talk Club" started recently. It's a club where you just have discussions about a wide range of subjects - everything from discussing a recent news story to debating whether cats are better than dogs. My brother did this club year and I'm excited to join this year. In my first year at LCS, which I just finished, I took part in Art Club, ceramics, paddle sports, film club, and soccer. I took part in a poetry slam (I was SO nervous but did it because I thought not a lot of people would show up, but the auditorium ended up being full... and yet they were all SO supportive that it was one of the best experiences I've had).
At the end of the day, despite all the amazing staff, lessons, extracurriculars, and boarding experience, your happiness ultimately boils down to the peer culture of a school, and this is the biggest reason why I love Lakefield and call it my home. I have found that LCS is one of the most genuine and open-minded places I have ever been a part of. From the moment you step onto campus, students of all ages welcome you and cheer you on. Although there is the usual drama and bickering that comes with living with a bunch of other teenagers, I find LCS doesn't have the clique culture that a lot of high schools have. Although kids still gravitate to certain groups sometimes, there is a lot of mingling that happens between these groups and I haven't seen the kind of rivalry or snubbing that can create a really stressful or toxic environment. Another amazing thing about attending a school like LCS is the diversity. People come from all over the world, from Australia to China, Mexico to Russia, and many, many more places. This means the school culture is made up of kids who've had many different upbringings and cultural differences, and yet we all still share at least one common experience no matter where we find ourselves on the world map: we all have created some of our best memories at LCS and call it our second home. Being at a school where I can learn in interesting, engaging ways but also make some of the best friends I'll ever have in my life is something I am so SO grateful for.
(5) School Life
If I was giving a tour of the school, I would take them on an outdoor stroll first - before entering any of the buildings, because the campus and the lakefront is really the heart of the school. From sunset evening dips and polar plunges in the winter to spontaneous ball hockey games with your dorm and science classes in the woods or a Saturday afternoon sail, the LCS campus is the highlight of the school. Every day as you walk anywhere from your house, you see people paddle boarding, windsurfing, swimming, rowing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and even doing water yoga. Next, I would take visitors to the Art building, just because it is another one of my "happy places" at the school. There are so many opportunities for theatre, dance, music, and visual arts here. I was amazed at how much talent there is in a school of kids that are 15 to 18 years old!
I'm not sure the exact word to use to describe the feeling of belonging at LCS. Maybe kinship? Kindness, joy, acceptance, loyalty? Whatever way describes a sense of home, even when you are hundreds of km from your real home. LCS is home to me because of the people: the staff, teachers, guidance team, administration, head of school, alum, house parents, nurses and students. We all share the same 315 acres of land for 10 months of the year. Through continuous discussions and activities in house meetings, classes, and advisor groups, LCS always emphasizes the importance of everyone's differences, but also inclusion, and how the two need to go hand in hand in order to create a healthy living space that feels comfortable for everyone, where you can be your true self and feel accepted.
(5) School Location
Peterborough, Ontario, or more specifically Lakefield, Ontario, is a small lake and forest-dense town that makes it easy to fall in love with and call home. The location has a perfect balance between small, rural, and outdoorsy, while only being an hour's drive from Toronto. We often walk into the town of Lakefield to pick up snacks, go to a coffee shop, or get pizza. Sometimes we even take the kayaks and paddle to Tim Horton's for a drink and donut and then paddle back!
From a student's perspective, no admissions process is exciting or enjoyable and tends to be stressful. However, the LCS admissions team really made this process less stressful. For me, I was sweating with nerves at the beginning of my interview, but the admissions staff made me feel so much more comfortable. It felt more like a conversation than being drilled with questions, which made it so much more natural and less intimidating than I thought it would be. And they took the time to also ask and learn things outside of me as a learner, but also who I am as a person. I would definitely encourage anyone applying to make a list of questions you may have. They will definitely be happy to answer anything, and you will leave feeling like you have a better understanding of the school and if it is a fit for you. Once you are accepted, you will fill out a form for dorm living preferences, and then submit a short, informal video that will help them pair you up with a roommate. I was SO nervous about this, but I ended up being roomies with a girl who is so, so different from me, and yet a perfect fit! Through her, I have found a best friend for life. And we are going to be rooming together again this upcoming year. We just finished face-timing actually to decide what bedding we're getting since we want to coordinate our colors this year and have the most epic room ever!