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Mennonite Collegiate Institute:
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Grades Gr. 9 TO Gr. 12 — Gretna, MB (Map)

Mennonite Collegiate Institute:

Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Mennonite Collegiate Institute (2021)

Mennonite Collegiate Institute alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Amelia, Jill, Charles had to say about the school.

Video Contents

Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Amelia — alum

Amelia recently graduated from Mennonite Collegiate Institute after four years there. She originally joined the school because she loves music, and choir and the musical are important parts of Mennonite Collegiate Institute. She appreciated the lively atmosphere and the tight-knit community, where she made many lifelong friends. She felt that the school taught through the ways and beliefs of a Mennonite, while remaining accepting of other beliefs and cultures.

  • “I first started at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] ... in Grade 9, and I don't think I had huge expectations really, for anything. I joined [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] because of the music program. I was very intrigued by the musicals and the choirs. I'd always been super interested in theatre and music, and seeing how big and important that was to [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] was a huge part of it for me. My older brother went through and graduated from [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], and that kind of brought me into the community a bit.”
  • “I went into [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] excited for the music program, being in a new place with new people. By the end of it, I think I kind of had a new appreciation for everything that the community does for us as students, because we don't always see everything behind the scenes.”
  • “[What differentiates [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is how much life there is. … There's always something going on at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], in the classroom … but even outside, like projects that the committees are doing. ... Always someone planning something new, and bringing new ideas up. Usually when you walk down the hall, you hear commotion, because everyone is just having the greatest time, and they enjoy themselves. There's just a lot of life.”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is ... energetic, chaotic and also accepting.”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] really helped me to learn how to mitigate disagreements, and how to properly figure out how to resolve a disagreement between either myself and someone else, or a disagreement between two other people. … With the small number of people at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], unlike large public schools, with hundreds of people… If you have a disagreement with someone, you can pretty much just avoid them completely. With [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] being so small, if you have a disagreement with someone, you need to be able to talk to that person and figure that out.”
  • “[What differentiates Mennonite Collegiate Institute, is] community, the bond between students and staff is really great. Staff are always looking for the best way to help each individual student figure out how they work, and how they learn, and I think that's really important. That's a huge part of what [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is, how well the students and the staff are able to connect with each other.”
  • “[What I think families might find most surprising about Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is how relaxed the atmosphere in the classroom is. I think a lot of the perception about private schools is… that they are very strict… and have one way to do things, and they follow that, and not anything else. At [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] the classroom atmosphere is so calm and relaxed, and teachers will kind of judge how a day is feeling and be like, ‘okay, well, we're going to do this today, because you guys are not in the mood for learning like this, so we're going to do it this way instead.’”
  • “Grade 11 and 12 [students] literally pull Grade 9 and 10 [students] into doing different sports. I've experienced that first hand.”
  • “You don't have to be a Mennonite to come to [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. I know I was in school with a lot of people who weren't Mennonite, so that's not a requirement. I think one of the main [reasons] Mennonite is in the name, is kind of explained on the [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] website. I think it says ‘teaching through faith.’... At the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, I think it's just how we try to live our lives.”
  • “[Mennonite values] are the values that [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] teach through. It's not teaching specifically what these values are, and what a Mennonite is. It's more about teaching through the ways and the beliefs of a Mennonite.”
  • “I'd say [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is a great place to find yourself, what your strengths are, how you learn, and how you work. Because of the small community and the great relationships between students and staff, you get the chance to to really dive into your strengths, and the things that you want to learn. If you're struggling with being in class and like actually working in a classroom setting, [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] always gives you the chance to learn or try new ways of doing things. I think a lot of people find themselves, find the best way that they work, and the best way that they live.”

Jill — alum and current parent

  • School alumni

Jill has two children who graduated from Mennonite Collegiate Institute, and one child that’s in Grade 12. She’s also an alumna of the school, who feels that it’s a welcoming and warm environment for the whole family. Jill appreciates that the school has a high level of respect for parents and students, and that everyone is treated equally. She believes that the boarding program at Mennonite Collegiate Institute has made her kids independent, and has helped them thrive in sports and academically.

  • “We have a theme here when it comes to both parents and students at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], and I think the biggest thing is that they're treated equally [there]. ... You see a level of respect for parents, but students as well. As a public school teacher myself, I don't see that level anywhere else. You see it, but not at the level I have experienced at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], both in the academic hallways as well as in the dorm.”
  • “That dorm experience at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] was probably the number one impact for our kids. … Not everyone will get that, because they're driving in, or they live closer. ... But for us, that was huge. That student-staff community was monumental for us as parents, trusting that process, and the system.”
  • “As a parent, we had to trust the system, that there were adults put in place at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] to raise our kids in [the right] way, from Monday to Friday. … Raising our kids in a Christian setting, living by example. We had to trust the process of that, because we didn't know everything.”
  • “The impact of adults in [my daughter’s] life was top on her list, as well as community, dorm living, trying to work well with others, and trying to resolve conflict. [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] taught her that. My daughter talked about the diversity of conversations within the dorm, as well as in classes, on religion, culture, and social impacts throughout the world.”
  • “There's so many kids from different backgrounds at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. Religious backgrounds, and cultural backgrounds, so that perspective within conversation comes quite naturally. That was huge for [my daughter]. … [My son] learned how to be independent, while being in a safe place. [He] was 14 when he went to [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] and that's pretty young. ... So that was huge. [They were] able to excel in both music, as well as sports.”
  • “Lots of kids at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] play different [instruments], and different sports that they might not normally do. ... Both of [my kids] still live with alumni of [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. … [My daughter] is actually in her final year of education, and she said that it's the teachers at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] that pushed her to pursue her career.”
  • “There is mentorship from those older students at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. You see Grade 12 [students] taking aside Grade 9 and 10 [students] and mentor them; [they don’t] ignore them in the halls. [They] sit with them at lunch, and in Chapel daily, and actually form relationships, because that's just the way it is. It starts with the staff, they show them how, and it continues.”
  • “[My son] said that the biggest impact of [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] was the friends that he met there. He still talks to them every week, he still lives with some of them, and that's going to be lifelong.”
  • “[My daughter] talked about the close-knit community at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], and being really close with her teachers. She said some of those teachers impacted her so much that she's actually still close with them. Some of [my daughter’s] best friends now, and the people that she goes to for support and advice, are her teachers she had at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute].”
  • “[My daughter] has been able to find her voice at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. For a parent, that's huge. It’s huge to be able to learn skills, life skills, to deal with difficult situations, difficult people, and to find her voice. Not someone else's, but for the Deans, and for her friends within the dormitory to help her to resolve some of those things that are going to be there all of her life, and all of our lives.”
  • “[Three words to describe Mennonite Collegiate Institute] are vibrant, accepting, and musical.”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is faith-centered in their walk, their talk, in their actions in daily life, and in their reactions to students, both in the hall and within the dorm. They teach by example. … There's opportunity for all. They're inclusive.”
  • “Whether it's on the court, on the stage, in a classroom, in a dormitory, or in a chapel, there's a voice and an opportunity for all students at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. They value the education of every student, whether it's academics, in a private conversation, in their room, in the dorm, or in a group setting, they value education not only within books, but also within living. Teachable moments are everywhere, and I truly believe in that.”
  • “When you go into those hallways [at Mennonite Collegiate Institute], you become involved. You become someone more than just someone coming to pick up their child. You feel valued as a parent when you walk in the door, and that's pretty special.”
  • “The families at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] are faithful. Not only within their own faithfulness to what the school stands for, but in their giving, in their work, in trusting the school, in trusting the dorm staff, in trusting the board, and just being faithful to the whole system.”
  • “They teach through example, and teach their faith through example, but they aren’t cramming it down your throat.”
  • “Sometimes a fresh start is good, and it can be scary. As a parent of students that have gone to [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], I have seen the difference that it has made in them. Not only in our relationship, but the relationship they have with other people in their lives, and the impact they've had.”

Charles — current parent

Charles has two children that attended Mennonite Collegiate Institute. The school offered many opportunities for his children to get involved in the community, such as musicals and sports. He appreciated that the older students at the school acted as mentors toward the younger students, and made them feel welcome and connected to the school. His children enjoy the caring and supportive environment at Mennonite Collegiate Institute, and feel like they are part of a family there.

  • “The sense of community in the school between parents, between staff, and between students. That was one very big draw, and something that was pretty pretty neat to be involved in. We very, very much appreciate it.”
  • “Our daughter really enjoyed the staff [at Mennonite Collegiate Institute], the connection between staff and students, and the personal level that they had between them.”
  • “A lot of the impact [of Mennonite Collegiate Institute] has to do with stretching [students] outside of their comfort zone. Being a small school, the ability [for students] to stay anonymous is very, very hard when there's lots of things going on, whether it's sports or the choir or musicals. There's involvement across the whole school in a lot of these. [My son] when he was there, he started to sing. ... He had a voice, but he wasn't really interested in singing, but that was part of [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. [My son] being involved, and being involved in musicals, and starting to really enjoy it, and have a voice, that was something that I didn't think would happen. To see him shine there surprised us. ... We didn't get to see it until he was up on stage, and then we realized how much work he had put into it, and that he really enjoyed it.”
  • “[The biggest impacts of Mennonite Collegiate Institute on my daughter are] the friendships, the relationships, the dorm experience, and the fact that she got to try out her independence in a safe environment. The friendships both [of my kids] have are really important, and really have a big impact. Their relationships with the teachers that have invested in them, whether it was dorm staff or teaching staff, all had a huge impact.”
  • “A few of the comments that [my daughter] made were just how welcoming [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is, and that each student was seen and heard. They're not invisible. They each have a voice, and they're aware of that. ... Also, [there are] opportunities to get involved, and bond with people in different activities and events.”
  • “There's always somebody new coming into [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. It's not necessarily one group moving from grade to grade. We've got some students that start right away in Grade 9, there's some that start in Grade 10 or 11, and enter in later. Because [students] know that there are new [students] coming in, there's this community that accepts those people, and says ‘hey, you're a part of [Mennonite Collegiate Institute] now, you're one of us’. They welcome them into the group, make a space for them at a table, and make them feel like family. They bring them into the school family.”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is definitely creative, unique, and caring. Those are probably the three core [attributes].”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] values people and relationships, building strong relationships between students themselves, and students and staff. Those relationships are huge, and it also comes out with their relationship with God, and their faith. In trying to build and help the students learn more about themselves, help them learn about their faith. Not tell them what their faith is, but help them to learn, know who God is, and what is this whole relationship about?”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute families] bring in their own histories, which may be different. With international students, you get a broad range of people with varying levels of faith and counterpoints, and you learn to respect each other and you learn to grow together.”
  • “You've got similar faith from the families that are supporting the students and staff at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], so that's something that's really, really important.”
  • “The hallways are a buzz at [Mennonite Collegiate Institute]. There's an energy in the hallway between students when you see them walking by, and between students and staff. That community, and that relationship, is a huge pull for someone new to come to [Mennonite Collegiate Institute], to be a part of that community. To grow and inspire each other to do more. Quite often, when you get put outside your comfort zone, you learn that you can excel when you challenge yourself.”
  • “[Mennonite Collegiate Institute] is a safe place to challenge yourself. … Seeing some of the students host a Chapel in front of the whole school. Students you would never think would open up in front of that many people. Then you see what they talk about, and how they feel safe to share their experience, others are impacted by that. ... The relationships between everybody involved are just so valuable.”

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Back to Mennonite Collegiate Institute overview

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