REVIEW OF Niagara Christian Collegiate BY Alum, Trish Sutherland
- Date of Review
May 04, 2022
Gr. 11 - Gr. 12
- University (major)
(5) Overall Experience
I loved my time as a 5 day boarding student at NCC. The teachers actually cared about their students. I loved spending time in the gym and at the snack bar after study hall in the evenings. I enjoyed the setting of the school with it being right on the Niagara River. I loved the friendly staff. My experience at NCC prepared me very well to be successful in university because of the high academic standards. My children actually attended NCC as well and had a wonderful experience, too. Both have gone on to get university degrees and have successful jobs. Students enrolling at NCC should expect an environment where they are loved and encouraged to be successful. They should expect to be accepted for who they are. They should expect the opportunity to be challenged academically, spiritually, and socially.
(4.5) School Leadership
Both the president and the academic dean when I attended NCC were wonderful men and well respected. They were kind, caring, humble, and very capable leaders. After my father passed away, I even received a kind note from the academic dean. I was not the type of student to get into trouble, so I can't speak directly to the discipline issue, however, I still know both of these men to this day, and knowing them, I can say that they would have tried to treat students fairly. The president from that time is currently serving on the board of NCC and the academic dean from that time recently filled in when the school was temporarily without a principal. NCC has an administrative staff that really cares about the NCC community. NCC has a way of becoming more that a job to those in administration. It is a ministry.
The level of academics at NCC was excellent. Leaving NCC, I was well prepared academically for university life. My sons, who both graduated from NCC as well, were also. The one thing I really appreciated about NCC was that, given the more family like atmosphere, some of the teachers became much like friends as well. They were willing to help when there were concepts that I was struggling to understand. It wasn't like I was a burden to them, rather, they were happy to help. The academic dean, Clare Lebold, was a particularly incredible man. He taught me physics as well as being the academic dean. He is also the one who came back recently and worked with us when we were without a principal (I now teach at NCC). He is just such an incredibly kind, gentle, amazing role model. He impacted my life in a wonderful way. It was amazing for me to return to NCC as a teacher and get to work with some of the staff that had been there when I was a student.
Overall, NCC has a higher academic standard than most public schools. The strength of NCC is definitely in the academic courses, as it does not have as many applied and hands on courses. I would say that within the student body, there was some friendly competition that likely occurred when it came to academics, but I don't recall an overly competitive nature. I do recall one particular course where one of the international students was a good help to me in trying to help me understand the content. NCC helped support its boarding students academically by providing a study hall time in the evenings. It was a supervised time for the younger students while the older students were allowed to work on dorm. The level of expectations academically helped prepare me for life's next steps. I was accustomed to working hard when I left NCC.
There were a number of extracurricular activities when I was a student. The great thing about NCC was that many students could participate in sports because it was a smaller school. We still worked hard and tried to win, but there was an opportunity for most everyone who wanted to participate in something to do so. I personally participated in basketball, volleyball, a canoe trip, and drama productions. It allowed me a chance to be a more well rounded person. To this day, NCC continues to offer many extracurricular activities. There is an arts council, band, many sports teams, intra-murals, etc. Students who want to explore different opportunities certainly have lots of chance to do so.
When I was a student at NCC, there were probably and hundred and some students. One thing that was amazing about NCC back then and continues to be true today is that there were students from various places around the world. It gave us as students the opportunity to expand our world. I became very good friends with a girl from the Bahamas who went on to be my maid of honour in my wedding and whom I have visited in the Bahamas on more than one occasion. I would say that there was a special bond between some of the dorm students, as they did life together outside of the school day as well. We genuinely had a lot of fun! Because NCC is a Christian school, many of the students there shared my Christian values, which was nice. At NCC, I'm not sure you can really say there is a "typical" student. There was and is such a wide variety of students from different places, socio-economic backgrounds, and life experiences present.
(5) School Life
I loved going to school at NCC! NCC has been a huge part of my life. My great-grandfather was one of the ones involved in starting the school. My grandparents both attended NCC and also both worked there. My mom graduated from NCC, I graduated from NCC, both of my children graduated from NCC, and now I teach at NCC! NCC is a second home to me! I loved the friendships I made at NCC, some of which continue to this day. I loved hanging out on dorm on Sunday evenings after everyone got back from the weekend. Also, the setting is beautiful!! The campus is spacious and relaxing. I think that, while I'm sure there were students that struggled, most students were happy at NCC.
As I mentioned, some of the friends I made while at Niagara Christian Collegiate are still friends to this day. I still get together with my dorm dean, as she became a dear friend. It is now more than 30 years since I graduated, and we still keep in touch. There used to be a homecoming weekend every year where a number of the alumni would come back and see each other. It has not kept up quite the same, perhaps in part because people can keep track of each other on social media now and also people's lives seem to be so busy. I have a number of the students from NCC that I went to school with as friends on Facebook. As a parent of former students of NCC as well, parents are welcome to connect with teachers and administration. NCC wants the parents to be partners in the education of their children.
(5) School Location
NCC is situated on the Niagara Parkway right beside the Niagara River. You can literally look across the river to the United States. It is only about 25 minutes from Niagara Falls. The setting is absolutely gorgeous! It is also a campus rather than just one building. There is plenty of green space to be enjoyed. This does make it a bit of a secluded location, however, there are plenty of amenities not too far away. Dorm students spent most of the time on campus but could occasionally get off campus as well.
I don't remember all the details from when I applied as it was many years ago. I don't recall it being an overly stressful process, although I do believe there was perhaps some questions I had to write answers for. If someone is planning to apply, I would suggest visiting the website and reading about the various opportunities that are provided at NCC and what life is like on residence if they are planning to live on campus. I would also encourage them to think about what their future goals are for post secondary education. As mentioned earlier, NCC is more of an academic environment with not as many hands on type opportunities as some public schools. If they feel that NCC may be a good fit, I would encourage them to arrange to visit the campus for a tour and to meet some of the amazing staff and students. There are lots of people that would be willing to walk with them through the process!
(4.5) University placement and counselling
It is probably easier for me to speak to the process now as opposed to when I was a student. Again, it was a long time ago that I graduated and I don't necessarily remember everything in detail. I did, however, have no problem getting my application in on time and got accepted to the school I wanted to go to. Now, the students receive great support when they are preparing to apply to university. We have a guidance counsellor who does a great job of making sure that they have the information they need and is willing to meet with students individually to help them make decisions as well. We have a staff member who also works with our ESL students to help ensure they get the testing done that they need to for university as well. There are lots of resources available to the students as they plan and apply for post secondary education.