REVIEW OF Rosthern Junior College High School BY alumnus, Tammy Forrester
- Date of Review
November 19, 2019
Gr. 11 - 12
- University (major)
University of Saskatchewan
(5) Overall Experience
Rosthern Junior College was the perfect stepping stone to independent thinking into adulthood. It’s a unique blend of academic education coupled with independent living under the guidance and rules set out by the school which prepared me for my future. I was left to my own devices to manage my time, my finances, my relationships and my education while being supported by the caring and watchful eye of a group of staff members that truly loved me. My parents were progressive thinkers in giving me the opportunity to attend this school knowing full well it was hard for them to let me go at the age of 15. Rosthern Junior College helped to grow in me a resilience that has been a key characteristic I have used in my adult life to get through trying and difficult times in relationships and professional decisions.
(5) School Leadership
As a private school with a residence RJC is in a unique position to truly develop relationships with students that are genuine and authentic. The staff, administration took their role as caregivers and nurturers very seriously and developed appropriate, supportive, and fair relationships with students. All staff members are on a first name basis with all students which supports the philosophy of a closely bonded community where students belong to a family. Discipline was always handled appropriately and fairly for situations that I experienced while attending RJC.
The teaching and student life dean staff create authentic, genuine and caring relationships with students while maintaining a respectful connection. The staff is dynamic and interested in the student and the subjects they teach in many cases. They take their role as teacher in these young students lives very seriously. The relationship between student and teacher is somewhat informal as students and teachers are on a first name basis. The academic level of education students receive prepare them well for their future life decisions whether students choose university, college or work after high school. In thinking back to the influencers in my life, there were several teachers that had a positive impact from my English teacher fully preparing me to excel in my first year university English class, to the deans in the residence who gave me tools for building appropriate life relationships.
Academics at RJC are taken seriously and are an integral part of the RJC experience. Teachers are supportive in the learning process by creating unique learning settings for each individual student and yet push students to be their academic best with the intention to meet each student where they are at on their academic journey. There is a healthy competition among students for grades and marks but there are opportunities that exist outside of the classroom that reach a different type of learner. The grade 10 Imagine program teaches in a less traditional way giving opportunity for students to experience unique, out of classroom learning settings which appeal to learners that want a different academic experience. Student focused tutorials at the end of the academic day give students the opportunity to work one on one with teachers to ensure any subject issues students are facing can be addressed proactively.
The extracurricular opportunities from sport to music to drama give every student that attends the opportunity to participate. With a smaller student body every person can play a sport or two or three and be a member of a touring choir while playing a part of several dramas that are planned throughout the year. Students are encouraged to participate and get involved - try something new and be a part of a team.
The student body at RJC is smaller than most public high schools and with a range of Grades 10-12, class sizes have a tendency to be between 20 to 25 students keeping the ratio of students to teachers very healthy and effective. The student body is comprised of local, out of province and international students making it a diverse mix of students. While attending RJC I was given the opportunity to learn firsthand about different cultures from around the world as we were classmates and roommates. That experience taught me tolerance and the importance of diversity and inclusivity in our world. To this day I am still connected and close to the friends I made 30 years ago while attending RJC. These friends were an important part of my life in a very influential time and have continued to be my support system into adulthood.
(5) School Life
Students that attend RJC are typically happy to be there and want to be involved in the activities of the school year. There is a real sense of community and that in a special way, all students are a part of a family. Although extracurricular activities often take place on weekends, when students weren’t travelling for these activities they are encouraged to stay at the school for activities that are planned. The dorms are full of life and people choose to stay for weekends to be with their friends. The staff make an effort to keep students occupied through the weekends as there are many out of town, province and country students that attend the school and need things to keep them occupied through the weekends. During the week students are kept busy with school work, extracurriculars and planned RJC community building activities.
RJC has a strong and vibrant alumni community. There are events planned throughout the year to bring alumni back onto campus to not just watch current students participate and perform but to participate in themselves from annual soccer, volleyball, basketball and hockey tournaments to a celebratory Homecoming event held every year for alumni and community parents and friends. Annually the school celebrates decade graduation year reunions and hosts a year end musical drama for alumni, community, parents and friends to come and watch. The alumni also financially supports projects at the school for the current student body ensuring their experience at the school is as significant as theirs was. There are friendship bonds that form during the school years for students that continue to thrive many years after graduation.
(5) School Location
The Rosthern community where RJC is located is a perfect setting to grow and nurture a student. It is 45 minutes away from a major centre which is just enough to give students a safe place to call home while still being part of a larger world from time to time. Rosthern community is supportive of the students that attend RJC and while the school has its own smaller community, the students also safely belong to a welcoming larger community and are encouraged to partake in activities in the town and surrounding Valley area.
The student admission team works with each student to ensure RJC is a right fit for the student and school. With a maximum of up to 100 students accepted each year, there is the possibility that the school may not be the perfect fit for every student but the staff work hard at identifying that. It is important that each student applying shares insight into preferences in learning and living and shares openly their goals for their final years of grade school. Choosing references that truly know the student is also important in ensuring there is a good fit between student and school. References will give insight into student behaviour and personality that will help with assessing the fit. Authenticity in who you truly are- shared on the application for admissions is extremely important.
(5) University placement and counselling
In applying for university after grade 12 I felt there were plenty of opportunities to discuss future direction and plans with the caring staff that were part of my RJC community. Staff were interested in my future, encouraged me to engage in conversation with them and were there to assist. Through the grade 12 Explore program students are given access to counselling opportunities and information on post-secondary education. This support helps them see the possibilities and make the best decisions for themselves. With smaller class sizes the staff can care for and support the whole student, which also gives them opportunity to support them as they make future decisions. There were many opportunities to speak with someone about future options and asking for help in application and decision-making.