Toronto, ON | Grades 7 - 12 | Shortlist
Our family has been part of St. Michael's College School since the year 2017, with our 2 older sons are currently attending the school. Since the very beginning, we were very impressed with St. Mike's academic programme, its art & music curriculum, the school facilities and the human/professional quality of its teachers. The school's environment fosters the development of virtues and healthy friendships for the boys. They feel extremely proud of their school and are excited to attend every day. St. Mike's response to the pandemic has been incredibly proactive, (far beyond our expectations!) without compromising its curriculum and excellent academic level. The school also offers a variety of more than 50 different clubs, all especially designed for young men's enjoyment, and to prepare them for their future lives.
The school's leadership is morally sound. Since the very beginning, St. Michael's was founded within the teachings of the Catholic Church but welcomes families of all faiths, aspiring to form men of character. We have witnessed how the school leadership really cares about the boys well being: they've been incredibly proactive in the way they have faced all the challenges in the past few years, and placed families first in their vision for education. The communication with parents and students is transparent and immediate.
The teachers at St. Michael's College School are virtuous, very passionate and professional in their work. They show high expectations for students and have a heavy emphasis on teaching fundamentals. We have experienced firsthand how dedicated St. Mike's teachers are, as they want to see students excel and uphold the school values of "Goodness Discipline and Knowledge" by providing direct instruction and allowing guided practice. They scaffold and release responsibility gradually, leading to student independence and keeping the boys engaged by building partnership and continually challenge them to give the best of themselves. Our boys will miss many of their teachers when they finish high school, many of them are exemplary leaders that have become our sons' true mentors throughout their years at the school.
We are strongly convinced that St. Michael's College School's academic program is adequately preparing our boys for real life and university. The school is constantly investing in its teachers' formation and personal development to challenge and support each individual student academically, helping them build academic independence. Throughout these years, both of our sons have participated in the school's "Accelerated Reading Program (ARP)" & "Reading Olympics". It is designed for students up to grade 10, but they have continued reading afterwards. We have found both programs strengthen their literacy abilities and widens their understanding of our world. There is also opportunity to participate in all kinds of math, science, engineering, chess and robotic contests during the school year with the support and permanent guidance of the school's teachers.
St. Mike's offers enriching extracurricular and athletic opportunities. There are more than 50 different clubs in the school. The boys can choose to participate in all sorts of sports, music, drama, leadership activities, stock-market, robotics, etc. St. Mike's music program is by far, the best we have seen in a high school, as students are challenged mentally, socially, spiritually and physically. At the school, boys have the chance to have fun by pique a wide variety of interests and become involved in school life in a multitude of ways.
At St. Mike's there is a true sense of brotherhood among students. They care for each other's well being and there is healthy competition among them. By spending lots of time together in the first week of school grade trip, the boys start developing strong relationships that last through the years. We've heard from other families, that in university the boys look for other "St. Michael's Men" to support themselves in their path, as they share common values and experiences. Our boys have developed a strong rapport with many students in their own grades and older classes as well, thanks to the many extra-curricular activities that the school offers. They will really miss their friends and the time they spent together, when they leave for university.
Every year school starts with a trip for each grade, where students can bond, get to know each other and meet older student leaders from higher grades, the result is that once classes start, they are already comfortable with their peers! Our boys are excited to go to St. Mike's every day. We live far from the school (more than 60 km), and they do not mind the commute or waking up early to attend school, participate in its activities and see their friends. Since we started at St. Michael's College school, we've seen more pride and sense of self in our boys: high morale is built among students and a great level of co-operation is encouraged between them through the school's several activities such as the music bands, group sports and drama performances. Our boys are hoping the pandemic is over soon, so they can go back and attend school every day of the week.
Even during this abnormal COVID times, St. Mike's parents' association has communicated the meetings' schedule for the year, and it is already planning activities that can continue to strengthen the sense of community and welcome new families. We believe there are high levels of involvement and everyone is welcomed to participate and offer their talents for their sons’ and the school's well-being. The school works along with families in fundraising activities and round out experiences for the boys. Parents are active in various social activities, in welcoming new families into the school, but also in the academic, extracurricular, and spiritual growth of their sons. Following Catholic values, students at St. Mikes are taught to know right from wrong and recognize the need to help one's neighbour in our communities.
St. Michael's College School facilities have a rich history, they are beautiful, welcoming, clean, and well maintained. Many parts of the building have been renovated over the years, with state-of-the-art theatre, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, and media arts labs. The school is not only famous for its sports, as one-third of the student body also participates in the music, drama & theatre program. St. Mike's program encourages the boys to build & support the local community, by giving their time to local organizations.
St. Mike College School's admissions team is a dedicated, skilled and incredibly welcoming group of people that want to guarantee every boys' success at the school. They were always happy and expedite in answering our questions, and the provided information was clear and thorough. Our application process started with a tour during the homecoming event at the beginning of the school year, both our boys had to present the SSAT, and the admissions team made sure that our experience was an enjoyable, seamless process. For the past few years, they have been offering "Welcome breakfast" so new students and parents can hear from other families at the school. We would not change anything about the admission process. With both of our oldest sons, our transition from elementary to high school was seamless.
We are just starting to go to the university application process this year. So far and for every year, we have felt well supported, have received timely advice, and invitations to meetings to guide our sons' academic path, in order to successfully apply to university programs that interest them. We believe that St. Michaels prepares for university success with a challenging and diverse curriculum as it provides a modern, Liberal Arts, Catholic education that "liberates" the mind and prepares students to be independent and critical thinkers who embrace the diverse challenges of today’s world. The school has a "Student Affairs Department" composed by the Guidance Department (6 Guidance counsellors), the Learning Enrichment Centre, and the Odette Library. They all work as a team to ensure the boys are adequately prepared for life at the school and after graduation.