I would rate student experience at De La Salle College a 9 because when I first arrived at the school, all teachers, administrators and students made it their priority to create a welcoming and inclusive environment. For instance, the Link Crew program provides each new student with the support and stability they need entering a new school through the instruction and guidance of their fellow peers. Although Del presents an abundance of sports and clubs and extra help in tutorials, one thing I would change about the school is the complex learning structure. Due to the pandemic, our schedule was adjusted. The current class schedules are difficult to adjust to, especially with the mixed method of both online and offline learning. This is a short-term schedule. One thing is certain, transitioning to high school will challenge not only your academic capabilities, but also your social and physical ones. I certainly learned how to deal with stress and time management having attended De La Salle College.
The school leaders and teachers at De La Salle College use their vast experience and knowledge to create a welcoming learning environment. For instance, each teacher hosts a tutorial session in which students can freely ask questions regarding course content, which is helpful in more complex subjects such as mathematics. The school leaders such as Student Council and House Leaders are always there to increase school spirit and make you feel welcome through encouraging videos and interactive games such as bingo and trivia. The guidance counsellors have greatly assisted me in my university path, but I wish they would consider more often the abundance of assignments we receive at specific times.
Depending on the time of year, teachers can assign tasks that easily become difficult to manage when juggling other courses. During the exam season, homework is light which I appreciate, but often before long breaks (Christmas and March break), teachers assign an abundance of homework which can be stressful at times. I always know what teachers expect of me, since they always provide extra resources such as videos and rubrics clearly outlining the assignment requirements. Additionally, when teachers talk about success, they approach it through a subjective light as it relates to personal development which motivates me to try my best with my own standards in mind, rather than comparing myself to others. Teachers use experiments, group projects and labs to further my understanding of concepts.
Given the in-depth teaching and lesson planning teachers conduct, I would say that the content of the homework given is just right. Since class revolves around understanding concepts, rather than memorizing them, the work assigned to us is relevant and attainable. For instance, for biology class, the poster project we conducted corresponded directly with the material we were learning in class. Each day we would discuss a new topic in cellular respiration, and this information would be translated into our poster. I think the information we are learning at school, with reach ahead programs and AP classes, will definitely prove to be useful later in life. With my AP Capstone Research and Seminar courses I am learning new techniques on how to gather research and draft reports, which is crucial for any professional environment.
The extracurriculars at De La Salle are one of the aspects of school life that I look forward to most. I participate in sports teams such as Girls Basketball, Girls Volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee which have taught me the importance of teamwork and time management. I also participate in clubs such as Link Crew, House Leaders, and EcoTeam, which have provided me with leadership opportunities. For example, as a Co-Head of EcoTeam, I organize weekly meetings that encourage students to focus on eco-friendly initiatives such as reducing plastic waste, making meatless meals and making reusable bags.
I would describe De La Salle students as ones that are academically motivated, inclusive, and generous. With De La Salle's discussion of academic development, students who attend this school are self-driven towards furthering their passion for new knowledge. With reach ahead and AP programs, these students are always thinking outside the box as proactive learners. Additionally, each student is always welcoming and generous, as seen through the Link Crew and House Leader programs. Whether you are a new or senior student, your fellow peers always make you feel at home, making the campus a small town. Students who are not as motivated and hungry for knowledge will struggle a bit more, but with assistance from both teachers and peers, these students can begin to develop the determination and diligence needed to succeed in this school.
If I were asked to give a tour of the school to a group of visitors, I would first take them to the school's auditorium. From the first day of school to the very last, every morning, the entire school community gathers as one to pray and sing the national anthem. When hearing this as a new student I was in shock, since my previous school had never done anything like it. From every day gatherings to holy masses, the auditorium is the place where everyone comes together to celebrate student achievements. Further, sitting in the Grade 12 senior balcony is something every student at De La Salle looks forward to. After spending years working hard and adapting to high school, Grade twelves are rewarded with the luxury of sitting in their own elevated area which overlooks the entire auditorium. The auditorium holds a special place within each person of the Del community, since it shows our school as one unified body.
The school feels like home to me because everyone is always so welcoming and inclusive. Whenever I walk down the hallway, teachers and student always greet each other with a warm smile and hello. Over the past four years at Del, each teacher has put the learning and well-being of their students first, which creates a challenging, yet positive educational environment. This school feels like home because non-academic events such as Terry Fox day and Sharelife day unite the school, and serve as an enjoyable break for the student body. Through these fundraising initiatives and house cup challenges, each student feels as if they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Further, the Link Crew program for new students ensures that every new student has a peer to talk to for guidance. I participated in this program, and found it very helpful both academically and socially.
Given the current circumstances, students are unable to leave campus. Students often stay on campus during the course of the day, since many have schedules that vary from grade to grade. Normally, grade twelve students would be able to leave the campus during a free period, but the pandemic has prevented us from doing so. Although we are not given this extra freedom, senior students are able to explore campus sites such as the arena, field and library. With a mix of both online and offline classes, these spaces are useful for extra study sessions and conversations with friends.
Although there are many aspects to admission into De La Salle, the process was straightforward. After writing the Secondary School Admissions Test, this mark was given to the school in order to view my mathematics and English skills. Additionally, I had to submit report cards, a student profile and a reference letter. I was contacted for an interview at De La Salle's campus, where they asked me questions about my personal life, interests and thoughts on school. I found the application process both stressful and fun. While studying for the SSATs was difficult, the interview itself was fun, which made the process easier. Something that I did not know then, but know now was that marks do not necessarily count for everything. I remember being really nervous about my report cards, but now I see that in the grand scheme of things, the interview was just as important to my admission.