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Sacred Heart School of Halifax:
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Grades JK TO 12 — Halifax, NS (Map)


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Sacred Heart School of Halifax:
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Roundtable Q&A Discussion About Sacred Heart School of Halifax (2021)

Sacred Heart School of Halifax alumni, current students, and parents shared their insights on the school’s culture, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Hear what Andy, Claire, Denise had to say about the school.

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Highlights from the Q&A discussion

Andy — alum

Andy graduated from Sacred Heart in 2016. He then went on to the University of Toronto, where he earned his bachelors of science with honours. He is now in his second year of medical school there. During his time at Sacred Heart School, Andy enjoyed a tight-knit community among his peers and teachers, and he still maintains those friendships to this day. He believes that the school has instilled in him many values that have been useful to him throughout his life, including having a caring attitude and working hard to achieve his goals.

  • “I think the main thing [I appreciate about the school] is probably the close-knit community we had at Sacred Heart [School]. ... You spend six years with the same guys. You just become really good friends. You get to know each other and you have a lot of ups and downs, but we grew up together, and I think that was really nice.”
  • “Staying in the same group of guys for six years, you build bonds that I always look back on like, ‘wow, we had really good times.’...  I really appreciated the close-knit community we had also with our teachers at [Sacred Heart School]. I think that's partly due to the fact that there is such a low student-to-teacher ratio. We got to really know our teachers, our teachers got to really know us, and even from elementary, we're always sort of supported.”
  • “I was always supported, encouraged to look into whatever I was interested in [at Sacred Heart School]. I had a lot of great conversations, I still tell people about my teachers. So, you know, looking back, I [appreciate] the close-knit community, with my friends, my classmates, and my teachers.”
  • “The one thing that stood out to me was just how small [Sacred Heart School]  classes were. I would hear about classes that were 40, 50 kids, and that, to me, was unimaginable. [At Sacred Heart School] we have, like, one teacher teaching, ten to 20 [students] at the most. … I think as I reflected on that, I realized a lot of the positive experiences I had actually stemmed from that. I had never really heard stories about other students getting close to their teachers, except if they're very academically inclined, for instance.”
  • “In my group of guys in my class, even the guys who loved sports … and maybe weren't really into the books, they bonded with their teachers very well, about different things. There is that opportunity [at Sacred Heart School] to get to know your teacher as more of a person, rather than someone who's going to be reading out notes at you. That extended in so many ways, a lot of our great initiatives were actually led by our teachers.”
  • “[Students] get to really know their teachers both in the classroom, and outside of the classroom [at Sacred Heart School]. I think that created a really cool dynamic. When I showed up to math class, I could talk to my teacher about, ‘hey, I read about this cool last subject. Hey, what's up with that?’ She had a PhD, and she knew all these crazy things, and we had discussions about that. We joked with each other. I think that back and forth just wouldn't have happened if it was, say, a class of 30 or 40.”
  • “Even when I was applying to universities, summer programs, scholarships [Sacred Heart School] had my back. That helped a lot, both in high school and outside of high school.”
  • “Think my words [to describe Sacred Heart School] would be caring, encouraging and fun. I think that [the caring] stood out to me from the first day I stepped foot in Sacred Heart [School]. My mom, my sister, and I were exploring the nearby schools. When we were taking a tour of Sacred Heart, it was our old Headmistress that welcomed us. She was so nice. She took time out of her day to just walk us around the school.”
  • “Even though I was a kid at the time [that I enrolled at Sacred Heart School], I knew I was in the right place. It was that same caring attitude just all the way throughout, from elementary to high school. I never had a teacher where I thought they're just phoning it in, or thought they're not really invested in me. That never happened, even when I had not so good times. Maybe when I disrupted the class or whatever. It was always a caring attitude that was taken towards me.”
  • “I was always sort of encouraged to develop within my interests and also to improve myself in whatever ways my teachers saw fit [at Sacred Heart School]. I had a teacher, who was our physics teacher at the time. She was really into all sorts of engineering stuff and had an engineering degree. So she started a club that I joined with a bunch of the other guys called the Underwater Robotics Club, and we had a great time. We learned so much.”
  • “I had a lot of fun in school, [Sacred Heart School] is a fun place to go. I had a group of guys that were really good friends and teachers that I really respected and admired [at Sacred Heart School], and I appreciated getting taught by them. At the end of the day, that just made a great experience that I can only describe as the word ‘fun.’”
  • “[Sacred Heart School is] sort of like a village, like that famous quote, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ I think Sacred Heart [School] is that village and was that village for me. It was clear just from how the teachers paid attention to me, and that became apparent, the more I talked to my mom and stuff.”
  • “I think getting to know your teachers well, will even enrich your extracurriculars as well, ... Many initiatives are actually led by our teachers, and I think a great way to build that foundation, learn how to speak to your professors, etc. You'll build a lot of great skills just from maybe stepping outside of your comfort zone, and doing things you might be scared of doing initially, but the support is always there [at Sacred Heart School].”

Claire — alum

Claire graduated from Sacred Heart in 2014. She then went on to Acadia University, where she graduated with a bachelor of science with honours. She is now in her fourth year at Dalhousie working towards a medical degree. Claire appreciated the many opportunities offered at Sacred Heart School, including extracurriculars and mentorship from older students in the community. She appreciated the support she got from her teachers during her time there, and felt prepared by the school to succeed in university.

  • “I think when I was at [Sacred Heart School] I really appreciated all of the close friendships that I was able to develop with the other people in my class, and with people across different grades, which was really meaningful. I'm still in a lot of close contact with many of my friends from Sacred Heart [School]. I [also had] the opportunity to pursue a very wide variety of extracurricular activities, which was something I really valued. I've got to say, looking back, I wasn't particularly talented at any of the things I participated in, but I loved doing the musicals.”
  • “One of the things that I really appreciated that I don't think I quite understood at the time was the study skills and the academic skills that I developed when I was at [Sacred Heart School], particularly transitioning to university. I found that the kind of foundation that I had developed throughout high school was really helpful in preparing me to switch into the more fast-paced environment that first- and second- year university brought.”
  • “I think the close-knit community at [Sacred Heart School] really influenced my decision when choosing which universities [to apply to]. I really appreciated having close contact with my teachers and having a small community at [Sacred Heart School] that I felt a part of. It definitely influenced my decision to choose Acadia University for my undergraduate degree.”
  • “One of the things that I think is really valuable about Sacred Heart [School] is the close-knit community across all three schools. While the schools themselves are separate, there's the boys school, the girls school, and then the elementary school. A lot of activities are interconnected, and I think that's something that is really valuable for the community as a whole. I know, particularly in junior high. I really appreciated the mentorship that I received from some of the girls in senior high. In elementary school as well, there's opportunities to interact with the high school students, which is really valuable.”
  • “I think the fact that there's support across the three schools, even though they are distinct in their own ways, is something that's unique and really important for Sacred Heart [School].”
  • “The three words that I came up with to describe [Sacred Heart School] were empowering, dedicated, and kind.”
  • “Particularly with my experience going through the girls' school at [Sacred Heart School], I felt really empowered as a young woman to pursue whatever path I chose. I had a lot of support going through the school, trying new things, being pushed outside of my comfort zone with various activities, and being challenged academically. I think that that was something that was really, really valuable for me. Growing up and going through [the school], the word dedicated refers to the commitment of the teachers and educators at [Sacred Heart School], who really provide good education to the students, see each of the students as an individual, and tailor education to them.”
  • “[Sacred Heart School] is a very spirited community. There's a lot of school activities, and school events that involve the full school, where everybody is welcome. It shows the strong relationship across all three subdivisions of the school. I always felt very welcome there. Obviously, every teenager has their up days and their down days, and days when they don't get along with other people in their class, but overall, I felt like it was a very supportive environment, and it's something that I really appreciated at the time.”

Denise — current parent

Denise is a parent of two girls that attended Sacred Heart School. One of them graduated in 2012 and the other in 2016. She is heavily involved with the school community and is a former member of the Sacred Heart board of Governors. Denise appreciated the school's academic standard, and all of the opportunities and individual attention offered to both of her daughters, who are very different from each other. She believes that Sacred Heart School taught her daughters how to think critically and prepared them for university and life beyond that.

  • “We really wanted to be a partner with the people educating our girls in a supportive way. So it just felt right from the beginning that [Sacred Heart School] felt like a place where [students] could get a hug if they needed a hug. It was an excellent place for girls to be educated. I didn't anticipate certain things, but they were generally good things.”
  • “I didn't anticipate how individual the attention would be at [Sacred Heart School]. Our girls, like a lot of siblings, have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences. I felt like they got a different education in the important ways, and the same education in important ways.”
  • “The words that came to me at the beginning, and came back to the end [to describe Sacred Heart School] were steadfast, trustworthy, and loyal. I felt as the parent of a young person going through education, going through school, there was so much that happens in the lives of young people, especially when they become teenagers. I felt like the school was a constant, and it was consistent. … Whenever [my daughters] walked into the door of [Sacred Heart School] they knew that they were at a place where people cared about them. It didn't mean that they were always going to be easy on them, and say yes, and coddle them, but that they cared, and they could trust that that would always be the case.”
  • “My girls were very vocal and spirited, and they certainly would challenge [authority] in a respectful way. [They would] challenge administration, and challenge teachers when they thought it was important to do so. [Sacred Heart School] was always loyal to [my daughters]. They never made them feel, even if it was difficult and it was a tough time, that they would be abandoned, or that they wouldn't still be fully part of the family.”
  • “The impact [that Sacred Heart School had on my children] is so varied. Obviously, they're very well educated, but I would say confidence and the ability to think critically. They were extremely involved in debating at Sacred Heart [School], and wouldn't have had that opportunity in other schools. I think just the confidence they gained intellectually and socially. They learned about and were able to freely discuss what's happening in the world, and other issues. I feel like that probably also the confidence to be wrong, and to make a mistake, because the confidence to try doesn't mean that you're out there, and you're always right. It just means they will try, and will take a risk.”
  • “I think [my daughters] have the confidence to take a risk, and they only ever felt entitled to try. They didn't develop a sense of entitlement [at Sacred Heart School]. They only ever felt entitled to try, which I thought was good. Everything else was hard work, everything else you earned. I would say that the biggest thing is their confidence to walk out those doors, and head out into the world.”
  • “[Sacred Heart School] recognized [my daughter’s extracurriculars] as something that made her happy. That was part of her education, and debating was a huge part of her education. [My daughter] said [Sacred Heart School] really [gave her] individual attention. She felt that they knew her, and she doesn't feel that she would have reached her potential without that. It's interesting because she came out of Sacred Heart with probably what was just the basic Sacred Heart [School] education, and she was exceedingly well prepared [for university].”
  • “[My daughter] does look back at her education [at Sacred Heart School] as being crucial to the opportunities she got. Whether it was through debate, the confidence to travel, the people she met, she gained the confidence to go to Toronto when she was 18. I think [both of my daughters] would say that [Sacred Heart School’s] attention to the whole person was very important to them.”
  • “I think [Sacred Heart School] embodies the values of hard work, personal responsibility, importance of education, importance of love. ... I remember when Sister Walter first came talking a lot about that, and it was a little weird for me at first, but she's right. Just a sense of, we all do a lot of ordinary things in our lives, and some of us do extraordinary things, and a lot of us do a lot in between, but always do that in the spirit of generosity, kindness, and love.”
  • “[Sacred Heart School] really felt like a second family to[the students], and I didn't anticipate the degree to which that would be important over the years. We were in a true partnership with the girls. The teachers were so important to us, administration, debate coaches, athletic coaches, choir directors. … Just the family, everybody playing a part. In a family you're not always taking, you're giving too. I think that that's probably one of the most important things. … They never went in there with the expectation that they were just going to be looked after, but that they would be doing some of that as well, for other people.”
 

More about Sacred Heart School of Halifax

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More video reviews

Alum, Ailin Chant (2021)

Watch our alum interview with Ailin Chant to learn about the unique experience of attending Sacred Heart School of Halifax.

More written reviews

(4.9)

Parent, Leona Milne (2023)

Gr. JK to JK (current), Gr. JK to 1 (current) — My children simply love school at Sacred Heart. It's a place where my children get excited to see their friends and teachers. They enter school each day, warmly greeted by staff who know them by name,...

(4.3)

Alum, Ailin Chant (2021)

My time at Sacred Heart School of Halifax was incredibly memorable. I often hear people talk about high school as an experience they are happy is over, however that wasn't close to my experience. I lo...

(4.3)

Parent, Gord Cooper (2021)

We have four children at Sacred Heart School of Halifax (SHSH). If I think about our eldest son, who has gone from Grade 6 to where he is now (Grade 11), he may not put it in these exact words himself...
See all written reviews (5 total)
 

THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Sacred Heart School of Halifax

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