I started the Grade 9 program this past September. Thanks to great preparation from Somerset, I found it to be a relatively easy transition.
I entered Somerset in Grade 5, coming from the public school system. Since Somerset’s curriculum was at the Grade 6 level, I had a year to make up and learn the new curriculum at the same time. Thanks to the small class size that allowed for me one-on-one interaction between the teacher and the student as well as tutoring, this allowed me to quickly get up to speed and move ahead in Grades 6 to 8 without any additional tutoring.
The demanding academic program at Somerset required me to develop good organizational skills and study habits. At times, homework assignments and tests were very overwhelming, but my ability to handle it improved over the years as my time management and organizational skills improved. Sports were a big part of your life while at Somerset, both within and outside the school, which again required me to be very organized and use my class time effectively.
Exams were introduced at the end of Grade 6. While I was extremely nervous about this first set of exams, I’m very thankful that exams are not new to me in Grade 9. The biggest lessons I have learned from exams are to lay out a study plan and start studying well in advance of the exams, leaving enough time to work on each subject. Study notes are very important, a skill I learned at Somerset and continue to use today. I can’t say I enjoy exams, but at least I know what to expect!
The teachers at Somerset have been great. They were always available to help me when I didn’t understand something both before and after school. An added bonus was that they were
also available by email and responded to my notes both during the evening and over the weekend. They take a personal interest in all their students to help them reach their full potential and I very much appreciated their dedication, ongoing encouragement, and guidance.
Extracurricular activities were also a special part of my Somerset experience. I participated in numerous sports teams as well as the intramurals. As a more senior student, I had the opportunity to referee intramural play at lunch hour, which helped me develop some leadership skills by ensuring safe and fair play.
The music program at Somerset was great and has provided many lasting memories from Christmas concerts and Celebrations Night. The music teachers put a great deal of effort into their program to develop both our individual musical talents as well as to learn to listen and play together. For many of us, this was our first opportunity to play a musical instrument and read a musical score. The music teachers were very patient!
The annual Somerset play was another great opportunity to get involved. I participated as both a cast member and a “behind the scenes” person and thoroughly enjoyed these experiences. The great thing about the plays was that so many of the students at Somerset were involved.
All of this including the academics, the extracurricular activities, and the dedication of both the staff and the parent volunteers made for a very rewarding and fulfilling experience at Somerset. Furthermore, it prepared me well for high school life and made for a smooth transition academically and socially. While academically, much of the Grade 9 program is a repeat, I enjoyed my good first term marks. This has also allowed me to spend time developing some new relationships as most of the Somerset classmates have have dispersed to many different schools.