Interview with St. John's-Kilmarnock School Alum, Anna Bout
Highlights from the interview
I think it was a really good community of people. It wasn't a large school at all. It was very small, so I really got to know my teachers very well and if I needed anything, I could go to them and they knew what was up with me and what was going on in my life. The campus was gorgeous and I really liked being in that kind of environment. It wasn't in the city. It was in the country. We had a lot of good tools to use—we were never limited by anything like that. I really liked the location and all the resources we had.
I honestly think the people really made my experience there. Most of my classmates were all very focused and motivated to do something great after high school, whether that was going to college or not. But a lot of people wanted to go to university and were motivated to work really hard, which made me work hard. I have to do what my classmates are doing because we work together a lot and just want everyone to succeed. It was the International Baccalaureate program, which is very hard. We went through hard times together, which made it feel a family.
If St. John’s-Kilmarnock were a person I’d describe them as hard working and able to persevere through hard times. I also think it's very welcoming. So, yeah, I would say, hard working and welcoming. Upon reflecting, I realized that we were a real tight-knit community. I remember that I never had to study for tests before I went to SJK. There, when we had tests, I had to study because there's an advanced level of content and just more things you have to know. So right away I realized you have to work hard to be here.
I think everyone was fairly hard working and they wanted to succeed at things. The school was able to offer things that everyone could succeed in, whether it was athletics or academics or different kinds of clubs. There's a lot of variety for how small it was. I think people who wanted to succeed could find things at SJK that could make them succeed. I also think it's a very fun place. People wanted to work hard, but they also wanted to have fun. I think students who were motivated and wanted to do well did well. In order to do that, you had to be very organized with your time because there were so many different things going on and so many things that you could get involved with. It could get pretty hectic and stressful. A lot of students were organized because they had to be—there was no other choice in order to get the work done.
I think St. John’s-Kilmarnock really focused on the little details and being disciplined when it came down to everything that you did. Sometimes it could seem a little nitpicky and annoying. But in the end, as I reflect, it was good to be that disciplined in everything that you do so that you can be successful. It came down to how we wore our uniform and being on time and showing up to everything that we needed to show up to, and they kept records of this stuff so that they’d know who's doing what they're supposed to be doing. In the end, I think it really helped us to be disciplined.
People might be surprised by the opportunities and resources that we had for a small school. You could do a lot of different things. We had a varsity period every Wednesday, when they made time in the schedule for you to find what you like to do. So we had a bunch of different clubs that you could do, and then there were lots of trips that you could join. I think all of those were very beneficial and great experiences for all the students. I had the opportunity to go to Iceland, and I never thought I would be with my classmates and able to go on a school trip to Iceland and learn so much. I was surprised by how many opportunities we had for such a small school.
My time at the school shaped who I am today. I think one of the main things that St. John’s-Kilmarnock taught me was to be very organized and manage my time. I did a lot of different sports and a lot of different clubs at the school, and then I had outside commitments as well, and they worked with me on my schedule, but I had to learn how to not waste time and use my time wisely. So I think being so busy and attending the school with a lot of work has helped me now and shaped me to be hardworking and disciplined in busy and stressful times.
I wish I could have explored other clubs and activities at SJK, because they did offer a lot. I wish I had been more involved that way, maybe volunteering or joining something different so I could get different experiences outside of athletics because I really liked the athletic part of the school. So one thing I would change about my time at SJK would be trying to be more diverse in what I chose to do.
Toward the end, the workload takes a toll on you and you're ready to get out. But as I reflect on my time at St. John’s-Kilmarnock, I really do think I had a great high school experience, which some people don't get to say. I think I had a really good one, and it taught me a lot, and I made really close friends with my classmates and my teachers and I'll have those connections for a long time, maybe even professionally.
There are many reasons to choose St. John’s-Kilmarnok. If you really want to take education seriously and go to a high-class institution after high school or whatever you want to do to be successful after high school, I would really recommend SJK. It makes you work hard and makes you want to learn because everyone around you wants to learn and wants you to succeed. If you want to be in a small community, it's a great place because the classes are very small. One of my classes had three people in it, so we were really able to foster relationships. And then I really think that the location was great, being in the country with fresh air. We had a pond that made it kind of diverse in what you could do outside.
The teachers that I had really cared and wanted their kids to do well. Their goal is to make you succeed and that's their priority. You can tell that they want you to do well—they treat you as their own kids. I think that the teachers there really want to be there and enjoy working with students who are all motivated.
I think I would tell a new student to take the opportunities that are given to you and try and do as much as possible because you don't get those kinds of resources everywhere you go. Try as many things as you can because the school offers a lot of different types of clubs and classes and you get to choose what you want to do. Just take your opportunities.