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St. Jude's Academy:
The Our Kids Report > Reviews
Grades JK TO Gr. 12 — Mississauga, ON (Map)

St. Jude's Academy:

Interview with St. Jude's Academy Alum, Orlando Scarlett

  • Name
    Orlando Scarlett
  • University (major)
    Western University (Economics)

Video Contents

Highlights from the interview

  • I looked at quite a few schools, and when I got the tour for St. Jude's, I just felt like, oh, this is a community. The admissions team, they showed me the vision of the school, like what the highlights of the school are and what other students typically do at the school. And I just felt like it's a growing community. It was a smaller community initially, but it's a growing community. And as soon as I started, I'm like, yeah, there are a lot of like-minded students here, and the initial focus is academics, and that was my main focus in school. I'd say if I'm looking back, I definitely would choose here again because it's a community that welcomed me and it made the transition, like, quite easy for me.

  • One thing my teachers motivated me to do is evaluate what impact I'd like to have on the world. And I just see business as a stream where I could potentially build a company that acts as a model to what I want, like, the corporate world to look like. So I kind of have a lot of big plans, so I just thought it would be the best stream for me to enter to make an impact. Definitely.

  • I mean, my primary interest is economics. That's what I'm studying currently. And I would say businesses in general, they're not really playing their part and making sure that we have a very sustainable future. I'd like to see many of the models that I see currently for the large companies, they're just motivated by private interests, which it should be. But if you look at the world currently, there are a lot of problems that we're going through. I'd say climate change is one of the big ones, and I just think that if there are more companies, like working with the government in order to make bigger changes, it would have a more lasting impact. So that's one thing I want to do, like make a more sustainable business model where you could be profitable, but also have a positive impact on the environment, on society as a whole, on equality and equity. Like, I just think that businesses could do more for sure.

  • I think it kind of has a lot to do with the IB curriculum that's offered. There are some key qualities they call the IB learner profiles that right from the start, those values, they stay with you. So one of them is to be knowledgeable about what's going on. And there's also about being open minded and caring. So just those small values that are ingrained into all of the students, you always come back to them no matter what you're learning about. So I think just those IB learner profiles, along with the global education that Ivy offers that help to shape who I am today.

  • So for international view and education as a whole. So as a student, you'd want to learn to become a global citizen. So rather than just learning everything that's in the curriculum, you're encouraged to put what you're doing into action and see what the real life applications of those are. And that's the easiest way to take away from it without going deep into the curriculum. But at the end of each program. So I did like the personal project in grade ten. So you choose a topic that you're interested in, and you have pretty much the whole school year to just work on that single project with the assistance and supervision of a teacher. And you kind of have some guidelines that you have to follow, but you have a lot of freedom just to tackle a real life issue and just shape your project to make sure that it makes sure that it gives the point that you want. It emphasises the point that you wanted to show.

  • So for me, I'm interested in climate change and building sustainable business models. So my project was shaped around that, and it was more about the scientific, the energy industry, the energy industry, and how you could make sure that the ecological footprint of whatever you're doing is less. What are the current developments in science, and how can you do something to change that on a personal level?

  • So it has a lot of that built into it, like into the program as a whole. So it's about being a global citizen and realising that we all have a part to play in the future of not only yourself, but the future of the world. So each student chooses a topic, gets a supervisor at the start of the year, and works on it. There's the research portion, there's the action plan and your general. You have to write a report as well. And at the end of it all, for each grade ten student, there's a showcase for all the students to just highlight what exactly you did like. What issue are you talking about? Why did you choose that issue? And there's a date that's dedicated just to watch that. And then you also receive feedback from the report when it's marked. And it's not only in grade ten, that's a personal project, but I know there's also the grade six exhibition. So they do something similar, but it's in a group of students that they usually work on, so they choose a topic, and then it kind of follows what the personal project does, but you work with others and it has a similar outline.

  • I'd say there's a variety. A lot of my friends, they went on to pursue science, but there's also a chunk of us who did business as well. So there are a lot of different interests. There are also international students who attend St. Jude's, which I was one of them because I originally am from Jamaica. There are a lot of interests, whether it's local students or international students. And I'd say there's a lot of variety within the school.

  • I would say I think it's mixed. Overall, obviously, academically is the most important thing for me, so it exceeded my expectations academically and that's the most important part. Initially, I'd say there weren't as many extracurriculars as I would have hoped for, but as I mentioned before, the teachers were always open to actually starting in clubs that you're interested in and just ensuring that your opinion is heard. So that was a huge plus for me. Like the teachers, they're very well educated and they always challenge you to do even better than what you're currently doing. So that academically was very amazing and the most important thing.

  • My biology teacher, we always had very in depth conversations about sustainability, what businesses are doing, what the governments are doing, how can we make change? At a personal level, I'd say many of the things that I aspire to do now. It partially stems from the conversations I had with him and he's always saying to us that the change starts with us. And by educating us to want to be change makers in the world, you can go on and make an impact. 

  • Like just instilling that belief in you as a student. I think it was very important for me. I also say I wasn't that interested in literature. I don't find myself reading a lot of fictional books. But my English classes in grade eleven and grade twelve, it really changed my perspective. I can see that it's pretty fun. So we had Shakespeare plays and we acted in just the books that we read. I'd say, like quite a few teachers, they made a great impact on their great, awesome. I'd say there's a great learning environment. The teachers challenge you.

  • The academic experience is just holistic, but there's a very close second and it's like the school's community. The community is extremely strong. There's the friendships that you form from high school, it's typical for a lot of people, but a lot of my friends from high school, they're still very close to me. So far, a lot of great relationships from having a small community. Like, you really benefit from farming. Like, not necessarily a lot of relationships with a lot of people, but you form, like, very strong relationships because you're around a lot of the same people on a daily basis. There's also the house system. So you're enrolled in a house when you start to school and you get to participate in different activities, whether sporting activities or just a spirit week or different competitions, you get to interact with students that are even younger than you. So as a whole it is very strong. So I'd say the academics and the community feel were the two strongest things for me.

  • So you interact with the younger students. And whether it's teaching them how to do something or learning from someone who's older than you just to collaborate, it could be like in a silly activity, like an egg race or something like that, like holding an egg on a spoon against the other students. But just having the younger ones and the older ones mixed together, it builds that sense of community. And I remember one student, he was in grade one when I was in grade twelve. And when I visit the school nowadays, I still see them and it's like we're still buddies.

  • What I liked most was the mix of academics and community. So obviously I wasn't a student at other private schools, but that's something that's very strong. Within St. Jude’s you get an excellent education, but at the same time you have a strong student experience. So I just say that mix, it's quite rare. I think a lot of students I know, even at university, my friends at university, say your school sounds like a lot of fun, but also you still learn a lot and you still participate in a lot of extracurricular activities. And like some of them, they'd say, like, while something may be strong in their school, they felt like they didn't have such a strong experience in the other field.

  • As I said, there are quite a few international students and there are a lot of local students as well. So just different backgrounds. I came from the Caribbean, a lot of my friends, they came from China. You have other students that have lived in Canada all of their life, others from my best friend who went to the school, he's from Egypt. So there are a lot of different cultures that come together as one. I think it's partially due to how Canada is as a country, but also just the community as a whole within St. Jude’s is similar to that. So there are a lot of different cultures and just having so many people from so many different places, along with the IV curriculum that focuses on globalised education. So we learn about that diversity as well. So yeah, I say it's very diverse.

  • I say it's learning about the world's challenges is not the right world, but it exposes you to a lot of different perspectives. And while you might hold certain beliefs based on where you're from, by learning about others first hand and interacting with people from different cultures, it kind of broadens your perspective on the world for sure. 

  • I see the same thing. Yeah, I see the same thing. Initially when I just started, I was like, it must be difficult having such a big discrepancy between the students, but I realised that once you're in the same place every day, everyone wants to help each other and to have a good experience at the school while learning about everything. Yeah, that's what I was surprised by. Everyone could just work together and irrelevant of how old you are. It's great.

  • The motivation of my teachers, the encouragement that I received helped me to realise that even at the small, like the personal level, you can still go on and make a change, whether it's better in the life of just one person or going on or inspiring global change. So I think, like, the mix of different things within the school that I previously mentioned helps you to realise that you can go on and actually make a difference in the world.

  • Yeah. I'd say because I keep coming back to the one thing of it being a community, and it's always been that way, whether it's going to the guidance counsellor to discuss something or it's just your friends ensuring that you feel a bit better, like whatever you're going through. And the teachers, I'd say they may have the sixth sense of realising that the student is off today. And what can I do to ensure that they don't feel like left behind or they don't feel like coming to school doesn't really make it worse, like whatever you're going through. So I'd say, like, everyone plays their part in ensuring that everyone feels included. And whatever your needs are that anyone could help with, they try to ensure that they play their part. Awesome.

  • I'd say the track record of the school almost speaks for itself. You'll be in good hands. You'll have a lot of great teachers. As a parent, you'll feel included in your child's education and if their future goal is to go to university, it's a pretty strong candidate for a school, like it has a lot of things that as a student, you appreciate and as a parent, likewise, you would appreciate as well. So just continue to do your research and maybe reach out to the admissions team if you have any questions. They were very helpful for me and I'm pretty sure they would be very helpful for you as well.


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