Montreal, QC | Grades 7 - 12 | Shortlist
Attending Sacred Heart was the best decision I ever made! The teachers were friendly, approachable, intelligent and caring individuals, who really had the students' best interest at heart. At Sacred Heart, you're not just a number, you are a person. Each teacher and member of the staff knows you by name, even after you graduate. When you return as an alumna, you're greeted with open arms and the teachers speak to you as if they just saw you yesterday, reminiscing on their fondest memory of you while you were a student. Sacred Heart allowed me to reach my full potential, which is likely one of the primary reasons why I am who and where I am today. The teachers helped me every step of the way and were the first to offer extra help to any student who needed it. I also had so many opportunities to join extracurricular activities as there was no lack of them at Sacred Heart. There was something for everyone! Overall a great school that provided me with skills and tools to prepare me for "the real world".
The leadership and administration at The Sacred Heart School of Montreal consists of people with years of experience in the educational sector, ensuring that sound decisions are made with the students and their families at the forefront. Everyone is incredibly approachable. As a young teenager, it may feel overwhelming to have to go speak to the Head of School or the Dean of Students or even a teacher, but everyone is so friendly and genuine that no one ever feels nervous having to go speak to them.
The teachers at Sacred Heart have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their area(s) of focus and truly want to share that with the students so that they can learn and grow as individuals. Since there are small class sizes, teachers can spend more time getting to know each student's way of learning and can adapt their lessons to suit the needs of their students. Teachers are always respectful to the students and are always available to help students one-on-one during lunch or after school if they are having difficulty in a certain course. Personally, I had difficulty in Grade 9 and Grade 10 with my history classes, and my teacher (Ms. Potter at the time) took the time out of her day, twice a week after school, to provide extra help and support. I'm positive that her extra lessons are the reasons I passed the ministry exams. All that to say, the teachers are really one of a kind, and you end up genuinely building relationships with them that last well beyond graduation.
The academic program at Sacred Heart is challenging, but very rewarding. Teachers are always up to date with the most recent lessons, so the students really do get the best of the best. You may think that students are competitive because it is a private school and everyone has their own motives, but students are actually not competitive at all. In fact, they actually support each other and are celebrate each other's successes together and comfort each other in times of failure. When I graduated from Sacred Heart, I felt prepared for CEGEP and when I started CEGEP, I actually realized that I had an advantage over most of the other students in my classes that went to other schools (some public and some private). It felt great to know that although it was a lot of hard work during the 5 years of high school, it paid off in the long-run by allowing me to be ahead of my peers in CEGEP.
Sacred Heart has extracurricular programs for anyone. Whether you are the artsy type, musically-inclined, athletic, or like science, there is an activity for you. Programs range from sports to robotics to band/choir to drama, and much more. Each of the activities has its own scope, but all of them have one thing in common: they all allow the girls to apply what they learned in the classroom to real-life situations. Personally, I wasn't a very athletic type, but I loved music, so I was part of the concert and jazz bands throughout high school. Because of my implication in these bands, I got to play different instruments and today, 10 years after graduation, I'm still playing the saxophone, that I might not have learned if I didn't attend Sacred Heart. I also joined the robotics team at Sacred Heart and got to learn how to build robots to accomplish certain tasks. We even got to compete in annual competitions against other high schools and CEGEPs! Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a lawyer, but because I joined the robotics team, I developed a love for science and building something from nothing, and that is the reason why I am an engineer today.
When I was at Sacred Heart, I believe there weren't more than maybe 350 students in the entire school. The small size instilled a great spirit and really allowed everyone to get to know each other. It was a great feeling to walk down the hallway or meet someone in the bathroom and be greeted by your name by a student who is not in your class, not even in your grade. While students may come from different religions or cultural backgrounds, Sacred Heart was really an inclusive community that everyone felt wanted and cared for. You develop friendships that truly last a lifetime. I'm still friends with girls I've known since Grade 7 (that's 15 years ago!). Even though you might feel "different" than everyone else, I can assure you that you will have the best of friendships, and girls will stick by your side and support you no matter what.
As a teenager, you generally don't like to go to school, but when I was a student at Sacred Heart, I woke up every morning wanting to go to school, wanting to see all my friends, wanting to talk to the teachers. Sacred Heart made school feel more like a home, simply by ensuring that students were looked after and cared for as if they were their own. I often look back at my high school years and realize what a fantastic time I had, and I just remember crying my eyes out at graduation because it would be the last time I step foot in the school as a student (I obviously returned multiple times as an alum). It was truly an emotional moment and continues to be for every student that graduates.
Since Sacred Heart instilled in us a sense of community and friendship from an early age, as students, when you become an alum or even a parent, you realize that the bond to the school and to the people is still very strong. One or multiple "class reps" are nominated for each graduating class, and they are responsible for sharing news and events with their peers after graduation. I'm one of those class reps and our grade created a private group on Facebook where we often post events or activities that the school is hosting or even just our own successes, and everyone is still as supportive as ever. It's great to see pictures of weddings, first-borns, educational or professional successes, and much more. Sacred Heart understands that most parents work full-time 9-5 jobs, but all parents are welcome to get as involved as they want in the life of the school, and most parents do! It's a great way to see your child in the school environment and with their friends, and I believe it also reinforces that you made the best decision to send your daughter there.
Sacred Heart is located on the corner of Atwater and Docteur Penfield. While this may seem very close to Downtown Montreal, it is a very safe place and students are only allowed off of school grounds with parental consent. There is always a security guard because the safety and security of the girls are of the utmost priority. The school is also very accessible by public transportation, which means that your daughter will be able to get to and from school safely.
The application process is super simple, and the admissions officer works with you every step of the way. They get to know you and your daughter even before they are a student, which is very comforting. They make sure they understand your daughter's situation and can adapt to it to ensure a smooth transition from elementary school to high school. While there is an entrance exam, I wouldn't get stressed out over it, it's just standard procedure. I would also strongly suggest going to the school's open house. It's a time where you and your daughter will be able to visit the school and learn about everything it has to offer, from the classroom to the extracurricular activities and everything in between.